It was quite the adventure getting here but we made it! Our plane was delayed about an hour and a half due to weather and we had some seriously terrifying turbulence for the first 15 minutes or so but it eventually all smoothed out and we had a great flight. Victoria slept probably 4 hours and I slept about 2… not great. We had sleep aids but it was just not in the cards for us. I watched 3 movies: “Burnt” which was good, “Brooklyn” which was great, and “Room” which was amazing. I started “The Intern” but we landed when it was about halfway through (it was just okay). The plane was freezing but they gave us blankets and pillows so that helped a lot.
Our plane dinner was… dinner. We both got the chicken and it wasn’t half bad. We weren’t sure if the side was potatoes or grits though and that’s never a good sign.
We also got a decent breakfast right before landing.
As we landed, the pilot informed us that the local temperature was 44 degrees… Fahrenheit. WHAT? Neither of us were prepared but by the time we got outside, it had warmed up quite a bit. Here we are looking ROUGH after the long flight.
We made it through customs pretty quickly and picked up our bags (both made it!) and headed toward the hotel.
We took the Heathrow Express over to Paddington where we struggled a little bit to change trains but eventually got it sorted out. Google maps was pretty helpful but we had to cave and use the information desk, something we should have just done right away.
The subway there was insanely busy but we were clearly not the only tourists pulling around large luggage. Getting my suitcase through some of the terminal gates was a disaster because of how wide it is but I managed. I was taught never to pack more than you can carry so the weight of it was no issue when I had to carry it up and down flights of stairs. Anyways, we transferred lines and finally got off at High Kensington Street. As we exited, a guy approached me and grabbed my bag and offered to carry it upstairs for me. I politely declined and he, while still holding my bag, insisted. I declined a little more firmly and he let go and ran off. Did someone try and steal my suitcase?! That would have been an awful way to start the trip!
The train station was pretty close to our hotel so we walked over, checked in our bags (our room wasn’t ready yet), and went to grab a quick lunch.
We were both hungry and exhausted so we ate one of the first things we saw: fast food Chinese at a placed called Wasabi. Our best move? Probably not.
Our room was finally ready so we checked in around 1pm. By then, we were both SO spent. Victoria showered and I took a short nap before we forced ourselves to go stay active to keep us awake. First on our list: Kensington Palace.
It was about a 15-minute walk from our hotel which was actually great because the weather was AMAZING. It was seriously perfect. We walked around most of the garden and toured the palace for a couple of hours. I was determined to find the Peter Pan statue but we ran out of time before I could. Hopefully we can go back tomorrow and I can look again!
The garden was so beautiful and there were so many little trails and paths to go down, with new scenery at every turn. I was surprised at the number of people just lounging around but even more surprised at the number of dogs running around off their leashes! They sure were cute though and it made me miss Elliott of course.
We had to meet the tour group at 6pm so we headed back to the hotel, freshened up, and then went to the lobby. Our group is about 25 people, most from Illinois (University of Illinois) and Texas (University of Texas… ahem). There were a few other stragglers like us but most everyone is fresh out of college which means Victoria is the youngest and I am the oldest. How. Fun. For. Us. In reality, it wasn’t all that bad and we both enjoyed talking to everyone. After introductions, we went to the Goat Tavern to try traditional Fish and Chips and had a great time. It was delicious!
The group started to disband slightly after dinner, some going back to the hotel, some going to party on their own, and others heading out to another Pub called Greyhound. We went to Greyhound with our new t.u. friends and I tried popular English drink: Pimm’s. I don’t know what was in it and this computer is too slow to look it up but it was pretty good. Clearly, because I drank it all.
We’ve had SUCH a long day and I have no idea how long we’ve been awake at this point but it was seriously the best day. London has been great so far and I am so excited for tomorrow because we’ll be seeing so much more of it!
PS. I apologize for any spelling, grammar, or formatting mistakes. It is late and I am tired! Shout out to my brother-in-law for letting me borrow an old laptop so I can store and post pictures for everyone!