We’re learning that following advice is a good thing. We got up at 3 am the day we traveled, even though our plane didn’t leave until almost 6 p.m. Why would we do that, you ask? Because we had been given advice of a book loaned to us by a friend, who is an experienced international traveler. The book, entitled The Cure for Jet Lag, urged us to begin a 3 day regimen in order to avoid jet lag. So…three days ago, we began cutting out caffeine, eating high protein breakfasts and lunches, eating high carb dinners, and going to bed early.
The day we left, we woke up at 3 a.m., which was actually 10 a.m. London time. We finished preparing our home for family members to use it (why waste a perfectly good mountain home just because we’re not using it, right?). We ate a very early breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and by the time we boarded the plane, we were exhausted and ready to sleep. We politely refused all offers of meals, snacks, beverages, and entertainment in favor of sleep. The people sitting around us said we were “dead to the world” for at least six hours. We arrived at 10 in the morning at Heathrow International Airport. Instead of being exhausted and ready to crawl into bed hours before hotel check in, we were ready to explore the United Kingdom’s capital city.
Between walking (7 miles or so), and taking buses, trams, and trains, we saw several of the traditional sites in London on our first day. We only saw Buckingham Palace from the outside, since it was closed for a “bank holiday.” We asked what holiday that was, since it was Memorial Day at home, and got the answer, “It’s just a break.” If you’ve ever seen the Netflix Original series The Crown, you’ve already had an intimate tour of the interior of the palace. We’ve watched every episode, and it was fascinating. I did discover that the queen was not at home that day. Did you know a different flag is flown if she’s at home than if she’s out and about? It it’s the royal standard, she’s home. If it’s the Union Flag, she’s out and about. Today, unfortunately, it was the latter. Too bad because we would have enjoyed a cup of tea with the grand lady.
At Piccadilly Circus, I was blessed with the opportunity to have my picture taken with Harry and Meghan, the brand-new Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Okay, I admit it. I got my picture taken with a cardboard cutout of the couple in the lobby of the half-price theatre ticket office. We did get real-life, honest to goodness tickets, though! We’ll be seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical School of Rock in a couple of days. As a teacher, I loved the movie, but I had no idea that in 2015, it was made into a live musical. That just shows how current and stylish I am.
Westminster Cathedral was even bigger and more beautiful than I imagined. Photography, and even The Crown could not do justice to the flying buttresses and sweeping architecture of the grand sanctuary. Sadly, Big Ben was completely covered with construction apparatus, as it is being renovated for the first time in 31 years. The mechanics of the clock needed to be maintained to ensure it would continue to keep time, and my differently abled friends will be happy to know that they are installing a lift (in America, we call that an elevator — why we Americans replaced a perfectly good one syllable word with a four syllable word, I’ll never know).
We ended our first day with the most delicious fish and chips we’ve ever had at a small but very friendly pub called Old Shades, followed by a train/tram ride out the East Croydon and watching a blood-red sun setting over Tudor homes in Croham Park and then flopping into our cozy bed at the Croham Park Bed and Breakfast. One thing I’ve learned so far: If I’m going to continue this blog, I have to do a little less doing and save more time for blogging! As you can tell, I’m already two days behind!
Bill’s Lodging Review:
In London, we stayed at the Croham Park Bed & Breakfast. It was far from the center of London in a cozy little neighborhood. Traveling to the city center by tram and train was easy, but it took time and money. In 3 nights at Croham Park, we spent $121 (after convesion) for public transportation. It was nice at the end of a day of hustle and bustle to return to a neighborhood and a quiet home. Breakfast was delicious, and we had a teapot and cookies in our room as well. Our hosts were gracious, and they were impressed with how little we brought for our long trip. They were able to give us advice related to which stations we needed for which sites; however, we were hoping for more local advice and tips. We enjoyed Croham Bed and Breakfast, but the truth is we’ll probably stay closer to the city center on our next trip to London.