Friday, March 25, 2011

The long way home

I did not fly straight from Kuala Lumpur to Berlin but had a week-long stop over in Great Britain. First I flew into London-Stansted where European reality hit me again. I had always complained about the inefficiency of Malaysian public transport, but now I had to realise that Europe is not much better. It took me 5 hours from leaving the plane to getting to my couchsurfing host in London.

Colin May 2010 in Arizona
Passport control for European citizens is automatized in Stansted. You have to put your passport onto a scanner, then your face will be scanned and compared with your passport picture. Sounds very efficient, but took twice as long as dealing with a human immigration officer. Shuttle buses here were on time, but all full - and therefore I had to wait 45 minutes in the cold in a long bus queue. Things got worse when I got into London Tube. Due to a bomb threat and/or flooding trains were not running on all lines and I had to make great detours. And of course, there are no public phones inside the tube to call my couchsurfing host and tell her that I would be late. Leaving Kuala Lumpur I had been very relaxed, but 3 hours in London transport turned me into a nervous wreck.... Luckily I had a very nice and understanding couchsurfing host!
Colin March 2011 in Scotland

After 2 short days of sightseeing in London I took the train up to Edinburgh in order to meet Colin. I had met Colin and his later partner Kimberlie on the AZT in May 2010. We had always stayed in contact and now Colin had asked me to be the test hiker (or guinea pig) for his new UL backpack. Of course this was an offer I could not resist.... Also Colin had hiked John O'Groats to Land's End in the UK and had offered to help me planning my UK thruhike. And therefore I travelled all the way to Scotland for a long weekend of trail talk - which turned out to be a long weekend of ME talking because Colin had such a sore throat that he could hardly speak....Bad luck, but we still got all the planning done. And then, after a day of sightseeing in freezing cold Edinburgh I eventually headed back to Berlin.

1 comment:

Herman Pachulke said...

na denn: welcome back soon!