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It’s an ungodly hour here at Heathrow but I have coffee, so things aren’t too bad. I arrived late last night and bedded down at the airport for a few hours. As I’m flying from the modern Terminal 5 that wasn’t too bad. There’s plenty of space, I had a bottle of beer which helped make the floor softer and I’d also packed a small cushion in my suitcase to use as a pillow which made all the difference as I got a decent night’s sleep – saving myself silly money on booking an airport hotel room which I’d only have occupied for a few hours anyway.


I’m now airside. Checking in and the baggage drop was pretty painless, as was security which was busy but the staff were both polite and efficient. One thing I did notice was the number of people who’re wearing masks again. Not only has Covid not gone away but cases are rising – something our Government and the media seen strangely quiet about. Despite this, it’s good to see how busy Heathrow is now that life is returning to some sort of normality – although with everything that’s going on in the world right now I’m not entirely sure what ‘normal’ is anymore.

Heathrow terminal 5 at 06:30 is not what you’d call quiet…

I’ve an hour to kill before my flight to Hannover boards so I’ll spend the time people-watching, catching up on some work – and blogging. I’m not a great fan of airports. I’d rather have caught the train to Germany but as I’m someone’s guest I have to go with the flow. Even so it’s interesting as I love travelling and the Pandemic years severely clipped my wings. This is only the second time I’ve left the septic isle since 2019 – and both trips have been to Germany. I’d love to get back on the road again but with everything that’s going on I can’t see that happening for a while yet. Still, I can’t complain. I’ve a busy schedule these next few months with lots of interesting things to keep me occupied – like this trip. Funnily enough, whilst writing this I wondered when it was that I was last in Hannover. A quick look at my Zenfolio website brought the memories flooding back. I was there 10 years ago for the recreation of the British Military train. This was the service that ran to Berlin during the cold war and an old friend – the late Major John Poyntz – was OC at one time. You can find the pictures from that event here.

17:00. (German time).

And relax! The flight wasn’t bad – only 90 mins and I managed to get some shut-eye which was useful. As I disembarked I bumped into another colleague. Chris Jackson from the Railway Gazette was on the same flight. The two of us hooked up for the onward journey to Hannover by rail, then on to Braunsweig. Siemens had sent me a rail ticket confirmation which no-one (including a couple of very helpful locals) could get to work in the ticket machines! Instead, I bought one of the month-long 9 euro rail passes that Germany is offering people to encourage people to get back on trains. It makes the UK’s ‘great rail sale’ look positively limp in comparison.

Having checked into our (very nice) hotel I had to do a quick bit of writing for a living, then headed out to explore the town which has a great little tram system and still has the odd vintage vehicle out in service. Here’s one passing the Rathaus earlier.

Right now I’m relaxing in the square outside the Rathaus and enjoying Konig Ludwig weissbier whilst I watch the world go by. We all meet up for a meal at 20:00 but I’ll probably try and get an hours kip in beforehand.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

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Thank you!