Originally published 20 December 2017
Coffee is keeping me going in London
Any time we make a 6 time zone jump, there’s some adjustment involved. The flight from Atlanta to London was marked by short periods of sleep, a short period awake, then dropping off to sleep. Maybe 4 hours of sleep, possibly a little more. You want to get on Europe time as soon as possible, so when you get there, you carry on like it’s a regular day and try to get to bed at a regular hour. A little fuzziness can be expected with this approach. But we fully expect to pretty much be reset tomorrow.
We arrived at Heathrow and headed to customs. After filling out a 6 line form and having an immigration officer verify our passports, we headed to the luggage reclaim to pick up our packs. Our luck has continued to hold and they were both waiting on us. We collected them, put our packs on our back, and headed for the best (and cheapest) way to get from Heathrow to central London….the tube!
We already had Oyster cards (the London transit card that I discussed in my “How to get around in London” post) so we just swiped in and got on the train headed to the area we are staying in. We booked a “mini” hotel across from Victoria station for our one night stay. Mini means tiny….like some of the London hotels we’ve stayed in on past trips. It’s called “Z hotel, Victoria” and is nice, well taken care of, very clean, a great staff, and right across the street from the train station. We’re happy with it for one night. If we were staying 3 nights or more, I think we might opt for something bigger. For one person it would be perfect.
Our room at Z Hotel in London
We dropped our packs and headed out to wander London. Yes, we’ve been here before but we like the place. It’s a good choice to get over the jet lag before we head out on the rest of our trip. There is a real, genuine pub right next door. We celebrated our arrival in a very British way, with pints of ale and fish and chips. Pub grub, as they call it, used to be kind of borderline here. It’s not like that anymore. Most of the pubs have pretty good food, and today the food was great.
We knew we would have a short day, full of mental fuzziness due to the jetlag, and heavy duty coffee to treat it. At least that’s how I approached it. It was already starting to get a bit dark by the time we left the pub and we grabbed an underground train down to the riverfront to take in a Christmas Market they have there.
I’ll say this…..I’m a bit spoiled on Christmas Markets. The Germans are fantastic at it and the one in Montreaux, Switzerland is the best I’ve ever been to. The Christmas Market on the river was….okay. It wasn’t bad and we had a good time. It just didn’t knock our socks off. What did knock our socks off was the backdrop for the market, which was the Tower Bridge and the London skyline. The city was lit up as a backdrop and it was quite visually striking.
Hyde Park Christmas Fair
After a while at this market we headed to another at Hyde Park. We arrived to find huge lines. We got in line and the wait to get through security wasn’t that bad. When we got inside, we theorize that 60 percent of the people in London were there. I wasn’t really impressed with this one, as it was more of a massive temporary amusement park and not a true Christmas Market. They tried, even trying to have German bier gardens and such…..but if you’ve been to the real thing….this wasn’t it.
At this point, we head back towards the hotel. We’re really worn out and just wanted a quick bite to eat before we turn in. We wound up at a doner kebap shop. This place was dirt cheap (at least for London) and the food was incredibly tasty. We’ve eaten at these things all over Europe and they remain a favorite.
Now it’s shower and bed. We are totally worn out and tomorrow we move again. We’ll be in better shape tomorrow and somewhat recovered from the jetlag. Talk to you tomorrow from Switzerland!
London Slide show