The Americans Have Landed
We have left the confines of sardine life in a tin airplane and stepped into the hustle and bustle of London. Once we departed the airport, we purchased a train ride on the Gatwick Express. The train was packed, so stood watching over our packs while Big Al sat being lulled asleep by the rolls of the wheels.
Approximately 30 minutes later, we arrived at Victoria Station. It was a sensory overload. People moving in every which direction, smells from a variety of sources, weirdly the main smell was macaroni and cheese, bright flashing lights!!! I am not sure I can paint a picture with words because my ADD clouded my perspective. I will return to the busy station tomorrow on our way to the theater, so I will be more prepared to absorb the environment and possibly take some photos.
After shuffling through different tube tunnels, we made our way to Marble Gate and collided with a cold rainy mix. We attempted to navigate with umbrellas, but the wind and juggling Google maps proved frustrating. We resorted to the only true American sanctuary (read that with a sarcastic overtone) McDonalds. I needed reliable WiFi. Mom needed coffee, and we both needed a restroom. Our McDonalds refuge allowed the rain to pass and Google maps to supply us directions to our B&B.
We met the building manager, Khalil. She (I totally thought with the name it was a boy, wrong) walked us through the small but perfectly poss space near Hyde Park. We have the essentials: shower, toilet, bed, and kitchen basics. Mom caught a cat nap while I prepped research on my mini iPad to explore our new hood for dinner and groceries.
We stumbled around the streets getting lost in the old world architecture. Mom and I agreed a pub would be the perfect start to London. We picked The Portman! A picture perfect corner spot for local families needing a hot meal or business men popping in for a pint. The menu had savory English classics. We picked smoked tomato soup with creme freshe and shared a chicken and leek pie. The warmth was the prefect meal to warm two wind-blown travelers.
After dinner, my mom and I each reached our 10,000 step daily FitBit challenge, which is approximately 5 miles. I am certain that four of those miles were with our packs. I am hoping to loose some weight on this vaca! Walk it out!!! Side note: I am currently in a weight lose group with some friends; I am using the luggage scale at airports for my weigh-ins!
Then we kicked it to the equivalent of Whole Foods called Waitrose. We loaded up on breakfast items, snacks, and picked our some delicious soups for lunch or dinner. For eight breakfasts, dried fruits and nuts, soup, bread, and cheesecake (a sweet treat to celebrate our first night of our trip) was just under $50 USD. It is truly worth buying one or two meals in a grocery store to save money. It adds up quickly. Especially when the English Pound is stronger than the United States Dollar. When you try to save money then you can splurge on excursions. Like tomorrow’s day of riding the tubes and the theater!