Hitting the ground running......
Originally published 22 December, 2016
The London tube from Heathrow to central London. The only way to travel!
We have a few airline troubles that I'll address towards the end of our trip. I intend to give them a chance to redeem themselves before I write much about what happened. We'll see if they rise to the occasion. While the airline had their issues, the actual getting us there on time and in one piece thing was handled quite well. They did very well if you were dealing with people physically in front of you. Not so much on the phone and computer.
Our first stop was in London. To my know,ledge, no one flies directly from the U.S. to Berlin....thus, a stop somewhere on the continent is necessary. We stopped at Heathrow, arriving before the sun was up. We deplaned, went through passport control, and were technically on British soil in less than an hour. The Brits did a bang up job running us through.
We were left with a 7 hour layover before our flight to Berlin. Due to new regulations (terrorism related stuff) they won't accept your bag more than 2 hours before your actual flight. Not wanting to sit in Heathrow airport for 5 hours before we could go to our gate, we decided to check our bag at a place called "Left Luggage". While not cheap, (11 pounds....not really THAT terrible) they will keep your bag for up to 24 hours.
Arriving to a London suburb for our first breakfast in Europe!
The London mass transit system uses a fare card called "Oyster". We had ours from a previous trip, along with some British money we saved last time we were in the UK. We decided to ride the tube into one of the "suburbs" of London for breakfast. We wound up in a place called South Ealing.
South Ealing is a quaint suburb, with all of the things people think of when they think of the UK. Row houses like in Mary Poppins, pubs, little shops and stores, and double decker buses. Like all of the UK, the people are incredibly friendly and outgoing. It's a nice start to the trip to be in a place that reminds you how far away you are and that you're in a different country. London is a great place to do that as the people are so nice, and helpful if you need it.
It was nice to walk around after being cooped up in a plane for so many hours in a row, especially a place as fun as the UK. The neighborhood had a decided Polish slant, with quite a few pierogi shops, Polish delis, and restaurants. The boroughs of London are actually like a bunch of small towns squished together to make London proper. Each borough has its own personality, pubs, etc. We wandered a few hours then returned to the airport to catch our Berlin flight.
A standard double decker London bus
Our flight to Berlin was on one of Europe's multitude of bargain basement airlines. This one was called "Eurowings" and it turns out it is owned by Lufthansa. These bargain airlines are a great deal here, allowing place to place flights for nearly everyone. Granted the services are a la carte, but if you know that up front it's no big deal dealing with it.
Our flight from London to Berlin turned out to be exceptionally well handled. While a little late due to traffic control at Heathrow, the flight was smooth and things went great. Two of us flew, with a checked bag each (extra cost), for the grand total of $178....for BOTH of us. Finding a trip for that price in the states would normally be unheard of.
We arrived Berlin, bought mass transit tickets for the time we are here, and caught mass transit to the hotel we are staying at. We have an "apartment", which those of us in the states would call a studio or efficiency. It works great for us with a little fridge, stove, dishwasher etc. We had dinner, Laurie has already passed out and I'm gonna get a shower and am not far behind. We've been on the move for two days and are worn out.
Tomorrow we'll start doing the fun things we came to do........More tomorrow!
London slide show
Click on the links directly below to take you to a specific day and place on our trip!