Stumbling into the Old World

London Travel Blog

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Earl's Court Station
 

The two hour transit in Stockholm passed rather quickly. I strolled the terminal building taking a few photos but was shocked to see that they were all badly streaked. The brand new Fujifilm camera I had bought the day before leaving the U.S. turned out to be junk - typical of the cheap crap sold at Wal-Marts nationwide. According to the troubleshooting guide in the owner's manual, internal overheating caused the problem. I was furious and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

 

The two hour and fifteen minute flight to London went smooth in cloudy skies but my seat was in the tail end of the fully booked MD-80. The only view out either window was of noisy engine nacelles. And like a domestic flight in the U.S., only food or drink from an over-priced menu was offered.

Southfields tube station
Not even water was handed out. Between the round-about routing through Sweden, the faulty camera, and now the lack of free water or peanuts, my long winter journey seemed doomed from the start. 

 

I cleared immigration at Heathrow after lengthy questioning for not having an onward ticket. Being a 'carry-on' with just a daypack and shoulder bag made it possible to bypass the baggage claim. I changed US$150 for 82 Pounds then found the tube (underground subway) station. A long line at its ticket counter encouraged me to learn how to use one of the touch-screen ticket machines. That dreaded task turned out to be quite simple by just typing in the first three letters of my destination and inserting the stated amount: three Pounds fifty.

 

The Piccadilly Line got me from Heathrow to Earl's Court.

Bella and the kids
I swapped trains there for the District Line toward Wimbledon. Rain was falling as I exited the Southfields station. When it eased, I made a dash for the Rubino Café just across the street. I wanted to savor the startling thrill of being on a new continent with a sidewalk cappuccino and a cigarette.

 

Fortunately the Southfields station had just one exit at street level so I knew my ultimate destination was somewhere to the left. My nephew Adam had e-mailed an address which I googled before leaving the States. The Italian waitress at Rubino's could not confirm the nearby street but I was able to find it on my own.

 

Adam and Bella's home had a third floor guest room reserved for visiting friends and family. After settling in and cleaning up, I walked with Bella and the kids to a nearby park. Christian and Dorothy played and ran - or crawled in Dorothy's case - on fresh-cut lawns surrounded by giant trees as ancient as the nearby buildings. Southfields seemed a fine neighborhood for the dynamic young family. From a back gate they led me to the Earl Spencer, the favored local pub of Adam's. I enjoyed a pint there, realizing the dubious beginning of my new journey to the old world was rather brilliant after all.

 

 

Africancrab says:
Yeah Wal-Mart, you can buy anything else but not a Camera when you are going on a world tour with a mind to preserved the memories in photographs. I'm glad you got a few good hots out of it.
Posted on: Oct 04, 2009
bkretzer says:
Much better ending!
Posted on: Sep 25, 2009
keeweeset says:
I'm sorry to hear about your camera. I hope you have a good time traveling around Europe. =)
Posted on: Sep 25, 2009
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Earls Court Station
Earl's Court Station
Southfields tube station
Southfields tube station
Bella and the kids
Bella and the kids
The Earl Spencer
The Earl Spencer
Earls Court tube sign
Earl's Court tube sign
London
photo by: ulysses