Author: Craig Mashburn

Day 9 & 10 London trip

Yesterday was quite the day. Our first flight was suppose to be from London City Airport to Edinburgh, then to Washington DC then to DFW. We got up early and left for the airport (on the opposite side of London) at 6:15am. We get to the airport to find out the first flight was canceled. No problem, they put on on an earlier flight. We get to the gate and they tell us the flight is over weight (it was a propeller plane) so we do not get on that flight. Get our checked bags back and head to the check-in desk. They put us on another United flight,  but it leaves from Heathrow on the other side of town! So they paid for a cab to take us. It took over two hours cause they do not have freeways so we had to drive on regular streets right through the heart of London. This drive also made me glad I did not have to drive in London. There are just so many unique things they do, not to mention being on the wrong side of the road.

Well, because we took so long, we missed that United flight. United said they did not have anything until maybe the next day. So we went to the Flybe airline desk (they were the airline that canceled our flight). They kept looking and looking, made a phone call and got us on a direct to DFW American flight. Oh, and it was in BUSINESS CLASS which are little pods with lay flat seats!

Oh, it was at a different terminal so we had to hike to that with all of our luggage. After getting checked in with American, the agent said we could go to the Admiral Club and wait for our flight. (because we were in business class). It was awesome. We were able to eat a full meal in there since it was now around 2:00pm and we had not eaten since before 6:15am. Then we went to our flight to enjoy the awesome seats.

 

It was as enjoyable as a flight could be. We were fed like kings. I ended up not sleeping at all. Really never wanted to and I thought it would help with the jet lag to just wait.

After landing, we took a shuttle to terminal C where we parked the car. If you have ever seen the Seinfeld episode where they cannot find their car in the parking garage, that was us. For around 30 minutes in the heat and humidity and hauling our luggage, we searched and searched for our car. Finally, we realized we had departed and parked at Terminal E. So back to the shuttle and straight to the car. I felt stupid.

We then went to a hotel and spent the night. I slept well. Up this morning and drove back to Amarillo.

This was not a relaxing vacation. Every day was pretty tiring and some were downright exhausting. We may never go back to London so we knew we had to see everything we wanted to see and knew that would take lots of energy. We were happy to do it. It was a good trip and we are blessed we were able to go. London is a cool city to visit and we enjoyed meeting many Brits.

Until next time.

Day 8 London Trip

We started our last day in London going to the Tower of London…

Got to see the crown jewels…

And the armory…

Michael finally got to see a guard somewhat up close…

Picture of the Tower Bridge from the Tower of London…

For lunch, we had to grab some fish and chips…

We then took a bus down to St. Paul’s Cathedral…

We climbed 500 billion steps to go to the top of the dome (then came back down those steps). Guess it was worth it for the views…

There was a small viewing window down to the floor from the top of the inner dome. It is the very small square at the top in this pic…

We then went to our final place to visit, the HMS Belfast…

Stephen had to take a timeout in the brig…

That concluded our time in central London so we grabbed two more pics. This is the Tower Bridge…

And this London Bridge. For all you Yanks who think the Tower Bridge is London Bridge, you are wrong. To be honest, I learned this just the other day our our Thames river cruise. It has been rebuilt several times so I guess technically it has fallen down.

Tomorrow we get up early to head to London City airport which is on the other side of London. Our first flight is from there to Edinburgh Scotland. Then to Washington DC, then to DFW where we will spend the night before driving home.

Day 7 London Trip

Started the day by realizing my phone did not charge properly overnight. Since I am the only one with data service, it is pretty important my phone works for us to get around. Was able to get the charge to 79% before leaving.

We started the day by going to the London Zoo…

Have not been in one of these since India in 2014…

Our traditional picture of Stephen with the flamingos…

And for the Harry Potter fans, here is where Harry first talked to a snake and made the glass disappear…

My favorite animal…

We stopped at a Five Guys for lunch and really enjoyed the drink machine with all the soft drinks and ice we wanted.

These painted words found at many crosswalks in London, are VERY useful for us Americans. Figuring out which way traffic will be coming from can be right confusing.

Then we went to Kensington Palace…

After that, we stopped by Harrod’s to look around at stuff we can’t afford…

Traveling back to the VRBO, we hit rush hour on the trains. We were PACKED into this train for around 30 minutes. You have to give up the idea of personal space.

