So, the flight across the pond was uneventfulâscreaming babies, kids running up and down the aisles âand we landed at Londonâs Gatwick airport earlier today. We were wheels up from Charlotte shortly after 8pm. We thought weâd get some sleep on the plane, but IâRandyâwas not able to do so. Beth was able to sneak in a few hours.
Once we landed, we took a train (Gatwick Express) to Victoria Station, and then we boarded a mini-bus that took us to our hotel. During this adventure we met a couple from Magnolia, Texas. The husband was wearing a big âol Texas flag belt buckle.
We were able to check into our hotel, and then we set out to find a place to eat lunch â recommended by the bus driver- The Swan Pub, located around the corner from our hotel. But first we had to patronize local artists selling goods in Hyde Park (theyâll be on display in our new man cave once we return home). After lunch we took a self-guided walking tour of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. We saw Speakers Corner, where a long time ago men would stand atop their soapboxes and give speeches to the masses (hence the term âsoap boxâ to describe a lecture). Today, an ample supply of orators provided the crowd with much hot air (two [separate] topics of speeches: Jesus and the English language). Anyhow, we walked around the park and garden and saw pick up games of soccer, ducks and geese, and a statue in honor Peter Pan.
Weâd read about how London is an international city, but today really brought home the point. Everywhere we walked, we could overhear people speaking other languagesâGerman, Spanish, Italian, French, Arabic (lots of Arabic), and Japanese. And the staff at pubs, stores, and hotels all seem to be from other countries too.
This evening we met a classmate of Randyâs for dinner and drinks. We took another self guided tour â this time the tour was of British pubs in the Hyde Park neighborhood and we sampled lots of English beer and gin.
Pics to come soon.