Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Tower of London and Jason’s Canal Trip to Camden Lock

Thursday May 31, 2007

We begin our day with leftovers from last night’s Indian restaurant, along with grits cooked in the microwave, an orange for the Tate Gallery, and 2 of the 4 mangosteens that I bought last night. Then for dessert we had our Indian balls warmed in the microware.

We head out for the Tower of London and scout out the Tube station we will need for tomorrow's trip to Gatwick Airport. The Tower is a short 30 minute walk from the hotel. We arrive around 10:30. The tickets are £45.00 total.

As we walk in, there is a Yeoman Warren beginning an hour tour. He is a portly gentleman dressed in his beefeater uniform. He invites the little people up front including Rhonda, so for the first talk Rhonda is right up front. He is a little bossy but this is part of the show. The crown jewels are in newer and better display cases than they were last time we saw them 20 years ago. We tour the White Tower then decide we have had enough. This is hte day for Sam to bonk. RJ & I have already had our days.

“Let’s go to Jason's Trip.” The next ride that we can catch leaves at 14:30 it is now 12:30. By the time we arrive it is 14:10 so we don’t have time to grab a bit to eat. The boat dock is quite fancy now there is a Boat Dock Restaurant. I get a take away menu. There is a disk with Pan Seared fish with a celeriac sauce with shaved fennel, and mango tout. Sounded good, maybe I can duplicate it at home.

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The cannel trip was very peaceful and quite as our guide says, “It is hard to believe that we are in the middle on London.” She explains the cannels and how the cannel people lived until around the 1960’s. One horse originally pulled the boats. Diesel motors now power the boats. The maximum speed is 4 mph this is to keep the waves from eroding the banks of the canals. We must go even slower if we are passing where another boat is parked. The guide tells us that the trip to Birmingham would take three weeks by cannel instead of two hours by car. Some of the boats we passed cost £100,000.00.
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The trip was 45 minutes long we arrive at Camden Lock a bustling place filled with little shops. Rhonda say it is just like the Sanford flea market except there are lots of punk shops here. We spotted a girl we saw in the tube. She was unmistakable bright pink hair mid back length. The ends were black and she had the same color pink eyebrows. There were lots of food stalls, brightly colored sights and smells. Rhonda and I get food from a Indian stall which turns out to be a bad choice. I decide half way thought that the rice has eggs in it (I am allergic to eggs) so I did not eat any more. The food was rather bland for Indian food. Sam had a Chinese dish that he said was good.
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Sam bought two tee shirts and I bought a blue and white Middle Eastern scarf. Then we headed off the Leicester Square via the tube. Up on exiting the station we ended up heading to China town. From here we passed thought Piccadilly Circus. On our way to the Embankment we stopped at Green Park and rested for about 30 minutes in the grass.
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I dozed off for a few minutes. We all agree that after Paris it was hard coming back to London. It just does not have the same appeal. Except for the language barrier Paris is much more apealling. Maybe the language barrier adds to the appeal.

We pass the London Eye. It is a hopping place. I had noticed on one of the tube cars that we could catch a train from the Blackfriars station to Gatwick, so I crossed the river to the station to check on the times of the trains in the mornings. There are trains at 06:50, 07:10, and 07:32. They arrive about 35 minutes later. The cost is £24.50 for the three of us. I go ahead a purchase the tickets for tomorrow.

Once on the other side of the river again I catch up with Rhonda and Sam. They have scouted out a place for supper. Pizza Express- a restaurant chain that is everywhere in London. We got two small pizza’s a Margarita and a Venetian (olives, capers, onions, and sultans). The Venetian was rather sweet, they both were good although the crust could have been a bit more crusty.
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We check at the desk about getting a cab in the morning at 06:30. The desk clerk orders us a taxi on the phone. Sam is up in the lounge using the Internet PC. It is too smoky up there for me tonight. I have the alarm set for 05:45. CSI is on at five tonight.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Tate Galleries

Wednesday May 30, 2007

We started our journeys today around 11:00 stopping by Eat for sandwiches, I had turkey with cranberries. Very good I would have had soup, but they do not start serving till 11:30. Rhonda had a baguette with cheese and Sam had a Mexican Wrap.

The Tate Modern was just next door. It is a converted power plant and has lots of space. The things in their were a bit too modern for me. We left around 14:00 and were going to take the Tate-to-Tate ferry but had just missed it. The next one not being for 20 minutes so we took the subway instead.

The Tate Galleries were very nice except we were there on the wrong day to see the Turners. They were in the process of changing the displays from May 20 to June 11. So we did not get to see very many Turners. The Constable gallery was also in the process of being changed. They had a very interesting display about a protester that has been protesting the war in Iraq since 2001. The police had moved some of the displays from around Parliament after the “Serious Crimes Act” was passed in 2006. The law said that no unlawful demonstrations could be held within 1 Km of Parliament. Brian Haw was still in front of Parliament when we passed after leaving the gallery. He is now contained to a small allotment of space.

After changing our Euros into Pounds, we headed off to Brick Street. This is the local Indian district. We took the tube at rush hour to Liverpool station. Then it is about a 6 block walk from there. As soon as we got to the street there were hawkers trying to get us inside their restaurants. We settled on the Dawaat. It was a good choice. The man outside said this was his family's restaurant and that his brother was the chef. We had appetizers of Somosas and Tandore Chicken. Then we had Vegetable Curry and Mutter Paneer. Sam chose the chicken curry dish. The peas in both vegetable dishes were fresh. Everything was excellent. The ladies setting next to our table got a kick out of us taking photos of our food.

We decided to walk back to our hotel after shopping at a few of the local stores. I bought some powdered mangos and some fresh Mangostiens that I saw at the counter. We will have those for breakfast.

We arrived back at the hotel just after the sun had gone down at 21:15.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Paris - London on the Eurostar

Tuesday May 29, 2007

I get up at 08:45 and go out and take the last few photos of the island. Then it’s back to the room to have breakfast and head for the Glare Du Nord. We stop in the little shop where Sam bought Guy to get two more, but they only have one left. We make it to the train with an hour to spare. It takes a little while to find the correct entrance to the Eurostar platform. While we are waiting near the first class lounge we see Helena Bonham Carter. She is very tiny but both Rhonda and I think that it is her.

We board the train 20 minutes before departure. We are flashing through the French country side at 180 km/h. Both Sam and Rhonda are sleeping.

Whit Monday on a Rainy day in Paris

Monday May 28, 2007

I had my alarm set for 09:45. It is very quiet out on this holiday morning. The rain is drizzling out our window. I start the day by making back up copies of all of our photos. This takes a long time to sort the images and make the disks the correct size to burn.

We have breakfast of grits, chocolate croissants, cheese and baguette. Then it’s off to the Louvre. After a call to see if it is open on this rainy holiday, they say ou. We arrive in the pouring rain. We wait in line about 30 minutes for a ticket. The place is packed. We zoom through the rooms filled with glorious paintings and statues. It is not allowed to take photos in the rooms with paintings. The sign is posted in 20 languages. But there are still people trying to take photos of the Mona Lisa. The guards are constantly trying to stop people from taking photos.

Over on the statue side it is okay to take photos. Sam takes photos of his penguin with many statues. They are actually quite good.
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At 16:00 we decide that we have had enough. Let’s go back to the Sacre-Coeur. The weather is looking up outside. We make our way back to the Il St Louis for lunch in the apartment. I fix pasta, herbs de Provence chicken, green beans and baguette.

When we leave the apartment it is raining again. We arrive at the station and it is cleared a little. We walk around Montmartre looking in the shops and just absorbing the sights. Got some good pictures of the cafes with reflections off the wet cobblestones.
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We head to the Moulin Rouge. It is in site as we come up from the Blanche Metro station. There is a bus load of tourists there taking photos when we arrive, then all of a sudden the bus pulls up and they are gone. We have the place to ourselves. As Sam is taking a photo of Guy, 3 other young people there see him taking the photo, they are laughing but one of the girls pulls out something that looks like a lamb and takes the same type of photo.

Sam wants to go back to the Concorde to take a photo with the lights on, so we head back that direction. The wind is howling. We discover upon returning to the apartment that it is 9C out side. It is 21:40 and we think the lights will come on at 22:00. Rhonda stays till then and then says, ”I’m going back to the Hotel”. I walk her back to the Metro entrance. Sam and I stay for another 20 minutes or so. Sam was so cold the he could not keep his hands still to take a photo he is so cold.

Upon returning to the apartment Rhonda has washed the dishes and warmed up the leftovers. It is still good.

Montmartre in the Rain

Sunday May 27, 2007

Sam wakes me up at 06:00, we are going out to take sunrise pictures of Notre-Dame and the Cite. The sun hits the building around 06:30 we take lots of pictures hoping some will be good. There are some low clouds but it is mostly clear. The air is brisk and clear. We are out till around 07:30 when we end up at the front of Notre-Dame not a sole except for the sweeper. The first Mass is at 08:30.We will come back with Rhonda then. Sam and I make it the short distance to our apartment, stopping on the way to get our morning baguette and chocolate croissants. I fix breakfast with the above 2 items plus cheese grits and I slice long ways the pear I bought last night. It is about 8 inches long and very good.

We leave around 08:35 for Notre-Dame, The music is echoing off the walls. It sounds very majestic. The church is beautiful; it is a bit odd all of the stuff they are selling in the church though. From here we head to Montmartre. I have a guide that shows some of the places that Amelie was filmed. We come up from the subway where Amelie was leading the blind man. The guide is rather poorly translated and somewhat hard to follow. The café Au Reve is shuttered up for the day. By the time we get near the Sacre-Coeur it is raining. The area where the artists are is jammed packed with tourists. We duck in to Cafes Richard
for a hot chocolate and Margarita pizza. The waiter asks if we wanted it with milk or cream, I said cream! The pizza was really bad, but it is out of the rain.

It seems to let up or at least we are ready to leave. We make our way to the Basilica, started in 1873, via several shops. I bought a blue short brimmed hat (Frank Sinatra style to keep my head dry. There is not photography in the church we sit in the back for a while I doze off for a minute. The church is very different from Notre-Dame, since it is much newer.

It is still raining as we leave, so we head down the front stairs to the Metro, only stopping at a few shops just to get in out of the rain for a second or two.

We make it back to the room. Both Sam and Rhonda are sleeping and I’m going to join then now.

It is now 18:00, Sam wants to go back to the Eiffel tower and The Arch de Triomphe to take pictures with the little penguin that he purchased on our street. While at the Arch it sure looks as if it could be raining. The wind is blowing and it is cold. We head over to the Tower. When we emerge from the Metro, the sky is blue. The sun is just beginning to peak out from behind the clouds. It is beautiful. The sun is shining on the city behind the tower. We decide to go up in the Tower, since it is so pretty. We get in line about 20:30 it takes about 45 minutes to get through the line and up the elevator. By now the sun has set, but the view is still nice. The wind is howling and cold. We go to the 2nd floor thinking that it will be just too cold on the top. I found the most unusual gift on the tower it is a condom with the Eiffel Tower symbol on the package. We saw a young Korean lady purchase one along with a post card. About 22:45 we make our way to the elevator to go down. By the time we make it to the street, the lights are flashing for the 23:00 show. They have installed strobe lights all over the tower and they flash at random. The effect is quite nice. We have seen it from all over the city. Sam and I get a sucre crepe on the steps to the Metro. We decide that the chocolate one is better even if it does have a little too much.


