First it was actually 20 nights and days given travel time from LAX to LHR.
Second this was my 5th trip during the Christmas Holidays. I travel solo and intended to meet up with old friends and explore places I'd never seen before. Places such as Richmond Park, Battersea Park, Alexander Fleming Museum, Wallace Collection, Whitsable, Olympic Park, Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were on my list.
Third, I've been visiting London since the 70's. First exposure was in 1972 with the then boy friend who was on a business trip. Recall one morning leaving the hotel (the Grosvensor House, the ONLY time I would stay in such an "upscale" hotel) and strolled around the neighborhood. Tony was going to be in all day meetings so I had the day to explore on my own. Had my camera in hand and off I went. I'd grown up in a small town an hour's drive from San Francisco. Going to SF was always a treat. Different sights, smells and sounds. Different energy level which you could sense as you walked about. Anyway, no clue where I was walking but loved seeing the infamous Black Cabs, the different architecture and small shops. Soon I was startled when I realized I was in Green Park across the road from The Palace. Made me smile and trust me 50 years ago you could easily see the Changing of the Guard without the hordes. Turns out my timing was serendipity. That's when I fell in love with London.
Love London and made my choice to spend 2019 Christmas there early on. I do this for all my trips so I have a carrot at the end of the stick mentality that I use as inspiration to research what new places to see.
Booked my Premier Economy seat on Virgin airlines in the Spring. I'm still working so simply ear marked a paycheck for the flight, booked it and paid it off before I left LA, months later. For years I flew economy on which ever airline had the best price but at some point I decided to pay for more service and comfort and have never looked back. My money and my choice.
This sojourn I wanted to stay outside London in the suburbs. I'd been in London earlier that year visiting a friend who, due to work, was staying in Ealing. I liked Ealing and the plan was I'd return at Christmas to stay in her flat. She'd be home in the US with her family so free room and board. For reasons beyond our control that plan fell through. As I'd already booked my flight I made the decision to book at 2 Premier Inns. Had never stayed in one and figured this would be as good as time as any to try them.
Keeping with my desire to stay outside London I chose the Premier Inns in Chiswick and Richmond. While in Ealing had discovered Chiswick during a long walk from Ealing Studios to Chiswick House and Gardens. Must be said no one walks in LA and it's true I don't very often but get me to the UK and I average 6 miles a day meandering.
Due to my job my London sojourns have nearly always been during October, November or December months. Most often in November. Having LA's weather of sunshine nearly each and every day bores me. I grew up in the Bay Area and LA weather to me is monotonous. I like wearing sweaters and scarfs and gloves.
I still have a favorite hotel near Paddington Station that a former Forum member turned me onto. Kept the name of it quiet for years as I didn't wish to see it over run by Rick Nicks. I've since named it in some of my responses to posters queries about "where to stay in London," but not going to identify it in this report.
I spent the last two nights of this trip there because I wanted to explore Winter Wonderland, which for a photographer is heaven at night with all the Neon lights. It's comfortable, I know the area and for years have always pre booked the Heathrow Express.