Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Aug. 8, 2010. Traveling

We awoke this morning on the plane just before arriving in London at 6:45 AM. Unfortunately I did not see any of the other people from our group after we left the plane. They were all off to their individual terminals. I said a quick good-bye to Kathy and then began my own journey to Scotland.
I had to reclaim my luggage, clear customs, and then wait 4 1/2 hours before British Air would let me check in my bags. I waited in terminal five and struggled to stay awake. Finally I went to check in my bags - 3 more hours to wait. While checking in, a snotty girl at British Air said my carry on bag was too big and sent me to another counter to pay extra fees. They told me it would be 35 pounds for each leg of the trip
That's 140 pounds to take it to Scotland and back - ridiculous. Then the woman at the counter told me there was a bag storage service for 8 pounds a day. But, I had to retrieve my already checked bags - no easy feat. I had to go down into the bowels of the terminal - fill out forms and wait. (At this point there were 1 1/2 hours left before the flight.) I finally got my bags and stored one at the service counter. Then I rushed back to British Air and checked in again - then security. The Terminal 5 lounge area is very crowded - lots of shops and people. I managed to buy a sandwich, eat it and make the plane on time.
I switched planes in Manchester - a small propeller plane. I met a nice woman from Inverness, also named Kathleen.
The cab ride from the airport was 25 pounds, which seemed a bit high - and perhaps not the directest route. I arrived at the Columba Hotel at around 9 PM - totally spacey and exhausted.
The hotel seems quite old but has been somewhat refurbished and given modern amenities. It is right on the Ness River and very near the downtown area.
My room is probably one of the worst in the hotel, with a view of rooftops and old-fashioned chimneys. The toilet handle was broken and I had trouble getting TV, but the Wi-Fi works great!

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