The kids and I got to our new home in France about six days ago -- barely. We Took a train from Edinburgh to London where we changed to the Eurostar -- the high speed train that goes under the channel. On the regular ScotRail train out of Edinburgh, it stops at the station and you get on. You know, it's a train. Stop. Get on. You stow your luggage and sit down. Stop. Get off. On the Eurostar you go through airport-like security -- metal detectors and luggage x-rays. Then they give your bags back to you and you drag them onto the train yourself, just like normal. Since you get the bags back, ALL luggage is the same as a carry on.
At security, I started getting nervous when the guard called his supervisor over to look at not one, but two of my bags as they rolled through the x-ray scanner -- never a positive sign. He pulled them aside and told me to empty them. This bummed me out. They were masterfully packed to within a millimeter of exploding -- everything inside fit like a puzzle. As I pulled the contents out, the guard opened up the inner bags, toiletry kits etc. and started removing the knives I had packed.** I'm not talking Rambo knives, I have a pocket knife for picnics, we have two kitchen knives that we travel with, Owen has a Swiss Army knife that has everything except a frying pan on it and Brenna just gave me a beautiful folding French Laguiole country knife as a gift when we were in Paris last month. (Ironically it came back to the UK with us on Eurostar and no one said a thing.) Thank god I threw the Serbian switchblade away before I packed. It somehow seemed -- a bit excessive.
It turned into a comedy routine. He kept finding knives and more knives as I unloaded my precision packed suitcases. Finally, I turned around to the voice of a towering London Transport cop. Turns out he was my salvation. Instead of arresting me (which later he told me would have been mandatory not long ago -- one knife had a locking blade) he got another policeman to stay with the kids while he and I jogged through St. Pancras station to the office where I could ship the knives (on the same train) to Paris.
We hurried back to security, I scooped up the kids and the luggage and boarded the train with five minutes to spare.
It took us about an hour to find the baggage office in Paris where the knives had been deposited, but we made it. We're armed and ready to cook again!
To be continued...
**Silly me -- it's clearly stated in Appendix 1 after Item 64/Section 1 of the Conditions of Carriage Relating to Passengers page of the Eurostar website, "Any knives with a blade over 3 inches are prohibited." Oops. Out of interest I read on. Next time if I happen to be traveling with a sword, crossbow, spear gun or straight razor, well, these items are okay. Feeling safer now?