Tuesday, September 6

Letter from London

After weeks of 99+ degrees in Italy, London is always a breath of fresh air.  With its über-friendly postings of every little thing governing your outdoor experience (from "we are working on planting new grass" to "we ask that you kindly don't smoke here") to its always-genius ad campaigns, it seems the English can do no wrong.  Ask an Englishman, however, and you're quite apt to get an entirely different story: the trains are slow, nothing works, and of course, with the miles & miles of construction around town in preparation of the Olympics, well, the traffic jams are certainly somewhat of a sore spot for all and sundry.
But with all of their organization, we foreigners still got caught out here and there while buzzing around town.  Perhaps it's because you're lulled into a feeling of greased wheels blithely turning.  A trip over to Wimbledon and you think you should 'alight here for the Wimbledon station'.  Actually, to see the courts you need to get out a stop early - but nobody is the wiser.
Ditto for Greenwich.  Except in that case, alight a stop later. 
Boats leaving Greenwich are said to run until late, but the ticket offices simply shuttered up at 5pm.  Turns out, you can purchase your tickets in the queue - but you won't find that posted on their closed doors.
Boat rides from around Kew come and go with the tides, and not according to the printed schedules.  And while our Captain (from Richmond pier) actually pulled back to the pier to let a few more passengers on, the usual treatment from Kew boat trips is dodgy service and prices greater than what's posted.
At the airports, you never know which airlines leave from which terminal - something I thought that every airport worth its salt freely indicated -- just to be helpful for all the curbside pickups & deliveries. 
My Easyjet boarding info fell into my spam box, so we were not privy to knowing if we left from the South or North terminal.  Incredibly, it goes by the initial letters in your booking but once in the long line, it goes by city [Rome=South Terminal]. Why they just couldn't fill us in on that dark little secret prior is beyond me (I have actually missed my plane in the past for this very same reason).  And while our luggage into Heathrow arrived in mere minutes, you're stuck in customs seemingly forever. 
Back in Rome, passport control was a breeze, while the wait for the luggage, was a 40 minute experience.  And although we didn't get rained on in London, we arrived in a tempest...Nonetheless, it still felt good to get back to casa dolce casa.

1 comment:

Caroline Lawrence said...

Sorry I missed you! Maybe next time! :-)