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Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

Delphi,Greece
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Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

I love reading trip reports, but never got myself to write one. I decided it was about time to start doing that!

My English is not very good, so excuse any errors here.

I 'll try to keep it sort, but as it's a 2 weeks reports, possibly will end up a long one!

My trip mainly focus in London, and a weekend to Brighton. I'll put titles to each day, so people may just read what they are interested in!

I already have or I will post reviews on accomondation, sites etc here on TA.

So, here it goes:

Day 1- Friday 23rd January

Arriving Gatwick-Transport and

Checking in at Luna&Simone

I arrive in Gatwick North terminal, collect luggage, take train to South Terminal, and then Gatwick Express to Victoria. I notice that weather is quite warm and sunny, concidering that's winter in London. There was more cold in Athens when I left this morning!

I buy a 7 days travelcard for zones 1&2 straight away, and I take a cab to my hotel. I've book Luna&Simone Hotel on Belgrave Road. Cab costs about GBP 4.50 . Check in is fast and efficient, receptionist extremely polite. My room is at top floor, comfortable and I really like it. Time is only about 18.30, but I just stay in,reading my book and sleep. That has mainly to do with the fact that on Thursday night I had a massive whiskey meeting* with some friends, till 6.30 this morning.

*Now that's an important definition to understand this report!

Whiskey meeting is what me and my friends call a long night out with looots of talk, and loooots of drinking. Normally all people drink whiskey (with coke), but me definately, even if other people don't.And normaly that had to be Johhnie Walker Red Label. In extreme cases, such as when I am abroad and JW Red can't be found, it can be JW Black Label, or Jamesons, or some other whiskey, sometimes combined with drinking lots of pints of Guinness at the start of the night. Usually an whiskey meeting ends up very messy.

Day 2-Saturday 24th January

Buckingham Palace-St James Park-Westminster Abbey-London Aquarium-London Eye-Dali Universe-Soho

I wake up early, and I have my breakfast about 7-7.15 am. Very hearty and tasty. I'm going out for a walk. Belgrave Road is quite, I meet only a couple of people on my way to Buckingham Palace Road. BP Road is more lively, but it's still early, so not too crowdy.

I make my way till Buckingham Palace. No one around, just the guards making their usual rituals. I take some photos exactly on time, before a group of 9-10 tourists arrive. I have a look (and some photos) on Queen Victoria Memorial, and I enter St James Park.

A see a few people doing their morning exercise, walking their dogs and going on their buissiness. I walk slowly and enjoy the views and the surroundings. I like nature and parks etc. I watch a squirrell jumbing from one tree branch to the other, various birds having their morning bath in the water, and approaching the exit on the other side of the park, I see some nice pelicans too. I walk past Cabinet War Museum which is closed and walk to Westminster Abbey. Time is about 9 am now, and Abbey will open in half an hour. I take some great pics of the Abbey with no one around.

I use this half an hour to walk on Westminster Bridge, take in the views and take plenty of London Eye, Big Ben, River and Houses of Parliament pics. I then return to the W.Abbey and take the audio tour. I am not a religious person at all, and in general I don't like churches and the like, but I love places with history and nice architecture, and that's one of them! The audio tour is very informative and I spend about 1-1 1/2 hours here.

I then cross the bridge again, and go to the London Aquarium. I like Aquariums. This one was rather averrage though. Half of it was closed for maintenance work, so it was rather pricey on about GBP 8.50 ! Most popular of all seemed to be the shark exibition of course. It's Saturday morning, so the place is full of screaming kids and patient parents ("Look mummy, here it's Nemoooo"). I spend no more that 45 minutes here.

Coming out, I try to decide what to do next. I know it may be a risky choise, especially on a Saturday morning, but weather is sunny, sky is clean, so I decide to go for it.London Eye. Queues is not so bad as I thought. About half an hour waiting to get the tickets and half an hour waiting to take my "flight" . It was interesting and helped me understand a bit more about where is what. One girl with chinese looks keep asking me to take here some pics, and takes a couple of me. Then her camera battary dies, and she please me to take a couple of pics of her and Big Ben on the background on my camera.We swap e-mail address, hers is a... russian one. Interesting, but I don't like asking lots of questions and our "flight" is about to end.

Going down, I notice that queues are now 2-3 times longer than when I boarded. What a relief I manage to get here early enough to avoid all this crowd!

There is the Salvador Dali Universe exibition in the County Hall, and although I am not very a very arty person, who doesn't know Dali's melting clocks and stuff? I go inside and take an audio tour, admitting mostly the high lights. I go out and start to feel tired.

