“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” — Dali Lama
Our London apartment’s official check-in was eleven o’clock, so Mike emailed last week. Peter, the rental agent promptly replied, “Yes, of course you can check in early!” Then, he explained how we could “collect” the keys at a massage parlor just down the street. It would open at ten am, just about the time our limo would be dropping us off on Old Brompton Road. Perfect!
Well, at least it wasn’t raining.
The driver delivered us to the door of our building right around ten, and Mike left me with our three suitcases and carry-on paraphanalia while he headed down to the massage parlor. I stood on the sidewalk, nearly swooning from exhaustion. Sleeping on a plane is impossible for me, and I was ready to plop down on our couch for a brief sinking spell before heading out to explore.
In a few minutes, Mike returned. “We’ve hit a bump in the road,” he announced. That massage parlor that was opening at ten? Today’s opening would be at noon.
And, we and no phone number for Peter.
We could hardly sightsee with all our luggage in tow and blocking the aisles of a little coffee shop with all our stuff didn’t seem like a good idea, either. Yeah, I know… Why did we bring so much? Couldn’t we have packed lighter? I suppose, but one of the suitcases is just a small one, mostly packed with shoes, with enough space to fill it with any purchases we might make. Besides, London weather can be iffy. We needed options.
So, how to kill two hours? We crossed the street and sat on the wall surrounding an old cemetery. Here’s Mike perched there, taking in the view of the traffic and the pedestrians passing us by. Weird looks? Yes, we got plenty, especially from Londoners who passed us while out on an errand, then passed us again on their way back. A street sweeper pushed his broom around us, eying us quizzically. We wondered if the young mom warned her toddlers not to make eye contact as the bustled by.
I wish I could say that the two hours flew by. They didn’t. But, eventually the massage parlor opened and Mike got the keys. We hiked up the 57 steps to our top floor flat, Mike chivalrously making three trips to carry the suitcases. And here we are.
Did we collapse on the bed and conk out? Hell, no! Off we went to have our first pub lunch, then tallied over 11,000 steps on the Fitbit, getting our first look at London. My goal is to stay awake until seven pm, and tomorrow, rested and ready, we’re out the door. London is waiting! Stay tuned!