Travel Journal
Santorini & London -- April 1-16, 2004
Day 7 & 8

Day 7 -- Thursday, April 7

Got up bright and early cause we wanted to get lots done. Ann had got us a present the day before of Travelcards so we could go all about the town and see whatever we liked. So for our first location, we thought we'd scout out the Eye. Now, from the map, it looked like we needed to take a bus once we hit the Waterloo train station. Out on the street, we checked the nearest bus stop and figured we had to find either the one marked C or M. Now we really didn't know where we were in relation to the river (that took a couple days to get used to...), so we just picked a direction and started walking. And walk we did! Around the station and some other streets, the LONG WAY. If we'd gone the other way, we would have been there in about 2 minutes. So much for needing a bus! It was almost funny later when we looked at the map and saw what we'd done. Learning curve, I guess. Once we'd found it, we took turns snapping pictures of each other standing on a little cement post with the Eye in the background. Even then, it was too blasted big to fit in the picture completely. That thing is HUGE! While we were doing this, a couple came up and asked us if we could use a pair of tickets to the Eye River Cruise... Like, YES!!! Astounded at our luck, we ventued closer to the river and saw long lines for the Eye. Inside the County Hall building, found out the tickets were £12.50, wow! Lots of people were there, too. Turns out it was still a school holiday this week, no wonder! Cruise time drew near and they let us on the boat. It had been lightly sprinkling off and on, and this moment was no exception. We took the stairs to the upper deck and sat right at the front. The boat got going, and it was amazing how many well-known buildings and monuments are visible from the middle of the Thames. We saved so much time by not having to walk around & look at things just from this one event, fantastic! The water was a lovely shade of brown, YUK...

After that was done, we crossed Westminster Bridge and then to the other side of the street. Right there in front of us was the beautiful architecture and the soaring tower with the gold-trimmed clock face and bell of Big Ben. You don't realize how tall it actually is until you're standing directly underneath it. Went round the corner and crossed the street again to walk past Westminster Abbey. Yet another gorgeous ancient building. As we cruised down Victoria St., the rain began to get evil, and we had to duck into a few bus shelters before we reached the train station. Sad but true: Just before Victoria Station, we stopped at a McDonald's for lunch. You might wonder why, since we have those at home. Well, partially true. You see, they had a menu item that we don't have, and Paul simply had to try one. It was the curry chicken sandwich (on the value menu, even!), and he just loved it! So even the familiar can be a little different when you're in another country. (Plus the total cost was cheap, LOL.) After that, got on the tube and headed for Knightsbridge station so we could check out Harrod's. Boy, it's just immense in there. Several floors of STUFF! I got a neat picture in the toy department of Harry Potter & Hagrid made out of LEGO! (Impressive work...) After a while of looking around, we got a bit overwhelmed by the scale of the place, so we bought our magazines and scooted out. Went back Underground and emerged at Piccadilly Circus. Right across the street was a Virgin Megastore, so of course being the music freaks that we are, gotta check it out. Wandered around the aisles, and the prices seemed a bit high (and DOUBLE for us!). There was quite a lot of variety, which was nice to see. Came out and browsed at a couple of the little stands on sidewalk. At this point, we started feeling rather tired and decided to pack it in for the day. But we managed to see quite a lot in just one shot. Back at Sandra's, she had made us a lovely Shepherd's Pie and veggies for dinner. I don't understand why people say British food is awful. I haven't had anything bad yet!

Day 8 -- Friday, April 8

We thought that we'd start where we'd left off the previous day, so we headed back to Piccadilly and began walking up Regent St. We took a little detour over to look at Carnaby St., which was really cool. Paul bought some football (soccer) jerseys, and I bought a couple mini street signs. He also bought a funky earring in that shop too. At the end of the street were some (free!) public potties, which is a rare find indeed. We continued up Regent St. and turned onto Oxford Circus, which became Oxford St. I've found it very strange that in this town, streets will change their name for no apparent reason at any given intersection. So where you thought you were going might not be where you end up! We looked in a few shops on this street: HMV (another CD store, and Paul actually bought something here), found the Plaza Shopping Centre with a whole bunch of things in it, including a Games Workshop store (the makers of Talisman and other games). We shared a sausage roll here for a snack. We continued on and turned down Charing Cross Road. On this street are lots of theatres and lots of bookshops. The all of a sudden we walked smack into Trafalgar Square with the beautiful fountains and the ENORMOUS Nelson's Column. Took a whole bunch of pictures here, even managed to onto the huge lions (with a little bit of help from some kind strangers). Then we went back up Charing Cross Rd. a bit to an internet cafe we discovered as we'd walked by the first time. This place became our home nearly every day from then on so we could keep in touch. (Only £1/hour, not bad! Sure beats the £1/15 mins for the machines at the airport. What a rip!) Then the tireds began to set in, so we headed back to Hither Green for the night. Sandra went and got us fish & chips (You knew we had to have it at some point), and while she was out it started hailing quite strongly. Small pellets, but fast and many of them. After dinner, we talked at Robbie and set up an outing for the next day. Then Paul talked to his brother Bob, and he'd gotten him tickets for the Chelsea game which was also the next day. Boy, that caused some tension for a bit, but we came to a compromise.

Continued on the next page...

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