– Denton, Texas to London, England –
“Oh look,” you’re thinking. “Another international trip. They even took an airplane. That means no Ripley. Will this even be interesting without the star of the show?”
Well, Little Ripley is staying with her Grandma and Grandpa (and their two dogs Sabre and Django) back home in Texas. I’m sure she’s been annoying them as much as she can with her youthful exuberance. She’s having fun though, I guarantee it. If you stick with me the whole time, I promise to post a video of Ripley running on the treadmill to YouTube at the end of this little trip, as a reward for hanging on even when our star isn’t on the roster.
So, what are we doing in the UK? Well as with many of our trips, Mark had a meeting. He has to be in London for two days, on Monday and Tuesday. After that, we’ve rented a car and we’re going to drive north to Scotland to have a look around. We’ll be here for a total of ten days, though the blog may only last for nine. We will see how I’m feeling about a blog post for that last plane trip.
Speaking of days, this post covers two days, though I’m only calling it day one. It’s more like 36 hours, but since we didn’t sleep during the entire period, I think it still counts.
Our flight from DFW was originally supposed to depart from DFW at 7:20pm on Saturday. I’m guessing from the way I’ve worded it, you can already tell that was not when it actually left.
By around 2pm, we already knew that the flight was delayed by at least an hour, maybe two. Unfortunately, the airline still recommends that you show up on time in case something changes, so we still left the house around 4pm to head to the airport. My parents took us, then drove back to Denton to pick up Ripley and take her back home with them.
It was right around 5 when we made it to the airport, and already our plane was delayed until 9pm. We did not end up leaving until 9:20, which is pretty late. It’s actually the longest delay Mark and I have experienced together. Apparently they had to perform some maintenance on the plane, which I’m all for.
Unfortunately for a lot of the other passengers, London was just a way point. Many, many of the people with us were trying to make connecting flights out of Heathrow, and they were not happy with the delay. The lines to speak with the agents at the desk were long indeed.
Since the plane meal would not come until close to 10pm, after the plane was all the way in the sky, Mark and I had burrito bowls at DFW. Not Chipotle ones, as Terminal D doesn’t have a Chipotle, but passable ones from the 360 Grill.
Besides that, we sat at the airport for four hours. It wasn’t particularly thrilling. I started a book, Machine Man, by Max Barry, but I am not sure I’ll finish it. There’s a great deal more… amputation… than I was prepared to deal with.
In any event, our plane trip was mostly uneventful, once we finally got going. Mark and I did not get upgrades, so we were stuck in the middle set of seats between two other people in the middle row on our 777. We were pretty uncomfortable by the end.
We landed in London around 11:30am Sunday, then had to wait in the Customs line for about an hour. I guess the UK has chosen to upgrade their screening processes during the refugee crisis, so the lines for non-UK passports were impressive. We are now considering that Fast Track thing even more seriously than we were before. We would’ve been through Customs in 15 minutes.
Regardless, we found our bag and took the Underground (subway, basically) for about an hour and 10 minutes to King’s Cross (yes, the Harry Potter one), where we got off. Our hotel is only about a 5 minute walk from the railway station.
We were in our hotel room by 2pm, and we were exhausted. We kept falling asleep on the train. We were very excited to shower and brush our teeth.
Since we knew it would not be good for us to sleep, we hauled ourselves back out of the room by around 3pm to do some looking around and to force ourselves to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime.
We had lunch at a Pret a Manger, which is a local fresh sandwich shop. The name means “ready to eat” in French, if you were curious. We actually have a few of these in the US in the northeast, but they are not the same. I’ve had it in DC. They started here, and are much better here. Mark and I were constantly having them for lunch the last time we were in London.
Once we were no longer dying of starvation, we headed down the road to see the Wellcome Collection, which is a museum that houses medical artifacts and artworks that relate to medicine. At the moment, they have a show on called “Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond.” That was why we went, but we didn’t really see what we were expecting there.
Bedlam is a popular nickname for the infamous Bethlem Hospital of London, which is now a psychiatric care facility, but used to be the worst sort of “insane asylum” back when those were not a great place to be.
The show we visited was an artist’s impression of the changing attitudes people hold about mental illness. It was interesting, but not precisely what we were expecting. It was a little chaotic, which I suppose goes along with the word “bedlam,” but I think that kept it from making any sense. It was very popular, since it had only been open for 3 days, and of course it was free. We queued (teehee) for several minutes to wait our turn to enter.
When we finished there, we went upstairs to see the rest of the Wellcome Collection, and that’s where we actually saw things that we enjoyed. they had a gallery of medical oddities and antiquities, which was neat. They also had a printed copy of the human genome, which I thought was particularly impressive. It takes a lot of books and teeny tiny print to fit it all.
Of course, the books are just a series of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs, as you might recall from your biology lessons. I was joking with Mark that they would have a really hard time spotting misprints.
The Wellcome Collection was neat, but we were tired, so we went downstairs to their cafe and had tea and coffee and sat around for a few minutes. We were dozing off a little at the table, which was a bit embarrassing.
Since we had a late lunch, but we’re not quite ready for dinner, we decided to run over to a grocery store to pick up something to eat later. Unfortunately, we’d forgotten it was Sunday, and we had not been in the Waitrose for more than 5 minutes before they announced they were closing. Apparently most things here (like at home), close at 6pm on Sunday.
We ended up getting chips and drinks for a snack from a little convenience store we’d passed on the way instead. We will do better tomorrow.
We were back in our hotel room by 7, and in bed asleep by 8:30, even with our snacks. If you haven’t guess by now, I did not write this one on Sunday. I would not have been coherent at all.
Mark is busy all day Monday, and then we have a dinner with some of his colleagues. I have some plans to visit a zoology museum, so we will see how that goes.
– Trip Total : 4,801 miles –
[ Quickie total tally: 37 miles (home to DFW by car) + 4,737 miles (DFW to LHR by plane) + 27 miles (LHR to our hotel) ]