Dulles to Heathrow

September 20, 2012 - 7:13 pm No Comments

It all started with the familiar adrenalin rush that comes with clicking a button in a web browser and making the first reservation. This time, the first click was Doug purchasing round-trip tickets for four from DC to London.

After years of talk about going to England to catch some soccer games, my buddies and I have finally managed to put together a trip to the UK. My friends Doug, Jerry, and Conrad all cleared our schedules for September, went back and forth on soccer games and city stops, and finally settled on a ten day itinerary which takes us to London, Liverpool, and a short tour of Scotland.

I’m very excited to be doing this trip with these guys. Having moved around so much growing up, these four are the closest thing to a “crew” that I’ve ever had. And now that we’re all a bit older and living our own lives, we don’t get to all meet up very often anymore.

Doug has turned into a veteran New Year’s travel buddy of mine. It’s become a joy traveling with him. Conrad is the rookie traveler. He’s never taken a big trip like this before. In a way, I’m jealous the first-time experience that he’s going to have. I’m sure I’ll have a blast, but he’s going to be experiencing everything with that additional layer of excitement and newness that comes with one’s first big trip out of the country. Jerry, who I have never taken a trip with, is bouncy and enthusiastic.

Jerry has playfully turned the four of us into the A-Team.

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

Doug, the senior member of the group, is Hannibal. Pretty boy Conrad is Face. Jerry HAS to be B.A. Baracas. Appropriately, that leaves me as the mentally unstable Murdock.

A trip with these guys was long overdue.

We’ll be starting our trip with a quick day in London before heading off to Liverpool. I don’t know much about Liverpool other than it’s connection with the Beatles. We’ll be there on my birthday, so I’m sure there will be some celebratory drinks.

We looked into the Manchester United v. Liverpool game that is being played while we are in Liverpool, but tickets proved to be astronomically expensive ($300-$400 each). If somehow we get our hands on some last-minute tickets, it would be an amazing experience. If we don’t, we’ll soak up the excitement in one of Liverpool’s local pubs.

From Liverpool, we’ll be taking a train up to Edinburgh (pronounced like “Edinborough”). We’ve booked a quick three day tour of Scotland with HAGGiS Adventures, a tour company that comes highly recommended. None of us have ever been to Scotland, so we’re all really looking forward to that part of the trip.

At the end of the trip, we’ll be returning to London to see the sites, catch our soccer game, and party til the wee hours of the morning. My longtime friend Victoria will be joining us in London to show us around and take us to all the hot spots.

Doug and Jerry are the big soccer fans and made the decision on which soccer game to see. They settled on a Manchester City v. Fulham game at Craven Cottage, although there is talk of swapping that out with an Arsenal/Chelsea game. To me, it’s all the same.

Weather in London

At the moment, the guys and I are taking up the better part of row 44 in a United flight to Heathrow. We’ve been on the plane for about an hour and have gotten to know an English woman sitting in front of us. The sun has just set and the spidery lights of what is probably Philadelphia are twinkling below. Conrad is lamenting the fact that he didn’t get to purchase a duty-free liter of vodka before boarding the plane, but he feels a bit better now that he’s read that a duty-free liter of vodka may not be consumed on the plane.

After not being sick for a couple of years, right on cue, I developed some sort of head cold in the couple of days leading up to this trip. I’m hoping some decongestant will help me sleep, and I’m also going to try taking melatonin for the first time. Conrad and Jerry will be joining me in the drug-induced stupor.

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