… We rejoin the Wanderers where we left off on their quest to arrive in London. To read up on the first part of their misadventure click here…
So, eager to get on that chunnel train, we waited at the red light.
And waited, and waited. And waited.
The driver had missed the last chunnel train of the night!
During that eternity of waiting, to pass the time, (and I suppose to let the passengers know that he was still alive) the driver would turn the bus air conditioner off and on about every half hour. That little trick almost cut his life short, if you know what I mean. Despite the seesawing between hot and hotter, miraculously, our little parcel still slept in our arms. It was not the first time I was jealous of a baby on this trip!
Three hours later, the coach roared to life. Yes! Now we’re cooking with peanut oil! However, since we had lost so much time just sitting there, I knew I was going to nervously glance at my phone’s clock for the next two hours in desperation that we would magically make our connection to Plymouth. As you can tell, all of our time with the Queen had been usurped in front of a stop light.
The light turned green, the gate opened and in one comical instant, we drove past the light and onto a chunnel train. The driver killed the engine and opened the doors, letting people out to walk around in the chunnel train. For more than 2 1/2 hours, we were only 100 feet from our chunnel destination. Argh!! We stayed put- the only people who got out were smokers, and the baby was still sleeping anyway. Good thing we’re not claustrophobic. It was a tight squeeze.
Imagine you just read a highly informative and illustrative (and humorous!) paragraph about how the trip in the train compartment felt as though it took forever. There. All done!
We emerged from the chunnel in England in one piece. As the sun rose, I watched as the countryside gradually gave way to the suburbs, then greater London and then finally the river Thames came into view. London, baby!
London still has a large piece of my heart and every time I visit, I leave a little bit more… Here are some terrible en route pics from my phone.
That last terrible one is the only one I got of the Victoria and Albert Museum as we drove by. That is one of my favorite Museums in London.
As soon as our bus pulled into Victoria station, I leaped out with the baby in my arms.
“Dave! Grabthebackpack andstroller andmeetus atgate 3! I’llmakethem waitforyou!”
“Don’t you think we have a little time-”
I was already gone. Back when I was in high school, one of my best friends, my mom and I flew to Peoria, Illinois, for a weekend steel drum conference. Sometime during the 4 hours before our flight took off to return back home, the airline changed our gate of departure. We missed the memo. After being the only three passengers waiting nervously at a gatexplodedee marked “Orlando” (we reasoned ‘no one actually lives in Illinois. All departure gates must be mostly empty,’) we finally heard:
“Last boarding call for flight XYZ to Orlando. The plane is about to leave your sorry tushies behind at the gate on the other side of the airport.”
Well, almost. That’s what I heard.
We took off like three… passengers… about to be left behind in an airport… in Peoria, Illinois. Just as my heart rate was getting going, RRIIIIIPPPPPP! The bottom of Kaila’s backpack blew out. Pens, papers, changes of clothes, wallet, steel drum mallets- it was like a bomb had gone off. Don’t say that in an airport. We screeched to a stop, but Mom pushed me forward, shouting “Go, go go! Make them wait for us! Run, Kati Runnnnnnnn!” The worst part was no one blinked in our direction. Airports are the only place you can be so desperate to get somewhere that your bags erupt and everyone thinks it’s normal.
That’s all I could see when David, Adelaide and I arrived in Victoria station- my mom’s face, Kaila’s exploded backpack and a nearly missed connection. So I ran.
David knew what I didn’t realize- the time had changed and our phones didn’t reflect the time difference. We didn’t have 5 minutes, we had an hour and 5 minutes.
We spent our hour wisely: changing money and eating a nice English breakfast, full of waaaaaaaay too much meat and not enough roasted tomatoes and mushrooms and saying “cheers” at all the wrong times to all the wrong people. Then it was off to Plymouth.
The second bus was run by National Express, the British bus transport system. It was so, so, so much nicer than the Megabus one we took from Paris. The larger leather seats stayed cooler than the earlier fabric ones, it was cleaner, there were foot rests,( heck there was foot room) and the windows were bigger. Plus the National Express bus was lacking in certain distinct aromas. And finally… the driver was fed up with every other vehicle on the road, and his narration of what he called the idiocy surrounding us was nothing short of hysterical.
We were tired of being on a bus, so by the time 2:00 rolled around and we rolled into Plymouth we nearly pulled the kiss-the-ground-in-relief move. 10 hours on two busses is quite enough. I was so, so SO thankful to see this face waiting for us:
That wasn’t fair of me. She’d probably prefer this one. What do you think, Jenners?
Although it was tough on us, taking the overnight was a good choice with the baby, and it really was wonderfully cheap…
Anyone want to take a bus trip?
Up next: Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall!