The flight from Iceland to Heathrow was uneventful and quiet. We all snuggled down into our seats as much as we could with pillows and blankets but with seats that only reclined about 6 inches it wasn't easy. I wasn't able to sleep but at least I was resting in anticipation of the fun that is Heathrow Airport.
I was able to take a few photos of London from the air on approach to Heathrow. Although I was exhausted by this time I still felt the excitement of being in London, England!
Oh, did I mention I got patted down twice going through security? At Iceland and Heathrow. I was wearing hiking pants that had several pockets that snapped shut with metal clasps. The full body imaging scanner doesn't like those. That was my first, no second, "note to self" - (the first being never ever ever to take 3 flights again!!)
Anyways I finally got my suitcase - mine was nearly the last one, as per usual! I had my Heathrow experience all planned out and it went quite smoothly...after the pat down! I found my way to the tube station where I purchased an Oyster card at a self service machine. An Oyster card allows you to travel on the tubes, buses etc. Much handier to have a loaded Oyster card than go digging for change or having to buy a ticket at each connection/stop.
I had to get to Terminal 5 from Terminal 1 and during my research saw that the Piccadilly Line ran between the two. I checked with someone though, just to be sure. I got into the habit of always asking someone working at the stations I went through as I have a phobia that I'll end up going in the opposite direction I need to go...I'll be on the wrong side of the platform or something and I'll never be heard of again...so check, check and triple check! Everyone was very helpful, thank goodness and I only felt like an idiot on a few occasions :)
Ok, I got to Terminal 5...now what? Oh yes, I have to get outside somehow and find the bus stops. There was a free shuttle to my hotel, bus #423. I didn't have too far to go thankfully and it was a relief to be outside in the fresh air, as fresh as it can get anyways with dozens of double decker buses coming and going.
and it dropped me off near my hotel. I did have to walk a couple of blocks pulling my suitcase along behind me but I wasn't alone so I felt safe. I checked in and went to my room. It was pretty small but I was only there to sleep then go back to Heathrow in the morning to take the London Express to Paddington Station for the next leg of my journey.
I went to open my suitcase to get out my pjs only to discover that I had locked the keys to the suitcase padlock INSIDE the suitcase!! Oh great...I pulled my suitcase down to the small lobby and one of the employees went on a search for some tools. The first of my "idiot" moments. Within about 20 minutes he was able to pry off the lock. Fortunately I had brought two locks with keys so from then on I was VERY careful about where I put the keys!
So around 9:30am I was back on the 423 to Heathrow in order to catch the London Express to downtown London, Paddington Station to be exact...where my story will pick up tomorrow.
The girls are down for one of their several naps per day. I wondered if it was too soon to get new pets but Kazi really wanted to take advantage of the Pet Rescue Adoption weekend and I hoped a kitten (or two) would help to heal her heart. And mine. After being home for a couple of days and knowing that Tisky wasn't there...well, it was really hard. Especially when Kazi was out at work and I was alone in the house. It felt so empty.
Kazi picked out the two tabby sisters and named them Luna and Lily. The cute factor in the house has gone up by 200%! Having new life in the house, newly rescued life, has really helped me with the loss of Tisky and also the letdown that always occurs after a trip. I got home and thought - now what?
I still don't know what's in the "big picture" for me. I'll continue to write and there's a project I can work on that will involve more travel in the future. I do feel a bit purposeless however, and in talking with my brother (also a retired teacher) and other retirees I know it'll take a while before life feels "normal".
Although being retired is wonderful in many ways it's hard to let go of what was my life's work, my reason to get up at 5am every weekday and head off purposefully into the world.
One day at a time.
Yesterday I decided I need to get back into an exercise regime - I don't want my newly discovered leg muscles to atrophy!! So I took one of my remaining gift cards (for The Bay) and walked to Masonville Mall and back. It took 1 hour and 10 minutes each way for a total distance of 12km. I tried out my new hiking shoes but found walking on concrete sidewalks is not a pleasant experience for my back, legs and feet. So I may stick to hiking paths for my exercise as much as possible. I must get back on my bike too. Last night I popped the HUGE blister on my baby toe that I got from walking for miles and miles around the city of Norwich. I hope it doesn't take too long to heal.
I purchased a pair of Tommy Hilfiger dark denim jeans, a quirky sweater and a patterned top for fall. AND I ordered a sweater from Beyond the Rack, an online store here in Canada just to see what their quality is like. I started to clear out more stuff from my closet too with the goal being to have a much leaner but better quality wardrobe. I'm thinking my style will evolve totally into "casual and sporty".