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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Trip from hell

While we had a fantastic time in NYC for Brians birthday, our trip back to London was not as pleasant. Little known to us, Britain was getting a "major" snow storm. We arrived at Heathrow about an hour later than we were supposed to, but didnt really think anything of it. Once we had landed we couldnt believe there was so much snow on the ground! The last time we saw snow in London, it barely stuck to the ground. And I had just got done telling all my friends in NYC how it hardly EVER snows in London! Looks like the big guy upstairs wanted to prove me wrong. Since there was so much snow, they werent letting any flights take off from Heathrow. In fact, we were one of the last flights that were allowed to land...many flights after ours were redirected...some were sent as far away as Scotland and Paris!

Then we got an announcement from the pilot. Since no flights were allowed to take off, all of the gates were filled with planes, and there werent any open gates for us to use. They werent sure how long it was going to take to free up a gate, but the first guess was around 2 hours. 2 hours. 2 hours would have been a cake walk. SIX HOURS LATER we drove over to the cargo hanger where we were met by buses that had to take us to terminal 5, where we were originally supposed to disembark. So, instead of getting out of the plane at 730 am like we were supposed to, we finally stepped off the plane at 2pm. Turns out the airport was completely closed, and wasnt expecting to open until 5pm. After a quick trip through customs, we learned that all of the buses and trains were shut down due to the weather. The tube was running (which on a good day would take us 45 mins to get from the airport to our apt.) but on limited service. Over 2 hours later we finally arrived back at our apt. What a fantastic way to celebrate Brians birthday.

Heres the greatest part. The "major" snowstorm that they got produced what they considered a lot of snow. I think London was reported to have gotten 12 cm....and Heathrow apparently got 6-7cm. Yes, youre reading that correctly - CENTIMETERS. It was seriously a little more than a dusting. Very frustrating for two people who grew up with winters 100x's snowier than that. But, c'est la vie, brits aren't experienced with dealing with snow. It completely crippled the public transportation system for a day and a half, and was all over the news for much of the week.

Now that we have seen how terribly they can handle a little bit of snow, I think I prefer the rain :)


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