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July 19th

UNITED KINGDOM | Saturday, 19 August 2006 | Views [769] | Comments [1]

Our favorite picture taken in London.  This is one that truly speaks a thousand words.

Our favorite picture taken in London. This is one that truly speaks a thousand words.

July 19 - Wednesday


We're going to London.  What an amazing sentence.    Pam dropped us off at Gerrard's Cross train station and we purchased our day pass which included a return train trip and access to all the buses and all the Tube routes. The ride into the city was about 30 minutes.  We got to the station and changed to the Picadilly line and got off at Picadilly Circus.  I had always heard about Picadilly Circus as this lively, bustling area and it lived up to the description.  Once we surfaced from the Tube it was hot and hazy outside and there was tons of people going who knows where.  We started walking and ended up at Trafalgar Square.  The fountains were going and we caught a nice breeze as we took our couple shot with the National Gallery in the background.  I could see Big Ben in the distance.  We made our way down toward the parliament building and passed a very tasteful memorial to the women who served during World War II.  The buildings surrounding the Parliament building were equally as massive and made for a nice shadey area to walk.  Big Ben was more imposing in person than on the big or small screen and Westminster Abbey was stunning.  We walked along the Thames and crossed over before getting some water and a candybar for Jon.  We sat in the shade for a while then continued on to the Florence Nightengale museum.  I didn't know such a museum existed so of course I had to investigate.  It was on a lower floor of what I believe is the oldest hospital in London.  It was small but informative and before long we were leaving the air conditioned oasis for the heat of the city again.  We walked passed the London eye.  The line was huge, we were just checking prices with the intent to return when my sister would be in town.  After lunch at a nice eatery called Eat.  We walked across the Jubilee pedestrian and train bridge.  We walked and walked.  Clym called and we made plans to meet up at 1845 with him and his wife, Valerie.  We walked and walked then decided to go to a bookstore recommended by Catherine and Pam back by  Picadilly Circus, I think it was called Water Stones or something like that.  They had a decent travel section but not the seating you would find at a Barnes and Noble which was our ulterior motive to going there.  Disappointed we went back out and started walking again.  We were heading in the direction of Covent Garden and just happened upon "The World's Largest Travel Bookstore".  We crossed the street and went it.  I love bookstores.  We poked around the first floor then went up stairs and looked for books on Thailand and Southeast Asia.  We had already bought a book on bicycling in the UK at Water Stones but their travel book section was pretty standard.  I sat in a chair with a stack of books on Thailand and began sorting through them to see which would be most suitable for us.  The UK has such a better selection of travel books.  Back home it's like they don't realize that there are other travel book companies out there other then Lonely Planet.  We found a great book that is geared toward the budget traveller who is not interested in taking a bus tour or taxis everywhere, it speaks to travellers who walk or like to ride bikes.  Perfect!  We also picked up a map of Bangkok, and Thailand.  At the cash register I found a book I had been looking for prior to starting our trip called Point It.  A little smaller than a passport and filled with pictures you can use to communicate with someone of a different language.  I thought it would be a great supplement for the trip and showed it to Jon.

"Get it." - J

So I added it to the pile. 

We finally got a hold of Mary while in the bookstore after I had left three other messages at her hotel in Bath.  I made it very clear to the desk clerk that she receive this message asap and explained that I had left messages for her in the past that she says she never received.  The woman on the other end assured me she would do her utmost to  make sure Mary got the message to call us.  I explained the situation about Eurostar and how we should have booked ahead and asked if she had booked her ticket.  She had not so I told her we would call her back after we got tickets for tomorrow.  She was going to head back to her hotel.

Later, Mary told us she was all but tackled by the desk clerk when she got her hotel.  She had already called us but thanked them anyway for making sure she got the message.

Walking back towards the Tube to catch a train to Waterloo station to buy tickets we stopped for some chinese take out which was really good and a good deal.

We got to the station and took a number for the ticket counter.  Pam wasn't sure how easy it would be for us to get a ticket for the next day since the kids were starting summer break the same day.  Our number was called and we walked up and explained what we needed.  Well, there was tickets available at 1300 (we were shooting for noon so this was ok) but we would have to ride first class on the way home for the cheapest fare (that being about £150).  OK, first of all that's a freaking lot of money and second of all did we have to go first class, there wasn't anything in second class for cheaper.  Apparently, coach seats go up with last minute tickets making the first class tickets cheaper overall which didn't make a bit of since but I slapped down the credit card and was done with it.  I wasn't completely bummed.  If we were spending this kind of money at least I was getting a first class ride out of it.  After we purchased the tickets and finished our dinner I called Mary back and we chatted for a while since it was the first time I'd had to talk to her since she arrived in Europe.  We agreed on a place and time we would meet the next day before hanging up.  Jon and I got back on the Tube and headed for Marlebourne station to catch the train to Gerard's Cross and then walk home - this time while it was still light outside - back to Pam's

Tags: Adventures



From the picture, you obviously had better weather in London than I did a few years back. Trefalgar Square was a favorite place of mine and I hung around St. Martin's of the Fields and took pictures of the Lions with the S. African embassey in the background and listened to the war protests going on in the center. Waterstone's got some of my hard earned Euros but I loved the Travel Bookstore too. I hope the construction and torn up streets have eased off a bit by now.
First class on the Eurostar!! Wow! Did they massage your feet?

  Robyn Aug 24, 2006 3:18 PM

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