Sunday, July 14, 2013

London Trip: Day 4 (July 7), heading back home

Our last day in London ended up being a relaxed day in which we gave ourselves plenty of time to arrive at the airport, which was a good thing! It was also a special day because we had breakfast with my British friend G., whom I had last seen thirteen years before.

It was a lovely reunion for us; the last time we had seen each other was when we went out for some goodbye drinks when I was leaving my semester of studying abroad in a suburb of London. G. and I had met when we were both vacationing in Paris and found out that we only lived 20 minutes from each other in the London suburbs. G. and I hung out some more when we both got back to England. I hadn't seen him since then, but we kept in touch despite his move to Asia and then back to England and my moves all over the place.

Thirteen years later, we are quintessentially the same people at heart, but we have definitely changed and grown up and learned so much more since we were in our early 20s when we first met. We had some laughs at some of the ridiculous adventures we had enjoyed, and also shared good conversation with C.

We enjoyed our lunch at The Olive Garden (not related to the American chain!) in Southfields, but all good things have to come to an end so we said goodbye to G. and boarded the Tube for the airport.

Here's where my travel advice comes in: always give yourself a lot of time to make connections and to get to the airport! I've missed a train once from Paris to Brussels (and had to pay what I call the "stupid tax," which was buying a new ticket -- very expensive!) and a flight to Seattle (thank you, Southwest, for just putting me on the next flight with no stupid tax). Therefore, I am a bit sensitive about arriving early.

C. and I were very lucky that we gave ourselves extra time to get back to Heathrow. The Tube has different stops for Heathrow's different terminals. We didn't remember which terminal we needed and ended up missing the stop for our terminal. We got out of the train and had to look at the listing at the station to see what terminals and air carriers were available at each stop. This wasn't listed inside the train, so it's important to look this up ahead of time; learn from our mistake! It took us about 10-15 minutes to get another train and make the circuit around to the correct stop.  Thank goodness that we had allowed extra time!

Our flight home was uneventful. I had a pleasant surprise when I turned on my phone. My friend D. had stayed at my apartment to watch Moo and he had texted some photos of Moo. They were super cute; Moo loves Mr. D. and I'm very glad he had such a great Moositter.

Mr. D and Moo had a guys' weekend when I was in London.

I took the ICE train home to Kaiserslautern from the airport and then walked home from the train station. It felt good to be back in my quiet, "small" German city after being in the hustle and bustle of London. The long weekend had been an enjoyable mix of art, culture, candy, Mexican food, and friends old and new.

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