I'm going to try to get these out one/day, but I make no promises! The photos will have to wait as they're not on this computer.
Friday March 23rd/Saturday 24th
Jen drove us to the train in Hicksville, but first we stopped at IKEA to pick up a spare timer for the lights since mine had evidently died. Oh well. We got to the train station with plenty of time which turned out to be a good thing as one of the trains listed on the schedule wasn't running.
The AirTrain was overall very cool. Really filthy, but cool. Quick, cheap, convenient and spacious. We got to the airport with plenty of time too. Which turned out to also be a good thing as the "Fast bag drop" for British Airways was still a 45 minute wait in line! Security was really quick though, so no real problems. We got to talking with another couple in line behind us with their 8 month old son, and it turns out the husband is a Cabana Man too! Brian at least knows he's not alone...
We spent several hours waiting in the terminal and I got a lot of stitching done on Ferocious Beastie. Two other flights to LHR with BA were significantly delayed by at least 2.5 hours so we weren't too hopeful about ours taking off on time. But we were lucky. We left right on time, and we were the last flight out of that section of the terminal that night. Brian did awesome with his fear of flying and hardly even paused at the door to the plane. Compared to the 30+ minutes that last step has taken him in the past, the drugs get my vote!
The flight was really good. Two little patches of turbulence, but nothing too bad. Brian slept lots, and right through one patch. I slept a little, but mostly just dozed. The seatback TV system was pretty neat, but very loud, even on the lowest volume setting. I ended up listening to music on my iPod with the noise cancelling headphones instead. Dinner was roast beef with mashed potatoes and carrots. really good, but I had said I'd like the chicken choice!
The landing was really smooth, and 10 minutes early. Brian hadn't even realized we were actually on the ground. No problems (and a very short wait) at immigration, and off to get the luggage. The first thing I see coming down the ramp to the luggage area? A Cadbury's vending machine! And I didn't have any coins to use on them! I had bills, but no coins! The luggage arrived fine and quickly, mine was a little crunched in but that was because it wasn't really full. No permanent damage.
It took a little bit of work to find the desk for the airport shuttle to the hotel, and then a 40 minute wait for the shuttle to arrive. But, this gave us plenty of time to hit the WH Smith for chocolate! As I go to pay, the guy behind the counter does his suggestive selling of "Toblerone for only one pound!" I took three and shocked the poor guy. He looked a little less upset when I told him they would have cost about 3 pounds at home. I'm thinking all three may not make it home intact...
The shuttle ride was fine, and had lots of kiss minis and kiss buggies! Our room wasn't ready yet (it was about 12:30) so we checked our luggage and went for an exploring wander. Found the Bayswater and Queensway tube stations. We also found the Whitleys shopping centre and a Marks and Spencer food shop. Bought ourselves some food and headed back to the hotel. Our room (#429) was ready, and it was as far as possible from the front desk as you could get in this place! This wasn't really a problem, just a bit of a pain when the first set of keys didn't work! :) The hotel was a full block of old houses that had been turned into mini-apartments. Ours was really cool, and almost as big as our place in Queen's. For London, that's HUGE! And so was the bathtub. I foresee a number of LONG baths in the near future.
After a little rest, we headed out and got our Oyster passes and headed for Hamley's, a giant toy store. On the way there from the tube, we got a really cool bent wire photo frame spelling my name. A total tourist trap/ripoff, but we didn't care. We also passed a gigantic Apple store. It looked busy, and this is good. Hamley's had a number of really cool Dr. Who toys, but I was good, and only bought a Little Miss Brainy book.
From there we walked down to Picadilly circus, which Brian doesn't remember ever seeing before. It was still as I remembered it. We caught the tube back to the hotel, but I made a mistake at our first change and got us on the wrong train. We realized it pretty much right away and were able to switch without having to even backtrack.
We shopped at M&S again for some pasta and sauce for dinner and called it a night. Brian cooked dinner while I wrote this out. Tonight is "spring forward" night here so we're going to lose another hour's sleep. Figures we'd lose that hour twice! :) We plan on just going to bed fairly early and getting ourselves set time change wise in the morning. And having a bath in that wonderful tub...
Total miles walked: 11