June 23rd, 2012
The trip started off quite well. Leslie and I left VA around 7am for Atlanta and things went off without a hitch. We thought we might have to be switched to a later flight because they’d overbooked the one we were on, and we had plenty of time to spare before our flight from GA to GB, but everyone was able to fit on the plane and things went as planned.
We got to Atlanta and strolled around the international terminal, looked at the shops, read a bit (Leslie knitted) and grabbed some food (and got extra food for free because we were nice and patient when they forgot I’d ordered a bagel with my coffee). While we dreaded the 9-hour layover, our strange flight pattern ended up being the best thing that could have happened to us.
We boarded our flight to London a few minutes early, watched a few movies, I didn’t really sleep on the flight, but I tried. The turbulence was kind of bad, but later we found why and things made more sense. We made it to London half an hour ahead of schedule. There were no problems with customs and we made our way to baggage claim.
Once we had our bags, the real adventure started.
Leslie and I had a bus pass for 6 of our group to get to Oxford, however, after looking at the arrival schedule, we noticed that the flight with the rest of our group was delayed by 2 hours, meaning that they would miss the bus to Oxford. We figured out how to access the Wi-Fi at the airport and decided to see if we’d gotten updated while we were in flight.
And that’s when we found out that the people we were supposed to be meeting at 10:15 weren’t getting to the UK until tomorrow! Flights had been cancelled, over booked and delayed, causing everyone we were supposed to meet to miss other flights and still be stuck in the US. We weren’t sure about the group that was supposed to have gotten on the bus at 8:10, so we decided it was best to head to the bus terminal and see if we spotted any of our group.
We trudged over there and found Bethany, who’d been having travel problems too and was very glad to see a familiar face. The three of us hopped on the bus to Oxford earlier than planned, but we’d since found out that the earlier group was coming later and had a taxi all ready for them.
The bus ride to Oxford took a little over an hour and then we hopped in a taxi to take us to our hotel. Dr. Lindvall was waiting in the drive for us.
He was glad to see us and said we were the first to arrive. We told him that we knew because everyone else had been stranded in the states due to electrical storms and bad weather. He didn’t have access to internet, so he had no clue what was going on.
We filled him in, got lunch and took a quick walk to wake up and when we got back more of our group had arrived, but we were still missing half. We finally got showers around 2pm UK time and I took a much needed nap before high tea at 4. Leslie and I waited for her cousins to show up and rode to the hotel where we had high tea with them, instead of walking with the rest of the group.
As of right now, we’re still missing half the group, a few are coming in late tonight, most are coming in tomorrow mid-day, and two won’t make it til at least Monday. There’s one more in our group, but we have no idea where he is or when he’ll make it to Oxford, but he’ll turn up eventually.
Never a dull moment when travelling abroad.