1st Stop... London England!
Trip Start Jul 30, 2006
199Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
(surprisingly... there was a line of people waiting for shots!). Time to get our bags do some repacking and off to the city. We decided that instead of buying tickets for the Heathrow Express at 14 pounds each, we each bought all day passes (good for both buses and the underground) for £6.30 and made our way to town one problem was that we had to wait until the Picadilly Line started to run at 9:30. So we did a bit of wandering around stopping in the Marks & Spencer and later found a hotel booking service where we found a hotel near Westminster Abbey. Although the hotel was one of the cheapest they could recommend.... it would still blow our daily budget! 10 minutes off the plane and we already blew our budget! Having been here several times before we knew London would be one of our most expensive stops and that we could make up the difference in the coming months
Last time we were in London we had booked a hop on/hop off bus tour over the internet. This is definatly the best way to spend a day getting familiar with city. I dont remember if we took a) http://www.bigbus.co.uk/ or b) http://www.theoriginaltour.com/ (the Original is found in many cities around the world, we saved a few bucks by saving our receipt and saving 10% on our next tour in the next city). Surprisingly, London is a very walkable city. We decided to spend the rest of the day mostly on foot. With the advice of the hotels front desk we walked back to Victoria Station, we each had a pasty to keep us on the go and took a red double-decker bus (using our all day pass) to Trafalgar Square, walked down to Big Ben and Parlament, over the Thames River to the huge ferris wheel named 'The London Eye'. Heading east along the river we crossed at Waterloo Station and took the tube to Leicester Square to see the statue of Cupid w/the neon signs in the background
The next day we were up early for breakfast (nothing special) then we hopped on 'The Tube' (subway) to meet my distant cousin Lisa from Australia (her mom is a Bartorillo) at Hammersmith Station. After a short walk we were at a traditional English pub/restaurant (The Queens Head, built in 1711!) for a proper Sunday Roast. We started off w/a jug of Pimms. Lyn and I had never had this before and were a bit apprehensive, but it was excellent! The only way I could describe it; Similar to white Sangria w/the fruit
Lunch hit the spot! The weather broke and the day turned out to be very sunny, so the three of us made our way to the London Eye for the best views of London. This is definitely the BIGGEST Ferris wheel any of us had ever seen. In fact, at 443 feet (135 meters) it is currently the largest in the world. From the top you can see all of London with a birdseye view of all the landmarks. Afterwards we walked along the South Bank Centre esplanade along the river enjoying the company, the views of the city and the many street performers. Soon our day came to a close and it was time to part w/Lisa. We had to get back to the hotel, grab our bags and stop at the grocery store for some food to go, including Dandelion & Cordoon (Burdock) soda! and head to Waterloo Station for our train ride to Paris! At Waterloo I decided to use my last 5 pounds to buy a Chicken ceaser bagel sandwich. Afterwards the bloke at the register said my money was no good. Apparently England had redesigned the back of their 5 pound notes and discontinued the one I was holding! I guess this was a leftover bill I had from a prior trip to England. Luckily I had enough in coins to cover it. It was getting late and I had to run to get to the platform for the 8:35pm train to Paris. Of coarse, there was Lyn... giving me that look that she is famous for.
It is sometimes cheaper to book things in advance from home (via the internet).
Some perks are available only to foreigners.
The Wellington Hotel - 71 Vincent Square/ London - around the corner from Victoria Station www.the-wellington.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org
Map of Londons Subway/Underground/The Tube...