We flew the red eye from Boston to London on Virgin Atlantic, which I have dubbed the “party plane”.
I read reviews about that, and it was true. First off, the flight attendants come by every hour to see if you want anything. The lights are on and off frequently, and I swear that none of the passengers slept! It was noisy! We didn’t sleep well. As we deplaned, I could not believe all the garbage that was strown around the plane!
Customs and immigration took maybe 15 minutes at Heathrow (which I hear it’s unusual).
We obtained oyster cards (the London transit card you use to swipe in and out of buses, trains, underground and boats) from the machines near the underground. It was very easy to understand how to do. We loaded ours with £30 each which was just enough for our 3 days of riding the transit system.
We took the Piccadilly line to Gloucester road (about 45 minutes) where we then had about a five minute walk to the hotel. Jerry noticed my wheel on my suitcase is splitting in half. I hope it holds up through this trip!!
We arrived at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt around 11 am and thank God they had a room ready! We were upgraded to a business class room which had a sofa and a bed. The whole room was done in red and gold velvet.
The bathroom was very narrow – only one person at a time please. The tub also was very narrow but it was a good five feet long. I’ve never seen a tub so long. Yes I took a bath!
We immediately threw. our bags down and went to bed for a few hours.
The hotel is in a building that was built in the 1800s and used to be used as townhomes. Our room was somewhat peculiar. You had to go through a locked door to take the smallest elevator I’ve ever seen – 2 people with luggage or 4 without, maximum-up to the second floor, go through a door and down a flight of stairs, through another door and in that little room were three more doors – one of which was our room. Once in the room, the bathroom was to the left and you had to go up four more stairs to get to the actual room. It was like being in the game of Clue! Nurse Carol with the candlestick in the Red Room.
We didn’t receive breakfast with any of our hotel rooms until day 7, but we brought oatmeal with and the room had a electric tea kettle as well as a nespresso machine so we were all set. I even purchased a small travel filter and brought coffee from home to make in case we end up not liking European coffee. It still doesn’t taste like home brewed coffee, but much better than Thai coffee!!
We found a delicious bakery around the corner called Paul, which we frequented daily for good coffee and grilled pomme (apple turnover thing made with phyllo dough). They made an excellent chai latte as well!
Our first day was basically napping, making plans, getting money(£) and finding an English pub to try some fish and chips. The Hereford Arms was suggested so that’s where we went. The fish was huge!
It was good. It came with chips (fries) and mushy peas. I wasn’t big on the peas. It’s exactly what you think it is – mashed peas. We did enjoy a nice dinner there and Jerry got to try some English beer called Frontier.