London – Day 15 – Travel Home – July 24, 2019
Up early and on our way. We had time for one final breakfast at Gregg’s. Of all the photos I took on this trip, I did not take one of the actual shop, but we sure will miss it.
Our first train was on the Jubilee line which originates at Stratford, even though we were at the start, we still didn’t get seats. At this point, I want to point out a couple of cool things that I saw and experienced on this journey. When we were heading for the train, a man dropped his wallet on the ground and walked away, immediately at least 3 people called out to him and his wallet was returned. Then on two occasions as we were making our way through the Underground with our suitcases, we encountered stairs. Zane and I both had people immediately help us with our bags. Throughout our time in London we saw so many acts of kindness and people helping others.
Once we got on the Picadilly line to Heathrow there was lots of room and we had seats the whole way. Colin and Jude got on a different carriage than Zane and I and Zane had fun talking to them through the window at the end of the carriage.
At Heathrow, we returned our Oyster cards and headed into the airport. We had an uneventful check in and went into the gate area. We still had a few pounds to spend so got one final meal deal for the boys, bought a magazine and a couple of souvenirs. Becky called and we had a final chat before we left. She’s a quality girl!
There was also a Harrod’s in the departure lounge so I visited that and crossed another thing off my list that didn’t happen while we were in London.
Then it was a flight to Iceland and a short layover there. On to our flight to Seattle. No sleep. Should have slept. I think flying back this way is the hardest on your body. By the time we got to Seattle we were exhausted, hungry and staring down 5 hours in the airport before our flight to Redmond which would get us there after midnight. We had to go through immigration which was actually quite cool – you scan your own passport and get a photo taken by a computer. We got a big ol’ X on Colin’s photo though, so we had to go through the naughty line because he forgot to take his glasses off for the computer. Then we claimed our luggage and had to go through customs, it was here that we discovered that the apple we bought Zane in London to eat, had not, in fact, been eaten, but was still in the bottom of his backpack. Then we were off to find dinner and our gate.
I’m not super impressed with the Seattle airport. It lacks the moving sidewalks of Portland and there isn’t much to do. It could also be that we were just so tired by this point. It was rough, not gonna lie. This is where the rubber meets the road and you have to decide if the experience is worth the stress of travel. It totally is, but at the time it was rough. 25 hours of being awake isn’t good for you. I finally relented and lay on the floor in a corner and slept for a bit, Jude tried to do the same with some success and Zane completely crashed out on the floor.
Then it was a quick flight to Redmond and a short drive home. We were so looking forward to getting into bed. Colin and I were both working the following day so getting to sleep was going to be important. Checkers the Cat had other ideas. He was crazy happy to see us and when I say crazy, I mean crazy. He sat on the bed and meowed all night long. All night long. It says something about our level of exhaustion that we did actually get a little bit of sleep. It’s going to take a few days to recover! If you can sleep on a plane, sleep on the plane!
This trip was such a dream come true. To share London with my boys was amazing. To revisit old haunts and discover new places was wonderful.
We didn’t get to do everything on the list and while in London, I discovered even more things that I now want to see and experience, but it was such a rich time. That’s the word that I keep coming back to as I think about our time in London.
So some final words about London. Go there. Go with an open heart and a curious mind. Do some of the touristy things, they’re popular for a reason. Also get off the beaten path and discover the places that will be meaningful to you. Try something different, eat an exotic meal, visit a museum or gallery about something that you might not think you’re interested in and see if you might be after all. Have a conversation with a local, set yourself a challenge like traveling on every form of public transport that London offers or ride on every Underground line, find 10 Blue Plaques, explore!
There will be crowds, more so in the Summer, but there are always crowds. As an introvert, the throngs of London have never been draining for me (except in some tourist areas, then it gets to me). I feel free there and I feel a part of the life of London. There are also quiet spots everywhere – gardens, parks, galleries, cafes. Spaces to breathe and jump out of the rush for a bit.
Another thought I had was to go against the norm a bit. People often say to keep your eyes down as you travel around. I disagree – notice people, notice things on the street, in the Underground. There is beauty and interest all around.
London is a city of contrasts and here’s the list I came up with while there this time. Let me know if you can think of more.
Magnificent and Mundane (thanks for that one, Dad)
Ancient and Modern
Green and Grey
Fast and Slow
British and International
Ugly and Beautiful
Rich and Poor
Exhausting and Exhilarating
New and Nostalgic
London is truly my Hometown and I will always feel at home there.
I am planning on doing a few more posts about some specific things in London. My favourite photos that I took, street art, transportation.
Thanks for joining us on our journey to London!