My legs and feet are hurting today more than they ever have. Of course, tomorrow might prove to be even more walking so I will just have to keep going through the pain. We finished early today so hopefully extra rest tonight will help.

Day 6 London Trip

Little worried we would be rained on today, but we were not. It was quite chilly though. We started the day going to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard.

After a quick lunch at Victoria Station, we boarded a bus…

To go to the Warner Brother Harry Potter Studios…

Then we boarded the bus back to London…

Train back to VRBO. Today was a bit less walking so the old legs got a bit of a break. Tomorrow, I’m afraid, will be a lot of walking.

Day 5 London Trip

The day started going to the British Museum…

Michael in front of the Rosetta Stone…

Then we headed to the Imperial War Museum…

 

Then we decided to wait in a very long queue (line in US English) for the London Eye…

We then went by the M&M superstore then back to the VRBO where we ate some dinner. Then we headed out to do what we do on all vacations these days, an escape room. We got out…

Now back at the VRBO to get some rest for tomorrow.

Day 4 London Trip

This morning we took the Tube into the city center and got our first look at London…

After a couple of quick phone calls…

We stopped in to the Churchill War Rooms. This is where much of World War II was directed. Far under ground…

Then we made a quick side trip to Victoria Station to grab some lunch…

Then off to Westminster Abbey. No pictures allowed inside, but it was quite cool. Extremely old stuff. Saw some painting on walls that were over 600 years old!

We stopped for a quick picture with the tower that holds Big Ben…

Yes, it is under all that scaffolding. We then went for a boat tour down the Thames, from Westminster to Greenwich…

We then went to a local burger joint in Greenwich (no, not McDonald’s this time)…

After dinner we walked UNDER the Thames through a tunnel…

We then rode the trains back to our VRBO, extremely tired. I think we are still dealing with a bit of jet lag. Hopefully tomorrow we will be fully adjusted.

Day 2 & 3 London Trip

Our first flight (DFW to Houston) did not leave until 5:30 so we stayed at our hotel until checkout time of noon. We grabbed some lunch at Whataburger then headed to the airport.

We had a few hours to kill at the airport so we rode the Skylink all the way around the airport.

Then we happened upon a little lounge that no one was using and had comfy seating.

Our flight to Houston left on time and landed early, however, there was no gate for us to pull in to so we sat in the plane on the ground for around 25 minutes.

That made the connection to our London flight a little closer than expected so we went straight to the gate and waited. The flight was delayed leaving, so we ended up not eating dinner until after 9:00pm on the plane. The next nine hours were a blur of watching movies and dozing. I really did not sleep much at all. We landed at London Heathrow around 12:00 noon London time. After clearing customs and collecting our bags, we headed down to the tube. Took us 4 trains to get to our VRBO, but we made it and the place is really nice.

It was around 3:00pm and we had not eaten anything since a light breakfast on the plane so we walked down the street to a local place whose speciality is something called a Big Mac.

Then we took a bus to a supermarket and got some some groceries. Then the bus back to the VRBO.

Now, we are pretty zonked and I am thankful I did not plan anything for us to do today other than get settled in. it is 6:30pm here and I am ready to go to bed.

Tomorrow, we jump in to exploring this city!

Day 1 London Trip

No, no London yet. Today we packed up the car and left our little Bax…

We drove to Fort Worth and checked in to our hotel. We met our friend Caroline for dinner and had a good time catching up.

Then we hit a local escape room. It was fittingly Harry Potter themed. We escaped.

 

Our flight from DFW does not leave until tomorrow afternoon so we will hang at the hotel until noon, grab lunch then to the airport.

2019 London

The Mashburns are headed out again on another epic adventure. We will be going further than ever before to visit London. This trip is bigger this year (i.e. more expensive) because it is Michael’s senior trip. We are excited to get going and will post daily here with our activities.

Here is our itinerary…

  • 7/2 – Depart Amarillo for Fort Worth to spend the night
  • 7/3 – Depart DFW airport for London
  • 7/4 – Arrive in London and get settled in
  • 7/5-7/9 – Explore London
  • 7/10 – Depart London for DFW
  • 7/11 – Drive back to Amarillo

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Day 12 – 2018 Vacation

This is what most of today consisted of…

We are now home and getting settled back into to home. This little guy was happy to see us.

