Travelling is akin to a science experiment, with added child-like excitement that SUPW classes offered. Pre-travel, you form a theory in terms of places worth seeing, timelines, budgets and the like; then you test it against available information- online, in books, with people; and then you live it for real. Whether your theory turns out to be true or not, you come back with accumulated wisdom, ever so happy and content.
Having formed the plans & schedules, I got on the plane. I had booked an Emirates from Delhi to London Gatwick with a two hour layover at Dubai. My return was on a direct Air India from London Heathrow to Delhi, since my wife was already booked on the Air India return. I chose Emirates for my onward journey primarily because Air India had become prohibitively expensive since I was booking only a few days in advance; and also because this particular Emirates was taking only a total of 13 hours to London which is the quickest outside of non-stop flights (which take 8 hours). I didn’t mind a quick stopover at Dubai to have a look at the Airport.
The flight to Dubai was comfortable, and so was the one from Dubai to Gatwick. I will probably review my flights at a later date. In between, I saw the monstrous Dubai Airport. It was like a huge shopping mall, modern in appearance, but medieval in the hum-drum within . I tried walking around, but the never ending stream of people jostling for space with and within the rows of shops amongst the narrow serpent like underbelly of the terminal didn’t really help my spirits. Nonetheless, I was ready to conquer England now.
Having landed at Gatwick around 8 PM, I quickly made my way through the weird up-the-escalator and down-the-escalator way through to the passport checking counters. Counters open for the non-EU passports were seven, and number of people ahead of me were sitting not so pretty at over a century. Took a little over an hour of patience and alternating weights on each knee to clear the immigration, which itself was easy and cheerful. Welcome to the first world!
Reached Reading at midnight, elated as a newly wed; and soon we drifted into a dreamy sleep.
I had to spend a couple of days in Reading while my wife would still be at her office . I decided do a quick walking tour of the pretty little city. Our hotel was right there at the Thames, and my running shoes were twitching, only to be gladly obliged.
It’s a lovely setting there at Reading by the Thames, with pretty manicured lawns on both sides, boats flirting with the gentle waves, tweeting and chirping birds, caress of the breeze and an inviting track to run and walk on. With cute little cafes punctuating the river side every now and then, I felt transported to a Hollywood set. Here’s a glimpse of the place.
Later that week, our joy knew no bounds when we stumbled upon the exquisite Reading Vintage Show. Vintage Cars, Paraphenalia, Artefacts, tons of food, and the icing on the top a whizzing airshow. That’s what we salivated on:
There are way too many pictures that bring out the excitement we lived that day, but I’ll stop here.
Overall it was a lovely uncoventional start of the trip, from a business town where she did the business, and I found its life..
Tomorrow, I’ll relive the wonderful couple of days we spent at Oxford, The Cotswolds, Gloucester, Bath & Stonehenge.
Travel to Love, Travel to Live.. Until tomorrow..