England's Countryside & Wales

Day 02 - Friday, May 15, 2015 - Arrive at Heathrow Airport; Meet Go Ahead Representative; Transfer to the Novotel London Tower Bridge Hotel; Free Time to Explore London; Welcome Dinner

Just as the British Airways crew was finishing the boarding process, a torrential wind and rainstorm came up at DIA. We sat on the tarmac for over ninety minutes waiting for the storm to pass and for clearance to take off.

Our British Air seats in World Traveler Plus gave us six more inches of legroom and a few more degrees to recline our seats. The evening meal looked like it was an upgrade from economy, but the breakfast was a box with a biscuit, jelly, and raisins.

Many people seemed to have no problems sleeping, but not us! Having tried this upgrade once, we both agreed to stick with Business Class in the future.

The good news is we made it to London only an hour late, arriving at 1:25, but because of the delay, many on our flight missed their connections. The immigration and passport control line to enter the United Kingdom was long and the process took about 40 minutes.

With our passports stamped, we collected our bags and met Lingam, our Go Ahead driver, who picked us up at 2:30. A young man from India, his taxi was new with a colorful monkey god hanging from the rearview mirror. He programmed the hotel’s location into his GPS and we were off to The City. He did not speak English well, but tried to answer a few questions as we entered this Roman outpost founded in 43 AD.

It was 3:20 when we passed Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Parents were picking children up from school and people were enjoying a clear afternoon in the spring. Buckingham Palace and the surrounding parks were decked out in the Union Jack flags and red, white, and blue bunting celebrating the Queen’s garden party today.

It was almost 4:00 when we got to the hotel and met our Tour Director, Mirne Schowengerdt who prefers to be called Pebbles. Pebbles it is! We registered at the front desk, found our room, and logged on to the Internet.

The desk clerk gave us a map and at 5:00 we met the 10 others of our group in the lounge to have a welcome drink. As soon as we had completed the short meeting, we went out for a walk with our guide and fellow traveler, Steve from Oneonta, New York. We wound our way to the Tower Bridge and from there to a tiny market.

We had great walk along the Thames watching the tour boats. There were local families out for a late afternoon stroll, shoppers, and tourists like us from all over the world as London is such a cosmopolitan city.

This area of London is a food desert, with little access to fresh fruits and vegetables. There are dozens of fish and chips and sandwich shops, but very little access to groceries. We did find a few snacks for the two meals that are on our own tomorrow. We also bought water as Pebbles recommended we not drink the tap water.

At 7:20 we all met in the lobby for a short walk to the restaurant, Brasserie Blanc for our first meal in London. We could order off of the menu; Gennie had salmon and Vic enjoyed ground sirloin.

It was 9:45 when we walked back to the hotel; the streets were full of young people just getting started with their evening’s festivities. Back in the room, we finished up the journal, sorted photos, and got back into our travel routine.

After our 32-hour yesterday, the shower and our clean bed were a welcome end to the day.

Accommodations: Novotel London Tower Bridge Hotel - - - Meal: B & D

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England's Countryside & Wales

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It sounds like you are having a wonderful time! It has been several years since we have been to London, but it was at this time of the year and so beautiful. I know you are enjoying everything. Things are good on the home front. Stay safe. Many blessings!

Carolyn Barrett   May 16, 2015 - 11:20am

Yes, we had that weird "hurricane" up here in Fort Collins too! Enjoy your trip - hopefully when you get back, we can arrange to get together!

Cheryl vieira   May 16, 2015 - 2:24am

Happy to be traveling vicariously with you. It's been a few years since we've been in that area.

Annmarie Gavin   May 16, 2015 - 1:59am

Glad you are enjoying!!! Drinks at 5? Shouldn't it have been Tea? Or Cream Tea?

Renata MacDermot   May 16, 2015 - 12:26am
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British Air 747-400 at DIA

British Air 747-400 at DIA

Queen’s Garden Party

Queen’s Garden Party

Tower of London Bridge

Tower of London Bridge

The Gherkin

The Gherkin

Tower of London

Tower of London

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