European Magic: Contiki: Day 1 and 2 : September 29 + 30th 2006
Departure airport: Toronto Pearson Airport
Arrival airport: London Gatwick.
After some last minute changes to my ride to the airport I made my way to Lester B. Pearson airport Terminal 3 via Airlink around 3:30pm for my 9:45pm flight. I checked in and met up with my Aunt Debbie who treated me to dinner and kept me company before I had to go through security check. After the debunk terrorist plot in London earlier in the month, security was tight but not as tight as I would expected.
I flew to London on Air Transit. It was my first time on a plane since 1999. I was little nervous. The seats were 3-3-3 and a very tight fit. I had originally had a window seat but traded for a middle seat so it was easier to get up and walk around.
We had about 2 hours of turbulence over the Atlantic that started while I was in the washroom. I wasn’t able to sleep at all on the flight. They played two movies one being The Break up.
When I landed in London, after sitting on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open, I got loss trying to get down the customs. Gatwick has to be the worst laid out airport ever. To get to customs you have to walk through a sky tunnel to another building then walk down this circular wheel chair ramp, down another long hall way, down another rap into customs. When I had stop to ask one of the employees where customs was. He asked where I was from, and I told him Canada.
“Are you sure?” He replied? Thinking ending every sentence with “eh?” I thought it was obvious.
“Yes I’m sure.”
“You’ll have a hard time convincing them you are Canadian. Customs is over there.” He smirked pointing to down the hall to the doors leading to customs. Reassuring people that I was in fact Canadian was a recurring theme through out this trip. I made my way through customs with out any problems. I then made my way to catch the Gatwick express train to Victoria station.
The row houses we passed were so cute. They looked exactly like those houses you see on that British soap opera that I can’t remember the name of. When I got to Victoria station I hopped into a traditional black cab, and to get to my hotel I had to drive pass, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abby, The London eye, the Theme River. I got 90% of my London sight seeing done in one shot. It was a shame I didn’t have the brains to ask the driver to stop so I could take pictures. Not that the driver would have heard me. The backs of London cabs are sound proof and you have to press a button for the driver to hear you. I only figured it out on my last day, after spending days thinking London cabbies were either rude or not much of talkers.
When I had gotten to the hotel (Imperial Hotel) my room mate for the night Leslie was already there. After settling in for a while I went sightseeing around Russell Square, and spent a few hours at The British Museum. I met up with my tour group for a brief meeting at the Royal National, picking up some can drinks and snacks for the next morning at a grocery story down the street, then went and had dinner at Pizza Hut with Leslie. We called it an early night. I was asleep seconds after my head hit the pillow. It did a good deal of raining in London and most of Europe while we were there.