Monday, February 22, 2016

Planes, Trains and Taxi's?

February in Kansas can be a real gamble when it comes to weather. So Thursday records were broken all over the state with Hays leading with a high of 91 degrees. Pretty strange when three weeks prior we had significant snow. One thing from Kansas you just get used to change. Change is where my trip starts. On my way to Wichita KS I received the first of many text messages from the airlines. This text notified me that my flight was cancelled and rebooked to later. This would mean that I would miss my meeting in London with Hardin who would help me get from Heathrow airport to Manchester UK (About 160 miles away and more about that later!)
Working with Peggy from HTG (Which she is awesome) I changed flights to Manhattan Kansas so to hopefully keep my meeting point with Hardin. Boarded the American flight and waited. So after a bit the pilot came over and said that Chicago was shut down for the next 1 ½ hours and off the plane we go. Meanwhile it is no longer possible for me to catch the 6 o’clock flight and with this I would be on my own navigating London. (Fun!)

I sat in the Manhattan airport not hearing anything. All of a sudden we had a quick drill of loading the plane and getting in the air. By this time many of the passengers have decided to not fly this day so it was a quiet and open flight. Because of the changes in flights I had to go pick up my luggage and then recheck for the international flight. I had concerns on how long this might take (I had hours to make the flight to London) However it was quick and painless and had 40 minutes to grab some food and get prepared for the next 8 hour flight (Not my definition of fun)

Off to London I go on the largest airplane I have ever been on. It was completely full. Working to grab some sleep during this flight was a struggle. I took off from Chicago at 9 pm and would land in London at 11 AM. (There is a 6 hour time difference from CST to GMT) The flight was uneventful. For 8 hours it was pretty quick? I managed to watch one movie, listen to some music while nodding in and out of sleeping. Not sure how much sleep I really got. Getting dinner on the plane was a first for me (And probably the last, yuck) I did manage to get up a couple of times to stretch my legs. Being short is a benefit to these flights!
So off I go in London to figure out how to get to Manchester. I had to go through immigration which took an hour, then grab my luggage and find the Heathrow Express (Not the Heathrow Connect) which takes me to downtown London where I get to a Taxi. That Taxi takes me to the Euston Train station which is MASSIVE!

Here I learn a lot of lessons (I will provide all of these lessons later) I finally get some Pounds so I can pay for things! Then I get a train ticket to Manchester (80 Pounds) and they do not have a gate. So you watch the big screen and when it shows the gate all of a sudden there is a massive move towards the gate. So here I go on my second train ride of the day. This ride is much more interesting. I get to see the country side. Everything is green, lots of sheep and horses. Interesting note, very few barns and all the horses have coats (Made out of material). This is where it becomes obvious that I am not in Kansas anymore.
Last stop is Manchester train station where I find my taxi and to the motel. The motel I believe is the tallest building in town. My Taxi driver informed me that all the footballers stay at this place? He gave me the names which mean nothing to me.

So by this time it is 4 in the afternoon. I connect with Hardin via text and we are going to meet at 6 for dinner. After getting in my room a shower felt great. With all the new stuff I wasn’t tired (Yet). Went to a traditional British Pub for a beer, then on to another for Fish & Chips. Had a chance to call home and hear that Carsen had a great basketball game and was going to his second game of the day. Off to bed at 9:30 (Which is 3:30 in the afternoon at home) and slept so well! I am forcing myself to get up at 7 in the morning.

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