*** Check out the first post of our trip to England/France and read them in order! ***

After our late night in Windsor, we slept in and had a leisurely morning. We went down for breakfast and were at first disappointed by what looked to be a simple continental buffet with a few pastries and some juice. However, we quickly learned that this was only the first part and a full English breakfast soon followed with eggs and meats and other delicious stuff.

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A true English breakfast for our final morning in the UK.

Our hunger satiated, we went back to our room and began the laborious final packing of our suitcases for the trip home. With some concern over the weight of the bags, we checked out of the hotel and set off to the airport. After refueling the rental car and hitting up one last Tesco grocery store, we arrived on the airport grounds despite some odd routing from Samantha. However, we then drove at least 10 more miles in what felt like circles around Heathrow as we followed the signs for the rental car lot! At least we got to see lots of airplanes.

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We drove around and around Heathrow airport before we finally found the rental car return….at least we got to see cool airplanes!

We returned the rental car and learned that the attendant was completely unaware of the rules and equipment required for driving in France. Apparently, it just isn’t that common for people in London to make that drive. We then boarded a shuttle and promptly found ourselves on route to the wrong terminal (somehow we had missed the distinction in shuttles and terminals). Thankfully, the shuttle driver was awesome and he made a special trip to take us to the correct place after dropping off the other passengers.

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Our ridiculous path for the day.

The lady at the ticket counter didn’t even seem to notice or care that Rose’s bag was a few pounds overweight. Philip, on the other hand, had a few issues as his camping backpack needed to go to a different counter to be put into a larger plastic bag due to the dangling straps. We walked with the agent across the ticketing area toward the other counter, passing a large Indian family along the way. As we passed the group, an incredible stench of body odor hit us like a brick wall. It was bad enough that the British (aka polite) ticketing agent commented on it to us once we were out of earshot of the group.

To our dismay, there was an issue when we got to the second counter, necessitating a trek back past the smelly group to the first counter followed by yet another return voyage. Needless to say, we were grateful once Philip’s bag disappeared down the luggage conveyor and we could move along to security and fresher air.

The line at security was thankfully short and before much longer we were headed to our gate. Philip made a quick stop to grab some food (Moroccan meat balls), which we snacked on at the gate as we waited for our plane. The flight back to the US was long, but uneventful. We sat next to a lady from Phoenix who had been on a cruise and enjoyed chatting with her for a while. A marathon of movies filled the remainder of our flight time to Houston.

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Pretty sure this is the west coast of Ireland down below our airplane.

The line at Houston Customs was very long, though interestingly the response was always “20 minutes” any time we asked an attendant about how long it would take to get through. Philip spent a while trying to download and use the heavily advertised Mobile Passport phone app that would let us bypass much of the line, but eventually gave up as the back end system was having major issues presumably due to high demand.

We were getting worried about catching our connecting flight at this point, so Philip talked to an agent and she instructed us to get into a different smaller line so we wouldn’t miss our flight. This certainly gained us some dirty looks from several other passengers. Ultimately, we made it through customs with plenty of time and arrived at our gate for the final leg of our trip back to Denver.

The flight home was uneventful but felt excruciatingly slow after traveling for so long and with home so close. To add to our frustration, the baggage claim at DIA kept getting stuck and we waited at least 20 minutes as mechanics kept attempting to solve the problem. Finally, an announcement directed us to a different carrousel and our bags arrived there almost immediately. On the shuttle ride to our car, we had a fun time chatting with a large family from Aurora who had just visited Disney in Orlando. At 10:45pm, we pulled into home and were greeted by two very, very excited puppies!

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We couldn’t go an entire trip without at least one graph! Here is the breakdown of how much we moved around each day and by what mode of transport.

We had a blast in Europe and can’t wait for our next trip somewhere new and exciting. We are both surprised by how much we loved France, especially given its reputation of not being particularly friendly to foreigners. We aren’t certain what comes next but we will be sure to write about it here when the time comes!

Summary

  • The grand tour of Heathrow Airport’s roadways
  • Taking a ride on the wrong shuttle bus
  • Dirty looks in Houston
  • Home at last!

Stats

  • Distance on Foot: 4.3 miles | 9,004 steps
  • Distance in Car: 19.6 miles

Grand Total Stats

  • Distance on Foot: 145.35 miles | 311,727 steps
  • Distance in Car: 1,219 miles
  • Distance on Bus: 163 miles
  • Distance on Train: 31.4 miles
  • Distance on Boat: 38.1 miles
  • Distance on Bike: 23.4 miles
  • Grand Total Distance: 1,620 miles
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The total journey. East out of London, across the ferry for a clockwise loop of north east France, and back across the channel tunnel before completing the clockwise loop back to London.