torrie's travels


The Big Day October 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 9:08 pm

So Sunday was dedicated (mostly) to the Vikings game…the impetus of the entire trip.  But we still had a few things we wanted to do first.  So we decided to have a quick breakfast (which, I should have included in my post yesterday…on this trip I learned that I could eat a chocolate pastry every day of my life!) and then rented bikes at the cycle hire.  We had a brief malfunction, but then were on our way.  We rode the length of Hyde Park, without being able to stop much to enjoy the views.  I definitely wish I had had more time for the park.  We stopped and looked at Kensington Palace…soon-to-be-home of Kate and Wills!

After docking our bikes, we made our way to the London Eye for our 11am trip.  Jaime isn’t afraid of heights, but she gets weird on bridges and things with no sides.  She gets a bad case of vertigo.  Initially, she wasn’t even going to do the Eye, but subsequently changed her mind.  There is a bench in the middle of each pod, so she spent most of the time sitting on the bench and enjoying the views.  She occasionally got up to snap some photos, though.  It was a nice ride and it was fun to see London from the air.  (We saw it from the street, from the water, and from the air!)  I got some good shots of Big Ben and Parliament!

But we were slightly concerned with the time, as we had to switch hotels that day.  At first we didn’t think it was going to be a problem, until I looked at our Vikings ticket email and realized we had to pick up our tickets by 1pm.  So while we were on the Eye, we were keeping an eye on our watch!  Ba-dum-bum.  We hustled back to our main hotel, picked up our bags, got a cab, and got to the new hotel in time to get our tickets.  We were also able to check into the hotel and we were both very thankful we were only spending one night there.

We dropped our stuff off and went for lunch.  After lunch we got on the tube and went to Wembley.  Talk about a crazy scene!  It was mass chaos.  I immediately saw a merchandise stand, and the site map did not indicate any other merchandise stands, so I stood in the enormously long line.  For an hour.  (NOT an exaggeration.)  When I reached the counter, I learned that they were out of almost everything.  Let’s just say I was not a happy camper.  We walked the concourse and found our gate, which thankfully did not have a huge line.  Inside was another merchandise stand, but again, it was sold out of many things.  Jaime went to find our seats and I went to find another stand.  This one required about 30-40 minute wait in line, but I was able to finish up my shopping.

The game was awesome…see my other post.  I was shocked at how many Brits enjoy football.  But they were out in droves and it was a lot of fun.  Of course, it helps that the Vikes won (despite their best efforts to lose it again at the end).  After getting split up due to the massive crowd trying to get on the tube, Jaime and I were able to meet back at the hotel.  We had an early flight, so we just dropped into (our very uncomfortable) beds and hit the hay.  We had planned on having a cab take us to our old tube stop (the one by our previous hotel) because it was both a direct shot to Heathrow and had elevators, but the cabbie convinced us to let him take us all the way.  If it hadn’t been 6:45am and if we didn’t have the heaviest bags ever, I would’ve insisted on the tube.  As it is, it probably only cost us 10-11 pounds extra.  Which is a lot in US dollars, but it was a fair price for convenience.

We were both worried about the weight of our checked bags, so thankfully Heathrow had a scale that we could use before we went to check-in.  I haven’t seen one of these in the states, but maybe I just haven’t looked for it.  I came in at 22.9 kg (the limit is 23 kg) and Jaime was over.  So she rearranged some stuff into her carry-ons and we were golden.  Until we had to board the plane.  We were both carrying on way too much stuff, so we used a little trickery to get on the plane.  I was carrying two large (and quite heavy) carry-ons AND had my “purse.”  So I put my fleece over my purse in an attempt to make it look to the gate agents that I only had the two bags I was carrying.  For all I know they weren’t tricked at all and just didn’t care!

The flight was relatively painless, except for my attempts to sleep.  Talk about a crick in the neck.  When we got to Boston we had to clear customs (which was dumb, we should’ve done that in London) and pick up our bags.  This did not impress us.  Especially when we found out that we only had to take them and drop them about 50 feet.  What, exactly, was the point of that?!?!  Then we made our way to our next terminal, which couldn’t have been farther away if they tried, and went through security again.  This made us very unhappy.  And finally, our gate was almost as far away as possible.  Let’s just say we were extremely tired and sore from lugging all these damn bags all over God’s green earth.

It was a great trip.  It flew by, as I think we stuffed in as many sights as was humanly possible.  I am glad to be back, in my own house, and sleeping in my own bed.  And, of course, thinking about my next trip(s).  Nantucket this winter?  Some baseball location next summer?  Massive European trip next fall?  I can’t wait!


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