Saturday, July 28
I'm finally in Liverpool. It was one of those days.
I was out of my Venice hotel by 7:45 (declining their breakfast that didn't really open until 8:00, though the desk clerk said I could get coffee). It was a lot easier to walk over two canals and take the vaparetto to the train station than it would have been to walk over numerous canals and take the bus. The price was double that of the bus, but it was worth it.
When I got to the airport I found my flight to Zurich was delayed due to bad weather in the Zurich area. They already knew I might have connecting problems and told me how to deal with them. Though the connection might also be delayed...
The flight was to take off at 10:05. It actually took off at 12:30. As I boarded, they handed me a new boarding card for the connection, with me already booked on a later flight.
I arrived in Zurich hungry and was pleased they supplied me with a meal voucher (though I had to stand in line with everyone else rebooking flights).
I had found a multi-language bookstore in Venice because I was getting close to the end of all the books I brought. I finished one and started the new one while waiting. It is about an English man who married an Italian woman and is living in Italy. He is finding his kids aren't English. I may have to buy another book for the flight home.
The replacement flight was to leave at 5:15. It was also delayed. Out of the first 30 flights on the departure board (arranged by original departure time), half of them were delayed. We departed sometime around 6:15. The flight was almost two hours but with a time change. After landing in Manchester and through customs (only four non-EU people on the flight) I changed money and got something to eat. Such a relief to know my waitress spoke English (though it wasn't a British accent). So for $17 I had a bowl of chili and rice.
At 8:00 I headed for the trains. The agent told me he would put me on a local train because I would get to Liverpool earlier and told me I should head to track 1 pronto because it would depart in 5 minutes. Uh, dude, there are tracks 1A and 1B. Which? I changed in downtown Manchester, went on to the big station in Liverpool (this train was express) and took the underground to the station near my hotel. I arrived here about 10:15. That means when I head home on a noon flight I had better leave the hotel well before 8:00.
The weather is much cooler than in Italy. And it is raining. As we prepared to land in Manchester I saw a double rainbow outside my window. Alas, by the time I convinced the camera to not focus on the glass it was gone.
This room is huge compared to what I had in Italy! It is easily bigger than the combination of the rooms I had in Rome and in Venice. By the time I leave nine days from now I'll have spent a hefty chunk of money. The hotel is part of the Albert Docks, which is a repurposed warehouse district and is now quite posh. I'm in this hotel because the convention center (where the Symposium will be) is across the street – and other hotels nearby are even more expensive.
It is after 11:00 now. I may have gained an hour but I was up really early. I'm not setting my alarm.