Monday, February 23, 2009

Another Kind of London Vendor: Harrods

After I flew back to Minneapolis from London, we spent a day retrieving Brian and Dianna's cars. (We had stashed them at friend's houses so they wouldn't be on the street in case Minneapolis declared a snow emergency.)

My final "leg" of this trip was getting back to Grand Forks from Minneapolis, another 300 or so miles. I had decided to do something which I haven't done in 35 years. . . take the train. Brian's roommate scared me about this, telling me I should try to scope out a "normie" to sit next to, and then smiling a slightly knowing (but truly menacing, like something out of Stephen King) smile and saying I should be "fine." (sure, sure, "fine," but perhaps no longer able to make eye-contact with anyone other than my senile dog, and having to take copious amounts of medication with insane co-pays that, in order to afford, I'd have to sell my camera equipment on e-bay for a mere pittance. . . . that kind of "fine." But I digress . . .)

And Amtrak really was fine! Fine, as in wonderful! You get to the station, drop off your luggage (without paying extra for it, and can check two bags), and then simply walk to the train and get on it. No taking off your shoes; no answering penetrating questions about who packed my bags and if they have been under my control at all times (what exactly does that mean? will they know that my husband really was the one that put them in the car for me at the start of the trip? do I really want to implicate him with Homeland Security?) And you get to pick which seat you want to sit in!

The train was not full, so most people pretty much had two seats to themselves, and I wandered toward the back, and picked a seat. And just like how I manage to pick the slowest, most jinxed, line in the grocery store, within about 5 minutes, the seats behind, in front of me, and across from me came alive with cell-phone chatterboxes, and crying children. And this was going to be an 11pm to 5am trip!

But then the magic happened! As the train pulled from the station, people ended their phone calls, the kids fell asleep, I discovered that trains have leg-room that would accommodate the Jolly Green Giant, and the conductor came by and passed out pillows. (not the smother-you-in-your -sleep-kind; the kind that you can wedge between your head and the window ) I turned on my i-pod, and strangely, it seemed to play only one song.

I looked again, and it had really played the whole album! I'd fallen asleep! I started it again, and was again asleep within minutes, and before I knew it, I was back in Grand Forks!

Taking the train was far, far better than flying on a plane, and certainly better than driving myself through winter weather. About 10 minutes before my stop, the conductor came by and told me we were almost there. And the conductors take your luggage off the train and it's waiting for you in the station.

Take the train, if you get a chance!

This week's theme is SOOC and processed versions. Here are two sets:

Compare this to the vendor in yesterday's photo! Un-edited Harrods


Un-edited photo of escalator in Harrods (before I saw the sign that said "no photography."

And the edited version:

18 comments:

Jason said...

Great shots, I really like those first two a TON!

Lauren said...

Wow, love the escalator photo, and especially love your description of the train ride. It sounds perfect!

Sharon said...

I like how you brought out all the wonderful architectural details around the escalators.

Erika said...

Great low light shots!! I always have a hard time getting descent ones in low light :(

Kristina said...

The lights really sparkle after your pp'ing! Nice job :)

janett said...

These are great, love your editing.

Beth said...

I enjoyed your journalling! Also, the PP really brought the images to life.

shirley said...

Great changes! I really like the picture of the escalators.

Diana said...

great great edits and even the originals are great! TFS

Mandy said...

I love your edit on the last one...its amazing what cameras can do in low light for sure!

I have never traveled on Amtrak but I would just love to. It seems like such a nice way to travel, and I have never flown much in my life. Lately I have had this overwhelming fear of flying...I think the train sounds a lot more my style. :)

Jodar said...

What an awesome glimpse of these buildings. I love the escalator shots.

Shanna Jones said...

Cool edits. I haven't really tried to edit non-people pics before. I should go out shooting...

Donnah C said...

These are great - I love the escalator shot

Jeanne said...

Thanks for sharing how smoothly the ride home went. That's super!

Great shots, but then, all your photos are terrific!

I've really enjoyed your sharing of your trip!

Reds said...

TFS your train ride! Love your before and after shots!

Gypsy Girl said...

I finally got a chance to catch up on all your london trip. Wow what a great trip. You are so funny. Isnt shopping in Harrods like being in a different world.

Amy said...

I really like this week of before/after and yours are great! About a year and half ago, my girls and I rode the train from Boston to Philadelphia. It was their idea because we were just home from Europe and had ridden trains all over while there. We found Amtrak to be fabulous and really enjoyed seeing the scenery as we passed through quite a few states. Glad you had a good experience too! :)

Suzy said...

I love how you brought out all the detail! Wonderful shots!