After almost 4 months of planning we were finally headed to Europe for our 3 week adventure to England, France, and Scotland. After going to bed around midnight (some of us a little later), Sara got up at 3:30 AM to take a shower and get ready for the trek. Mike was up by 3:45 and ready to go. Emma and Abby by 4:00 AM and the boys around 4:10… with some effort. Since we had packed the car the night before, we mostly got up, grabbed our bags and hopped in the car. We were out of the driveway by 4:27 AM, parked by 5:30 and were in the airport by about 5:45. The girl in front of us was dropping off her bag and left her car running outside the airport…she then ran out to park her car. We felt bad for her thinking she would probably miss the flight. We checked in and checked our bags and then went through TSA pre-check…we were at the gate with time to spare. We LOVE TSA Pre-check. To our surprise, the girl made it back just in time! We were on a little Embraer plane, all loaded up ready to go by 7:05, but the pilot came on and said there was a problem with the plane….so we sat there for a bit and then after about 40 minutes took off. We had a pretty smooth flight to Toronto with some nice in flight entertainment (Mike watched Hidden Figures, Sara Passengers, Peter Sing, Abby Sing, Emma Ghostbusters, and Andrew…well who knows what he was doing). So we got to Toronto and headed over to the International Departures. The cleaning lady was totally infatuated with our family and kids…kind of like we were back in Japan. Unfortunately, the Priority Pass lounge was being refurbished so the lounge was kind of ghetto and shoved into the corner of part of the terminal. At least there was free food and comfy chairs to sit in. I think Abby had 34 cream puffs and Sara had the same number of brownies. No really...we all ate too much food. Some of us slept while others just kept eating. I wonder who will puke first on the flight!
Do you journal this on the 1st or the 2nd…our flight from Toronto to London sort of skipped the latter part of June the 1st and thrust us into June the 2nd. The flight itself was pretty great as long flights go…movies, not much sleeping, or at least attempted sleeping. The flight started out with us realizing that Peter left his growth hormone bag on the plane from Denver. We tried to get it, but to no avail. It was frustrating because we had 5 hours in Toronto where we could have figured it out, but we realize once we were on the big flight. Kind of a bummer. Andrew and Peter figured out the best way to sleep on the plane. Peter laid on the tray table and Andrew laid on him. It worked out for them, not so much for anyone else. Quick enough, we were in London and moving through customs…very slowly. In fact the Immigration line was ridiculous and it took us about 1 hour to get through. It was also hot and boggy in the line, so Emma felt sick and the rest of us not that much better. From there, it wasn’t too bad. We went to the Priority Pass Arrivals lounge and got breakfast and some of us took showers. That was such a treat after such a long day of flying and layovers. The showers had great water pressure. The kids really liked the hot chocolate that they got and the fresh croissants.
When we arrived at Waterloo station, we walked down the street to our hotel and fortunately since we had checked in online, one of our rooms was ready. Our second one was ready soon after that and we took a power nap. After the power nap, we headed over to Westminster Abbey…at a brisk pace because we had to get there before it closed! Everyone did great and really pretty amazingly well for having not slept much in the last 32 hours and having travelled 4,000 miles. Westminster Abbey, we determined, was full of dead people and ridiculously ornate ceilings and stained glass windows. The archways throughout are amazing. From sitting in the naïve to passing through the various chapels, it was an amazing place to see. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside the Abbey. At least our Abby has now finally been to the Abbey! From there, we walked back out and got some pictures of the Parliament building and Big Ben. We then walked back across the Westminster bridge and down to Waterloo Station where we decided to get some Fish and Chips at Fishcoteque. The fish and chips were amazingly good and the place dirty enough for us to realize that we were eating under a train station. The truth is that we were all so tired, that most of us were just sort of vibrating with glazed over looks on our faces. I’m pretty sure no one remembers the giant pink elephant that ran passed us on the street because no one was paying any attention. It started to rain as we walked back down Waterloo street to our hotel. We pretty much went straight to bed and slept for almost 14 hours.