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London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

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Calgary, Canada
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London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

Possibly their will be some photos of our London experience. I started and then I messed something up and didn't save what I had started so I got frustrated.

Here goes!

You'll probably all remember me saying how I was going to be in shorts. I wore pants on the plane and by the time I hit the scorching airport in London I was ready to rip those babies off. I've never taken so many showers in my life just simply to cool down.

The customs officers were very nice and the line was moving smoothly but there was a fellow with a loud mouth from a country below Canada and above Mexico who was discussing his displeasure in a way that made others feel uncomfortable. He complained through the whole queue.

HEX ~> For the convenience factor alone I would recommend this mode of transportation. Mind the gap was more like mind the gapping hole as you get off of HEX. So in North American terminolgy, "watch your step," or you will find yourself mercilessly pinned between a train and the station platform and it wouldn't do much to help your face if the train started to move again.

I actually really like the Paddington area. I thought it was busy with an interesting compliment of enthnicity. There are plenty of tiny restaurants and what we call convenience stores so you can pick up your fix of sugar to take to your room before retiring.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the tall trees in this section of London. Love it! As well as those cool Maples that lose their bark. I believe I saw some majestic looking Elms a block away.

Appreciate the advice about the Barclay bank not charging Scotiabank customers. Tis true and really helpful.

Tube advice!

When London turns into a sauna the tube is like being forced into a sardine can and thrown into a pot of boiling water. Not to worry. Onward's happy tip of the day is. "Don't sit down, but find your way to the back of the train where once the train moves the gust of air from the tunnel will shoot through the open window of the door and you will be the first to benefit.

No complaint about our hotel, staff were friendly and it was budget as we expected. AussieJohn you are so right about the toilets on the stair landings. I think they may possibly be smaller than an airplane loo.

After a short settling in we set out by foot. We weren't aware that there was a Barclay bank right around the corner and a convenience store fellow sent us in the direction of a Pub's ATM which did not provide us with needed cash.

Nevertheless we walked around Paddington and through Hyde Park. [I think the grass was still green at that time]. By the time we reached the other side at the corner near Albert's Memorial a nice gentleman stopped and asked us if we were lost. I guess we just had that look on our face. I think my wife was more stunned than we were. She said, "We're Canadian." We ribbed her about that comment, No we're not lost, we're Canadian. Anyway this fellow sent us on a nice foot journey through some side areas in Brompton and ending up at the Barclays near Harrods.

Ok, Brompton is super nice. My daughter wants to move there!

After collecting our needed funds we hopped into Harrods just to look around and cool down. Nice place.

Walked over passed the Royal Mews which were closed by this point and then around to Buckingham the Palace. I would have loved to strip down and swam in that water beneath Victorias monument. Let me tell you people, it was hot. The water shooting from that guys mouth in the fountain was looking pretty appetizing.

After a short time watching other tourists do the tourist thing we walked over to St. James Park. One of my favourite places. Does anyone know what those birds are with the weird feet? They almost look like a Kiwi [not the one you eat.]

As I'm writing I can't believe we're doing this after a 9 hour flight. We must have been out of our mind.

Walked over to St. James Palace. Lot's of interesting buildings back in that area. Then on to Canada House and Trafalgar Square. As we approached the Square we saw a big red balloon and we saw that there was some Canada day celebrations going on and people were getting into the music of eastern Canada at the time. Trafalgar was packed out. Like that was a totally cool welcome to London if I ever saw it.

We passed by Her Majesty's Theatre and into Piccadilly Circus. It was at the Picadilly Circus Tube station that we purchased single fares back to Paddington and day passes for subsequent travel.

Note to fellow travellers.

If you're unfamiliar with the Tube allow the ticket agents to help you choose the best suitable tickets to accommodate your travel needs.

We slept with the window wide open all night long. It wasn't noisy at all and there isn't any bugs.

The next day!

The first thing we did was to go to Madame Tussauds. [Mr. C. my kids loved it and we thought it was cool too.] The little ride at the end was neat if you're not familiar with the history of London. It was well done.

After this we headed to the Southbank and took in the History of Gardening museum. [Dearest Anemone, the plant that looked like a lamb was freaky.] There was a transient that came into the museum while we were in and giving the workers a hard time. When we exited apparently he was making his home in the small graveyard. He yelled out at us calling us "F - ing republicans." It was actually quite funny.

We hopped on a bus and went down a ways and then walked the rest of the way along the Thames crossing the Westminster Bridge. We reached the towering ediface in which Big Ben is housed at precisely noon and it was so majorly cool to hear all 12 rings. We got a short video of that experience.

This was July 1st and we were delighted to see the Maple Leaf flying over Westminster Abbey. Did we stand on guard for thee at that moment? No, but our hearts were tickled to see our flag displayed in such a glorious manner.

I can't quite remember what we were doing next but we were walking along Regent St. and then somehow ended up at "The Albert." This is where we had a carvery that everyone loves so much. This is also where we learned the difference between still, tap and gas water. See to us still water is water sitting somewhere that insects are laying their eggs in. The carvery was actually far too much food.

After this we went back to the hotel rested a bit and then got ready to go to see the Phantom. Piccadilly was one busy place that night. This was the night that England lost their World Cup opportunity. We sat in the front row at the Phantom and literally looking up the nostrils of the performers. It was such an awesome experience. My wife and I had seen it but we didn't tell our kids [who are 20 and 16] what the chandelier would do and it was priceless to see their faces as it rose above our heads right in front of us. When the theatre let out it was crazy nuts in Piccadilly. We finally made our way to the Tube station and back to our hotel.

The next day!

