Melody and I have just embarked on a month-long trip to England, Wales, and Scotland. Our first stop is Bristol, where Melody will be giving a talk at the Plone Conference. After that, it's off to Bath and other cities on the island.
Like last year's trip to Eastern Europe, I'll post a narrative of our UK trip a few times a week, as well as putting up pages with pictures for each city we visit. I'll post other pictures on Facebook.
Leaving Seattle, 25-Oct
Since our flight wasn't until the late afternoon, we had a relaxed morning at home before taking the bus and light rail to the airport, arriving well before we needed to. We didn't know what security would be like, since we had heard new full-body scanners had been installed the previous week. Ends up they were still using the metal detectors, so we went through the checkpoint very quickly. After lunch (our usual, fish tacos from Anthony's) we parked at the terminal to wait for our flight. Unlike last year, we ended up needing to check our bags, but we had everything we needed on the plane in our backpacks, anyway.
The flight over the Atlantic was uneventful, but we did fly over the southern part of Greenland, a first for me. True to form, neither Melody nor I slept very much on the red-eye flight, but we did catch a few naps here and there. Besides, we tell ourselves it's all a part of wanting to force ourselves to adjust to the eight hour time shift.
Reykjavik, Iceland, 26-Oct
This year we flew IcelandAir, so we had a layover in Reykjavik, Iceland. If everything went on schedule, we would have had a little less than an hour to go through passport control (for entering Iceland), go through a security checkpoint (since we were entering an EU country), go through passport control again (for leaving Iceland), and find our gate. Fortunately our flight arrived a bit early and the airport was all but empty so things went very quickly. We ended up waiting a little while for our next plane.
The Keflavik airport was quite posh; wooden flooring (including the stairs and handrails) and very modern-looking. The only ding I'd give it is they had Christmas decorations (trees, wreaths) up already; it's still October! I was too out of it to take a picture; perhaps on the return trip.
The flight to Heathrow was also uneventful. We did need to circle a couple times because of air traffic, but even so we ended up landing a bit early. We went through passport control, walked uncontested through the "no declarations" customs area, got our bags and some local currency, then went to check on our bus to Bristol. We already had reservations, but they were for a later bus since we didn't know if there would be any delays on the way over.
We ended up waiting for a couple hours at a café in the bus waiting area. We settled in with drinks and were charmed by the woman making PA announcements. "In the interest of public health, please don't feed the birds." "In the interest of security, please do not leave items unattended. Unattended items will be confiscated by the police and destroyed."
The bus ride to Bristol (during which we mostly slept) was through quite a bit of rain, but things dried up by the time we walked to where we were staying. After about 22 hours of travel, we were finally able to start unpacking. We went back out for dinner and some breakfast shopping, then settled in for the night. The next day: the start of Melody's conference and Frank's first day as tourist.