The Final Summary – 2018 Trip

Where did we go and what did we do?

  1. Ireland – Dublin
  2. Ireland – The North and a wedding just out of Belfast
  3. Ireland – finishing a lap of Ireland via Galway, Dingle, Kilkenny and finally back to Dublin
  4. Berlin in Germany.
  5. A train to Amsterdam in the Netherlands (Holland)
  6. Brugge in Belgium including a Flanders Battlefield trip wih Quasimodo Travel
  7. A train to Paris – The city of light
  8. A train and the final wind down to London and our home in Chelsea/Kensington for 4 days

A follow up of things we liked, disliked, and could maybe improve on next time.

What we liked;

  • Amsterdam, really liked it but not immediately. Like the Jordaan area to stay in rather than the red light or tourist area.
  • The Flanders Fields WW1 battlefields – sobering and such a small area and so close to the Somme area in France. Would like to go to the Somme area and check out Villers Brettoneaux and the Sir John Monash Museum at the memorial.
  • Ireland – good fun and easy to travel around
  • The gardens of Versailles, spectacular. Get there early and go to the gardens first before the Palace.
  • The Kathmandu backpack/trolley 70 ltr bags – such versatile bags to travel with
  • Lyca SIM cards bought in Dublin – €20 for calls and 35 big of data worked a treat all over Europe. I researched that one. Only used about 5 gig. Phones worked everywhere in Europe. Data is king. BUT do the research before you go and most likely buy the SIM card in the first city you land in
  • Google Maps – with data while you’re away from wifi – this is a godsend for walking and public transport options in places like Berlin, Paris and London with good metro systems.
  • GPS for driving in a car – won’t leave home without one now
  • Ride the local public transport Berlin = U Bahn and S Bahn free when you buy a Berlin Card, Paris Metro = buy cannet of 10 tickets E1.49 each v E1.90 each f you buy individually, London get an Oyster Card & put money on it and tap on and tap off

Some things we didn’t like;

  • Rude ignorant pricks who push into lines, you find them everywhere
  • Trying to find out where train carriages were going to stop on the platform – the Navigator has a small issue with this and may need counselling. Some platforms show you bit some don’t, and even when you ask train officials quite often you’ll get a bum steer.
  • Bicycles in Holland and Belgium – watch out for them they are killers, much more dangerous than cars, step in front of one and you’ll get the stink eye and the venomous spitting insult.
  • This is just me – but the Irish just like drinkin’ and dancin’ at weddings way to much
  • We were good packers we thought, but there are still about 6-8 pieces of clothing maybe more that didn’t see daylight. Pack less, keep it simple. Jocks, socks 3 shirts, 2 t shirts, 2 long sleeve ts, 1 rain / wind jacket, 1 pair of good walking shoes, iPad, camera, phone to plug overseas sim into, little charger unit, a few toiletries, gps with international maps if your driving anywhere ( we like Tom Tom), 1 book to read on planes and trains ( when read discard and buy a new one), a light easily packable hat of some sort. * take less gear, less= more space to bring home shopping.
  • The amount of tourists and school kids in the main cities, it really slowed after 31 st of August when their summer holidays finished, but I did notice a few Italian accents on kids in London so maybe they have a bit longer. I reckon best time to travel in Europe is October.

Some things we could have improved on;

  • Trains in Europe that link to smaller lines – if the price isn’t too big a difference go First Class as the smaller link train should have a First Class section and you will get a seat, second class you risk not getting a seat if it’s busy line eg Brussels to Brugge.
  • Taxi in Paris from Gare de Lyon, find the official taxi line, otherwise risk finding a rip off driver that will cost you €15-20 extra than what you should pay.
  • A bit more language training eg French & German, Mark was starting to get into the groove, Genelle not really interested at all in anything other than English.
  • More common food decisions, two of the traveller’s have very limited food ranges, and as such they have to decide where to eat, conversely I’ll eat anything so I’m easy to please.
  • A bit more time in some places, perhaps to be able to do the travel a little slower, we travel hard and fast and there isn’t much down time to just chill.
  • Pack less, as per above comment

