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London Day 1: Virgin Atlantic & Curing Jet Lag

Friday evening I left for a 13 day trip to London and Dublin to leads training classes for Facebook. I flew Virgin Atlantic for the first time this trip in their Upper Class cabin (Facebook flies employees in business class on international trips) and it was a wonderful experience. I’ve flown business class with Delta, British Airways and Emirates before and it’s remarkable how different they all are. 

With Virgin, the experience starts in the swanky airport lounge. I snuck this picture so that I would remember the vibe. Everything is very blue and dark and the waitresses and bartenders are extremely attentive.


For a quick pre-flght snack, I had clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. It was quite yummy!


There wasn’t any wifi service on the flight, so I watched one movie, ate dinner, then went to sleep. Virgin has the lay flat seats, which makes sleeping much more comfortable. I didn’t wake up until an hour before we landed to have breakfast. There were some people, however, that chose to belly up to the in-flight bar. I can’t understand how people would like feeling drunk on a plane, but to each his own I suppose.


The flight was uneventful, which is always goal #1 for me. I was able to capture a couple decent picture of London as we crossed over before landing at Heathrow. In this first picture, I was able to capture almost all of London’s famous bridges in a single shot.


Then there’s Buckingham Palace. I had to zoom in on my phone, which has made the picture a bit fuzzy, but it’s still neat to see it from overhead.


The last thing I recognized on the remainder of our flight was Stamford Bridge. home of Chelsea Football Club, one of the most boring teams in the world to watch.


On the way to my hotel, I stopped to see a friend in the Merton area, which is SW of London near Wimbledon. Paul is a friend of mine from the Tableau community and he and his family just moved into the most lovely house. Trips are always easier, no matter where you go, if you have friends you can see. After checking in at my hotel, I wanted to get in my Saturday training run before it got dark. I’m also a firm believer that exercise helps overcome jet lag.

Before running out the door, I looked out the window of my hotel to see this nice view of St. Pancras Church of England. If you like big, old, beautiful churches, London is the city for you.


My run took me from my hotel over to Regent’s Park, which is near the Facebook office. I wanted to have a clue as to where I needed to head Monday morning. Regent’s Park is no exception to the wonderful park system that is sprinkled throughout London.


There are lots of trails and gardens throughout the park.




After finishing my run and making my way back to the hotel, I peered down the street to see what I assumed was another magnificent church. It turns out this this is actually the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel (no affilitation with the church from what I was told). The Eurostar also runs from this location, speeding passengers into France.


And all of this activity worked! I was able to stay up until midnight. I woke up at 4am, and fortunately I was able to sleep until 8am, when I went on my Sunday adventure.

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