Okay, I know that Dante, Kasie, Jane, and others have been here as well. But you didn’t meet up with Amira, so it doesn’t count.
My darling husband (at the time fiancé) gave me a wireless PDA keyboard for Valentine’s Day, so I could keep a travel journal. (Can’t do handwritten journals – not sure why, but must type.) I was going to go through and expand all my shorthand into proper grammar and full sentences, but I decided not to. If you want to read about our adventures you’ll just have to deal with my fragmentary stream of consciousness.
We had reservations at a Bed and Breakfast in campustown -- pretty little Tudor house that used to be a fraternity. We'd planned to take our stuff over and check in sometime in the morning, but ran out of time, and we'd forgotten to write down the phone number, so we couldn't call from the reception. We hoped the innkeeper was still up.
She wasn't -- but she'd left the door standing open a few inches and a trail of lights on that led to our suite. And a wedding card sitting on the coffee table in our sitting room, so we knew we were expected and in the right place. Yay! When we met her in the morning she said she heard us come in, but didn’t think we’d want to be social. Breakfast was fresh fruit with homemade yogurt and granola, some kind of almond pastry thing, and ginger waffles.
After breakfast we packed up the wedding clothes and headed to Mike and Patty's to pick up Smokey and my car. Then home to pack for London.
Mom and Dad arrived shortly after we did with a mini-van load of wedding gifts. We unloaded them, then loaded up Smokalicious and they were off. Bob went back to the little rental house to pack, I packed, we stopped at Sarah's to drop off keys and at the parish treasurer's to pick up my paycheck and the ATM to deposit it. Then off.
Stopped for jerky at the US 20 truck stop. Stopped in Clear Lake for Culver’s frozen custard. Called Mom when leaving Clear Lake to advise on ETA. Mom said Liza had just pulled into the rest station north of Clear Lake. Looked up and waved at Liza's car. Mom said Liza too tired to drive and sorry would miss dinner. Turned around at next exit and went back to pick up Liza – I drove her car while she dozed and Bob followed.
We’d booked the Pilot House Suite on a tugboat converted to a B&B. Dropped Bob off at pier to check in, Liza and I went for soup and sandwiches. Mom & Dad arrived while gone. Ate in pilot house with lovely view of St. Paul skyline. Bob coming down with cold.
Suite includes bedroom and bathroom on second deck and pilot house and private third deck. Floors sloped for drainage, doors and stairs tall and skinny. Bathroom design by MC Escher -- it is somehow uphill from door to toilet, from toilet to sink, and from sink to door.
Liza still tired and left early, after revealing name of secret wedding gift giver and presenting final gift -- sparkling peach cider. Mom and Dad left soon after and bridal couple collapsed into bed. Peach cider left in fridge.
After breakfast we still had two hours until check-out, so we relaxed on our private deck and waved at Liza's office window. Called her on cell -- she could see us through binoculars. Toasted no-longer-secret gift giver with peach cider.
Went to downtown Target to pick up tissues, cold medicine, and extra card for digital camera. And other bits and pieces. Met Liza for sushi lunch. Then to Mom and Dad's to visit Smokey and wait for airport time.
Repacked Target items into luggage, sorted through purse and left it with keys and such in back bedroom. Dad came home at 4ish to drive us to the airport. Woo! Dana left coat in Bob's car. Not Woo
Through security in minutes, supper at airport Burger King, on plane half hour before take off backing away from gate early, large thumping noise and plane stops. Back to gate, wait while engine is checked all-okay, refueled and take off hour and half late.
Movie is Finding Neverland, but they show a whole bunch of other crap first and we're both asleep before it finally comes on. Wake for yucky airline breakfast and de-plane in London at 10am.
Choochoo train to Victoria station and taxi to apartment. Some confusion at check-in, since they had already charged the whole two weeks to the credit (debit) card Bob used to make the reservation and he'd planned to put it on a different card and use that one for spending money. Got that switched and hauled luggage up to sixth floor flat.
Very nice sunny L-shaped room with raised "bedroom" area, bathroom, lots of closets and kitchenette. Furnished by IKEA. Surprise bonus -- washer/dryer and dishwasher!
