Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A tale of two cities

Some British tourists are complaining that they lost half a day's shopping because their coach driver took them to Lille in Belgium instead of Lille in France thanks to a bum choice on his SatNav.

The shoppers, from Gloucestershire, England, were forced to spend an extra four hours in the bus as the driver corrected his mistake and had only two hours left for shopping by the time they arrived at their destination in France, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

Some of the passengers were demanding the return of their $300-per person payments for the bus trip.
I'm wondering what else went wrong. Here's a map of the two Lilles. As you can see, they're about 87 miles or 140 km apart. How does that translate into a four-hour detour? Zoom in a little and you'll see that Lille, Belgium is close to the E313, which then joins the E19 direction Brussels. Run round the Western Ring and then hop onto the E429 and you have motorway almost all the way. Even at a speed of 90 km/h you could be in Lille, France in 90minutes. Driving directions from Google put the distance at 160 km, and driving time at 1h36. Still, a long way from four hours.

So what else happened on that ill-starred trip? I think we should be told, but I don't suppose we'll ever know.