We left our house, sad to leave Pipa and Alonso there but knowing they are in great hands with our housesitters.
Our flight was, strangely, almost empty. If you have long legs or you have ever traveled with kids, you know that's a small miracle. We could all spread out and try to get better sleep than being totally cramped. Also, Virgin Atlantic gives you these cute bags with eye masks, toothbrush and paste, and socks. A big plus in an era when airlines charge you for selecting your seats ahead of time.
The first day was a complete nightmare. It's too long to even explain here. Basically, we went from one hostel to another one, across the city, dragging our bags, and suddenly still had nowhere to stay for the night - espite my months of meticulous planning. It was a long, sad odyssey. At one point we took a cab with a driver who was very nice but I couldn't understand 1/8 of what he said. I ended up doing what I wanted to avoid - booking at a chain hotel where the cost would be much more. And thank God for that. We ate well, slept well, swam, and woke up happy to a huge breakfast! Happy hour is enough for dinner, and breakfast is like brunch almost, so all we needed was a midday snack today. Also, we are next to Wembley Stadium, which is cool, and we saw people in line for the X-Factor auditions around the corner from us.
We had a great day traipsing around London - for the most part. I'm not gonna deny there were some very cranky moments. But overall we had fun. I was surprised by how clean everything looked. Also, Londoners are quite friendly and helpful. I was also surprised by the immense diversity of people all over. At one point Celsito commented that we had spoken to more foreign-born people than native English, which is probably true. The Tube is very user-friendly, comfy, and clean.
The streets still confused me by the end of our outing. I always looked left when I should be looking right, and vice-versa, and we kept thinking that no one was driving the cars - because the drivers were on the other side. We tried to tell our cab driver that in the U.S. we drive on the "right" side but he wasn't having it.
Celsito might want to come back and study, he says :-) He feels at home here.
Now we're off to "happy hour", AKA dinner.