Amira calls just as we are settling in and we make plans to meet in the lobby at 4. We nap until then. Amira arrives right on time, and we walk around a bit, landing in Hyde Park. Watch birds, watch dogs (very well-behaved British dogs!), watch people.
Supper at a crepe-restaurant and back to apartment house to have lobby-guys take our picture together. Jet-lag is starting to hit. Pick up groceries on way back.
Sleep in. Wake to very pleasant words -- "Hey sleepy wife, the quiche is ready!" Have married morning person, but he cooks breakfast. Will keep him.
After breakfast we walk back to Victoria Station to change our travel-vouchers for tube-passes. Then take the underground back to our stop and spend some hours at the science museum. Big exhibit on the history of medicine. Note that the only significant changes in gynecological instruments in the last 2000 years seem to be improvements to the handles to make them more comfortable for the person holding them.
Exhausted by mid-afternoon. Stop at grocery store for re-heatable Indian food. (packaged by local restaurant, very good for ready-meal). Early to bed, early to rise, tomorrow we catch the train for Stratford-upon-Avon.
Early to bed, but not early to sleep. Very jet-lagged, no sleep for me. Read William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, on loan from baby brother. Very appropriate book to read while jet-lagged in London. Finished book around 5, still not tired. Put head under pillow and forced self to sleep. Alarm at 6:30. Arrg! Bob made quiche.
Caught 8:50 train from Marylebone Station. For some reason this is pronounced Marly-bon. Arrived Stratford-upon-Avon approx. 1pm. Slept some on train. Wandered into town. Neither of us remembered to printout the address of our B&B, so went to tourist information center. Bob tells staff that we don't know what B&B we're registered at, man gets pained look on face. Dana corrects that we know the name, just not the address. Much relieved tourist assistant assists -- provides address, map, and walking directions.
Arrive at B&B. We're in the tippy-top room of a row house -- rooms off two-story winding staircase at odd intervals. Big canopy bed.
Wander Stratford -- lunch at pub, spend many pounds at Royal Shakespeare Company gift shop, haul many pounds of gifts and souvenirs back to B&B. Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare's grave, Swan theatre historical costume exhibit, walk along river. Get rained on. Back to B&B to change for theatre. RSC production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Production excellent. Very hungry (not hungry enough for supper before show), but nothing open along route and too tired and footsore to go wandering looking for food. Back to B&B. Plan was to count on Excitement of Shakespeare to keep sleepy-self awake all day, get good night's sleep, and be done with jet-lag. So far so good -- midnight London time, very tired. Unfortunately, in order to fit big canopy bed in low-ceilinged room was necessary to lower bed by removing box spring. Or perhaps box spring was present and mattress was removed. Either way, hope of good night's sleep no more yielding but a dream. Bed not even that yielding.
Breakfast at 8:15. Eggs, bacon, toast, tomatoes, mushrooms delicious. Sausage very strange. Liver, maybe?
Check out, but leave bags in parlor while tour Shakespeare's birthplace. BIG house.
Grab sausage rolls and Cornish pastry from bakery and take to train station to eat. Cold and windy -- because bathrooms are out of order, indoor waiting room is locked (!). Very early for train. Very cold and windy. Very sorry forgot coat in Bob's car.
Back to London, 4ish. Took out membership at video store across the street from our apartment. Also bought tortellini and sauce from grocery store for supper. Very happy to be back in comfy flat with comfy bed and extra squishy pillows.
Bob's cold has caught me. It's reacting with my asthma in a particularly nasty way, causing me to produce half my weight in phlegm and snot daily. Went back to bed after breakfast and slept until 3pm. Bob read and watched TV (and napped some). At three got up, doped self to gills, and went out to tour the reconstructed Globe Theatre. So very cool. Excellent exhibition, too. No plays until May, though. MUST come back when theatre is in season. Supper at Greek bar -- Mezza and souvlaki.
Decent night's sleep (periodically interrupted by coughing fits) and up "early" to leave for Wesley's Chapel on City Street just after 10. Only slightly late for 11am service. Probably would have been on time had not stopped to consult map and discover that we were on the right street and going the right direction. Ooops.
Museum of Methodism in basement of chapel. Picture of self in John & Charles Wesley's pulpit from Foundry Chapel. Historic.
