Flying Vancouver to London: April 1 and 2 - Southwest England in April - CycleBlaze

April 1, 2014 to April 2, 2014

Flying Vancouver to London: April 1 and 2

We checked into our evening Air Transat flight several hours early. This turned out to be a good thing because organizing the bikes took awhile. We got them into the bags right away, but then were asked to stay with the bagged bikes until someone came from the downstairs oversize luggage department to pick them up. This took more than half an hour and a number of phone calls from the helpful check-in desk staff, but eventually the bikes were taken away and we could proceed to the departure lounge.

The flight left on time, and the plane was new, uncrowded and quiet. The food was mediocre at best, but we always bring along emergency rations. Arriving at London Gatwick on time about 11 am, we collected our undamaged bicycles, discarded the plastic bags, and rolled out into the arrivals area where an Expressways minicab driver was waiting for us. The only disadvantage of not packing the bikes into suitcases was that we couldn't take the convenient train from the airport into downtown London and had to rely on a taxi. Our daughter was travelling with us, making the taxi reasonably economical, but going by road meant about an hour and a half on the highway in quite heavy traffic. Not pleasant when we were all tired from the overnight flight.

We were happy to get to our small Bloomsbury hotel, the Ridgemount, near the British Museum before 1:00. Our room was ready, and our bikes were safely stowed in the garden behind the hotel. We had stayed in this area on Gower Street, several times in the last ten years. The street is lined with medium-priced hotels, all conversions from large family homes. The Ridgemount was perfectly adequate, clean and genteelly shabby, and our large room on the third floor (no elevator) overlooked the quiet garden with bathroom facilities nearby on the landing. We like the Gower Street location, across the street from a large Waterstones bookstore and a short walk from the British Museum. After resting for awhile we headed over to the Gallery Cafe at the museum for sandwiches and coffee, then stopped in at the bookstore before collapsing into bed.

Looking out from the front entrance to the British Museum at traffic on Great Russell Street
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