From start to finish, I encountered wonderful people who willing gave me information, guidance, and fellowship. All contributed in some way to make my trip to London easier.
First, I need to thank my husband Ed for his vision and wisdom knowing that for the development of both of our companies – Global Tourism Solutions and Private Motor Coach - we needed to be on the world stage. He laid the foundation for this trip to London and my participation in the World Travel Market, a business-to-business market event for the travel industry.
The staff at the Holiday Inn at Gatwick Airport made me feel at home. Leslie welcomed me after a long flight with early check-in access to my room. She provided an orientation to the hotel, trains and got me set up with bus vouchers for my trips to the city. I appreciated Victoria too who always remembered my room number when tending to my requests. And, Andrew in the lounge did not steer me wrong with his recommendation for XXXX beer and a bacon sandwich.
Steve drove the shuttle bus for the hotel run to the airport and back. I learned he is a bus nut like Ed and wants to eventually travel in an RV as we do. Each day as I ventured to the Gatwick Airport Train Station, Steve greeted me with a friendly “Good morning!” and smiled as he commented that he once again visited our website www.privatemotorcoach.com to read more.
There was the unnamed photographer who detected my uncertainty about the London trains and subway and he stepped in to offer assistance. He guided me through London Bridge Station to the Jubilee Line subway. He oriented me to the map of the train routes and assured me that it is easy to get around London. He was right. This fellow also showed me how to feed my train ticket into the exit gate and retrieve it to pass from the station to the underground. On the escalators he coached, “Stand on the right side of the escalator so people in a hurry can dash down the left side. People hate when tourists stand on the left. You don’t want them to know you are a tourist,” he grinned.
A-Aziz from Egypt had come to London to also attend the World Travel Market. He had traveled this route before so he led me from the overcrowded Jubilee Line to the Docklands Rail and to the ExCel Center. When he learned that I have to stand in a very long line to get my credentials, he presented me to security as part of his Egyptian delegation. My name badge read Mr. Ramadan Abdul. I passed through the three security checks by moving quickly at A-Aziz’s side and placing my thumb over the Mr. I did pick up my own show credentials when the rush of the morning crowds thinned.
Loredana Rocco from Rome became my travel companion to the ExCel Center a day later. We stood crushed on the Jubilee Line face-to face and when the Docklands Rail failed to run we became instant friends. We pushed our way through crowded platforms and laughed aloud when announcements proclaimed “good service” when the line had shut down. We put up with a forward, touchy man from India and made a quick get-away from him by leading him to think we were getting on one bus but slipped to another. I can still hear him say, “Come this way, Patty.” No way! We laughed again.