What are the plans for travel in the future;

  • Genelle – maybe Italy with a group of women next year doing a cooking trip, some interest in Sri Lanka, interested in Thailand for a short break
  • Me a) Thailand Chang Mai and Mekong trip to Laos. b) Southern India -maybe an Intrepid trip. c) Eastern Europe Poland, Russia, d) Iran  e) Australia where I haven’t been eg the Kimberly, SE WA
  • Mark – Eastern Europe – Russia & Poland

Update Monday 17th September

Its been 1 week now, the parallel universe is releasing its grip on me, and I’m starting to feel a bit normal again, however I’m still waking up at about 3 in the morning but now I go back to sleep and don’t stay awake. The swelling is gone from my ankles and feet and I’m not up 5 times a night to go to the loo, I’m even starting to think that I could actually handle another long trip.

Today the parcel of expensive china turned up from Belleek, the pottery town in Northern Ireland, a few bits of nice stuff to go in the “special” shelf with with our travel memorabilia. The Navigator will be eagerly waiting to open up her parcel when I get home tonight.

I see the Cowley’s Facebook posts from Italy and it brings back memories of what I like about Italy and the places we still haven’t been and seen there.

Ciao for the last time on this trip

Paul

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Day 30 – Qatar to Australia & home – Sunday 9th September 2018

I’ve been home for a bit over 24 hours now, its Monday night and we arrived home in Dubbo on Sunday afternoon. so we’re still in the that parallel universe or zombie land that jet lag brings on. Although this morning I sort of felt ok, in Europe it is late in the evening, the problem time is from about midday here when we would normally be sound asleep over there. It’s a 1st world problem I know, but I did go back to work this morning, sat at my desk, tried to remember my access code etc to get to work emails I haven’t looked at for 4 weeks (800 emails are line up), I turned the work mobile on that’s been off for 4 weeks ( I try to catch up on work changes, politics and the general mood of everything, a few disasters, a few resignations, the usual stuff)

So, where did I last finish in the last post, I think it was as we were leaving Doha terminal to get on the plane. The plane is pretty full, not many seats empty up the back of the plane so no real opportunity to spread out as we have been able to on other trips. The food timing seems a bit weird, and not at all matching with the timing in Australia where we are heading and we aren’t really that hungry, I don’t even feel like a beer or a g&t, nurse check my pulse and blood pressure please! I doze occassionally but mostly we are watching movies or listening to music. Another Plus for long haul flights is Noise Cancelling Headphones, Mark and I have expensive Bose ones and Genelle some Aldi headphones, this changes to feel of the aircraft, hardly any jet engine roar coming through and blocks out a lot of other noises, but not crying babies, maybe thats the next technological challenge for electronic engineers to development baby crying cancelling headphones.

Finally the sun comes up and we see the blue mountains and Sydney ahead, a feeling of relief comes in a rush that the torture of the 14 hours being held captive in a metal cylinder hurtling along at just under the speed of sound is nearly over.

At about 6.45 we land and stumble out into Sydney airport, there is a huge crowd of people trying to get through the Borderforce checks and then through the customs, the lineup is long and slow. I slow the process down by stopping to buy a bottle of Jameson’s in Duty Free, but it takes over an hour to get out and get to the train to get over to the domestic terminal, the $4.50 charge on the Opal Card to get a quick train is cheap. We then sit in the Rex waiting room until 11.45 when our flight home leaves. Mark and I have a McDonalds, the first one in a month and I have a coffee, heaven, as its still hard to find coffee as good anywhere as what we get in Australia. The country doesn’t look as good as I thogu it might as we fly into Dubbo, just a green tinge, no bulk and its obvious that I haven’t read the rainfall reports on the internet correctly, I thought the season would look a lot better.

