So starting at the very beginning of our trip, here are our back packs the night before we left:
Yes, that is absolutely all the luggage we took for a one week trip. I can hear your jaws dropping from here. Want to know what I took?
1. 2 short sleeved, collared shirts (I wore a t-shirt)
2. 1 khaki skirt (I wore my favorite denim skirt)
3. 1 dress
4. 2 quarter length sleeves shirts (one white, which I wore and one black)
5. 2 pairs of tights (one brown, one black), 3 pairs of socks
6. 3 camisole tops and enough underthings (I'll leave that to your imagination)
7. 1 long sleeved shirt
8. 1 long sweater (which I wore)
9. 1 pair pajama pants & matching shirt
10. 2 pairs of shoes (one of which I wore, obviously)
11. 1 quart size ziploc bag with TSA compliant tolietries (less than 3 oz. each)
12. 2 paperbacks, 1 notebook, 1 ink pen, 1 word puzzle book
13. One rail pass, one Oyster card, £250, Passport & other important stuff
14. 3 granola bars
15. MP3 player with: Atonement soundtrack, The Lord of the Rings Musical, Patsy Cline's Heartaches album, an audio book that didn't work and a bunch of my favorite songs
And here I am, newly arrived in London, carrying all that stuff:
Getting to London turned out to be a bit more complicated than we expected. Our flight out of our hometown was delayed by Air Traffic Control in Newark so many times we missed our connecting flight. We learned several valuable lessons during this experience:
1. Always be sure your cell phone is fully charged. We ended up buying a new cell phone at the airport because Prince Charming hadn't thought we would need ours (it doesn't work internationally). Turns out, when you miss your flight, a cell phone is incredibly important for trying to get on the next flight.
2. Never fly into Newark, NJ. That particular airport is an absolute zoo. Pilots actually hate flying there. I cannot do justice to our pilot's tone when, as we circled the city again, he said over the PA, "This is just part of flying into Newark".
3. Pay the doggone extra money and fly direct. Seriously. You'll thank me later.
Despite a very harrowing hour, when Prince Charming and I stood in different lines at different ends of the terminal and actually begged to be put on the next (overbooked, of course) flight, we did make it on the next flight. (The next one after that wasn't until Wednesday morning and this was Monday night. A whole day wasted and spent in New Jersey? No thanks!)
So that flight finally left a little after 10 P.M EST. It was absolutely full. Because we had been on standby, we ended up sitting at opposite ends of the plane. And I ended up with an aisle seat near the back, while Prince Charming had an unfortunate middle seat nearer the front of the plane.
We flew overnight, ate two airline meals, watched a few in-flight movies and TV shows (the selection is excellent these days), listened to music, clutched the seat during frequent turbulence, and tried to get some sleep.
We landed in London 10 AM local time (5 A.M to us). Then we waited to catch a train:
We took a train to a tube station, took the tube to the stop nearest our hotel (more on that later), unpacked our backpacks (took about 3 minutes), ate lunch at a London chain restaurant (I recommend the caramel pudding) and went out site-seeing. First we went here:
Where you can see things like this:
Yep, that's the Rosetta Stone. The real Rosetta stone.
And we'd only been in town a few hours...
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