Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So, where exactly is Manchester?

These were the words that came out of my mouth yesterday around 7 a.m., when those of us on my airplane flying over the Atlantic were told by the captain that London Gatwick had been shut down due to snow. Heathrow, we were informed, wasn't much better, with at least one plane bound for that airport sent to Amsterdam to land. We were being sent to Manchester.

No problem, I thought. Part of the fun is getting there. I wasn't running late for anything, so a diversion to another city really didn't seem a problem to me. However, how bad would the snow have to be to shut down a London airport and deny us landing at another?

After sitting on the tarmac in Manchester for roughly 3 1/2 hours (unable to get off the plane because we'd all have to go through customs), we were told that the Gatwick airport would not reopen in time to get us there, and we were waiting on word on how we would finally get to London.

So, where exactly is Manchester? Hours north of London Gatwick by bus. To make a very long story short, at 7 p.m. all of us from that plane were still on board several buses tasked with getting us and our luggage to London. Once finally arriving at the airport in London and retrieving my baggage, I got a crash course in London's underground trains from a couple of other helpful passengers, finally finding my hotel around 9 p.m. last night.

So, my first full day here was spent delirious from lack of sleep on buses and trains. However, these were nice buses and trains, and I did enjoy getting to see the English countryside on the drive to London. So, anyway, I'm finally here.

Looking forward to getting out in the next three or four days to see the place. You all take good care of yourselves, and I'll chat with you later.

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