Our pilot was direct with us from the start. Cloudy weather in London with gusty winds. Prepare for heavy turbulence upon landing. We travelers know turbulence and have our own ways of dealing with it; either by grabbing on to the seat in front of us, the armrests, outstretching our legs and planting our feet firmly on the ground, leaning towards the window, closing our eyes.
Well…this turbulence sucked.
Me? Totally freaked out with my eyes tightly shut, clinging to my husband who unfortunately hates flying but remained cool and calm for my sake.
And baby? Well, she was sleeping like a baby completely oblivious.
Luckily we had a bunch of teenagers on a school trip to London on our flight, and with their wooo-ing and laughing at every turbulent bump, the air in the cabin was more adrenaline-fueled excitement rather than sheer panic.
As an EasyJet plane rolled past us to go take off once we landed and taxied up to the gate, my thoughts went straight to those passengers.
Take-off was absolutely going to suck for them, no question.
Gatwick airport reminded me once again why I actually prefer Heathrow and two hours after landing, we were finally on the train out of the airport and towards our HomeAway rental property in the Balham area.
Before setting off, I called Mike our property manager who was going to meet us there to let him know we were on our way and was stoked to see him waiting at the top of a long flight of stairs ready to help us with our luggage. We thought we’d packed lightly (which I still stand by – I mean, only 1 suitcase for all three of us for 10 days), but somehow lugging them – stroller, camera bag, diaper bag, suitcase – through the streets felt otherwise.
But I digress.
As Mike showed us around our apartment, I felt like we were looking at a model home set up for sale. It was that clean and contemporary with light-colored upholstery. Luckily the floors were made from polished wood because Emelie spit up upon arrival as her way of marking her territory. That was then I realized between my coffee drinking husband, puking baby, and cranberry-drinking self, we might actually leave some stains. Good thing that full house-cleaning services after check-out are part of your rental confirmation, and mid-trip cleaning and towel/linen changes can be organized for £65.00.
Due to a last minute cancellation, we were also re-booked into an apartment on a lower floor because, even though that long carpeted flight of narrow stairs made for much-needed daily exercise, navigating them with a stroller, baby, and luggage would be challenging after awhile. Mike also brought out and set up a cot and highchair for baby which would give her a bit of independence instead of always sleeping with us or clinging on our necks.
In a nutshell, the large screen TV with Sky channels made my husband’s day so he could catch all the UEFA soccer games, the free fast Wi-Fi made my day, and the mini laundry machine and dishwasher would collectively make our day in a few days since baby has already amassed a pile of dirty clothes, and we’ve started piling up dishes.