24.8.13

London With the McCoys

Mom and Dad McCoy in London, England
For almost a year, Chris and I had been planning a grand European adventure with his entire family. After countless Skype-planning-sessions, and way too many hours scanning Trip Advisor reviews, the European ininerary was set, hotels were booked, vans secured, restaurant reservations (for 11) made, and train tickets were booked for nine of Chris' family members. Everything seemed to be perfectly planned for their first trip to Europe. . . 

Well, everything that is except for the TORNADO! No one really planned on that happening! When the day finally came for the family to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Chris' parents, brother and Claire (Chris' brother's girlfriend) made their way to London to meet up with us. The other half of the family had purchased Delta flights out of Atlanta, and that's where the little problem of the tornado happened to be. Weather is a funny thing that no one can predict or control, but she sure does have a way of completely derailing well planned trips in no time. 

There was nothing that anyone could do. It was just one of those major travel mishaps; the sort of mishap that Chris and I have never experienced in our two years of galavanting through Europe. I so wish that it had not happened to Chris' dear grandparents, his two aunts and his cousin . . .  but it did. "The stranded five" waited around for two days in the Atlanta airport without luggage and without very much sympathy from Delta. One Delta member even suggested they purchase new tickets to London or just give up and go home. Finally, a sweet ticket agent took pity on them and rerouted them through to Belgium. Once "the stranded five" finally got to Europe, they had missed their whole trip to London. 


Chris and I effortlessly caught the EuroStar from Lille, France to London, England and we met up with his parents, his brother and Claire. We were all happy to be there, but the whole time in London, we were thinking about "the stranded five." Was anyone helping them? Were they in a nice hotel? Were they discouraged? Did they have toothpaste? Would they make it to London on the next flight? We tried to cram in as much touring as possible into two days, but the whole time, everyone was worried about the rest of the family. 

For the six of us in London, we were blessed with amazing weather. I had been to London a few times before but had never taken a ride on the London Eye. It's quite expensive (20 British pounds or $30) for a 30-minute ride, but I really wanted to do it once. Lucky for me, everyone in our group wanted to get a view of London 135 meters (443 ft) up. It was a cool experience - something you should absolutely do if you visit London - but I think one time is enough. We also took a Thames River boat cruise, watched the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and stumbled into a famous pub called "Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese." As the sun set on our last evening in London, we enjoyed the view from the roof-top terrace of the Double Tree Hotel, and we prayed that "the stranded five" would safely arrive in Belgium the next morning. 

Ever had a trip go wrong because of something you could not control?