With the endurance test that is modern day airline travel out of the way this morning, I had the day to work out my body’s reaction to the time change – which always hits me hard – and to wander around a bit of London today.
The flight from Austin wasn’t all that bad as such things go. No delays and the flight was uneventful. Flying ‘coach’ though is just plain painful. You’re packed in there like sardines and forced to remain in an comfortable chair and position for, all tolled, about 12 hours over two legs of the trip. The flights were completely full too so very little room to spread out. I had not been able to get an aisle seat arranged in advance, but thankfully one of the folks in my row actually wanted the window and hadn’t been able to arrange that either. So we worked things out.
After getting off the airplane, you have to work your way through passport control and customs before you can get to your luggage. You get in one of those ever moving lines like at an amusement park. It was a looong line. When they finally looked at my passport they asked one question and stamped it and I was on my way. Couldn’t have taken more than 30 seconds.
I picked out a few people speaking American English but otherwise most of the people in line were non-native English speakers. Mainly that’s because the EU and UK folks have their own line to go through, and it’s shorter.
I didn’t really do much on my first day. My flight arrived around 7’ish and by 8’ish I initially found my way via the Underground to my B&B. Fiona, my B&B hostess had sent me Tube directions. ‘Take the Piccadilly Line to Earl’s Court and then the District Line to Parson’s Green’. Then it’s a little hike. Sure, no problem… I’m sure everyone’s familiar with navigating the Underground in London but me, but I’m going to jot some notes here in the event I ever want to refer back to this again. (It’s half the point of my writing this stuff down in the first place.) A little reading and other suggestions had suggested I get an Oyster card. This is the electronic card you ‘fill’ with a certain amount of money to then use to enter and exit the Tube stations. If I’d actually looked at the web site in advance I would have realized I could have bought one in advance and had it shipped to me, but I didn’t. Instead I tried to buy it from a ticket machine at the airport and failed 3 times trying to use 3 different cards. Thankfully there’s a manned both that provides assistance and I told him how many days and he suggested an amount. I paid $25 Pounds and off I went. At Earl’s Court there’s lots of platforms to choose from to make a transfer. Didn’t take me long to find though soon I was off to Fulham and the Parson’s Green station. By the time I’d gotten my luggage, found my way to the Underground, bought a ticket, ride, transfer, walk… I arrived at the B&B by 10am. Only one bag and a day pack but still, plenty to lug all that way.
The B&B is really more of a home stay. Reminds me of many of the home stays I did in New Zealand. A retired woman named Fiona has a home in the Fulham neighborhood at 17 Homestead Rd and it has up to 3 rooms that she books. It’s a completely renovated home tucked into a row of homes on what seems like a pretty quiet street. Her son lives in the basement apartment and it has its own entrance. 1st floor includes a small living, dining, kitchen area. Out back is a small patio. 2nd floor has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. 3rd floor has one more bedroom and bath. Everything’s modern, clean and up to date. Nightly rate, 70 GBP.
Later I wandered around the streets of the neighborhood. Found a pub named the The White Horse and had a tasty beer and a bit to eat. The picture at the very top of this posting is inside The White Horse.