The “get ready” list is getting shorter

Our bags are packed and in the car, Steve is doing the last lawn mowing and trimming, and the final house preparations are underway. We also have to ensure that everything is in place for our cat Ruby, who is nearly 18 years old; she will have fluids twice a week (we hired a vet tech in addition to our petsitter who visits twice a day) and we hope and pray she survives our trip. She’s on medications and may have to have another one brought over to the house from our vet. She is the sweetest cat to us but she put on her best mad mountain lion imitation for our petsitter and the vet tech on Friday (lots of hissing and growling).

Ruby helps us pack on a previous trip.

This will probably be one of the more “chatty” posts because I’m writing it at home on my laptop with super fast wireless. Word count will certainly go down on our cruise, but we will try to keep the information flowing and even post a few pictures (always an exercise in frustration with slow ship internet).

We are staying near the airport tonight because we have an early flight tomorrow through IAD to LHR (that’s fun airport code lingo for Dulles to Heathrow). We’re meeting Steve’s parents for dinner tonight at Ted’s near the airport. Monday mornings at DEN are usually crazy, even though we’re flying first class, and this will be my first encounter with the personable folks at the TSA since I had two big chunks of metal put into my knees. I anticipate a very fun experience, with lots of intrusions into my personal space and possible inspections of scars.

We have a four-hour layover at IAD (fun, fun, fun). I’m sure we will arrive at gate D245 and our London flight will probably go out of gate C657, so it might take two hours to get between gates. Last September, Steve had to push me in the travel wheelchair. We never realized that the LONG C/D concourse at Dulles is uphill from the west end to the east end. This time I will hoof it, but may have to rest along the way (hmmm, bars conveniently placed).

I think we can also use the business class lounge because we are in business class on United to London. I also have some United Club passes if necessary. One good thing from the merger with Continental is that the drinks are now free in the United Club.

Our flight arrives at Heathrow at 6:20 am London time on Tuesday. Oceania is providing transfers to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency London “The Churchill”on Portman Square (a “free” hotel night we booked through the cruise line). Here’s a link to the hotel website.

Depending on the weather (light or heavy rain), we are thinking about visiting the Churchill War Rooms, then moseying over to the Horse Guards to see the changing of the guard, then hopping on a sightseeing boat at the Westminster Pier to Greenwich and back to see the Shard (a new tall building) and the Olympic stuff. The Horse Guards grounds were the site of Beach Volleyball games during the Olympics. I hope they cleaned out the horse muffins before they had the competition! I didn’t hear Misty May and Kerri complain, so it was probably good clean sand :-).

After our nap on the river cruise, we’ll go back to the hotel, check in, take the wildly anticipated showers, perhaps snooze an hour, then go to dinner at Petrus at 6:30 pm. This restaurant is one of a bunch of Gordon Ramsay restaurants in the London area (he is famous for Kitchen Nightmares and other cooking and restaurant shows). Here’s a link to the restaurant website.

This is a new world again for me and traveling. For several years, everything I planned was built around the fact that I couldn’t walk 100 feet without severe pain in one knee or the other. I still get some swelling in my new left knee (known affectionately as “Buzz”) if I have to stand for any length of time, but I think things will go well. My right knee (“Neil”, named after the late heroic Apollo 11 commander) is a champion. We’ll see how I do after days of walking on cobblestones.

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