The morning began like many others before it – I had been struggling to pack as motivation eluded me and though I was dead tired I couldn’t sleep. But I woke up at 5am and was quite chipper when the cabbie came at 10 to 6. The kindly driver took us through the city to the airport assuring us that we would have a pleasant journey.
I am forever grateful that I have a friend like Rosie for it seems that where I lack she compensates and vice versa. While the Ranga was none to pleased to wake up and get to the car she made sure that we got our tickets validated prior to departure so that they would actually let us on the plane! After a bit of waiting and some delicious croissants we boarded the flight directly from the tarmac (while not a big deal at all and most likely due to cost effective reasons it still made us feel cool – waaaaay better than boarding via tarmac at the D.R. – that was scary).
Anyway, we boarded, flew like we were in a constant infomercial (ohhhh RyanAir)and landed in London-Stanstead. One thing we did not know was that as a “citizen” of Ireland we got “special” privileges that meant that we didn’t get a stamp in our passports! Still haven’t gotten one and I’m in Wales (as I am writing this) but I jump ahead. So we made it through security, secured funds and successfully made it to our train with our validated BritRail passes! This is when things started to fall apart.
We made it to Liverpool Station but find that we needed to go to Paddington Station to make our connection to Cardiff. To do this we had to take the London Underground – not that bad just pounds I didn’t plan on spending. So, we get to Paddington and make it to our train – even have some PRIME seats picked out when we hear that we have a delay – fatality on the tracks – 60+ minutes til the train would depart. While saddened by the news I was also a bit peeved due to the lack of sleep. I just wanted to be enjoying Cardiff! We made such awesome and well thought out plans but it didn’t matter because it all got shot when the tracks were obstructed. (Oh well – better keep militantly optimistic!!!)
Four hours after our initial train was set to depart and after several set backs including being denied entry on the first train up and running again, we were on the loooong road to Wales. We did happen to secure nice seats for this trip – had tvs in the seats – it was still grueling and a train seat can never replace a bed. We ended up in Cardiff right about when everything closed. Checked into the hostel (which I apparently had double booked and had to pay for 2 spots but no matter) and decided to try to make the most of the remaining daylight.
We walked around the city centre, saw churches and castles and made plans to see other highlights of the city before we would leave the next day. After 3 attempts we finally found a place open for dinner and then hit up a pub for some after dinner pints – we tried a local brew called BRAINS – made me feel like a zombie!!!
After a drink it was shower and bed, so here I am, sitting in the top bunk of a hostel. The people outside chat, heels click on the pavement and bass booms from within the hostel, even though its not even half 10 on a Sunday night. I hope I can sleep with all of these lights on and though the fire of adventure burns in my imagination I long for when I can yet again snuggle into my own bed…. or at least find some friggin’ ear plugs!
Looking back on it I don’t particularly remember getting to sleep in the hostel, only changing beds to move further from the light and sound – I’m a weird sleeper who does the best in quiet and dark. I do remember being very tired of Paddington Station and wanting nothing more than to get on the first train to ANYWHERE ELSE except for the fact that we had hostels booked I think we might have done it!
This was the first time I heard Rosie apologize during the trip. Which I did not accept because who knew our train would be delayed due to a fatality. We had everything planned – to a T, thanks to Rosie – but real life seems to get in the way of proper planning most of the time. Though we were tired, hungry and fed up we tried to keep a sunny disposition – not sure how well we did but I remember being mighty glad to see a bed when we made it to the hostel.