Landing & Launching

Trip Start Aug 18, 2009
Trip End Aug 29, 2009

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Where I stayed
Onboard the airplane to London

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not much can be said in favor of overnight travel.

Perhaps flying during the wee hours prevents a waste of precious daylight. But when you sign up for a red-eye flight, you are enlisting to attempt sleep while shoe-horned into a space as small as a kennel cage ... and one that you share with three other squirmy passengers. So from the outset, let's agree that overnight travel has its drawbacks.

But travel implies a destination, and sometimes the overnighter ends in 'HOLY CRAP ... I'M IN LONDON!'

As soon as I "deplaned" at Heathrow (and offered a friendly wag to my fellow cage-mates), I felt duty bound to check all the equipment.
    • Cell phone (European version)? Check. (I called Toby in France.)
    • ATM card? Check. (The exchange rate stinks right now.)
    • Oyster Card (mass transit fare trader)? Double-check. (Excellent system.)
    • Cell phone (American version)? There's no way that thing is working here.
And in spite of operating on brief and restless sleep, my health & demeanor checked out, too.

So once on the Underground into town, I decided to retrieve my London street map, drop the luggage at the Ashley Hotel, and launch myself on a 6-hour London trek. I began by skirting Hyde Park (located 2 blocks from the hotel), then got lost on my way to Buckingham Palace, delighted in a captivating tour of Westminster Abbey, ambled beside Parliament and the Thames, happened serendipitously upon Trafalgar Square, briefly inspected the National Art Gallery, salivated at the theater offerings at Leicester Square, and finally "tubed" back to the hotel.

Some pictures are attached to aid your imagination. Unfortunately, visitors are not permitted to take photographs inside Westminster Abbey. This is sad, because it defies adequate verbal description. Most impressive is The Lady's Chapel, which was added to the Abbey 500 years ago. Here are links to photos of the ceiling and the altar taken by others. (Alongside the main chapel are the tombs of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, rivals even in death.)

Enjoy the photos. Taking (and culling) them proved to be fun. And forgive me for posting this blog entry a bit later than I planned. After enjoying a scrumptious Persian dinner, I could no longer hold my head erect, so stupor at last conquered resolve.
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