Travel, even in this technologically advanced world we live in, is still more about luck than any sort of science.
As I write this, I am on my third train of the day as I begin my annual vacation. Why is this a problem? I was originally booked for a direct train. Mind you this follows my journey across three planes when I was only to have been on two.
This has not been a journey where the travel gods have looked upon me with favor.
I got up at 5:45 a.m. Central time on Thursday. Had a small breakfast and headed out to the Kansas City airport for my flight to Chicago. That went off without a hitch and I then spent seven hours at O’Hare as planned. I boarded my plane at 5:20 p.m. Central time as scheduled, and that was when the entire trip began to fall apart.
With a scheduled departure of 6 p.m., the captain came over the intercom at 5:50 p.m. and told us that boarding has been halted as an issue had been found with one of the three hydraulic systems of the plane and more than likely we would be disembarking for another plane. This came true a few short minutes later, but things worked out in our favor as not only was there a spare plane available, but it was larger than our original which meant everyone could spread out.
We took off at 7:28 p.m., a full 88 minutes late, but made it to Manchester only 54 minutes late. It was definitely not the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced, but any you can walk away from is a success. So at 8:39 a.m. we were at the gate.
I made my way through customs and then on to the airport at large to make my way to the train station. Luckily I am meticulous planner when it comes to travel such as this and quite often of I not only have a plan B, but I have a plan C and D as well. As you never know how things will work out with getting through customs, I had booked an “anytime” ticket for the train. So long as the train travels via the same route, I could jump on any train today. My original hope had been to get on the 8:46 a.m. train, but I knew I had a 10:00 a.m. backup as well.
At 9:50 a.m. we were informed that the train was canceled and we needed to make our way to the 9:54 a.m. train to Manchester Picadily to catch another train from there. We made it the right platform, left the station… and went on to move at the speed of a snail due to a delayed train in front of us, meaning we missed the connecting train.
We were then told to catch the 10:46 train to Preston where we could pick up another Edinburgh train. As I stood on the platform joking with a family of four from Germany that was stuck in the same train situation, an announcement came over the loudspeaker that the 10:46 would be arriving 11 minutes late.
It was at this point that I started softly bouncing the back of my head on the brick wall I was leaning against.
Mind you, with time difference, I have now been traveling for 24 hours at this point. It is safe to say I have had my fill. I wasn’t even that concerned with the sleep aspect of things, I just really wanted a shower to get the grime off of me.
The 10:46 finally arrived, and we were off to Preston to catch the Edinburgh line. And, of course, we were delayed. The folks for the Glasgow train got the worst of it as their train had already departed, and those of us destined for Edinburgh had just made it. When we first got on the train they didn’t have enough room for the Edinburgh refugees and I spent a half hour sitting on my big suitcase as they were out of seats. (and it was at this time I also discovered the zipper on my suitcase has broken and there is currently no way for me to lock it.)
As I write this, I am finally on my way to Edinburgh and am scheduled to arrive in 1 hour and 14 minutes… and the Wi-Fi on the train has stopped working, so I have no clue when you will actually see this post. Just know it was written on a train by a very exhausted author who has never desired to see a hotel room so much in his life.
You can click on the picture of the Scotland hills for a larger view, by the way.
And after the train: Why a picture of a hotel room? I have never been so happy to walk into a hotel room. From the time I left my hotel in Kansas City to walking in here… 27 hours.