A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: moorsey88

London is Calling

First stop

Wheels Up on Friday evening landing at London Heathrow.large_0ca247a0-eab6-11e9-a039-c137998b73da.jpg

Posted by moorsey88 09:57 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Another Trip – Another Adventure

DAY 1

rain 14 °C

As with any trip there are always travel stories and the start of this trip was no exception. This was mostly due to people not abiding by the carry on luggage rule! If you can not carry it on…it is NOT carry on luggage - or your luggage is way too big to fit in the overhead compartment. Maybe if the airline stopped charging so much for checked bags, this would not be a problem! Just sayin'.

Our row of 4 chicks in row 19 were a lot of fun to chat with and swap travel stories with (3 fellow Canadians + me). My travelling companion, AJ, luckily was sitting across the aisle from me avoiding all the girlie talk! Lol.

Landing at Heathrow Airport always poses a challenge. It is like a city within itself with 5 terminals and what seems to be miles and miles of walkways and escalators. So glad we had a direct flight – making connections here can be a bit of a gong show. Having sharp elbows and a quick pace through the crowds can also be helpful, especially on a crowded express train into Central London. The Heathrow Express (similar to Toronto’s UP Express) takes 15 minutes to arrive at Paddington Station for a cost of 22 pounds (overpriced – but worth it today). From there it was a short Tube (subway) ride to Charing Cross station to locate our hotel for the next 3 nights – Hotel Nadler Covent Garden. Great hotel in a super central location near Trafalgar Square!

Why are there soooo many people? This place is way more chaotic than I remember….oh, there are protestors in this city right now, which was very disruptive and made road traffic impossible today shutting down streets, bridges, barricades across sidewalks and crowding all the Tube stations. Huge police presence everywhere we go! Everything seems pretty peaceful – just lots of people advocating for Climate Change.

Once we finally arrived at our hotel, our room was ready and we dropped off our bags and headed out to explore this amazing historical city! Wait…I need my raincoat and umbrella. London’s weather was very stereotypical today. My hair is loving it!!! *sarcasm*

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Some of our sights today:
> St. James Park
> Trafalgar Square
> Buckingham Palace
> The Mall
> Canada Gate
> Canada Memorial for WWI and WWII
> Piccadilly Circus
> Thames River over Jubilee Bridge
> Westminster Abby – looks very cool @ night
> 10 Downing Street (as close as we could get)
> London Eye for night time viewing – NO line if you catch the last time slot

Luckily the loud obnoxious Americans that were there too, were NOT in our viewing pod!

Not bad for DAY 1.

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Posted by moorsey88 14:38 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

Hey…Look! It’s Not Raining

London - DAY 2

semi-overcast 15 °C

If the protestors are not snarly traffic and creating closures in Central London…then it’s the fact that there was a Half Marathon running race going on today! Good day for a run…just not for me. I have sights to see!

After getting organized this morning, we hopped on the tube and headed to London Bridge station to The Shard where at the top of 72nd floor was a fantastic viewing area – good choice since it was not raining. The Shard building includes office space, the Shangri-la Hotel and Spa, residences and restaurants. The view from the top was pretty cool although a bit cloudy.

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We walked along the Queen’s Walk, that runs parallel to the Thames River, which took us past the HMS Belfast – warship from WWII - and ended up at Tower Bridge. We were able to go up to the walkways of Tower Bridge and we walked across the glass floor and saw the engine rooms that once powered the lifting and closing of the bascules of the bridge. (Now all hydraulic powered)
True story – Back in 1962, a double decker bus jumped a 3 foot gap as the bridge was opening for ships on the river. That would have been a crazy bus ride! Haha.

We found a pub for lunch (Wetherspoons), where we got a great deal – 18 pounds – and that included our rum n’ cokes!

After lunch we went to the Tower of London, also located on the bank of the Thames River. This place is a 1000 year old castle that protects the Crown Jewels. A place to explore the three sides of the Tower’s amazing story – a fortress, a palace and a prison.

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A quick walk to the nearby tube station would whisk us away to continue our sightseeing extravaganza – uhhhh, nope! That tube station was closed due to weekend maintenance. Ok. Let’s walk to the next one…it’s pretty close- uhhhh, nope! That one was closed too. We then had a lovely conversation with a homeless person who sent us in the correct direction of a station that was actually open. Ahhhh – success!

Next stop – Kensington Palace – Queen Victoria was actually born in this palace back in 1819. The palace is actually divided into 2 separate areas – the public area and the side where many members of the Royal Family live, as it is an official residence. Princess Diana used to live here too.

Notting Hill – I finally got to this part of London. Who remembers the movie? We found the Travel Book Shop made famous by the movie starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Notting Hill was a great spot to stroll down Portobello Street of multi-coloured houses and shops and even enjoy a gelato along the way.

Tube ride back to the hotel to freshen up and replenish the fluids – a.k.a. rum n’ cokes! Back out to Piccadilly Circus for a Thanksgiving meal at the St. James Tavern. We were even mistaken as locals at the pub by a couple from Tennessee…not sure why??

