Notes from a travel day

22 02 2006

The flight from ORD to LHR was pleasant. The seats comfortable, the food surprisingly good (shrimp and cold cuts, beef end tips with asparagus, ice cream), and a very interesting world music channel to listen to. But no Channel 9 (cries)!

UA triple 7 Clouds

The northern lights were amazing over the North Atlantic. I haven’t seen them this good since I was living in Saskatoon!

Breakfast was served as we flew over Ireland. I resisted the temptation to order an Irish Coffee, instead enjoyed a very good fruit plate with yogurt.

Arrived early in London, landing eastbound on the south parallel. After a longish taxi we were at the gate 25 minutes early. After the longish walk I was quickly through passport control and collecting my luggage. On auto-pilot, I walked the tunnels to the tube, and just as I was about to buy my ticket into the city I realized “I forgot to shower!” Being up front, I had access to a shower and breakfast in the arrivals lounge. So I walked back to the terminal, and made my way to the arrivals lounge.

A hot shower and breakfast later, off to the train. I decided to splurge and took a class 332 EMU Heathrow Express in to Paddington station. Did not catch the number, but it was very comfortable and quick.

Took the Circle Line from Paddington to King’s Cross St. Pancras. The C69 stock was busy but not packed as we made our way slowly. Upon fighting my way out of the Underground at Kings Cross (it was rush hour and everyone was wanting to get ON the Tube) I was amazed at the amount of construction going on. They are totally reconstructing the Underground, and rebuilding St Pancras station.

I wandered around for a few hours, visiting all three stations in the area, until it was time to board my train. The temperature was cool (+5) with a strong wind from the North. But there was some sun, which made it bearable.

Boarded my 12 o’clock train to York, a HST 125 trainset of the GNER (Great North East Railway), pushed by the Type 43 HST locomotive Old Course St. Andrews. Should have walked to the other end to see the other locomotive, but I was too tired. As soon as I sat down in my isle seat in Carriage D I was asleep.

Waiting at Kings Cross

Woke up entering Peterborough, where I found out we were 20 minutes late due to a diversion because of an incident. It speaks of the complexity of the British rail system that we were able to divert, and did not have to sit or be bussed, as would have likely happened in North America.

Fell asleep until a few minutes before York… should have taken more photos but the idea of sleep won over. Walked sleepily to my hotel, and promptly slept until now.

Upon waking up this morning, I found out two things. 1: There is an open wireless connection I can use, and 2: My room in Oban was booked in error. Got a note saying that it was double booked, but that there is a room in another guest house, and it has been booked for me. Hopefully it is as nice or as better than I was to have!

A word on where I am in right now. Room 3 of Carlton House Hotel. Nice clean room. Welcome and friendly greeting yesterday. Bit of noise from the road, but I am a heavy sleeper so it is OK. Hopefully the shower is hot and the breakfast is good!

I am looking forward to my first real day of playing tourist!

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