Coughing up lungs and almost out of tissues. Home to apartment and back to bed. Bob the mighty hunter ventures out into the wilds of London to provide for his mate. He shoots and drags home pizza and chicken soup.
Feeling almost human, though still a little stuffy-headed. After some difficulty we discover how to use the phone, and purchase tickets for The Producers. Then off to tour the Tower of London. The yeoman warder giving the tour is a ghoul, but the kidlets (especially the boys) hang on his every word. Murder, beheadings, and intrigue, oh my! Lunch at the Armory Cafe, and then walk around and view the exhibits. Stairsstairsstairsstairsstairsstairsstairsstairs. Upstairs and downstairs and then upstairs again. And downstairs. All of them twisty and most of them narrow. Fascinating exhibits, though. Plexiglas panels over the graffiti carved in the walls, since some of it is 400 years old, and carved by famous prisoners.
Home from the tower to get ready for theatre. Train to Covent Garden -- an hour or so early, so we strolled down Drury lane. No muffins or muffin men in evidence.
Picked up tickets at the box office . Found out why we got such good tickets on short notice -- we called right after they released the house seats. Tenth row center for The Producers! Not recovered enough for this show -- not enough lung capacity to laugh as hard as required -- hurt self. Home late, but this time we had food in the flat. Fruit and toast and wensleydale. Note to self – when return to States, teach Smokey to prepare toast and cheese.
Slept in. Finally dragged selves out to Victoria to exchange vouchers for second week tube passes. On toWaterloo to get train schedules for Hampton court and Salisbury/Stonehenge. Still early afternoon -- time to do Hampton Court Palace today. Tudor kitchens! Set up as would be on Midsummer Day -- to feed 2000 people. Wow. Wowwowwow. Big fireplaces, ovens, boiling house, pastry house, offices -- kitchens are a palace in their own right.
Found rat maze . . . er . . . garden maze. Original Hampton Court Maze was model for psychologists rat mazes. Current maze is afterthought stuffed into corner -- few choices, no square turns. Solve maze while hearing lecture/seminar from Dr. Bob on rat intelligence and maze theory. Right Hand Rule triumphs -- we find the center. Explore flower gardens, see rooms decorated in Tudor and Georgian periods. Home. Stop at internet cafe outside Victoria Station to check e-mail. Supper at Indian restaurant. Tandoori mixed grill very good. Spinach panneer exquisite. And the little shrimp in the pot with the spices -- Oh, the spices! -- sinuses clear for the first time this week. Attempting to read first book of Thomas Covenant series. Not progressing at normal reading speed. Either brain is foggy or plot is – not sure which.
St. Paul’s Cathedral and the British Museum. Decided to walk between the two -- passed a viola concert at Church of St. Martin -- stopped to hear end of concert. Went gaga over carved Assyrian panels in British museum -- had seen pictures in books in seminary. Tiglath Pileser III, ooooooo. Elgin marbles very impressive also. And Egyptian stuff. Rossetta Stone!!! Bought book -- teach self to read hieroglyphics.
Train to Salisbury. Bob's choice to buy first class train passes finally pays off -- first train yet to actually have first class section. Bus to Stonehenge. Much cooler than anticipated -- expected big rocks, got lesson in Bronze Age engineering. Bought windbreaker on sale in gift shop. Very very glad -- rain came up quickly, bus was late, got SOAKED. Top half dry in new jacket.
Bus back to Salisbury, toured Cathedral. Too late for last spire tour, didn't really want to climb stairs anyway <--- sour grapes. Cathedral here since 1062!!! Not same building, this one only since 12something. Oldest working clock still in existence.
Train home. Tired.
Slept in. Made brunch. Leisurely showers. Laze around. Chased maid away three times, finally just told her to skip it today. Dragged butts out of flat around one -- walk to Harrods. Went nuts in toy section -- would have bought flying saucer except for power conversion issues. Bought some gifts and picked up food for supper -- giant handmade tortellini, variety of sauces, marinated garlic, and olives.
