Some days are big travelling days, in which you cover huge distances between your origin and your destination in complex and convoluted ways. I've just had one of those days, getting from the USA to the UK.
I have travelled from Pennsylvania to Newark airport in New Jersey, and now I'm flying from New York back to Keflavik in Iceland, on the way to London.
This is a night flight, although, because we are flying eastward and up toward the Arctic circle, the 'night' is only a couple of hours long. The dawn after this night was a rich red stripe across the horizon, with a sliver of moon and a bright planet hovering over it against the deep indigo sky. Unfortunately, such a scene is nearly impossible to photograph from the plane.
The clouds are putting on the usual magnificent show. As the sun rises they are revealed to be an unbroken even sheet out to the bright blue sky at the horizon. The sheet of cloud has an impossibly complex surface texture of ridges and cracks.
The unscalability of this surface creates the optical illusion that it is only 100 metres below us, and that we are travelling over it at a low speed.
Some of Iceland’s mountains are big enough to make it through the cloud layer:
As we glide in to land at Keflavik we slowly sink down until we skim that magical cotton-wool surface. When we contact it, the turbulence in the clouds makes it feel like we have come down on a rough road.
As it happens, this bank of cloud comes almost down to the ground, and almost the first thing I can see as we land is the end of the runway. The airport and surrounding area is covered in fog, which is a pity, as I was hoping to catch a last glimpse of the amazing Icelandic scenery.
A big day's travel schedule
Here's how the day(s)’ travel went:
0700: Get up in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA; pack, buy breakfast at a bakery, and depart – 3 hours.
1000: Drive to Newark Airport, fuel-up and turn in the rental car – 2-1/2 hours.
1230: Hang around at the unsecured area of the airport – 4-1/2 hours.
1800: Drop off the checked-in baggage and go through the security check – 1 hour.
1900: Hang around at the boarding gate in the airport – 2 hours.
2100: Board the plane and fly to Keflavik, Iceland – 5-1/2 hours.
0630: (new day and new timezone) Land, and hang around the boarding gates at the airport – 1-1/2 hours.
0800: Board the plane and fly to Heathrow, London, UK – 4 hours.
1200: Go through UK immigration and customs, get bags and coffee – 2 hours.
1400: Jump on the tube (underground train) for Clapham, London; transfer through four trains (actually very efficient) – 1-1/2 hours.
1530: Walk to the accommodation reception, book in, walk to the accomodation, carry all bags up the five flights of narrow English stairs to the (nicely done) loft – 1-1/2 hours.
1700: Done, in only 29 hours since getting out of bed! (And I did get a sleep during the long taxi in the aeroplane from the runway to the terminal at Heathrow airport.)
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