Ok people. I’m back at my temporary home base (Wales, UK). Once again, thank you for all the help. Well let’s see where I should start...
The day (Dec 26th) started off with me waking up at 9am. I live in this little town called Treforrest. If the university didn’t exist there, the town
would just be a couple of small houses and maybe a dirt road. It’s literally the smallest town that I've ever inhabited. People call it a
'Village'. Anyway, the upside is that there is a rail station right in front of the University. My initial plans were to take the train to the place
where I needed to go to and then catch the bus. Before I even go on let me give you a brief breakdown of what the hell I’m talking about and the
Treforrest (University of Glamorgan) ---> Cardiff Castle --> London --> Brussels
Now I planned on taking the Rail
from Treforrest to Cardiff Castle then from Cardiff Castle take the Bus
to London then from London take
the Chunnel Tunnel
to Brussels Midi (Train Station). Then my friend was going to scoop me up like a Frito in Bean dip, take me to his place and
that would be the end.
However, when traveling, things always get unnecessarily complicated.
Dec 26th was Boxing Day
. And apparently the entire UK shuts down for 24 hours. Literally. So at 11am in the morning, I was stuck in Treforrest.
The local rail station was closed and there wasn’t a single taxi in sight. I knew I had to get to the bus station by 3pm or I would miss my
from Cardiff Castle to London. If that part of the equation fell through, then that was pretty much the end of my trip. I knew I had to get
there quick, I looked at my watch and it was 11:20am. Screw it, I’m walking
. 3 hours later I made it to my destination. My fingers were
bleeding because apparently bag designers cant properly create a handle that would withstand 3 straight hours of finger to handle
my fingers were the least of my concerns.
I made it to my Bus on time!
Needless to say, I slept during the duration of the bus ride to London. We arrive in London at 3:30. Everyone is a little agitated. If you ever
traveled on a Megabus
you'll definitely understand. So I step foot in London for the first time of my life.
The emoticon pretty much sums it up. Just what exactly am I doing in Wales when everything
is here. Anyway, I begin to scramble for my Eurostar
train to Brussels. I walk into the Victoria station ask around a little and find out that my train to Brussels was leaving from the Waterloo
. The guy told me that I could hop on a quick underground rail to the station; it'll just take a few minutes. Sounds good enough, I dig
into my pocket to get some of my travel money.
Ugh...wait, it may be in my other pocket, hold on. Maybe in my jacket pocket...let me check my wallet.
. It fell out of my pocket on the bus
. This is about the exact
moment I knew that things were just going to be extremely rough.
So I just do what I do best. I grabbed my bags and walked to the Waterloo station. It was about a 30 minute walk, my hands were numb from the cold so
they really didn’t bother me. Besides, how could you worry when you’re right in front of Westminister Abbey
for the first time!
So about 45 minutes later I arrive in the Waterloo station. I’m late, really late
, I missed my train. But I’m thinking to myself, since it is
the Christmas season, maybe the ticket office would be compassionate enough to refund my ticket. I walk into the office, explain my situation and they
tell me that I would have to buy a new ticket for tomorrow morning
. Ok, whatever just get me on the train. I hand them my Visa, *Denied*. Here
take my second Visa *Denied*. Well what about my HSBC card, *Denied*.
"Sorry Sir, we are closed now. You are going to have to wait until tomorrow to make adjustments to your ticket, please exit through that door and die
of hunger, hypothermia and excess blood loss. Oh by the way, have a Merry Christmas"
Doors are locked. I’m stuck in the train station until the next morning. Note to anyone that hasn’t been to the UK during Dec/Jan. Temperatures are
. It's beyond cold. The word cold doesn’t even apply to this type of weather. Especially when you have no where to sleep and nothing to
eat. So I realized that this train station was going to be my home for the next 10 hours.
I apologize for not getting a clear picture. My hands were shaking, the flash was off, and this was the best I could do. You know, after looking at
that picture that place just looks
cold. Regardless of if it's the middle of August or the end of January.
I’m standing in the middle of the station trying to find something to occupy my mind until the morning comes. Ah, a BT internet terminal. Here is
something I could work with. I pull up a chair and sit down. What you want a credit card Mr. Machine? I could provide that, I’m pretty sure it won’t
work but hey, it won’t hurt to try.
*Verifying - Please Wait*
*Verifying - Please Wait**
*Verifying - Please Wait***
"I wonder what is in that McDonalds bag on the table...maybe some ketchup I could squeeze into my mouth"
What? Are you serious? Ok, maybe God doesn’t hate me after all. Let’s see, where should I go. Maybe I should check on that Earthquake that happened in
it is. But wait...Simon Gray is from the UK, so is Pisky, UK Wizard and a slew of other people on ATS. Maybe by a long
shot they could help me out.
So I began to post. And people began to read. And then what shocked me the most is that people begin to help
After calling the numerous phone numbers that were provided by members of the board, my credit card just stopped working on the BT terminal. Maybe
they found out that I was actually a broke college student. Anyway, I knew that I had to eat. I walk all over the train station just trying to find
something, anything to eat. The Junk Food God was smiling on me that night. Buried between the midst of a few finished beers was....A near full bag
Devoured. Consumed. Mangeled. Destroyed. Whatever verb you want to use. I decimated
those Cheetos. I was somewhat satisfied. So now it was time
for me to get some sleep. In these train stations they don’t provide 4 star beds so I had to make due with what I had. This is what I managed to
create from my sleep/nutrition deprived mind.
It looks uncomfortable, but actually...well...It was
uncomfortable. And yes, one chair was higher than the other. But I just kept repeating the
phrase 'European Ergonomic Design'
over and over again in my head. By this time I could see my own breath. I had socks on my hand. Three
pairs of socks on my feet. Two hooded sweaters on. Two hats. Two pairs of pants. And I was still freezing. I eventually fell asleep.
Anyway, the next day was a breeze. I woke up from my make-shift wooden bed, waiting for the ticket office to open and they replaced my ticket, for
. Hopped on the Chunnel, two and half hours later, my friend met me in Brussels with a couple of beers, drove to his house and introduced
me to a full Belgian Breakfast. The End.
Note: I know I've said this before, but Thank you
ATS for everything.
Here are a couple of pictures from the trip, don’t want to turn this into a picture thread though!
Did I mention Belgium is beautiful?