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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 1: 25 September

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysA huge scar slices into the landscape on the eastern side of the train. It's the site for the Channel Tunnel terminal, 16 acres of devastation; Jules Verne would surely have approved, being a man fascinated by transport technology. He'd probably have sent his hero to have a look at it. Or rather, he'd have sent Passepartout to do it for him, as Fogg hated sightseeing.

We're in Folkestone now, the last few hundred yards of England, and rumbling down a steep gradient past back gardens close up to the railway line; a world of sheds and extensions, corrugated iron and chicken wire, unselfconscious, domestic and reassuring. The sun breaks momentarily through the leaden cloud causing the mountain of cut-glass on my table to sparkle, but the word is that the Channel is 'rough' to 'very rough', and I'm glad I passed on the ginger profiteroles.

No longer do the ferries carry trains and at Folkestone Harbour I part company with 'Zena' and take up with the Horsa, a 6000-ton vessel which has been plying the 22-mile crossing to France for 16 years.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 1
  • Date: 25 September
  • Country/sea: England
  • Place: Folkestone
  • Book page no: 17

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