Final salmon sandwich trip tally: 17
Distance flown: 10,702 miles
*apologies for this post being a day late – I was completely shattered after a VERY long day of travel*
I woke up on Day Twenty-Three on my last morning in London, wishing I could pause time and stay a little – or a lot – longer. Sadly, I couldn’t, so I said goodbye to the flat just before 10am and made my way to Paddington one last time with PJ in tow where I grabbed the last salmon sandwich of my trip and then caught the 10:25 Heathrow Express to Terminal 5. After checking PJ and going through security, I headed to British Airways’ South Lounge, curling up in a comfy chair with a cup of tea for an hour or so before I caught the transit out to Gate C65.
It wasn’t long before it was time to board and the A380 pushed back from the gate pretty much on schedule, although runway traffic at Heathrow meant an inevitable wait to take off. But we were eventually airborne. Settled into my Club World pod, I watched Sing during the main in-flight meal, rewatched How to Steal a Million (because I adore it), and then managed three hours of sleep. A Call the Midwife episode, Ratatouille, and a light meal later (part of which was smoked salmon), the Airbus touched down in a rainy San Francisco nearly eleven hours after taking off from London Heathrow.
After a short wait in customs and baggage claim, I caught BART to Concord where Dad was waiting to drive home through the heavy rain.
It never gets any easier to say goodbye, but I’ve had another absolutely amazing adventure that added more stars to my travel map. A massive “Thank You” to everyone who has followed this latest round of wanderings. I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on this little bliggity blog.
My last morning in London began very early, with my alarm going off at 4:30am, ensuring that I’d have plenty of time to get ready, get the last of my stuff packed, and get myself and my two suitcases to Paddington station with plenty of time to spare. I said goodbye to the lovely little flat around 8:15am and my suitcases and I made our way up the road to the station and caught the Heathrow Express to the airport. It didn’t take long to check my bags and get through security and after a final stop at Pret a Manger, I trekked past the miles of duty free merchandise and caught the tram-train-thingy out to gate C64. Eventually, boarding began and a baggage loading delay and a tarmac taxi queue later, the 747 was finally airborne and on its way to Chicago. And even though I’ll take wonderful memories and tons of pictures home with me, I freely admit that I cried while the plane was taxiing, overcome with sadness to be leaving.
Unlike the flight to London, after lunch (I opted for the chicken dish which was very tasty) was finished, I was able to sleep for a few hours this time. It wasn’t great sleep, mind, and each little nap only lasted half an hour at the most (especially with the turbulence), but it did help pass the time and make the flight seem to go by faster. Eventually, the plane touched down at O’Hare International Airport and after slowly making my way through customs, I picked up my rental car, crawled through rush hour traffic, and eventually made it to the Midway Chicago Marriott. After checking in, dropping the car off at Midway Airport, and grabbing a delicious dinner in the hotel restaurant, I had just enough energy left to grab a quick shower and drag my exhausted butt to bed.