Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Wild Goose Chase

April 5th, 2010

We woke up the next day well rested because Katie's guest bed is amazing. I took a shower and we left for our 4th day in London. 1st on our list: Eat. Aaron had told us about a place called Nando's that we should try so I had looked it up and knew there was one on Oxford Street. So when we got there we chose a direction but didn't find it. And since the buses were "free" we decided to get on one and ride it till we saw Nando's. Well, we never saw it, but the bus was going to a place where we could ask about the airport so we decided to stay on. We had just given up looking for Nando's when I saw one and we pushed the button to stop. But the bus didn't stop for 3 more minutes and it was too far to walk, so again we gave up on Nando's. We rode the bus for 5 more minutes and stopped at a bus station we had been at 2 days before. Then Valeria goes, "Isn't there a Nando's here?" And sure enough there was. So we got to eat there after all! And it was delicious. Spicy pitas...mmmmm.

Then the chaos began. We were at a large station so we thought we could find the best way to get to the airport early in the morning. Turns out no one knows anything about anything in London, and we were sent on a wild goose chase to find a bus that went to the airport. 3 hours later we found it and after much frustration we had a plan. The tube stops running at night so there was no way to get from Katie's house to the bus to get to the airport by 5:00am so we just decided to take the last bus to the airport at midnight and stay in the airport overnight.

After our goose chase we decided to do something fun and go to the Tower of London because my dad told me to stop skimping on going to things and put some extra money in my account for me to see the fortress. We got to take one of the old fashioned buses to the Tower. There we bought our tickets and it was worth it. From the outside it didn't look like anything special but going inside changed our whole perspective. We got to see the crown jewels, the bloody tower, guys dressed up as soldiers and a guard with those funny fluffy black hats. And I made him smile! No lie...I have it on camera.

(Not a flattering picture of me but you can definitely see a smirk on his face!)

After that we took the metro back to Katie's to get our stuff where she made us some soup and grilled cheese. Mmmm. Then we put on our backpacks and headed to Piccadilly Circus, the Times Square of England. It was dark by then so all the sign were lit up. There we saw a guy doing limbo to Michael Jackson. He was intense. We then bought a Cinnabon and shared in on the steps right in the middle of town. Two girls, in London with everything they owed on their backs and no place to stay that night. It was the ultimate adventure.

Our plan after that was to see London by night so we took the metro to the far side of town and hopped on a double decker bus, right in the front, and took it all the way to the east side where we switched buses to go to catch our bus to the airport. While we waited I took pictures of Valeria jumping. We would wait for a red bus to come by and I would try to get her jumping with it in the background. We were laughing so hard, the people walking by thought we were crazy.

When the bus arrived we bought out tickets. The airport was an hour away but it only felt like 10 minutes to me. When we got there we bought some wraps and cookies and found a nice spot on the floor to comp out. About 20 minutes later a group of 6 guys with beer in hand came and sat across the way from us. We think they were Italian. They started playing cards and drinking. They even brought their own music. We thought it was so funny that it was legal to drink in an airport so I went and bought us a Smirnoff Ice for the night. We wrote in our journal and then settled in on the floor. I used my backpack for a pillow and I slept solidly for a good 2 hours before I work up at 4:00am. I finished my wrap and then we got up to go find where we needed to be. We got our visas stamped, went through security and there we ended up waiting for about 2 hours to find our gate number. All the screen kept saying please wait, so we both tried to sleep in the chairs but that ended up being harder than sleeping on the floor. Val and I made bets on which gate we thought our flight would be at. Val said 78 and I guessed 48. We were waiting for it to come up for so long we were worried we wouldn't make our flight. So we got up and walked to the front of the terminal so when it came up we would be ready. It finally came up 20 minutes before our flight left and both of us said 48 and started to walk. Then we stopped and looked at each other when we realized that I had guess the right gate out of 99. Haha!

So long story short we half ran to our gate because we thought we were late but when we arrived, there was no one even at the gate. Eventually we got on our plane. No seat numbers so Val and I got to sit together but we both fell asleep within seconds. I don't even remember the take off!! Talk about one long day!

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