As I said in the last post, we are officially in London.
We took a night flight from Toronto to Gatwick. Becky’s mom was able to take a half day off and drove down with Alex’s parents to Toronto Airport. The morning, for both of us, was spent doing the last minute packing and getting some exercise. Alex went on a run and Becky did a workout at home, then went on a long walk around town.
We left for the airport at 2:30 PM. The ride was uneventful until we were basically at the airport. The turn we needed to make was closed for construction, so we ended up having to get on a highway, go to the next exit, turn around, and come back. Regardless, we made it with lots of time to spare.
Alex’s mom brought along some sandwiches, muffins, and apples, and we had a bite to eat before heading to security. Very few tears were shed, but it would be a lie to say there weren’t any.
Our flight left on time, which was a nice change from the past few flights we’d taken. We both tried to sleep for most of the seven hour flight, but had a hard time for many reasons. Alex doesn’t usually have any issues sleeping on planes, but I am not so lucky. On a recent trip to China, I think I only managed about two hours of sleeping during the full 24 hours of travelling each way. On our Transatlantic trip, there were three very unhappy babies that took turns screaming through the entire flight. Don’t get me wrong, I understand exactly why they are crying, and I feel bad for them, but it’s hard to not feel frustrated when you are kept up all the way across an ocean. At one point during the flight, there was a call for medical help. It turns out there were a lot of medical professionals on board, and the issue was resolved in-flight.
We landed in Gatwick early, and had picked up our bags and gotten through customs less than an hour later. I don’t do very well with stress or exhaustion, so having the two together was tough. We managed to find our way from the baggage claim to the train that would take us into London. From there we had to navigate the Tube for the first time. We got our Oyster cards (the pass for the London Underground) and found our way up and down several flights of stairs. Do you think we could find an elevator? Nope. Apparently not all Tube stops have them. It was quite the adjustment coming from Canada, where accessibility has been a priority for decades.
Once we finally made it up what seemed like 700 flights of stairs with two extremely heavy suitcases, we found our way to a hostel in Earl’s Court. It was only 11 AM, so we weren’t able to check in, but we were able to drop our bags and head out for lunch. We found a local pub and got some much needed food.
Feeling slightly refreshed, we decided to get SIM cards for our phones so we would be able to navigate the city more easily. Alex already had an unlocked phone and I was able to get mine unlocked easily. (Thanks Hurontel!) We ventured on a bit of a walk after sorting everything out and explored a bit of the area.
We went back to the hostel, checked in, and had a much needed nap. An hour and half later, we were out for a run. It turned into quite an adventure. We ran down to the Thames and then found our way over to Buckingham Palace.
We got back to the hostel two hours later, ate, and crashed. We were supposed to look at a flat that evening, but ended up rescheduling it because we were too tired. We decided to get some sleep and get ourselves in better shape for the hectic week ahead.