This trip included 5 states, 5 hotels and almost 2500 miles of driving by me. It was fun, relaxing and recharging. It is good to be home.

Also, I cannot wait to get to go to another Indycar race.

Thanks for following along.

Day 11 – 2018 Vacation

Not too much to report for today. We spend about six and a half hours driving to Tulsa where we checked into our hotel. Then we went and did our fourth escape room and as always, we were successful!

After, we returned to the hotel where Vicky caught us messing around in the fitness room.

Tomorrow we will return home and officially conclude our trip.

 

Day 10 – 2018 Vacation

We started the day going to the St. Louis Zoo. Fortunately, the humidity was down so it was not miserable out.

And of course, Stephen with flamingos…

After a quick lunch, we decided to fulfill Michael’s month-long dream of going to Ikea.

And he wanted to try the meatballs..

Then we stopped by the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. It was huge.

Went back to the hotel to take it easy a while before going to do Escape Room #3 where we escaped their most difficult room with only 1 minute remaining.

Tomorrow morning, we begin the journey home.

Day 8 – 2018 Vacation

Not too much today. Most of the day was spent driving from Iowa to St. Louis. We did pass two towns significant to MASH fans…

We got checked into our hotel. On the way to find some dinner, we happened upon an interestingly named school (and road)…

Then we went and got on the MetroRail…

We went downtown to visit the arch.

Us crammed into the little capsule to take us to the top…

At the top.

Waiting for our capsule down.

Now back at the hotel. I am pretty wiped. Have driven over 1500 miles now. Ready for bed!

Day 7 – 2018 Vacation

Today was something I have wanted to do for a long time. An Indycar race. I have been a fan since the 90’s when it was called CART, then Champcar and now Indycar. We decided to go to Missouri then I realized there was a race in Iowa so we went.

We got there at 9:00 this morning. We had paddock passes so we could walk around the garages and all the team trucks. There was only one team I was interested in seeing. Team Penske. It was interesting to see them working on the cars in the garage.

Josef Newgarden’s car…

Simon Pagenaud’s car is the yellow one, Will Power the silver…

Me with Will Power’s car. I have been a fan of his for a looooong time…

Right before they introduced the drivers, I ran into Josef Newgarden!

We had tickets for the stands to watch the race, but I could not pull myself away from watching from behind the pits.

And along came the man himself, Roger Penske…

The race was really cool. Iowa is a short track so a lap takes only like 18 seconds with the cars traveling in the 170’s mph. There were only two yellow flags so the race took just over two hours. After it was over we waited around and I finally was able to get a picture with Will Power…

So we basically stood up from 9:00am until 4:30pm out in the sun. Needless to say we are tired and sunburned. But for me, it was worth it. This really makes me want to go to more races in the future.

Tomorrow, we head to St. Louis.

Day 6 – 2018 Vacation

Another easy going day today. We started the day by going to a huge farmers market in downtown Des Moines. It was impressive.

Then we went to the local zoo. My favorite animal? Giraffe. And got to feed one!

Stephen and Michael got to feed them too, but it is my blog so my picture.

And of course, Stephen with the flamingos.

After relaxing at the hotel a while, the boys and I went to see the Jurassic World movie while Vicky stayed at the hotel and watched Netflix.

Tomorrow is the reason we came to Iowa. Looking forward to it.

Day 5 – 2018 Vacation

We slept in a bit this morning before checking out. Then we hit the road towards Iowa. We made a stop in St. Joseph, MO and went to a museum called the Patee House. Lots of cool things to see there.

After a quick lunch, we stopped by the Glore Psychiatric Museum.

Stephen preparing to do an autopsy…

All of these items were surgically removed from a woman at one time. She had swallowed it all!

We then continued the two hour trip to our hotel in Des Moines, Iowa. Pretty slow paced, relaxing day.

Day 4 – 2018 Vacation

We slept in a bit today. We headed out around 9:30 to the World War 1 museum.

After lunch we swung by the Money Museum at the Fed…

Lifting a real gold bar…

The we went to Union Station..

And while we were there, we successfully escaped another room!

After dinner, back to the hotel to get packed up. Tomorrow we are Iowa bound.