We set the alarm to get up at 6:00am. When it sounded on Friday morning, we reluctantly got up. After making a cup of coffee from a maker that we still did not fully understand, we started working. Me on my laptop, my husband getting our stuff together. Around 7:30 I was done, and he was well under way. We had it all together with the apartment cleaned by 10.
The Tower Bridge being closed had more of an impact than we realized. This time, cabs. Had the bridge been open and traffic brisk, the apartment complex would have been crawling with cabs. But now, with one half of the artery closed, not so much. The streets were veritably empty.
So we hoofed it several blocks until, by the Grace of God, a random cab drove by. The ride to the Waterloo Train Station was fairly painless, and we arrived for our noon departure at 10:45. At that moment I realized that I had not bought any London-marked souvenirs. The shops lining this station catered to the working world, not the tourist. After giving up my search for anything with the Union Jack, I realized that I would need Euro’s in Ireland, rather than pounds. So, I stopped at the currency exchange. My husband leaned over and told me we didn’t have time for this. I waved him away and continued my banter with the clerk. He leaned in again and repeated that we don’t have time for this. The time couldn’t have been much more than 11:30 by now, so I rubbed his shoulder, in an effort to sooth him.
The money transaction complete, I turned to him and he stalked away. I jogged to keep up, thinking about how he is always so anxious at departure time. On the platform, I headed for the train.
Except, it wasn’t our train. Ours had left ten minutes earlier.
In my defense, I had no idea it was 11:55 when he first chided me. Caught up in the search for souvenirs and currency, I didn’t look at a clock. He thought I had. Tension ensued.
My upbeat attitude about all that had transpired so far, fled. I snapped.
We found that we could catch the next train in ten minutes. Since we missed our non-stop train, this route would deliver us to Bristol with only thirty minutes to spare rather than the hour and a half we would have enjoyed. And that was only if we didn’t miss the transfer.
Even after an emotional (but quiet) exchange, we didn’t miss our connection. But by the time we got into the cab at the Bristol train station, it was rush hour.
Of course it is.
We missed the plane by ten minutes. The next flight to Dublin left in four hours. And we could have two tickets on it for a mere £100 each. Change fee, you understand.
Yes, I cried.
If you’ve not had the pleasure to visit the Bristol Airport, let me tell you that downstairs, where we were made to wait until check in, which was two hours away, has little to offer. Its purpose is to be a cross-over for arrivals and departures. A sandwich shop, a coffee shop, and some souvenirs (where I bought my Union Jack gifts) were the only things to distract.
Two hours later, we were allowed to check in. After passing through security, we discovered the true Bristol Airport. The second floor held all of the trappings of an international airport. Duty free shops, full restaurants, and most importantly, a bar. Two double shots of Makers Mark, if you please. Oh, and my husband probably wants something, too.
Two hours pass to find us on the plane flying toward Dublin. Exhausted, frustrated, irritated, we decide that tomorrow, Saturday, will be much better. We’ll meet up with the professional travel tour group, taking us on a five day bus ride from Dublin to Shannon, Ireland, where we will fly back home.
What could go wrong?