Date(s) completed: January 19 – 23, 2015
This was a trip for work, so I didn’t really get much time for sightseeing and touristy things, but it was still a good trip. It was great to interact face-to-face with people I usually only connect with electronically (email, IM, and such).
This post might get a bit lengthy. (you’ve been warned).
I flew over Sunday night into Monday morning. Since Monday was a US holiday, I was able to use it as such and was able to do a bit of exploring. My hotel was in Marlow. What a picturesque little town! I definitely would want to explore further if/when I get the chance to go again.
The hotel had some things that I wasn’t used and at first I thought my lights were broken. Apparently you stick your room key in a little box by the door which will make the light switches work. When you take your card out, they all turn off — good way to conserve electricity!
They also had a towel warmer and a dial to heat the tiles in the bathroom (fancy!). They also had something in the mirror that would clear out a perfect square if it got all fogged up from the shower steam (super fancy!).
Two things I found strange: half a shower door & the paper lining in all the cabinets and drawers. I felt like I had to stay very close to the shower head so I wouldn’t get water everywhere! (It did heat up really fast which was nice)
Because I arrived early on Monday morning, I planned to go into London for a few hours to try and see some of the main sights (you know: Big Ben, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Tower of London, Museum of London because they had a Sherlock Holmes exhibit, etc.). A co-worker recommended that I do a hop-on/hop-off bus since I only had limited time to be in London and that might provide me with a good look at a bunch of things in a short time. I thought it was a great idea, so I purchased a ticket before I left home. The bus had 4 different routes so I would have plenty of stops along the way.
I picked the wrong bus tour. I got into London (at Paddington Station, which I now know is a bit too far from everything and I should have taken the Tube to another station, but I digress…). I walked for probably 20 minutes to one of the stops on one of the bus routes (near the Marble Arch and Hyde Park) and waited for the bus. And waited. And waited. And… you see where this is going, right? Turns out only one route went to that stop and could take 20-30 minutes between buses arriving. So I looked at the map and decided to walk to the next stop (which had 3 routes stopping at it, which would mean more buses, right? Wrong.) I walked about another 15 minutes to the next stop and waited. And waited. I finally saw the bus I needed! — on the other side of the street. (The entire time I was in the city I think I saw the bus company I needed 4 or 5 times — never where I needed it to be — but the other hop-on/hop-off buses were all over the place and stopping everywhere!)
To make a long story short, I never got on one of the buses. I felt like I was chasing it for a while. I decided to give up on the bus and just walk around a bit. I wandered around London for a few hours instead. Unfortunately, I really didn’t know where anything was in relation to where I was, so I actually never saw anything that I listed above… not even in the distance/on the horizon! I tried to make my way to Westminster Abbey at least, by following the signs for it, but then after a while I didn’t see them anymore. So I gave up and headed back to Paddington. (I’m pretty sure I ended up walking down the street where some of the embassies are…)
Luckily, the day was sunny (though cold) so it was a good, brisk day for walking (similar to weather back here, but the locals couldn’t believe how cold it was!). I got back to the hotel and waited for 3 of my colleagues to arrive so we could go to dinner. We had a nice dinner at a local Marlow restaurant walking distance from the hotel. Also, I had one of the best sleeps of my life that night. I don’t even think I moved. (Basically hadn’t slept since Saturday night since I only slept for about 1 hour on the flight over).
A fun fact: I wore my fitbit that day. I ended up with a total of over 22,000 steps and walked approximately 9.3 miles in that 24 hour time period!
Onto the rest of the week — I worked for the rest of the days and had a couple of work dinners. Productive days and really great dinners with good groups of people, so it was a successful trip. I would love to go back. If I was able to go for work again, I’d definitely tack on some personal days to do proper sightseeing—- and really plan out what I wanted to do! (I’d also see if hubby would travel with me for those personal days so it would be like a mini vacation for us —- and we learned that his cousin in France would only be about a 4 hour train ride away from London on the TGV.)
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll get a chance to go again sometime this year.
Have you ever been to England/London?