Creative, I’m glad that you and your DH made so many memories on your trip even with the disappointments in London. I’ll look forward to seeing more Instagram photos. I was only using my phone for most of my trip to RI so did not look at all you posted so far. That is great that the auto pick-up service to/from Gatwick worked so well. Yes, it is quite a distance.Mrscreative wrote: ↑Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:12 amGood morning everyone,
Woke up to some snow but it has mostly melted on the ground. This motivated me to finish up switching my clothes over. All my cute summery clothes I wore on the cruise have sadly been stored away until next season. And on with the bulky, chunky sweaters and fleece pants. Still have garden cleanup to do but was amazed to see all the kale and parsley that had grown. Even more amazed to see yet two more zucchinis and dd had already picked and used one! We had relatively mild weather when we were gone.
Rinty I am amazed by your yellow sticker bargains! I found the cost of living in London to be extremely expensive. We did discover the Embankment Grocery (situated on Albert Embankment, the same area as our hotel) and were able to pick up some breakfast pastries and fruit from there. We washed that down with the hotel's instant coffee in our room. The grocery was more like a convenience store but still much less expensive than eating out every day. I will say this - our hotel was in a good location and at least on the better side of the Thames River to get to Gatwick Airport using ground transportation. The Airport Pick up service worked out excellent both ways and offerred a flat rate of 63 pounds including both dh and myself and our luggage. I had no idea Gatwick was so far away from our hotel. We did pick up some yellow stickered yogurt from the Embankment Grocery though! Our hotel room didn't have a microwave and charged 20 pounds non refundable for the privilege of using the bar fridge (no thanks!!) We got around that simply by picking up our food daily and eating it immediately. We also discovered the Cafe Madeira on Albert Embankment offered decent supper options which cost a lot less if you ate in an area usually reserved for breakfast and lunch. Sure it lacked table cloths but the owner was very accommodating towards us and our dinner cost 19 pounds as opposed to about 50 pounds for our first meal. This was following our 10 mile walk! At this point we were famished!
I thought of you often Rinty those few days I was in London. Although we booked 3 nights, we didn't arrive the first night until about 7 pm and left the final day at 7 am. So we really had only two full days and spent almost a full day trying to connect with db-in-law. Heartbreaking we were there and so close but so far away. And talk about emotionally draining! I was really saddened not to make it to my ancestral home which is located in Streatham, We were warned by both hotel staff and also by our airport shuttle driver that this was a dangerous part of London where we would be a definite minority. So dh wouldn't allow me to go and I agreed best not to be mugged or worse. I did cross over the Lambeth bridge several times that I remember my Grandmother telling me about and paid special tribute to her there. Also marveled at Westminister Square and Big Ben. It appears that my great grandparents moved around to several boroughs as my Grandmother was born in Lambeth, her older brother a different borough and they left for Canada from Streatham. Also did a google search of the district which confirmed what we had been told. The second day it was impossible to catch a cab to central London. But on the positive side we enjoyed an incredible walking tour which was included in the HopOn Hop Off bus package and had very close access to the changing of the guards from some strategic viewing positions. It was after that that our nightmare began on the bus as dh was tired from walking and wanted to take the bus to get "closer" to our hotel! My goodness, we have made so many memories we'll be talking about them for years to come! Even though nothing at all worked out to plan in London (didn't even get to Picadilly Circus or inside a decent souvenir shop) we still had a good time! I also feel better after having given our hotel a one star rating! And requesting a partial refund of our deluxe bus tour.
I went to my Retirement Explorers group yesterday and we shared our favourite Thanksgiving recipes and treats. I pulled a zucchini loaf from the freezer as it was what I had on hand. Just no energy to make Rinty's Dutch apple cake with lemon sauce recipe! Didn't have all the necessary ingredients either! There's always another time. I also replenished my library books.
Floridacatlover, I'll see about posting more Instagram photos over the next little while. I just finished posting on Facebook after returning home. My free wifi access overseas was pretty limited and mostly confined to keeping in touch with both dd's and ensuring our bank accounts were all in order, as well as my AC Conversion pre loaded debit card.
On the positive side - we have quite a few Euros and pounds left on my card. We'll convert them to American dollars as no sense converting to Canadian and then to American. You lose money with every conversion.
Still feeling a bit loopy but the congestion has subsided. I'm finding the jet lag more severe returning. But we did go 26 hours without any sleep and that 8 hour layover in Toronto was like h*ll! It also took almost 2 hours to drive to Gatwick from our hotel.
Later on will review all the flyers and make a shopping list based on items on sale. Both dh and I really enjoyed the cruise portion of our trip and it's certainly the way to go and still see a lot of Europe - too old to be packing up and moving on from hotel to hotel every day! Dh is actually open to another cruise but think it will be at least 18 months before we consider. We still haven't recovered from this trip!
My hotel in London was very near Buckingham Palace. It had a microwave and refrigerator and I bought cereal, milk, fruit and a few sandwiches from the Waitrose grocery store around the corner. I would definitely stay there again and would have recommended it to you but knew you wanted to stay in the Lambeth area.
On Wednesday my good friend and her DH fly to London. It is supposed to be a crazy week in Parliament so I wonder if the city will be gridlock. They are staying near the Tower of London so a bit away from the core tourist area.