We're finally in Italy, after a 10-hour flight into London (LHR), a layover, and another 2-hour flight into Milan (MXP). The hotel we're staying at doesn't have Internet, though (as far as I can tell), which annoys me.
>>> San Francisco -> London (1300 Thurs, UTC-8)
The flight Thursday afternoon/Friday morning was pretty harrowing -- we left SFO at 1 PM Pacific, and got into Heathrow at 7 AM. The seats on those airplanes don't recline very much, so none of us got that much sleep and we were pretty much zombies for the entire day in London.
My dad and I listened to air traffic control most of the way, in between naps. I like Canadian accents, and listening to the whole takeoff/landing/transfer process was entertaining.
"United nine three zero, Shannon, contact London on one two two decimal three zero, g'bye." [Or whatever the frequency was...]
"Shannon, United nine thirty, two two three zero, bubbye."
"London, United nine thirty checking in, flight level three seven zero, good morning."
"Roger, United nine three zero, we have you identified. Maintain flight level three seven zero, good morning."
... and so it went.
I won't try to reproduce any more of it here, because (a) I'm not a plane geek, and (b) I don't remember it all that well, as I was pretending to sleep at the time.
>>> Arrival in London (0700 Friday, UTC)
We arrived in London at roughly 7 in the morning (or 11 PM the day before, PST), which was about our normal time for going to bed. Miraculously, we managed to get a hotel room at that time, so we had a place to drop our stuff.
Despite the fact that we pretty much skipped over Thursday evening (and most of the sleeping contained therein), we managed to put in a pretty full day in London. I'm actually surprised the jet-lag transition was as easy as it was -- we were really only messed up for one day.
Our day in London mostly consisted of riding back and forth on the tube, circling various city blocks a few times (each), and paying way too much for everything (except the tube). Oh yeah, and there might've been a bus tour in there somewhere too.
The food wasn't that great, the bottled water is expensive (and tasted worse than SLO water), and all the pubs in the city seem to have the exact same damn menu. (Literally, the same menu -- down to the font.)
I will say, however, that I love the London tube system. There are plenty of trains, they're fast, yet with plenty of stops, and it was very clear (to me, at least) where in the system we needed to go to get where in the city. My parents seemed pretty confused as to how the tube system worked, but Alex (my little brother) and I pwned it after the first or second ride. It was also fairly inexpensive, compared to the rest of London.
We had dinner at some crazy British-American restaurant, went back to the hotel (at 10 PM, finally) and crashed, only to get up the next day and catch a flight to...
>>> Milan (1000, Friday, GMT+1)
We arrived in Milan (or "Milano"), picked up our rental car (which, by the way, is a manual :D) and took care of going through customs and the like. We spent a good two hours in this one shopping center, trying to find my mom a curling iron. During this process, we got lunch.
Now, if anyone tells you that most everyone in Italy speaks English, they are lying. Getting lunch was an excellent object lesson to that effect -- twice today, we've screwed up our meals by not being able to communicate clearly. Many of them speak a few words of English, but that does not qualify them as fluent speakers.
More tomorrow, maybe. I'm starting to really fall asleep here, and it's only just now shortly after 22:00 GMT+1.