The First Day in England
(this is a long read, but this post more for me as a journal entry than for my readers so it's up to you whether you want to wallow through the details)
The flight to London was great. They served a dinner, which was amazingly good, and offered free movies. I watched three, good grief! "Mom's Night Out" (and laughed out loud AGAIN) "Monuments Men", which I had been wanting to see anyway, and I can't remember the name of the third movie, but it starred Drew Barrymore and her love interest was an avid, obsessed, over-the-top Red Socks fan. Pretty funny.
Once again I didn't sleep a wink on the entire overnight 5.5 hour flight. Okay.
So the plane landed at Heathrow airport on time, about 2 hours before the others were supposed to arrive on a different flight. Great I thought, that gives me plenty of time to walk the bazillion miles from the landing gate to customs schlepping my camera backpack on my back plus a messenger-type bag containing my computer, some cords, my kindle and a few other little items--which, I might add, WEIGHED. A. LOT.
After going through customs it was another hike to get to the baggage claim. Eureka, my bag was there, so I grabbed it and headed towards ANOTHER. FAR. AWAY. destination--the bus depot. I had strict instructions from my son to go there and wait for them.
The five other people in our group arrived shortly, at which time we discovered that the bus schedule Scott found online to get us to our hotel was only active AT. NIGHT. and since this was high noon, we had to find alternative transportation. Okay, we could do that.
Back into the terminal to find our way to the "tube". There we were, all 6 of us, dragging our bags in and out of elevators and up and down stairs (yup, you got it, they don't have elevators for the different levels in the subway) Our first train ride took about 40 minutes and then we had to transfer trains.
In her effort to help her grandmother onto the next train, the granddaughter was shut out of the train as the rest of the 5 of us zoomed away. Fortunately, when the train began moving, mom was able to call out a station where we would get off and meet so she could follow on the next train.
Of course, everyone, including grandma, was on a different car than Scott and me, so when we arrived at the afore-mentioned station, Scott jumped off the train, tossed his bag against the wall and scurried over to help grandmom get off before the very insistent and stubborn doors closed and the train took off with her. Mission accomplished, and then around the corner came granddaughter. Smile. Reunited again.
Hahaha, this is the stuff movies are made of!
So once again we schlepped the bags up the stairs only to discover that we were a VERY. VERY. VERY, long way from our hotel. So we began walking. I won't bore you with how far we walked, but suffice it to say that it definitely filled in the void of not hiking in the Adirondacks this week.
We finally arrived. I didn't have my wits about me enough to get my camera out and take a photo of the place, but maybe I will in the next day or two. We then decided to go get something to eat at the advice of the guy at the front desk who said there was a great "pub" just two blocks away. Hmmm. So off we went. You probably know where this is going....It was no more a "pub" than the Cordon Bleu is a deli. I couldn't find a single thing on the menu that I was willing to pay for, let alone eat.
We were all very hungry by then, but a few of the group wanted beer! Guinness to be exact. So we hung out there a little while. The bartender assured us that there was a great place to get fish-and-chips (he named the "pub") back where we first got off the train. Do you hear the warning signals??? We wisely decided to take the bus back there.
We finally found the "infamous" World Market where the pub was allegedly located. The market is huge and goes on and on and reminds me of the Night Market in Chaing Mai (which almost caused me to hyperventilate because of the crowds and chaos), but of course we couldn't locate the recommended pub in spite of searching for it for a painfully long time.
We finally just got food from the vendors and ate. Three of us returned to the hotel and the other three went "pubbing". Only 19 more days to go.
|Seen while standing at the bus stop|
|The infamous double-decker bus|
|Seen in a shoe store window|
|Seating at the outdoor market|
What I've learned about England so far:
**I heard very few people speak English with an English accent--it seems like the majority of the
people here are from other countries
**The English pedestrians seem to have NO regard for red lights and "don't walk" signals
**They drive on the left side of the road. They drive very fast and very close to the curb
**Their hotel rooms are miniscule
**They provide one towel and no wash cloth
**The English people LOVE to smoke and must not have received the memo about it being harmful
to their health
**This particular hotel doesn't have a "lift" to get bags upstairs or downstairs. Tired by now.