Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Cardiff to Glasgow

Had a leisurely morning in Cardiff, which should have been moreso, except I mis-transcribed the departure time by almost an hour. But at least I got to have a nice mocha and croissant at Cafe Nemo, a popular Italian-esque chain which is the Pete's of England, a poor second to Starbucks. During my morning walk I found three of those. Took some more photos outside the castle, but that was about all. At the train station in time for the 10:10, which did not exist. It was the 10:55 I was supposed to be looking for. There was a 10:25 of the same variety, so I waited for that, except it was 22 minutes late - I probably would have found a better seat on the second one, but since there was only 10 minutes between the arrival in Bristol of the train from Cardiff and the departure of the train for Glasgow, I took the earlier one.

It was pretty crowded, I spent the trip in an aisle seat facing backwards, so no photos. None needed, this train was going back the way I had come. Had I taken local trains through Wales, I would never have arrived in Glasgow the same night.

The Bristol-Glasgow train was packed to the gills, and for some reason they had the cars pointed backwards, so most of the seats faced the rear. When the ticket taker (they call them "guards" here) came around, I asked how I could upgrade to first class. She said I couldn't. I would have to had to do that at the ticket office. But she said there were plenty of window seats facing front in the other cars, so I got up and checked. She lied. I ended up at a window seat, but facing backwards. I hate that. Makes me dizzy. Makes it harder to take pictures, because you can't see them coming.

But it was a long ride, and like all the trains here, the closer you get to the end of the line, the more seats open up. Eventually I got a good seat, back in the car I'd started in.

This was Virgin Trains, the same folks who run the airline and record stores of the same name. They advertise that all their cars have wireless internet. They lie.

It was a sunny day for most of the run, which is not as good as you might think for photos. Some day the genius who outfitted the trains here with bright white seat backs and the windows with ultra-glare glass will be caught, drawn an quartered, and forced to sit in a hall of mirrors under a well-lighted disco ball. I took lots of photos, but I'm not proud of most of them.

It was a long ride, 8 hours. The final two hours were from hell. Sitting behind me was a coarse middle-aged woman from Scotland, who loudly attracted a couple of blue-eyed, blonde English boys wh were amused by her uncultured accent and funny expressions, and when they could not make their ipod share two headsets, she taught them some noisemaking using hands and elbows which was incredibly annoying. Then their mother and sister arrived, with a baby sister in tow, and she proceeded to loudly annoy the baby, making it scream. Then their Da arrived with an even younger baby, whom she somehow managed to tickle into screaming even worse than the first. This kept up for almost the whole 2 hours between Lancaster and Glasgow. Just when I thought it was over she would start in again.

It's not that I don't like children, it's that I don't like screaming.

Arrived at the central station at 5:17, three minutes early. Hopped into a cab for the ride to the hotel, only to discover it was walking distance. No worries, it only cost £2.80, about $6. The nice lady at the desk said they were overbooked, but they had arranged for another hotel, and would pay my cab fare both there and back, and to the train in the morning. She said they would make sure my room had internet access. She lied.

She also neglected to tell me the hotel I was being sent to was out near the airport, a 20-minute ride under the best conditions, but this is rush hour. The one thing I did not have tonight was time - I needed daylight for taking pictures, and did not want to waste my first hour in town on the freeway. I complained bitterly when I got there, but she said they had nothing in town at all. So I had her call a cab right away, dropped off my pack and headed back to town. That gave me about an hour and a half of shooting time before it started to rain. Not much, but better than nothing. Ironically, when the cloudburst started I was in front of a McDonald's, so I ducked in for a chocolate shake. It tasted like coffee. When the rain let up I walked across the way to a pub which advertised food, but as often happens here, I was completely ignored, so I walked a few blocks and found a Chinese buffet. Just the thing for Scotland.

Walked back to the hotel, where they called me a cab and confirmed they would arrange one at 9 from the other hotel to the train station.
Tags: england

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