There is something very English about train travel. From the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter books to those Griff Rhys Jones and Michael Palin travel television series of year’s past, whenever I think of train travel the stereotypical image I get in my mind is a steam train chugging through rolling green hills, whizzing past thatched cottages whilst a middle aged woman serves cups on tea from a trolley aboard.
I took my first ‘long’ train trip the past weekend, travelling from Great Malvern to London, where Adam had been working through the week. I arrived at the picturesque Great Malvern station on Thursday afternoon, purchased a freshly made sandwich from the on-site tea room and relished sitting quietly watching the world go by as the train made its way north to Birmingham.
But that’s where the calm ended. A 10 minute delay meant I was pushed for time during peak hour to make my connection to London. In my panicked state I ended up getting on the wrong train! The destination, London’s Euston station, was the same but I ended up on the slower service. I felt like a real fool, but thankfully the conductor on board picked up on my accent and took pity on me, not turfing me off the train.
Adam and I had a lovely weekend in London. We poked around the high energy Camden Market – a multicultural melting pot and street food heaven, and took in both the British Museum and Museum of Natural History. Both are free (donations are encouraged) and huge. You could easily spend a few hours every week exploring the two sites and still probably not see everything.
We walked along the South Bank, following the Thames and hung out with Adam’s brother John and his partner Sally at their home in Islington. It was great seeing ‘suburban’ London, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and its iconic attractions. I loved seeing the way the owners/renters of the similar brick terraces stamped their identity on their homes.
Yesterday upon inspecting our tickets we home, Adam realised he’d accidentally booked us on different trains… it just wasn’t our weekend when it came to trains! We were both tired and still suffering slightly from our winter colds we’d picked up last month, so bit the bullet and paid the £30 required so we could get the earlier train back to Malvern. We made the connection in Birmingham with no problems and arrived home just before dusk.
I didn’t get my perfect English train trip this time around, but there is still definitely time to try again I think :).