October 19th 2011 Travel Day Los Angeles to London
All packed several days ahead, this morning was easy; we left about 10 am, picked up Barbara and then drove to LAX. Arrived about 12:30 pm, checked in and headed for the Sky Club where we enjoyed a relaxing hour. They offered a variety of drinks and snacks in a comfortable setting; so nice to have access to this with Barbara’s business class ticket.
Our flight left on time and arrived early in Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport. We had a wheelchair ordered for Barbara and it was a good thing…it was a long walk to the next gate and we really scooted along because we only had an hour between flights. Nancy was waiting for us at the new gate; she’d moved her flight up an hour because of storms in Chicago…25 foot waves and high winds were playing havoc with flight schedules and her originally scheduled flight still had not left Chicago. Quick phone calls home and then when it was nearly time to board the plane I realized that I’d left my heavy coat on the first airplane! Panic time! I went to the desk and told them my dilemma…quick phone calls between agents…the plane was still there! Scheduled to go to Denver; they were able to check the plane and there was my coat. They called for a service to transport it to our gate and yes…it did arrive just as we were called to board in the fourth group! So glad as I really needed it later in the day as we walked in London.
October 20th, 2011
Barbara had arranged for a car to take us to the hotel as our luggage would have been difficult to deal with on the Underground. So our early arrival was very pleasant! Our driver was there waiting for us even though we were early (they watch the flight schedules) and had us loaded and on our way into London soon after. Our flight went well…Nancy and I slept off and on and Barbara slept nearly the whole trip thanks to her “bed” and a sleeping pill; very unusual for her in an airplane.
Our hotel was a bit of a stumble; prices have gone up…like everything else…over the past five years and we tried to keep within our budget. So we are not at the Marriott Marble Arch…but it’s clean, well located in Sussex Garden , and the staff is very nice. We have a triple room, beds are firm but not too firm. The bathroom is small and being in the fourth floor the hot water takes a while to get there. Nancy showers in the morning and Barbara and I take ours at night so that’s good; not sure if there’d be enough for three in one night.
Put our things in the room, then headed out for the nearest Underground/Tube Station…Lancaster Gate. Took a lot of questions from people on the street…they were very nice and gave us help with a smile for the most part.
We changed routes at Horton and arrived soon at Covent Garden and Barbara was “home”. She made a beeline for Punch & Judy’s Pub; a favorite for years. We enjoyed a lunch/dinner…it was nearly 5 pm in England (we’re eight hours ahead of California). We all three ordered lasagna that included a salad. Barbara and I each had a small beer and Nancy had coke. Sated and full we explored the Thursday Market that happens in Covent Garden every Thursday until 7 pm. They had a huge boom camera taking photos along with several roving photographers. Probably for a television program??
Barbara purchased a photograph, black and white of London with a red bus in the center, the girls shared brownies and we tasted many different things at various tables before heading to the sounds of music; Barbara said this was where people came to perform for money. We found a wonderful male opera singer with a fabulous voice plus a comedic flare that kept everyone enthralled as he performed. We were on the second floor looking down over the rails to watch the performance.
Left the area; back on the tube…we’d purchased a one day pass for each of us…and headed for Westminster Station; required one long walk to switch routes. Arrived from the Jubilee route and walked out to view Big Ben…chiming away as it was about 6 pm by then. People were thronged on the street…tourist and business people heading home from work. We stopped to view the London Eye….a very large Ferris wheel with rooms…but the girls are both adverse to heights…so we’ll only look. It's called the London Eye.
Down to the river to purchase tickets for a one way cruise to Tower Bridge. A fun ride on a large boat where we sat downstairs in comfort to view the sights along the river. By the time we arrived at the Tower Bridge it was dark and hard to get good photos.
Took us a bit to find our tube station at Tower Hill but we managed. Home with only two changes we finally managed to find our hotel after walking several blocks in the wrong way. It was early to bed after connecting to the Internet for Skype calls home to let them know that we’d arrived. It was just after noon at home and they were glad to hear that we’d arrived safely. The hotel has free wi-fi but it doesn’t work well in our room…we’re off in a corner on the fourth floor…so I went down to the lobby for my calls.
Showers and off to bed…slept like a rock…we all three snore…almost like being at home! LOL