Forty-four hours after leaving Zambia, we arrived home yesterday. It was a long journey, that's for sure. While it did lengthen an already long journey, we were excited to have an overnight layover in London. If all went well, we were hoping to at least see a few things, even though it was evening and most things would be closed. It doesn't matter what time you're out and about, Big Ben is always running, so we thought we'd catch that and a few surrounding sights. If we could make it to the London Eye we'd be able to catch all kinds of sights from a great view. If only things had gone well.
We got word about an hour before landing that there had been a security threat at Heathrow and our terminal was closed. Eventually we were able to land and then enjoyed some quality time sitting on the plane waiting in a long line of other airplanes who were ready to unload as well. After collecting our luggage in the mayhem they call terminal 4 we stored it at the airport and headed for the train. If only we knew how to get to the train and how to buy tickets. Putting pride aside, I'll tell you that we didn't know there was a different between the train and the Tube. We do now. After rather unintentionally buying tickets for the much more expensive Heathrow Connect we headed to Paddington Station, only about three hours behind schedule. By that time, our tired, already traveled nine hours selves just wanted a place to stay.
Leaving the station we saw the shining lights of the Hilton hotel. Who cares how much it cost, we just wanted a bed. Mastercard could take care of us. Guess what? No beds available. Turns out that there really were no rooms in essentially all of London because so many flights had been cancelled. No worries though, because there were tons of small hotels right nearby.
I don't think we even noticed the "No Vacancy" signs on the first 10 or 15 places that we tried. It truly was our own little Joseph and Mary experience because there was no room for us at the inn, hotel, motel, lodge or probably even hostel. Finally, after about 30 tries, we got the last room at the Hyde Park Radnor Hotel. It was 10:34 p.m. All of our grumbling about how much we hated London turned to everything seeming right in the world quite quickly. We found fish and chips at 11, had a McDonald's ice cream cone to top it off, and headed to bed.
But that's all we saw of London: Paddington Station, too many occupied hotels to count and one of the infamous double-decker buses. Big Ben and Trafalgar Square will have to wait for another visit. Truly, we don't really hate London.
As for us now, we're just grateful to be home. Zambia was a wonderful experience. We just can't stop talking about how blessed we are to have been there. After starting our day and being wide awake at 3 a.m., we're hoping for a normal wake up time tomorrow!