My first 24h in Cranfield. This will mostly be interesting for close friends or relatives.
After getting to Luton airport I proceeded out and got on a free "plane-train" bus that brought me to Luton train station where thanks to an advise from a station staff person I got on an express train that got to Bedford in one stop. The train was just beautiful and the railway system in general left a feeling of perfection - up to second schedules, lifts everywhere, electronic button controlled doors even for the toilet. The staff at the Bedford train station showed me direction to the bus station, but frankly I wouldn't have found it if I didn't ask again a few time along the way. In the bus station I was surprised by the news that I had to wait almost two hours until bus to Cranfield which was not pleasant considering that the temperature was approaching zero and I foolishly did not take any of my winter clothes. After the long wait and a long drive the friendly bus driver dropped me off at the Cranfield Swan. I oriented myself with my printout out of Google maps and went searching for Dmitry's house which luckily was close and was found on the first try. It was clear that I arrived to England - the first thing Dmitry asked was if I would like some tea. Which I did, after the freezing cold. After some hot tea with chocolate I felt alive again and felt so good that even agreed to Dmitry's suggestion to go and see the campus. It was around midnight. For around half an hour we walked trough part of Cranfield village and by the airfield around the quiet side of it. The sky was clear and blazes from other towns could be seen all around the horizon. Together with a very bright moon it made a very nice picture but I could not take it properly because I still have no tripod. On campus Dmitry showed me a few buildings. In Cranfield students can access most campus facilities 24 hours a day using key cards. That is a very nice feature. We also saw a couple students in the computer lab (at one past midnight from Saturday to Sunday!). We walked back by another road taking a look at a few other strange buildings and places along the way. It was even colder then before, but it was less noticeable as we walked. Only when we came back and sat in the kitchen drinking some tea, I remembered that I did not sleep the night before and started to feel tired.
After we woke up (around 11) we ate a 'traditional' English breakfast. In all honesty I must say that I am not used to that ... eating breakfast I mean. I forgot to print out (or save down) addresses of places that I planed to see about renting a room, so we had to go back to the university campus to look up the addresses in my Gmail. Along the way we accidentally stumbled on my new boss - prof. Tiwary. He is a very helpful person. I am really looking forward to working with him. After that we quickly visited the two places I had in mind for the room rent - I was basically already decided on one of them and the fact that could have moved into the other one only after a week also helped to make my decision. I am moving in tomorrow evening. After we had some experimental cooking from Dmitry and visited local supermarket (in Latvia we would call shops that size "kiosk" or "gas station appendix") I can only prepare for sleep now.
All in all I like this place. The whole of Bedfordshire is made up of houses in very warm and classical British style. And the university campus is made generally in the same way but with a modern twist to the place. From one point of view I am in a small village, but from the other side I am just surrounded by some of worlds most densely populated and densely civilized places.
We will see how it goes from here.