Working the flight to London was such a delight. I experienced working International Envoy for the first time ever (aka first-class, where we really do serve warm nuts & offer hot towels). I was really excited & maybe just a little nervous.
The crew was great, so helpful, so supportive & very encouraging. To top it off, my passengers were all fantastic. A few of them just wanted to sleep & the ones I did get to provide service to were so pleasant & friendly. It really was a great flight.
When we arrived in London, we rode a shuttle to our hotel. I sat up front. I just wanted to soak in all the sights. London is such a beautiful city. We were expecting rain, but it was clear & beautiful, and actually a bit warmer than the weather in Philly.
When we arrived to the hotel, most of the crew wanted to rest. I couldn’t blame them. We left Philadelphia a little before 10:00pm EST, and arrived to our hotel around 6:00am EST (11:00am local time). I, however, was set on making my day really count. This was my first time in London & I couldn’t miss a minute of daylight.
It’s been a life-long dream of mine to see the 7 wonders of the world. I’ve always loved stars, astronomy & astrology, so, naturally, Stonehenge has been at the top of the list. I’ve done some previous research. I know that it’s less than a 2 hour trip.
I head to my cozy room, drop my bags, change & head straight to the concierge desk. The young man at the desk is very helpful & is quick to get my tour booked. He says that tours usually must be booked a day in advance, but he’s checking to see what he can do. He notices that there’s a mid-day tour that leaves at 12:30pm. It’s 11:33am. He moves swiftly through the transaction, pulls out a map, and gives me walking directions to the Underground (metro) station.
When I arrive at my stop, I take a lovely walk to the Coach (bus) Station where I board for this journey with a large group of other tourists. We’re on our way to Stonehenge! I can’t even believe this is really happening!
The drive is beautiful & informative. Many of the
houses cottages we’re passing remind me of The Secret Garden. They’re all so gorgeous. There’s so much to see…every structure, every bridge, every street. We’re passing a cemetery & I catch an airplane coming in for landing…it’s a powerful moment for me. I feel at peace, at one with The Universe…
As we approach Stonhenge, we also approach a storm. It’s quite chilly and when we exit the bus, the wind is so strong that it breaks my umbrella. The thing just snaps inside out, it’s beyond repair.
The walk to the monument is a bit of a struggle with no defense from the wind & pouring rain. It’s so cold that I’m hiding my face with my coat. Then, I look up & I can see it…Stonehenge is right there, straight ahead of me!
I make my way over & take a deep breath. I tell myself that I’m not going to let a little bit of water and cold air take anything away from this moment. It suddenly isn’t so cold and it’s almost as if the rain & wind have stopped…
Our designated hour & half fly by…it’s time to go. We head back to the bus, back on the road to London. I’m excited to get out & explore a little more.
I see a Starbucks up ahead & because I’m soaked & freezing, I pop in for some green tea (my favorite) & some wifi access…I’m excited to post a pic & share my Stonehenge moment with my loved ones.
The barista, Imtiaj, is very helpful. I’m asking questions about where I should venture next & he’s looking up directions for me to different areas. Then, I remember something else that was on my London to-do list…the famous Abbey Road!
After drinking my tea, touching up my make up & standing under the hot-air hand-dryers in the restroom for a bit, I muster up the courage to face the weather again. The sun has already set & the streets are lit by the darling street lamps. I hop back on the underground & start my 40 minute trip to the famous crosswalk & studios.
When I arrive at my stop, the rain has become quite violent. I ask for directions & the gentleman assisting me discourages me to take on the challenge against this “wretched rain.” I’m a little nervous.
I’m standing at the doors of the station, contemplating giving up & heading back to my hotel…it’s really cold & I’m still pretty drenched. The wind is whipping my hair & I rush to the restroom to warm up under the dryers again. This routine goes on for almost an hour…back & forth from the doors, to the dryers, second-guessing my attempt to experience a part of Beatles history…
I suddenly remind myself of the empowering attitude from earlier…Am I really going to let a little bit of water & cold air stop me? Ha! Nope.
I step out from the haven of the station, and, no kidding, the rain seems to lighten up. I jog part of the way there, stopping at any covering I can find.
When I get to my destination, I’m moved & overcome with joy…I’m seriously standing at the famous crosswalk of Abbey Road!
I walk across, singing “With Love, From Me to You…” (My favorite Beatles song) in my head & I make my way to the studios to sign the famous wall.
There are musicians in the doorway, leaving a session…I’m imagining what magic might have just taken place.
After I sign the wall, I look around for someone to snap a shot of me in the street.
It’s been about an hour, and the first had 3 strangers have taken a better picture of their finger than they did of me. It’s dark & raining, so, I don’t blame them. Then, I see a woman, luggage in hand…& even though I feel bad asking, I approach her for photography assistance. She’s a little irritated by my request at first, but she’s very understanding. We stand in the rain, run back & forth a few times as traffic passes by, maneuvers around & honks at us…& as soon as there’s a break, we rush back for what she says will be her final attempt. I agree. She snaps it…& my phone dies! I hope it’s a good one…
Boom! 😉 Edited by Jo Roth
After retrieving my phone & thanking my last photographer profusely, I’m ready to go back to my hotel for a warm bath. I was smart & packed food for the day, so, at least I’m well nourished. I’m satisfied from my trail mix, assorted fruit, cheeses, and pasta salad.
During my ride to the hotel, I notice the announcement for one of the stops… “Greenwich Park, this stop for Buckingham Palace.” I pop up out of my seat & rush out the metro doors. I mean, I’m on a roll…might as well make the most of my time here.
I walk through the beautiful park, and soon, I’m standing in front of the palace! When I look back the opposite way, in the distance, beyond the trees, I spot the famous Ferris wheel. I’m so grateful in this moment…for my life, for this amazing career & for all these wonderful experiences… and now I’m ready to say goodnight to London.
I head back to my room, take a hot shower & hop in bead. I’m beat & I know I have a busy work day (8 hour flight) ahead of me.
Until next time…
Thank you all for enduring this long post. I really hope you enjoyed it!