Where is the Gatwick Express?!
London Travel Blog› entry 7 of 9 › view all entries
May 14th, 2010 – by: kkrater
My last day in Ireland was very uneventful. Nikki needed to repair her glasses so we searched the city for an Irish version of Lens Crafters. We found one near the train station and afterword went for some lunch. We couldn't agree on a place to eat, so I had Indian and she went back to the Japanese restaurant we had eaten at a few times. After lunch I tagged along as Nikki went searching for party attire. She was planning on joining Louise and Rachel (our friends from Kilkenny) that night, after I left for London. We went from shop to shop and she couldn't find anything she really liked. By this point I was completely exhausted. It had been a wonderful week, but all the driving and back and forth between destinations had zapped all of my energy. After a few hours of shopping we went to her new hotel to take a nap. I woke up after an hour and packed the remainder of my stuff. I said goodbye to Nikki and went outside to catch the bus back to Dublin Airport.
It hadn't really rained all week, except for a drizzle here and there. Ironically as I'm leaving the hotel, black clouds closed in, and it started to pour. I had packed my umbrella away somewhere and was forced to just stand in the rain as my clothes got more and more soaked. Luckily the cab drivers of Dublin had figured out a system where they would poach airport travelers from the bus. A few minutes before each bus, larger taxis would pull up and offer rides for the same price as the bus itself. It seemed a little sketchy, but I wasn't about to reject such an offer in this weather. The cabbie loaded my bags and I climbed into the cab with two other passengers.
This cab ride turned out to be the highlight of my day. The cab driver was a very passionate individual, who was extremely frustrated with Ireland's current economic climate. His livelihood had been threatened by the recent de-regulation of the cab industry in Dublin. He also explained how house values had further decreased, due to over supply. Eventually, his frustration boiled over when he told me that he had been unable to get financing for a new car, even from banks that he had been a customer of all his life. We discussed back and forth the entire ride, and I made sure to mention some of America's issues as well. I found his viewpoints to be very interesting and I wish I could have had more time to speak with him. The rest of the passengers seemed annoyed, but I thought many of his points were valid. One of my favorite parts of traveling is being able to find out about local issues and viewpoints. Mission accomplished!
At the airport I grabbed some fast food (Mcdonalds again) and waited for my plane. It was delayed about an hour, which was annoying, but not the end of the world. Once I got on board I drifted off to sleep. The flight was only an hour, so I didn't have much time to rest. At Gatwick I made my way through the maze that was immigration (what is with these airports)! I had to wait more than half an hour for my bags, after which I bought a one way ticket on the Gatwick Express. This multi-million pound project was designed to make travel between Gatwick and central London easier. Unfortunately, there is very little signage or instruction about how to get on the train itself! Many of the platforms say Gatwick, but they make several stops. I asked several people who weren't much help and even got on the wrong train for a minute. I had to go back inside the airport, and down to another platform. Finally, I found it. I put my bags down and grabbed a free seat before they filled up. At this point I was very late and I felt increasingly bad for my friend who was waiting at Victoria station. I didn't have a GSM phone, so I had no way to contact her. My flight had been delayed, the train was late, and then it took longer to arrive at Victoria than it was supposed to. Luckily she was still waiting when I got there. I let out a deep sigh of relief, I had finally made it to London!
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