We woke with the final leg of our trip in front of us. We were in no real rush to leave England. Our hosts had been amazing and our accommodations perfect. Why return to real life?
Due to our lack of desire to travel at all, we waited until later in the day to travel back to London from Peterborough, after a relaxed lunch at a mexican resturant. We paid very little for this lunch because they had a promotion running with PayPal that gave you a free burrito or burger if you used the PayPal app to pay for your meal… It was also happy hour so… 2 for 1 drinks were had.
We then headed to the train station and tried using the automated machines to book our tickets to central London and then on through the tube to Hatton Crossing where our hotel for the night was. The prices seemed abnormally high so we asked the attendent… he quickly found us a much better price for our journey. (It honestly pays to ask questions when you traveling. 99% of people are very nice and don’t mind helping.)
We found that the train ride into London on a Friday night is very peaceful and with very few other travelers. If you are not focused on clubbing on weekend nights, it can be an ideal time to travel. We needed to change trains at King’s Cross Station before heading to station by the hotel. Little did I know how huge King’s Cross was. There is the classic European train station on one side and then a huge modern structure full of shops and ticketing attached to the side. Also, if you are fan of Harry Potter… you can visit Platform 9 3/4 here and even get a picture with a luggage cart as it disappears into the wall. (The image at the top of this post is the ceiling of King’s Cross.)
When we arrived at our final stop we got off and headed to our hotel, we were staying at the Jury Inn by Heathrow airport. We had booked online and tried to cheat the system a bit. We only put that 2 people were staying in the room. Whereas that saved us money, they upgraded us to king bed but no additional sofa like we had planned. Being the easy going travelers that we are… we orderd a few extra pillows and two of us slept on the floor. (It was honestly quite confortable.)
Tip… you cannot control the air temp in your room here. It was very warm in the room but we were too tired to call down and try and have it fixed. That next morning we found that they control all the room temps from the front desk and the in-room thermostats don’t really do anything.
Now, traveling back through Heathrow was an experience. They do things a little different than an airport in the states. After checking in you head to security like normal but they have some new machines that can check your passport and ticket info. This really speeds up the process.
Going through security is just the same with all of the needed checks… No shoes, liquids in clear bags outside of your baggage and walking through full body scanners. (Remember to take every little thing out of your pockets… these scanners will pick up everything.)
Next is the fun/annoying part. After leaving security you are instantly placed within a shopping center that you are forced to weave through. This is common in a lot of bigger airports but it is to the extreme here. Shopping is certainly an easy way to kill some time. Lastly, Heathrow is huge… some gates can easily feel about a mile of walking. There are moving walkways but still, that is a long way.
We all made our flight from London to Boston. It was a quick seven hours of movies and snacks/meals. Somehow I have a tendency to get placed next to the bathroom on planes. I can’t even count the number of times it has happened to me. It makes me feel a bit like a hall moniter in a middle school… Do you have your bathroom pass? No? Go back to your seat.
Finally, flying standby is not for everyone. It is unpredicable and at times frusterating. But it is cheap if you have a connection at an airline and it can take you fun places. I am currently experienceing one of the downfalls of flying Standby… because as I write this I am stuck in Boston. The rest of my crew got on a flight yesterday back to Iowa and I had to stay behind. Luckily, I have some family who live here. I called them up and they happily welcomed me into their home.
They live in a very trendy part of Boston right next to the hottest pizza joint in town. After I arrived at their apartment a marching band showed up and a crowd of people formed. Honestly, this happend. It was fun to watch and listen to them from the window sill… just feet away from their first story window. (I am telling myself that all the hoopla was to welcome me to town.)
Well…. I am in no real rush to get home. I am pretty sure the traveling life is for me. Waiting hours in airports is easy and I can quickly become productive. (This blog post being an example of that.) Hopefully a few more flights today and I will be back in Iowa… and fast asleep in my own bed.