Stuck on a Train in the middle of nowhere …

Traveling from London to Edinburgh by train has been quite the adventure. I had to travel from my cousin’s to King’s Cross where I would catch the train to Edinburgh. Waking up at 9:00 here (5:00am at home), I realized that I was super jet lagged. It was finally catching up with me and I really didn’t want to get up. But, I didn’t know when the next train would be leaving so I really wanted to catch the 11:00. It was a huge rush trying to get there as I had to make it in just over an hour (by the time I left my cousin’s) and I really had no idea how to get there except that I had to take the Underground.

Luckily I made it with about 10 minutes to spare. So I just had enough time to get on the train and find a seat. Unfortunately this did not leave me enough time to seek out platform 9 and 3/4 which I really wanted to do. Well, the wall separating the platforms 9 and 10 anyways. Plus supposedly there is a lame tribute to Harry Potter which I also wanted to see. However, it was not to be …

Now I’m sitting stopped in the middle of nowhere, because there is a problem with the lines (or something). The only things I can see are some ridding horses that look pretty shaggy (mane & tail blowing in the wind) and some fields on the other side. Luckily, there is free wireless on the train and I have my book to keep me occupied.


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For those of you who can’t check out my photos on Facebook, here are a few more pictures to look at:

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The train tracks at one of the transit stations.  This was even a small junction.
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One of the ponds in St. James Park.  Not a recognizable landmark or anything but I think it’s pretty.

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January 31, 2008. UK. Leave a comment.

“Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.” – Dumbledore

I arrived in London this morning at around 10:00 am London Time (which is 6:00 am Atlantic). Surprisingly I felt chipper and not at all jet lagged. I was more than ready to face the world. And by the world, I mean the vastness that is the London Transport system. I had to take three trains and one bus to get from Heathrow to my cousin’s apartment. Surprisingly I didn’t get lost. Which means, now that I’ve mastered the London Underground, I’m just about to ready to face anything. Don’t worry mum & dad this doesn’t mean I’m about to get reckless. It just means I’m more at ease about the traveling thing.

Although apparently, there was a little bit of an issue with flights and such. From facebook stalking I realized that flights leaving Halifax were cancelled (mine was not, just delayed due to baggage which seems pretty odd). From worried emails I realized that another flight had to make an emergency landing in Ireland because the co-pilot went cuckoo (mine did not, we just had to sit on the runway waiting for the gate to be free which I assume had nothing to do with pilot insanity).

So this afternoon I wandered around London. And by wandered I mean, I took the Underground to Westminster Abbey and then stumbled around downtown London trying to find tourist sites. I had decided earlier that I wasn’t going to pay to see anything since I had a short amount of time in London (going to Edinburgh tomorrow). So following the well marked signs and a bus tour guide that I snatched I managed to see quite a few sites until my feet and knees got super sore and I had to quit. And for all those people saying I should have sucked it up because how often do you get to hang around London, let me just say: I had about 4 hours of sleep last night and haven’t exercised in months so after 3 hours you’d be beat too!

Here’s a few of my favorite pics:

Big Ben

Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Canada Gate

Canada Gate

ps. I expected a lot more from Buckingham Palace but Big Ben was more than what I expected. Coming out of the train station to see Big Ben looming over me was pretty cool.

January 30, 2008. UK. Leave a comment.

“Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends. The rest aren’t bad people; they’re just acquaintances.”

10:26pm Halifax Airport:

This is the real beginning of the adventure: getting on the plane. My flight leaves at 11:45 pm and is supposed to arrive at 9:30 am. I don’t consider this a bad time at all. I will hopefully sleep the entire flight. For now, I’m battling with the internet connection at the airport. Seeing that you are supposed to be online and not being able to load your email is more frustrating than you would think. Luckily I have a book to keep me company: the Fionavar Tapestry. Apparently it’s about a great adventure, which seems fitting enough.

There seem to be very few young people waiting at the gate. It’s all old couples and most everyone is reading. With the exception of the people across from me who are feeding each other chocolate. There are a few kids waiting; I’m really hoping they aren’t going to cry the entire flight and keep me up! It is really cute though, they are all dressed in their pjs.

Also, I just noticed this guy with a sweet mullet. You know the ones with that are super short on the top and then pretty curly in the back. Plus it’s grey which makes it all the more awesome. Sometimes I wish that more people had mullets …

January 30, 2008. Pre-Adventure. Leave a comment.

“Backpacking: An extended form of hiking in which people carry double the amount of gear they need for half the distance they planned to go in twice the time it should take.”

Packing is quite the chore. Especially packing for four months when you have to be able to carry it on your back. What to take, what not to take: these are huge questions. The guy at MEC when I was buying my backpack told me that for four months I only needed to take enough for four days. Well, this buddy has obviously not traveled with me before.

Usually when I go away for the weekend, I have enough clothes for more than a week. I’ve been on the receiving end of more than my fair share of jabs concerning my over packing. I feel the need to try and take everything I could possibly need. It isn’t my fault that I always end up forgetting to pack something I ultimately need; therefore leading to overcompensation the next time. But this time I’m ahead of the game!

For the last several trips I’ve taken I’ve been practicing. Slowly reducing the amount of clothes I take for an extended period of time. Granted, it was uncomfortable trying to ski in tight jeans covered in too large snow pants. And it was a big mistake forgetting to take pajama pants. But I hear they have stores in Europe too, so I should be okay.

The final result after packing it once and repacking it a second time to try and make it take up less space:

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The good news is everything except my computer fits; the bad news is my computer doesn’t fit. Other good news is that it isn’t very heavy; other bad news is that its going to be a pain to get anything out that isn’t directly on the top.

 

January 28, 2008. Tags: . Pre-Adventure. Leave a comment.

“If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.”

This is the beginning of my adventure; a simple post on my new blog. Having never had a blog, and not overly inclined to write, this may be or may not be an interesting undertaking.

In less than a week – not entirely sure on the best way to count the days between now and departure, either 5 or 6 depending on what days you do or do not count – I’m heading to Europe. Where in Europe you may ask? That’s a good question; one for which I do not have the answer. I do know two places I will be in at least at one point: London and Edinburgh. After that, well, your guess is as good as mine! I’m going without much of a plan and will be there for approximately 4 months. So here is your best place to keep track of me and what I’m doing. If you don’t care, then you don’t have to worry about getting those long mass emails that you feel guilty about not reading but you can’t bring yourself to finish because at some point you just lost interest.

I’m going to try and remember to post short notes and pictures. This seems to be a good way to keep everyone interested, including myself. I know it works because that is the style of Transpacificism and I never get bored with it. Granted, Jane is much wittier than I so we’ll see how it goes …

January 24, 2008. Tags: . Pre-Adventure. 7 comments.