At long last I am back in the holy land, after a seven-leg, thirteen hour trip comprising four different kinds of trains (one of which, the London Underground, very nearly scuttled all my plans when the tightest change of the lot became a great deal tighter due to a mechanical failure on the Circle line), two countries, and one rather pleasant flight from Paris.
Kudos are due to Niall Harrison and Nic Clarke, for opening both their home and their library to me while I was stranded, and to my airline El Al, for handling my (and, from what I've heard, many other passengers') case with impressive grace and efficiency, and making it their priority to get stranded passengers home, or as close as possible to it. Less praiseworthy are my phone company Orange, who threatened to disconnect my phone due to irregular usage, and did so just as I was traversing France, cutting me off from the people in England and Israel waiting to hear about my progress. While it's understandable that the huge spike in my phone usage this week should have raised a red flag, the fact that neither I nor my family in Israel were able to get through to the number where said decision could be reversed is not, and the fact that my mother was asked to pay the current balance of my account, more than a week before it's due, in order to reconnect the phone is risible. Also failing to deal with the crisis were RailEurope, from whom I tried to purchase train tickets several times only to find the task impossible online (no sale of tickets less than seven days in advance), on the phone (constantly busy, no call handling system to put people on hold) or in person (lines around the block of the one location in the UK where tickets for trains on the continent could be purchased, no attempt to manage or inform the crowd).
My plans for the weekend are to rest, catch up on some small part of my huge TV backlog, and try to assess just how much this little adventure has cost me and whether there's any chance of recouping some of my expenses from my insurance company. Next week I will hopefully blog about some of the books I read on this holiday, and then maybe resume something like a normal blogging schedule. In the meantime, I leave you with these gorgeous pictures from Iceland, and the obvious response to same.