Europe Hotels Articles

April 14, 2010

Travel experiences: Gatwick airport

Gatwick Airport

My son, Ryan, and I were nearing the end of a month long vacation in Europe. I hadn’t been keeping track of my ATM withdrawals but had a feeling that I was getting very low on funds. We had taken a train from London’s Victoria Station to Guildford. I wanted to show Ryan a place in Surrey that I had stayed with friends in the antique furniture restoring business on my first trip to Europe in 1976. We didn’t arrive in Guildford until 9:30 PM and it looked like we weren’t going to have any luck finding a place for the night. I thought we could crash in the train station for the night, but the police said that they locked up at 1:00 AM I figured that we had better get to Gatwick Airport even though we still had a couple of days to go before our flight back to Portland.

I knew that we could crash at Gatwick and didn’t think that the cops would give us a bad time. We arrived at Gatwick about 11:00 PM and found a comfortable and long enough seat on the upper floor in “The Village” of stores and restaurants and pubs, to sleep on. I went in each of the three pubs, in the hopes of ordering a beer but they each said, “sorry, we’re closed,” even though they still had a few customers drinking.

Ryan spotted a kids’ play area that had a TV on. We moved our stuff over to it and I said, “alright, an old Jimmy Cagney movie!” As soon as we sat down, a troop of young kids came in to play & we couldn’t hear or watch the TV so we went back to our bench. Ryan checked out the arcade and was mad that I wouldn’t let him go play in it. It was getting late and I knew we’d be waked up early. I told him he’d have at least twenty hours to kill before we left on Thursday, so chill out.

We were awakened around 5:30 the next morning and the place was swarming with people already. I bought donuts and milk for our breakfast but Ryan’s stomach was bothering him. I freshened up in the restroom and later on went to see if there were any laundry facilities at or near the airport? The airport didn’t have a launderette but they did have showers. The village, a half-mile away, had one but you had to take the motorway and couldn’t walk on it. I checked out the Hilton Hotel connected to the airport but if you weren’t a guest, tough luck! The Hilton receptionist seemed genuinely sorry though.

I ended up buying a t-shirt in the Disney store with Bugs Bunny & the Tasmanian devil on it, in order to have at least a clean shirt for the flight back. We spent the day taking

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