Thanks to those on TA who gave us great tips from our hotel to restaurants and things to do
We flew to London the second week of May with Air Lingus, coming in to Gatwick Airport. There was a bit of turbulence but otherwise the flight and service were fine. We decided to take a cab, because there wasn’t much difference between price of three tickets and the carbide. However, as we landed at 17.10 we got caught up in the heavy traffic and it was stop-start for the next hour and a half, all the way to the Rhodes Hotel near Hyde Park. In retrospect, it would have been better to take the Gatwick Express, especially if it is rush-hour time of day.
Had an ideal room at groundfloor level (thanks to owners for looking after us).
The Rhodes is a family-owned hotel and the service is excellent. We had a very nice, triple room in the Annex. En suite and continental breakfast included. The location was also perfect, just five minutes from Hyde Park on the one side and five minutes on the other in the direction of Paddington Underground. Thanks Adam!
Unfortunately my son wasn’t well and was in a lot of pain so we went to St. Mary’s Hospital just down the road. Luckily everything was OK by the morning and he could be discharged early in the afternoon. Once back at the hotel, all he wanted to do was sleep and said he’d be alright on his own. My daughter and I headed off for the Royal Opera House to see if we could get standing places at a special ballet performance but everything was sold out. At Covent Garden underground, do not take the steps because there are 193 of them and if you’re like me, I was ready to give up before even reaching the halfway mark … There is a plaque at the top giving the number of steps but I did not remember seeing one at the bottom ;(
My daughter wanted to go shopping at American Apparel and after that we went to Mrs. Marengo’s on Lexington Street (thanks for the recommendation). On the way there was a guy playing the drums to a captivated audience: the drums were different-sized, brightly- coloured plastic buckets together with some background music. The audience loved it and I hope he gets a lucky break. At Mrs. Marengo’s one usually has to wait about 10 mins or so for a table but were soon shown to our places. We had pasta (mine was with mushroom and asparagus), and a glass of wine, followed by a delicious dessert for which neither had any space but we shared it anyway: banana with tofu and sprinkled with coconut. It was a bit like a freshly-baked cheesecake. I will definitely go back next time.
My son had recovered and we took a cab to Westminster Pier for the boat trip. There we asked for a wheelchair and the staff were very helpful in organising one. We went to Tower Bridge and back, thoroughly enjoying all the places along the way such as the Royal Festival Hall,St. Paul`s and Somerset House which brought back many childhood memories and some from student days. It was a little overcast but perfect for such a journey and we got some good photos.
After that we took a cab again to the Tate Modern (normally we would have gone by bus but because of recent events, went the easiest way). Loved the Tate Modern and the shop downstairs. My son and I had fish and chips (10 GBP) and my daughter had chips and a salad. My son and daughter went off together and I had some time on my own. We met later in the afternoon and went to the top floor to enjoy the view and take some more amazing photos of the London skyline. St. Paul’s seemed to be just a stone’s throw away. Thanks for the tip which I read somewhere on TA.
My daughter went off on her own to do some shopping and my son and I went to the pub meet in S. Kensington. Thanks to Adamhornets and CanucksTraveller for making the arrangements.
Thanks also to those who came – didn’t get a chance to speak to everyone but as the next day was Monday people didn’t stay too long.
On Monday after having breakfast together it was time for my daughter to leave for the airport. Her three days had really flown. We managed to organise a wheelchair for my son and I decided we would do some nice things for him to make up for the earlier stress. We headed off to Hyde Park, stopping for lunch at Spice of India (thanks Diva for that recommendation and for other help during our stay). My son ate well, so seemed to be making up for lost time on Friday/Saturday. Was a bit surprised there were not more entrances to the park. We eventually went in near the Albert Memorial. Did see one earlier entrance but there were steps there as well. There were some really nice young students who helped us over the steps without me even having to ask. My son and I loved Hyde Park which is so beautifully green at the moment. For a while we watched an old man feeding the ducks. Everyone was out walking, jogging or taking their dogs for a walk. It was a gorgeous sunny day. After that we walked over to the Science Museum which my son enjoyed a lot. We spent a couple of hours there too, before heading back home.
Didn’t really do much – took a bracelet down to an auction house in S. Kensington and then did a bit of shopping. My son needed time out before the flight home the next morning. I went to the ATM to withdraw money only to find it wasn’t working so had to go to the next one. Then I lost the way back to our hotel. All the little narrow Victorian houses look the same and it was starting to get dark. I stopped off at a hotel to ask the way and after I rang the doorbell, the receptionist said, “mind the step” but I guess I was too tired and came down heavily on my wrist. It hurt so much but they kindly brought me ice and sat with me till I felt better. As it turned out I was just five minutes away from our hotel. I could move my fingers OK but my right shoulder hurt like blazes. I paid the hotel and also got loads of sympathy, together with a cuppa and chocolate biscuits to help. During our stay went to ASK for a pizza twice, as it was just across the road.
I didn’t want to go to hospital yet again and decided to take the risk. After all, I still had to pack, even though with one hand. Luckily I had already started that morning and we didn’t really have too much luggage.
It was time to leave London and we left the hotel before daylight … At the airport they offered us a second wheelchair, which wasn’t how I planned our exit ;) but I was glad to have help with the luggage. At least there was extra help with the luggage …
Once we got home I went straight to our local accident hospital and had a plaster put on for a week. As I had hoped, nothing was actually broken. During this time I was off on much-needed sick leave. Writing telephone numbers with my left hand has become a piece of cake, but a left-handed signature still has a long way to go. I went for an MR scan of my shoulder and can now type with my left hand and two fingers on my right hand. Housework and getting dressed are still a bit tricky but we’ll get there.
We will be back to London again, leaving more time to plan and days in between to relax. My son definitely wants to go back again in spite of all that happened.
My niece said it was a trip with “spills and thrills,” which I guess is quite a good description of our last trip to London. Next time, we plan to do it properly!
London is still one of my favourite cities