On Sunday I flew to London to make my way to Cambridge summer university. Sticking to my resolution of not overplanning, I did not book anything but the flights and the course.
Well, meeting my expectations, the flight was late, so I spent the afternoon in the airconditioned airport at Zurich binge reading 400 pages of my book, drinking coffee. So far, so good!;) On the plane, though, they made us wait another hour before take-off. It annoyed me initially, yet on the bright side: More undisturbed reading. Chatting with my neighbour and sharing snacks. In London then, finally, I discovered the airport there was not airconditioned (don`t know why I was surprised, why would it?)and I waited for what felt like forever in the heat to get my luggage. Thankfully, google maps provided me with the stage of planning I now was in desperate need of to calm my nerves, and I had mapped out a route to Cambridge.. – this plan was soon discarded when I saw the queue at customs, and the secondary plan again when I saw the queue at the ticket booth. My unexperienced yet determined non-planner`s soul sure was challenged.
Luckily, the man at the bus stop was as helpful as the English are said to be, and I found the right bus to the next railway station after checking out only 3 wrong ones; there I had dinner to calm my stomach and nerves. After all, it is said there is nothing chocolate chip cookies can`t fix, not even a cancelled train at 8.30 pm when in a hurry.:( While waiting for the next train, I binge read another 100 pages, which I continued doing on the two subsequent trains (one was delayed, the other on time; neither shocked me at that point). Needless to say, I finished Paige Toons “The one we fell in love with”, another book to recommend, btw, before I got to Cambridge.
When the sign at the station finally stated “Cambridge”, I was positive and excited. I was here, at last; I could not wait to check out my dorm room on campus!
Taxis in England provided me with another lesson to be learned, one I had neither expected nor cared for much, at that time. Eager to arrive, I determinedly walked out of the station up the sidewalk in the drizzle to the taxis waiting at the back of the taxi lane that were obviously still free (numerous ones were passing by already), only to find that, once I was there, they seemed to have started the engine to go to the beginning of the taxi lane 10 metres to my left, leaving me standing there. I was utterly confused and noticed others getting in MY taxis!!!! I could not believe it.
Another British gentleman saved me from my misery when he parked his taxi in front of me, even though me, the ignorant foreigner, was standing in the middle of the taxi lane, and explained I should have just waited in the front (in a queue, as usual in Britain…^^) and I would have been picked up. 😉 I did not care much for a lesson in British taxi etiquette at that time, yet the twinkle he explained it with took the edge off the lesson. Plus, I was ridiculously grateful he had overlooked my breech of etiquette and was taking me to Homerton College, where I collapsed in bed at midnight.
Since this UK keyboard provides me with more challenges than my hungry stomach can manage at the moment (after my second full day here), I`m off to dinner now. To be continued though 🙂