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{12/05/2012}   Train journeys in the UK

Yesterday, I caught a train from Edinburgh to London, pretty much five hours down the UK.  There is something quite exciting about long train journeys, and, yes, I do want to go on the Trans Siberian.  I always take a selection of activities for train journeys, but usually end up looking out the window, particularly in the less familiar, ergo more interesting, north.

Travelling through the UK, I always get an overwhelming feeling of appreciation for our verdant land and windswept beaches (admittedly only seen for bits of the northerly parts of the journey).  I also got a better understanding of flood issues of late and even saw changes in the weather, from mottled cloudy blue skies to heavy rain clouds and rain.

Admittedly, I did get the usual waves of boredom and, “oh, surely not another two and half hours left” type internalised whines.  But I got a letter written, wrote my blog, did some work (though that resulted in issues as the wifi was down), read a magazine and a bit of a book, looked out the window and started planning another UK road trip.  Useful; doing things I always complain I don’t have time to do.  Actually, I am rose tinting it a little bit because I did have a major boredom spell of about an hour.  Plus I had a headache and felt I’d travelled across seven time zones by the time I got to King’s Cross.  But it was still a good experience, especially as I had a friend to meet at King’s Cross and we went to the St Pancras Grand for dinner and had champagne before the final hour of my journey back to Folkestone!  Very civilised.

On a sort of down side to train travel, I get ludicrously hungry.  I stopped at a supermarket before I set off and filled a bag with food supplies.  And ate them all.  I could have eaten more.  My train cup of tea with a bakery sausage roll were the highlight of that journey (a good sausage roll is a treat indeed).  Maybe it’s a psychological thing, feeling you’re doing something tiring, travelling, thus needing sustenance to keep you going.  Maybe it’s just that I love food and see it as a means of filling time, an excuse to eat!

In terms of the landscape, I love the variety, seeing changes all the way along the journey, then seeing landmarks you recognise, stations where you get off to visit certain friends and a feeling that all that is part of your homeland.  I’m not a particularly patriotic person, I moan about loads of things about the UK, but despite the abundance of hideously ugly modern housing estates, etc, I love opportunities to travel across (or above, when there are no clouds below!) the UK for it is a beautiful island and it seems like most of us only really explore the vicinity of our homes.  So friends around the UK, brace yourselves, I feel another UK friends-stay tour coming up soon!  Though, sadly, it’s more likely I’ll do that by car as it’s far too expensive to travel by train, especially if there’s a champagne bar at one end of the journey!

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