Tuesday, August 16, 2022


So why were we going to the Mediterranean in August?

Well, we had originally planned to go on a cruise for our 25th Wedding  Anniversary, but Covid put the kibosh on that.

We decided to do it as a 25th Wedding Anniversary, 26th Edition this year and also celebrate my turning 50 this year as well.  We sensibly chose and booked a Baltic Cruise as the weather there in August is rather tolerable.

Then some jerk by the name of Putin caused Baltic cruises to be cancelled, so we had to scramble for an alternative and the one that fit was the Mediterranean, leaving from Southampton, England. Was quite a scramble to get everything booked and we had to do the flight and pre- and post- cruise hotel accommodations, and travel to/from the airport and ship ourselves as our travel agent and the Cruise line, Princess, didn't have seat blocks that worked for our travel at all.

And that's how we ended up boarding a flight from Detroit to London.

Flew on a Virgin Atlantic flight on a Airbus that was run by Delta, and was for all intents and purposes a Delta flight, but strangely enough you saved quite bit booking through Virgin Atlantic rather than Delta which didn't make a lot of sense. But it was a very smooth initial process easy check in and a great flight and the food provided during the flight was actually decent.

The only problem was we left Detroit at 6:50 pm and would arrive in London at 7:15 am.  Ended up being delayed a bit and arrived at 7:45 am.  So we had flown through the night without really feeling it was the night, nor really sleeping, especially due to a kid that started crying about 3 hours into the flight whose mom tried to soothe it by walking the kid around the cabin so it felt like the crying was in stereo.  Did manage to watch both Midway and Ambulance on the entertainment system, and got a few snatches of sleep here and there, but overall by the time we arrived in London we weren't quite fully functional.

Got through customs/border entry ok, overall it was just a very long series of lines so we got even more tired shuffling around, but otherwise ok.  

Impressively Heathrow had our luggage ready to go almost immediately, much faster than has ever been the case at DTW, and all luggage made it.

So, we lugged our luggage through the terminal, met our driver and headed to the hotel.

Got to the hotel around 11, the Radison Blu Edwardian Grafton  and unfortunately our rooms were not ready yet. But, when the clerk saw our amount of luggage though (yes we had overpacked, with one suitcase each and one shared suitcase for a total of 5, more on that later) the room quickly became ready and we were able to drop everything off in the room very nicely.  That worked out well.  Very decent room in a rather small but charming hotel.

The hotel was on Tottenham Court Road, a short walk from many of the sights of London. So a great location, if a bit colorful at night and in the early morning hours.

After dropping off the luggage we headed out for some real fish and chips for lunch.

We were not disappointed.


Huge and amazingly tasty fish and chips.

After that we headed out to do some strolling around and shopping.  While we had missed their massive heatwave by a week, it was still pretty hot.

Most stores do not have air conditioning  -- nor public bathrooms -- an unfortunate trend we would find in pretty much all of the countries we visited.

As you got to the higher floors on some stores, the heat was palpable, and you'd be sweating while browsing the merchandise.

The girls went forth to do some damage, and found some nice fashionable clothes at excellent prices.

Tash then repeated her performance on her first day in London to match our visit together to London 30 years ago (ouch) - she  found a quiet spot in a department store (which had bathrooms but all of them were out of order) and tested out a chair by falling asleep in it.  30 years ago she fell asleep on the first day when we were in the British museum, so the tradition of her first day sleep-out in London continues.

After shopping, we headed back to the hotel, booked some tickets for the British museum for the next day, and then fell asleep, and that was Day 1.


Old NFO said...

LOL, at least she's consistent...

Aaron said...

Old NFO: Yes, history did indeed repeat itself!