Tuesday, 30 August 2016

12 Hours in London

I am grateful for a pretty good first flight. A smooth take off, a helpful crew, a medium dose of medication and earphones to drown out the crying children made it so I was able to sleep through most of the flight. Bryan didn't fair so well with a child spilling wine on him and being surrounded by a party crowd.
Also, the lady beside me didn't eat her salad from the inflight meal. Whatcha gonna do with that? She wasn't going take it so I asked if I could have it. Fresh fruits and vegetables are going to be a luxury very soon so I can't see it go to waste. We had talked about why I was travelling so she was glad to indulge me.
As we approached for landing, I was happy to have a great view of the city
The lady beside me on the plane had the best advice "Remember, look right before you cross the street. They drive on the other side of the road" Great reminder!
So the plan was to explore London with the 4 criteria 1-Take local transportation 2-Do something you can only do in that city. 3-Go to the highest point. 4- Eat local food.
Sarah was meeting with some family so she was splitting off from the group and Bryan decided that booking a day room and getting some sleep was the best use of his time.
That left Karen, Cathy, Jess and myself to head to downtown London to meet Cathy's brother-in-law who would be our guide. Please note....it's 2am our time(Geesh)
It was off on the Heathrow express train to Paddington Station.
(No sign of a man in a yellow hat) and then grabbed a cab to Buckingham Palace. 
It was a quick trip with passes by many landmarks like Hyde Park and Westminister Abbey.
Check #1-Something you can only do in that city-Buckingham Palace.
It was a majestic sight to see the palace appear before us. 
We were also blessed with the most glorious weather for the day. Clear blue sky, hot sun and about 23C. It was perfect.
The royal family is at Balmoral so we could actually tour inside the palace. It is an amazing to walk the hall of such a building. Surrounded by the history, the beauty but unlike other public museums or places of interest, also a family home. AS you look at the extended portrait of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their children, you are aware that those children ran and played in these rooms. 
The state display was the dresses and gowns over the years. It was fun to see them live and I could remember some of them from events and news coverage. Although her wedding dress was very beautiful, the coronation gown is beyond description and I can't imagine how much it must weigh with the amount of beading that is on the skirt. 
Also fascinating was the throne room that I have seen in so many photos. To be standing there in person was surreal. And here was the opportunity to see fine works of art by Reubens, Worhol and the statue Mars & Venus.
After the tour we finished with a light lunch at the cafe. 
Check #2- Eat local food
Ice cream from the Windsor Dairy
In the park across from the palace we found the Canadian Memorial
and you could rent lawn chairs to relax in the park
Next was to Check #3- Get to the highest point.
So we headed across the city to the London Eye and Big Ben.

Crossing Westminister Bridge, I found this busker...on bagpipes!
Unforntunately, time killed that dream but we got to see them and then grabbed a cab back to the airport.
Check #4- Local transportation-Cabs and the express train.
Now back at the airport, we changed out of our day old clothes and felt refreshed to get through security. However, I might have got into a bit of a 'jam'. See I had purchased some small jams at the palace that I had been assured were fine to have on my carry-on. Apparently, they were wrong. I got "randomly" selected for a full body xray and had to explain my jams. Good news is the security lady was very kind and they don't have to through them out, they will ship them to me. PERFECT!
We then found out our flight is delayed so decided to have a nice dinner together. Well, we are in England so fish & chips it is. 
But I switched out my chips for one more salad.
We are now waiting as our flight to Johannesberg has been delayed. Feeling tired and will need to medicate to get through the next 11hr flight and cope with the travel of tomorrow but it was a great day!

1 comment:

  1. so far so good....thinking about you. good luck with the rest of your trip to Malawi.