Both Original London Tours and Big Bus Company have people selling tickets there. I take the one that happened to be nearer me at the time, Big Bus. Right now, I am only interesting to go back to Victoria Station. When there, I have some food from Burger King ( I know, I know... But we don't have them in Greece anymore, and I used to like their burgers a lot), and I buy an English SIM card for my phone. That will help communicating cheaper with my friends living here.

Time now is about 16.30, so I return to my hotel and getting some rest.

Later I walk back to Victoria I use my Oyster card for first time ever, and tube it to Oxford Circus. Easy as pie! About 20.00 I meet there two friends I haven't see for a long time! We walk around Soho, we go to a pub called "2 Rooms", likely enough they have JW Black (better than nothing). After a couple of drinks we move on to a "O'Neills" pub. Having live in Ireland for some time, I feel like home here. I have 3-4 pints of Guinness and then we try to decide what about next. One of my friends studies in the Kings University. We take a bus and go near Aldwych tube station, where there is a building called bishop Tutu or something, and at the top floor they have a club called KCLSU for students. Entrance costs GBP 5, and ... wowwww! There is a large window towards the Thames with fantastic views! I can see London Eye and other landmarks lit at night, and it's great! We take lots of pics and we talk and talk, and drinking out Guinness from our plastic cups, and club is getting busier and busier. My friends have things to do in the morning, so about 1.30 am we decide to call it a night. We look around and we find a bus stop, and there is a bus 11 going to Victoria. So I say my good byes, and I go back to my hotel.

Day 3-Sunday 25th January

V&A Museum-Natural History Museum-Paddington-Trafalgar Square-Lord Moon of the Mall

Today weather is VERY rainy. After my full English breakfast at Luna&Simone, I take bus 24 (stops exactly outside the hotel) till Victoria, and then I use my big Bus ticket to go to Victoria and Albert Museum. I arive 5 minutes before it opens, good timing! Now, this place is huuuge! You really need days to explore! So I focus mainly to exibits from Iran and Turkey and early arabic art in general, and then I have a quick walk in the medieval and English paintings. Now, I hate it when that happened, and here it happens again. A 10 year old boy keeps running and shuting around, and his parents pretend nothing happens. After 10 minutes that keeps happening, and after 3 times the child accidentaly falls on me during his runs, I get really pissed off, and I go and tell the parents off. Fortunately they seem to understand at last what a pain their son is, and they all go away from there I stand. I continue my walk around the various exibitions. About 12 my feet start aching! So, I take a break in the museums cafe. Cafe is very organised and tidy, and there is a good selection of food items and beverrages. I have a coke and a sandwich, and for half an hour I just relax and watch people eating, drinking, chatting and walking around. A guy appears and ask if I 'm French. So, no. I am Greek. Do I look French? With my black hair and mediteranian built and everything? Hmm, that was weird! He turns to be one of the guys working there. After a short chat, he has to go work, and me I have to keep going. I walk around for about half an hour more. I go to the shop, and there are plenty of tatty stuff which I don't like, and plenty of good quality jewelleries and books and stuff, but I can't find anything good for a souvenir. There are plenty of books for specific exibitis of the museum, but not even one with museum high lights, or history or something. I am a bit dissapointed on that! Anyway...

I then go almost next door to the National History Museum. I enter through a side door, so at first I don't realise what's going on. As move towards the center of the museum, I see hundreds of kids and parents, shouting, running, crying, screaming, playing... I can't really go near any exibit. I approach Darwin exibition, but it's so crowdy and noisy, that I start to get a headache. I decide this definately is not a good day to visit this museum,I leave and hope to visit some other time in the future, in a better timing. As I go out through the main entrance this time, long queues of families are here, and I quickly walk away. It's pooring lots of rain, even under my umbrella I still get lots of water on my. I walk to the Big Bus Stop, and wait for next bus. And wait, and wait... I've seen maybe 4-5 buses from the other company pass by, but not even one from Big Bus. After more than 40 minutes, I am about to cross the road and take a regular bus back to the hotel ,when a Big Bus finally appear. I clomb in, and it's full downstairs, so I have to go upstairs. It's wet and cold, and except the rain, weather starts to get windy too, and I can manage my umbrella with some difficulty. Anyway, I make it till Paddington. I am soaking with water and I haven't really plan what to do next. I find a small pub near by (forgot the name, sorry), I have a cod and some chips and a pint of Guinness, and then I tube it to Victoria. Now, that starts to get really rediculous. I mean, where is the difficulty finding your way around and moving with public transport? I have one of the standard tube maps and one for buses, and that's all I need to go anywhere!

I buy some food and water from Sainsbury's and I go back at my hotel.

