Thursday, 25 June 2009

In which there is a lot of travel

My journey started Tuesday evening in a mad rush to leave work in order to get home, apologise to the cat for abandoning him, collect my luggage and get on a train. To my relieved surprise, and unlike the last time I tried to get to Heathrow by rail, everything went smoothly and I arrived at the airport a little earlier than I’d expected! And a gentleman even carried my suitcase up the stairs at Bath station for me, which was as pleasant as it was unexpected. (there are no lifts there, which if you have a bad back and a heavy suitcase is a bit of a disadvantage!

I stayed overnight at the Yotel which has the advantage of being comparatively cheap (if there is only one of you) and inside the airport so it is easy to get to the correct terminal in the morning. It is also surprisingly comfortable, although with my usual, irrational, pre-travel nerves I didn’t sleep very well!

Wednesday morning saw me trundling round to T5 where I was stunned to be able to go through security without having to queue, which I took to be a Good Omen. So with time on my hands I treated myself to breakfast pancakes at Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food restaurant. (My verdict, OK, and if you are going to be eating overpriced and fairly uninspiring food which, let’s face it, if you are in an airport you are, it is probably nicer than most. And the waitress was friendly, which always helps.

My flight to Chicago was full but uneventful, (and ‘uneventful’ is what I look for in a flight….) and the clouds cleared to allow me to look down on he Bristol channel, and later on Goose Bay and lots of bits of Canada which seems, from what I could see of it, to be covered in trees and lakes and not a lot else! We had a very slightly bumpy landing, so that a couple of cases fell out of the overhead lockers on to the business class passengers, but apparently without damaging any of them.

Immigration took about an hour, and then they let me into the country, which was a relief. Although it does mean that the US government now has my fingerprints, a picture of my iris’s and quite possibly a piece of my eternal soul.

It was raining in Chicago. Quite spectacularly, if briefly. Since I didn’t go out of the airport this really wasn’t an issue for me. I merely add it in the interests of full disclosure.

Of course, one of the things bout coming to America as opposed to other countries is that everything is in English, and as one airport terminal is much like another, there is that unsettling feeling that perhaps you haven’t travelled anywhere at all, but have simply been sitting in an aircraft while someone rolls pretty pictures of clouds past the windows for 8 hours…

I write this in Chicago airport (so they say, anyway) - reassured to know that my onward flight to Minneapolis does indeed appear to exist and that I do appear to be booked on to it. It’s also clear that I could after all, have booked the flight an hour earlier, but I think he extra time waiting is a price worth paying for not having to get stressed about whether I would get through immigration and security in reasonable time. The gods of travel being what they are, had I booked on the earlier flight I would probably have found that my flight from London would have been delayed, the queues at immigration and then security twice as long and my nerves in shreds. Now, if only the wifi here were free……


LyleD4D said...

Glad it's gone OK so far - hope the rest does the same!

Dragonsally said...

a good trip - and now for a fantastic weekend (I'm not envious, much)