Plymouth Day 1: Getting there.


We arrived in Plymouth on July 4, and no fireworks awaited us.

Much to my relief.

Our hosts Jennie (D’s cousin) and her friend Tony, along with Meg, Jennie’s friendly and ubiquitous Black Lab, had snacks, beef stew and bottle-conditioned beer on hand. We managed to stay awake until well past 10:00 p.m., then slept nine hours and were ready to go explore on Friday.

Traveling eastbound to Europe, you always hope for a smooth transfer. Delays can come at the end, on the way back, when it doesn’t matter. Fortunately, our commute was routine and trouble-free: From Heathrow airport (via Chicago) to London Paddington train station aboard a rail shuttle, then on to Plymouth on the First Great Western route.

The countryside is fine but ordinary until a southwestern turn after Exeter, when the train skirts the seacoast around Newton Abbot. Then you know you’re not in Nabb any longer.

For those still unaware, British Rail was privatized a very long time ago. My only annoyance with today’s trains is the way they’re not coming to resemble airliners in terms of seating, all open and maximized for squeezing people into rail cars, and without the person-meeting possibilities of compartments.

(The account of our visit to the UK is being posted piecemeal, backdated to the actual day)