About 18.00 I take bus 24 to Trafalgar Square. I take some nice night pics, and I easily find Lord Moon of the Mall pub. It is in convinient location, roomy, there are some slot game machines, and efficient staff. Four friends arrive shortly after me. I haven't met some of them for more that three years, and I am glad to see them! About 20.00 two more friends join us. and we drink the night away, on a proper whiskey meeting.( They have JW black, that's great). I go back on the 24 bus.

Day 4-Monday 26th January

Green Park-"Old Palace Quarter" tour-Tower of London

I take my breakfast about 7.00, I check my e-mail on hotel's PC(free access), I relax in my roon for some time, and then I bus it and tube it till Green Park. I buy a hot chocolate from Starbucks and enter the park. It's a nice day, I seat down on a bench and soak in the atmosphere. I drink my chocolate and smoke and some other people have the same idea with me, and I watch them, and the people passing by and the tourists taking photos. There is a small puddle of water created from yesterday's rain, and about 7-8 cute young pigeons hum... 7-8 of those damned flying rats I mean, seem to have fun, swimming and diving and playing there. A couple of Italian guys comes and watches and take numerous photos of them. A lady with a toddler pass by and asks me how to get to Buckingham Palace. Funny enough that I can give instructions, but I really can, and that's what I do. (After studing carefully a couple of maps, it's easy to navigate London's central attractions!).

It's now nearly 11am, so I go back to Green Park tube station, where I meet Angela from the Walking Tours company. We are about 15 people participating, the tour is called the "Old Palace Quarter", and it's unbelievable how many things you van learn on a couple of hours, and how many things are there to be seen on a small 2 klm ratio area! Angela is very good guide and mix historical facts and trivial details with a bit of royal gossip, and makes this tour really enjoyable.

About 13.15 and after the tour finish, I tube it to Tower Hill. I am hungry so I have a pizza on one of the numerous places near the Tower's entrance. Then I make it to the Tower, exaclt on time to catch the last guided tour. Our Beefeater is called Alan, and he is really cool. He has a singing accents that I would believe is rather Irish or Northern anyway, but he says he is from South East England. I can quite understand him though, as other foreigners in our group too. London Tower is very interesting in general, and as it's somehow late, I got to see the Royal Jewelleries in my own pace. Only 10 people in the area, so I would climb the moving corridor again and again with no problem!

About 16.30 I go back to my hotel. I get some rest and about 19.30 I go out and walk around. I stop at the Prince of Wales pub and have a couple of Guinness pints. Then, I return to the hotel, and eat some of my Sainsbury supplies.

Day 5- Tuesday 27th

Tower Bridge-"Historical Greenwich" tour-EasyHotel

After breakfast I have the annoying fact to move out. WhenI booked, they didn't have availiability for next 3 nights, so I booked the EasyHotel to check it out too. I leave my luggage in Luna&Simone till later, and I take bus 24 to Westminster. I just walk around enjoying the views for a bit, and then I tube it to Tower Hill again. It's a bit cold, but it's a sunny day. I buy a hot chocolate and I find a bench below Tower Bridge, where I seat for half an hour, drinking my chocolate, smoking, doing some people and views watch, taking photos and in general relax. I then go to the Bridge Exibition and the Machine Room and everything. Fantastic views and quite interesting, especially the short video explaining how was the decision taken to built this bridge etc. I think the TB original colour was brown, but I really like it now with it's blues and some reds etc.

I then go to the tube again, to meet Ann for the "Historic Greenwich" tour. If Angela was very good, Ann is perfect! She is a very sweet, polite and energetic woman and I loved this tour. Cruising the Thames was pretty cool, and the sites in Greenwich very beautiful and very very interesting. I will get back here one day, and explore it better. After the tour, I feel a little tired and I am a bit streesed, having to take luggage and check in to Easy Hotel etc, so I take LRT and then tube snd bus, and I move to EasyHotel.

Rooms is not so bad as I was afraid would be, I relax and read my book, I go out walking at some point, I spend a visit to TESCO for some food supplies, and I come back and relax.

Day 6-Wednesday 28th January

National British Museum-Covent Gardens-Transport Museum-Various Pubs : )

I take bus 24 to Tottenham Court Road Tube, and after taking some time to find my way, I make it to the National British Museum.I have arrange to meet two of my friends and visit the exibition about ancient Babylona. It was interesting and not so big as I thought would be.

After that, we walk to Covent Gardens area. I like it here, nice shops and areas easy to walk. My friends have to go, and me I am getting hungry. I enter in a Wasabi and I have a lovely chicken curry. Feeling much better now. I

I visit London Transport Museum. Quite good. They could have a better map provided, but staff is very helpfull and very polite.