Home to enjoy supper, read and watch TV. Continuing with Thomas Covenant. Protagonist should consider that perhaps wife left him not because of leprosy, but because he has the emotional maturity of a four year old. Speaking of which – British TV not greatly improved by ability to use “f-word.” Saw ten minutes of TV blooper outtakes show – all clips consisted of actor stopping in middle of sentence and then blurting, “Oh f---, I forgot my line!” How many times is this funny? Changed channel to home design/building show.
Up fairly early to take Underground to Westminster Abbey. Have fallen in love with the Underground. Abbey contains many dead people. Waved to Newton, Darwin, Maxwell, Faraday, & Herschel. Also Chaucer, Handel, Longfellow, and Tennyson.
Walked along Victoria Embankment, then tube to Tottenham Court Station. Lunch at Italian restaurant. Very spicy sauce. After lunch met up with Amira to cruise bookstores of Charing Cross Road. Managed to restrain self (mostly) from overpurchasing ability to transport. Hot cocoa and pastries to finish the afternoon. Goodbye to Amira and back to flat to pack for home .
Up early early early. Packed last bits, checked out, taxi to Victoria Station. Bought croissants to eat on train. Gatwick Express to airport, chosen for random bag search, checked in and at gate 1 hour before boarding. Pre-boarding – very nice to travel with “Gold Elite” status. Advantages to marrying frequent traveler. Flight boring boring boring, but food was better than on the way out. Finished book. Land, go through customs, have declared garden seeds (from Harrods) so must go through agriculture inspection. Seeds confiscated.
Picked up at airport by Mom & Dad – back to house to pickup Smokey and pass out gifts. ElJay and Claudia at house – admire new motorcycles. Leave gifts for Brian, as he is at work. Three hour drive home. Stop for supper. Arrive at 9:30 Iowa time, 3:30am London Time. Collapse. But don’t have to send Bob and Smokey back to rental house – they live here now!
"Coughing up lungs and almost out of tissues. Home to apartment and back to bed. Bob the mighty hunter ventures out into the wilds of London to provide for his mate. He shoots and drags home pizza and chicken soup."
*laugh* Christy got violently ill when we were honeymooning in London, and I too braved the streets to come back with British pizza. I think it's a rule.
I also caught a cold on our honeymoon night. I drugged myself heavily and at the end of the Disney honeymoon, I used it as a good excuse to stay an extra night. Work didn't seem too surprised that I took the extra day off.
Posts: 676 | Registered: Sep 2002
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quote: She wasn't -- but she'd left the door standing open a few inches and a trail of lights on that led to our suite. And a wedding card sitting on the coffee table in our sitting room, so we knew we were expected and in the right place. Yay!
quote: Wake to very pleasant words -- "Hey sleepy wife, the quiche is ready!" Have married morning person, but he cooks breakfast. Will keep him.
quote: Unfortunately, in order to fit big canopy bed in low-ceilinged room was necessary to lower bed by removing box spring. Or perhaps box spring was present and mattress was removed. Either way, hope of good night's sleep no more yielding but a dream. Bed not even that yielding.
Ouch. I've slept (well, tried to) in that bed.
quote:Train to Covent Garden -- an hour or so early, so we strolled down Drury lane. No muffins or muffin men in evidence.
quote: Solve maze while hearing lecture/seminar from Dr. Bob on rat intelligence and maze theory. Right Hand Rule triumphs -- we find the center.
quote: But don’t have to send Bob and Smokey back to rental house – they live here now!
I really had no idea you'd be reading Pattern Recognition while jet-lagging in London. Mainly because of how long prior to the wedding I loaned it to you, of course! (Having known you for 27 or so years, I should have predicted this, admittingly.) Still, that is awesome.
--Enigmatic Stubble update: somewhat unruly Still not king.
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I love the pics, but the journal entries are really entertaining reading! Glad that you had a good time and that you haven't written the words "and I still haven't killed him.....yet!"
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quote:Originally posted by ElJay: You should post more.
I agree with this sentiment. This was a very funny, entertaining thread! I'm glad you bumped it with the pictures, or I totally would have missed it! Thanks, dkw!
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Kama -- I was unacountably amused by the fact that the bathrooms were decorated to look like castles. Which makes sense, since we were in a castle, but still. The crenelations on the stalls made me giggle.
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