Saturday, February 28, 2009

Crossing the Pond

We set out from Bristol Temple Mead railway station on Thursday 26 Feb. The train left on time at 0900 and we rapidly headed for London. The journey didn't take long and on arrival at Paddington, we only had yards to pull our luggage before we were onboard the 'Heathrow Express'. The journey from Paddington to Heathrow only took 15 minutes, a far cry from the painful journey by underground on the Piccadilly line. Overall, considering the combined rail ticket price of £27 each, it was excellent value for money and an easy way to get from Bristol to Heathrow.

We joined the check-in queue for Air New Zealand and within 30 minutes were checked in and through security. We decided to eat whilst waiting for the plane as we were very early. After eating and browsing the shops in Terminal 1 we headed for our boarding gate.

The flight took off just after 1600 and the flight route took us over the middle of England and southern Scotland before heading out over the Atlantic. We flew just to the west of Iceland, which like the UK was shrouded in cloud. After about 4 hours, the cloud cleared and we crossed the coast of Greenland. The sea pack ice was a little broken up, but the land was covered in snow. The route then took us across Greenland and on into northern Canada crossing Hudson Bay to reach land just north of Churchill. The remainder of the flight was fairly clear and we could see lots of snow and ice-covered lakes.

Finally, after nearly 11 hours we arrived in LA. Although it was a long flight, it was quite comfortable in our back row and the staff and service were excellent.

After facing the pleasures of US immigration, which went smoothly, the customs people wanted to x-ray every piece of luggage, a rather time consuming exercise. Once free of this we decided to take a shared van ride to the hotel. It all started well, we were the only people in the van, but then we called at all 7 other terminals at LAX and gained an extra two people. We then expected to head for Marina del Reay, but the driver had other thoughts and decided to visit all 8 terminals again, just in case there was any one else there! The traffic was dreadful and this extra circuit was very frustrating especially as we didn't pick anyone else up!

The journey to the Holiday Inn Express at Marina del Reay took about 15 minutes and we checked into a great room on the third floor. Tired as we were, as now it was 2100 local time (8 hours behind UK), we walked round the corner to a small Italian take-away that had a few tables and had a small dinner. After that, it was back the hotel and bed at 2230.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Journey Begins

Perhaps, to borrow a rather famous song title, "A long and winding road", might be more apt title for this first attempt at blogging.

I'm not entirely sure where this particular road started and have no idea where it will end, but I am looking forward to enjoying the journey wherever it leads.