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Travelogue: England & Scotland 2013 – Day 2 [Arrival in London – Landing & Customs]

As this account of our first day in England turned out to be quite longish, I decided to write about that day in instalments.

The Flight – Evening and Morning

As said before, our flight was quiet and uneventful. After having reached our cruising altitude, we sometimes had a really fantastic view of the land we were flying over, for example the Tennessee River, meandering far below us in the evening dusk, and the sky’s evening mood shortly before and at sunset was simply grandiose, too.

This is how Mary described her impressions in her travelling diary:

Soon we’re above clouds, flying in lovely blue sky! Clouds, many white puffy clouds below us. […] As it begins to get dusky, there’s a beautiful sunny orange diffused light coming in window over Pit’s left shoulder. […] Sunset/sun is putting on quite a mystical pretty show! Thin clouds racing past little window and thicker clouds over part of sun are creating a marvellous view for Pit and me.🙂 During supper there are intense streaks of orange in western sky.”

And at the next morning: “Sunrise is around 06:30 – 06:45 – beautiful!

Arrival at Heathrow

When we were descending on our approach to Heathrow, the clouds had mostly disappeared, and since we had to land against the prevailing westerly winds, which means we had to loop around to the east over London, we were lucky and could see a lot of London, e.g. the River Thames with her bridges and the “London Eye” [that big Ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames], to mention but two of the sights, as well as the whole of the City passing by below our plane. We didn’t land as early as predicted, but still 10 minutes before our scheduled arrival, at 09:20, at Terminal 4 of London’s Heathrow airport. Even if Heathrow is a giant airport it didn’t take us too long to get to the gate and to leave the plane.

Customs procedures were fairly speedy, too. Mary, as a non-EU-citizen, had to go to a different line than me. In addition to that she had had to fill in a so-called landing-card [I still remember having had to do this when I travelled to the UK in the 60s and 70s] on the plane, which I, as a EU-citizen, was spared to do. Her procedures at customs took a little longer than mine because there were more non- than EU-citizens waiting in their respective queues, or, maybe, because there were fewer immigration officers for her line. Anyway, when she was processed and was waving to me [at the time she reached the officer I was already waiting at the exit for her], the officer told her we could have gone through customs together in either line as we were husband and wife. Anyway: the procedure at immigration was quite fast, much faster than at US immigration where I as a non-US citizen but permanent resident always have to have my self fingerprinted and photographed.

Um diesen Eintrag in Deutsch zu lesen, hier klicken.

10 responses to “Travelogue: England & Scotland 2013 – Day 2 [Arrival in London – Landing & Customs]

  1. Flying high above the clouds and over the Tennessee River, what a joy. Memories of traveling wakes up the adventurous side of me.

    • Hi Mary,
      Thanks for having taken the time to stop by visiting my blog and leaving a comment. 🙂 I’m glad you liked this posting.
      Best regards and have a wonderful Sunday,
      Pit

  2. SO enjoy hearing the installments of your trip….I fell like I am with the two of you☺Keep the story continuing…

    • Thank you for tghe kind words. I’m glad I can make you kind of enjoy the trip togehter with us. I will keep the story continuing – slowly but surely. And soon there will be puctures, too.
      Best regards, and have a great day,
      Pit

  3. Have a great time on your trip!

  4. Dear Pit,
    custom and immigration procedures are now really fastin the UK. Dina arrived here a fortnight ago as non-EU citizen (Norwegian) and was through within 5 min. – that was at Stansted airport. The more the US are loosing their power the more they have to pretend still having it at least at their borders😉
    Thanks for your long comment on my blog.
    Love from
    Klausbernd & Dina, Siri & Selma

    • Dear Klausbernd,
      I agree: customs procedures themselves were quite fast in Heathrow. It took Mary quite some time, though, as her queue was fairly longish.
      As to the US immigration procedures: I don’t think that’s working off a “minority complex”. It’s just that – after 9/11 – they really feel vulnerable. Plus the inherent tendency of any security system/agency [here in the US as well as in Germany or – cf. the latest data-collection scandal there, where they even trump the Americans – in the UK] to collect as many data as possible, regardless of any legal aspects, and, to my mind, regardless of the fact that they can simply not cope with that enormous amount and very likely have quite a backlog in analyzing them. [Cf. my experience near the Mexican border, when, more than 4 months after I had entered the US, they could not find me in theior computer system: http://pitspersoenlichesblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/grenzerfahrungen/%5D
      Best regards to y’alls, and have a good one,
      Pit

      • Hi, dear Pit,
        the latest dara collecting scandal shows that all the security system are alike. In some countries data collection is done more discretely than in others …
        Of course, we in Europe didn`t have the 9/11 and all the people I know don`t really feel threatend and vulnerable.
        Have an easy week
        Klausbernd

        • Dear Klausbernd,
          I agree: we certainly live in Orwellian times.
          Best regards to all of you in that little village at the great sea,
          Pit

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