As promised, here’s my (very, very belated) retelling of the adventures Lincoln, Clay and I had in Europe in March and April.
March 30 and 31: (USA -> London -> Swindon)
After flying out of Lincoln (Airport) , I met up with Lincoln (DeMaris) in Chicago. As I had lots of time to kill between my arrival at O’Hare and our departure for Heathrow, I spent a good two hours waiting for Lincoln to make his way from Seattle at the Goose Island airport brewpub. He eventually arrived and got down to business.
The flight across the Atlantic was uneventful. I have a hard time falling asleep on airplanes, and I watched bits and pieces of Cadillac Records as it looped 3+ times during the flight. We got into Heathrow around 9:30, and took a Heathrow Connect train into Paddington. Our train to Swindon wasn’t heading out until 3:30, so we ate lunch at a pub outside of Paddington, which I believe was the Sawyers Arms. After lunch, there was enough time for a pint at the Fullers pub inside Paddington before we caught our train to Swindon.
Why did we go to Swindon, you ask? Well…in the heady days before we planned out our exact itinerary (i.e., the weekend before we left), we thought that going to see some of the stone circles and other cool ancient stuff in the vicinity would be a nice, touristy thing to do. However, this would not be the case, as a) the sites of interest were 5-10 miles out of town, b) there was no transport available from Swindon there in the non-tourist season, and c) we didn’t find out until we were already in Swindon and were buying our tickets for the next day’s trip to Betws-y-Coed, Wales that the train would be leaving early the next morning. Oh well…
In any case, we walked from the train station to the Bell Hotel in the Old Town area (it had the advantage of being the cheapest place I could find after a 5-minute Web search). I called home via Skype, we had a couple pints in the hotel pub, and hit the town. After about 10 minutes of aimless wandering, we went to The Victoria pub, which had a cover band playing in the basement. They were pretty decent, with their Radiohead covers being particularly good. During the evening, we were asked two or thee times by the locals “Why are you in Swindon?” (Swindon itself is a most un-touristy town.)
On the stumble back to the Bell Hotel, Lincoln got a dÃ¶ner kebab. It was amazing.