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Day 1

August 4, 2012

When people hear you are going to Africa, they always ask you how long it takes, which is a fairly complicated question. There are a certain number of flight hours (about 20 divided among at least three planes). But there is also the check-in, layover, immigration and customs, and miscellaneous airport time time, which is AT LEAST 6 hours, but often more. Then there is the planning time of orchestrating such a trip. And the recovery time. And, of course, the general traveling to a different world kind of disorientation that can occur. And that’s just jet-lag!

On the way over, we had a mighty long lay-over in London. I accepted it and even though of it as a blessing–time to walk around between two night flights! Then a few weeks before we actually left, I realized that our trip was happening during the first week of the Olympics, and felt like a REAL dummy. What a TERRIBLE time to want to walk around London! Still, after that cross-Atlantic flight, I knew we wouldn’t survive long in Heathrow, so I went to check-out the Immigration lines. Perhaps because of the Olympics, there were none, so London welcomed us for a few hours.

A friend had made the brilliant suggestion of Kew Gardens and I ran with it [“Isn’t that the place with all the deer?!” my mom asked, but believe it or not, I did not travel thousands of miles to go see deer!]. I checked on-line before I left to figure out how to get there, and saw that it is pretty easy by underground, but opted for a taxi, which I also thought would be easy. We were, after all, paying to be picked up at the curb, and dropped off at a location of our choice–what could be easier? It turned out, however, to be approximately twice as much money as I had expected (and about half of the fare was dedicated to getting us out of that incredibly huge airport!), and then the driver didn’t even take us to the gate I had requested, and I didn’t put my foot down because 1–he acted like he didn’t know any other gates (hot tip–drive the perimeter, buddy), and 2–I didn’t want to pay any more money!

Anyway, we walked a bit more than we bargained for, but it was a beautiful day and that is what I wanted to leave the airport FOR anyway, right? We hit a great playground–because they are smart enough to know they live in England, they have an equally-sized indoor playground right beside it that was also fun.

We ate. I decided that I would brave the underground back, so we walked through the gardens en route to the exit we needed for the tube. Here are the Olympic Rings–an aerial shot just wasn’t in my capability.

And watch the ducks, etc etc.

The train ride back was soooo easy and sooooo cheap that I clearly should have done that in the first place! Oh well. London seemed to have posted helpful people on every corner to help direct people, and the crowds were not crazy, so maybe the Olympics is the PERFECT time to visit!

Yeah, I know you didn’t care that much about my LAYOVER, but I need to do this in order, OK? Come back later for something more exotic.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Meredith permalink
    August 23, 2012 11:55 am

    I love Kew Gardens! And I am so surprised that the crowds weren’t bad. I am going to be tuning in everyday for more updates about your trip!

  2. August 23, 2012 2:43 pm

    Did the kids notice that people talked funny or that they were in another country?

  3. Ganie permalink
    August 23, 2012 4:29 pm

    Yay for Kew Gardens!!! I’m so glad that worked out.

  4. August 23, 2012 4:56 pm

    but that is a pretty great layover! keep it coming!

  5. Deborah Pulley permalink
    September 4, 2012 10:27 pm

    Kew Gardens is on my list for my next trip to London!

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