The Murphy’s pick us up and drop us at home, we drearily unpack, sort gear for washing, then have a shower, do a bit of basic shopping, eat dinner and Genelle hits the sack at about 9pm and I hit it at about 10.30pm.

A final sum up will follow in the next week or so when the jet lag wears off I can write with a clear head.

It was a great trip, busy, non stop for my travelling partners and busy enough for me, we covered old ground, new ground, and some that we saw just fleetingly in trips before, but more about that later.

What is the next trip we’re planning????

Cheers

Paul

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Day 29 – England to Qatar and onwards towards Australia – Part 1

We leave London on time, it’s still late and while they bring us food we don’t really feel like eating much, even the g&t feels a little late. A couple of movies and then then that restless, fidgeting long haul plane type sleep which isn’t really sleep at all in economy class. I guess a few people can get a good sleep but it could only be because they’ve been in a combat zone or get some help from narcotics.

We land at Doha at 6.25am, this is 4.25am London time so as I’m not the best early in the morning I feel positively crap now.

We wander out into the massive terminal, muffins and tea/ coffee to kill a bit of time and put a bit of food in the belly. Our gate finally comes up, D2 which is a short train ride from where we were, then another security check. Amazingly my new knees don’t set the detector off, but Mark gets the full search because something has come up ” suspect” in his backpack, they send his gear through the x ray machine about 3 times, do the explosives scans a couple of times and finally work out its some crystal that Genelle packed in his bag, by the time he’s given the ok nearly everyone is through the last check and he’s fuming. Nothing like a bit of stress in an Arab country a long way from home.

We due to board shortly and then the long haul to Sydney, landing Sunday morning and then back to Dubbo at lunch time, work for me on Monday, that feels like it’s going to be fun.

It doesn’t seem like a month ago that we left Dubbo, but the start of the trip and landing in Dublin and then the wedding in Northern Ireland seems like such a long time ago now. How does that work?

Cheers from Doha in Qatar, next post won’t happen until we’re back in Dubbo.

Paul

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Day 28 – London – Friday 6th September – the last day before we travel.

So, last night we were discussing the trip out to Terminal 4 at Heathrow, the Navigator has a different opinion to Mark and I, but we let it rest and decide to take the gutless track and let somebody like the reception guy clear it up, maybe she’s right, but I think she’s wrong, let’s see. No point poking the tiger so late in the trip.

We’re at Heathrow Terminal 4 now and I’ve got a bit of time to recount the day’s activities. We don’t find out the answer to the above question because we later decide to get a car and not the tube to Heathrow because of Friday peak hour. My goodness aren’t airport terminals exciting places!

This morning we take it a little easy, Mark is going to a haircut at 9.30 but we plan to head up to Kensington Palace when he’s done. A phone call from Mark tells us he’s lost, he missed the barbers and then did a look through the streets and ended up at the totally opposite side of our flat to the barbers, so I go for a walk and find him near Brompton Hospital down in South Kensington and we find another funky looking barber shop South Ken Barber Shop, they do the funky curly wurly moes, all the groovy undercut hair does, beard shaping, just name they do it, two men and two women cutting. Mark gets a good short scissor cut then the cut throat razor shave, and it was cheaper than the other place and they did a great job, so it all worked out well.

We walk back to find the Navigator and then walk up Gloucester Road to Kensington Park and the Serpentine and the Diana Memorial, then the Palace. It’s a nice stroll, the lovely old buildings, the old pubs with flowers hanging outside, the op shops, a sort of village atmosphere in the middle of London. We hit Kensington High Street and cross the road to the gardens, they are green and colourful with all sorts of flowers, quite beautiful and calming to walk through there slowly. We leave some of Tim’s ashes in the beautiful gardens.

A sprinkle of Tim’s ashes going into the Kensington Palace Gardens.

