So this has to be a short one. I’m spending the night at the Stanton Airport, where they charge £1 for 10 minutes of internet access. What a scam!
I’ve never missed a flight before. I suppose there’s a first time for everything–and a second. But I’ll get to that later.
London was a nightmare this morning. I left the hotel with more than enough time to get to the airport. I had enough time to get horribly lost or make a huge mistake and still get to the airport on time. I just didn’t count on literally every single thing going wrong. Trains to Stanton depart from two different London stations: Tottenham Hale and Liverpool Street. I’m about equidistant from the two, but it’s a shorter journey from Tottenham so that’s the place I tried to go first. I got all the way there only to find out there were no trains to Stanton from Tottenham today, and I was told to go to Liverpool Street instead.
All the lines to Liverpool are closed but one, and I don’t know this at first. I try to connect the the three wrong lines, and it takes me way out of my way to finally get there.
I arrive, and of course the place is packed. Lines are long, the staff is busy, and I’m running out of time. All the trains are cancelled. I’m given a bus ticket but not told where the bus platform will be. I run around the station for nearly 30 minutes, nearly having a panic attack. I finally see a single person who works there, walk up to him and burst into tears. He walks me straight to the front of the line at the information desk. There, I’m told that the replacement busses are no longer running because train service is about to start back up.
I know I’m screwed. My flight leaves in just over an hour. The bus trip was meant to take an hour itself, the train 45 minutes. The train doesn’t even leave on time. I finally get on, and I’m resigning to my fate. I have no idea what I’m going to do. I obviously can’t afford a last-minute plane ticket, and I don’t know if RyanAir will do anything for me.
So I’m on the train, and about 20 minutes from the airport it stops. The conductor comes over the intercom and announces that we will be delayed but he doesn’t know for how long; we’re al invited to go onto the platform and have a walk in the mean time. Not a good sign. The 6 boys across the aisle from me are headed to Morocco, and decide to get a cab. They invite me along.
The cab driver says it’ll be a 45 minute ride. I have no idea how we had gone that far and were still literally no closer than we’d been in London. I seriously considered just joining these guys on their flight to Marrekeh, if it had been an option.
It wasn’t. I had to pay £110 to change my flight to anywhere else in country. The next flight to Rome is tomorrow morning at 6AM, so I decided I wanted to go to Pescara at 5:50.
Pescara is near Dwight’s vineyard, so I emailed him to see if I could stay with him a few days earlier than we’d planned. Then I started looking for transportation to Rome. There aren’t any busses that run between the two late on Sunday nights, shockingly… so I looked for accomodation instead. It was going to be at least £30 to stay there (albeit in a VERY swanky hotel that usually charged much much more) but it seemed like too much money for a place I was just passing through.
I thought about it some more. A 6 AM flight to Rome would still give me a full day there. If I flew to Pescara, I’d have to find acommodation there and I’d make it to Rome at best by midday. I have hostel reservations and a plan, and it’s not really worth it to mess all that up. In order to change it again, I technically had to “miss” my Pescara flight (but don’t worry, they didn’t charge me again). I hadn’t heard from Dwight. So that’s how I missed two flights in one day, and why I will be spending the night unhappily in Stanton.
It was sad to say goodbye to my parents this morning, but I know I’ll be back in KC in a month. I hope they have had a wonderful day in Dover and haven’t encountered all the trouble with the tube that I have.
Dad’s Guest Blog
We got up earlier and were going to follows Ray’s suggestions for as long as the weather and time permitted. We started off going to Tesco for breakfast. Tesco is a chain of very small grocery stores. We picked up a variety of crescents and rolls and headed to our tube stop. The Underground in London is like no other Underground in the world (or at least of the other three that I have been on, New York, Chicago and Paris). Almost all of their tube stops are uniquely decorated with different tile work, painting or pictures. The trains run frequently and all of the users seem relatively courteous (moving to the middle, making room for people, etc.). Simply navigating the city underground is one of my favorite parts of London. The various lines inter frequently and allow you to pretty much get anywhere on the subway.
So when Ray suggested the Transit museum, I was anxious to go. The first subway was right here in London in the 1860’s. Yes 150 years ago! I had to know how they pulled it off back then, prior to much of the mechanization we have today not to mention modern day engineering. Since you are dying to know, I will tell you. They dug giant trenches, laid railroad tracks, built large brick arch ceilings over them and then buried the entire thing again. There is much more to learn about the early subways, but I will let you come to London and find out for yourselves.
We also went over to Greenwich where we stood on the Meridian Line and learned why Greenwich time was so important to the rest of the world. We then walked back UNDER the Thames to our side of the river.
A great day. We turned in early, around 9:00, to get organized for tomorrow. Gonna be another great day. Unfortunately Anna will be leaving us and we will not see her until after her 30-day whirlwind trip through Europe. We will miss her but are glad to see her having a great adventure.