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Published: August 19th 2012
I’m now two days in to my time in Wales. From where we left off, I was about to depart the Travelodge where I would begin my travels to a small little town in South Wales called Llanelli. After a barely edible buffet breakfast I waited for the bus back to Terminal 5 at Heathrow, where I bought a ticket on the Heathrow Express to Paddington very easily (thankful there was a lift down to the platform and a train departing straight away). It’s 19 pounds to Paddington and you’re there in less than 15 minutes. Once I got to Paddington I had quite a few moments of just staring around being overwhelmed and looking like a total tourist with my huge bag. But luckily staring blankly at signs and directions paid off and I found one that directed me to pick up my pre-booked tickets. After figuring out how to use the machine, and then figuring out that you don’t get to know what platform you depart from until 10 minutes before the train is due to leave, I was pretty relaxed and sure that I was on track. My train was called and I hopped on and found my
seat. There was even a cart you could buy snacks from and I suddenly felt like I was on my way to Hogwarts. About half way through the three hour train ride we were stranded at Bristol (my future home, but on this journey I was just passing through). We were told delays of up to 45 minutes were being experienced due to a broken down train. And I was told the UK transport system was near perfect! This meant I would miss my connecting train to Llanelli which I was told came only every 2 and a half hours. I felt reassured after speaking to some of my fellow passengers to find they were also in this situation. It’s always a relief to know you’re not alone in a bad spot, and there’s power in numbers so one suggestion was the rail pay for taxis for us all. Crisis was almost over when we were told the second train would wait 5 minutes for us, but we would have to make our way “as quickly and safely as possible” to the platform. In other words, people would be sprinting their asses off. Great news for me with my ten
ton bags. When the time came I again found the kindness of strangers a welcome help as a young boy pretty much carried my suitcase off the train for me and then I managed to make the second train. It was about a 25 minute journey to Llanelli, and by this time I was in a state, having now been in constant travel mode for 45 hours. I was never so happy and relieved to see a familiar face when I saw my welcome party (Luki and Cynthia) waiting for me on the platform. From there it was a short drive to the golf course where with perfect timing my Dad had just finished his golf game and was walking right past the car. Jumping out and seeing him was the best.
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