Hi! It’s been a while, huh? I’m prepping a few posts though, as I’ve finally made some things and got photos. 😉 While doing so, I realized that it’s been a year now since our UK vacation, so I thought it would be fun (maybe not for you all, but for me!) to share it on ye olde blogge. There are pictures!! 😉
We left on September 23, 2019 and returned on October 2, which turned out to be a great time to visit both England and Scotland. We really couldn’t have asked for more pleasant weather, oddly! (The great outdoors very politely limited most of the rain to times that we were indoors or asleep–how courteous!)
One thing Tom wanted to do with some of his severance from 2018–since we didn’t need it to live on after all–was to put funds aside for a trip. We feel really fortunate to have been able to do that. Our choice of destination was very mutually-agreed-upon but also partly an exercise in nostalgia for me. You may not know it–and indeed, it may seem utterly impossible if you read my blathering–but I did a semester abroad in the UK my junior year of college. I have…mixed feelings about that time in my life, chiefly because it came on the heels of the lowest depression I’d personally ever had. And yet, academically it was the best experience of my life and I was there with my soulmate-slash-best friend. I was hopeful that going back as a tourist and showing someone who had never been there (aka Tom) all the stuff we liked and places we frequented would help me heal a bit; I think it definitely helped me focus on the happy memories I have of that semester, which had previously been harder to do. For his part, Tom has wanted to visit the UK for a long time. He’s not as into history as I am, but he can appreciate it; mainly he was looking forward to seeing Scotland. In a way, the trip was split half-and-half for both of us: England for me, and Scotland for him! But we both enjoyed the entire visit immensely and are so glad we were able to do this together. We are dying to go back someday, which speaks to the success of our first international adventure as a couple!
It may seem like we had a lot of time, but really it was tough to cram everything into just one week! Neither of us enjoy strict to-the-minute schedules for leisure stuff, but we also wanted to have a rough outline of a plan to help us use our time wisely. We bought our flights in March 2019 and sorted out all our lodgings at that time also. We agreed that we’d spend 3 days in London–with one of those days being a day trip to Oxford–and 3 days in Isle of Skye, followed by one final night in London before flying home. From there, it was a matter of narrowing down what things we wanted to do in both places.
Day 1: Helloooooo, London!
For the England portion of our visit, the key scheduling factor ended up being our 90-minute tour of the Bodleain Library at Oxford, which was only available for one date/time combination during our visit. So Day 2 by default became Oxford Day, and the things we wanted to do in London had to fit on either Tuesday or Thursday. Our flight was due to land around 11:30AM local time on Tuesday, at which point I figured we’d get our bags, take the express train into the city, drop off our bags at the hotel (The Columbia Hotel in Bayswater, which is family-owned and which we highly recommend), and then walk through Hyde Park to find food and begin touring. We’d start at the V&A and Natural History Museum, and then catch the tube to Goldhawk Road for a fabric binge.
Everything was going great to start: our flight had a stiff tailwind on the way over, so we were an hour early! And then we sat on the tarmac for over an hour because they didn’t have a gate for us. It then took about 2 more hours to get through Immigration and get our lone (EMPTY!!!!) checked bag. We were actually behind schedule by the time we got on the express train. We were also very hungry, so Phase 1 shifted to “Quickly abandon baggage and EAT!!!” I figured we’d hit Goldhawk Road and save the museums for Thursday instead…except that all the shops close at 6 or 6:30, leaving me with less than 2 hours to shop and a list of 6+ stores I wanted to visit. 😦 We pivoted and went to the Natural History Museum instead, and it was amazing. We practically ran through the place, as it closed just over an hour after we arrived. Because of time constraints it was that or the V&A, and I figured that both of us would get more enjoyment out of the Natural History Museum so that’s the one we went for. No regrets, it was magnificent!!
