It's a very strange experience stepping onto an airplane, taking an overnight flight, adding a 7 hour time difference, emerging on another continent, on a different day and, in my case, in a new season! If that ain't time travel, I don't know what is!! Sort of "Back to the Future" meets "Wizard of Oz". If all that isn't odd enough, I understand there was also an eclipse! At least that's what I was told upon arrival but, who the heck knows?? The young man who was putting the new SIM card into my phone and checking that it loaded and worked properly, was making polite conversation and told me I'd just missed an eclipse. My response to hearing this was a blank stare, a pregnant pause & an "oh?" He could have told me I'd just missed seeing big foot stroll through the Queens Terminal, my reaction would have been exactly the same. You see, sleeping on airplanes isn't something I'm particularly good at so, at that point, information just wasn't being efficiently processed. I was hungry, I was dehydrated, but mostly, I was TIRED!!
As entirely depleted as I was, I found the journey on the train from London through several small towns in the Cotswolds, via Oxford, to be extraordinary. As the train pushed further away from the city and deeper into the countryside my eyes began to well up. Yes, sorry, more crying... But this time the tears were filled with joy and came with the uprising of emotion as one witnesses, in real time, a dream being realized. It was all so beautiful!!! Just as I'd imagined since I was a child, and a thousand times better!! I saw what looked like a castle in the distance. I saw miles of rolling fields with stone wall boundaries corralling sheep and new Spring lambs. Magnificent herds of draft horses grazed in the sunshine. There were swollen, rushing creeks with arched wooden bridges. Then suddenly, I lay my eyes on the spires and towers of the University of Oxford, and I literally gasped... I whispered under my breath "What is...?? Oh my God. It's Oxford". That's the moment it really hit me. I was really here. I did it! I'd made it!! I was in England! I was on a train in the UK crossing the English countryside and and I was looking right at Oxford. That's when the tears came... They surely weren't my first of this trip. They would not be my last.
To be con't...
Lessons for the day:
1) Trust the thorough research I'd done at home regarding the train service. I shouldn't have asked every ticket agent the best way to get to my destination.
2) It's ok to be upset and to ask for help. As long as I remained kind and cool headed, people went out of their way to assist me. It was a heartwarming experience.
3) Arriving at a new place in the morning is a really good thing. It took much longer to get to my inn than anticipated and I still arrive well before dark.