Going on vacation to Britain

Have you ever missed your flight because you turned off the alarm clock whose ring was meant to wake you up but…? No, this is not what happened with me this time but it did happen about five years ago now. Since then I always have an extra point to worry about when going on a trip.

This time I made sure my alarm clock would wake me up on time and set it up (as I thought) at 5 minute intervals only to discover when already on my way to the airport that the first one was set to wake me up at 5.45 am and the second one … at 5.50 pm! Imagine I would have missed the first one!

However, quite unexpectedly I had another “alarm clock” wake me up as early as 3.11 am. I only heard it after 30 or so rings and first thought I was having a dream about missing my plane again! But when I finally answered the phone I learned that my friend was calling to ask me for help with taking a laptop with me to Moscow to give it to her daughter who is there now. Telling about it is another story, so I’ll skip it for now.

I spent the next three hours left before I had to go to the airport dozing not quite sure whether I was asleep or awake. Finally, it was 6 am and time to get up and get going. My friend offered me a lift to the airport as a way to thank me for taking her laptop to pass to her daughter. I’d otherwise have had to take a taxi but because of this unexpected development of events I cancelled the booking.

My flight to Moscow was not at all eventful. But my next flight was only in about 12 hours, so I decided to book a room in one of the airport hotels. I found one called Midland (http://secure.hotelsbycity.com/hotel/?rs_hid=b_263156)

(no idea why English name) in the vicinity of the airport. According to the description on its site, it is locacted in just a five-min ride from the airport which you can book by calling the hotel operator or filling out an online form. I decided to call the hotel upon arrival for some reason and had to live through a short period of anxiety because none of the contact numbers I had answered. Two ways out were to keep trying to get in touch with the hotel or to get to it by public transport. Well, I was not sure about the latter because it promised quite a few uncertanties from how often the buses are to where exactly to go once I got off the bus in the middle of nowhere. You can call me a coward I guess but I ended up at the airport’s information office, and its operator got in touch with the hotel, so that in about 15 minutes I was already at the hotel’s reception desk and still in 10 or so minutes after in my room without windows in full compliance with its name, “a capsule” or “a shell” if you like. It was all right for a relatively short time I had to spend there, but it’s hard to imagine staying in such a room for a couple of days or so. I was so to say cut off the world completely in a physical sense, in a “sealed” room, which in  addition was very stuffy even though the conditioner was on. I was told I can’t set it up to make the it cooler in the room because it is not meant for this by virtue of its type. All right, I decided to go in the yard of the hotel to get some fresh air but it was about +30 that day in Moscow so… I was glad to leave it for the airport when the time came but actually did not regret that I stayed there. Even with the inconveniences I described it was probably better than staying at the airport the whole time… I am skipping the details of all the airport check-in procedures – nothing out of the ordinary and actually the flight too for the same reason.

I finally landed in Heathrow at about 10 pm in the evening having spent what felt like a week getting there because of the time shifts and all the waiting on the way. No need to say I was excited to finally leave the airport business behind and head to Oxford with my friend who met me at the airport. I am looking forward to my adventures – I’m sure I’ll have them – during my stay in England.

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6 Responses to Going on vacation to Britain

  1. tatiana says:

    Dear Natasha,

    I do hope you’re having a very good time in England. Anyway it must be less stressful than it was in Russia the last days you were going away on holiday! I’m sure you’re spending your time off wisely.

    Please tell me what has been new or surprising while you’re in England this time, if anything could be …. for you, who travels that direction more often than to any city in your own country.

    Wish you great and unforgettable time. I’m hoping to hear new stories from you very soon.



  2. nataneva says:

    Dear Tania–
    Thanks for reading my first post and commenting on it:) Yes, it is true that I’ve become a more frequent visitor of England than places in Russsia. Actually, back in the beginning of July i spent three days in Tomsk and Novokuznetsk thanks to my English friend who is a devoted traveller on our territory and has by now visited many places we do not fancy going to in Russia. Just yesterday we talked about Nizhniy Tagil which is definitely not the place for most of us to travel to but for D. it’s one of the places to investigate. When I saw the pics from there I thought that maybe if we cared more about our own land we could help it to become more welcoming. He is interested in the soviet past of Russia, what contributed to its might and how it affected people’s lives. Actually while discussing it we came to a surprising (for me) realisation of some striking similarities in the fates of England and Russia. Both were mighty and powerful in the past and made a profound contribution to the development of industry, sicence and technology. Think about all the inventions Britain and Russia gave the world in the past… steam engines, locomotives, electric motor (for more detail see http://inventors.about.com/od/timelines/a/Nineteenth.htm); steam-powered tractor on continuous tracks, radio receiver, gridshells (http://www.enotes.com/topic/Timeline_of_Russian_inventions_and_technology_records#1880s) to name just a few. What about their present state? Sadly many industries are in decline or have stopped to exist. This is something I did not expect to discover about them as their common feature.

    • tatiana says:

      Very true, Natalia.

      Both countries did achieve industrial progress back in the past centuries. The start was really huge a step for the development of the economy for each country. The only difference is that Great Britain is now a post-industrialised country with a whirl in progress, quite a logical stage after the industrial revolution. Whereas Russia’s position in the development can hardly be estimated or defined. Are we still undergoing the industrial revolution, are we developing or some other stage coming forth, if any?

      Many industries have stopped to exist in both countries. Was it for good in Great Britain? Could they replace them for something better? The answer is positive judging by the progress in living standards they are having now.

      Was/is it good for Russia? No answer. Only bad consequences which are difficult to conceal or explain. That is something that attracts foreigners to see in our country too.

  3. nataneva says:

    Actually, we are on a very contraversial topic. It’s hard to judge the economic state of different countries on way or the other. You think that where Britain is now is the place to be but the question is whether offering services that it does is sufficient for its sustainable development. I am not calling for return in the past but am trying to understand what options there are and which of them is better in the long run.

    With Russia the story is very difficult because of a short period of time that has passewd since it became an independent country. If we take an everage life expectancy inn Russia, twenty years is one third of an average human life; however, it is a very short period if to look at it from a different perspective. I keep thinking about Abraham’s decision to keep the Jewish people wander in the desert for 40 years. I wonder how long should it be for us? Much depends on people’s mentality, Are we ready to do something for the country so that it could do something for us? We often behave as if it were a hostel – nobody is responsible for anything. Can anything be done about it?

  4. tatiana says:

    The latter is a rhetorical question, I’m afraid. We, Russians, do like to ask questions and this type of questions in particular. By asking them we feel we’re doing something, which makes us feel better I guess.

    Any more questions with no answer?

  5. nataneva says:

    I didn’t quite realise I again asked a “hw-question” in the end. Sorry! Will try to remember not to.

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