A Travellerspoint blog

Cheerio, London!

Last entry from this hemisphere!

We had a lovely last day in London. We ate breakfast at a busy little cafe called Muriel's Kitchen right across from our hotel. They were very short on tables so we shared with a couple of young girls from Ukraine. We couldn't really make much conversation, but they were pleasant enough company. The avocado on sourdough toast was ok, but we're a little spoiled when it comes to avocados. :) Later we walked around the gorgeous Victoria and Albert museum to kill time before catching the tube to the airport.

Sitting at Heathrow airport right now getting ready to head to Johannesburg. Not sure when I will be able to make my next post. We don't have reservations for anyplace to stay tomorrow night...just planning to look for somewhere on the way to Kruger National Park (Mom, I know you just love the idea of wandering around!) The drive is about 4-5 hours from Johannesburg, so I would like to drive about half of that when we get there Sunday morning and then get a fresh start early on Monday to arrive at Skukuza Rest Camp, where we have a bungalow reserved for three nights. Hopefully we will be able to find someplace with wifi so I can send a quick update. This trip has been great so far...looking forward to the next leg!

Thanks for following along :)

Posted by Pelham Family 10:49 Archived in England Comments (3)

The Crown Jewels and 221b Baker Street

We went to the Tower of London today and since I do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of British history we probably should have sprung for the audio guide - I'm pretty sure I was remembering a few Game of Thrones scenes mixed in with my actual knowledge of Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth. Oh well, we had fun! We tried to wander around and find a good lunch after all that history, but somehow ended up in the middle of a very posh British yacht club and felt very out of place, so we went back to the tube to head to Baker street. Felt much more comfortable with the atmosphere around the Sherlock Holmes museum. However, another confession of obsessive TV watching...I'm much more interested in the Benedict Cumberbatch incarnation of the famous detective than the original Arthur Conan Doyle books.
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Posted by Pelham Family 13:22 Archived in England Comments (4)

Going With the Flow

Not easy in this left-centric place!

London is determined to get everybody traveling on the left. There are giant painted warnings on the street to "Look Right" before crossing, there are arrows painted on the ground in heavily traveled walking areas to get everyone walking on the left of the walkway, stairs and escalators have signs to "Stay Left"...but every tourist here is used to pulling RIGHT! So you have the people like us who are trying desperately to adjust and the many, many people who are just bumbling along oblivious to the "leftward flow" and the result is that everyone is just running smack into each other ALL the time! This whole phenomenon has me slightly worried about my ability to adjust to driving in South Africa in a few days. I guess we'll cross that bridge (on the left, of course!) when we come to it.

By the way, I have been uploading pics into the photo gallery for anyone interested in random shots of picturesque buildings from the the top of the big red bus yesterday.

Posted by Pelham Family 18:49 Archived in England Comments (2)

Baylie Has Good Instincts

Today we decided to take a city tour on one of the red double-decker buses. We figured we would ride the whole circuit and just see the layout of the city, then we could decide where we wanted to head back to tomorrow. We got off and walked around along the Thames near the London Eye and got lunch at a pretty great little place called the Gourmet Pizza Co. When we got back on the bus we were joined by a very large group of loud Swedish high school students who giggled and played with fidget spinners (who knew they were an international annoyance!) while the tour guide was trying to talk about the historical significance of every building. We got off again at Trafalgar Square and paid way too much to use a public bathroom because I couldn't tell how much each of my coins were worth under the pressure of having to pee. Oh well, when you gotta go twenty cents or two dollars are both acceptable I guess!

Anyway...we were considering a walk through the National Art Gallery in Trafalgar Square when all of a sudden a policeman shouted something at the crowd. Baylie did not even hesitate. As I was looking over my shoulder trying to figure out what was happening, she just grabbed my arm and immediately walked in the opposite direction and didn't stop until we were across the busy street and back at the bus stop. Once on the bus we could see that there was definitely something happening near the art museum and police cars were converging from every direction. When we got back to our hotel much later we saw a news story that Trafalgar Square had been evacuated and closed off due to a "suspicious package". The police presence is definitely noticeable everywhere we have been today and I know they are on especially high alert. Good to know my kid's first instinct is to leave the area immediately at the first sign of a problem!

The rest of the day was spent strolling slowly around Hyde Park and walking through the Museum of Natural History. Tomorrow we will go back to walk around some of the places we saw from the bus today.
Here we are in Trafalgar Square right before "evacuating"
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I'll put a bunch of new pics in the photo gallery later today :)

Posted by Pelham Family 11:13 Archived in England Comments (1)

Smooth and Sophisticated World Traveler

We’re off! I’m so excited you would think I have never been anywhere before. I paid a little extra and sprung for “Premium Economy” seats with Virgin Atlantic. It’s most definitely a step up from regular coach, with several little perks that make it feel almost luxurious. But I managed to embarrass us less than an hour into our 10 hour flight when the stewardess handed me a cup of ice in a lovely little glass (real dishes being one of the upgraded perks) and I smashed it in my lap while trying to pull the tray table out of the arm rest. Spilled ice and broken glass in my lap were bad enough, then I realized that one of the shards was stuck in my thigh. So, I was trying to hide the fact that my leg was bleeding because the perfectly polite British stewardess was just too nice and I didn’t want her to feel bad. I had spent all day feeling so happy about my cool new black traveling pants, oh well…glad I stashed that sewing kit in my suitcase at the last minute.

We took the tube from the airport and made it successfully to the Pelham Hotel. We tried to force ourselves to walk around a little because going to sleep at noon goes against all the rules for combating jet lag, but all we managed to do was eat a sandwich from a bakery across the street. We have lost the battle for now and MUST take a nap!

If you zoom in and look closely right over Baylie's head you can see the entrance to The Pelham Hotel :)
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Posted by Pelham Family 06:50 Archived in England Tagged london Comments (7)

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