What a long, long day it has been. Actually it has been two days, merged into one. Like the never-ending day. My Dad came on Sunday afternoon to pick up Jason and take him to a Flag Day ceremony for Scouts. I finished packing, and then my Mom came to pick me up and take me to the airport.
Wait, let us take a moment and give my parents props for doing all of this for us. I’m soooooo glad that they live nearby and that Jason gets to spend this time with them. I know he is going to have a great time, and I have the peace of mind knowing that they are all having fun together. It is a good thing, and I am so grateful that they are watching him for us while we are gone.
Made it through checking in the bag, dealing with the ticket that said “Felleck” instead of “Selleck” (Mike didn’t do the “S as in Sam” that I normally do when he booked the flight), going through security, getting to the gate and managed to get a better seat. The flight was 10 hours or so long, the food was crap but I brought my own so it was ok. Noise cancelling headphones are awesome, especially when the guy two seats over is snoring very, very loud. No matter how hard I tried, I could not sleep. I knit on the Clapotis. I listened to podcasts. I started reading “Knitting Rules” by the Yarnharlot.
Landed in London, where the real fun began. Two hours of queues (lines) and changing modes of transportation. I was actually considering getting these Car Leasing Deals and taking advantage that they were really cheap. I got off the plane, went through immigration, picked up the suitcase at baggage claim, zoomed past customs – don’t tell them that I brought Ann some cheese, ok? – the off to get on the Gatwick Express to travel from Gatwick into London, about a 30 minute train ride to Victoria Station. Arrived at Victoria Station to stand in a very long queue for a taxi. Wondered what on earth happened to the 74 degrees it was when I landed an hour earlier, as it was much closer to 86 or more by that time. Took the taxi to the hotel, and remembered again just how bizarre it is to ride on the “wrong” side of the road. I swear, I am going to get hit when I cross a street at some point – even with “look right” and “look left” painted all over, I always look the wrong way at first; good thing I always look both ways! Saw the Royal Guard training near Buckingham Palace. Arrived at the hotel, got the key from the front desk, went to the room – and Mike arrived just after I did to make sure I got here ok and all. He then went back to the office for his afternoon meetings and I got cleaned up, changed clothes, unpacked some things, and headed back out. Into the heat.
Side note: it was a record high today – the hottest June 12th on record since 1896 or something like that. So much for escaping the heat – I seemed to have brought it with me!
I walked around by the London Eye, went over to a sandwich shop and got lunch, walked across Westminster Bridge, photographed Big Ben (of course), and then went over to Westminster Abbey. I didn’t tour the abbey today, but instead went through the Dean’s Alley and explored back by the school grounds. It was a nice break away from the craziness of the usual tourists.
Eventually I made my way back to the side of the abbey to take more photographs, and then returned to the hotel to get out of the heat, get some water, and just cool off. I decided to lay down for a nap while I waited for Mike to return from his meetings, and then I napped off and on while he took care of some work related things. We headed back out around 8pm, going over to take in the view of Parliament from the South Bank, and then the Eye again. Fortunately, the temperature had dropped as the sun was going down, so walking was relatively pleasant. After that we walked across Hungerford Bridge and up to Covent Garden for dinner and then over to Leicester Square for a scoop Haagen Daaz. We filled up the Oyster Card (public transport card for the tube and the bus) and then walked back to the hotel.
Now it is quite late, and I am off to bed. Hopefully, jet lag won’t eat me alive tomorrow. I haven’t decided what I am doing in the morning yet; I do need to download the first round of photos off the camera before I head out, but since our internet connection at the hotel is slow I am not sure how soon I will start posting them. In the afternoon I plan to go to the British Museum and then meet up with Ann at the British Library. From there, we will head off to Islington to Loop and then to meet with her knitting group at the pub.
Note for my parents: Cell phones are not working like they were supposed to be. Calling Cingular tomorrow. Will let you know when they are on.