Mother’s Day 2013 was one I will never forget
I arrived in London from Australia on the start to My Big Adventure. I was travelling on my own for 4 weeks, staying with my daughter and other friends, in UK, Denmark and Sweden.
I love travelling and usually have my handy husband with me but unfortunately he wasn’t able to come with me, so I was on my own. I’m very proud of how well I coped given that my first day was so eventful.
This is my travel blog post from Mother’s Day 2013, which shows just a fraction of the excitement and, looking back on it, I’m grateful all over again for the kindness that was shown to me by complete strangers.
It was an amazing Mother’s Day and one I’ll never forget.
Where do I start?
Ok – last post I was getting ready to arrive & be let loose in London. At Heathrow airport I managed to get my backpack on and found it hard to walk after sitting for so long & it suddenly felt much heavier than 16.7 kgs. I collected my rented Wi-Fi device, found the Heathrow Express and caught it to Paddington.
So far so good, remembering that it’s 7am on a Sunday morning & I’d been on the go for days!
Then things turned bad…I couldn’t find my hotel which was supposed to be just a 5 minute walk from the station. Well it was if you went out the right exit which I obviously didn’t do!
I then wandered around the back streets of Paddington for ages looking, looking, looking. My pack now seemed like it was 50kgs & I was suffering. Where was Grant when I needed him??
I went into a nice looking hotel wishing it was mine and asked for directions. The concierge was helpful telling me it was too far to walk and I’d need to get a bus. He kindly printed off the directions for me and wished me well.
Kindness number 1.
I retraced my steps and looked for the bus stop number but was getting tireder by the minute (and closer to tears). I sent my daughter Melanie a text telling her I was lost and wandering aimlessly around Paddington, thinking that someone else should know, just in case! I saw a few black taxis drive by and decided that the next one I would flag down, so I did,
And that led to kindness number 2.
The driver could see I was worn out and at the end of my tether and when he found out I was from Australia, he told me all about his recent visit to his niece in Moreton Bay. One of my daughters lives in that area so we had a lovely chat. We chatted on and he decided that I must have taken the wrong exit from the station, which he reassured me was very easy to do especially when you are tired. So nice of him not to tell me that I was a stupid old fool.
He dropped me at my hotel and it really was just a few minutes walk from the station. I checked in but couldn’t get into my room until 2pm (it was now 8.15am) and they offered me the use of the pool area to freshen up & store my bags. I got to the pool area & collapsed onto a bench not knowing what to do first. Just at this moment a lady came out of the pool and smiled at me reassuringly.
Cue Kindness number 3.
I made the comment that I didn’t know where to start & she asked if she could use the shower first. I must have looked a bit worn out because after her shower she started talking to me & asking questions about my travels. She then offered to take me to her room to use the shower and her room as she was checking out early but the room was held until 12. It didn’t take much to persuade me, so that’s what we did.
Jill & I chatted away like old friends, I met her family in the adjoining room and was invited to join them all for breakfast as they had a spare booking due to her mother being unable to come. We had a lovely family breakfast and I told them it was Mother’s Day in Australia so they thought it was very appropriate to have me join them.
By this stage I knew that my travel phone had fallen from my pocket in the taxi when I crawled in. I had been too exhausted to take off my back pack so I crawled into and out of the taxi like a snail! Melanie was calling me to help me with directions as she was worried. She then got a call from the taxi driver & he told her that he would drop the phone back to the hotel later in the day once he knew what name to leave it for. I collapsed in tears at the kindness from total strangers and Jill gave me a big hug.
Kindness number 4.
I regrouped after Jill left and decided to go out for a walk otherwise I’d fall asleep. I made my way back to Paddington station and saw where I’d gone wrong. I caught the tube into Piccadilly and wandered the streets in the warm sunshine, and yes I did need to wear my sunglasses.
Everyone was out enjoying the day, the deck chairs were out in the park and I sat down in one to have a little rest, only to be told by a ranger that it cost 1 pound 50p for an hour. So I moved on. I watched a military parade with a full band playing and sang along to God save the Queen. I went to Buckingham Palace and asked random people to take my picture with my phone & camera. I’m a very trusting person! I walked & walked and the sun shone brightly, life was good. I figured that after the start I’d had to my day nothing could go wrong!
The weather turned colder after lunch and it started to drizzle but I was determined to do a London Walk so I met the guide at the appointed place – exit 4 of Westminster tube at 2.45pm – with about 20 other people and walked for 2 hours learning all about the Westminster area. It was very informative and I met a lovely American lady and got chatting along the way. She was very surprised that I’d only arrived that morning and was out & about already. Little did she know!
So I then retraced my tube trip & got back to the hotel after 5pm safe & sound. My phone had been delivered and my room was ready. All was right with the world. I contacted my husband & the girls and had dinner from room service, managing to stay awake until sleep took me at 8pm. I’ve been awake now since 1.30am with jet lag.
I’m sure you’ll agree that my Mother’s Day was very special indeed. I’m reassured that there are still kind people in the world who will help out a stranger in need.
Thanks for reading my special Mother’s Day story.
Have you ever been lost or helped by strangers on your travels? I’d love to hear your story too.
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