Day 2: Across the Pond


Atlanta – London

May 26, 2019

It was A-OK with the flights yesterday! We made it to Atlanta, though just in time. We had to go from concourse A to concourse F, which took a bit of time. Once we arrived at our gate, they were already boarding, and were probably already halfway through the process! We thought we would be early as we arrived about 5 minutes prior to the official boarding time, but not so. We had to cast aside our hopes and dreams of one last taco before we headed to Europe so we could board the plane in plenty of time.  While boarding, I was prepared to show them my boarding pass…not necessary! Apparently Virgin Atlantic has a new technology that uses facial recognition. All I did was look at a camera and then bam! Recognized and cleared for entry…super efficient, but slightly scary at the same time.

The flight over the Atlantic was about 7 hours and 30 minutes.  We were relieved when they handed out dinner menus and served us dinner!  I had a yummy sausage marinara with peppers and onions with a side of mashed potatoes.  Got a little tongue burn from the hot mashed potatoes but it was good anyway! After eating I took my ZZZ-Quil and tried to get as much sleep as I could.  It was off and on, randomly waking up here and there, but I’d say I dozed for 3 to 4 hours or so. Not great, but better than no sleep at all!

After taxing to our gate for what seemed like an hour and going through the arrival process and customs at Heathrow, we were finally ready to get on the Tube and head to Greenwich where we planned to stay the night.  We got to the station–CLOSED. They were apparently doing some line work from Heathrow Terminal up to Hammersmith (about 6 stops worth). Fortunately the Tube staff explained that they had a substitute bus service that would drop us off at Hammersmith.

After all that was figured out, we made it to Hammersmith station and got on the tube. We couldn’t go directly to our hotel because we had to pick up our pre-ordered London Pass outside the Leicester Square (pronounced by the Brits as “Lester Square”) station (it was cheaper to pick it up in London than have it shipped). It included an Oyster card, so we had to pay a 1-way fare to get there, but the Oyster card included unlimited travel for 2 days. Once we ascended what seemed like 100 stairs to the street level, picked it up, and descended the 100 stairs we transferred lines and transferred again and once again, and finally arrived at our hotel in Greenwich. We were thankful we had only carry-on luggage dealing with the Tube and all of its stairs. I suppose some stations have escalators, but not all of them!

Unfortunately, we could not check in upon arrival because it was just a bit after noon. We checked our carry-on luggage at the hotel and headed out for lunch at The Golden Chippy for some good ole fashioned Fish and Chips!  It was some classic Cod fish with some very very thick cut fries and a Mediterranean salad. The salad was interesting because it had a bit of mint leaf in it. Never would have thought to put mint in a salad!


Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips at The Golden Chippy


That place got 5 stars on Yelp.  It was pretty good, but I wouldn’t say 5 stars. We also had to make sure they took credit since I hadn’t withdrawn any cash, and they did, which was good. I think I tipped them more than what they’re used to. I think in the UK 10% is customary.  I was feeling a bit generous and left 20%. After paying and tipping our waiter said “You must have really enjoyed it! If you wouldn’t mind, please rate us on TripAdvisor.”

Afterwards, we headed to the Greenwich Market, which reminded me of the Knoxville market events in Market Square, just a ton more people!! It also had its own indoor area that it was set up in.  We then made the trek up to the Royal Observatory. I say trek because it was probably a 500 foot climb to get up there…definitely had to take breaks, and it was way tougher with my heavy backpack on (should have emptied some of it!) This observatory was a key research area in discovering the longitudinal system and other aspects of timekeeping that were so vital to navigating the sea.  To our surprise, our London Pass covered entry to this place! The main reason we wanted to see it was because at the end, you have the opportunity to stand over the Prime Meridian itself, placing yourself in 2 separate hemispheres! So cool! It was extremely difficult to push our way and get a picture on the meridian itself, but we finally got some!


Prime Meridian
Standing in both East and West hemispheres at the Prime Meridian


After this, we headed to our hotel and then crashed for a bit, turned out to be almost 2 hours but fortunately, Emily woke me up before I slept the whole rest of the day and night!  We made our way back to downtown Greenwich and went to get some traditional Pie and Mash at Goddard’s. It was basically a tiny little pie with minced beef and gravy in it, with a side of 2 scoops of mashed potatoes. Oh and it was all smothered in gravy.  It was pretty good as well, but needed quite a bit of salt for it to taste good!


Minced Beef Pie and Mash at Goddards
Minced Beef Pie and Mash at Goddards


After exploring a bit more, we headed back to our hotel to plan out our next day.


Emily at a Telephone Booth
Emily outside a Telephone booth in Greenwich


Hotel Novotel
Our hotel in London — Hotel Novotel in Greenwich


Step Metrics (est): 11,090 steps, 5 miles, 506 cal, 2h 2m time

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