Day One: November 19th
And we’re off! A 4:00 am wake up call and two minutes to spare before they closed the door on the plane from Indy to BWI. Security was a nightmare at 5:00 am and due to recent world events, I had no excuse to complain. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know that I have some quirks. I worry about fainting, low blood pressure, circulation in my veins, ears popping, and nausea. So basically I am a dream to travel with! First flight down and I even helped the little boy next to me with ear popping tips. It also helps to not think about it. Don’t overanalyze whether or not you should have worn the compression socks or if yoga pants are pretty much the same thing. Yep, I am officially 80 years old and for the record, I went with yoga pants. Quirks can’t stop this adventure!
Airports fascinate me. It is the creme of the crop of people watching. I’ve seen a man wearing a business suit doing yoga. The lights have gone off several times while I’ve sat next to the much sought after electrical outlet to charge my phone. A $2 banana is criminal, but I will spare you the rant.
Even the Starbucks is more expensive. I collect the Starbucks mugs, but remained strong and did not buy Philadelphia or Virginia, which I do not have. My luggage is already at 12 pounds and the maximum allowed is 11. For comparison, Winnie is three times that.
Also, Reagan is far superior to BWI. I’m not sure who mapped out this place, but they didn’t bring their A game. I’ve investigated and need to take a shuttle to the Icelandic Air hub. Then I had my first encounter with a security dog. FYI: it is frowned upon to hug the dog. I missed the ‘Do not pet’ written on his vest. In my defense, he kissed me first when I leaned down to help him sniff my luggage.
My BFF and I had a beer to kick off this adventure and then discovered a two hour delay for Iceland. We boarded at 8 pm and arrived in Iceland at around 3 am our time. We look like unkept Americans. My side braid is disheveled and we’re a tad sassy. We immediately ran to our gate for last call, boarded a shuttle and walked in the OH MY GOODNESS FRIGID COLD to board the next plane. We also sat next to the emergency exit door and when the flight attendant asked if we were alright with the responsibility, my friend’s eye roll and ‘I guess’ made me laugh out loud. It’s been a rough journey, but we still have our humor.
If you’re curious about WOW Air after seeing the amazing deals offered this past summer, then here it goes. The flight attendants wear purple retro uniforms with little hats. The men have pocket squares, which I find lovely. For what they spent on attire, they saved on the rest of the experience. No beverages were served on either the 5 and 4 hour flights, so be prepared. No purses allowed outside of your bag and any luggage over 11 pounds will cost you an extra $50. I weighed my duffel several times before leaving and I was at a consistent 12. The WOW man was surprisingly forgiving and let it slide.
There was a certain smell on the plane that made me nauseous. Two people fainted and it was not a big deal at all. I am not sure if this is because one had her husband to help her and it wasn’t in the aisle or what, but when I fainted two years ago on a plane (BWI to West Palm Beach), it was an ordeal. Southwest had an ambulance waiting for me on the Tarmac and I was shirtless in the back with an oxygen mask. Others on the flight said they felt sick, so at that point I focused on making it through the landing.
Overall, WOW is a weird experience. They also do not have their own terminal at BWI, so they rent from British Airways. They definitely cut corners to save money, which I appreciate, but maybe not when it comes to safety. They were also not helpful when we re-routed after Paris. We tweeted and called and always received the same canned response. You can’t beat the price, but be prepared for some arbitrary rules and some Icelandic flair.
Day Two: November 20th
We arrived in Kensington around 1:00 pm, so we had a pretty laid back day. The driver we requested had a sign at Gatwick Airport that said, ‘Miss Libby,’ so that instantly made my day. Once we freshened up, we wandered to a pub for beers and chips, aka fries. The first pub was cute, but not loud enough, so we moved on. The second pub, The Bolton, was good for the beer and fries, but did not serve any other food at 4:00. Our next stop was The Blackbird because any place that mentions pie as their speciality is going to be a winner. My friend had the chicken chorizo pie (which I tried and can confirm that it was amazing) and I was lame and had a sweet potato, feta, quinoa salad.
Then we wandered to the row of shops near the center of Kensington and close to where I stayed in 2008. It is freezing in London and my yoga pants and white t-shirt were not doing it for me. Enter TK Maxx. Yep, TJ’s distant brother across the pond. I found an Irish knit cardigan and Christmas cards that benefit a cancer hospital in London. I got a fur collar scarf and a knit hat at Uniqlo (so hip, I know), so I should be ready for the anticipated snow that London is supposed to get tomorrow.
We finished the night with a run through Boots, which is their fancy version of CVS. I got a European chocolate bar and Vanity Fair because Bill Murray is on the cover and I love him.
Also, British tv is fascinating. They have a Movies4Men channel and no, it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s action movies and the ones you don’t see in America. We settled for Sky News and were intrigued by the parliament channel.
The city is ready for Christmas. There are lights everywhere, trees decorated, and Christmas music playing in the pubs. I noticed a lot of little boys and girls on scooters while their parents held their hand as they glided by. People playing chess in coffee shops, flowers for sale on most street corners, and couples holding hands. We were even confused for locals. I can occasionally pull off the European look until I open my mouth and the ‘non-accent’ accent comes out.
Signing off for now! XO