I was going to title this post “Let the Adventures Begin,” but since this journey began on May 23rd my friend Treena and I have had a little more adventure then even I like. Delayed flights (which resulted in missed flights) hours of standing in line with very heavy bags, lost luggage, and so many carefully made travel plans ending up in the air.
But, as I’m typing this we are less than an hour from landing in London and since boarding our British Airways flight things have been lovely. We did make some new friends while standing in line for several hours: an au pair from Switzerland, a student from Arkansas, a lady from Spain, and a student who ironically is a freshman at the college where I graduated from. Such a small, small world. Around 10 pm, we all finally got our flights rearranged and then headed to another part of the airport to make sure that our bags would met us at the proper destination. Once that was out of the way we figured we should all grab something to eat together since most of us hadn’t eaten anything since 10 am. Our little band of travelers made our way through the JFK airport in search of the food court which we reached right as many of the venders were closing up for the night or running low on options. But after such a long day anything sounded good.
We thought about just spending the night in the airport since our flight was scheduled to leave early the next morning, but Treena’s husband called around and found us a hotel. By the time we reached the airport it was after midnight, and we needed to head back to the airport around 4 am. Needless to say it was a very short night.
So what started this mess? Things went fairly smoothly in St Louis apart from American Airlines charging me for a second bag after saying on the phone that it would be free. Our flight leaving St Louis was delayed, but not by much, and we had a long enough layover in Chicago to make up for it. Problems started popping up after we reached our gate for our flight to New York. The flight ahead of us was significantly delayed due to the plane’s PA system malfunctioning. Eventually they cancelled the flight in front of us but in the meantime our plane was left sitting at a different gate. When we did finally board, we spent a half hour on the runway before receiving news that the weather in New York city was too bad for us to receive permission to land. When our plane did finally hit the skies we had spent as much time on the runway as we did in the air. Our two hour layover was completely eaten up and our plane for London left before we were able to land.
Missing our flight to London produced a domino effect. We were bumped to a morning flight that arrived well after our flight for Munich was scheduled to leave. From Munich we had planned to travel back to London by train with a stop off in Paris. Sadly, that entire portion of the trip was now impossible. Our relatives at home spent hours looking into options to still make at least some of the Munich/Paris trip work but at such a late date flights and trains were either sold out or ridiculously expensive.
Treena and I have since learned that being “stuck” in London is not such a bad thing. Since starting to write this blog we have spent the last three days in London taking the Tube and seeing some of the city’s most beautiful sights. I must admit I did have a bit of a melt down on Saturday morning after realizing that so many of our plans had fallen through, learning that ticket refunds were out of the question for the majority of our tickets and only partial refunds for the rest, and just feeling plain tired, hungry, and exhausted due to jetlag.
Going outside made all of the difference. That and getting something to eat. People often talk about London being cold and rainy, but we were fortunate to have nice sunny days (a bit cool at times) but overall beautiful. Some of the highlights have been riding the Tube (mind the gap) Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abby, Buckingham Palace, The Tower Bridge (formerly London Bridge) and the general friendliness of everyone that we have met along the way. We’ve also enjoyed our tea and a lovely English breakfast.
Right now my friend and I are leaving London behind as we are on a train heading to Edinburgh. People say it’s magical and from just the few pictures I’ve seen I believe it. So more to come (hopefully) unless we have more unplanned adventures.