Aug. 15: London, Day 1 

When I Realize I Can’t Speak English


This is the oldest thing I saw on the first day. Completely captivated.

After only 12 hours in England, I realized I didn’t know real English words and would have to hire a translator. Seriously. The language is so different over there.

King’s Cross and Platform 9 3/4dsc_6849

After we had gotten lost the night before, we finally figured out the tube. I also got a free app to help me out. It made all the difference.

Oh, and we stopped at Platform 9 3/4 —


Grimmauld Place

We got to see the outside of the buildings where that was filmed, but the very home we wanted to photograph was scaffolded/being painted. It was still cool to see.

The difference between Abbey Rd. and Abbey Road.dsc_6884

We rode the tube to Abbey Rd. — sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. It was the exact opposite end of the city. This is where my tube method changed to a mix of Google Maps and tube app (find the location, find nearest station, navigate on tube app to station).  When we realized the error, I sucked it up and called an Uber. By the way, everyone that works for Uber in London is nice. And there was another super nice guy at Abbey Road Studios that let Mike get a picture of the doorway. Before we left, we left our names on the graffiti wall. Definitely a surreal place to go.

Final Thought for the Day: No One Has A/C

Seriously, though. A/C doesn’t exist in England. It must be nice to not need it, except for the 2-3 weeks when it’s hot.

Aug 13 & 14: Raleigh > JFK > London

24 hours of JFK

We decided it was a good idea to save the cash and just spend the night in JFK. Security is lame and we didn’t want to spend more time there than we had to (though Mike had somehow gotten Sky Priority AND TSA Precheck, skipping me and the 45 minute wait in the first line). I worked while we were there so I could at least make a little money for the week. While I thought at first I could work regular hours, I realized that I needed to break it up to keep from going insane. I did enjoy watching the planes take off – it reminded me of going to the airport when I was a kid, before the 911 and security issues made it impossible.

The worst parts about spending the night in the airport? Around 2 am and realizing that floor-sleeping was happening. I bundled up in my jacket and slept fitfully on the tile floor. We moved to a carpeted area at one point, but there really is no way to be warm on a hard airport floor, ever.

We got pretty loopy, honestly. There was a moving walkway we were sitting near that had a repeating recording which said, “Hold the Handrail.” After several hours of this, it morphed into “Hold the Toblerone.”

The Decadent Feeling of Breaking Self-Imposed Rules

I’d been gluten-free up to this point, but I decided to get over myself and go back to eating delicious things on this trip. Research had shown that it’s pretty hard to maintain a GF life during travel (though not impossible), especially overseas. So, I enjoyed a lot of pizza and burgers. It tasted like magic after so long. The airport was my first taste of this.

Trans-Atlantic Flight

I gave my phone a break and didn’t watch movies on this flight. Instead? I read a book. It felt positively sinful. I’ve been working myself to the bone lately, so not updating someone’s Facebook or checking analytics was good. I must do this more often.

The Arrival

Once we got to London, things went south for me. Usually, I’m the queen of navigation, but the tube completely befuddled me. I also relied too hard on our international plan. Though it was a generous (free!) plan, data was only 2G. I couldn’t load any maps. Instead? We organized an Uber. This strategy will be used many times during the rest of our trip. Our Uber driver was the nicest, another pattern that would continue. I also downloaded an offline tube map to tide us over for the rest of the trip. My advice? Get the tricked out international plan or expect 2G data to be completely unreliable inside of any foreign city. Once out of the city, you’re golden.

Once we got to our Airbnb for the night, we promptly passed out in preparation for the next day.