Sabbath May 26, 2007

I took an Advil PM last night and did not walk up all night till 08:30, then I went back to sleep till 10:00. I get up and go out to get our Baguette and croissants. I prepare our grits and fruit - grapes and strawberries. We leave to go to Versailles by noon. After purchasing the train ticket 27E we sit in the upper deck of the car. The trip is about 35 minutes. It is a 5 minute walk to the palace from the train station. The entry is crowded as usual. Once we enter the gardens we head toward the back where it is less crowded. The fountains are not on, and the shade trees are gone from the storm in 2000.
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Then at 15:00 we hear an announcement and music starts playing. This must be the signal that the fountains are on. Sure enough we see one in the distance. They stay on until we leave around 17:00. The gardens are much prettier with music and water flowing in the fountains. It looks like it could rain again and we are a long way from the train with no cover between the station and us, so we start back to the station. We doze on the short trip back to Norte Dame station.
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As we walk past the mini mart on our street I pop in and purchase 2 chicken breast, a pear, more cheese, and an Orangina drink. We have capallini with Herbs de Provence encrusted Chicken with sauce, a fresh Baguette and cheese. It was excellent. I pan-fried the chicken in butter coating both sides with Herbs de Provence, then I roasted it in the oven as I finished the capillini and sauce. Only problem was, after I took the frying pan out of the oven on the counter, I reached for it with my bare hand. OCHHH it was hot. I managed to get my whole hand around the handle before I knew what happened. I got some ice and held that for a while, It did not really help. The meal was very good I’d say better that the one I had last night that I paid 17€ for.
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After we ate I went to the pharmacy around the corner. I ask for some burn medicine. I showed her my hand she said it was not burned, I assured her that it was. She found some cream that said burn on the label. I applied the cream and put some ice in a baggie that we had brought.

We were getting ready to go out and it started to rain. But it only lasted for about 30 minutes. We went out and walked down the Seine and took pictures. It started to rain again and we took shelter under a bridge. The rain only lasted a few minutes, but we decided to head back to the apartment so we could get to bed earlier. We are planning on going up to Montmartre in the morning. So I better get to bed as it is now 00:15. My hand is not hurting as much.
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Shopping in Paris

Friday May 25, 2007

I get out of bed at 10:00 and go down to the bakery, to purchase 1 ancient baguette and 3 chocolate croissants. For breakfast we have polenta (grits), chocolate croissants, baguette, cheese, strawberries, and cheese.
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We head out to the Metro. We are going shopping at Galleries Layefette.
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We go to the roof top observation desk to see the city. It is a hazy day.
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We purchased a few items in the food halls and a few clothing items. We head back to the apartment to drop our stuff off and have lunch. We stop at the local fruit and vegetable seller. For 5€ We got 4 potatoes, a bunch of French green beans, and 2 huge figs. I fix smashed potatoes with butter, green beans, zucchini and carrots. Sam went back out and got another baguette. Dessert was figs and strawberries.
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After lunch we head via the Metro to the Concord. We stroll down the Champs. The clouds are building and I tell them that it will be raining by 18:00 - in 30 minutes. Sure enough about 18:05 the sky is pouring buckets of water. We duck into the nearest Metro station. It is full of people. We stayed down for about an hour. When it slacked up a bit we ventured out on the street again. We stood in the doorway on a Mercedes dealer for another 30 minutes, it finally stopped and we continued our journey to the Arch. It's 19:30 and the sun does not go down till 21:30, so the lights are not on the Arch yet. We walk back down the Arch a bit to get a different view. We took pictures of the Elesse Star hotel where we stayed 20 years ago. It has gone up scale. 360€ for a double. Continuing down the Champs, we are getting hungry and decide to get pizza at a place we thought we had eaten at before. We get inside the Bistreo Romain - they do not server pizza. We decide to stay, I have Pappadelle with marinated chicken; Rhonda, Lasagna Verdure, and Sam Grilled Salmon with potatoes in balsamic vinegar. Rhonda tell me not to try these potatoes at home after tasting them. After I got my dish I thought this might be fresh egg pasts. I ate it anyway. All of the dishes are good 49.70€..

