I travelled to the USA this May to attend a wedding of two of my friends who met at summer camp. I decided to make it a 2-3 week long trip and see other friends along the way! I’ve split this blog post into two as there is a lot to talk about.
Tenby > London (Heathrow)
I travelled from Tenby to London Paddington and then on to Heathrow Airport on Thursday 10th May after work. I caught the train and it’s safe to say this was a bloody nightmare! They had changed service times since I booked my tickets and had lots of delays and cancellations. I got to Heathrow and hopped on a quick free bus to my hotel. This time I stayed in the Park Inn by Radisson Blu on Bath Road. Nipped down to the nearest McDonalds for dinner and took it back to the hotel to eat. I had an early night as well so I could get up in the morning and re-pack/organise things before heading to the airport.
London (Heathrow) > Iceland (Reykjavík)
On Friday 11th May I travelled from the UK to the USA. The check-in process was easy and I had lots of time in the departures lounge before boarding. I had a change in Iceland when I flew to Chicago. It made the trip a lot cheaper by doing it this way and flying with Icelandair. I have to say it was quite nice to get off the plane after a couple of hours and to hop onto another flight. The first journey went very quickly and I had three seats to myself!
Iceland (Reykjavík) > Chicago (O’Hare)
The flight from Iceland to the USA was easy to find and get to. I also had a couple of seats to myself for the flight so it was comfortable. The flight did seem to drag a little though and it was roughly six hours long. I was so happy when we touched down in Chicago and I could begin my journey to the hotel for the night! The customs / border control process was very quick and easy as well. The only question I had about my previous VISAs was what they were used for… Summer Camp! Phew!! They also had self-service machines to use which sped up the process.
Chicago, Illinois > Portage, Indiana
To get from the airport to the hotel where I was staying for the wedding it was about an hour drive. This would have cost too much with an Uber so I decided to get a couple of trains instead. I hopped on the airport shuttle to the main terminal where I could board a train to downtown Chicago. This was the blue line and only cost a few dollars for a single ticket. I got off at Washington to hop over to the Millennium Station for my second train. This was only a 0.3m walk but I had very little time to get there as the train I needed left at 9:10pm and there wasn’t another for two hours! Somehow I managed to make it and quickly bought a ticket before boarding. It was roughly two hours (an hour each train) from the airport to the station closest to the hotel and it only cost about $15 maximum!
Friday evening was a whirlwind of lovely introductions and a mini party as it was the night before the wedding. I met family and friends of Jamie and Tom and they were all so welcoming! It was so nice to be there after quite a long journey and I could relax a little. I ended up checking in to my room and going back downstairs to be with everyone and was there until gone 1am (which was 7am in the U.K.)!
After a nap (literally four hours is all I got as I was on British time) I woke up at 6am and got ready as I was wide awake. I knew breakfast was from 7am to 10am so I wanted to go down and meet everyone again. I actually ended up going down to the breakfast area three times throughout the morning between going back to my room and preparing my clothes for the wedding later in the day.
The groomsmen got ready to leave the hotel after lunchtime but before we went to the wedding venue we ended up going to Hooters. I’ve never been there before and probably won’t go again but we were the funniest looking bunch of people in there… All dressed to go to a wedding! After some beer and wings we headed to the wedding.
The venue was beautiful – an orchard with large barn-like buildings where events were held. The tables were all made up and a new indoor alter area was arranged due to the weather being a bit wet. The wedding was amazing. I haven’t been to many weddings in the past but it’s definitely the best one I’ve ever been a guest at. Jamie looked stunning and the ceremony brought a tear to my eye. The introductions and speeches were fantastic too. Ended up crying again and it was just lovely all around! The dance floor filled up straight away when the DJ started music and we had finished eating. It was a fantastic evening of dancing (and drinking) and it was just a fantastic day.
After getting back to the hotel we ended up in the bar again. I had to get up at 6:30am so ended up heading to bed around 2:30am. I had an Uber to the train station to catch a couple of trains to Chicago O’Hare international airport and head to Minnesota. It was Mother’s Day in the U.S. so I was heading to Betsy’s where we had a meal at her parents’ house with family.
I slept all the way to Minnesota on the flight which is rare for me! I think the time difference and two nights of very little sleep finally caught up with me! Betsy picked me up from the airport and we headed to her parents’ house. We had a lovely meal and it was nice to see her family again. The weather was lovely and we played with Betsy’s niece and nephew in the garden. It was quite a relaxed evening and Betsy and I went for a quick walk before heading back to the house where we watched some TV before heading to sleep. I was so tired that I slept in my glasses! I had put my phone to charge and fell asleep before I took the glasses off. I didn’t move an inch all night and woke up feeling so refreshed!
Monday we headed to Iowa where Betsy lives for university. We had bagels and coffee for breakfast and for the drive down and got there early afternoon.
That week we spent a lot of time relaxing, eating and at the bar! It was so lovely to meet Betsy’s boyfriend and her friends from Ames that I hadn’t met before. We also met up with Becca from camp and had lunch as well as winning a trivia night at the bar.
It was really nice to spend a week in Iowa. There isn’t much there apart from the university in Ames and my friends. It was quieter than usual as well due to it being summer and most students leaving to go home. After a very relaxing week I headed to Des Moines where I caught a flight to Richmond, Virginia to continue my travels.
I’m going to end this first part of my travel journey here and write the second part for my post next week.
Hope you enjoyed reading and thanks for visiting my site! Do you have any travel plans this Spring or Summer? Have a great day!