London. The city where they drive on the *other* side of the road – remember look left AND right before crossing and be careful when taking pictures – those red double-decked buses are pretty BIG!

Step count today: 27 446

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Posted by moorsey88 15:12 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Happy Thanksgiving

DAY 3 - London

overcast 15 °C

Certainly thankful for the travel opportunities I get to do every year. It is amazing the places I get to see.

This morning we headed out for a quick breakfast – banana and chocolate croissant and then proceeded to the tube station for another experience – rush hour in London! The trains were so congested that 7 subways passed thru the station we were waiting at because there was no room to squeeze anymore passengers on. Eventually we were able to continue our journey to St. Paul’s Cathedral – the train was very hot and moist and VERY crowded! Glad we are tall people! Haha.

St. Paul’s Cathedral has stood on the site for over 1400 years. This was the church that Charles and Diana were wed back in 1981. We even conquered the 528 steps from the cathedral floor up to the Golden Gallery (the very top) which had a really good look out view of the surrounding city – luckily it was NOT raining! Very thankful for hand sanitizer after this excursion – I can only imagine the germs on the handrails – yuck! Haha.

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We walked across nearby Millennium Bridge (built in 2000) over the Thames River to the Globe Shakespeare Theatre. We wanted to go inside but they only offered guided tours and the timing did not work for us.

We had done 9000 steps and that was just before noon.

Later on in the day we walked down Oxford Street, where many shops are located. Did someone say shopping??? Found some good deals in the Primark store. I am always a sucker for cheap prices. I could not leave it in the store at those prices – lol.

Time for lunch – Westminster Arms Pub. Good food and drink with a cool vibe. I had been to this pub before so I knew where it was. Everything was super crowded in this area for the last few days because of protestors, demonstrators and tourists. Parliament also resumed today to discuss Brexit – shocking!!! This certainly explained all the police presence and the whackload of demonstrators and TV crews everywhere….oh, and I can’t forget road closures.

Next stop: Westminster Abby – however the last entrance was at 2:00 p.m. Are you kidding me?? We just missed it by about 5 minutes. Oh well…I have been inside before, but A.J. had not. It is a cool looking church – the place where Prince William and Kate were married and the location of Diana’s funeral in 1997. Another time perhaps.

Headed back to the hotel on foot over Westminster Bridge passing Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament – these buildings are going through some restoration and were completed covered with scaffolding. So they were not the perfect photo opportunity.

After freshening up at the hotel we headed out for the evening’s festivities. We went to Harrod’s Luxury Department store. A.J. tried on a $25 000 Rolex watch. Obviously he can not afford a $25 000 watch or else we would not be travelling in coach! Maybe he should check his lottery tickets from Friday. Haha.

We went to the Victoria Palace Theatre for 7:30 p.m. to see HAMILTON. This Tony award winning musical is currently a smash on Broadway in NYC and it was fantastic! We had to *slum it* in the 3rd row as the first row tickets were already sold out when we purchased our tickets back in the summer.

Step count for today: 22 963

Tomorrow we are off to Paris!
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Posted by moorsey88 16:27 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Travel Day to Paris

All Aboard

semi-overcast 16 °C

Time to pack and get organized for our departure to Paris via Eurostar. After checking out of the hotel, we ordered an Uber which arrived in 2 minutes, to whisk us away to St. Pancras International Train Station which took about 20 minutes in London’s rush hour traffic. I did not want to be hauling luggage on the tube as some stations have many stairs and we would have had to transfer lines – which means MORE stairs! That would have been a pain in the ass! Uber was way more civilized and we gave our driver 5 stars! Haha.

We checked in, thru security and passport control without a hitch and we were able to chill before boarding the train to Paris at 9:24 a.m.

The train ride to Paris took 2 hours 15 minutes and at some points we reached speeds of over 330 km/h…which made it quite easy to have a nap – lol.
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We found our apartment fairly easy after figuring out which train to take from Gard du Nord and making sure we were walking in the right direction once we exited the station. Hey…it’s sunny and not raining! Time to change into lighter clothes, put the sunglasses on and start exploring this amazing city.
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Walking along the Seine River to Notre Dame Cathedral – the rebuilding has already begun since the massive fire earlier this year. The entire site is barricaded off and you can not get as close as you use to. Even though this is my 5th time to Paris, I always see something new and interesting.
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Our walking exploration took us to Luxembourg Gardens where we were able to sit and chill while enjoying some more gelato! We even went into a wine shop and a cheese store. It wasn't exactly Costco – but they did have free samples of cheese! Yummy!!!
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A great viewing opportunity from 59th floor of Montparnasse Tower when the sun was out was a great idea – you can see the entire city! The cost was 18 Euros each and there was ZERO line – woohoo!
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We ended up outside the Louvre as the sun was going down. From there it was a quick walk back to our apartment after stopping at a local supermarket for some snacks and beverages. Fromage et baguettes – very French – and very yummy! The rum was good too!

Today’s step count: 19 898…and that was on a travel day!

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Posted by moorsey88 13:16 Archived in France Comments (1)

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