Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Spring Fever 2008

Geordie drama in London Town

I had the alarm set for yet another early start and once again amazed myself by waking up unassisted some five minutes before it was due to go off. I quickly got myself organised and headed down to the ground floor for a final Hilton Strasbourg breakfast. By about 0800, I was all set for the road. I checked out of the hotel, walked the short distance to the tram stop in cold but dry conditions and used my 24hr ticket bought the previous day to get me to the Gare Centrale. I soon found my train for St Louis, the little border town with the new shuttle service to what we're now supposed to call EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg - what a mouthful! The journey passed uneventfully and soon I was at the airport, moving to Check-in Hall 4 and in the process, slipping ever so briefly and transiently into Switzerland.

Following check-in, I made my way to the Swiss Lounge, which BA still uses, despite Swiss falling - or was it a case of being driven? - into the arms of Star Alliance. It was a very quiet and pleasant place to spend the time until my flight back to Heathrow.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

My first departures experience at Terminal 5 may have been a mixed one, but my first arrivals experience really couldn't be faulted. By the time I reached the baggage belt, which admittedly involved walking half the length of the terminal on the arrivals level and the same distance again on the baggage delivery level, wonder of wonders ... the bags were already on the belt! In my not insignificant personal experience of LHR, I'm pretty sure this was a first. No nonsense from the HEX ticket machines this time either; in no time at all I was speeding towards Paddington, where I changed onto the Circle Line to reach St James's Park. From there, it was a tolerably short walk (with heavy luggage) to reach my latest hotel, the Crowne Plaza St James, where I was delighted to receive a very nice upgrade, despite this being another award stay paid for with Priority Club points.

I was soon ready to hit the streets and began with a quick look at the nearby Westminster Cathedral, the odd shape and somewhat quirky appearance of which contrasted sharply with the medieval French cathedrals that had already featured prominently in this trip. I then made my way to Covent Garden which, although almost invariably busy, is usually enjoyable to look around. Then it was time for a bite to eat before embarking on the evening's only agenda item : a performance of Billy Elliot, The Musical at the Victoria Palace theatre, which is within easy walking distance of the Crowne Plaza. (As I've said many times, these trips don't just come together haphazardly ) As with The Sound of Music, I'd managed to obtain an excellent front row seat in the Dress Circle. As a fan of the movie and being unsure of quite what to expect of the stage version, I was delighted to find that the show proved to be most enjoyable - a really good night out