We wanted to head in the direction of the Tower of London. We were getting a bit confused by the shutting down of some lines. Then we got confused between the Circle and Direct Lines [always read front of train!]

Londoneratheart your direction to that shop to purchase our tickets was superb. Thanks again for that helpful advice it saved us precious time, plus we picked up some cold water.

There was a mini changing of the guard outside the crown jewels where all the tourists were getting excited so we used that opportunity to beat them all in to see the jewels. One of those things you see once. The history of the Tower and the views from it are quite something.

We crossed that big bridge outside the Tower and on the other side went down to the river side to pick stones. It's really quite an enjoyable experience. I heard a news item claim that the Thames is the cleanest metropolitan water ways. Is this true?

We then walked the short distance to HMS Belfast which is in my opinion well worth visiting and a very well done museum. Something that people just do not see everyday.

Walked past the London Dungeon and took the London Bridge Tube back Paddington.

Once back at Paddington we decided to eat at Garfunkles. It's OK, sort of an Americanized eatery.

All the time we were at Tower of London we didn't really know what these green signs were with a man and arrow and a rectangle. We were saying it meant a man running to a box. It was at Garfunkles that I looked up above the door and realized that it means Exit. Here our signs say Exit / Sortie.

After dinner we hopped on the # 15 bus to see some other sights. It was interesting for the most part but extremely hot sitting at the front of the double decker on the top level. It was likeing being in a greenhouse and there was absolutely no air at all. We weren't aware that the route would deliver us somewhere and the driver would announce "end of line." We were shocked and we thought Satan had certainly delivered us over for punishment. We thought it would just circle around and go back. We were in the Docklands bus loop kind of thing. No clue where we were we asked the driver and he said to go over to the other side of the loop and we would be picked up there. Thankfully we made it back to our place safe and sound. We did ride past some neat places like St. Pauls though.

The next morning we would be off to Eurostar. See future report.

Seattle
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1. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

Onward, excellent start to your trip reports! Love the humour.

Oh, and regardig the "loud mouth from a country below Canada and above Mexico" -- was he from Cuba or the Bahamas?

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

He certainly was not from the wonderful State of Washington because we have a lot of you great folk coming up here all the time and you're for sure not like this guy was. I remembered all the threads about such things and I just wanted to tell the guy to shut his trap.

NYC
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3. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

What a fabulous report - you had me LOL a couple of times ... with the little green man particularly! And the memories you've created for your whole family ... fantastic!

I look forward to reading the rest of your reports.

Was the guy from the south but also a bit north from Puerto Rico? I just could not figure out where he could have come from ... in my experience most folks like that are chucked out of the plane before landing ... or at least they are supposed to be. So sorry this one snuck through.

Ta. MMM!

London, England
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4. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

nice one Onward and welcome back.... Did you see our roadwork sign too (doh, you must have as they are alway's digging up the roads to annoy us)....the one with the man digging the roads with an open umbrella, cool.. eh. Thanks for sticking up for Madame Tussards, respect to you sir, (bit pricey, but that's London). Loved it when you spoke about the other "tourist's" in the tower and you gave them the slip, good move. Look forward to the rest.

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

MMM ~> Whoops sorry everyone you'll have blisters on your fingers when scrolling down. You'll have to follow me through the continent. I'm thinking I should post the report in the different countries and then paste the link back to all my TALF buddies.

Can you imagine how irritating that kind of guy would have been on the plane? I have to laugh now because I remember the rules that someone posted about the American Passport rules. This guy really blew it. He doesn't represent who Americans are.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

Your loudmouth friend at customs brought back a memory from my trip last year.

I was waiting at the Hotelink desk for my transfer, and a woman and her husband were sitting nearby. The woman was ranting to two young Australian women. She said "First we had to deal with THAT, (gesturing vaguely in the direction of the customs hall) now THIS!" (gesturing around us) One of the Australian women asked what had happened at customs. The ranting women replied by saying that they had to wait in LINE. Yes, that was the source of her anger - she was ticked off that she had to wait in LINE at customs. (The line, by the way, only took 20 minutes to get through) I itched to explain to her that the reason for the line was the early morning hour and all the overnight flights from the U.S. were converging at once. I didn't say anything, though; I was too busy dying of embarassment at the woman's behavior. The two Australian women kept nodding politely, listening to her endless ranting.

Oh, and the reason she was mad about having to wait at the Hotelink desk was she was apparently under the impression that her tour guide would be holding up a sign with her name on it and she'd be whisked off to her hotel in a private car. Had she bothered to read her tour documents (I've been on several tours in my day and I know what's in them), she would have seen it written plainly that for European tours originating in London, the tour companies use Hotelink group transfers.

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

Barbara ~> I'm sure there are tons of stories like this, eh? The problem with those people is that you have 4 or 500 people or more in a line up all in the same boat as this one person all trying to be patient. No one wants to gueue up one more time or wait for anything. But the one with the mouth who thinks their needs should be dealt with first grate on everyones nerves. Some one really should come along with a big needle with a sedative in it and stick it in their butt.

Lara ~> Yes we saw that road work sign so much. But we didn't catch the umbrella idea. Look at the area in which the pole is coming out on the work man's body. My son said it looks like the man is sticking his male part in a rock. When you see it in real life quickly you don't necessarily catch the pole as he is holding it in the back part.

London, England
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8. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

arrh...so that's why we always see workmen having a cigarette after digging a hole.

Salem, Oregon
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9. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

Yippee! I'm going to get some iced tea and settle down for the great read. So glad you're back, Onward.

Seattle
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10. Re: London report ~> stay tuned for UK report

Onward: I want to read all your travel reports, so yes, a post on this forum with all the links from the other countries would be excellent.

And did I mention I want to see photos? Thanks in advance!