I left August 19th, and arrived on the morning of the 20th sans luggage. No luggage! I immediately went to British Air baggage and made a claim, filled out the forms and lamented my fate. “Oh it’s those Spaniards,” I was told. “Couldn’t seem to transfer your suitcase from one plane to another in an hour and a half’s time.” The clerk’s commented. “Should be here in the next 24 hours,” and politely waved me on with a smile.
Today is August 22, 2013 to date American Airlines still can’t find my luggage during the transfer from their flight 112 Miami to Barcelona to a 10:30 British Air flight to London the same day. Although clearly marked to London, fully described and with a big rubber tag from my favorite travel company ACIS with my name and home address indelibly written on it, there is still no word. I doubt anyone has even looked! A pox on American Airlines in Barcelona! No wonder you are going under! I am more than a little upset.
No time to lament that situation. I had a train to catch. Upon arriving at Britrail I found my train ticket had been lost in the system and I had to buy another at a much higher rate than my Internet purchase. Because of the higher cost of the ticket, I had to take a later train, which would arrive in Newcastle much later than I had told the New Bridge Residences where I was staying that I would arrive -after 11 PM.
I now had five hours to spare. Unfortunately I had not taken my own advice to travelers and packed and extra set of undies (knickers – the English term) in my carry on. So I was immediately forced to go shopping. Drat! For those novice travelers: note clothes shopping in the UK and on the continent is extremely expensive. Also as for as I know, shopping around St. Pancreas/Kings Cross station is sparse. I looked within the two connected stations’ shops and all I found were these alluring lacing little things one might use to entice, at exorbitant prices. I was in the market for something more medicinal, little tiddy-whities for daily use (I was told later, the Kings Cross area is a little red lightish).
Having failed at new undie shopping, I immediately went to the only place I know in the area, the wonderful British Library. One could certainly forget their lingerie problem surrounded by on of the world’s best collection of books and literature, located in multi-floored glass cases one can watch go up and down to the book floor necessary when a librarian had to retrieve an individual book for a reader, free internet, a glorious gift shop, a great little cafe and an exhibition of PROPAGANDA, Power and Persuasion. The title made me think about the propaganda of the necessity of clean knickers (we are in the UK after all) daily, when I had only one pair, the ones I was wearing. I suppressed my unsavory thoughts and took in as much as one could in the time allotted. Two hours on the Internet, a great egg salad on rye and the exhibition on Propaganda. It was so all encompassing, I forgot my troubles and trudged through the negative concepts historic, and otherwise, that all propaganda is not bad. After all we Americans are now coughing in our sleeves instead of sending our germs air-born. Good job, propaganda. We are accepting gay marriage and allowing these couples the same benefits as every other couple. Good job again. But guns; the NRA has the high hand in that – but that’s where money and right-wingers’ talk control congress, ignoring the majority of the people. I did not need a whole exhibition on Propaganda for me to know that clean knickers were necessary and guns were not.
As I stated earlier because of my late train, I was late getting to my room for the night. I had made a University Rooms reservation; accommodations that are clean and really quite pleasant – located in safe and often central locations around the world. Here, I’d like to impose my travel ad for University Rooms. Universities offer en-suite rooms – key in University Rooms and see the list. It’s an excellent travel choice and I have never yet been disappointed. Keep in mind, you are not going to the Ritz but certainly for a cheap or modestly priced sleep it can’t be beat, and many even have breakfast included.
I would also like to add that my train travel companions were exemplary. Ed, a fitness trainer for the Tottenham football team – an intelligent, handsome, muscular fellow, and Katrina, a bright, extremely pretty English rose who works for Sky television were great travel companions. Thank you both.
Because I arrived so late to my evening digs, I was late picking up my rental car, and because the Newcastle metro line to the airport was under repair, I had to find the location of the shuttle bus to the airport. But never mind, it was a pleasant walk (no knickers for sale on the way-drat!) and with the kind help of passersby and Rachael from my night’s digs, I arrived at the bus just in time.
As for the car, I had hired a standard shift and although I have one at home, after driving it around the parking lot I found that the thought of having to deal with the Round Abouts and reading the signs as I went, as well as constantly remembering when to shift, I might do better with an automatic. So at double the price I got this lovely little Audi and I am a much happier and safer driver.
Even with the map given to me by the rental company (I have an excellent road map of GB in my lost luggage), I had to stop an ask people directions now and then to get to my destination, Nenthead, Cambria, the highest village in England where my dear friend Carol has bought a really lovely house and renovated it into a magnificent home on the moors which overlooks the beautiful vast valleys and hillsides of the area.
Surprised I had finally arrived, Carol and I did a lot of catching up, and after a great dinner, a tiring but very enjoyable evening walk, I rinsed out my knickers and snuggled down in my bed to a good and toasty snooze in this coldest village in England. With morning tea and flowers served at my bedside, all is well except for my missing suitcase and having to wear damp undies (two days into my trip and not found) and the fact that Carol has awakened with a sore throat and cold. Not that too! Protect Me Universe!