It was a bit of walking and the jumpers were off, the Navigator was huffing and puffing a bit, so we slow down a little before she gets too whingey. When I ask if she’s Ok she says she has a bit of the sniffles. She can’t find what she wants at Kensington Palace shop so her and Mark get the tube into Victoria Station and Buckingham Palace, and are back at the flat in no time, but I’m quicker after a stop in at a little Marks and Spencer food shop in Earls Court.

We have a relaxing late lunch, watch a couple of soppy romantic movies on tv, and chill before the final pack. We decide to book a car to the airport as it’s bedlam on Friday afternoon on the tube, and no seat for the hour trip to Heathrow might bring one of the fellow travellers undone, it’s £60 but it’s 45-60 minutes drive and in the Friday traffic it will be a challenge.

A pile of 44 gallon drums on the Serpentine, art I guess?

Our driver is right on time, a black Mercedes wagon, and we head into the London traffic with Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, Marc’s, Beamers, super bikes lane splitting their way through the traffic, and all sorts of exotic vehicles and drivers.

The checkin goes smoothly, then through the “gates of no return” where my knees set all the bells off, the full search and x ray machine sort it out, but Genelle gets checked after setting the bells off as well, must have been the steely resolution that set it off!

We wait for our gate to come up on the board and finally it’s Gate 11 so we amble down to wait.

As we wait I’ll do a summary of what things we liked, disliked, and could maybe improve on next time.

Some things we liked;

  • Amsterdam, really liked it but not immediately.
  • The Flanders Fields WW1 battlefields – sobering and such a small area and so close to the Somme area in France
  • Ireland – good fun and easy to travel around
  • The gardens of Versailles
  • The Kathmandu backpack/trolley 70 ltr bags – such versatile bags to travel with
  • Lyca SIM cards bought in Dublin – €20 for calls and 35 big of data worked a treat all over Europe. I researched that one. Only used about 5 gig. Phones worked everywhere in Europe. Data is king.
  • Google Maps – with data away from wifi this is a godsend

Some things we didn’t like;

  • Rude ignorant pricks who push into lines, you find them everywhere
  • Trying to find out where train carriages were going to stop on the platform – the Navigator has a small issue with this and may need counselling
  • Bicycles in Holland and Belgium – watch out for them they are killers, much more dangerous than cars, step in front of one and you’ll get the stink eye and the venomous spitting insult.
  • This is just me – but the Irish just like drinkin’ and dancin’ at weddings way to much
  • We were good packers we thought, but there are still about 6-8 pieces of clothing maybe more that didn’t see daylight. Pack less, keep it simple. Jocks, socks 3 shirts, 2 t shirts, 2 long sleeve ts, 1 rain / wind jacket, 1 pair of good walking shoes, iPad, camera, phone to plug overseas sim into, little charger unit, a few toiletries, gps with international maps if your driving anywhere ( we like Tom Tom), 1 book to read on planes and trains ( when read discard and buy a new one), a light easily packable hat of some sort.
  • The amount of tourists and school kids in the main cities, it really slowed after 31 st of August when their summer holidays finished, but I did notice a few Italian accents on kids in London so maybe they have a bit longer. I reckon best time to travel in Europe is October.

Some things we could have improved on;

  • Trains in Europe that link to smaller lines – if the price isn’t too big a difference go First Class as the smaller link train should have a First Class section and you will get a seat, second class you risk not getting a seat if it’s busy line eg Brussels to Brugge.
  • Taxi in Paris from Gare de Lyon, find the official taxi line, otherwise risk finding a rip off driver that will cost you €15-20
  • A bit more language training eg French & German, Mark was starting to get into the groove, Genelle not really interested at all in anything other than English.
  • More common food decisions, two of the travellers have very limited food ranges, and as such they have to decide where to eat as I’ll eat anything.
  • A bit more time in some places, perhaps to be able to do the travel a little slower, we travel hard and fast and there isn’t much down time to just chill.

