Monday, 18 August 2014

Things I learned travelling 350 miles

Last weekend I had a family wedding to attend which resulted in a bit of a long, and not to mention busy, weekend.

It was an educational journey, I learnt some stuff:
  • I flew to America by myself when I was twelve. I had no issues with this. The thought of travelling by myself, by coach, for around 400 miles really freaked me out. The journey from Scotland to Gloucester actually worked out longer than the journey from England to Atlanta, GA.
  • I don’t normally have issues with small children on public transport, but towards the end of a seven hour leg of a journey with three small children of the seat kicking, shrieking variety I was beginning to strongly favour the idea of children being bound and gagged when out in public.
  • There is a special kind of stress that you experience when you are on a bus which is due to arrive at its destination in fifteen minutes, but isn’t even on the motorway that it needs to go down before getting to aforementioned destination. This kind of stress is multiplied tenfold when you have less than thirty minutes to meet your connection at said destination.
  • There is a special kind of relief when you rush off your coach, having been the last person to get their luggage, dash through the station from the information desk to the next coach only to find it isn’t even loading yet.
  • Full moons bring out the crazies. At two separate stations I witnessed travellers kicking off and yelling at the bus station staff, really loudly.
If your bus is supposed to get to Birmingham coach station at 7:50pm & you look out the window at this time to see the above, you're probably not in Birmingham.
  • Birmingham coach station has a Starbucks where you can get a cake and a hot drink, or you could if it didn’t close about twenty minutes before your bus arrived!
  • Bus drivers do random things like pulling up to the stance where you are waiting, unloading the passengers and then moving away to a different stance four doors away. This will mean you’re the last one onto the bus and will stop you from getting a window seat.
  • It is hard to sleep when you are in an aisle seat.
  • It pays to eavesdrop on your fellow passengers, particularly if they have a window seat. When they get off at Manchester Airport you can hop into a more comfortable seat.
  • If you and five of your fellow travellers have been bussed to Manchester coach station (presumably because of some hiccough with your connecting coach) where a bus has been waiting for you for roughly an hour the correct thing to do is to humbly take your seat on the bus and allow the journey to get underway. Inappropriate behaviour includes stomping up and down the bus, arguing with the driver about where your luggage should go, shedding bags in the aisle and loudly complaining about the other bus passengers who are not giving up their seats so you can’t all sit together.
  • It is inadvisable to break your earphones ten minutes into your twelve hour journey. It is doubly inadvisable to then bugger up your second, back up, pair of earphones immediately after this.
  • Motorway service stations do sell earphones. They do not supply scissors to hack into the packets. You can use a pair of nail scissors to fight into the packet.
  • Bits of you can hurt after an almost-thirteen hour bus journey that you couldn’t possibly imagine. The soles of my feet have only just recovered. I have no idea why they hurt.

So yeah, it was an interesting trek down south but it was useful because it’s a relatively direct method of travelling, even despite the delays due to heavy traffic and road works. It’s definitely a trip I’m going to repeat in the future. I have several people down that way who I’d like to visit so now I just need the holiday hours and cheap tickets.

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