Europe

Welcome to LONDON

The captain of the A380 landed the plane gracefully at Heathrow airport. He did a good job with such a huge aircraft there was only a soft thump when the wheels touched the ground. I followed the throng of passengers in front of me to passport control (immigration). It took me about an hour to get through as there was a long queue in the ‘other passport’ section. There is a separate section for UK and EU passport holders. The difference between us is that they don’t have to fill out a landing form while we had to. I heard someone yell “Next” and I was pointed to an available officer in the counter. She asked me a couple of questions and then stamped my passport and let me through. My luggage was waiting for me when I went to the designated baggage carousel.

Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by Airbus

I had nothing to declare to the customs so I got out quickly and followed the signs that said ‘Underground’ — it was a long way from Terminal 3 to the Piccadilly Line, the travelators (similar to an escalator except its flat) were such a big help as I didn’t have to drag my suitcase along. Just prop it beside me and off we go.
I bought an Oyster card. It’s a plastic smartcard about the size of a credit card which can hold credits to pay for travel on public transport in London. It’s a handy piece of plastic as you can use an Oyster card to travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London. I paid £5 (refundable) for the Oyster and put £15 credit on it. The person that manned the counter at the underground station was very helpful.
I promptly tapped my new oyster card onto the machine, got through the barrier, and waited on the platform, there was a train coming and I was inside the train in about 2 minutes! It was the start of the line so not many people yet.
Underground trains referred as “Tube” by the locals

It took 45 minutes to travel from Heathrow to Green Park Station where I got off. The train ride cost £3 at off-peak rate. Green Park station was very busy. I took the lift to the ground level and hailed a taxi from there. The taxi cost £7 from Green Park to my accommodation close to Trafalgar Square. The research I did paid off as it saved me some money compared to taking the Heathrow Express (£21.50 single trip). I got off at Green Park as I had read that the closest station to where I’m staying (Charing Cross) has no lifts and has lots of stairs which would be difficult to manoeuvre with a big suitcase in tow.
I saw these buses parked in front of where I was staying.

Once I had dropped my suitcase in my room, I went for a walk and captured the London Eye against a clear blue and white sky. A great start to my London holiday!
London Eye

 
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TRAFALGAR SQUARE at night -London
Text & Photos by Alicia Davis

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