Friday, September 14, 2012

England - Day 1

Back to posting about our Europe trip in the Spring...

As you may recall, we were in Barcelona over Easter (where we met my sister, Mr. Sister) for a long weekend.  From there, it was off to England:

We left Barcelona on Tuesday, 4/10. Our flight departed at noon, so we had a somewhat leisurely morning to sleep in a bit, get Starbucks and hop on the Aerobus to get back to BCN airport.  Both my sister and I were looking forward to the airport because shopping had been lousy in Barcelona.  Due to Good Friday, Easter Sunday and general store closures on Monday, we never really had a good opportunity to shop.

Well, we got screwed. We were flying British Airways to Heathrow and were assigned to sad Gate G. Why sad? Because there were NO stores or shops besides McDonalds, vending machines and two convenient stores with alcohol, makeup and magazines (and btw, American style gossip magazines are ridiculously overpriced there; equal to about $8 USD). You might there that doesn't sound so bad; but we were starving and wanted to shop.  Looking over the balcony (where all of the over gates were), revealed a mini-mall.  Complete with Desigual and Starbucks.  Trust me, you would be disappointed in Gate G too.  I had few options so I gave in and ate a McDonald's cheeseburger, for the first time in years.  To be more accurate, probably in a decade. BUT, I will amidst that I was so hungry, it tasted damn good.

Thus, the moral of the story is, if you find yourself flying out of Gate G at BCN; I will know your pain and frustration.
We landed at Heathrow around 2:30pm and entered hell. Seriously.  Customs are Heathrow was terrible; a huge PITA.  Essentially after getting off the plane and physically getting into Heathrow, we walked about 10 feet and the line for Customs started.
My sister took a number of trips while living in the UK and had forewarned us that we'd probably spend at least an hour in line, but even she was baffled by how long the line was.  At one point, we were standing by some elevators and a flight crew got off. Their jaws dropped when they saw the line.  That's how long it was.
Two hours later (about the same amount of time as the length of our flight), we were cleared and off to catch the bus.
Mr. Sister lived in Reading, UK, which is outside of London.  It is a small town. I don't know why you'd ever want to visit there unless you lived there or were visiting someone living there.  I doubt any of you readers will ever go there. Nonetheless, I will still blog about it for my memory's sake.
So, Reading (it's pronounced RED-ing, not REEDing, like I mistakenly called it several times prior to our trip.  However, one of the bookstores sold "I <3 Reading" totes and I contemplated getting one to look like a book nerd); we took the Rail Air bus from Heathrow directly to Reading's train station (about 30 minutes ride; the bus had Wifi).
After a 10 minutes walk to Mr's apartment to drop off luggage, we were officially starving (that dang McD's didn't tide us over well).  We went to Zero Degrees, a microbrew pizzeria, for dinner.  The beer was good, but the food was better. I scared down an entire pizza AND dessert.
From there we went back to the apartment.  Mr had to return to work the next day and we wanted to settle into our "home" for the next 5 nights.

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