Good bye Victoria...Hello London
Trip Start Dec 08, 2007
5Trip End Dec 12, 2007
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Again, we dragged our now thoroughly exhausted bodies out of the comfortable beds and away from the 6 fluffy pillows that continued to beg us to stay. After packing we had a quick but tasty breakfast in the Lido. One thing this restaurant has going for it are the wonderful sea views and we enjoyed looking out over the water to the land on the other side as we savored our last morning onboard. Disembarkation was quick and after a short wait on the bus we were whisked through the countryside back to London. We enjoyed a riveting conversation with a travel journalist from The Sunday Times in New York and the time just flew by.
After arriving at Victoria Station in London we walked right next door to the Thistle Victoria Hotel for a hotel tour and to drop our luggage for the day. The hotel is really very special. Built in 1854 it retains nearly of its original décor, paint and charm
As for location you just canīt beat it. Just a very easy walk to everything important and if walking is not your thing a tube (subway) and train station hub are literally right next door. After the tour we went a few meters down the street and had lunch at the Kingīs Arms, a very small pub with just a handful of tables and wonderful fish & chips. Our next stops were Buckingham Palace, St. James Park which took us along a beautiful path and ended near Big Ben. We marveled at Westminster Abby, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye as well as the many other historical buildings all on that block. James had a field day taking pictures much to the benefit of you all.
Then came the beginning of a downward spiral, our many sleep depraved nights and non-stop activities had finally caught up with me. I just wanted to go somewhere and relax for awhile. Because of this my carefully planned itinerary went out the window and I was too tired to chase after it.
We cancelled the remaining hotel tours and veered off the sightseeing course. Our next step was to find a place to stay as were we had originally planned on staying no longer worked because it would have been completely out of the way for where we had ended up
Thirty minutes were spent checking out different cafes, bookshops and the other usual Wifi homes all to no avail. (Does no one need to connect in this city without paying with an arm?) In the end, yep, you guessed it. Good olī Micky Dīs was waiting to welcome us with open arms, er, internet. Free for all and all for free. We caved, again. What did we find? Nothing. It was either all too expensive, too far away or right down out of the question the ones that would have been perfect were booked solid. Blast the exchange rate! Thankfully, I had a plan C...or so I thought.
Enter the Yotel...almost. By this time I was nearly delirious with exhaustion. Or deranged. Or something. Who cares. The benches in the subway actually started to look inviting. Thankfully, James, who is the best husband ever, kept us on some semblance of a course, which I had forgotten ever existed. He asked what my plan C was which was the Yotel
So after battling the horrendous and mind boggling number of passengers squeezing through the tube stations like millions of sardines, we arrived back at the Thistle Victoria to gather our luggage 5 lbs thinner and 3 inches taller with the memo never to ride the tube at rush hour again. Instead, we had a great dinner in another really wonderful local pub called Shakespeares which was just across the way and enabled us to gain back our 5 pounds. Entering the tube much later in the evening was like entering a different world.
Note to you all: Do not travel on the tube between 5 & 7:00 pm. After a very leisurely dinner we took the Piccadilly Line and would have arrived in Heathrow in just 30 minutes had we got the line right the first time. Suffice it to say we became very familiar with getting off and on at Victoria Station. 50 minutes later we made it to the airport and checked in early for our flights before searching out the Yotel.
It was now nearly 10:30pm and I was to the point of dreaming about dreaming blissfully in the Yotelīs amazingly soft beds and fluffy pillows after having freshened up in their powerfully hot showers
We arrived tired, hungry and in need of a shower only to find out that they are one week behind schedule and will actually be opening in the morning. I nearly cried when no amount of persuasion would entice them to allow us to check in a day early even though they had at least 2 rooms that were completely done. (They were still painting many of the walls and installing fixtures in the rest. I will be surprised if they really do open in 8 hours.) They did however show us the rooms and allowed us to take pictures. Even now I am thinking of the 2 rooms that are being wasted this evening. For those who come in the future though, it will be a very fun treat to stay there.
So now we had a dilemma as I had not arranged for a plan D or E for that matter. Having taken one of the last runs to the airport we didnīt want to head back into the city to try to find another place to stay and sat down to consider our choices
By now it was much too late to do anything else. So here we sit in one of the hotelīs restaurants where we have spent as much on 2 desserts and 2 cups of coffee as a really nice meal would have cost back at home. Blasted exchange rate!
It is nearly 2:30am and although the couch like seat that I have been enjoying is worlds better than the airport seating, I am counting the hours until I can enter the Club Lounge and enjoy a massage while I snooze away. May God bless British Airways for having a wonderful lounge with such wonderful perks
Sleep count for the day: 5 hours
Total sleep count since Friday night 17 hours. Doctorīs recommended: 40 hours.
Post Script: As soon as the lounge had opened James and I went straight to the spa. After a wonderful shower we booked a full body massage chair and a facial for me and head massage for James for later that morning. Then, we took a 3 hour nap in their sactruary room before having breakfast and going to our appointment. By the time we reached the plane at noon we felt like new people (well almost). We slept most of the way home only waking to eat, which in business class is frequent and yummy! We reached home late in the evening and were so happy to see our precious girls again who had been completely spoiled by their Nana the whole weekend. We are still very tired but consider the trip a great success overall, with some great stories to share with our friends and family.
Thank you for reading this journal, I hope in some way it has inspired you to travel. When we take our next big trip I will be posting about it here. Bon Voyage!