Michelangelo sibyl from the Sistine Chapel


day one

Since I don't fly that often, I have a tendency to really get into it whenever I do. Somehow it never seems to lose its appeal. Of course after being in the air for nearly seven hours sitting becomes a form of torture and one does get a little eager to land.

I am almost positive that this flight was even longer than the one that I took to Hawaii a few years ago, but at least we were given enough to eat and had some okay movies to watch to pass the time. Sleeping on the plane never seems to work that well for me.

To further illustrate my limited flying experience I was thoroughly impressed by the flat screen display that was on the back of each seat. From that one panel I choose from a small selection of movies or music. Naturally there were more options in first class, but the movies that I had to choose from weren't that awful.

Another feature that I thought was sharp was the in flight map displaying a real time picture of where we were in the air. It not only gave our current location, but our cruising speed, altitude and the temperature outside the plane. More often than not I try to figure out where we are by looking out the window, but at thirty-seven thousand feet there aren't that many landmarks to gauge location. Everything outside the window was a brillant white.


When we finally landed in London we learned our first valuable lesson about traveling to a foreign country. Previously unknown to us, Heathrow closes at midnight on Sundays. Apparently our flight from the United States was one of the last for the day and everything was shutting down as we wandered around the airport. At first we didn't catch on to what was happening, but we got a little upset when we figured it out, because it messed up our plans for the night.

Rather than booking a hotel for six or seven hours, we had hoped that we could spend the night in the airport milling around watching people. Unfortunately that wasn't an option as we were escorted out by a friendly staff member, who told us that everything was closing down.

So after some gentle chiding from him, we found ourselves on a bus headed for Trafalgar Square. From there he said that we could catch a bus to anywhere in London. At the time it seemed like our best plan.

About an hour later we stepped down off of the bus and into the famous London rain. It was probably one in the morning and we didn't know where to go next. All that we wanted was somewhere warm where we could stay until the morning. An all night restaurant would have been perfect, but we couldn't seem to find one anywhere as we wandered the streets of London with our backpacks.


The second thing that we learned is that there aren't any crowds outside Buckingham Palace at two in the morning. In fact from what we could tell, my brother and I were the only people there. We had an excellent view right at the gate.

Eventually we made our way to Victoria Station in the hopes that it might be open. We were wrong. So we ended up sitting at a bus stop outside the station until the sun came up. Our morning pick up spot for the tour was about a block from the station.

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