In the morning I took my time to get ready. I had no real plans for the day except to get back to Split. Of all the flights I’d looked at the one that was cheapest was a flight from Split to London Gatwick. I made my way to the bus station mid-morning to catch a ride back to Split.
When I returned to Split I went back to the same hostel. I left my stuff and decided to have one last beach day. I knew that the rest of my vacation would be different. The United Kingdom isn’t exactly known for its supply of sunlight.
I sat in the sun and read for hours before I went and checked the times of the airport buses for the next day. I went back towards the hostel and went for dinner along the promenade so I could enjoy the view again before I left.
After dinner I had a last wander around until it was dark and time to head back to the hostel.
In the morning I checked into my flight and re-organized my bags for travel by plane. I left the hostel and headed to the bus depot. There were many buses through the day so I wasn’t worried about pre-booked tickets, I had given myself plenty of time.
At the airport I went through all the standard procedures before I settled in for a short wait at the gate. We boarded the plane and went to take off but hit something (a bird). We aborted the take off and waited almost 3 hours on the flight while they checked for damage. None was found and we were once again on our way, this time with no problems.
When we landed in London we were three hours late. After customs and waiting for my bags it was late. I had booked into a hotel at the airport for the night. I went there and looked at going into London for a bit but decided I didn’t want to spend the train fare for a quick trip in and out. Instead there was a discount booklet in the hotel. It ranged from free drinks at restaurants to money off in shops. I used it to get a discount at the TESCOs downstairs and have a dinner of fruits and yogourt from the shop.
I used the time that night to use the internet and get some more of my travel notes typed up. I also had an email with a job offer from the interview I had done a few days before. I was happy to know that I had a job waiting for me in Canada when I returned.
I was amazed at the rooms at the hotel, The Bloc. They were advertised as being a place to crash between flights with no wasted space. The rooms where very much like a block. They were small. The walls seemed to have been built after the mattresses were in place. The wall was flush to three sides of the bed. The bathroom was built to get wet as there was no shower stall, only a shower-head in one corner of the room. Everything in the room was controlled by an iPad embedded in the wall. Despite their size I quite liked the room. It was good for a quick stay at the airport.
I also used the time to check the plans that had been made for the next two weeks of travel. My carefree, seat of your pants, solo travel was coming to an end for a time. Now I was meeting my family to travel together. They feel much more comfortable with a plan in place. The routes were planned down to the hour. The hotels had been booked for months. Everything was in its place.
I slept late. I no reason to be up, nowhere to go. I wasn’t going to leave the airport until I had met with everyone. About 30 minutes after their plane arrived I headed down to wait for everyone to exit the depths of the airport. I even made them a horrible sign with my notebook and the only pen (purple in colour) that I had. They had a good laugh when they got out to see it.
Then we went to the hotel to drop of their bags and check into the extra rooms. We were now a party of 5: Mom, Dad, Grandma (G), Kathy (a family friend), and myself. From there we headed into London for a quick day of exploring. We weren’t in a rush to see everything because we knew we had a few days in London at the end of our trip also.
We went to Buckingham palace and around in the area to see Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. We looked for places to have lunch with a view of the Thames.
After lunch G left us to travel around on her own. The rest of us went on a tube adventure and ended up at London Bridge. We spent time walking around the streets in that area before we went back to the airport to join G for dinner.
We went of Culpeppers restaurant in the airport. It either had a free Gin and Tonic with dinner or a discount on your meal. They told us about how they distilled their own Gin on site and were one of the only, if not the only, airport to do so. The G&T drinkers ordered one. They came with a spring of thyme and a cinnamon stick in the drink.
After dinner it was back to our tiny hotel rooms. Then to bed before out early morning flight.