Something pretty funny happened after we visited the museum: as we were leaving the grounds, we noticed a lot of Mormon kids (teens/young adults) trying to “witness” to people around/near the museum. (Incidentally, many of the kids we heard speaking seemed to be American.) Now if you know me in real life, have read here for a while, or follow me on Instagram, you may have picked up on my atheism; I’m especially not a fan of being hassled–which is what being approached about someone else’s religion feels like to me–when I’m out trying to enjoy my day or go about my business. One pair tried to engage us pretty shortly after we left the museum grounds, and I curtly said “Nope!” and we quickly walked away. (Tom maintains that he also verbally rebuffed them, but I don’t remember what he said!) We must have looked very unfriendly because we were mostly left alone for the rest of the block. Well, that and I was a woman accompanied by A Man, which seemed to help–many women who were walking alone ended up with a pair of young “witnesses” attached to them as they went along. (Come to find out their temple is nearly across the street from the museum, like how crisis pregnancy centers like to set up near Planned Parenthood in America I guess…) Anyway, one last pair decided to try us out and used a different tactic: one kid asked, “What was your favorite part of the museum today?” Again, note that I don’t appreciate being proselytized to, and I knew exactly where he was going to steer any response I gave. In a rare moment of lucidity, rather than ignoring him (Plan A, always) I happily said, “The Charles Darwin exhibit!” and kept on walking as the kid fumbled for words. Someone get that kid some aloe vera! 😉 #sickburn
Here’s a selfie we took with a statue of Mr. Darwin, by the way:
After the museum, we walked back to our hotel through Hyde Park; it was the perfect end to our first day in London! It was golden hour, the sky was clear, and the temperature was Fall perfection. (We probably looked like Americans, as we were the only ones not wearing jackets or sweaters over our t-shirts in 60F weather…)
Day 2: Oxford + Shenanigans
Day 2 was an early day: we had to get to the train station early to catch our train to Oxford! (I gave us enough time to grab breakfast in Oxford before our library tour, hence the 7AM train! xD ) I had bought these tickets in advance since we knew the day and time of our tour; I can heartily recommend the Trainline app and website for this, by the way! When I did my semester, I had no reason to take a train anywhere–we rarely left Oxford and just walked or took a bus in town. So when we arrived at the train station in Oxford I was very disoriented: nothing looked familiar and I couldn’t get my bearings. We got on the bus (Google Maps was super helpful for knowing which bus or which tube line to get on) and got off at the mall because I wanted a Krispy Kreme. 😉 (Funny story: my first-ever fresh Krispy Kreme donut was had in Oxford. Ever since, I can’t stand to eat them if they aren’t fresh–that donut ruined me!! 😉 ) Tom got a cheese and bacon pasty, and we made our way toward the library. Again, I had a really hard time getting my bearings at first: the mall area of Oxford has changed a bit in the 12 years since I was there! But we arrived in plenty of time, and apart from my inner nerd being annoyed at the docent for using the incorrect name for one of the people involved in a part of the library, it was very enjoyable. I had taken for granted how easy it was to visit every part of the library during my semester, even the Radcliffe Camera, which was where I took all my books to read and study. (The Radcliffe Camera was the SOLE REASON we did the 90-minute tour: it’s the only one that gets you inside the RadCam and I wanted Tom to see it.)
After the Bodleain we went next door to the Sheldonian Theatre so we could climb the tower and see the city from that angle. I hadn’t gone in there 12 years ago, so it was a cool little side-jaunt.
Next we went to The Turf tavern–a place we had been many times during our semester abroad–for lunch. Tom had fish and chips (of course!) and I had chips. Those were the best chips of the trip though, so I can’t hate on them. It’s just not much of a meal!
After trying in vain to buy branded pint glasses (not a “thing” over there, apparently?) for my lifepartner, we headed for New College, aka my old stomping grounds. To my chagrin we had to use the tourist entrance and pay to get in! 😉 But it was so fun to show Tom around and see him try to comprehend just…going to school there amid all the history and grandeur. I mean, come on: the New College campus contains part of Oxford’s original city wall, complete with arrow slits!! (Admittedly my tutorials happened off-campus at my professors’ homes, but I had free run of the grounds while I was there; I made many trips to the college’s library, and took innumerable walks around the grounds just to be there among the history.) Happily, someone was playing the organ when we went into the college chapel, which made it that much cooler. After walking all around the green (and trespassing onto the lawn so I could show Tom “The Mound” in the center 😉 ), we looped back to the entrance and made our way to my old flat. It’s still there, and still pink.
I had hoped to show Tom where my primary tutor had lived in Summertown–it’s a really lovely area!–but we had to watch the time. See, I had a side trip tacked onto this side trip. 😉 We went to The Eagle & Child pub to fill some time and so Tom could see it; he had a pint and I had a Coke (which is still inferior to American Coke, sorrynotsorry). Then we made our way back to the train station to catch our train to Kings Sutton.
If you’re from the UK, especially this region, you’re probably wondering what in the fuck business 2 Yankees had in Kings Sutton. Well, as it happens, a relative–as in, I descend directly from him–on one side of my family came to the American colonies in 1679 from a small village not far from there. It’s called Aynho. Unfortunately Google had mislead me here: sure, you can take a train to Kings Sutton, but you cannot in fact just grab a taxi from there. We had to call a service in Banbury and they sent someone to collect us and take us the rest of the way. D’oh! Lesson learned: we should have just stayed on the train until Banbury!! But we made it to Aynho. I knew my ancestor’s name and his parents’ names, as well as the critical fact that there had only ever been one church in Aynho, and that even now it is the only church there. Unfortunately the church closed at 6 (yes, churches can and do close!) so because of the delay in leaving Kings Sutton we didn’t get to speak to anyone there, but we did get to roam around the graveyard since it’s open to the public. The caretaker happened by also–perhaps because he heard two American voices in the yard–and was super friendly and kind. And lo and behold, we found 2 still-legible (they’re ca. late 1600s) stones belonging to members of my family!! It was totally surreal. I only wish I had known about this piece of my family’s history when I lived 45 minutes away for an entire semester!!!
After stopping off at the local hotel for a pint we met our taxi back at the church and returned to Kings Sutton and then to London.
Back in London that evening, Tom ticked another box off his UK wish list: we stopped at a pub near our hotel and he had a meat pie. 😀 (Steak and ale, if you were wondering! He was in heaven.)
Day 3 – Fabric Shopping & Cranky Touring
On our last full day in England, we had a lot to do around London: fabric shopping, visiting Westminster Abbey, taking a river tour, and possibly seeing the Tower of London or riding the London Eye. We had breakfast at the hotel before heading out around 9. Our destination? Goldhawk Road!
I’m pleased to say that fabric shopping was a roaring success! I’ve never been to a garment district type of shop before, and found the setup to be quite overwhelming–I didn’t know where to start! (I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t take a single photo.) But the staff at the stores I visited were very helpful and I found some great stuff. I felt a bit bad at the first store we visited, as any time I asked the gentleman about a price or how much yardage there was in a specific pre-cut, he assumed I was haggling and took a bit off the price! Oops. I bought 5 pieces there, and regret leaving behind a gorgeous bright orchid/fuchsia coating material in the lower level; I didn’t even bother asking the price, because I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to fit a coat’s worth of it in my baggage. 😦 The second store we visited wasn’t really my jam, but I did buy a piece of lining fabric there. Our third and final stop was another great shop: I found Chanel! I also got some wool crepe in two colors I am loving right now (electric fuchsia and bright lapis blue) and a merino wool suiting remnant that will eventually become trousers for Tom. I forgot to buy the outlandish sequin-stripe fabric near the door in my mad rush, though–grr!! There are obviously more than 3 fabric shops on Goldhawk Road, but I had spent plenty of money already and was overstimulated, so I decided I was content to stop and take my (heavy) haul back to the hotel.
Here is my haul from each store:
From Store #1 (whose name I sadly can’t remember; Google didn’t even stalk me on this shopping venture, apparently. 😦 Sorry!)
The leopard print is a nice cotton; the next two together are for Tom–the small-scale check one is a shirting cotton and the other is a blend that he asked for a tie out of; then there’s a cotton Burberry-esque check and a statement wool, both for moi. 😉
At Store #2–U.K. Textiles GB Ltd.–I only got the one piece, and honestly I probably should have left it! xD
Store #3 Haul (again, cannot for the life of me remember the name):
The Chanel boucle is amazing, of course! The two wools in the middle are really nice as well, and the gray merino one is for Tom. The wool crepes are the bright cuts!
After dropping off my fabric we stopped for lunch and then made our way to Westminster. I splurged on the verger-guided tour for us, because I wanted to be able to ask questions. (Thank goodness I have a patient touring partner!)
Before I angry up my blood all over again, let me be clear that I immensely enjoyed our visit to the abbey–it is a breathtaking building and it was very powerful to be standing in the midst of so much history. But I got quite annoyed by our tour group! And our verger answered one of their (asinine) questions wrong, which really raised my blood pressure. (Not that I fault the man, he’s a lay clergyman not a historian!) Our group was all Americans–not so surprising–but everyone else was definitely of the “royal watcher” variety. Their interest was in the modern figurehead monarchy and associated gossip, rather than the incredible 1,000 years of history staring them in the face. I found their lack of interest in the history of the site (prior to 1953, anyway) to be very irritating and frankly, embarrassing. And the mis-answered question? Oh lord. One of the other group members asked a truly inane hypothetical question: what if QEII had died before her coronation ceremony? Like, first of all she obviously didn’t; second of all, you paid £30 to be here and THAT’S what you need to know?!? Ugh.
By now I was DONE entertaining the daft obsession with the modern monarchy so as soon as the verger stopped talking I raised my hand and asked a question about a portrait that was visible on the altar stage. A portrait that is NEARLY 900 YEARS OLD and that it turns out was purposely defaced during the Reformation. Let’s talk about THAT, please! (Did I mention that one of my favorite things to study–as a History major–was English medieval history? And that my primary tutorial at Oxford was on medieval England and the role of the church? Yeah…)
After I got all uppity in the abbey, we headed for the pier and took a river tour to the Tower. Hilariously, that was about the worst weather we had while outdoors the entire week: it poured rain once we set off and continued until just after we returned to the dock! But we stayed on the top deck the entire time–otherwise, what’s the point?!? We opted not to visit the Tower itself–I’d been 12 years ago, and Tom wasn’t overly interested in going. We also didn’t ride the Eye, for which I have no good excuse: we simply got preoccupied with getting food and eventually headed back to our hotel. Neither of us feels lingering regret though, so whatevs!
We stopped for pizza for me (I ate 4 pizzas in London over the course of our whole trip–it was divine) and then went to Brew Dog for Tom; Brew Dog is a British company that also has a brewery and restaurant here in central Ohio, so it was fun to go to their London flagship location. While Tom enjoyed his burger, I bought tickets to see the USWNT (the US Women’s National Soccer Team) in Columbus later in the year on my cell phone. 😀 What a day!
Back at our hotel that evening, we had much packing to do: after my one-woman tear around Goldhawk Road, we suddenly had much more shit to shove into our suitcases! Our flight to Inverness was on EasyJet so baggage allowances meant getting creative.
Day 4: Scotland
Day 4 dawned early for us: we headed to a train station (which one it was escapes me now!) and took a train to a bus station near London Luton airport, then the bus to the airport itself. (The train passed St. Albans, which was really fun for this former student of medieval England! It’s hard to put in perspective how close some places are to each other today when your only reference to them is from ~600 years ago! 😀 ) Tom needed breakfast, so we stopped at a restaurant at the Luton airport and he got a full English–his first, but not his last: he loved it! After realizing how little time we had before boarding, Tom ate as fast as he ever has and we boarded our plane to Inverness, ready for Part 2 of our holiday!
Picking up our rental car at the Inverness airport took FOREVERRRR because the rental place’s system was down and there were 2 people ahead of us in line. Finally, almost an hour later, we were up; we elected to buy the extra insurance–an excellent idea, as it turned out–and loaded up our Peugeot 380 and started off for the Isle of Skye. (Snaps for this car, by the way: it’s a cute hatchback that handles beautifully! The integrated GPS was superb also–it got us around the rather remote Isle of Skye pretty flawlessly.) Tom drove the first leg and pretty quickly got the hang of it. The first part of the journey had hardly any single-track roadways on it, but we knew there was worse to come!
Our first stop was 30 minutes out of our way in Lochcarron, as I wanted to go to a tartan shop there. (A massive “Thank you” to Sue at Fadanista, who blogged about her trip to the UK the spring before our own and mentioned the Lochcarron shop and Skye Weavers.) The place, Lochcarron Weavers, was fantastic! They have SO. MANY. TARTANS. I scored an amazing 2+ meter remnant of the Henderson Ancient pattern; it’s the heavier weight that Lochcarron carries and I got it for a steal. Tom also found a smaller remnant of the Lochcarron Hunting pattern that he liked–he requested a tie from it–so I got that as well.
Also on the list were scarves for friends back home, which we duly found. As we wandered around, I noticed an amaaaaazing tartan that used chartreuse as one of the primary colors. (It’s the Cornish National pattern, btw.) I asked about it, and they only had it in the heavier weight wool; however, they could order it on the reiver weight (which is itself 10oz fabric) if I wanted. 😀 😀 😀 I couldn’t resist. 2.5 meters were duly ordered, and content with my haul we headed back to the car.
We stopped nearby for lunch (fish and chips for Tom, chips for me), took in the already-incredible scenery, and hit the road once more. Next stop: Skye!
It was now my turn to drive, and I will be honest: I hated every minute of driving in Skye. (And every minute of riding in a car there, period.) The roads are not only narrow, but absolutely littered with potholes. And “pothole” doesn’t even cover some of them: hellmouth is more like it. And many roads are…what’s one level below a backroad? They’re that. I am glad we visited Skye, and on balance we had an amazing time, but driving there was so nerve-racking and stressful for me.
Late in the day we finally made it to Portree, which is a main town on the island. We needed to get food (groceries) before heading to our AirBNB, and everything closes at 6 up there and we arrived at 5:30!! Portree was CRAMMED with tourists both times we stopped there, and the Co-Op grocery was slammed that first evening as people rushed to stock up before closing. But we got what we needed (BREAD!!) and proceeded toward Staffin.
On the map, everything in Skye looks like it will be a long drive, but the island is actually quite small–it only took about 30-45 minutes to get to anywhere else from wherever we were. Our AirBNB was quite far north on the island, just past Staffin; we picked it because it had a built-in amazing view (ocean on one side, the Quiraing on the other) and was well-reviewed and priced. The pod was SO CUTE! Angus, the owner, is a super nice dude and we had no regrets at all about choosing that rental. (Storr View Pods is what they’re called.) Plus you can’t beat a herd of sheep in their pen right outside the front door! I did learn that tiny house living is 100% not for me, but for a couple of days–where we would hardly be home!–they were perfectly nice.
Since our Big Plans for Scotland didn’t really begin until the next morning, we decided to drive down to part of Staffin Beach that first night and just check it out. It was dusk, the beach was beautiful, and it was a perfect way to end a hectic day. Yours truly had never been to an ocean before, and since the beach opens up to a bay on the Atlantic Ocean, I decided I needed to get my feet in. It was cold but worth it! I also stole a rock from that part of the beach. >=D
Day 5: Whiskey and Calamity
We had brilliantly worked out our first full day in Skye: we would leave our pod around 9:20AM, arriving at the Skye Weavers shop just as it opened at 10; I would then have time to buy scarves for people back home (I bought a lot of scarves on this trip) as well as chat to the proprietor about their pedal-powered loom, wool, and whatever other fiber-y things came up. Then we’d leave around 11AM and head to Talisker, where we were scheduled for a 12PM tour of the Talisker Distillery! I thought it was very cleverly worked out. And then I broke the car. 😦 On our way to the weaving shop, we had to take what must have been the worst road of all the roads we drove on that weekend. The locals drive very confidently on the roads there, and the tendency of a US driver is apparently to hover far to the left side of the road when driving on UK roads. (Our rental rep confirmed this.) When a cargo van came speeding at us on this single-track road, I went too far left and hit the mother of all potholes. It was brutal. We pulled over at the end of the road (which was very close) and yep, the tire was totally flat. Tom called the roadside number and they said it would be an hour before someone could come to put the spare on, which fortunately we did have in the trunk. (A word of advice: if you visit Skye, do everything you can to obtain a rental car with a spare tire.) Tom could tell I was very upset: I felt like I had just ruined our entire day, and on top of that I wasn’t going to be able to visit the weaving store at all because of the lost time. So he got out his phone, pulled up a video, and put our spare tire on himself–he had never done that in his life!! Within 20 minutes we were back on the road (and now with a built-in excuse to drive slower 😉 ) and made for the weaving shop.
Due to the lost time, I basically had time to run inside the shop, tell the owner that I was very excited to visit and buy scarves but didn’t have much time, buy the scarves, pedal on their loom for a few seconds (just long enough for a photo op, really), let Tom have a go, and then run back to the car! That poor guy must have thought I was bonkers.
Next stop: Talisker!
Talisker was definitely not up my street as I don’t drink. But Tom was just thrilled to be there, learning and sampling and taking it all in. After the tour he actually only bought a sample bottle–the prices at grocery stores in London were much cheaper!–and I got a sampler pack for my dear lifepartner.
We stopped for lunch (the WORST chips of the entire trip, y’all–such a bummer) and headed for the Fairy Pools. That was very fun, but for me it had already been a long and emotionally-exhausting day, so we didn’t walk alllll the way up the trail. We had to stop in Portree again for groceries as well, because nothing there is open on Sundays and we had a mountain range to hike the next day: that’s hungry work!
On our way back to our pod from quite a full day, we pulled over at the Bride’s Veil roadside area and wandered around for a while. It was our first use of one of the many roadside stops scattered throughout Skye, and it was very cool.
Day 6: The Time We Hiked a Mountain
Our last full day in Scotland–a Sunday–wasn’t super early. We were going to walk a trail in the Quiraing and wanted to give the fog a chance to lift. We left for the trailhead around 8:30, as it was really close to our pod. One word of warning if you plan to walk this trail: find and use a GPS-enabled map that shows where you are on the walk!!! If not for that we would have turned back before the summit–as multiple other walkers did ahead of us–and been disappointed, as the fog never lifted and there wasn’t really a “trail” visible at the top of The Table–you just need to keep walking, but in the right direction. And without the GPS, we didn’t know which direction was the right one.
The trail approaching the Table was amazing: the views were fantastic, fog aside. There were sheep and cows everywhere. A few times the trail crosses multiple farm boundaries, so you have to use wooden stands to climb over people’s livestock fences!
This hike isn’t very challenging as far as climbing and adventuring go, but getting up the last bit to the top of the Table was tiring for me and my gimpy lungs.
You can go up one of two ways, which wasn’t clear when we started–we just started walking! I was glad though, because the way we came down–apparently referred to as a “scramble”–would have been awful to climb up! Here’s a photo looking back up the scramble “path” once we got down it:
While I looked like death warmed up on the summit, I am SO HAPPY that we did this walk. Yes, I had to stop and catch my breath several times on our ascent atop the meadow-y Table; yes, it took us 3 hours to walk/hike 5 miles; but I hiked a mountain and didn’t need my inhaler: something Child Me would never have believed possible with my asthma. I felt really good and really proud. Amazingly, Tom was quite sore for a few days afterwards whereas I never felt a thing. Bodies are weird!
Once we got back “home,” we relaxed for a little while and then decided we wanted to go to Kilt Rock (an excursion for which Tom had packed his drone) and to An Corran beach (a little further up from Staffin Beach) to look for the fossilized dinosaur footprints that are only visible at low tide. Both ventures were a roaring (DINO PUN!!) success!
We spent a little time–it was chilly!–out on our pod deck that last night, just taking in the view one more time. I did a bit of knitting outside also, which was a fantasy I’d had since we booked a place with a deck. 😉 The next morning, we loaded up early to make sure we were back in Inverness for our afternoon flight back to London.
Day 7 – 8: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!
Because my anxiety was worse when I wasn’t driving the car, I drove us back to Inverness that Monday. It was a pretty uneventful drive thankfully, and we switched off after filling the car up with gas. Thanks to our insurance purchase, we owed no additional money for totally fucking up one of the tires when we turned the car in! 😀 (There was another American waiting there with us, and we got to chatting; he said he had the same tire issue but unfortunately his rental car didn’t have a spare tire, so he lost an entire day of his vacation while a replacement was found. ) We loitered around the airport for a while; Tom got his second English breakfast and I got a Coke. 😉
We got back to London that evening, having hit all three major airports there: Heathrow on the way in, Luton midway through, and Gatwick on the way back from Scotland! We didn’t have a ton of free time since it was a bit late–and dark–but we got dinner and went to Tesco (a place I didn’t get to go in Oxford, as it was too far away and our Sainsbury’s was delightful) to get booze, LOL. We stopped at the mini-Sainsbury’s yet again so I could get more bread and so Tom could grab a full bottle of Talisker. I miss the fresh bread that’s everywhere in England…it’s vastly superior to the fresh bakery bread at our groceries here, especially the varieties with some cheese in them. *sigh*
We used another AirBNB for that last night in London, an efficiency flat in Bayswater that was right around the block from our original hotel. It would not have been enjoyable for our whole London stay, but was perfect for one night. We headed for the train pretty early the next morning, since our flight was around 12PM and we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time. As it happened, we were so ahead of schedule that we were able to get on an earlier flight to the US, and for no fee! YAY!!!!!! Unfortunately we weren’t able to get on an earlier flight back to Columbus from Charlotte, because all the earlier flights were on a different subsidiary of the parent airline. 😦 So we dicked around at the Charlotte airport for a few hours and then FINALLY got home to Columbus. Whew!
If you’re still with me, thanks for reading or skimming this outrageously long post! 😀
That was our trip! It was a hectic week, but thankfully we avoided jetlag and were able to do pretty much every major thing we had planned. Considering that we planned and arranged everything ourselves, it went off pretty flawlessly! (Although if our rental car hadn’t been equipped with a spare tire, that wouldn’t have been the case…) We had a wonderful time, and would absolutely love to go back again.