Trip to England Day 1 and 2

Left my house Christmas Day night. Karen arrived at the same time the taxi did, and we were at the airport way too early (her request) so we could go the lounge. I warned her the MIA lounge is a shared lounge and not so great. She now agrees. We boarded on time and our plane left 10 minutes early. Yeah, early. In the sky before we were supposed to even leave the gate. The plane was pretty damned empty. Virgin Atlantic on a free ticket is awesome because, well, it was free. The plane was way too hot which made it hard to sleep. We had lie flat beds which included a set of custom black pyjamas and a duvet. You can also use the bed as two chairs so you can have a guest dine with you. We did that too. The seating configuration is odd in upper class as the seats are at 45-degree angles to the window as opposed to lining up with them.

We arrived Heathrow on-time (the next day, Boxing Day), taxied around the runway for quite a bit, and finally were at the gate right on schedule which wasn’t bad considering nearly 20 minutes of taxiing. We breezed through passport control, waving our boarding passes to sneak into the FastTrack lane. Our bags were among the first off, and moments later we were walking towards the Heathrow Express station. On board, we had our tickets checked — they were pre-purchased on-line, though as it turns out there is no savings in doing so. And in fifteen minutes we were in a totally deserted Paddington station. Except for HEX, it was closed for boxing day, so there was nobody there and no queue for taxis. Not long after we were at the hotel.

I went to check in and they asked for my passport. I pulled it out, only the spot in my backpack was empty. No show tickets, no plane tickets, no hotel reservations, no passport, no money. Nothing. No idea what cab we came in and so I called the US Embassy to get help in replacing the passport which I had given up. The UK office is closed on boxing day but says you must show up the next business day (Monday) with a police report and proof of citizenship. I email mom hoping to get it. I try calling HEX and asking for help but got none. Nearly an hour later, the front desk calls and asks if I’m the gentleman who lost the passport. The next fare in the back of the cab found it and turned it over the driver. Everything was intact including money, a huge tip ensued.

With that delay out of the way we decided to spend the day at the zoo. It was very cold — never hit 42 — and windy so that made it a bit less than fun but we happened to be there as they were feeding critters, so that was fun. We had some spare time so took a quick jaunt on the London Eye. After that back to the hotel for warmer clothes.

We went to Belgo Centraal for dinner (it’s in Covent Garden) and then walked back to Piccadilly Circus tube for the ride home. Our hotel is near Gloucester Road. We also stopped at Tesco Express for water and chocolate plus I got some raspberries. We also, whilst at Piccadilly circus, stopped into Boots for Karen to get some cough medicine.

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