London!

One thing that really surprised me in London was hearing many languages being spoken.  I had expected to hear a lot of the Queen’s English, but that was simply not the case!  I enjoyed the diversity around me, and so did Ysabela.  That being said, now back to our adventure….

While Rich dashed off to purchase tickets for Mamma Mia (for 38 pounds each), I took advantage of some shopping time after Bela and I sampled fish (haddock) and chips.  Ketsup cost extra, so we did without it.  It was much like the batter fried fish we get at Long John Silver.  We went to the M&M store and grabbed some neat things along with the chocolate.  Bela got chilled from the rain and wind later, so she unwrapped her blanket and used it like a rain coat.  We bought two on sale for three pounds each when I paid for Bela’s huge bag of candy.

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Bela was so tired by late afternoon, but she wasn’t alone; my feet ached, but we still had to keep moving on and off the metro.  The poor kid actually fell asleep while Rich tracked down two of the girls who got misplaced.  It took him about an hour to get back with them.

At least Bela’s shopping trip was successful.  She was pleased to find a flag and a London iPhone case.  I couldn’t find a case for my phone, so I was a bit disappointed.  We made it to Hult for supper where we had pizza.  It was pretty tasty after such a long day.  Some of the older ladies and I were nearly worn down to a nub after so many hours spent walking around London.  We made it to the hotel (finally) around seven.  (Keep in mind that we flew out Sunday after lunch and it was now Monday night.)  I was rooming with Laura, a Girl Scout leader.  Laura had emailed me prior to the trip to introduce herself which was kind of her.  I was thankful that Laura had a spare adapter so I could charge my phone!  Bela was rooming with three girls from the Texas group.  They had been discussing anime all day, so they had bonded a bit.

We hit the showers, then I perked up enough to go to the hotel bar for some American coffee.  It only cost me a pound.  I smoked a couple of cigarettes, then dropped off Bela’s medicines.

On my final smoke break of the night, I met a girl named Charlie Alex.  Her boyfriend, George, was caring for his little sister—Marla, two years old, green eyes, red curly hair.  Her picture was adorable.  Charlie asked me questions about the United States, and I listened to her explain why she was unhappy with the decision to leave the European Union.  She opined that it will limit economic opportunities for her generation.  Chatting with Charlie was a nice ending to a very hectic day.

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10-Day Whirlwind Tour

I have been away on vacation with my teen, Ysabela, for 10 days, but it feels like a lot longer!  I’m happy to be home and blogging again.  In this series of blogs, I will go over the trip day by day to share the experiences with you all.  I kept a journal just for that purpose since I had so many people interested in our travels.

July 10, 2016: We were lucky enough to be transported by friends to the airport, so that saved me a lot of parking fees and stress.  We made our flight, but it was a bit sketchy.  Dawn, one of the flight attendants, was there, but she wasn’t a bit helpful.  The plane shook and made odd noises—enough to alarm Bela.  I reassured her, but I was a bit concerned until things evened out.  Since our flight took off late, we barely made the connecting flight in Chicago.  We were the last ones to board.  That part was very stressful, as you can imagine!

After we got settled in on the flight across the pond, Jeffrey Alan made us feel at home.  This plane was so much different from the others we have taken!  First class was WOW!  Bela and I decided that one day, we will travel to Europe in that section!  We kept going to the “regular people” seating.  Each row was divided as such: 3-4-3.  Dinner was a sight!  I chose pasta, Bela wanted chicken, so we were both satisfied.  Each tray had the main course, a small bottle of water, a roll, salad with pomegranate acai vinaigrette dressing on the side, a small wedge of cheese and crackers.  I ate almost everything while I watched Allegiant; Bela tuned in to see a Goose Bumps movie.  We had time on the flight for about three movies if we stayed awake for the entire seven-hour flight.  We definitely felt spoiled.  Supper made us look forward to breakfast!

Flight information showed Chicago to London as 3939 miles which translated into seven hours and 20 minutes.  I enjoyed my headphones and blanket.  Daddy’s Home was my second movie choice.  I did end up sleeping some.

July 11, 2016:  We landed in London around nine in the morning (their time, not ours).  It took forever to get through the passport check.  Once we escaped that, all I wanted was a smoke!  I left Bela with an EF Tour lady while I found a smoking area.  After so many hours without one, I felt a bit dizzy afterward.

The EF Tour lady took Bela to Richard, our babysitter/guide/go-to guy, and he finished collecting the rest of our group.  We dropped off our luggage at the bus while he passed out our Oyster cards.  Oyster cards are used for public transportation.  We saw a lot of the metro today!  We literally walked miles.  One lady had a FitBit and said we had already walked almost three miles, but she didn’t have it on all day.  We definitely got in way more than 10,000 steps.

We saw buskers in Trafalgar Square and hoofed it over to Covent Garden to view some awesome statues.  Our final destination for the day was Premier Inn in the Shoreditch area of town.  More pictures and info to come!

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