Tonight’s installment comes from the Heathrow Hilton. Yes, I’m not in Venice as planned. I
love the Travel Gods sense of irony: I was concerned about the forecast for my arrival in
Venice, which was "Heavy Rain". Venice, with no cars, is all about getting around on foot.
Even getting onto the vaporettos (water bus) was going to be interesting with heavy rain and
(probably) lots of wave action bouncing the docks around, trying to juggle tickets, luggage,
So, as usual, I prepared: I packed the galoshes, the rain coats, the rain hat, and the umbrella.
I thought through a plan of action for deploying all of this stuff at the Marco Polo
airport. However, the airport workers decided to stage a 1-day strike (sooo very Italian)
and when I reported this morning to check-in, I found my flight to Venice was cancelled. I
spent today in London instead of going on to Venice and am rescheduled to go tomorrow.
Forecast for tomorrow: you guessed it, sunny and mild.
Aside from costing me a small fortune to stay at the Heathrow Hilton and a also incurring a
boatload of other unanticipated, unbudgeted costs, the day was not a total loss. I recently
became aware that the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden offers great backstage tours and
attempted to sign up for one while planning this trip. However, no tours were offered the
day I had open in my schedule, so it was not to be. However, today was another matter and I was
able to dash into London, have lunch at a great place (more food than I could eat for 5
pounds), and take the opera house tour. The Travel Gods take and they also give.
The Royal Opera House was amazing, covering 2.4 acres, and outfitted with some really great
stage machinery. Our guide was very knowledgeable and the tour was very interesting. I had
a tiny personal connection to the place: my grandmother performed in operas there in the
So, now I have a sunny, lovely return to Venice to look forward to (and one day less there).