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Pappadelle with marinated chicken

It’s now 22:10 we walk back to the Arch for our night time shots then it's on to the Tower. The place is packed with street vendors selling light up towers, flying birds, and crepes. We finish off our meal with chocolate crepes. We start to head to the nearest Metro around 23:30 and we depart the station around 23:50. I tell Sam about my suspicions about the pasta and tell him we will know by 04:30. We arrive at the Saint-Paul station 00:10. It is 00:30 before we are ready for bed.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Eurostar to Paris

Thursday May 24, 2007

The alarm has finally gone off. I don’t sleep well thinking we might miss the train. But we get to Gloucester Road Station in plenty of time. The trip to Waterloo is uneventfully. The train to Paris leaves on time. The ride is smooth and fast once we get outside of London. The ride under the Channel lasts for 20 minutes. We arrive on time.

The adventure begins in France

The first thing we try to do is buy a Metro ticket. We wait in line for about 10 minutes. The person at the counter does not speak any English we of course do not speak any French. A young man who has just bought a ticket helps us we purchase 3 1 day passes. We now navigate to the Metro line that goes to the Cite.

Upon arrival at the Cite, I steer us in the wrong way on the island. We end up at Point Neff not the Isle De Louis. So we turn around. This is long island, especially if you’ve been up since 04:35. We find the Guest Apartment Services and check in. They take us over to our apartment. It is very nice, especially the kitchen. After they show us how everything works they tell us where the closest grocery stores can be found it sounds like “Sample” but Sam figures out later that they were saying “Saint Paul”.
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We find the store but we are starved and decide to get a sandwich first. After we have regained some strength we head up to the George Pompidou Center. We find the St Merry church and the Hotel we stayed in 20 years ago with my mother when we came to Paris last. I tell Sam that this is the hotel that we stayed at with no luggage, because it was 23:30 when we got back to the room. I thought it was too late to go back to the train station to get the luggage we had checked on arrival.

We go into the St Merry church it was nice but somewhat run down. The gold above the alter was dusty and not shinny or polished. We walk past the Pompidou Center then on toward the Tuileries. We take several wrong turns and end up in the Lass Halles area. The St-Eustache Church is on the north side of the Forum area. The construction on this church began in 1214. The current church is 328 x 144 x112 feet high. It seems much higher that that. There is a class here and someone is playing the pipe organ.

From here we wonder down to E. Dehillerin Le Specialiste Du Material De Cusine. It is a restaurant supply store crammed full of stuff. After looking some time I purchase two copper pots. They are Mauviel, a well-known copper pot manufacturer in France. I soon discover that they are quite heavy to carry and later discovery that Julia Child shopped here.

We finally make it to the Tuileries and sit in the park for a while. They we decide to take the Metro to the Arch since we have day passed. We sit across from the Arch and watch the traffic circle around. It is quite dangerous looking.

We take the train back to Saint-Paul. It is rush hour and the Metro is packed. Just like in London. Rhonda returns to the apartment with my pots and Sam and I go shopping. We buy the fixings for spaghetti, onions, squash, carrots and other essentials. The total comes to 27.50E less that our fish and chips were last night on Gloucester Road.
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This is what we bought.

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Our First Supper on Il De Louis.

We return and while Sam sleeps I prepare the meal. After a slight rest we walk up to Point Neff. Everybody is out having their supper on the point and watching the sun go down. We make our way back to Norte Dame where there are entertainers out doing tricks with fire.

