Back to Previous Page On to Day 3 Page Index

Vacation 2004, Day 2.
Thursday, October 28th
Arrival Day

When we left yesterday, we were part of the way across the Atlantic Ocean heading for London, England on British Airways flight 98. Today the flight is concluded. I make my way to the Hilton Hyde Park. There is a brief late afternoon trip to the major sights of London, and then to bed. I don't sleep the best on airplanes.

Even though I just said that I don't sleep well on planes, I do believe that there was some "nodding off" from time to time during the middle part of the flight.

This picture, same as the last one yesterday, shows the projected route the flight might take. This image, taken 5 hours and 18 minutes after the previous one, shows the route the flight actually took.
Here, flight 98 is approaching London (Londres is London in French). Taken 2:27AM EST or 7:27AM British Summer Time (BST). This is 6 minutes after the previous one and is the last one taken.

This picture was taken as the sun rose at 7:29AM BST.
You will note that this was taken between the last 2 map pictures above.
The direction the plane is flying is to the left.

It does not seem possible to arrive at Heathrow in London and land on time. As we approached, we were told that we would be circling around for some length of time. I think it was 20 or 30 minutes. The circling was interesting as we flew in and out of clouds and many times were able to see other planes circling above and below us. We were finally allowed to land and then there was no gate at the terminal so we were off loaded onto buses and taken to the terminal.

With the creation of the EU passport it certainly is a much less aggravating process getting into England. Before, there were queues that seemed miles long. Now anyone with an EU passport goes through a separate queue and the other queues (for non-EU passport holders) are almost empty. Baggage collection went quickly as well. I think it is the fastest entry into England that I've ever had.

The next process was to get to the hotel. First though, I wanted to validate my London Visitor's Travel pass that allowed unlimited travel on the underground and buses. Normally, this could be done in the underground station in Terminal 4 but for some reason related to the ongoing construction of the new Terminal 5, the only place at Heathrow to validate this was in Terminal 2. They allowed you to take the underground from Terminal 4 to the station that serves Terminals 1, 2, & 3 to do this so that's what I did. I didn't need this to get to the hotel but it was the easiest place to do the validation considering the hotel's location. Validated travel pass in hand, I proceeded to the bus terminal to get the Airbus that would deliver me to the hotel.

The Airbus that took a route through London and stopped in various hotel districts, around London was discontinued at the end of December 2004. All that is available now is a bus to the Victoria Coach Station from Heathrow and that would not have been very convenient. I found out how inconvenient when I had to go there to get the coach transfer to the QM2 3 days from now. It was still running while I was there so I took it and got to within 2 blocks of the Hyde Park Hilton. It took between 45 and 60 min to get there. I think it was sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 that I arrived at the hotel. As was expected, no rooms were available and I was so tired I just waited. Around 1:00 my room became available, and I was able to have a brief rest and then went out to have a look around. The weather was too nice not to!

The trip out ended being a bit more extensive than planned but a couple of nice pictures resulted from it. I started across the gardens of Kensington Palace which were just across the street from the hotel. I continued on to the Royal Albert Hall with the memorial to Albert across the street. I continued down into the area around the Victoria and Albert Museum, the area around Herods department store, the Victoria train and coach stations and down to the Thames River with all the famous buildings and monuments in that area.

Here are some pictures from this first trip out.

Albert's Memorial from the rear with the Royal Albert Concert Hall behind. More about this later. I have many pictures of this, but not one with the lighting quite like this. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what this is!!! This picture was taken from beside Westminster Abby. Nice, isn't it!!!
Here is another picture with the light apparently from the correct direction. This the the London Eye from Westminster Bridge. Here is the end of the first day with the sun setting in the west. I believe this was taken from the Blackfriers Foot bridge looking back towards Westminster Bridge and Big Ben.

By this time it was late afternoon (as you can see in the right picture above) so I had some supper and headed back up to the Hotel where I had a nice long night's sleep knowing that I didn't need to get up to do anything at any specific time the next morning.

Top of Page

Back to Previous Page On to Day 3 Page Index

Page Created: March 22, 2005
Last Updated: May 9, 2005