Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Flight over and arriving
Traveling to Aberystwyth was pretty much a night mare. The snow in the greater indy area made the drive to the airport horrendous. I ended up making it to the airport with around an hour of time to spare, but being stuck in a traffic jam trying to get to the airport just about turned me into a nervous wreck. Our flight from Indianapolis to Washington hit a few rough patches, but other than that it was a quick flight.
The flight from Dulles airport to Hethrow in London took forever. This was the first time I've had a flight of any significant length and I am not looking forward to the return home flight. The flight itself was quite comfortable, it was just a really long time sitting on a plane for the long. I can't sleep on planes or any other moving object, and by the 5th hour of the flight I thought I was going to go nuts. Any one that has flown across the pond can attest to how long 8 hours on a plane is. I did manage to read The Road by Cormac McCarthy on the flight over, and I highly recommend it.
We touched down to Hethrow in London and after getting our baggage we made our way to the trains. I've road a train before, but I wasn't quite expecting this. The train stations are really busy, quick moving and not fun to navigate with luggage. The network of trains is quite vast, which translates into large central stations with multiple platforms and tons of people at these platforms.There are a lot of options when trying to navigate to different towns. It is quite an overwhelming experience if it is your first time on a train in a city such as London.
We took a train to Padington, and then to London Euston square. After a little above ground walk to another platform we made our way to Birmingham and then from Birmingham to Aber. There were a couple of hour breaks in between each train. From London Euston to Birmingham it only took an hour and a half or so, but from Birmingham to Aber it ended up taking around 3 hours. In When it was all said and done it ended up taking us 8 hours to get from the Airport to Aber.
In this part of the trip I've noticed quite a few things worth pointing out. Taking a train somewhere is a really comfortable means of transportation, but navigating the platforms with luggage is not a fun experience. Also the people have seem incredibly friendly at this point. We would have never made it to Aber without the help from a lot of strangers.
Eventually I made it to Aber and met Carol at the train station. There were four of us that were headed towards Sea Front (our accommodations) so we all chipped in and hopped into a Taxi. The taxi arrived to the in front of the sea front buildings, I got out and was quite stunned how beautiful of a site it is. All the buildings face the Irish Sea, and the far end of the building (which my flat is located) looks under constitution hill. It is quite a breath taking, a picturesque view. There is a strip of lights that run along the road that skirts the beach, as well as a light that shines up constitution hill. Constitution hill itself looks more like a cliff from the side facing my apartment.
Alexandra hall is one of many resident halls and buildings that face the Irish sea. There is a cobbled side walk and on the opposite side or the road, and a railing that lines the road along the beach. From the rail there is probably a 10-15 foot drop off to the beach itself. It is a remarkable location to spend the semester.
We just caught the guy responsible for giving out keys. After helping a girl carry her luggage up 5 levels to her flat I headed to mine, and got lucky enough to run into a flat mate Alastair. Alastair introduced me to Rob and Emily (my other flat mates). Emily took me around the building and introduced me to Lexi (another flat mate) and a bunch of other people. I must admit, at this point I'm quite excited, it was quite a huge relief to end up having the flat mates that I do. I'll post more about them later, but it was was really nice arriving and feeling quite welcomed. They are all swell people, very friendly and fun to be around.
The thermostat in my room was broke, so it was turned on and wouldn't turned off. It was probably at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit in there, but the maintenance guy was really friendly the next day when I went to report it and had it fixed quite promptly. It is a really nice room, I'm very happy living here. It is quite spacious, clean and has one amazing view of the Irish Sea. It is also relaxing sleeping here, as you can hear the sea through the windows. My room came with a good size bed, desk and plenty of cabinet space.
The flat itself is very nice as well. The best way I can describe it is hallway of rooms similiar to that of a dorm, in which it is sectioned off and the members of the flats have community kitchen and share a few bathrooms, but have their own room to their selves. It is a great set up for me, as I have plenty of personal space but a lot of interaction with other people.
All that being said I fell asleep and was only able to sleep until about 3:00 - 4:00 am U.K. time. I wasn't able to sleep on the plane or the trains, and was quite exhausted by this time. Jet Lag is quite a weird thing to experience. I took a long walk along the shore, had a few laughs at all of the drunks returning (or attempting) to return to their residences, and decided to head back to force myself to sleep.
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharial Nehru