London and Wales, 2009 Home   Next Day

Day 1: Saturday, Sep. 19 (the long day, into Sunday)
...Tallahassee to Atlanta to Amsterdam to London

There weren't a lot of flight options available when I converted my frequent flyer miles to airline tickets. In any case I'd have a long layover in Atlanta, and not get to London until well into Sunday. The flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam left hours earlier than the one to London, enough earlier that I could change planes in Amsterdam and still get to London well before the direct flight arrived. It didn't quite work out that way, but that was the plan.

The flight from Atlanta touched down at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport half an hour early, giving me plenty of time to wander around before the flight to London. The flight to London was delayed, however, (the connection into Schiphol was late), so I arrived at London Heathrow Terminal 4 an hour later than planned. Passport control and customs were quick and easy, however, so it wasn't long before I got to the Underground Station and on the train to central London.

Waiting to get on the KLM flight to Amsterdam...They're very proud of their airline (the oldest continuously operated airline in the world), and their signature blue color hasn't changed much in decades. KLMExterior
The Airbus had two aisles, and the rows between the aisles had four seats across. I was in one of the middle seats of the middle, so I could neither lean against a window to sleep better, nor easily get out into the aisle to go to the lavatory. I managed, however, and even got a couple of hours of sleep after dinner and before breakfast. The food was surprisingly good. KLM Interior
Schiphol is as much a shopping mall as it is an airport; it has an incredible array of places selling clothing, luggage, flowers, tours, electronics, and various luxury items. Most of these are large stores, not just small shops. What Schiphol doesn't have is a lot of places to sit down. Most of the seating is inside the individual gate areas, which are locked out from the hallways until shortly before boarding time for each flight. Even after a gate opens, passengers must enter through an additional security screening area. At least I didn't have to take off my shoes again. Schihpol Airport
The flight across the Atlantic was mostly in the dark, but the flight back west from Amsterdam to London was in full daylight. I enjoyed seeing the green countryside as we approached London. England Below
London's Underground system is actually underground in most of London, but parts of it are above ground, especially in more distant locations such as Heathrow. I loved the Underground (aka The Tube) because of the many stations and frequent trains. Heathrow had not just one station, but three (Terminal 4, Terminal 5, and Terminals 1-2-3). It was a short walk from Heathrow's Immigration area to the station, and I had to wait only four minutes at the station before I was on my way to London. It's about a 15 mile trip (as the crow flies), and including stops it took about an hour. AboveGround