Day One - June 27, 2005
Flight - Arrival in London - Hotel
We arrived at SeaTac airport with plenty of time to check in, go through security and pick up a snack. The flight BA048 is to be very full but there seems to be no issues to detain us from taking off on time. We take off around 6:40 p.m. PST.
Nice dinner of chicken and we watched a movie. Afterwards we all try to sleep but it's hard, mostly we doze. Beth and I lean against one another but she wiggles too much. Just about the time everyone is sleeping well the Captain announces that we have to make an emergency landing for a sick passenger. We are detoured to Goose Bay in Quebec. Fly out of Goose Bay and shortly after we are fed breakfast. Catch a few Z's. Overall, we are late 3 hours by the time time we arrive at the Heathrow airport.
No problems getting off the plane, going through customs and acquiring our luggage. Instead of catching the "express train" to terminal three and then catching the Hotel Hoppa bus to The Sheraton Heathrow to pick up our rental car, we take a taxi instead. Wish I had gotten a picture but we were so tired.
The Thrifty Rental Car company has a small kiosk inside the Sheraton Hotel. I give the gal my name and she looks it up and says we are late. She no longer has the car I reserved with automatic. We ask what she can give us and she offers a manual transmission with 10% off the price. Since I was going to be doing most of the driving I accepted. I can drive a manual but my mom does not. She quotes us a price with the insurance that is 150 pounds more than I had been quoted online. I show her my print out and she docks the price along with the 10%. We now have a nice mid-size Peugeot. The bad news is I'm the sole driver as my mom does not do manuals and Beth is not old enough.
Off we go, not really knowing how to get to where we need to be. I do have my U.K. Map Quest print outs and other directions from various websites. We are LOST in London or at least the outskirts. End up back at the airport and in a small narrow tunnel. "Pop, pop... POP" what was that? Oh no, I hit the left side of the tunnel with the car side mirror! Thank goodness I bought the full insurance. Finally we somehow get out of town onto the right highway. Actually I fire my mom as navigator and I have Beth take over the job. Beth gets me out of town and heading North. Getting to the Clarion Hotel Madely Court, well, that was another mess.
Found the exit that was suggested we take from both Map Quest and the hotel website. Beyond that we are confused. Too many round abouts and no street names on the signs, which is what Map Quest offered. It's got to be around here somewhere. We are all tired. Everyone but me got to nap during the car ride. It's after 8 p.m. I see a Mac Donalds and another restaurant and pull in, figure we'll get directions. Hunger drives us to the sit down joint, the New York Italian Bar and Grill, and we order pizza and one of the very nice waiters gives us directions to the hotel. Back on the road after eating and 15 minutes of following the fairly simple directions we are pulling down a narrow country lane to the Clarion Hotel Madely Court. This is beautiful!
It's all going to be OK. We are here at the hotel and it is just lovely. Amanda at the desk offers to take us on a tour tomorrow.