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Here you'll find some personal notes I took during my trip.
I didn't really write this to be read by others, but you can take a look if you like. This is about what happened in London during the week or so I was there.
*Diary written between September and October of 2000
London Diary: Day 10 - A Day of Helter SkelterThe Final Day (Day 10, a day spent attempting to get to Heathrow airport)
The final day, or rather the day of my departure.
I couldn't fit everything into my bag, so just before checking out of the hotel I hurriedly bought a new suitcase. It was around 2 thousand Japanese yen, and it was quite well made. Unusual things are cheaper here than in Japan.
The new bag I got was much larger than what I had been using up till now, and had much more storage space. I could relax.
The next major obstacle was railway connections. The closest Underground station to my hotel was Russell Square. From there to Heathrow, the airport that I must first get to in order to set out on my journey to Japan, it would normally take about 50 minutes. To complicate matters, I had mistaken my plane's departure time and set my alarm clock one hour late. At this point time still wasn't a big problem, but all the trains going from Russell Square to Heathrow were absolutely jam-packed, and after watching about 3 of them pass me by, there were still hordes of people headed for the airport waiting on the platform.
There was nothing for it. This being the case, I'd have to go to Paddington station and take the 1800 yen Heathrow Express. The Express is expensive, but takes just 15 minutes to get to Heathrow, so I decided to go for it.
To get from Russell Square to Paddington I needed to transfer at Kings Cross St Pancras, but for some reason Kings Cross was closed and blocked off, and the tube passed by it. I got off the tube and took the bus, and somehow finally made it. Next I had to take the Underground from Kings Cross to Paddington. From there I managed to get the Heathrow Express. It was now just an hour and a half before departure.
I rushed through the airport, but again I had problems. My bags were heavy, and my shoulders hurt. For some reason, the airport was also very crowded. Starting at the check-in counter, it was crowded all the way to the departure gates.
While I was lined up at the check-in counter, I ran into someone quite unexpected. It was the woman I had met the day before when I was walking about Green Park. Just as I was taking a picture of a pelican, she had called out to me, "Hey, I'm from Saitama!" Perhaps like me she had thought it would be nice to relax with a walk in the park the day before departure. We exchanged a few words, but I didn't see her again after arrival in Japan. Perhaps she went off to some other country in Europe.
My plane was scheduled to take off within an hour. I started to panic a little. The more I rushed the faster time seemed to pass. I didn't even have time to stop and buy cigarettes or anything else at the duty free shop. It was just 40 minutes before departure, and I heard the final boarding call come over the loudspeakers.
The last day turned out to be a bit confusing, but in all events, over the 9 and 1/2 days I was in London, I felt, more than anything else, that I could fully enjoy myself.