It's rainining lightly now, I enter Covent Gardens Market, and downstairs there is a group of musicians performing. They play classical music, mostly on violin, and they are actually very good. I spend about 20 minutes watching and listen to them, and then I move on. I see a lovely heart shaped neck jewellery in Swarowski, which I buy for my self, and then I buy a small Swarowski hedgehock as a gift for my mother.

Rain seems to stop at last. I walk to Old Holborn Street and catch a bus 38 to Victoria, then back to my hotel.

About 17.30 I walk to Wilton road and Prince of Wales pub, where I meet a friend I haven't see for nearly two years. Unbeleivable how time flies! We get a table inside. There is no JW that time, so I go for their Jamesons. After a couple of drinks it's finished, so I swap to Famous Grouse. Next table there are 3 middle aged people, slightly tipsy. I instantly recognise they are Polish (I have lots of Polish friends and I know a few words). One of them tries to chat me up. It's very funny, his English is awful. When he doesn't understand my English, I talk to him in Polish. He is really impressed. I kindly tell him I haven't meet my friend for ages, and we'd like to catch up each other's news, so please could he leave us alone? He does, but times to times he tries to interrupt our conversation again, and my friend starts to het pissed of. Exactly on time, her boyfriend and brother arrive, and we decide to move outside, so we have more space and be able to smoke too. After 10 minutes her father and his girlfriend arrive too. He lives in a house literaly opposite the pub! It's the first time I meet them , and they are pretty cool. In a bit they have to attend a Chelsea football game, so they leave, not before we have a friendly argument, as I support Liverpool and I insist it's the best team in England, but they don't seem to agree.

Now it's me and my friend left again, and we walk to an other pub, the Jugged Hare. They have JW black here, and I am very happy. A friend of ours is supposed to meet as in Westminster, so we start walking towards there through roads I don't really recognise, but my friend leads the way. We enter Red Lion pub,I have a Jamesons (no JW). Suddenly we receive an SMS that our friend can't make it. We take bus 24 back to Victoria and we head to the Willow Walk pub. Again no JW. I have Jamesons, but after 3 drinks, they don't have any more. I swap to Famous Grouse again! Football game is over, and my friend's friends and family join us again. We drink and chat the night away, and then I walk back to my hotel.

Day 7- Thursday 29th January

Trafalgar Square-National Gallery-

St Martin-In-The-Field -Portrait Gallery-Camden Town-Regent Park

About 9.30 I bus it to Trafalgar Square. I enter the National Gallery,staff is extremely gentle.I deposit my ID and take an audio guide. I explore around, mostly focusing on the Sainsbury Wing. About 12 I feel a bit tired so I go down to their "Espresso Cafe" for a hot chocolate and a sandwich. Sandwich is pretty good, chocolate is...undrinkable! Awfull. Anyway. I then go to the East Wing, looking moslty for the Van Gogh paintings ( I like Van Gogh!). A large group of pupils enters the room. Seems like a whole school is in here. Lucky them they have opportunity for such educational "excursions", but it gets too crowdy and noisy for me, so I go to the shop,buy some small souvenirs, return my audio, collect my ID and leave.

I enter St Martin-In-The-Fields. Nothing really special in the interior of this place, I can't understand what the whole hussle is about. I do down to the crypt and old crypt, nothing to see here either. Just a modern basement with a shop and a large cafe/restaurant. I have a leek&mushroom soup in this restaurant which is quite tasty anyway...

I then go to Portrait Gallery. It is very interesting too, but I am a bit tired of walking, and the same group of children soon enter the gallery. So, I spend about 1 hour here and then I get bus 24 to Camden Town.

Well, I really liked Camden. It's what you'd get if you put in a bledder and mix together an arabic meddina,monastiraki area in Athens, a punk and a rock party! I walk around soaking the atmosphere and I buy a colourfull pingy bank for my brother. Then I see some signs for London Zoo and I decide to walk there. It takes some time, and when I get there, it closes in less than an hour, so I can't enter. I cross Regents Park, which is cool, and on near its south entrance I take a 453 bus to Trafalgar Square. I then spend an hour at a net cafe, and I go to Bella Italia Restaurant for a yummy carbonara.

I then call it a day and I bus it to to my hotel.

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Brighton
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Delphi,Greece
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1. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

Day 8-Friday 30th January

Brighton Pier-The Lanes

About 10 am I check out of Easy Hotel Victoria, I go to the station and using the Quick Ticket machines I collect my prebooked tickets to/from Brighton.I buy breakfast from Burger King and I chill out waiting for the time to come to get my train. For some reason my tickets don't work and station staff had to open me the gate to enter the train (the same happened when I came back from Brighton), nut except that, the journey was comfortable and easy.

Arriving Brighton, I take a cab to Aquarium Guesthouse and I check in in room 2. A nice, comfortable and large room, I have to add.

