England 2010, Day 7: Saying Goodbye
This post is part 9 of my travel series on our trip to England. You can also read about my getting to the first destination; our first evening in the Cotswolds; seeing the English countryside by bicycle; visiting Cotswold villages and local farm animals; exploring Oxford and Blenheim Palace; our first day seeing the sights of London; seeing Soho, the Tower of London, and The Mousetrap; exploring Kew Gardens, the British Library, and the British Museum; and other reflections.
Saturday, July 31—Today is a bittersweet day. We have loved our time in England and hate to leave, but we’re ready to sleep in our own bed, see the doggies, and stop living out of suitcases. Jeff feels this more keenly as he’s been away from home for two weeks now.
At breakfast, we asked Mark and Simon about the best way to get to Heathrow. They were very helpful, telling us which tube stations are easiest to navigate with luggage. Rather than go to our normal Victoria Station, we walked toward Chelsea and started from Sloane Square.
Mark told us to switch to the Piccadilly line toward Heathrow at Hammersmith. All we needed to do was get off our train and walk to the tracks across the platform. Well, there was a train already waiting on the other side of the platform when we got off our District line train. In a frenzied rush, we tried to figure out if this was the train we wanted. We saw the blue poles inside indicating Piccadilly and hurriedly boarded the train before the doors started to close. With a sigh we sat down and both started looking at the tube map to confirm our route. At the same instant, we saw that this line split in two directions and heard the announcer say, “This is a Piccadilly line train to Uxbridge.” The doors close seconds after the destination announcement so we grabbed our bags and made a mad dash for the platform. This whole exchange happened in about 40 seconds. If anyone was watching us from the platform, they must have gotten a good chuckle.
After that, it was a pretty uneventful journey to the airport where we said our goodbyes until meeting again at home. While we didn’t have the same flight home, our flights were both out of the same terminal within 30 minutes of each other.
I wasn’t looking forward to another long trans-Atlantic flight, but it wasn’t too bad. Jeff got to fly business class; I tried not to be too jealous of his legroom and comfy seat. I was able to get through a big chunk of my book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and also watched another random episode of Bones and most of Avatar on that tiny screen. My seat neighbors weren’t too chatty, that is until the very end. We hit some bad turbulence as we were coming into Philly, and the girl on my right, who looked to be about my same age, suddenly started talking about how she hates landing even though she flies all the time for work. She apologized in advance and constantly. I did my best to reassure her and said, half seriously, that she could hold my hand if she needed to. She immediately grabbed my hand as we went through another patch of turbulence, and held on to me for about the next 15 minutes as we made our descent. She even let out a little scream once. I told her she was lucky that I was a doula so I was totally comfortable with holding the hand of a screaming woman.
Immigration and security were a pain and made me miss the relative ease of this process at Heathrow. This time I had a direct flight from Philly to Cincinnati, which was uneventful until I reached baggage claim. Yes—you guessed it—my suitcase didn’t show up. U.S. Airways was very nice about the whole thing, and said most likely my bag got slowed down going through immigration and would be on the next flight from Philly in the morning. Lovely. Except for the time delay, it really wasn’t too bad, and my bag showed up on the porch early the next afternoon.