July 13, Monday
Well, Monday became one very long day. We set the alarm and I was up by 6:00 AM. Now, if you do the math, 6:00 AM in London is 1:00 AM in Florida. At the end of the day, I was in my own bed in Florida just before midnight, making Monday a 23-hour day.
Linda had arranged for a driver to pick us up at 7:00 for our drive to Gatwick. That meant navigating through rush hour traffic. We had allowed plenty of time, so we were worry free. We also allotted extra time for the duty-free area of the airport. And, I might say that of all the airports I have ever been in, Gatwick security is the most extensive, comprehensive and efficient I have experienced.
It goes without saying that the eight and a half hour flight from Gatwick to Cincinnati is really long. Linda had taken a last minute upgrade into first class so I took her assigned window seat in coach and slept off and on much of the flight. This gave me lots of time to mull over some random thoughts and memories.
When in London, ALWAYS look for the zebra stripes before trying to cross the street. Cars and busses must stop if you are in the zebra stripes. Since I couldn’t train my brain to first look to the right when crossing, zebra stripes saved my life on many occasions.
Wardrobe management is very simple in London. Everyone looks so chic. All you need are a pair of leggings under anything, and you are in style. Leggings under a sundress. Leggings under a mini skirt. Leggings under a tunic top. Add a big cinch belt and gladiator sandals and you are cutting edge.
While walking though the city streets, shopping, riding the tube and sight seeing I noticed that, other than English, Italian seemed to be the most widely spoken language, followed by French. And women in burka’s are not an unusual sight.
I am now much more aware of the epidemic of morbid obesity in the U.S. compared to other countries. People walk or ride bikes in all of the European cities we visited. Public transportation is the best way to get around in cities with narrow streets. Parking is impossible. You don’t see many buildings dedicated to huge multi-story parking garages. The subway system in London is accessed by flight after flight of stairs. This forces people to exercise. To be honest, I think it would be difficult for a handicapped individual. You don’t see people in scooter chairs zooming around like they do in Wal-Mart, Disney World, Kroger’s, and every shopping mall in the U.S. People in Europe walk. Some might be heavy, but few are morbidly obese.
I had a six hour layover in Cincinnati before catching my flight to Orlando. So, I am home now. Jet lag is real. I was fine on the first day home, but the second day it hit me. Not to worry. I will be rested up in plenty of time for Mike’s and my excellent Irish adventure at the end of August.