Off We Go!
It feels like we have been planning this trip forever, and we kind of have. We made the decision to buy the tickets in June, and we have spent the last six months planning nearly every minute of the journey. We printed blank calendars and emailed friends, negotiating for their valuable time. As the trip got closer we booked our trains, buses, planes, and hotels and considered the calendar full.
Now that we’ve landed in London, it hardly feels real.
We were mostly packed last night, and after feeding and walking the dogs for the last time for 2 weeks, we used the morning to pull the toiletries together and go over our lists. Convinced we had packed everything we would need, we drove to Ryen’s house, put Penny in her garage and took Ryen’s car to the Dartmouth Coach depot. Ryen’s a big reason why we are able to take this trip. We’re grateful she agreed to look after the menagerie while we are gone!
The bus trip from Lebanon to Logan Airport was uneventful. We took an early bus, feeling more comfortable people watching at the airport than our watches on a bus later. The movie was new remake of The Karate Kid, but half-way through the movie the DVD stuck. The driver did what he could, but even had it not stopped the trip was less than the length of the film. More than likely it will be the same film on the way back anyway.
We forget that while we will be away for the next two weeks, including Christmas, that it is too early for most holiday travel, so the airport is less busy than expected. We were both surprised that we weren’t asked to participate in the new “enhanced” body pat-down or choose the full-body scanner — and were mostly relieved. Still early, we went to an airport pub to have a beer and meal before the flight. A little after 7 p.m. we boarded and our red-eye was underway.
The flight over was not that great. A few first-time-flying infants were less than enthusiastic and expressed as much most of the way, alternating turns screaming. Our seats were directly in front of the toilets in the mid-section of the plane, which means no one kicking you in the back of the seat, but it also means less legroom and the constant sound of an airplane’s toilet flushing. With earplugs in and headphones tuned into the in-flight entertainment, the flushing sounded as if an announcement was about to come on over the intercom. We both managed to grab a little sleep, but in fits and starts and dreams involving being flushed down a large loo.
We arrived at Heathrow a little after 8 a.m., found our luggage and made our way to the Heathrow Express. The Express had wifi so we checked email and updated friends and family that we were on the ground in London.
The Heathrow Express is about a 15 minute ride, and once we got to Paddington Station, we queued at the cash machine and learned that our debit cards weren’t working. The bank had been updated over a week earlier, so this was confusing. The credit card was working and so we bought Oyster cards and made our way to the hotel in Lambeth. Outside of the Lambeth tube stop we tried another cash machine and got the same result. The hotel was in walking distance, so we decided to check in and wait until the bank was open to contact them.
We got a little turned around, but eventually found the Novotel and checked in to our room. We drew the curtains, turned off the lights and tried to nap, but we’re foiled a few minutes later by staff knocking loudly on the door. We shooed them away and went back to sleep, knowing we need more energy if we are to keep up with Nick and Jess this evening.