Our last day in England started much earlier than any of the other days. Our bus for London left very early, so we were up before the sun. Thankfully, the bus station was an easy 10 minute walk from our hotel. We arrived with about 10 minutes to spare, and then we were on our way.
There were some huge storms forecasted for today, but we didn’t really see them until we were in London. We went to Hyde Park after arriving in London, since we had about four hours until we needed to be at the airport. While we were walking around this beautiful central London park, we endured more than once heavy rain and hail. Thankfully, I love rain, and Rob’s just a German bad ass who isn’t bothered by things like water falling from the sky. :)
Amused by the wildlife and the signs regarding the wildlife along the way, we followed the ground plaques to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. This fountain was not at all what we expected, but I think it fits Princess Diana perfectly. The fountain area is open and inviting. The signage even encourages visitors to dangle their feet in the water.
Just like Lady Diana Spencer challenged the way people all over the world thought of royalty, so does this fountain challenge the way we think about fountains. There was no water spouting high into the air. No brass figures in symbolic stances with water shooting out of or over them. The fountain is a large ovally, circle formation of Cornish granite. The water flows from the highest point, which slopes down to the pool at the bottom of the fountain. The granite has bumps, curves, and grooves in it, which makes the water gurgle and prohibits the surface of the water from running completely flat.
Thus ends my probably terrible description of this fountain. Let me end it by saying you should just try to visit it yourself if you are even in London. You can also view this video, which isn’t quite like the real thing, but gets pretty close.
After the fountain, we headed to Speaker’s Corner, but didn’t find anyone speaking, so we decided to make our way towards the airport. It was 3:30 and we didn’t need to be there until 5, so we figured we would arrive early, grab some grub, and play cards while we waited for our flight.
We arrived at the airport at about 4:15 and checked in. We were a little concerned because our check-in time was an hour and 15 minutes before our flight was to take off. Then we looked a little closer and realized that our flight number had changed, as had our take-off time. We hustled through their very simple security checkpoint (best I’ve encountered!), then rushed to our gate, only to find a long line outside the gate. By talking to the lady in front of us, we found out that our later flight had been cancelled due to the weather and that we were lucky to have been assigned seats on this flight!
Even though the flight was supposed to take off in 20 minutes from this point, no one was boarding. We all waited in the waiting area (where they had a book vending machine!) until 10 minutes after official take-off time, when the finally started the boarding process. The captain announced that we were delayed because of both weather in London and in Frankfurt. We finally took off a full hour after this new flight’s scheduled time and 20 minutes after our original flight’s time.
As we landed in Frankfurt amidst wind and rain, the only image running through my mind was one that we had seen over and over again in German news the previous week: A plane trying to land at Hamburg, but clipping the left wing on the ground, only to take off again.
I don’t know if it was my overactive imagination or reality, but it felt like we slid sideways a little bit as we landed. Despite any potential danger, our pilots landed the plane safely: We were almost home! Two train rides later, one from the airport to the Hauptbahnhof (“howpt-bahn-hoaf,” or central train station), and then from the Hauptbahnhof to Giessen, and we were home!