I’ll add to this when I have a bit more time.

Cheers for the last day of London, the rest will be if anything weird or wonderful happens on the plane trip and I can’t imagine that’s going to happen.

Paul

A f….g swan in the Serpentine! They aren’t only in Brugge?

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Day 27 – London Town – Thursday 6th September

The Waifs sang a song called “London Still”, a great song and we’ve only been here a few days but the words I can sort of identify with, and I think if I’d have spent a year or 2 in a misspent youth then it might apply;

Wonder if you can pick up my accent on the phone

When I call across the country, when I call across the world

I see you in my kitchen, I can picture you now

As you toast to your small town when you drink the happy hour

I’m in London still

I’m in London still

I’m in London still

I took the tube over to Camden to wander around

I bought some funky records with that old Motown sound

And I miss you like my left arm that’s been lost in a war

Today I dream of home and not of London anymore

But I’m in London still

I’m in London still

Yeah, I’m in London still

Well we’re only in London for another day, then we’re on the big jet plane home. I’m looking forward to getting home into my own bed and to see few friends over a coffee or a beer, but I’ll miss the feel of the foreign environment, the challenge of another country and a few other things.

So what happened today, Genelle and Mark headed out at 8.30 this morning to take a bus to Bath and Stonehenge, it’s late at night now and they got home about 7.30pm. I think a long day and very enjoyable, apparently the weather was a bit breezy and a bit drizzly, but well worthwhile, I think Genelle felt Bath was ok but you don’t need a lot of time there.

Well, my day was all London. I had a lazy start, finished the washing, got the tube into town and a short walk to the Imperial War Museum on the south side. While walking there I finally caught up with Allan Cameron, an old Farrer mate on the phone and made a time for lunch. Meanwhile I enter the museum, entry is free, but they ask for £5 for a guide, which is fair and I spend about 2 1/2 hours there. The floors are divided up into WW1, WW2, the rest ( Ireland and Middle East), a Holocaust exhibition and a floor with Hero’s Gallery of VC and George Cross winners, lots to see and in very good condition. For me the best bit was a German R75 BMW with side car with machine gum mounted used in the invasion of Poland, boy what a bike! A boxer engine drives the rear wheel and the sidecar wheel, it looked like a shaft drive but I couldn’t see to be sure.

The Holocaust bit is very interesting and very disturbing, areas we’ve covered in our travels like Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Berlin’s KristalNacht the night when 80% of Germany’s synagogues where torched. There are a number of real planes hanging, a Spitfire, a Sopwith Camel ( Biggles flew them!), a V2V German rocket, all sorts of weaponry, a big section of WW1 on the Somme and Flanders battles. Well worth the 5 quid I reckon.

I walk back to Westminster to meet the Cameron’s, and we lunch at the Red Lion in Whitechapel, big meals washed down with a lager. Al and Jenny are visiting their son and have another week or so to go and are doing a bit more exploring than we’ve done around the south, they’ve already been to Scotland and Ireland. It’s a good catch up, last time was in Port Macquarie early last year.

After lunch I head up to the National Gallery, catch up with some paintings I’ve seen before and like to see again, my favourites, the Constables, Czanne, Gaugan, Vincent van Gough plus a few others. Trafalgar Square is humming so I wander up the hill to Piccadilly Circus, then down Regent Street until it starts to rain lightly, a steady light drizzle so a coffee at Starbucks breaks the walking and gives me a little rest time to think, do I stay or do I go – I vote go and head back to Piccadilly and get the tube back to Gloucester Road, walk to a little barber shop in Kensington for a haircut. £9 gets me a no 2 and a chat with a Lebanese barber, a Christian Lebanese man in his 60’s who met and married an Irish woman in Greece 20 odd years ago then ended up in London. It’s the old style barber, a real back to the future moment, I haven’t been to a barbershop for probably 30 years.

