Traveling Home

Today has been a long travel day as our international girls’ trip concludes. We are at the departure gate in the Minneapolis airport, waiting to board the plane to Tulsa for the final leg of our journey.

What an incredible trip it has been. I’ll be sharing some additional highlights this week. This evening we are travel weary and already feeling the effects of jet lag as our bodies think it is midnight. How amazing when I recall that I started the day in London England this morning, riding the Tube one last time, to Heathrow Airport.

We enjoyed using the Underground to get around London. It is an easy, fast and economical way to travel in that huge city. I had a minor mishap during my last ride on the Tube, getting thrown about a bit and taking a sharp blow to my ribs. My fault, though. I wasn’t holding on when the train started. It was still a great way to get from place to place in London.

See a very short video HERE of the Tube arriving in the station. Mind the gap, they love to say, meaning watch out for the gap between the platform and the car as you board. Perhaps they should also call out, Hold on!

Although I am tired, and my ribs on the right side ache, I am sad to see this trip end. It is committed to memory now. But what precious memories they are. I’m grateful my mom was able to go with us. She did remarkably well with all the walking that we did. I’m thankful my sisters were able to travel as well. And what would we have done without my niece’s navigating skills? We might be lost in the Underground somewhere!

Mom says this is probably her last big trip. But who knows? We are discussing possible destinations for another trip together…a week back in Scotland, or in Venice, or perhaps a cruise. The world truly is full of adventures that beckon.

Travel impacts me greatly. It broadens my perspectives, my heart and my soul. I saw a Delta commercial before an inflight movie this afternoon, with a line that resonated with me.

The ones who truly change the world, are those who can’t wait to get out in it.

I can’t wait for another adventure!

London Sights

Today our little band of traveling companions arrived in London, England by way of a train. This truly has been a planes, train and automobile kind of trip, with traveling by bus and on foot thrown into the mix as well. I have never been to London, except for a layover in Heathrow Airport last May, en route to Rome. I have been excited to see beyond the airport!

We pre-booked a Jack the Ripper Tour, aboard one of London’s iconic red double decker buses, that started at 7:00 this evening. What we didn’t realize was that in the process of driving to our starting point for the tour, we would get sneak peeks at some of this sprawling city’s most famous landmarks.

Sitting up top on the double decker tour bus.

Our phenomenal tour guide, Alan.

Westminster Abbey with a rainbow arcing behind it.

Big Ben, in the process of being repaired. It’s not really leaning. The camera angle makes it appear so.

The London Eye

The tour became a walking tour, once we reached Old London.

The overcast night and the narrow alleyways lent an eerie quality to a tour that focused on London’s most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper.

Some parts of Old London have not changed much since the time of Jack the Ripper.

Although not connected to Jack the Ripper, we visited this memorial to Scottish hero William Wallace, who was executed in London near this spot.

The final stop on the tour…a pub that honors the famous literary detective, Sherlock Holmes.

This was a fun night. Not only did we see well known London sights, we also heard brief histories and interesting stories around them. A tour is only as good as the guide who leads it, and we had an excellent tour guide. He knew his history, of course. But what delighted our group was his sense of humor.

Jack the Ripper was a historical figure who committed heinous crimes against prostitutes in 1888. Although there has been much speculation about the identity of the killer, the crime has never been solved. And while the crimes were gruesome, Alan presented the facts without trying to shock or disturb us. I felt compassion for the women who died and appreciation for the way in which the tour was handled.

The absolute best part of the Jack the Ripper Tour was walking through Old London, in the company of my family, other interested people and a charming and knowledgeable Englishman, and imagining what it looked like back then. I’d highly recommend the tour.

We have decided to sleep in a bit later in the morning, as we have had many late nights and very early mornings. Then we have two full days remaining to explore London. I’m excited to see what we discover!