So there we were trying to get off the plane quickly because we had booked a bus into London, and if we missed that bus there was the possibility that it would cost us more money. We were seated in the 3rd row, right near the exit so we could make a fast getaway! Wrong! The passenger loading bridge that they attach to the plane was hooked up to a door further to the rear...so much for that.
However, we had no luggage at all so even though quite a few people got off before us, we were able to pass most of them on the way to clear U.K. customs. we only had a 5 minute wait to get through customs, and had no problem at all. The customs gal was cheery and welcomed us to England with a big smile. We've done a lot of traveling, and in comparison, the Americans customs people could learn something from that. The lesson is, you can still do your job efficiently, and be happy and pleasant about it in the process!
Then it was off to the luggage carousel. We were the first ones there! We even beat the luggage, but it wasn't long before it started coming out from whatever goes on in that luggage neverland behind the flaps!
What we were trying to avoid!
My bag came through fairly quickly. And then we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. How could my bag come out so quickly, and then no sign of Ruth's? Finally, Ruth suggested I go for a walk around the carousel. Sure enough, there by the start of the carousel was Ruth's bag sitting on the floor! Some moron took it off the carousel, figured out it wasn't their's, and just left it there. Who does that??!!
Anyhow, everything as it should be, and we were off to find our bus. We had booked ahead of time with easybus for only £2.00 ($3.20) per person for the one hour bus ride to the Earl's Court tube (subway) station. And we made it to the bus stop with 15 minutes to spare! But if we hadn't landed 15 minutes ahead of schedule, it would have been very tight timing!
Waiting for the bus to London. What is that blue in the sky? Well, it's blue in the sky!
Wasn't easy to get any decent photos from the bus, and the window was kind of dirty anyhow. But you can sure see how green things are!
Green countryside, and blue sky! Considering England has had a lot of cold and rain lately, we were very happy with this kind of weather welcome!
One of the first things we saw on the highway was this nice little motorhome!
And of course the famous London double decker buses.
The bus took us to only one drop off spot, at Earl's Court. We actually went to the West Brompton line, and bought our Oyster travel card. The card itself cost £5, but it's only a deposit and we get that back when we turn the card in at the end of our time in London. Then, we put £15 of credit on each card and we'll see how long that lasts. If there is less than £5 of credit on the card when we are done with it, we get that refunded as well. So we'll have to be careful not to put more on than we'll be able to use.
Then, it was one subway ride, switch to another line for a second subway ride, switch to an overland train for a few stops, and then a 15 minute walk to Ruth's aunt and uncle's place where we're staying until the 21st.
Having a snack in the atrium in Nice and Philip's backyard.
Nice (pronounced as in "Bernice") and Phillip have a wonderful old townhome in the Hackney district of London. And with a small, but beautiful backyard.
Hopefully we will get more nice days where we can sit outside in the garden!
Nice and Phillip made us a snack and we had a hot drink and then went off to bed for a two hour nap! The five hour time change will take a bit of getting used to, but we don't normally have much of a problem with jet lag.
And that's been our trip so far. Tomorrow, we'll do a full report on our Sunwing flight!
Oh, one more thing. We got a statement from the Australia contest organizers (no, they did not announce the nine finalists)...
Contest update: Thank you for your patience while we worked out the voting issue. The top entries for the 9 destinations have been sent to the judges. The winning entrant will be contacted early next week. Once all legal paperwork has been signed we'll be able to officially announce the winner. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned!