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Toronto to Europe Airport and Day one

Is This Your Camera Sir?

rain 14 °C
View Europe on JuiceQ88's travel map.

So what does one do when you have an 11:05 p,m Friday flight from Toronto to Europe for your very first time to Europe? Chill and have a drink of course, because you are on vacation is the correct answer. I am so looking forward to this trip for a whole host of reasons: big birthday upcoming next month, I have never been to Europe, I want to see new places and experience new things that I up until now have not really had the opportunity to do etc... The downside if you can call it that is that I will catch the travelling bug and catch a wave every year for a few trips. Not the worst bug to catch I suspect and something I have always wanted to do more of as I got older.

The trip to the airport was nothing dramatic, just some Friday night traffic as we weaved our way through Toronto. Pearson was pretty quiet as it was 8:30 in the evening when we arrived. Check-in went easily and smoothly for the most part except when they were checking the carry on baggage. I didn't think anything of it until they asked if I had a camera in my backpack? I did and they asked me to take it out of the camera bag so they could swab the inside of the bag .. I think they were checking for drugs like cocaine residue or something like that. Well the thought of me not getting on the plane crossed my mind when they did that because the camera is something I borrowed. Now I wasn't concerend about cocaine or anything but it did cross my mind that if there was something then how do you say in all honesty well it isn't my camera I borrowed it from somebody? Sure it isn't yours buddy.

After Michelle and I cleared all check-ins we arrive in departure with time to spare. A drink at the airport, a quick lesson from Michelle in how to play gin rummy followed by several lost rounds of gin rummy to said teacher before boarding for our flight to London.

So I haven't travelled a lot, but the plane is always a bit of a guessing game ...who am I going to be beside? Is it a kid? Some chatty Cathy? A world traveller? A nervous Nelly who knows?? Upon entering the plane towards my seat, we noticed it was occupied by a man who didn't want to move out of my seat at first but the flight attendant told him he needed to move over one seat. He was a very nice man travelling with his wife. Both very quiet, so much so that the three times they had to get up to use the facilities I barely heard them asking.

We boarded early and it amazed us how many people tried to cram carry on baggage too big for the compartments into the bins. I don't care how many different ways you spin a suitcase, if it doesn't fit when the bin is full, it doesn't fit. I think I got corked in the head about 10 times by people trying to to put suitcases in the overhead compartments without realizing that they had backpacks on their backs and that infringes on my seat space when I am already seated. Hey I thought the rule was one piece of carry on baggage. Let's enforce the rule there Air Canada.
Other then the guy in front of me hacking up a lung, and his seat hitting me in the knees evey time he moved, or the nice back massage from the people behind me occasionally kicking my seat, or late boarders wanting to move our backpacks to make room for theirs, the flight was uneventful.

The excitement happened after arriving in London. We landed at Heathrow which is a pretty big airport. It is reasonably well organized, but is quite large. The only trouble we had was finding the Heathrow express train to London. The 15 minute ride to London was fine. We exited the train in Paddington and for 22 pounds in retrospect it was worth it because of the protests going on above ground which would have made driving a nightmare. I'll come back to that in a minute. We got on the tube and travelled 7 stops to Charing Cross Station. From Heathrow to the end of the tube ride, the rain had started ... on go the rain coats and out come the umbrellas. Welcome to London. We exited the subway right in the heart of the protests drawing awareness to climate change in Trafalgar square. After a few minutes going in the wrong direction, we turned around and doubled back. We got to the Hotel Nadler our home for the next 3 nights. It's in a prime location in Covent Garden. After checking in we dropped our stuff in the room and headed back out to grab SIM cards for our cell phones while we were in Europe. After the administrative part of the day was done, now it is time to see the sights: Out we got to see Trafalgar Square, High Commission of Canada, The Admiralty Arch, The Horse Guards Parade, we walked through St. James Gardens on the way to Buckingham Palace. We saw a Mounted Horse Parade from Buckingham Palace up the Mall towards the Admiralty Arch. Walked through Australia Gate, saw a Changing of the Guard, walked through Canada Gate. Saw the Canada War Memorial in Green Park, Saw the Victoria Memorial, Walked up Green Park to Piccadilly Street. It was raining a bit harder now so time for a pub. We found our first but it was busy so off down Piccadilly to find some more. We found two other pubs and ended up going into The King's Head, had a drink and some food to get us through the rest of the day.

After eating we made our way back down Piccadilly to the Hotel. En route we saw a film being made we grabbed some items at the store for the room and then headed in to chill and recharge for about an hour before heading out again. After our break we headed out and saw a few more night time sights: Crossed the Thames over the Jubilee Bridge, Went on the London Eye so we could see the city at night. Crossed the Thames again over The Westminster Bridge, saw Big Ben, The Parliament buildings, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street and then back to Trafalger Square and up The Strand to our hotel. The night ended with some blog writing and a bit of television on in the background. A full day lots of walking and very little sleep on the plane so time for bed to get up early and do some more tomorrow.

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Posted by JuiceQ88 14:17 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london

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