Friday, September 23rd, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2:50 AM EDT, 8:50 AM local time
As I’ve always suspected, the so-called “continental breakfast” that North American hotesl are so generous with doesn’t actually exist on the continent. Our hotel in Copenhagen had a full and proper spread of eggs, bacon, bread, meats, cheeses, potatos… none of it was really very good mind you, but it’s certainly better than the danish, coffee and day-old USA Today that you get at your local Best Western. They had danishes, too, though I’m not sure if they’re still called danishes or not.
Trying to score free wifi in Copenhagen airport has proven futile. There are several networks around, but they’re either secure, expensive or otherwise inaccessible. Damn wireless teases. So I am sitting and waiting. We leave for London, Heathrow in about an hour and then it’s back across the Atlantic. Having Kroners to blow, I bought a copy of The Tears’ Here Come The Tears from the airport store. Not cheap, but about on par with what I’d have paid on import back home.
Friday, September 23, 6:39 AM EDT, 11:39 AM local time
Unlike last time, where we flew into London from the northwest in early morning, today we arrived from the east in midday on a clear, sunny day. This meant that I was able to get a good look at all of London in its glory as we flew almost parallel to the Thames. I’m pretty sure I saw London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, that gigantic ferris wheel thing (what’s the deal with that?). I know London is huge, but until you see it it’s hard to comprehend just HOW big it is. It doesn’t seem to end. Very cool.
And now it’s more waiting around in Heathrow’s departure lounge. I have to admit it’s nice to be back somewhere that I actually speak the language. Folks in Scandanavia were pretty good with the English, but the time in St Petersburg that I was trying to negotiate admission to a washroom with this little old Russian lady was an experience unto itself. She kept talking to me in Russian, I kept talking to her in English as though somehow either of us would suddenly and magically understand the other. Not going to happen. Eventually I just handed her a few US dollars and hoped I got fair change back in Rubles. Probably not, but at least I got to use the foulest port-a-let in western Russia.
Friday, September 23, 9:20 AM EDT, 2:20 PM local time
Naturally, when there’s nothing in the world I want more than to just go home, my flight out of Heathrow was delayed by about 35 minutes. But we’re up, aloft somewhere off the coast of Ireland (hello Dublin!), and I appear to be the only one concerned about the creaking noise coming from the centre overhead bins whenever the plane bends a little, so I’ll just concentrate on touching down back in my beloved Hogtwn in about seven hours.
Friday, September 23, 12:14 PM EDT, 2:14 PM local time
The pilot says we’re flying over the southern tip of Greenland, which is how I’ve determined the local time. I can’t see it, nor the indigenous musk ox I was asked to say hello to, but I’ll take his word for it. The in-flight movie this afternoon was The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, which I found much better on second viewing. It does help to be enjoying it on its own merits and not constantly comparing it to the book.
I’ve had a little time to reflect on the trip in general – it hasn’t escaped my attention that my posts got briefer and vaguer as things progressed. This was not accidental. After St Petersburg, Tallinn and Gdansk were almost more like afterthoughts, barely a half day in each. I’m still not entirely sure I was in Poland. After Russia, a combination of homesickness, on-ship boredom (already covered), and general “my brain is full” syndrome led to my shorter attention span. I can’t say I was researching my destinations in the second half of the trip nearly as meticulously as I did in the beginning. I suspect this smorgasborg approach to travel, cramming seven countries into ten days, does not agree with me. I’d much rather pick one or two places and do them in-depth like a local rather than traipse from one ultra-condensed tourist experience to the next. I enjoyed the last day in Copenhagen because there was no real fixed schedule to adhere to, and I could wander and explore at my leisure. Just sitting and watching the people on the main shopping drag was one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole trip.
This was my first time outside of North America. Hell, I don’t think I’ve ever been further east than Boston (well, Cape Cod), so getting abroad was long overdue. I quite enjoyed it, though I don’t know when I’ll be able to do it again. My impending situation involving a distinct lack of employment and income will certainly put the kabosh on any more travelling in the forseeable future. Alas. But the things I saw on this trip will last me a good long while, and I have photos! Many many many photos. I’ll post links to my Flickr account as they go up.
So yeah, I’ll be back to the regular grind on Monday – I need a few days to get settled back in and see what I’ve missed in the wonderfully insular world of indie rock cyberspace. Thanks for sticking around while I turned this into a travelogue for a fortnight.
np – The Tears / Here Come The Tears