Sam and I watch a little WWE on the telly. It’s time to go to bed now. Both Sam and Rhonda are already there. No internet from our apartment, We tried to connect to the available wireless access points but no luck.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

London Museums and Harrods

Wednesday May 23, 2007

08:45 down for breakfast consisting of toast, cereal, cheese, and tea. Rhonda asks the owner what it is like living with CCTV everywhere. He tells us that Britian is essentially a police state now. The cameras were put in to combat terrorism, but they are mostly used to tax the people. He says that it is almost impossible to drive or park in London without getting a ticket. The speed limit drops from 60 to 35 and it you don’t get down to 35 in time you see the flash of a camera. A few days later you get a ticket in the mail for £100.00.

09:30 we are off to the British Museum. We arrive at XXXX station. We follow the signs to the British Museum. Somewhere along the way there must have been another sign because we come to another subway station. Rhonda asks a construction worker were the museum is he points us in the right direction.

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The museum has been remodeled since we have been there. They had enclosed the courtyard for the millennium. It is very nice. The museum is vast and crowded with school children. they are packed around the rosette stone and the mummies. We wonder the isles for several hours. Sam feels ill - too much culture, maybe.

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For lunch we pop out on the street to a Thai restaurant that we saw on the way in. The Thai Garden Cafe is a nice clean place. The meal is very colorful and good. It is a bit fancier than The Thai Place at home. There are some fancy mushrooms in my dish. Ginger Tofu. Sam has Pad Thai, and Rhonda has the Red Curry. We relax in the restaurant till 14:30. It’s too late to make the last trip on Jason’s Canel trip. Maybe we can go on our return trip.
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Ginger Tofu

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Red Curry

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Pad Thai

Rhonda wants to go to Harrods so we begin the cross-town journey. Harrods occupies the entire block. The store has been decorated in the Egyptian theme. We go to the food court. Here you can buy tomatoes from France for £10.99 per kilo (that’s about $10.00 a wares section. Rhonda buys 4 desert spoons. Sam is sleeping on a near by couch. Jet lag.

We journey to see the Lady Di memorials in Harrods. They are kind of creepy Di and Fiad holding hands and flying away. There is a wax figure a short distance away of Fiad SR. surveying the store. This is really weird.
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We go outside the store and see a street lined with Bentleys, Ferraris, and Minis. We walk down the street to find a bench. From our perch above the street we see no less then 50 Bentleys, a dozen Ferraris, and many Lamborghinis. There are also lots of Minis and Smart cars. Sam and I are much more impressed then Rhonda.

It’s now 19:30 and we head back to the Gloucester Road Station. We ask the station attendant when the first train leaves the station. We must be at Waterloo by 06:00 the next morning. He says that the first train arrives at 5:20. He thinks that we will have plenty of time to get to Waterloo by 06:00.

We have Fish and Chips at a place close to the station. It is what we expected -greasy, but good. The mushy peas have been reheated in their styrofoam container. They have a strong taste of vinegar and are a bright green.

We decide to set the alarms for 04:35 this should give us plenty of time to get to the tube station by 05:20

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

London Proper

Tuesday May 22, 2007

This morning, Sam and I are awake at 04:30 trying to get out on the internet. Seems we are connected, but the service is down. Guess most guests are not trying to use3 the internet at this time of day. We give up and go back to sleep for a few more hours.

We get up at 08:30 and the sun is shining bright. After we dress we go down for breakfast - toast, cereal, cheese, and tea.

09:30 we leave the hotel for Leicester Square in route for the National Gallery. We wonder the rooms for hours, see many great masterpieces and we missed many as well. Many of the pieces are darker than I remembered. Sam and I enjoy the rooms that have couches instead of just wooden benches. No photography in the gallery spoils some of the fun. Rhonda seems to be able to get one photo of Sam in front of a reclining nude, before a guard came over and told her to put the camera away.

