Day 37 - 6th Jan
Nothing much today other than lots of time spent traveling from place to place and spending time at the airport. Megan said an emotional goodbye to her family and we were off.
Our shuttle (funny how they use that term instead of flight) was late to Philidelphia, which funnily enough is only about a 1.5 hour drive from NYC, so we could have been there earlier with a car. Anyhoo, the shuttle was actually a propellor plane. Yes folks, no engines, just 2 nice propellors to keep you in the air. They didn't provide for a smooth flight either, then again I didn't expect them to.
In Philly I was so hungry I couldn't think so I ended up getting a Maccas salad...why I don't know but it seemed good at the time. I was still hungry though and 6 oreos later I was very regretful that I was hungry in the first place. All whilst US Airways announced that they overbooked the flight and would like volunteers to give up their seats for a return ticket to anywhere that US Airways flies, a meal ticket and a free night's accommodation in Philly. Both Megan and I were like over our dead bodies, we need to be in London tomorrow.
So we got on the plane and although the guy at check-in said we were sitting together, it was obviously not to be. Both Megan and I were stuck in middle seats 10 rows away from each other. Yeah together my arse. And then what happens? I see like 15 free seats. Either US Airways have problems counting the number of clients they have or a load of people missed their connections.
Thank god we got dinner on the plane, although by then Megan had already bought dinner for us. The state of US airlines is just shite, you're happy if you get food on a flight. It was barely a 7 hour flight to London and although I got some sleep I wasn't too enamoured of being woken up at 2:30am for a rectangular breakfast donut. WTF??? who serves that for breakfast?
Day 38 - 7th Jan
So we get to London in the morning and we're all happy at Gatwick airport. I get our train tickets to Cardiff and Birmingham sorted and got to Farringdon station via a first capital train. Even though there was lovely scenery of green Megan and I both slept most of the way. We got to Farringdon and realised...FUCK...the station has no escalators or lifts. 2 staircases later with a LOT of luggage (Megan's going to France for an entire year, one look at her suitcase and my back waves the white flag) we make it to the otherside of the platform so we can get the tube to Liverpool Station were we can check our bags since it was only 11am and Travelodge doesn't let you check in till 3pm.
We should really have headed people's recommendations of not traveling on the tube with mighty amounts of luggage. Alas it wasn't peak hour at least. London really needs to look into have disabled access to it's public transport system cause they are going to be fucked for the 2012 olympics if they don't. 70% of the tube stations don't have lifts or escalators...like come on, we know we have legs but our suitcases don't.
So after what seemed hours checking in our luggage, where the women kept asking questions like...Did you pack your bags yourselves? and making us take our laptops out, we finally got out. And the first thing we did? Tube to Westminster, walk out exit number 2 and turn around...and stare Big Ben RIGHT IN THE FACE. I love it. This is exactly the feeling which makes me love traveling so much.
Too bad it was pissing with rain and windy, ah London, so predictable. So we walked across the bridge to the southbank, walking backwards and taking pictures of course. I acted nonchalant like an old hat since I've been there before. We got to the south bank and it was still windy and pissing with rain and what do we see? A McDonald's...or rather shelter. I was hungry and we both baulked at the prices, but I parted with 10 bucks for a big mac meal. But it was damn satisfying.
Once we got out it was sunny. So we made hay. Went around the sights nearby, Westminster Abbey, St James Park, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square all the while the weather couldn't make it's mind up about whether it wanted to be rainy or sunny. I think it was quite confused. We had a quick run through the national gallery where Megan kept falling asleep on every bench and then decided perhaps it was time to pick up our bags and head for the hotel.
I looked at the map and the Travelodge we booked at was quite near Liverpool St Station so we decided to walk it but not before asking the left luggage person, who said something to the effect of "I've lived here forever and I ain't heard of city road", perhaps it was my mispronounciation of "ci-y"? Next we asked a taxi driver, whose reply was oh yes just over that way and up. So we started walking...it was wet and lots of cobblestone, we were in the old town after all.
But still 15min we weren't there. Twisting and turning through a group of roads called Finsbury Square, jet lag, rain and heavy luggage was taking it's toll and tempers were starting to flare, and it wasn't any better that my map was saying it was only a little bit further but still no sign of city road. Another 10 min and we pass a brightly lit foyer...hey wait...isn't that?...the sign said TRAVELODGE, in the hallowed words of RTD...HOORAY!!!! On second thought it was actually quite close but everything combined and not knowing where the actual place was made the trip seem like hours.
So a bit of a refresher later at a new yet somewhat motelish Travelodge we decided to go in search of food, heading towards Old Road Station. This is were jet lag stupour really hit in. What we should have done was got some food, ate it and headed straight back to sleep. Instead we found supermarkets around a 20min walk away and decided that it'll be a good idea to haul back fruit, a jar of jam and 6x1.5 litres of water whilst it's pissing down with rain.
I was so close to chucking a spaz, but I kept my cool and then we just crashed at the hotel and ate some inedible psuedo Asian takeout.
more pics here http://picasaweb.google.com/LJK131/London
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Day 37 - 6th Jan