Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore…

Greetings from Nottingham, UK!

My plane (Manhattan > Dallas > London Heathrow) touched down 15 minutes late at 8:05GMT – that’s 3am to my friends back in KS. Both flights were tiring and uneventful unless you count not knowing that your big boss was flying on the first leg of the journey! Dean Lori G. and I even had time to hang out in the Starbucks lounge at DFW and chat for an hour before she headed out to her catch her flight.

I navigated trains and the London underground (the tube) like a pro. (Let’s hope that continues as I begin my first round of meetings!)  I got off the train in Nottingham around 1:00pm and browsed through the array of bus schedules, picked up what I thought were ones I needed, then decided to take a taxi to my flat. Figured that would be the safest and easiest way to get there given my jet-lagged state of mind.

The ‘landlord’ left the key outside with a ‘be-back-soon’ note, so I let myself in. Charming old home with 12 foot ceilings, crown molding, and some original sci-fi/fantasy artwork by the landlord! I have a self-contained studio apartment. The lighting could be a bit better but other than that, I am delighted. The bus stop is 3 blocks; groceries, 5 blocks;  launderette, 6 blocks. The city centre is 8-10 minutes by bus with another 8-10 minute walk to the train station. There’s a bus that goes there, of course, but I haven’t figured out which route that is yet!

Speaking of buses… that’s part of how I spent my first full day. The web is a wonderful thing. I discovered I picked up the wrong bus schedules yesterday but our UK friends have great transportation info online. I figured out which routes went downtown from my ‘home’ and set off late this morning for what I am certain will be the first of many forays to the city centre.  Since I’ll be here for 3 weeks, I knew I didn’t have to see everything on my first day! But I wanted to get to the TI (tourist information center) to pick up brochures, get maps, etc., and I wanted to see the main gate of Nottingham Castle. I picked up a couple of postcards, found the post office, and bought stamps – that was quite a production! Take a number based on what you need to do and wait to be called. They had 13 queues and the place was packed. Okay…given that Nottingham has over a quarter-million residents I suppose that’s not so bad…

I also spent part of the morning re-confirming and getting directions to my Monday & Tuesday meetings & studying rail schedules (again) to my meeting tomorrow at Cranfield University. That’s a little over an hour by train via Bedford + 25 minute taxi ride to Cranfield, which cost about 5 pounds more than the bus. (I need to figure out how to make the ‘pound’ sign, don’t I?)

Can this small-town girl make it in the big city? Stay tuned for the next installment…

Oh… did someone say pictures? You know me too well…


2 thoughts on “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore…

  1. Char, thanks for the newsy post. Glad you made it ok — sounds like you are indeed a real pro! Also thank you for posting pictures! I can live vicariously through all this stuff since I don’t know when or if I’ll ever make to to the UK again…Anyway, just have FUN!

  2. Glad you made it safely! The pictures look great! And good luck figuring out directions! Can’t wait to see you in 5 weeks – you’ll be our tour guide! 🙂

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