We are here! Our flight to London was uneventful, but we weren’t sure we’d get on it at first. The gate agent at Dulles airport said we did not have the babies on our tickets and simply could not board without adding them. Word to the wise: Don’t let Travelocity do your booking for you! It is always best to call the airline to be sure they know you have infants in tow! With time ticking away and “last call” for boarding issued twice, we did finally manage to get on the flight, but not until after security had confiscated Melissa’s lip gloss and mine–ones that had made it through Atlanta’s security checkpoint! Another word to the wise: Don’t take anything on board that remotely resembles a tube or a cream container–even if the contents are solid! The twins did beautifully on the flight over without a bit of fussing. They slept well and cooed the rest of the time. We got lots of compliments–especially from the people who had looked worried when they saw us sitting down with two babies! What a blessing….
We had a bit of a fiasco with our rental car when we arrived. Turns out that Thrifty’s desk is not located in Heathrow airport. It is in another hotel a couple of miles away! I had called twice to make sure they could give us our vehicle after 11pm, since our flight arrived at 9:45, and we had to make it through customs. They assured me that would be no trouble. Once again, Travelocity got it wrong. The Thrifty desk closes at 10pm, and we didn’t make it over on the shuttle bus until around 11:30. But it really was providential in the long run. Now that we’ve ridden into London on a minibus, we are not at all keen on driving here! It is rather a daunting prospect, especially with all the roundabouts and crazy turns. Our bus driver had a GPS and still had trouble finding the hotel. The kindly concierge at the Sheraton Heathrow helped us to get the minibus and said we’d be happy not to have to bother with a car until Saturday. So we plan to call Thrifty tomorrow to tell them we will pick it up on Saturday when we are ready to head into Hampshire–and that we do, of course, expect them to keep their end of the bargain as far as our discount rate goes (or heads will roll at Travelocity!). We’ll just see how it all shapes up. In the meantime, we’re happy to have arrived at the Gallery Hotel in South Kensington. It is a very cozy little spot with lots of antique oil paintings decorating the walls. Our “double” room is about half the size of a conventional American hotel room, but we knew to expect that. We’re in a prime spot, since we can walk to the V&A Museum, Kensington Palace, and other local attractions.
Don’t know when I’ll get to blog tomorrow, but we do plan to take LOTS of pictures. Our hope is to go to the V&A in the morning, then bus over to St. James’s Park to meet an English pen-friend for a picnic lunch. Then we’ll spend the early afternoon sight-seeing around the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, etc. At 3:45, we are due to meet costumier Suzi Clarke at Harrods’s Georgian Restaurant for English high tea! After that, we may just take a double-decker bus tour to see the sights — or we may pop into the British Museum. I realize there is no way to do the British Museum justice in less than two or three days, but at least we can see some highlights. My boys were utterly thrilled to think their mother might actually get to see the mummies!
Well, we need to get to sleep and try to get ourselves onto the new time schedule. The babies are wide awake and happy at the moment, but perhaps they’ll calm down and sleep after nursing. Good night, all!