22 March 2011

House Hunting in England. . part one.

CAT sent Keith and I on a house/school hunting/tourist/exploring trip to England a couple weeks ago. . and of course here I am just writing about it!

Mom came down to stay with the girls. . .we were scheduled to fly out of Nashville at about 1:20 to Dulles on United. . plane was delayed and didn't leave until 2:20. . .which we were told wouldn't cause a problem.  But as we walked out on to the tarmac to get on the United Express puddle jumper, I wasn't so sure.  But I was excited and buzzed off of the margaritas and beer at La Hacienda so I didn't really care!

Plane landed. . .thank God. . . because I was done with Keith's front-row view of the Swedish girls' sports team on the plane with us (of course they were all stereotypical blond models in the making).  Not exactly the way to start out a vacation for just the two of us!

We got into the airport, hit the bathroom, and heard "Final boarding call for United Airlines to London Heathrow. . .looking for three arrivals from Nashville."   At this point I looked at Keith and started running. . .so not a runner!  (But I still beat Keith and his knees!)  Luckily we made the flight. . .and even got a high five when we boarded from one of the passengers who had probably been sitting there for 30 minutes waiting!

Flight was bearable. . .watched a couple of movies (Due Date and don't remember what else). . food wasn't bad.  I was able to sleep, but Keith had difficulty.  Plane landed on time. . .around 5:00am Monday local time, which was about 11:00pm Sunday our time.

After going through customs, we came out of security to Costa Coffee--note to ourselves for the future, Americano coffee is not Folgers!!  Had my first "language barrier". . the girl asked us if we were going to "drink or take away"  and in my exhaustion, I just thought don't I need to do both?

After waking up a little, I made my first purchase with British pounds:  bought a paper for a pound and got a free bottle of water.

Then we headed to the Underground (the Tube) to travel to the King's Cross/St. Pancras station.  It is a comfort that the Tube is very similar to the El in Chicago.  On the train, we quickly realized that it would be impossible to travel this way with three children and luggage for each of us.  At the St. Pancras station, we were in the heart of where the 2012 Summer Olympics would be held.  Got to see some of the construction efforts while we were waiting for our train to Leicester.

On the train to Leicester (which, by the way, will be a convenient way to travel with the kids) we got to see how quickly the countryside in England can change from city to villiage to farmland.  It was interesting and at times really beautiful to see.  One of the things that was really cool was seeing the community gardens where neighbors share a plot of land for individual gardens.

We got to the Leicester train station and got a taxi to the hotel. . .all of this was pretty much a haze. . .on to Part Two after our nap.