I drop my luggage and walk to Sea Life Center aka Brighton Aquarium. Now, this one is really great. There are lots of different rays,turtles, colourfull tropical fish, river fish, and a special exibition called "Amazonia", with species, well from Amazone river area (piranghas etc). There is also a large tank with various species of sharks and other fish, and a 200 kilo 50 years old turtle called Loulou! Very nice experience.

I then walk on the Brighton Pier, whick is a large luna park with lots of gambling games, places selling hot dogs, taro tellers, carousels and the like. Lots of the shops are closed and obviously they open only during summer. Views are cool and I really want to take a seat at a bench, but it's very cold and windy.

I return to my hotel and wrap up in more warm clothes. I then walk to the Lanes. Very nice area with some hidden gems of a shop. I buy a nice brachelet from one, and I stop for a sandwich and Guinness in one of the various pubs (its name I know escape). I find a net cafe and I spend an hour communicating with friends. Then, I walk towards my hotel. The Pier is well lit now, and it's interesting to watch. I jsu go to the hotel for a great sleep in my comfortable bed.

Day 9- Saturday 31rst January

Brighton&Hove Waterfront-Hove Lagoon-Lots of drinking

About 9.30am I go out to walk. It's very quiet (saturday morning), it's sunny even if a bit cold and I feel quite energetic. I walk by the waterfront towards West Pier.It's a somehow sad view, and quite fascinating at the same time.

Only a few people around, and all coffee shops closed. I am looking for somewhere to buy a hot chocolate or something, but even when I enter in a couple of caffes they say they just turned on the machine and will take 15 minutes to warm up. I approach what is a Statue of Peace (I think), and I see the "Meeting Place Cage". It's mainly a canteen selling food and beverrages and there are some plastic tables and chairs around so you can seat and enjoy the views. And it's open. I get a hot chocolate and a hot bacon&egg sandwih for only GBP 3.25, I take a seat and I enjoy the ambience of a city that now starts to wake up. Agentleman had a coffee next table. He has a very small dog-I can't recognise the race- on one lead, and a huge german shepherd on an other lead. As it usually happens, tiny dog is nervous, trying to hunt the pigeons and to run around, while the large dog remains still and quiet, keeping his toy ball in his mouth. It's fun to watch those two!

After half an hour, I decide it's time to continue my walk. I keep walking towards Hove direction, and after some time I see signs for Hove Laggon. Well, I decide I want to see this Hove Lagoon, so I keep walking. Now there are more people around, enjoying the winter sun, walking their dogs, taking their kids on a bike ride... I start to approach the various beach huts, they are colourfull and a delight to watch! At last, I arrive in the laggoon. There is an old couple feeding the ducks and swans and vaious birds, and it's nice to take a few minutes to warch around. Some graffiti on the walls near by, are very interesting too. I decide it's time to walk back. I walk back all the way to my guesthouse, stopping for a break to The Meeting Point for one more egg&bacon sandwich.Time is about 12.45 and I have 1 1/2 hours before I meet some friends.

I have a shower, freshen up, and off I go again. I meet one of my friends near Brighton Pier and we walk towards Brighton center. Somewhere in a shopping mall we meet an other friend and a few other poeple. We go to Smugglers pub, where we have some whiskeys to honor the old good times. Again no JW, no Jamesons,so Famous Grouse be it! Time now is nearly 17.30 and we decide to go to my friends' house to continue our drinking session. One of my friend is here on his motorbike, the other people just walked and my other friend call his boyfriend to give us a lift, but he wouldn't answer the phone. So, my friends go on the motorbike, and me and some other people decide to walk. I ask how long the walk is, and they say about half an hour. Well, we start walking, and turns out that it's about an hours walk, as the house is even farther the Hove Park. I wouldn't mind so much, but I was wearing my boots now, and these are not great for long walking. My feet start to ache, but we finally arrive. My friend had go for a search on JW Red label, but didn't find one, so we rely on a bottle of Jamesons and half bottle of Bells that happened to be in the house.

Me and one of my friends down the whiskey, while the others drink beer, wine amd rum, whick is somehow wrong. Somewhere is between we order and eat some pizza. About 21.30 we take cabs to a club I can't remember the name. To be honest I can't remember lots of details of it, just that ot was very near the waterfront. We drink there ( again no JW, I remember that) till 2.30 am, and then we call it a night. I walk back to the hotel, stopiing on the way to buy a hot dog. That was a proper whiskey meeting session!

