Day 1-2: Monday & Tuesday, September 24 & 25

The Journey Begins

September 24th has finally arrived! Time for my U.K. adventure to begin.

Since I didn’t feel like wrangling three heavy cases on the subway at the height of Toronto’s rush hour, I thought the smart money would be on taking a cab to the UP (Union Pearson Express) which, for those not in the know, is an express train running from Toronto’s Union Station to Pearson International Airport.

It took almost an hour to get the few blocks from home to Union Station in the mayhem that is afternoon rush hour in Toronto. Boarded the UP – it was packed!

Standing room only on the UP

I arrived at Pearson around 5:45PM. Quite crowded but I cleared security without a hitch at about 6:30. My stomach was telling me it was feeding time, so I got in line at Custom Built Burgers…  not all that good, really, but it filled a gap.

Custom Built Burgers at Pearson International

It was finally time to board AC 848 for the U.K.! To get to Cornwall from North America, one must enter and exit England via London, then take a train from London to Penzance. At check-in time I upgraded my London flight to Premium Economy for a fairly substantial discount > sweet! After boarding finished I realized I had no one seated to my left nor in the two seats ahead of me > no one to recline their seat in my face – nice. It was a nice flight; fairly smooth in general.

The flight took just under 6 hours and the time really seemed to fly, in this case literally. It was wonderful to finally have the time, somewhere over the Atlantic ocean, to listen to the extended version of London Grammar’s “If You Wait” and letting the haunting, heavenly voice of Hannah Reid wash over me… pure bliss!

But I digress.


The blue dawn started creeping from the east and suddenly – so it seemed – it was the next day. That was the fastest 6 hours I’ve ever experienced. The hot towels were efficiently distributed and we began the descent into London Heathrow, landing at about 8:30AM London time.


I passed through the UK Border Control OK then found the Heathrow Express (the express train from Heathrow airport to Paddington Station in central London) after what felt like miles of walking.

Heathrow Express, the fastest way to Central London
Arriving at Paddington Station in central London

I dragged my jet-lagged, aching self to the Cardiff Hotel (my bed for the night) at about 10:30AM. Luckily, they let me check in early, which is always a blessing after an overnight flight. Imagine my surprise when I found Harry and Meghan there to greet me!

I got settled in my room and decided I needed to explore the city a bit which would help me not yield to the awful jet lag and sleep deprivation that was torturing me (side note: I have never, ever been able to sleep on a flight; I truly admire and envy those who can, though).

I absolutely love the character and architecture of Paddington Station, which is about 5 minutes from the hotel, so I checked it out:

After much wandering and tea/caffeine/fuel, I finally burned out. Giving myself over to the jet lag I first took my dinner at the Sussex Fish Bar…

…then was off to bed. It had been an awfully long – and eventful – day.

Over & out from London.

Mural in the stairwell of the Cardiff Hotel

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