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ISLAND HOPPING

Waterford to London

On the last day in Waterford we packed the car early, having discarded as much as we could. David could not resist donning the mask against swine flu he had received in the post!
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We set off on the 2 1/2 hour trip to Dublin. Once there, David bought 2 train/ferry tickets to London, but was directed to the Bus station instead of the train station. The lady assured him that the times had now changed and we were to take the bus to the ferry an hour later than planned. He dropped Sandi at the Bus terminal with our considerable baggage, while he drove to the airport to drop the car. He caught the bus back to town, arriving back with only 10 minutes to spare, and Sandi getting nervous! We lugged all our stuff onto the bus, only to be told by the driver that our ticket was definitely for the train. He was going to the Dublin ferry terminal, not the one at Dun Loghaire, but he could take us if we paid the extra fare of €5 each [we were too laden to object]. At the Ferry terminal we checked in our baggage, having been assured that even though it was a different ferry, we would still make our connection with the train at Holyhead. The ferry ride for 2 hours was pleasant enough.
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We boarded a shuttle bus on disembarking which dropped us at the train station, where we collected our baggage. Everyone rushed for the first train which was going to Chester. After wandering around the deserted Welsh station looking for our direct train to London, we discovered that all trains go to Chester and one has to change there for London. So after 40 minutes wait in the freezing, inhospitable station we finally got on the train. For 2 hours we hugged the northern coastline of Wales which was very pretty. Then we caught a high speed train to London covering 150 miles in 2 hours, arriving at Euston Station at 22h00.

Sandi had found lodgings 4 blocks from the station, but it could have been 100 miles; dragging 106kg of baggage between us along cobbles and kerbs, and not sure of the way. Sandi nearly had a heart attack, even though we had to stop every 100m or so. By the time we found the Meridiana Hotel and climbed the 3 flights of stairs [the final insult!] and collapsed on the beds, we were drenched with sweat. We hardly noticed how small and box-like the room was, and didn't complain that there were 2 single beds instead of a double!
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Breakfast was served down in the basement by two "take-no-nonsense" Eastern European women, so guests were intimidated into silent munching. We walked down Pentonville road to collect the rented car, only to be told that David's international driver's licence was not acceptable and they wanted the original [which is somewhere back in Cape Town]. After some fuss we took the car on Sandi's name, and they upgraded us to a bigger, automatic car. We loaded up at the hotel and headed for the country, getting out of the big city as fast as the speed limits would allow us. Months later on our arrival in Cape Town, we discovered that we had been photographed in the congestion zone, right next to our hotel, and there was a hefty £90 bill to pay!

Posted by davidsandi 09:01

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