Day 10-Sunday 1rst February

Royal Pavillion Suroundings-Kemp Town-Back to London

I wake up early. Nothing better to cure a hang over than a morning walk. I pack up my luggage and ask the hotel owner to book me a cab for the station at 10.45. I walk towards Royal Pavillion. Vey nice to have such a building at Brighton. Petty I didn't have time to visit the interior. I walk around the gardens, and I see some squirrels running aroung, eating their nuts and seem to have a meeting with a couple of ravens, pigeons and a robin. It was like watching a scene from a children's book coming alive.:and then all the forest's animal gathered a meeting..." I spend some time to watch them.

Then, I walk in the RedRoacher (spelling?) cafe. I have a hot chocolate, and this was maybe the best I ever have in my life. Believe me, it's not alcohol talking here, it was like having a melted chocolate bar in a cup, simply fantastic!

After that, I walk towards Kemp town a bit, and then it's time to go. I return to the hotel to collect my luggageon time and have my cab taking me to the train station. First snowflakes start to come down. There are some changes on train shedules, so I manage to get one about 20 minutes prior to the time I was supposed to go, but it has to go through Hove station, and various other stations it didn't have to stop to when I came to Brighton. It is very busy, and it's not good there is no space for luggages, but anyway, I finally arrive in Victoria, and then checking in in Luna&Simone hotel again. I buy some water and sandwiches from a small grossery by the corner, and stay in my room all day.

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Brighton
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2. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

Day 11-Monday 2nd February

Regent Park-Piccadily Circus-Oxford Circus

After my familiar and tasty breakfast, I go out of the hotel. Everything it's white and keeps snowing. Due to the long walk on my boots on Saturday afternoon, my feet are hurting me somehow, so I wait for bus 24 to come. But I then find out(a man passing by kindly offered the information his self) that there are no bus services today. I am a bit surprised, because on my point of view, it's not a terrible snowfall or something, we get more snow than that in some parts of Greece! Anyway, I start walking towards Victoria station. At first my intension was to go to the British museum. Looking around, I decided that going in a park would be more fun.There are several delays and central line is closed.

At last I manage to tube it to Regents Park. It doesn't snow now but there are people behaving like kids, throwing smowballs to each other, making snowmen, there is even one guy that skies in the park! I walk around, at some point I am near the south side of the zoo and I see some poor camels on a hill of snow. Weird thing to see. Obviously the guards would take them somewhere indoors in a bit. I keep walking till zoo entrance, exactly on time to see a member of staff posting notes that zoo will be closed today. I walk back to the opposite direction of the park. It starts snowing again.

I stop in the "Honest Sausage " cafe. Now that's a weird name for a place. How can a sausage be honest? Always telling the truth or something? I guess they mean decent sausage.Anyway, I enter and I order a breakfast for no reason in particular, as I am not hangry, and a tuna sandwich too. Breakfast is delicious. Sausage is very tasty too.

I keep my sandwich for later, I walk and I tube it to Piccadilly Circus. I take lots of touristy pictures the Eros who is not Eros but an Angel, and the Horses of Helios Statues and I enter Trocadero. I buy some tatty touristy souvenirs for my cousins, and I make it to the top. Now that's not good, because there are lots of gampling machines, and usually I can't resist them. I stay there and play for half an hour, then I try to self descipline and go downstairs to Starbucks. I have a hot chocolate, then I tube to Oxford Circus, and do some shopping for my self, my parents, grantparrents and brothers in Benetton. They have some great sales, and it's even cheaper than in Greece.

I then return to Luna&Simone for some rest. At the evening I go out and walk around a bit. My feet still hurts and I walk slowly and carefully. Ice makes things even worse. I have a quick meal in an Indian Restaurant near by (forgot the name now), and I return back. I use hotel's PC for an hour or so, and I go back to my room.

Day 12-Tuesday 3rd February

National British Museum-China Town-Camden Town-London Zoo-Russell Square

Now buses are on, so I take 24 and I go to British museum. I am there early, so I stop to the Forum Cafe opposite for some hot chocolate. Then I enter the museum. I go straight to the Greek exibit. On the entrance there is a note that it's closed due to "weather conditions". I start to get angry now! I ask a staff member passing by what is that about. He says this note is from yesterday and I can now enter.Food for him.I see Parthenon marbles, Lycian-Greek and Minor Asia findings and when I want to see Great Alexander rooms and the rest of the Greek exibition, rooms are closed due to "bad weather". What does that means? Maybe than a few staff members couldn't be bothered to come to work I guess, and used weather as an excuse. So there were not enough guards around. How stupid is that? Anyway, I spend some time at the Assyrian and Egyptian collections (although some rooms were closed too).

I then go to the Tottenham Court Road Station and I take tube toLeicester Square. I walk around China Town. The Chinese start of the year was on Sunday,so everywhere is nicely decorated and clean. I feel a bit tired, so I enter one pub called (Wu? Ksu? Someones anyway...) little brother, and I have ... a pint of Guinness. I then buy a handbag which is something that can be described as a combination of small nackpack and large handbag. Very handy.