We head out for a bite to eat around 12:30. We wonder back up to Leicester Square to see what we can find. We ate at a little place that had maybe 7 tables inside. Rhonda ask for a water the waitress had never heard of this (at least wint an American accent) before (from Hungary). Another waitress came over that spoke a little better English. Rhonda and Sam got water, I had a Fanta. Sam got a roasted chicken sandwich with salad, I had a cheese baguette with salad, Rhonda had a somosa with salad. The total came to £14.45 = $30.00 with tip!!!

From here, we walked down to Westminster Abbey. We got a deal on the entry here the family rate is only £24.00. Since we had paid so much we saw everything. There were some lovely gardens on the back, almost the best part. There was a choir practicing for a concert tonight, they sounded very nice in that building.

From here we slowly made our way to Buckingham Palace. We could not decide if the Queen was in or not. We were not sure what flag was suppose to be flying if she was there.

It’s not 17:30 we are beat. “Let's go back to the room and rest for a while.” We head for Victoria Station then take the District Line to Gloucester Road Station. We are now back at the “Hotel”. Rhonda and Sam are sleeping. We will have to go out in a while for supper.

We slept from 6PM to 8PM. We went down on the street around 8:30. We walked down Old Brompton Road toward Kensington. Past Gloucester Road there is a little restaurant area, we turned down a side street and came upon The Khyber Pass restaurant. The small restaurant was full and busy. I went in and ask for a table. We waited outside as there was no room inside to wait. We had a Mutter Paneer and a curried vegetable with rice and cheese naan. It was very good #20.00. When I ask the waiter for the check, he ask "How much?" He can always tell Americans by this phrase. Most English ask for the bill or ask tif they can pay.

Just across the street was Oddcno’s a Gelati Italiani (ice cream) shop. Also very good.

We got back to the room around 10:30. it's now midnight and time for bed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Arriving in London

May 21, 2007
London England
167 Hotel
167 Old Brompton Road

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We arrived at our hotel at 11:15 by taxi at a cost of £9.00. The lobby of the hotel was nice but cramped. The man behind the desk was friendly and efficient. The room would be next on the list to be cleaned. It would be ready to occupy in 1 hour. In the mean time he suggested that we go to one of the museums up the street. I ask it the was a good Indian of Thai restaurant close by, He suggested the Star of India just up the street.

There was a slight mist in the air as we ventured out the front steps. We walked back up the street the way the taxi had brought us. We came to a corner with 3 Indian restaurants: The Star, Kare Kare, and Noor Jahan. We looked in to all three but they did not open till noon. We walked down the street farther, the rain was now coming down harder it was 11:30. Seems restaurants do not open till noon here. So we turned around and walked back to Kare Kare. We waited the last 3 minutes then walked through the open door. We sat by the window at a 4 top. The food was good, and elegantly served. We had curried and papadum for £29.95. The water we had shared was £3.50.
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We now walked back to our hotel 2 blocks away in the rain. We were on the 4th floor. The room is very tiny probably 12 by 15 with a small 15” TV sitting on top of the mini refrigerator. The bat is nice. There is just room to set our three suitcases on the floor. The room is nice and clean no smell of smoke.

At 5PM we head out to London proper. We walk to the Gloucester road Tube station. We are going to the Piccadilly Circus area. The subway is unbelievably crowded. We can barely get in the door. There are people pressed against you all around. The ceiling is only 9 inches taller than I am. Ivar would not fit in this train!. We get out at Piccadilly Circus. The clouds are low but there is no rain just a gray day in London. The news from the papers on the street is that the Cutty Sark has burned almost to the ground this morning at 4:45AM. They are checking the CCTV for possible arson. We walk to Leicester Square and find a hotel that we once stayed in it is now a Radisson.

We stop and eat pizza and ziti £14.45. Wow $30.00 for not much food.

Next we walked down to Big Ben area. After waking around we device to head back to the Hotel. We stopped in at a grocery store and bought some cookies and chips $10.00.

We are back in the room trying to figure out where to put the suitcases.