The bus arrived and we were soon our way to the airport. Our driver got us there in 40 minutes, not bad timing and we began our check in. To our surprise, they weren't as worried about the luggage weight as they were about the carry on weight, so a few of us ended up taking stuff from our carry ons and cramming them into the luggage! We were also told we could only have 2 carry ons, some of us had 3, but apparently that was not really the case either! At any rate, we passed through security, unfortunately some girls did not head the advice of packing all their liquids and such into their luggage, and some things were confiscated. Live and learn! The "waiting" lounge in Heathrow has a mini Harrods, so Emily go her chance to get a pic with the Harrods bear and under the sign. We all found something for lunch, because by this point we had eaten at 8 am, and now it was 12:30. Our flight seemed to be the last one to be given the gate number. AT Heathrow there are two very long walkways to get to gates 1-22 or 23-45. We didn't know which way would be going so we ate our lunch, did some duty free shopping and sat and waited for our gate. Finally at about 2:00 our gate was posted..Gate 30...thank goodness for the moving sidewalks, although sometimes it is faster to walk beside it than on it! We were the first to board the flight and get organized an comfy. This time we were all together at the back of the plane instead of scattered all over. The flight was scheduled to leave at 3:00, but as time drew nearer, it was obvious there was no way were leaving on time. The pilot came on over the intercom and announced there had been some damage to the plane while loading the cargo, and therefore the one cargo hold could not be used, they had to unload all the luggage and repack it in order to spread out the weight. It was almost 4:30 London time before we finally started our Taxi to the end of the runway.
One thing at Heathrow, a plane lands and takes off every 60 seconds...the busiest airport in the world, and it is truly amazing to watch. Even while we were at Windsor Castle, you would see airplanes, one after the other, coming down for landing, and they seem to appear from nowhere...as someone who lives very close to the flightpath in Thunder Bay, I found this absolutely astounding and loved watching it!
By the time we took off, most of us had finished watching an entire movie and were on to our second ones in no time. I had advised everyone to stay awake through the flight, Lynn and Sarah Anne didn't even last through the sitting part on the runway! If you stay awake on the way home, your body will drift back into your own timezone with more ease, but advise is only just that, and many of the girls succumbed to their exhaustion of the past 3 weeks and were out cold!
Cass took the opportunity to get even more embarrassing shots of sleepers..some are quite hilarious!
AS we flew on, it was becoming more apparent that we were definitely going to be late for our flight, the question was would we get our luggage and pass customs in time to board. There were thunderstorms at the time in Toronto and were put into a holding pattern around the airport before we could land..the next big question, would they get our luggage off the plane on time? Being the first checked in, our luggage was first on the plane, and yep, the last off the plane! Thankfully a trefoil member was on our flight from Heathrow, traveling to Thunder Bay as well, and she went ahead and told them there was a group of 21 people coming right behind, so they held our plane for us. The logistics of booking 21 people onto later flights was just to much of a nightmare! So, after sending our luggage onto our other flight, I found out Laura had gone the wrong way, and therefore we had to go upstairs to check in her luggage. At this point it was already 8:30, our flight was already delayed 20 minutes for us. and then they decided to give us a hard time about that! Well, using our guiding skills, we convinced them that it was just not acceptable not to get her luggage on the plane and not acceptable to rebook her on the later flight, as they would also have to change my seat so she wasn't alone..it seemed to get the job done. We hastily went through security and were on our way to our gate, which of course was at the end of the hallway and down. I was thankful to walk outside to get on our plane as it was the first breath of fresh air we had in hours!
AS we sat on the plane Kelsi watched Laura's luggage get brought out and put on..whew...here we go. We had a great flight home, very quiet with all the sleepy heads, a little turbulence along the way which some girls enjoy way too much! Allison!
There were cheers as we landed, we were home!
This trip was the most wonderful trip we could have imagined! 22 days of seeing amazing places, meeting fascinating people from all over the world, visiting the past, and being inspired and awed by history. We learned how to barter, how to order food, we ate everything that was given to us, we walked almost 30,000 steps everyday according to Lynn's step counter, we learned to love water, it is your best friend, but most of all, we bonded as a group. Watching Laura and Natalee share an umbrella on the way home in Paris, Jacquie leading the way on the tube, Caelan asking if the food is nut and egg free, Emily, not panicking when she came out from the toilet and no one being there, Erin leading us to Pax Lodge like she had been there a million times, Melissa bartering with a man, telling him his sweater was not even the quality of hers! It was amazing...the girls grew not only as individuals but as friends. This truly was a trip of a lifetime, one that I hope they will remember for a lifetime, and one that I know has inspired them to set goals, and do whatever they can to achieve them..imagine more girls, imagine more!
Love always and forever,
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