Visiting the U.K. – Part 5

WARNING: We seem to hit a snag in the chronology of things from this point forward. But I’m going to stick with the journal and post it in the order I wrote it. Please note that this post starts up the day after I landed in London.

It’s now Friday, March 4th at 6AM. I’m on-board the Gatwick Express train departing from Victoria Station. Kyle accidentally had us get off at the bus at the Victoria Coach Station, so we had to hoof it a bit down the road to get to the right train station.

This perhaps requires a bit of explanation. I landed in London, spent the day wandering around (which I will cover in a bit), and the plan was to fly to Germany the next morning: Friday. Unfortunately, the Tube stations are closed early-early in the morning, I don’t think they opened til 5:00AM or after. We were up at roughly 4AM to head  to the Gatwick airport from the London city center – roughly 30 miles or so.

Since the Underground hadn’t opened yet, we had to go sit on the curb and wait on the night bus. This was my first time on a double-decker bus and it was a night bus – being the dorky Harry Potter fan that I am, I made the connections between the night bus and the Knight Bus. Anyway, we sat for what felt like forever waiting on the bus – it was unbelievably cold and I was starving. Once on the bus, I kept checking my watch for the time. The flight to Germany was just after 7AM and I was beginning to stress that we’d miss it.

When we got off the bus at Victoria Coach Station, Kyle seemed to realize the mistake right away. It was an a regular bus station and we needed an actual train station. So we had to run down a block or two or three, I forget how far it was, to the train station. Once there, we had to purchase our tickets, so we raced to the nearest ticket machine and input our destination info but when I went to swipe my card to pay – it wouldn’t take my foreign card.

We had to rush back through the station to the nearest currency exchange machine, get cash, and race back to the ticket machine.

Once our tickets were in hand, we were getting flustered as the train was set to depart any minute, and we didn’t know from which platform. We hurried to what we hoped was the right platform and asked a lady standing just at the car door if this was the train heading to Gatwick, and she assured us it was.

Little did we know after all our frantic rushing about … but you can purchase your ticket ON the train. A lady walked up the aisle after we’d departed from the station asking for tickets but also SELLING tickets to those who hadn’t the time (or weren’t in the mood) to get them at ticket counters/machines. All that panicking and it wasn’t even necessary.

I had no time to write about yesterday’s adventures in London, so I’ll try to do that while I’m on my flight to Germany (which, by the way, the gate closes for in roughly 35 minutes O.O – that’s cutting it a bit close.)

And it was, we got to the station just in the nick of time. We ran everywhere: to check-in, to security, from security to the gate, etc.

The time is 7:30, we are taxi-ing (is that a word?) down the runway on EasyJet Airbus A319. We had to do a little bit of a mini-sprint through the airport since the train cut it so close but we made it. My bag just barely fit in the “test” compartment and I thought they’d say something about it or not let me take it through. It fit on the plane in the overhead just fine. No big deal.

In reality, the lady at check-in that had me do this, she saw me get in half-way in and shrugged, waving me on. She didn’t care that much. The lady at the gate that had me do this AGAIN, however, was like “It has to go all the way.” And so, since I couldn’t have my carry-on AND my purse (since it counted as another carry-on) on these EasyJet flights, I had stuffed it into the bag and it was this little lump that was causing my bag to snag and not fit all the way. I managed to CRAM it in and the lady waved me on. Then I couldn’t get the damn thing to come back out.

Some terribly impatient lady in line behind me literally pushed me aside and yanked my bag free and then gesture for me to get going. I was like, “Damn, lady, we both made it through the gate, we’re both getting to board – relax!”  And in fact, once we were past that point, the lady raced past us in line while we leisurely stopped at some vending machines to get some crisps.

We are preparing to take off now. This is the part I don’t like. Makes me feel like my head is floating off. Serious disorientation feeling. I hate the turns the most of all. It’s a smallish plane – six seats across – I’m in the aisle.

Somehow I still think the flight to DC was smaller though. It didn’t seem this wide and it was only 2 seats on my side, and I’m pretty sure it was only one seat on the left. I can’t remember now…

This plane was definitely bigger. But since I’d had the first seat on the DC flight, with no one in front of me, this was my first time to experience how crowded a small plane can be. I’m a pretty petite person and I felt like there was practically no room to move. I can’t imagine how it must feel for larger people.

I felt sorry for the guy up in front of me because, as you can see in the photo, the only way he could get comfortable was to stick his legs out in the aisle. There’s was absolutely no leg space. Even I was sticking my left leg out in the aisle when I could. Problem was that the flight attendants, 1 man and 2 women, kept walking up and down the aisle, so we had to keep pulling our feet in. It was worse when they brought around the snack cart though cause then you had to try pulling your arms in tight too so your elbows wouldn’t get knocked.

We’re still sitting on the runway, still…waiting, but my ears are already starting to feel weird. Probably doesn’t help that I haven’t eaten breakfast and had no dinner last night. After yesterday we were just too exhausted to go find somewhere to eat. We just wanted off our feet and into bed.

And after this I went over what we had done the previous day in London. Since that’s a bit long and should have more photos to go with it, I’ll post it as a separate entry. So, until then!


To be continued…

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