Saturday, September 10, 2011

Train tickets, Goodbye London

Friday started out fine. We took the tube to Westminster and saw the Parlimemt Buildings and looked for #10 Downing Street but it is hidden from the street, so we could only guess where it was. We wanted to see The Banqueting House becauce our membership to the royal palaces included it but it was closed for the day. That was just the beginning it seemed. We toured the Borough Market, that was great fun seeing pig's heads and fresh fish, and vegetables and fruit galore. There was also fresh cheeses and chocolates. We had left our luggage at the hotel so we returned early to make our way to the train station.

I thought we were going to take a hired car to the Gatwick Airport but somehow I misunderstood and we took the tube to the train station and got the Gatwick Express. What a nightmare it turned out to be. We had to change subway trains and dragged our luggage up and down stairs. I thought Paris had a lot of stairs!!! There are gentlemen in London, as I had a few carry my luggage!!

We finally got to the Victoria Train station and Lynda went to pick up our pre-arranged tickets. The nightmare continues. She returned 45 minutes later with no tickets. There was a problem and she was sent from person to person and still didn't have tickets. She finally had to buy 2 new tickets. It took us over 3 hours to finally get on the Express to the airport.

We stayed overnight at the Gatwick Hilton and the payoff was that you had to pay for wi-fi. They told us to go to the airport as they had free wi-fi, so off we went. A 20 minute walk later and their wi-fi didn't work.

Anyway, we had a nice dinner in the sports bar and a free full breakfast. After a good nights sleep we were up at 6am so we could get breakfast and then check in for the flight home. I still have to fly from Toronto to my home and by the time I get home I will have been up for almost 24 hours.

My own bed will feel good tonight.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tiki Patchworks & Covent Garden

We went to the tower of London yesterday. There is a lot of pageantry there with many people dressed on period costume. It has great deal of history attached to it because of all the people who were imprisoned there and lots that were be-headed there. It was very interesting.

Today we went to Tiki Patchworks in Surrey and purchased some fabric and a purse pattern. We didn't have to pay extra to travel out of our zone because a nice train man told us all we had to do was take a bus. Lynda and I both purchased Union Jack cushion kits. I will be the lucky person who will get to make them. We found a Poundland store and of course had to go in. I found a pair of reading glasses for 1£.

After lunch we took the Underground to Covent Garden, which isn't a garden but hundreds of shops selling everything from food to souvenirs to high end clothing. It was a great place to spend the afternoon browsing around.

We are leaving this hotel tomorrow and going to the Gatwick Hilton overnight because we fly out early Saturday morning, so we came back to the hotel early so we could get our packing started. We went back to Covent Garden to find some dinner. We ate at the Nags Head pub. We have eaten at a lot of pubs here in England. !!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buckingham Palace & The Tower of London

Today we had 9:30 tickets for Buckingham Palace so we were up early to stand in line. We only had to wait half an hour to get our tickets and then wait for our time to enter. Another disappointment was that there were no photos allowed in the palace. This was the most beautiful of all the palaces we have seen. It was warm and had a cozy atmosphere to it. I can see why the Queen would choose to live here. It didn't take us long to go through the palace and I was surprised by that. It is really a beautiful place and shouldn't be missed if you come to London.

I had a nice hot chocolate from the cafe when we finished our tour.

After that we walked down the Mall and to Trafalger square.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What would London UK be without rain??

We arrived on Saturday with overcast skies. It rained on Sunday, it rained on Monday when we were on the bus, (thankfully when we were not at Stonehenge) and it poured rain all day today. I am not enjoying this rain but I am enjoying my time here.

Today we took the tube to Waterloo station and then the train to surrey to Hampton Court Palace. This is the Palace where Henry VIII lived. It is a large palace with many rooms and long dark cold hallways. We are members of the Historic Royal Palaces which gives us free admission to 5 of the palaces here in London. There is also a members room where we can sit on private to eat our lunch or have tea. The volunteer on duty couldn't get the tea machine to work so she went to the cafe and bought us tea, because she felt so bad. She reminded me of Mrs bucket of Keeping Up Appearances.

After that we walked around Piccadilly Circus and bought new London umbrellas.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Windsor Castle, Oxford University , Stonehenge

We had no Internet for two days so I couldnt blog. Yesterday we went to St Paul's Cathedral and Kensington Palace. Today we took a bus tour which we don't usually do but we were not disappointed. We started off at Windsor Castle and toured the state apartments. No pictures were allowed which was a disappointment. The beautiful rooms are only in my memory. From there our driver took us to Christ Church at Oxford University. This is where much of Harry Potter was filmed. The university is much too large to see in one day let alone a few hours.

From here we travelled on to Stonehenge. We had a private sunset viewing right into the circle of stones. Normally you cannot get near them but we paid extra for this tour and were allowed to almost touch them. That is because touching is not allowed . We had a great driver and guide and a great day.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Westminster Cathedral

Last night we went to Westminster Cathedral. This is not the Abbey but a catholic church here in London. We went to evening mass. It was an like a Canadian high mass, very nice celebration. Massive amount of people, probably because there are very few Catholic churches in England.

After mass we went to "the Albert" for fish and chips and a Brew.
Today we are going to St Paul's Cathedral and Kensington Palace and a few others.