I decide to take bus 24 to Camden Town. I enjoy a walk around, and then I take bus 274 to London Zoo.

They decide to close zoo an hour earlier than it's normal time, so I have only 1 hour and 10 minutes to explore. I like zoo s and this situation starts to get into my nerves! Anyway, I go in. I have a quick look at the reptiles area. They have some rare species of turtoise and snakes etc there. Aquarium was closed.I kept walking around, and spotted some beautiful flamingos and other birds. Some tigers were seatting under their huts, waiting for the sun to come out of the clouds. Some squirrels had enter the monkeys area to steal their food or maybe get in a warm and safe place. Llama were quiet and cool, and poor camels were taken indoors somewhere. Comondo dragon was staring at me intensly. But most of the animals were taken in areas not accessible by the public. Paths around the zoo were not cleaned, and they were very dangerous! In some areas there were notes that you could see the animals near by indoors, but not signs on where this indoor was! And there wasn't even one member of the staff to be seen! Not good value of noney at all. If they couldn't manage to clean the paths and be around to offer assistance, they should keep the zoo closed, or at least reduce the entrance fee.

I exit the zoo, and take the 274 bus to Lancaster Gate for no reason in particular. I just like to have a look around, and it's not like I am in a hurry or something.

I then take tube back to Victoria. I relax at my hotel a bit and about 19.45 I tube it to Russell Square. I meet one of my friends, and we go for dinner to an Italian Restaurant almost opposite the restaurant.(Useless me, again I can't remember the name) I have a great Lasannia dish and a red wine.Yummy.

Then an other friend joins us and we walk to a pub called "A friend's hand" or something like that. Then we go to College Arms pub, and then it's 23.00 and there is nowhere to go. Area seems very quiet, if not deserted. So I just take a bus back to my hotel.

Day 13-Wednesday 4th February

St Paul's Cathedral-Millenium Bridge-Globe Theated-Museum of London-Victoria

I tube it to St Paul's. I visit St Paul's Cathedral. Very impressive, but audio tour rather averrage. In Westminster Abbey, you had almost every single statue, grave or monument explained. Here just a few High lights. I make it at the Crypt and at Whispering Gallery. Upstairs was closed due to "weather conditions". How annoying! Stairs were not so bad as I thought.

I then cross Millenium Bridge, I enter Tate modern, cross from one side till the cafe, buy a hot chocolate, and coming back. I didn't fancy enter any exibition at the time.

I go to Globe Theater. There is a large group of French student causing lots of noise, but they have their own guide, so luckily I find my self on a tour with only me,an American and a Belgian girl. Very pleasant tour. They could have clean the areas from the snow though!

I then walk to the Museum of London. NOw, that's a great museum, and it's a pitty I didn't have lots of time and energy to explore it more. I will definately come back some time. Interesing findings from different eras and centuries, and some great videos shown too. Their cafe have an excellent variety of sweets, food and beverrages, and great quality too.

I go back to Victoria and buy some bottles of whiskey and wine. I go back to my hotel and chillax a bit. At 19.30 I walk to my friends' dad's house.He is not there and we have arrange a gathering with some friends. Some of them I've met before while in London, some I meet for first time after a years, and it's great! My friend has already some pizzas ordered, so we eat and we drink and we talk talk and talk, and remember old stories and having a laugh! Some of them have to go work tomorrow, so about 1.30 pm we call it a night. I return to Luna&Simone.

Day 14-Thursday 5th February

Hyde Park-Kensington Palace and Gardens

I wake up early, but I feel really lazy, so I stay at my bed and miss breakfast. About 9.30 I finally decide to get up. I tube to Hyde Park Corner. It's rainy and it's cold, but ice is still everywhere, making walking a dangerous task. I start walking anyway. I see guards taking out their horses to exercise, and Serpentine is very beautiful, there is a morning mist on it and I enjoy to watch ducks and the like swimming around. I stop to Lindo for breakfast. After a while a girl from Switzerland starts to chat with me. I invite her in my table and we smoke and talk for half an hour. She arrived London yesterday for first time, and she doesn't seem to know a lot of things. She asks for various stuff and I answer as better as I can. I give her directions to Harrods, and she goes away. It's time for me to keep moving too. I keep walking and walking, I see Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, the Pond, and lots and lots of birds and squirrels. It is lovely.I approach Kensington Palace. I go in and take the audio tour. It was quite good, but nothing extraordinate. I keep walking. Albert memorial is intresting. I walk around Kensington gardens, they should be very nice during summer time, now are a bit dull. There is this small cafe near Princess Diana's palygrounds, there is an old oak's...well remainings mainly, and they have put some figurines on it with animals, leprecauns and the like. It's cool to see. Guy at the cage very smiley, but the hot chocolate he makes there is the worst I have ever try in my whole life, honestly!

I walk till Lancaster Gate and I take tube back to Victoria. I have a chicken curry from Wasabi and I go to my hotel for an hour. I am waiting for bus 24. And waiting, and waiting...Nowhere to be seen,I am running late now. I wave a cab and go to Vistoria, and then tube to Russell Square. I am 20 minutes late, but I finaly meet my friend and we go for a coffee near by. We say our final good byes and I go back to my hotel.

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Greece
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3. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

Wow Mariha, I'm glad you managed to do all the things you wanted, you are one busy lady!!

All that Walking, all that Whisky, some Whiskey, and lotsahotchocolate!! I don't know how you did it!!!

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4. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

Day 15-Friday 6th February

Gatwick Express-Gatwick Airport-Athens-Delphi

I check out of Luna&Simone about midnight and I take bus 24 to Victoria, then Gatwick Express at 00.30 . No one to check tickets in the train. I had prebook my ticket through internet, but I could have travel for free! No snack & beverrages service availiable too.

I take the connecting free train from South terminal to North Terminal and I check my luggage. I then have to wait till 3.00 for the departures area to open. When that happens, I have to pass through the passport control and the x-rays. Passport goes in a second.

As usual, I have problems with the x-rays. The machine is beeping, and a policewomen has to do a body search. I am not why that happens, but 97% of the times I travel , the machine is beeping. I explain them that might be my boots, they have a separate x-ray machine for shoes latter. That time, they pass my handbag through x-rays twice, and then they insist to open it and search every single item. Either they had plenty of time in their hands to kill, either controls are getting more and more strict in England, That starts to get annoying up to a point,99.99% of people travelling are NOT terrorists, you know! They take of my cameras from their cases, x0ray them again, they take two souvenir packs of sweets and tea and x-ray them again, they pass my cameras through a special tool (I think to check for radioactive stuff or something), and finally I am free to go.

Some hours later I find my self in my gate, and we can't boarding on time.We have a 30 minutes delay, and as it turns out, pilot had to come from an other airport, and his taxi was late! Then once on the plane, we have to do rounds and rounds around, till finding a free space to go! So, I arrive in Athens nearly 1 hour latter than the sheduled time.

Luggage reclaim and everything goes fast, but there are 3-4 flights arriving at the same time to the passport control, so that took nearly half an hour too.

I take a taxi to the bus station, and I can't make it for the 13.00 bus to Delphi. I have to wait for the 17.30 one.

I finally arrive home about 18.45 . Trip over. I open my luggage, and surprise surprise. They have search it too. That almost always happens. But at least they put back the items carefully so damage is avoided. Now it seems they just throw everything back in, whatever. SO the nice pingy bank I bought for my brother from Camden is broken, and all my clothes are in a mess. How nice!

Anyway, that can't spoil my trip. It was great and I hope I'll be back soon! A large thank you to tripadvisor, because a lot of information and advice I received here, helped make this trip unforgettable!

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Athens
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5. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

EssexWanderer,

Thanks for reading this, I was afraid it was toooo long!

I haven't realise before coming there, but London city is a city easy to walk! Not all over the city of course, but choosing certain areas, it's maybe easier to explore on foot that using bus or tube or whatever.

And all those parks! I really loved them!

There are more things I 'd like to do and see of course, time is never enough. But these will have to wait till next time!

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6. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

A lovely read - and there is absolutely nothing wrong with your English!

Glad you enjoyed yourself :)

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7. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

The Red Roaster does make the best hot chocolate in Brighton! It's like proper Italian chocolate - not milky, but like melted chocolate. One of my favourite treats in the world.

I too like JW Black label whisky, but I have it with ginger ale! You should try it if you haven't already. :-)

Great trip report, and I'm glad you enjoyed Brighton and Hove.

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Brighton
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8. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

ditto, enjoyed reading all about your whiskey tasting trip!

Glad you enjoyed Btn, come back real soon.

Delphi,Greece
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9. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

Thanks people!

I didn't get to see as much of Brighton as I'd like to, but that's one more reason to return soon. I really liked my walk by the waterfront, I guess will have a different feeling during summer months, but I really enjoyed it anyway.

And Pavillion was an interesting building too, I wish I had time to visit inside!

: )

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Brighton
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10. Re: Trip Report-Solo traveler 23rd January-6th February 2009

Glad you posted all the details as this makes for fun reading and brings back fond memories. That really is something - all your efforts to get into the Zoo!

Is the Honest Sausage still offering free tea on Mondays?