It was an early start and a long drive to Heathrow airport. I was up at 3 in the morning put on my make-up and finalised my packing, loaded the car. I was on the road by five, so early that traffic was clear. Arrived at Heathrow early parked the car in the long term car perk and took the shuttle to terminal 5. I was so relieved that it did not rain as I was loading and unloading the bags, as the tail end of hurricane Bertha was predicted to be coming over parts of the south coast of the UK. So thankfully my hair and makeup remained in tack as I found my way to the First class check in desk! Wow my first time travelling first class in my life! I managed to accumulate so many air miles that I was able to pay for first class entirely with my miles.
I felt a little uncomfortable being separated from the normal travellers nevertheless I enjoyed the indulgence and being able to avoid the queues. I was fast tracked through security and directed to the First class lounge, the Concorde room, where I was treated to waiter service for salmon and Champaign breakfast.
Boarded the 747 on time turning left as I entered the plane. During the flight I was indulged with more drinks, pink Champaign, wine and a three course lunch was served from an al a carte menu. I had the scallops as a starter and the lobster salad as a main, promptly followed by a cheese plate and dessert. I was inserted into my seat/bed in what I can only describe as a pod, making me feel as If I was in the womb again, with the sound of the heartbeat of the plane’s engines to soothe me.
Seven hours later I was disembarking and re-joining the normal travellers, queuing along with the rest of the travelling world to pass through US Border control. After having given my facial image and finger prints to the US of A, I was dragging my cases through Dulles International airport to the Taxi rank. Cases loaded in the back and a warm welcome to Washington from the driver, I was speeding along the high way to my hotel, the Washington Court hotel.
Initially I was given a room with a view of the street but I knew the hotel had views of the capital, so after a call reception I was reassigned a room with a view of the dome of the capital. Of course this meant an extra $25 per night but thought it worth it. With the room sorted I started to unpack, when shock horror I found I had forgotten my chargers for my mobile phone and iPad! After a quick chat with the friendly receptionist who informed me that there was a Walmart just 2 blocks away I was soon amongst the local Washington PC inhabitants rummaging amongst the aisles looking for our purchases. Thank goodness this is America, I managed to find and buy everything I needed.
My hotel was just a short walk to Union station with its huge shopping mall and magnificent façade and vaulted atrium. The heat was starting to take its toll on me so I bought a bottle of water, as I was meandering around the station I discovered the Big Bus Co. that ran an open top double decker bus service around DC. I bought a 2 day ticket starting tomorrow, which included a night tour starting tonight.
After waking at 3 am, getting to the airport, a 7 hour flight and installing myself in the hotel, I was now embarking on a night tour around Washington DC at 7pm with a 5 hour time zone delay! The tour took us along a route that covered the capital, the Washington memorial, Lincoln memorial, Iowa Jima memorial, Arlington cemetery all beautifully lit, and all the sites in between. My camera was overheating as my shutter was clicking like a mechanically demented cuckoo clock.
Our bus tour guide stopped the bus practically outside my hotel which meant I was crawling into bed around 11 pm.