Touring London Wasn’t Part of the Plan

I’ve spent months planning (and will spend months paying) for some really great travels this summer. According to the plan, I was to leave Amarillo, Texas, this past Monday, take a flight to DFW Airport in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, then fly to London to make a very quick connection to Moscow. At that point, I was to rest up in a nearby hotel for one night before flying to Yerevan, Armenia, for a few days.

That’s not exactly how it went.IMG_5893

The weather was quite pleasant in Amarillo, but it was super nasty in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex on Monday. That grounded flights coming into and flying out of DFW Airport for hours. As flights to DFW were getting canceled, I wasn’t sure if I would get there at all. Once it became clear the flight would take off, the next concern was the status of the DFW-Heathrow connection. Luckily, it got pushed back, as well. However, it left so late in the evening that it became impossible to make the London-Moscow connection, so I was put on a much later flight. That turned the original 90 minute layover into about nine hours.

As nice as Heathrow is, I hated the thought of staying that long in the airport. Before we left DFW, my travel companion and I decided we would make the most of what destiny had handed to us and spend a few quick hours in the city. She had never been to London, and I had only been once, so it was a terrific opportunity.

We guessed we had about four to five hours of actual touring time, so we decided to purchase round trip tickets on Heathrow Express, which got us to Paddington Station in less than 25 minutes.

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From there, we took the Tube to our first stop — Westminster Station — and got in a few quick looks at the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Abbey.

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The next underground stop was at Tower Hill to see the famous Tower of London. That’s Traitors’ Gate in the second photo.

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The Tower of London also offers a great view of Tower Bridge, which spans the Thames River.

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It was back onto the underground from there for a quick pass through Blackfriars Station before we blazed right past St. Paul’s Cathedral (I feel badly about that), crossed the Millennium Bridge and sought out Shakespeare’s Globe.

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As the picture above suggests, it had begun to rain by now. I didn’t have an umbrella and got a pretty good soaking, but that was okay because by the time we reached Buckingham Palace, the sun was shining again.

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And that was our tour of London in a few hours. Our attitude was that we might have been tired (and crazy jet lagged), but we would have regretted not taking the unexpected opportunity to wander through one of the world’s great cities. There’s a lesson here: if you have the time, get out of the airport and see something cool.

Bonus Photo!

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