I wander back to Earls Court on foot, then back to the flat with a few supplies for dinner. The travellers have just arrived back so we’re all a bit weary. There nothing that interesting or funny to recount about today really, so it’s a pretty boring old post.

The plan tomorrow, 9.30 Mark is going to a upmarket barber for a clip and a cut throat razor shave, the rest of the day is easy. At 6pm we’ll wander out to Heathrow Terminal 4 for our 9.55 pm QR016 flight to Doha, 6 and a bit hours then 14 hours to Sydney. We’ll be home in Dubbo Sunday midday looking like something the cat dragged in and feeling worse.

Cheers for almost the last time on this trip

Paul

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Day 26 – London – an excursion to Windsor to see if cousin Liz is at home

I have mentioned this in previous blogs, but, listen up, I’m related to the Queen via my mother’s blood line, or more to the point the Lyon family, via the Bowes-Lyon connection, I’m not sure what number I am in the line to take the crown if there are a few “accidents” but I’m pretty sure that I’m a long way from getting a phone call to see if I need any training for the job. But, no bull, I have the family history links way back and it’s true, perhaps when the Lyon family married into families with convict history we had the pencil put through our names, I dunno?

So we’re a little late out of the barriers this morning, a good sleep-in has done us all well, and an eat in breakfast of toast and Weatabix washed down with a strong cup of tea and not pastries is good for the waist line I reckon. I put washing on last night but when I returned home the washing machine had all lights off and I couldn’t open the door, I guessed that I may have hot a wrong button but the repair man confirms it was the plug, phew for that I say. We head out to Earls Court Tube Station, take the District line to Richmond, then buy. £6 each return ticket to Windsor, we go past the famous Twickenham Stadium and I dream of going to a rugby test match there at some time, my guess is that might never happen now.

The country looks dry, for England, it’s obviously been a hot dry summer. As we approach Windsor/Eaton Riverside Station, the imposing bastion of the castle sits grandly on the hill out to the left of the train station, a commanding position strategically and clearly it’s easy to understand why the monarchy consider this place their home. It’s pretty fantastic.

We wander the 400 metres or so up the hill, past the MacDonalds and KFC’s and other food franchises and souvenir shops sitting just outside the castle gates, sort of a bit offputting really. And then when you get inside the gates and it’s a lot different, the history of the Royal Garter, St George’s Cathedral, the monarchs buried here like Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, the paintings by Titian and other masters, the portrait of Edward the Second with the giant battle sword that’s over 700 years old hanging beside the portrait. Edward II is not buried here, he’s in Gloucester, but he has a reputation for being his fathers biggest mistake, he was gay, didn’t produce an heir, lost a few battles and one versions says he was executed by a red hot poker up the wazoo. My eyes are watering! This is a question that may never be answered. Any historians out there, feel free to add or correct me.

The collection of armory from over the centuries, the St George’s Hall where all the Knights of the Garter are listed, the restored area nearly destroyed by the fire in the early ’90s is all magnificent and I’m glad I made the effort to go and see it again. As we leave the Royal Apartment area, Genelle and Mark are nearly run over by 2 of the Royal Guards marching down the hill. I hear a loud yell ” Make way for the guard! I see Mark and Genelle step aside not sure what is happening and then they see the 2 guardsmen bearing down on them, wonder if they have bullets in those guns!

We’re done with the castle about 2.30 and head back down to the train station after a light lunch, we deter via the Thames bridge and manage to see some ducks and a few f….g swans ( in joke – forgive the pseudo swear word!).

We’re back at Earls Court about 4.30 and wander up to Kensington High Street, Mark books himself a cut and shave by a real men’s barber shop Kensington Barbers on Friday morning. No clippers or safety razors here, they use scissors and cut throat razors, I think of reciting the Man from Ironbark to Mark but resist, I don’t think he’d see it as remotely funny.

