27-Hour Travel Day (Arriving in the United Kingdom)

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Travel days tend to turn into one giant blur, filled with excitment, confusion, and exhaustion; my journey from Toronto to London was no exception.

It all started with a 10:30 a.m. wake up call to do the last of the laundry and packing, as well as to get all of the necessary documents and affairs in order needed when leaving for a 5-month trip abroad. A ride to the airport, a starbucks coffee, and a few emotional goodbyes later and I found myself sitting in front of gate E70 at Pearson International Airport waiting to board my Air Canada Boeing 787-9 to London Heathrow at 8:30 p.m. Of course, the one time I decided to be a responsible adult and not buy overpriced snacks for the plane, there was a problem with the aircraft’s auxillary power unit meaning the pilots were unable to get the engines started. As a result of this misfortune, I sat in snackless agony for almost 2 hours while mechanics assessed the situation and fixed the problem.

Air Canada Boeing 787-9
Sitting at the gate, Pearson International Airport
Sunsrise over the Atlantic Ocean

Fortunately, I had an entire row to myself which allowed me to sprall out and get comfy. While I never managed to get some sleep, this was the first time I’d been able to lie flat on an airplane, and lord was it glorious. After just over 6 hours in the air, the flight touched down in England at 10 a.m. local time. While the delay was a tad frustrating, in the end it worked out for the better as we arrived inbetween peak arrival times, meaning customs and immigration took a mere 10 minutes from deplaning to luggage collection.

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This meant plenty of time to activate my sim card, buy train tickets into the city centre, and even get a Covid test at the airport. (I tested negative) The downside? I wasn’t due to check into my Airbnb until 2 p.m. so I had a lot of time to kill. I decided to take the short walk from London Paddington Station to Hyde Park, and spent the late morning and early afternoon people watching and hanging out in nature.

London Paddington Station
London Paddington Station
Streets of London
Hyde Park
Hyde Park

Hours later, after checking in and taking a much needed hot shower and a quick rest I made the 45 minute walk to Buckingham Palace. I’ve been twice before, and both times were in peak season with large crowds of people so it was an interesting contrast seeing this major tourist destination relatively free of crowds.

Aside from a quick stop for groceries and dinner, the trek back consisted of my body screaming in full revolt after just over 21 km of walking on little to no sleep in the past 27 hours. I’m looking forward to getting some rest, but excited for the next few days spent in London before journeying elsewhere in the week before I begin my studies in Liverpool later this month.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
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Queen Victoria Memorial
Queen Victoria Memorial
Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens
Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch

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*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

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