(July 17, 2008)
Seven hours after take-off we were approaching Heathrow International.
We landed at around 9 in the morning London time on Thursday and easily made our way through the airport. Thursday morning is a good time to travel apparently.
We went straight through customs, got our passports stamped for the first time ever and in about 30 minutes had our bags and our rental car.
Now…I was prepared for my husband to be driving on the wrong side of the car…I was prepared for the stick-shift to be on the left side instead of the right, etc….what I was not prepared for was being a passenger on the left side of the car.
It was wierd!
My husband had no problem at all getting acclimated to the vehicle….until the first roundabout.
Some roundabouts have traffic lights that tell you when to enter, some don’t. This first roundabout happened to be one of the latter.
We inched toward the roundabout and just as we started to pull in a truck (a TRUCK) sped by us blaring his horn at us.
He nearly clipped us.
We looked at each other, took a deep breath, laughed and continued on.
Driving right through London gave my husband a crash course in traffic behaviors in the UK.
With the exception of buses and EVERYONE on a motorbike, people there drive quite well...aside from that dang trucker. =)
We got to our hotel at around 11 a.m.
It was the smallest room I've ever paid for. =)
I took a shower while my husband napped and then we planned out what we’d do and see that day.
The British Museum was at the top of my list because I’ve wanted to see the Rosetta Stone in person for a long time (it's on my list).
I also wanted to see the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and whatever else we could cram into the day…however…London is a lot bigger than I thought and our time ran out very quickly.
We started by walking toward the British Museum which was about a half mile from our hotel. We stopped for food on the way at this wonderful outdoor café called Cafe Deco.
The café was run by Italians who apparently adored Americans and loved to sing as they prepared food.
It was awesome.
We sat outside eating our sandwiches and watching people duck-dive to avoid being hit by pigeons.
*Pigeons are everywhere in London…and they’re fat and lazy…they don’t fly very often and when they do it’s rare if they make it over your head. I saw at least 3 people get clipped by pigeons.
After lunch (and spending our first euros) we made it to the British Museum.
The British Museum was amazing...and we only saw a very small portion of it.
The Rosetta Stone was everything I'd imagined and more....it was bigger than I thought...and much more detailed than could ever be recreated in movies and documentaries. It was amazing.
It honestly took my breath away...
After a few hours we realized we weren't going to be able to see much more of London...the jet lag was catching up to us so we decided to head back to the hotel via Russell Square Park.
The park was gorgeous and it had a wonderful outdoor cafe (I fell in love with the outdoor cafes in the UK) so we stopped for Cappuccinos and pastries.
After our treat we headed back to the hotel to get a head start on some much needed sleep...
The only problem was the hotel walls were so thin you could hear the guy in the next room cough. Also, in the summer time, the sun comes up at 4:30 a.m. in the UK and doesn't set until 11 p.m. So....there was a lot of noise out on the streets because the sun was still out...and so were the Londoners. Long story short, I slept maybe 3 hours that night. Maybe.
Luckily my husband is a heavy sleeper and was able to sleep through all the noise.