All good trip reports start with the story of the beginning. This trip started with me flying to London from Moscow. I chose to take bmi airlines, because they were cheap. Unfortunately, they are somehow connected with the ever-horrible Transaero, one of the worst airlines I’ve ever traveled with.*
Thankfully, I managed to get to London without any serious horribleness. I rented a car in London to drive myself to Dartmouth, where I’d be staying. I managed to get accommodation at the Britannia Royal Naval College. This transpired after a wonderful, half-drunk night spent with some British chums at their embassy bar. I mentioned this swim. They mentioned the college in Dartmouth. I asked if they had a visitor’s quarters for Yanks.
Next thing I know, one of the blokes emailed me to tell me that accommodations have been arranged. Blimey! They even had an American liaison officer there who would take care of me. Awesome! So I made flight arrangements and prepared myself for the swim.
I had heard that the College was like Hogwarts. I didn’t believe it till I saw it. That’s the college at the top of the hill.
I showed up a day prior to what they planned, but lucked out: the College was on summer break, thus they had about 400 rooms empty, so they were able to fit me in.
They gave me a room with a million-dollar, or at least hundreds-of-pounds view of the Dartmouth harbor. Um, I mean, harbour.
The cafeteria was still running. I ate three breakfasts and two dinners there. Total cost for all five meals? 4 pounds, 13 pence. Or $6.60! Incredible! And when I asked my liaison how much the billeting would cost, he said “One pound 50 a night.” WHAT? Are you serious? Two and half dollars a night? Incredible!
So I splurged on tourist crap. And beer at the wonderful pub The Ship in Dock Inn.
Next time, part II: The swim!
*I’ve flown Transaero, counting this time, six times. On the return from London, at the very start of the flight, the toilets were already out of toilet paper. On two previous flights, the seat I had lacked an overhead light. On one flight the overhead light just didn’t work. On the other, the entire freaking light was missing from the ceiling. Also, on both of those flights, the in-flight video system AND the music didn’t work. And both flights were full, and on both flights, the people around me had working entertainment systems and lights.