As those of you who know me well might be aware of, I’m usually quite OCD when I travel. I tend to arrive at the airport rather early, making sure I have everything with me, really check that I haven’t forgotten anything when I leave whatever form of public transportation I’m on etc. This weekend? Not so much.
It started off just fine, though. (Despite having an extremely chatty man next to me on the flight NYO-STN who I had to be downright rude with to get him to leave me alone!) When I arrived to STN I just had to wait a few minutes for my National Express coach that took me from STN to Marble Arch, and with free WiFi on board 🙂
After a 10 minute walk, I managed to find my hotel, the Queens Park Hotel at Queensborough Terrace. You can see my Trip Advisor review on the link above. By the time I was in bed, it was well past midnight, and I luckily fell asleep more or less at once.
I was supposed to take an easyBus minibus from Baker St to LTN at 06.50, however, when I woke up at 04.00 (*shudders*) I found an e-mail from easyBus telling me that they had “changed” my reservation to a bus some 35-40 mins later. As I hadn’t researched any alternative routes, that more or less left me stranded, as the 06.50 was the latest bus I could take and still make it to my job interview for a Cabin Crew position at easyJets LTN offices. This basically meant that the entire reason for my going to London was cancelled on me.
However, I still managed to stay busy the entire day in London (started by checking in my bag at the left luggage office at Paddington), opening a UK bank account, sorting out my UK mobile number (and I really can recommend HSBC for banking and T-Mobile/EE for mobiles – extremely helpful staff!), shopping for ordination gifts for a friend who’ll be ordained in September etc. I also managed to do at least 2 tourist-y things: a free guided tour in the Methodist Central Hall (outside which I was called a “Blind Cunt” by a bike messenger) and a small stroll through the Supreme Court in the former Middlesex Guild Hall. Both very interesting buildings with a lot of history! Did you know that the Methodist Central Hall was the venue of the first public performance of a Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical?
After having walked what felt like the entire length and breadth of the City of Westminster, I finally had time to settle down and have a glass of medicinal prosecco at Searcys at Paddington. A delightful little place, and I was served by the dashing bar manager Vincent 🙂 However, after having shopped for some coke zero to drink on the train, I went to look at the departure board, and realised that my train left at 20.15, NOT 20.55…and this I realised at 20.08….
Cue extreme panic! I managed to find my platform, and board the train in 5 minutes, but I didn’t have time to pick up my bag from the left luggage office…however, as I was going to visit my friend D in Cardiff, I just figured that I could wash my clothes when I got to his, and then wear them another day etc. I got a very nice seat with an in-train TV! Said TV was packed with travel shows, so I didn’t have to think about entertainment for my 3 hour train trip 🙂 This, combined with the fact that the café on board had a real cook, who made bacon sarnies fresh to order, made the journey very bearable! Big shout out to First Great Western!
My friend D met me at Cardiff Central, and it wasn’t until we were half way to his flat that I realised that the bag with the ordination gift must have rolled out of my other, bigger, plastic bag on the train. Oh, fiddlesticks!
Anyway, yesterday morning we strolled around Cardiff bay, had a nice brunch (Eggs Royale….*omnomnom*) and did some souvenir shopping. I was, however, THIS (*holds up a 2 cm ruler) close to not making it to my train in time, due to an extremely slow shop attendant at Craft in the Bay, but a quick taxi trip sorted this out as well. So, once on the train, I think I fell asleep in Newport and woke up again in Reading.
Once I got to Paddington again, I had time to pick up my bag, buy myself some coke zero and find the correct tube line to the easyBus bus stop back to STN. Once i found the easyBus bus stop, however, the buses were delayed! Luckily, when I bought my National Express ticket, I could only buy round-trips, so National Express came to my rescue and I made it to STN on time, and even had time to have some dinner.
So – a quite eventful trip after all, but I won’t EVER use easyBus again! They’re a worthless pile of s**e!
(Oh, and if you want to see some of the pics I took – check out my Flickr!