London Day 1 is under our belts!! After a long 20+ hours of travel (home, airport, flight, layover & night flight) we landed safe & sound 11am this morning London time! The first part of the day wasn't too bad as far as adjusting to the time change; Delta gave us eye masks and ear plugs, pillows, blankets - but darn we didn't have the first class seats that reclined into beds! Those were cool to see.
The biggest wait was collecting all luggage and instruments - but really that was no problem either. Gave us a chance to go brush teeth and freshen up; figure out how to get the AT&T hotspot app to work; and to enjoy the cool weather. It was overcast and about 50F when we landed. Looked like rain but it never did.
First stop was to the town (village?) of Windsor. We walked around the castle, looked at shops & then found our first pint of beer!! It was 2pm by then - 5 o'clock somewhere - but apparently 7am at home, which was mentioned when I posted a pic on Facebook :)
We found a sausage and cheese pasty that was yummy and tried to get some more water in - have to balance the beer/water ratio to stay awake (and hydrated).
Found a bank with an ATM that was inside and successfully withdrew £200 - no problems. I saw the choice to conduct in dollars or £ - and I chose £ - pretty sure I did that the smart way. Went a bit further inside the bank and sat down to put the money away. No problems!
Back on the coach bus - it's huge by the way (we somehow are on the biggest coach that seats 70 people; the others hold about 50. Many of us nodded off and on during the ride from Windsor to London. I was one of them. All the travel was catching up with me. But I did try to look around and the band guide for our bus got on the PA when we reached London.
Check in was much more organized than I could have imagined for a group our size. We were in our room in no time and trying to figure out if we had any AC - by that time it was definitely humid.
Dinner was at 5:30. There are 259 kids and adults on this tour. We are the 2nd biggest group of the sixteen states making this musical journey this year.
It was nice to sit down and have a real meal after all the travel. It gave us a second wind and by 7pm, we were off for a first night London walk!
We left our hotel (Thistle City Barbican) and set off on quite a walk!! We walked to St. Paul's Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge, crossed it , saw the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, hung out and enjoyed the pleasant breeze by the Thames, walked back and saw the front of St. Paul's, and then walked by the remaining Roman Ruins wall that is still standing in the area.
All this was done while sometimes in big groups, but we really only stick with our one guide so our group is only about 10 kids/adults. There was no big rush. The kids went down and took pics on the bank of the Thames (and everywhere else), we sat, we chatted, we laughed. It was a very nice evening!!
After we got back to the hotel, hubby and I headed to the bar for a nice cold pint and I put a lot of pictures on the FB page I started for this tour. After a nice break, we went back out again and found a little grocery/convenience store and bought a couple items for our room (including wine) ;)
We used our Cap. One Chip & Sig card at the hotel bar - no problems. So two of the four cards we have have worked so far.
It's now 12:20am Sunday London time. I better call it a day and get some sleep for our big day tomorrow - all the kids perform!!! Should be a great day and the weather looks to be 70 and no rain!!
Wifi is awesome in the hotel so taking advantage of it now before we move to locations where this might not be the case.
Got news that my dad made it through surgery fine and will probably be discharged Monday to begin his treatments. Thank you all for your kind words and concerns for him. I really appreciate it!!