We flew from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to London Heathrow on June 30. During that busy, harried day before, we packed as lightly as possible, fitting all of our things for a month into one rolling suitcase (can also be worn as a backpack), a mid-sized backpack, a small backpack, and two tiny backpacks for the kids (filled with small toys).
The drive to O’Hare from Nana and Grandpa’s took about 2.5 hours, with the requisite pee stops along the way. Toward the end, the kids finally fell asleep and had a snooze. They were very excited!
Excitement definitely showed through while we were awaiting our boarding call at the airport. We arrived over 2.5 hours before our departure time, so we had a substantial wait.
Then we boarded our plane! We rode on a 777 in the British Airways fleet. It was a lovely plane. And the kids soon happily settled into the onboard entertainment system.
Flora made fast friends with her neighbor, a lovely woman named Jan, from Rye. She talked the poor woman’s ear off! But Jan was lovely, and engaged Flora so sweetly. I really do think they are kindred spirits. You’ll hear more about Jan in a later post…
After our 7.5 hr flight, we actually arrived at Heathrow early! Love to fly British Airways!
We hopped on the tube for an hour’s journey (after having a harrowing experience with our British ATM card…luckily we later figured that out), and then took the high speed train from St. Pancras to Folkstone, which took another hour. By this time, we were feeling the lack of sleep and jet lag was seriously setting in. Oh my goodness, we were tired, and it was hard to stay awake! Flora had slept quite a bit on the plane, so she was doing pretty well, but the rest of us were dead on our feet.
Luckily, after arriving in Folkstone, it was only a short walk to the bus station in the town centre, where we hoped on a bus to Lydd-on-Sea; our final leg of the long journey. By this time, we had managed to set up the super stroller, which allowed the kids a rest (they had done SO well walking through all the stations…) and us a place to stash some stuff. It was nice to see the familiar Stagecoach buses that we knew so well from our time in Whitstable. We felt like we knew what we were doing, which is especially good when you’re overly tired and can hardly keep yourself upright!
An hour later, we arrived in Lydd-on-Sea, right in front of The Pilot Inn. We were greeted by Carl-Gustaf with his trusty bicycle and trailer. He came to meet us, help us carry our things, and show us the way to our holiday cottage. It was great to see a familiar face!
After a 10-minute walk (Charlie cried all the way because it was windy and cold and he had been sleeping on the bus), we were safe and sound in our beautiful Shingle House rental cottage in Dungeness. (Much more about this house in a future post)
These friends of ours, Gro, Carl-Gustaf, August and Greta, are the kind of friends with whom it feels no time has passed each time we see one another. We arrived and immediately the kids started to play with each other, and the adults started to chat and laugh and go about the business of moving in for the week. It felt familiar and everyone was happy to be there, together.
Old friends having new fun. Who cares that they don’t speak the same language!
Great times with great friends.
And a big bonus: there is a miniature steam railway that runs through the backyard. Every hour or so a steam train (or occasionally a cute little diesel) whistles and then chugs by. People wave. It’s delightful!
We were SO happy to hit the hay that night. We had been traveling for about 24 hours, and had been up for closer to 36. Tired twins.
Unbelievably, they slept like logs all night long (and so did Brad), and well into the following morning! Jet-lag, schmet-lag! (If only mama could say the same…) The next morning (when they finally got out of bed), they were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and ready to share some adventures with our Norwegian buddies!
What’s to come? Thoughts on Dungeness, an afternoon in New Romney, a ride on the RH&DR, the Shingle House, and a day in Rye.