Day 5 - London

This day was pretty much a travelling day so there aren't any photos since photos of the inside of an airport terminal or a rainy London day aren't very exciting.

Edwin had to go back to work but was starting late. After travelling to the freeway, we said our (sad) goodbyes and sent Steen sat and watched the planes take off and land until it was time for him to go. After Edwin left, I sat and read a book or just sat until it was time for my plane to Heathrow. About the only interesting thing that happened was that I started to learn numbers in Dutch from the flight announcements being both in Dutch and English (but have since forgotten everything I learnt).

Being such a short distance to London from Amsterdam, most of the flight was climbing and descending. It was most amusing to watch the cabin crew push those trolleys uphill. It seemed that we were only flying level for about 5 minutes before descending again. It was most interesting for me to see London from the air as I had been studying the maps and could see the Thames winding is way just like on the map.

Having reached Heathrow, it was time to go through Immigration. After the usual waiting in line, I stepped up to the desk and conversation with the Immigration Officer went something like this:

Officer: Where have you come from ?
Me: Amsterdam
Officer: How long are you staying in the UK ?
Me: One night
Officer (slighly puzzled): Where are you going next ?
Me: Amsterdam
Officer (more puzzled): What is the purpose of your visit ?
Me: Holiday
Officer (very puzzled now): Funny sort of holiday isn't it ?

After explaining that I was leaving on a tour the next day before returning to London, they let me into the country and I went off to fetch my bag.

With my bag in tow (those ones with wheels are handy), I went to find the Airport Express bus as I had a ticket as part of my deal. So off I trundled to the bus stop. Only then did I realise that the Airport Express bus left from somewhere else. Grabbing a brochure, I discovered that I had to go all the way back to where I'd left the customs area. Having found out where I was supposed to wait, it was time to sit and wait. Unfortunately, it appeared that the last bus had just left so I waited longer than I could have if I didn't screw up in the first place.

Having got on the bus and ascertained that it was going to where I wanted to go (the Imperial Hotel at Russell Square), I settled in for the ride. Having never been there before I was anxious to not miss my stop and my anxiety was not helped by the fact that everyone else was getting off. I had remembered the area code of where I wanted to go so I knew I wasn't there yet so kept going. Eventually, the driver called out and I went back downstairs (it's a double decker bus) and he dropped me off right in front of the hotel.

I went inside the hotel, checked in and grabbed my key. Having got into the room, I was pleased to find that I had been upgraded from a twin share room to a single. That was fine by me as I wasn't in the mood for dealing with new people just yet so I was able to collapse and rest for a while.

Having rested, it was time to check my surroundings. Stuffing my map in my bum bag, the first stop was to find the Royal National hotel and the Contiki room where we were all due to meet later for the pre-departure checks. After that my main task was to find something to eat, both straight away and for breakfast the following morning. I shower.

As the day rolled on, the time for the pre-departure meeting was quickly upon me, so I took off for the Contiki room. There were a number of tours leaving the following day so there were lots of people hanging around but after everyone got sorted into their groups some sort of order prevailed. Our tour manager, Leanda, and driver Macca were busy checking that everyone was there and organising currency packs. Once everything was organised I took off back to my room as I was tired and had an early start the following morning.

frogdream.com is the personal web space of Matt Jackson (mjj at frogdream.com).