London

The Chunnel ride, while very cool in concept, was remarkably uneventful. Almost disappointingly so i would say. The super fast Eurostar Train went through a few tunnels first , which gave us a false start of thinking we were under the Atlantic. While it was fairly obvious when we actually did go under, there were certainly no announcements or notifications. I’m guessing that they just didn’t want panicky people to freak right out at the thought of being under ba-zillions of Gigaliters of body-crushing, breath drowning, saltier than thou, SEAWATER. We had pre-searched subway info on the net and knew where to head once disembarking from the chunnel train. We gave George & Monica a call to verify our arrival. I was somewhat surprised to hear George answer Monica’s cell phone since I had expected both of them to be at work. It turned out to be a Saturday with both of them lounging around their apartment waiting for us. We had completely lost track of the days of the week, yet again. Absolutely not the first time in the last several months and very likely not the last. From the subway exit, it was only a short few blocks walk to their apartment. Awesomely located is a huge understatement. just a couple blocks from Picadilly circus, there was easy subway access for anywhere we wanted to visit that was not within walking distance. Their generosity of hosting us was made even more profound by the quaint, cute, smallness of their studio apartment. We threw the kids on the kitchen floor every night, while Claudette & I took the hide-a-bed in the barely hide-a-bed sized living room. Separated by a small shelf of DVD’s was their bedroom stuffed in every nook and cranny with assorted “stuff” required for day to day living. This was awesome for us considering the alternatives were a one hour each way train ride to a cheaper hotel outside the city, or well over $500/night for two scrunched & gungy double bed rooms inn central London. Yikes!

After a few days, we had covered most of the London sights that are standard fare. There were many highlights, but the Londonn eye, (a Gynormous Ferris wheel) could pretty much look over all of ’em! We didn’t plan any trips outside the city, since we were just so short on time. We were thinking of trying visit Claudette’s Aunt inn the North, but she just happened to be in Canada while we were there in the UK. We had some great eats, and found a very reasonable pub (reasonable for London that is…) that would typically cost us around $65 for dinner. We had purchased 3 day passes for the tube as well as the same all day “Total London Experience” that we had sent Grandma Vi on. When we added up all of the attraction entry costs the expensive day tour worked out to be really worthwhile. Especially since they included bus transportation around to all the different places. The only downside was the heavy canvasing for tips from the bus driver at the end of the day. Having already paid $500 plus, we certainly weren’t in any sort of mood for the gouging of tips. We had a pretty tainted view of tipping by now, and figured that the bus driver needed to find a new job if he couldn’t make a go of it on his current wages.

There were all kinds of shows playing in London, and all kinds of “super, ultra discount” ticket booths hawking seats. As badly as I wanted to see a few different ones, Claudette kept our bank balance in check by planning for only one. We really wanted to see Stomp!,n but the last night we had available they were not showing. We then had to suffice with “Spamalot”. It was really great, and the kids were relatively well versed many of their skits as well as having watched the “Holey Grail” on the portable media player since I recorded it at Jim’s place in China. The theater was old and wonderful and oozing character from every old piece of shined wood. The only disappointment was the stuffy crowd. Either they hadn’t seen the movie EVER, (or they hadn’t seen it in thirty years and had forgotten everything) or else they all had had their mouths sewn shut. Ok, perhaps not that bad. Their were many points of muffled and restrained laughter, but not as much as the kids and I. Naturally, cameras and videotaping were strictly forbidden, but I turned it on anyways and took some still pics (with the night vision switch on for the darkened room) of Alex and Luke laughing their butts off.

We had a fabulous time in London checking out all the sights over those four days. It was not with a little excitement that we boarded our (last ever of the trip) flight from London, through Germany to Halifax. Off we went trucking along the streets from the apartment, with our suitcases in tow to the subway station. There were lots of odd looks as we walked by the early morning commuters. But we were carefree and laughing and looking forward to our long and presumably cramped economy, discount flight to home soil. YIPEE!!!!!

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