A Long Day's Journey Into Day
After an evening spent visiting several pubs and gorging on generous portions of Bangladeshi food, we awoke early yesterday morning to return home. We left our hotel in the shadows of London Bridge, and proceeded to the nearest Underground station.
Forty minutes, eleven stops, and one transfer later we were at Paddington station. For a tourist in London the Tube is a Godsend but I don't know if I could take it to work every day as many Londoners do. People, people, and more people in small spaces underneath the ground isn't my bag.
I also realized that there has to be a correlation between cities with subways or other efficient forms of mass transit and newspaper readership. EVERYBODY reads on the Tube. Perhaps this might explain the Star Tribune's passionate support of light rail here in the Twin Cities.
We hopped on the Heathrow Express at Paddington and were at the airport in fifteen minutes. Check in was surprisingly quick and soon we were in the "international lounge" (read shopping area) waiting for our gate to be announced. Not surprising at all, our flight to Reykjavik was late departing. Iceland Air's motto should be: "We leave when we feel like it". Of the four flights on our trip with them, only one left anywhere close to on time. But they must pad the estimated flight times for we arrived at our destinations on time on every flight.
After two hours and forty-five minutes in the air we landed at snowy Reykjavik. It's a small airport, very modern and clean with an Ikea kind of feel to it. Thankfully the gate for our flight to Minneapolis was nearby and we had a very short layover. We departed at 5pm local time.
Six hours from Reykjavik to Minneapolis. I had the window seat and the sky was very clear. I could see the moon and the red glow of the setting sun, which we chased across the sky. We flew over Greenland and the ice floes of Northern Canada. Incredibly desolate yet beautiful terrain. From the sky at least.
On the flight I was able to knock off more of the hefty (850 some pages) but excellent tome London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd. I doubt if there's one book that can adequately capture the essence and history of the great city but if one does exist this is likely it.
I was also able to catch a couple of hours of sleep, which was remarkable, as I can't normally slumber on flights. With me and airline seats, if it's not a pain in my neck, it's a pain in my arse. Probably the same way Generalissimo Duane feels about his jefe every day at work.
At long last we arrived at Minneapolis and landed at...5:30pm local time. A long day indeed. Snow on the ground and twenty-three degrees, a full ten degrees colder than Reykjavik. We like it here?
An old friend who happened to be in town picked us up at the airport. We made it home in time to catch the last two periods of the U of M hockey game, as the Gophers pummeled Michigan State. Then we retired for much needed sleep.
I was a bit disappointed to read Saint Paul's comments yesterday on his view of our relationship. Just because he's had a tough year on the domestic front doesn't give him license to turn his back on long time friends. I trust that he was merely spouting off in a moment of frustration and that our weekly steam at the athletic club is still on.
Besides after all the trouble I went through to bring back his "special packages" for him I would hate to think that he would be anything but grateful. Believe you me the boys at Customs gave me the once over as they carefully inspected those issues of 'Gargantuan Gaelic Gazombas', 'Lavicious Lasses of Londonderry', and 'Captivating Celtic C---s'. It was a dirty job but someone had to do it.
TOMORROW: The land of the ice and snow.
MONDAY: The lowdown on London.