Stop over in T.O. and Day 1 in London

Trip Start Oct 24, 2009
Trip End Nov 05, 2009

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Where I stayed
Catherine Moore's Home

Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Sunday, October 25, 2009

Well, the beginning of our 10 day trip to London....I booked our flight thru Toronto for 2 reasons - I could get a flight for $585 including taxes and we could stay over and visit Cathy, our friend who traveled with us on our cruise last year to New Zealand/Australia.

I also had found out a new musical was opening in T.O. called 'The Toxic Avenger' which I thought might be fun so Cathy picked up tickets for us.
We ate across the street from the theater at a cafe called the Mambo Lounge. It specializes in tapas so we had 4 (for $21) and a green salad. The tapas were plantain slices, Cuban style omelet, spicy chicken drumettes and goat cheese with bread. They were very good and the food arrived fast which was beneficial as we only had 75 minutes for dinner before the show started.

The Toxic Avenger started slow and the sound wasn't the best - I hate when the orchestra drowns out the performer and you can't understand the words. And it was beneficial to hear the words for songs such as "Choose Me, Oprah', Thank God She's Blind', 'Evil is Hot' and 'Bitch, Liar, Slut, Whore'. (that last one may be Liar, Bitch, Whore, Slut - I don't think it really matters...).
The actors/singers worked really hard - 5 of them playing all of the parts - but I think Jersey Boys would have been better. But we only paid $25 for the tickets so it was worth that ...

We went back to Cathy's and had her chocolate brownies and lemon pudding. She's become quite the cook in the last 6 months!
Sunday morning, Cathy made us apple cinnamon strata for brunch. It was very good...

We helped Cathy with her fall weather tasks - tarping her patio furniture - and installing a remote sensor to tell her when her garage door is open.

We said our goodbyes and she dropped us off at the airport. Air Transat wants you to check in 3 (!) hrs before their London flights.

Air Transat is similar to Air Canada - very basic service - no extras or flair or smiles...

We travelled  5744 km at 850 km/hr at a of height 36000 feet, Andy and I paid $30 each so that we could have advanced seating - seats 29 a and c - a row of 2 seats so no-one in the middle.  But we just can't sleep in those airplane seats so after 7 hours of tossing and turning and watching the very bad movie "Land of the Lost', we arrived.

Gatwick Airport isn't as big as Heathrow and there is direct train line to London Victoria station which is just a 15 minute walk from our hotel. We took the Southern Train instead of the Gatwick Express train because I read that Southern train tickets qualifies you for 2 for 1 tickets at many attractions in London and I had printed off a bunch of the in the hopes it will save money. And the Southern train is just 5 minutes slower than the Gatwick Express. The tickets were just 24 pounds each including return.

We got a little lost leaving Victoria Station - turned left instead of right - but we soon righted ourselves - using the Maps on the Iphone and Andy's great sense of direction.
And it was a great day for a walk - 15 degrees and sunny.
Our hotel - Luna Simone - is highly rated on and is centrally located to most of the attractions we want to see. And it has free wi-fi! And includes a full English breakfast - the downside being only until 8:30am so we have to awake early to take advantage of it.

We ended up falling asleep when we hit our hotel room which 'the experts' say you shouldn't do as you should try to get on London time asap but we were so tired.

After our snooze, we wandered the streets - taking in Buckingham Palace,(not really much to see other than a fence and a big building) Trafalgar Square - very impressive with Nelson's Column and St Martin in the Fields Church. We actually ate lunch/dinner in the Crypt of the church. It's like a cafeteria with the big difference that there's dead people bured under the floor of the cafe. We had leek and potatoe soup, and a 'high tea' plate of clotted cream, scone with jam and chocolate cake. This included coffee (Americano) for me and a soft drink for Andy for 14 pounds. The soup was excellent.

We wandered some more -  to the Thames River and passed the long line for the London Eye. It was dark already at 6pm and Big Ben and the parliament buildings looked great...

We decided to get our subway (the 'tube' in London speak) tickets  - an oyster card - and ride back. We have apps on our Iphones to tell us exactly which lines and stops to take to get us from point A to B. They worked well although Andy didn't really need help as he has been to London twice before - but the last time was 14 years ago.

We were beat and decided to just get some snacks from the local supermarket - Sainbury's - and call it a night. And we also have to decide which sites to visit tomorrow...
Slideshow Report as Spam


47kaiser on

Wow--On the wing again
Hey--wonderful to receive your update on Toronto and London. Wondered about the musical--what is your overal rating, by the way? London sounds delightful--we were in Europe around this time last year and enjoyed every minute of it. Great pix!!!

panamasally on

Gary & Andy
How exciting that you are now 'across the pond'. I love reading of your travels, although from now on I'll just skim the portions that describe your delicious meals.
I swear that from your last 2 adventures I gained 20lbs. from simply savouring the wonderful delicacies that you got to enjoy.
Please give the skies of England a big wave for me.

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