I'm writing you from our hostel in London, England, just a block or so from the lush and lovely Hyde Park. We took a magnificent stroll there this evening that culminated in a short pub crawl and a delicious dinner. We're having a wonderful time, though it was a long, irritating road getting here.
We experienced the marvel that is airport (in)efficiency for multiple hours before we were able to arrange a flight to London. Yesterday began with the cancellation of our first flight from Indy to JFK due to inclement weather. After spending two hours in line behind a group of less than amiable New Yorkers, we were re-routed to Atlanta via stand-by and scheduled for a new flight to London that was supposed to depart at 10:55pm. We arrived at Atlanta, stood in line for another hour to check in, and were promised first-class seats on our trans-Atlantic flight. Oh, how they toyed with our emotions! Our hopes were soon dashed when we were demoted to coach (those awful middle section seats, to be clear) and our flight proceeded to leave two and a half hours late. By 1:30am, we were in the air after departing from Margie's house at 9:30am the previous morning. Now across the pond, we're finally, and gratefully, settled in for a relaxing vacation.
It was a long day, and John and I are fading fast. We expended all of our energy this evening trying to figure out proper pub etiquette (it's harder than you might think). Do you order at the bar or from the waitress? Who do you pay? Is the kitchen open? Why isn't anyone else eating? We eventually wandered from South Kensington (the neighborhood where our hostel is located) into the Chelsea area where we came upon a posh, bustling little pub that boasted about ten beers on tap...that's quite a few for G.B. John ordered a souped up version of bangers and mash that featured a delicious onion gravy and roasted apples. I sampled the special of the day, a grilled chicken cassoulet. I'm not going to pretend that I knew what a cassoulet was before this evening, though I wish I could have. I believe the term "cassoulet" refers to a bed of garlicky, lemon-scented beans. Whatever it was, it was wonderful. We were very proud of ourselves for doing so well despite our jet lag and disorientation.
The British have been very nice so far, very similar to Americans. After witnessing the number of Brits out on the town partying to the max on a Wednesday night, I can already tell that I'm going to like it here. I like these people.
Tomorrow we plan to get our culture on with some museums, or perhaps a tour of historic downtown London near the Thames. We'll keep you posted. Much love to all of you!