Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Travelogue: London! (Part 1): Arrival

We have had an action packed couple of days in London, part of our great European adventure.  We've got four more days here, and from here we go to Barcelona for 3 weeks while my wife is teaching there at a new business school!)


This post is part of the travelogue of our London Trip 2017.
If you'd like to read the posts in chronological order they are below.

Part 1:Travelogue London: Arrival
Part 2: Travelogue London: The Tower of London/Golden Hind/Play That Goes Wrong
Part 3: Travelogue London: Hampton Court Palace
Part 4: Travelogue London:  Buckingham, Hamley's, Posh Tea, and an Old Enemy
Part 5: Travelogue London: The Making of Harry Potter (coming soon)
Part 6: Travelogue London: 48 hours of very hard travel by train.

Our bags.  Over 200 lbs of luggage for 3 people!
Packing the morning we were to leave was a little eventful, as the suitcase we bought for our son for this flight (brand new, never used) broke its zipper as we tried to close it.  So much for planning.  We fortunately had a suitcase in reserve and managed to fit everything in.  We are gone for four weeks, so we have a lot of stuff.  The weight limit on international is 23 kilos, and our bags weighed in at 23, 23, and 21.9.  (23 kilos is about 51 lbs!)

Our flight was relatively uneventful, the boy slept, my wife tried to sleep, and I watched Logan.  It was good, but pretty violent.  Glad the boy slept through it!

Having a smartphone provided by your foreign hotel is Handy!
Selfie in front of Big Ben
Big Ben through the London Eye.  The old and the new!
We got in early in the morning and sailed through customs/passport control, and then decided to take the Tube to our hotel in Lambeth North.  It worked well, except as mentioned above, we have lots of luggage, and the Tube isn't exactly handicapped accessible.  I ended up lugging all of our luggage up lots of stairs.

Our hotel is great- we are staying at the Marlin Waterloo. It has a pretty central location steps from a train station, walking distance to Westminster Bridge, the London Eye, Aquarium etc, has air conditioning, free wifi, and we got here there was a little cellphone in our room for us to take. It has wifi, free local calls, and is very Handy. In fact, that's the name of it. A great innovation in today's technological world.

I haven't been to London since 1995, although I lived here one summer in 1985 going to acting school.  It's changed quite a bit, even as all the historical elements have stayed in place.  I love how we are traveling, although I wish we'd brought less stuff...  One of the things I remarked to my wife is that if I were choosing the itinerary alone, or if she were choosing the itinerary alone, we would do things very differently.  But it's a great mix of all of our interests!

We've just been her two days, but have done quite a lot in a short amount of time. After getting to the room and taking a nap to clear our heads, we walked around our neighborhood area-- walked up and over Westminster Bridge over by Westminster Abbey, passing Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, over towards Parliament, 10 Downing Street, walked the edge of St. James Park (the Pelican area) and up into Picadilly Circus area, ate dinner, at a little steak joint and then walked into Leicester Square and bought discount tickets for The Play That Goes Wrong for Wed.   After a sojourn in Leicester Square's Lego store and a couple of other stores (Hello, Kingdom of Sweets) we then bought Oyster cards and tubed back to the hotel for a well deserved sleep.

Weirdly this does not get one into
 the Ministry of Magic.  (Nor is it a TARDIS)
Today we got up a little late, picked up one of those ON/OFF tourist buses (included in our London Pass that we bought online) got off at London Bridge, walked over there, and around the new South Bank building the Shard, saw the HMS Belfast museum, ate lunch at a cute Japanese takeway restaurant called Ito (made by the guys from Pret).

After that we walked up through Tower Bridge (but decided not to do the tower or the bridge exhibition) The tower is tomorrow. We then went to Kings Cross station to see Platform 9 3/4 (totally mobbed) and looked at St. Pancras station, (we leave from there on Saturday).  We also walked into the Youtube creator store, and saw the outside of the Youtube creator space (if you have 10K or more subscribers, it's a free service you can use!)  and then we ended up eating dinner at a great fish place in Borough Market with my wife's cousins.   I had the fish and chips and the sticky toffee pudding and two local beers.

Tomorrow it's Tower of London in the morning, followed by hanging around with some friends from college in the afternoon, and the play in the evening.

Thursday we are going to Hampton Court Palace for a picnic with more cousins, followed by dinner with yet more cousins. (My wife has a lot of cousins in London!)

Friday we are at liberty, but will do more sightseeing, I'm sure, including a cruise up the river Thames.  Got any suggestions?

Saturday morning we are up bright and early to drop our stuff off at St. Pancras station, but then double back to get on the bus to take the Harry Potter studio tour. (Yes, we are travelling with a nine year old!)

And then we take the overnight train to Barcelona by the way of Toulouse.  A whole 'nother set of adventures!  Can't wait!

The statue of Chaplin in Leicester Square.  (Chaplin is the guy in the middle, in case its hard to tell!)

London Bridge is not falling down.  (But it wouldn't matter, this is the Tower Bridge!)

The highlight for him so far-- visiting Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station!

Family photo of us in the  Lego Tube, we are squished in between a Beefeater and Shakespeare.
Yep, that sums up London alright!

No comments: