Our buddy Sam took us to the Austin airport early in the morning on Thursday, May 12. We flew from Austin to Houston where we chilled in the United Club while waiting for our flight to Heathrow. We actually sat right in front of a Texas A&M professor from the Industrial Distribution department, what a small world!
The first thing we did on landing in Europe was get on the tube and go check in our hostel. It was about 6 in the morning so we took the time to get ready and figure out how we were going to explore the city. We eventually decided on a free tour where we met American John (a Minnesotan who has lived in London the past 5 years, he has a stateside RV tour company called Turtle Rabbit Travel). We liked his royal tour so much we went to his city of London tour the next day. We had a blast and actually were lucky enough to see a partially unfinished portrait of Camilla while we were outside her residence. The tour ended at a pub where we ate fish and chips! After the tour we went to the National Gallery, which was amazing. We got to see our first Monet in person as well as a ton of other very very cool and famous pieces. We ended day one at the Apollo Victoria Theatre which is the West End home of Wicked.
The next day we slept in some to recover some from the time zone change and how late we were up to see the musical. We then went to the British Museum to see some of the oldest human made things we’ve ever seen and some of the most significant. Including the Rosetta Stone and marble carvings from the Parthenon. We followed that up by going to Borough Market where we bought some genuine English Tea! We saw honey, mushrooms, seafood, and even exotic meats. We then went on our city of London Tour with American John and got to learn about the city within the city. We got to see some of the most important places in the financial world and learn about the history of the area! We ended up near the tower of London and then we walked an hour to Brick Lane where all the Indian restaurants are to eat some Chicken Tikka Masala! That experience was a little uncomfortable due to the pushiness of all the waiters but we still enjoyed it.
For our last full day in London we packed up our gear and went to the hotel we would be staying that evening. It was the very first time we were able to use your Marriott discount for an overnight stay and it was really exciting to see all your hard work pay off! We had a nice conversation with the staff there including the front desk rep who was from Barcelona. Then we went to Camden Lock and did all the touristy things there and I bought a belt! Then we went to the science museum which was pretty cool (when we finally found the fun stuff right before we had to leave). In the afternoon we went to Afternoon Tea at The Library Lounge was one of the highlights of the trip. A quintessentially British experience! We followed that up by going on the London Eye with a kid that grew up in The Woodlands and his father who was now living in Stuart. After all of this we went back to the hotel to go to bed early as we had an early morning awaiting us.
That morning we woke up really early in order to catch a bus that would take us to the airport. There was some stress involved especially when some of the people at the stop hadn’t gotten their tickets right and the fact that our airline gate was only posted 20 minutes before boarding began, Ryanair is interesting… but in the end we made in on the plane and were on our way to Barcelona.