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How not to get from England to Spain via 3 trains, a subway and a bus in 14 hours

I took three high-speed trains, a subway, and a bus to get from Northern England to Spain so you didn't have to.

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Geoffrey Morrison
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1 of 28 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Newcastle to San Sebastian

My journey begins. Well, actually it began about an hour ago, at my friend's place, who was nice enough to drive me to the station. 

For all the details about this multitrain adventure, check out I crossed three countries in 14 hours on 4 trains and a bus. And I'm not dead.

I also live-blogged it on my Instagram and saved the story.

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InterCity 225

One of London North Eastern Railway's InterCity 225s, still in Virgin East Coast livery. 

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Decent seats

Oh how young and naive I look, just starting my journey. The seats were pretty good, actually. 

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King's Cross

We arrive mostly on-time into London. Here are a few InterCity 225s unloading passengers. Mine's on the right.

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King's Cross Station again

This one's from my Instagram (though admittedly, not from this trip). It looks the same now, though.

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Grand, but overshadowed

In most other situations, the refurbished exterior of  King's Cross would get a lot of attention for its grandeur. However, right next door...

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St. Pancras

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Train shed

The span, when built, was the largest in the world. Today it is no less grand. The Eurostar trains sit in the middle of the station, as if on display.

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Eurostar

The Eurostar e320 can cruise at 200 mph/320 kph. 

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Budget airline seats

The seats, however, are mediocre. I suppose it's not so bad as you're rarely in them for more than two hours. 

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Tense? Me?

We arrived in Paris late. Here's a mildly concerned Geoff, first off the train, booking it for the station and Paris beyond.

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Gare du Nord

Not wanting to waste time taking photos, here's a quick snap of the interior of Gare du Nord.

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Line 4

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

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Rubber tires!

The MP 89CC is one of only a handful of subways in the world that uses rubber tires

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Blurry, or action shot!

This was the best shot I got of the incoming Line 4 train. Let's call it an action shot.

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Endless underground

Even though it's only 20 minutes from platform to platform, the train portion of Montparnasse station is a bit of a hike from the Metro portion. Multiple stairs, escalators, and this walkway, which I'm about one-third of the way down by the time I think to take a picture.

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Duplex

A 700-series TGV Duplex Dasye.

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Coupled

If desired, multiple power cars can link together. This might be done if, say, two smaller trains are headed in the same general direction, but splitting off somewhere down the line.

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Seated

I make it to my seat with 4 minutes to spare. That's cutting it rather close.

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Rolling by rolling fields

A shot of the rolling French countryside southwest of Paris. Due to early-morning fog and the rising sun, I didn't get any worthy photos on the English leg. A lot of it looks like this though.

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Cafe

The cafe car. I amused the employees by ordering in my terrible French: "Un coca et un caniche s'il vous plait. Gracias, mein freund."

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Upper deck

First class, with a view.

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Fields of France

You'd think farmland would look like farmland everywhere, but there are differences in colors, crops, buildings, all making this level view far more interesting than one from 30,000 feet. 

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Hendaye

Five minutes early! Plenty of time to catch the last transportation of the day. 

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Bus!

A quick trip across the border to San Sebastian. I believe this is an Irizar i6. They've got 12.9L (!) inline-six diesels good for 400 to 500 horsepower. 

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Seats to spare

Not many on this 21:00 bus to San Sebastian.

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Sunset

The sun setting as I cross the border into country no. 3 for the day. Hola, Espana! In 30 minutes we arrived, and a few after that, I was at my hotel. A tiring but fun day.

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San Sebastian!

The next day was perfect beach weather. A far cry from the jeans and wool pullover I was wearing in Newcastle. For a lot more detail about this oddball adventure, check out I crossed three countries in 14 hours on 4 trains and a bus. And I'm not dead.

I also live-blogged it on my Instagram and saved the story.

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