London: On the ground

Not An Englishman in New York

Breezed through Customs, because I only had the one bag.

Followed the signs to Heathrow Express, which is a new(ish) non-stop-to-London-in-15-minutes train that cuts the travel time by 75% (if you took the Tube).

All signs point to London

Bought a return (round-trip) ticket at machine for 32 pounds Sterling.

Put your money into this machine…
…and get this ticket out!

Machine took all the bills and coins I had, which was cool, except that with jet lag, I had a hard time knowing which bills were what, even though the 20 pound Sterling note had two big “20”s on it and a gazillion little “20”s on it…

Excuse me, but you can tell me how much this is?

Train pulled into Heathrow Station (in Terminal 5)  in four minutes, then departed for Paddington Station (yes, where the Bear lives).

Fast, on time, comfortable – what else could a traveler want?

Arrived Paddington Station in 22 minutes, for which “they” apologized over and over, because we were supposed to have arrived in 15.

And here we are! Now, were are we?

Total time, from getting off the plane at Heathrow to getting off the train at Paddington: less than 60 minutes.

The thing that took the most time: walking from the arrival gate to Customs.

Approaching final destination

Once at Paddington, I found the Paddington Tube station.

Well, a Paddington Tube station: there are three.

I’m where? And you want me to go…where?

Because I had jet lag, not only couldn’t I remember that my hotel, the Hotel Russell, was on Russell Square, I couldn’t remember that there was a Tube station named Russell Square.

I couldn’t even find Russell Square on the Tube map, no matter how many times I looked for it.

Excuse me, can you tell me where Russell Square is?

Bought a single (one-way) Zone 1 Paddington to Euston Square ticket for 4 quid, basically because I could find Euston Square on the map.

And I want to go, um…

The Tube suggested I take this route:

Okay, and we’re on our way! Possibly.

This would have gotten me to the hotel in 16 minutes.

However, I did not go this way, even though I thought I was. But it didn’t matter, because you can get anywhere from everywhere on the London Underground.

The walk from Euston Square to the hotel was not bad; I was over one(ish) street from where I needed to be, and ended up walking right past the British Museum, which made me all excited, in a jet-laggy sort of way.

Hey, I know where I am! I’m in London! Somewhere.


Day 1, Morning: Getting one’s bearings


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