Saturday, September 10, 2011

Last full Day in London

Last night we had our bags 99% packed so that we would be ready for today.  We got up early, went down to breakfast, completed our packing and checked out. For a pound the hotel stored our luggage for the day as we are going out to Gatwick airport to stay the night at the Hilton so that we are there for early check-in tomorrow. In the meantime we needed a little more adventure.

We checked all of our wish lists and discovered that we hadn't seen Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament up close. It is the wrong time of the year for a tour and you have to book ahead so we just circled around and took pictures. We found a cafe to have an almond croissant at and a coffee as it is a little cool today.  We had a couple of hours before the Borough Market opened so we walked down Whitehall and took pictures of the war heroes.  I spotted Monty (Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery) but I didn't know the rest. It was nice to see that they had a war memorial for the women that served. Along the way we were going to visit the Banqueting House - included in our Historic Palaces, but it was closed for the day.

I picked London Bridge as the underground stop for us to use for the Borough Market. I thought we would have to walk along the river a bit to find it but we practically fell over it 1/2 a block from the underground station.  Markets like this are always interesting. Everything is going on at once; there are samples of food everywhere and the variety is spectacular. There was wild boar, kangaroo, ostrich, venison, sausage of all kinds; cheddar, blue, stilton, goat, and camembert cheese to name a few. We saw candy every colour of the rainbow, fish I didn't know existed, mussels, oysters, and parsnips as large as cucumbers. dozens of fruit and veg that we don't see here in the grocery store, plus organic goods and one man who claimed to be a high quality non-organic farmer.

We walked through the market several times - it is very large and then decided to walk along the river to see the reproduction of Shakespeares Globe Theater.  Had beer and sandwiches down on the wharf and headed back to the hotel to collect our bags. Got lost looking for Southwark underground but finally headed for Bloomsbury, Russell Square and the Tavistock Hotel for the last time.

I tried to find a bus route but it was not a direct route so we decided to take the tube to Victoria Station.  Most of the way we had lifts (elevators) to take us up and down so we didn't have to carry the luggage upstairs until we got to Victoria. Luckily with three flights of stairs we kept meeting nice men who carried the cases up for us.  We were tired enough as it was from dragging them around.  We thought that was the worst of the day until we got to the station.

We had prebought the ticket for the Gatwick Express train to take us out to the Hilton.  Easy-peasy put the reservation number into the ticket machine and out comes the ticket  --- NO!  The ticket machine said "Sorry but there is a problem with your ticket.  I went to one counter - the man tried but couldn't get the ticket to print.  He sent me to the Gatwick Counter and Renee tried to print it - no deal.  She passed it to a supervisor who also couldn't get it to work. They sent me to the Reception area where the lady on duty and then the team leader tried to get me a ticket. No Luck.  By now we had been in the station over an hour as we waited in line after line. I was exhausted and ready to burst into tears.  They kept saying that the number I had and the ticket didn't match it was in someone else's name and someone else's credit card. Could I go where I had bought it to get it printed. (London Ontario - I think not) In the end I had to buy two new tickets and get signatures from the people who I had dealt with as they told me to apply for a refund.

Finally we took the train and arrived out at Gatwick.  It took a while to find the hotel as Gatwick is large and under construction - like the rest of London. The hotel said we had two rooms not one - got that fixed - hope I haven't been charged for two? We had a bellman take our bags up to the room and we headed for the airport so we could check in as we had trouble on our iPods. Couldn't check in until tomorrow. Back to the hotel and asked about WiFi. We are in the only hotel in London that charges for WiFi. And a lot of money. Since peggy couldn't be sure when Mike would be home for face time she couldn't buy 15 minutes for 3 pounds as she might miss hime completely. The airport was suppose to have WiFi but it wasn't working.  That was why I didn't blog last night.

To top it off we hit the first hotel of the vacation that didn't give you two sheets on your bed.  I like to sleep with just a sheet unless it is very cold so we phoned and asked for another sheet and we ended up with 4 extra sheets. We picked up a couple of beer before we left Russell Square and 2 eclairs at Marks and Spence in the Airport so after dinner at the Sports Bar we went upstairs and ate eclairs and drank beer and watched "Red or Black" and "the Million Pound Drop".  Time for bed and an early morning.

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