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Europe Sketches and the Eurostar, April 1999

April 13, 2013

It certainly is a surprise to discover early sketches in my archived sketchbooks. The image and techniques of the sketches bring back memories of the specific times and days these sketches were done, and in some case the attached texts tell vivid stories of those times.

According to my sketchbook, in April 1999 Daphne and I visited London, Paris, Munich and Frankfurt. Seems I managed to do only just 2 sketches, but could be that others are not yet discovered.

While in Munich we did a lot of the exploration all on our own. We took the light rail transit and with the guide of a city map we tried to see as much of Munich as we could; we even ventured south by train to Frankfurt for a day trip to visit the modern architectural masterpieces we knew existed there.


OK, here’s a sketch I did in Munich: the Karlsplatz, better known as Stachus by the locals, a large urban square in central Munich. Beautiful Gothic buildings surround the Karlsplatz, and although my sketching was not my best at the time, I managed to capture this image, which I recalled interested me because of the beautiful archways of the surrounding buildings. I was then interested to find out how did these buildings manage to survive the war.

Whenever I saw a bookstore I eagerly went in searching their stacks to see if I could find postcards that showed remnants’ of the devastation. All the cards I came across were photos of areas of Munich leveled by the Allies bombs. It was then that I surmised that these Gothic buildings were re-constructed after the war.  One would never know and I never did ask, for fear that would not be proper. However we did visit all the infamous areas of Munich because of my personal interest of that time period. The visits were not ‘tourist’ ventures but rather solemn moments as I wandered through the areas and was touched with thinking of the events that took plane during those times.

The night before we left Munich we were treated to a beautiful private dinner and then an extensive auto night tour of Munich. Although it was late at night, I could sense that the city is a majestic place rich in historic relevance with grand architecture of the eras gone by. No doubt Munich was rebuilt almost to the same grandeur as the periods prior to the war years.


This is a sketch of the outdoor cafe at Museé Rodin in Paris. I quickly captured it after visiting Rodin’s “Thinking Man” sculpture, and it was just before departing Paris for the return journey back to London via Eurostar. I did record this journey on the Eurostar train.

Interestingly the train left Paris at 7:25 pm on the 6th April 1999, and as we approached the tunnel to traverse under the Channel the train suddenly reduced speed to a crawl. The engineer had announced that the crossing would take 25 minutes, however after only 5 minutes into the tunnel we came to a stop. 5 minutes later the engineer announced that there is a problem with the train ahead and that we would have to reverse back out of the tunnel, but this would not affect our arrival time in London, although we were waiting to reverse. We were now 25 minutes inside the tunnel when the lights and the a/c also shut down. At 8:00 pm the engineer announced that we would now have to go via Calais, (Northern France). It took 55 minutes to reverse completely out of the tunnel, and then at 8:45 we reentered the tunnel on a different track. Finally we arrived in London after 11:00 pm, more that 3 hours late. In the disappointment and confusion we left our souvenirs on the upper storage in the train. The Eurostar is an awful train to travel in; non-adjustable seats; no emergency operable windows; inadequate air exchange; very poor service and poor lighting designs. Our experience on the Eurostar in 1999 was regrettable.

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