For him, it was a return visit; he had been stationed there more than three decades before, while in the military. For her, it was a first-time experience.
She spent months planning and organizing this trip as a birthday present for him. We went to England and Wales; visiting not only their capitals (London, Edinburgh & Cardiff, respectively) but also criss-crossing the country by rail to visit villages and towns of all sizes.
The Flight Over
For flights from Washington/Dulles to London/Heathrow her research found a good deal with Virgin Atlantic. Many airlines call their step up from coach “Business Class”. Virgin Atlantic calls it “Premium Econony”. We’re not youngsters any more and we’ve added a few pounds along life’s journey, so the extra cost was gladly spent to enjoy wider seats and more legroom for an overnight flight.
The First Day & Night
The Sheraton Hotel at Heathrow Airport. Our first and last nights in the UK were spent here for convenience and proximity to the airport.
Our flight arrived about 7:30 AM local time and we were exhausted. We had booked the room for two nights, starting the night before, to ensure it would be available for our early morning arrival. We had eaten breakfast on the plane so we were ready to sleep for a few hours to overcome the jet lag.
After a nap at the hotel, we took the London Underground (AKA “The Tube”) from the airport to Oxford Circus in central London. While window shopping along Oxford Street we decided to pop into a small fish & chips place for our first dinner on British soil.
Here’s Lloyd posing in front of the menu. It wasn’t fancy but the food was good and well served. We finished eating around sunset, as the lights of the city were coming on for the evening.
Here Linda can be seen on the sidewalk in one of London’s busiest shopping districts, just after our first British meal in a small fish & chips shop.
Note the green Starbucks sign on the left just beyond where Linda is looking. When Lloyd was last here thirty years ago, there was a single McDonalds in Piccadilly Circus and that was it for the entire UK. Now McDonalds and Starbucks are accompanied by Burger King, TGI Fridays, Kentucky Fried Chicken and so on in every village and city. We only saw one BP (British Petroleum) Petrol station during our entire visit, but we did see many Texaco, Esso (Exxon), Shell and Chevron stations.
No Dorothy, we weren’t in Kansas anymore, but sometimes you could get confused about just where you really were.
The FCUK store, on Oxford Street. No it is not a mispelling of a common profanity; FCUK stands for French Connection United Kingdom, a popular international chain of clothing for men and women. Note the classic black London cab zipping by in front of the store during the deepening twilight