Caught my flight out of Philly at 10:00 pm. It was very hard leaving
my love back at home, but I know she will be ok (she's a strong little
lady). I hadn't thought about finding out beforehand in which terminal
British Airways was located, but I definitely missed it by 3 terminals. I
had to walk back outside, in the rain mind you, and hike back to the first
terminal get my tickets and check my bag. While walking outside I found a
woman who was struggling with her bags. I got off the phone with Kelly
and asked the girl if she needed help with her bag(s). I took a bag and
we were on to the ticketing. I hung out with her for the duration leading
up to our departure (she was also on the London flight). Her name is
Sarah and she was an Au
Pair, which is a live-in nanny.
JUST AN FYI...NOT ONLY DOES THIS APP ON MY TABLET NOT HAVE A SPELL CHECK, BUT
ALSO MY SPELLING COMPREHENSION IS OFFICIALLY THAT OF A 6TH GRADER...DEAL WITH
IT! We ALL have strengths and weaknesses now...now you know my spelling
is my Kryptonite.
She has been living in a wealthy suburb on the main line...which I'm sure
gave her a very stilted perspective of "American Life" as it was her
first time in the states. She has had a boyfriend for the last 3 years
and was long distance for the last year...that HAS to be hard! She was en
route to her home country, Austria.
After buying an apple, turkey, Brie, and craison salad I boarded my
flight. I chatted for a while with the gentleman next to me. He
lived ~1 hr. outside London and was in Philly for the week on business.
He said he worked in IT...but was hesitant. I think his job was more
complicated but he was trying to keep things simple for me. I have asked
him if he had seen the show, "The I.T. Crowd"? He said he had
and that he thought it was Brilliant. Actually he said that main guy with
the Afro is a funny comic in Britain and that he performs often. Please
watch that show if you get around to it. I watched it on
Hulu. It was such a success they made a US version. PLEASE do
yourself a favor and watch the UK version. This is series does not follow
the same relationship that the UK "The Office" did when it came to
the US. The UK version is ACTUALLY much BETETER!
I told him about my pending adventures through Africa and he told me about
two of his friends that recently took quite the adventure. They had a
truck that they converted to a camper--Installed a bathroom, cots, etc.
He wanted to call it a Lorry (I'm not sure what this is, but I presume it is a
robust overland recreational vehicle). They started in London and drove
all the way down to Cape Town, South Africa. It took them 18 months and
they stayed no longer than 10 days at any one location. They then shipped
the vehicle back to London and vacationed in nice hotels while in South
Africa. That is a great trip that I would love to do through the
American National Parks.
After chatting for ~45 minutes we started to watch our respective in-flight
entertainment. I caught up on 3 episodes of "The Big Bang
Theory". The medicine I took prior to boarding had been taking its
hold on me and I stopped fighting it. I took out my inflatable
travel/backpacking pillow (Filo Nemo - $45 retail). I was sleeping
in no time.
Woke up for dinner: Chicken curry w/ rice, a salad (that I didn't
touch), a roll (that I didn't touch), and a cinnamon cheesecake like
dessert. Food was all in all very good. Also woke up for breakfast,
which was a sweet croissant.
I decided to go into central London for a few hours since I had ~8 hrs. till
my next flight. I took the Piccadilly line (and NOT the faster express) because
it was 1/4 the cost. I am taking the Piccadilly Underground to the
Piccadilly Circus stop and will transfer to the Bakerloo line. I plant to
take this to the Waterloo stop.
My Plans while in London (for the 3 hours that I am here): Start off
south of the River Thames and work my was northwest following the Jubilee
line. If I make it all the was to the Green Park stop on the Piccadilly
line I will head east to the Piccadilly Circus stop and get back on the head
back to the Airport. I wanted to walk around Piccadilly Circus (the
reason for walking back that way).
I really like meeting people while traveling alone...even if it's when it's
on the airplane or in the airport. They are like you're best friend because
at the time there is no one else either person has and it's human nature to
form connections with people. Traveling alone really gives the traveler
the ability to reach out and talk to anyone. I met a great couple from
France on the Piccadilly line. They are visiting London for the first
Or I forgot to mention...I was able to use my first aid kit for the first
time EVER. And I have taken it with me to at least half a dozen countries
and on at least half a dozen overnight backpacking trips thus far. That
girl, Sarah, had actually fallen and torn her jeans and cut up her knee pretty
bad. I guess that was the reason she was struggling with her bags when I
met her outside. I used antibacterial spray and a Band-Aid.... You would
have been proud, Mom!
Just finished walking around London and switched onto the Piccadilly line to
Terminal 5 (where British Airways is)--should arrive at the terminal w/ 2.5
hours before my flight. I have needed to go to the bathroom since I was
on the plane but still haven't found time yet...I'll be able to relax a bit
at the airport before my 12 hr. flight to J-Burg, South Africa.
I walked west along the south bank of the Thames River and visited a large Ferris
wheel and merry-go-round. There was
a fair going on and what seemed to be
a weekly farmer's market. I could see Big Ben from across the river and
took a few photos. Along the way I came across a handful of street
performers--some were actually very good.
I walked up to Big Ben and approached Westminster Abbey. I was a bit disappointed...I
guess I was expecting more. I mean, don't get me wrong.... it WAS beautiful!
I think I just appreciate different elements of countries when I visit. Parliament,
Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square were ok. Nothing I haven't seen
before. I went into the free National Museum but didn't have the time to
have my bag searched so I just looked at the interior. It was
The entire square was a bit too touristy for me.... THIS is
the entire reason why I have NO desire to travel through Western Europe.
I'm trying to work out the logistics of a Round The World (RTW) trip sometime
in the next 5 years. Seeing as I want to skip over (much) of Europe I
think I can avg ~15/yr. But I guess that is for another blog.
All on all I really enjoyed London...more so for the people than any one
thing I actually saw. Everyone has been extremely nice--though most
people I stopped on the street to talk with are not even from the UK. Did
I already say how Touristy London was/is?
After 4 solid hours of walking around London I'm ready to take
breather. Call me odd but there is something so fulfilling about pushing
oneself through fatigue and getting completely engulfed in the
culture/environment. I probably asked a dozen strangers all around down
if they wanted me to take their photos. About 80% of them said yes.
Of those 80%, a bit more than half seemed to actually be grateful. Either
way, it allowed me to spark up some great convos.
I am on the train right now and it doesn't feel too different than the
regional rail in Philly. The Subway in Philly is pretty Ghetto, no a
problem with all the train/underground lines here. My guess is that there
is some type of 'Urban'' influence on the matter...
I was able to get Wi-Fi for a bit at the airport and checked my email.
I was able to secure a spot on the Dec-9-2013 Devil's Pool tour ($80) in Zambia
and a spot for the rafting trip ($140) along the Zambezi River. Sources
have stated that this rafting trip is the best, more intense, one-day rafting
trip in the world. The guides make us actually take our raft out of the
water and walk around some of the rapids that they think is not safe.
They call some of these class-6, but I've never heard of this? I know
people say that different regions will grade their rapids on dissimilar scales,
but I've only heard people use the 5-grade system.
The cost of my train ticket, which can be used on ANY train/underground as
many times as I want for the duration of the entire day, was ~8.5quid. In
the previous sentence I used quid because I thought 8.5pounds didn't look
right. Also, what does lbs. REALLY mean? Is it the abbreviation for
the word pound or for JUST the weight?
Nothing else to say...probably already said too much for only having been
gone not even a full day. But I'm bored on this train and this is keeping
Keep you Posted!