Monday, August 18, 2008

Ah, Memories

You know what I was doing a year ago today? Wandering the streets of London on a European (London, Paris, Rome) vacation. I'm not sure if it's because of Jody's upcoming birthday trip or if it's just a case of nostalgia, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and since I've been in kind of a funk where I've felt sort of blah toward the blog, I thought I would repost a trip report I wrote for a travel forum shortly after we got back, to commemorate our one year European anniversary. That way, you will have something to read but I do not have to write. Plus, you get to look at pictures of Europe. What's better than that? So without further ado, here's day one (which was really a year ago I'm a little late, so what?)

We spent six months planning this trip. It had been a dream of mine, and I was so grateful to be able to go. It was agonizing waiting for it to be time to leave, but one hot summer day last August it was finally, finally time to go. We scored a direct, red-eye flight from American Siberia to Gatwick airport in London, but I was so excited, I couldn't sleep on the plane. Plus on international flights they still feed you and entertain you with personal movie screens and video games?!? so I was in ADHD heaven.

We arrived at 9 a.m. London time. Gatwick is quite a distance from central London, so we took a train into the city and then a cab to our hotel (London Hilton Islington--we scored a great rate on Hotwire of $95 U.S. dollars per night and based on the price we paid, had no complaints). We arrived early, so our room wasn't ready yet, so we dropped off our bags and began to wander the streets.

Islington is mentioned in several of Charles Dickens' novels, and I was so excited to be able to walk these streets and imagine what they looked like in his day. Plus we passed several neighborhoods with houses that looked like they had come straight out of My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn. We ate at an Italian place for lunch before heading back to the hotel to officially check into our room.

We didn’t have anything planned for the first day, because we didn’t know how we’d be feeling. We were glad we did this, because what with traveling all night, the time change and being in a big city in a foreign country, all we wanted to do was not do anything at all. So we decided to make our first day of vacation a real vacation, and lounged around the hotel for the rest of the day. Dinner was a Chinese take-out place we had seen on some of the literature the hotel gave us. (The food was typical of cheap Chinese take-out.) We watched some TV (we decided we loved British TV, but more on that later) and went to bed early so that we would be fresh for our first day of sightseeing.

There was of course a little issue (okay, two little issues) with a money belt which I haven't decided if I'm going to share with you yet, and I've left out all of the inconsequential "Where are you going?" "No I'm not" "Yes you are" lost tourist performances that Hubby and I entertained the nice British people with that day, because ultimately, they just don't matter because we were in London!

There is more excitement to come...I will try to post day 2 tomorrow with some awesome pictures of the Tower of London.

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