Journey du jour

Usually, I fly. It is a bit of a concession, given that I'm worried about the environmental impacts, but I genuinely enjoy flying. I still take a deep breath of amazements at takeoff, even after several years of travel.

But this time, I'm groundbound. Lyon-Hamburg-Copenhagen-Oslo by bus. The bus networks are still running,in spite of what must be fierce competition from low-cost airlines and inevitable traffic jam delays.

I dislike cars (particularly those that fill up the city I at a given moment happen to be located in). But when moving from Lyon to Oslo one of the beasts would be handy. The railways seem to have priced themselves beyond all competitiveness and I chose bus over plane because I need to carry 50-ish kilos and the bus companies don't weigh luggage. The first driver grumbles and charges me 5 euros - a mere pocket change after SN Brussel's 14 euro per kilo last time I was dangerously overweight.

Every form of transport draws its specific crowd. The suits and cases at Air France's London-Lyon route versus the backpacker hairstyles at EasyJet's. At Eurolines, we are students, gemuttlich German pensioners and a few families with children in a patient mix.

Patience is an essential virtue. But it is also quite relaxing to re-tune oneself to this older, slower form of transport, accept that it will take two nights and one day to arrive - and remember that even this is much faster than making the same journey 100 years ago.

They say the speed of travel makes the world smaller. I think about it from the individual person's perspective and imagine that one's horizon has grown a lot - in fact making the world a lot bigger..


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