The Navigator is getting a whingey, I suspect sore feet and tiredness, so the slow lope along the Kensington shopping area and then back the short distance to Gloucester Road doesn’t result in smiles on her face. The closer we get to our apartment the slower she gets, with a gait like a busted crow she hobbles through the front door and collapses on the lounge feebly asking for a cup of tea. After a cup of tea she heads for a calming bath while a Heineken soothes and settles my nerves. Despite an offer to cook the Sainsbury’s ready prepared dinner, I’m still not in the good books, I left the plastic on the foil container. But, thankfully golden boy Mark picks up on my blue and gets the job sorted before damage is done.

A cup of tea and a biscuit after dinner is helpful.

Tomorrow – Mark and Genelle are heading to Bath and Stonehenge at about 8.30 and I’m going to the Imperial War Museum, there’s an 11 am tour I’m planning to take and then I may come back to the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square, it’s a place I like to wander with no time restrictions and museums are not something the Navigator has one bit of interest in, so I’ll move at my pace today, fast on the street, slow on the looking and soaking up.

Cheers from London

Paul

Photos – 1. I liked the shoe and sock of the bloke on the train

2. Windsor Tower – see the plane about to hit it

3. Outside our flat in fashionable Chelsea, right near Kensington & Earls Court.

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Day 25 – Paris to London – Tuesday 4th September.

Another day on the move, back to an English speaking country today.

Breakfast in the hotel , the usual coffee/tea with croissants, then a taxi to Gare du Norde train station for the Eurostar to London, we get going a bit earlier than planned as the bit of information we’ve read says get there earlier than the 30 minutes before the train leaves they ask, it’s a bit tougher getting through the passport and immigration control points. Glad we took that advice as it helped.

Our taxi is on time, he’s a chatty fellow and €20 is the cost to Gar Du Norde, which proves that I did get ripped off the night we arrived, and I can now see the exit we should have to get the “proper taxis”, oh well next time.

We fill out the British immigration papers, get in the line and we’re there for the 11.10am train, it’s about 9.50 and people are just arriving for the 10.10 train, what a bunch of wankers getting there so late and then having to push through, then complaining because “boo hoo, I’m in a rush darlings please move aside and let us important Americans through !” The navigator shares my view on this rare occasion, f….g wankers should turn up a lot earlier. We get through to the Duty Free waiting area and wait for when we can board the train, which is 10.50, and right on time it happens. The Eurostar is a pretty swish train, we’re only 2nd class, but the seats are good and there is plenty of space. We find our seats, but ai end up in the wrong one, no worries, the couple from Manchester, one who was meant to be sitting where I’d plonked my posterior said all ok stay where you are. We chatted to them the whole way to London, they are retired and had just spent 4 day’s in Paris.

In no time we’re under the English Channel and ploughing along at 230km into London’s Kings Cross St Pancras station. In no time again we’re on the London Underground ( the Tube) on the Piccadilly Line to Gloucester Road to find our apartment in Chelsea, a rather swish suburb.

We have a lovely apartment at Collingham Gardens, about 1/2 way between Earls Court Tube Station and Gloucester Road Tube Station, both about 5 minutes walk, easy peasy. Genelle and Mark take off to do. Buckingham Palace tour and I WANDER DOWN TO Earls Court with them, then chill with a coffee and do a bit of shopping at Sainsbury’s on Cromwell Road. My right leg has been really sore the last 2 day’s and I need to give it a break for a day or so, so below is our new accomodation for the next 4 day’s, not as good as we had 2 years ago with the Murphy’s but ok.

After they finish at the Palace we might catch up with the McLeods, if they are free, and available, maybe they have tea and scones booked with Liz?

I get the tube into Russell Square to catch up with the McLeods at the Royal National Hotel for dinner. Ken, Jane, Dale, Pauline and Phamy are all there and later Pauline’s cousins Molly Sharp joins us.

I retire back to Chelsea and the others head to Selfridges and other places, my day is done.

Cheers

Paul

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