Travel Journal
Santorini & London -- April 1-16, 2004
Day 11 & 12

Day 11 -- Monday, April 11

We got up bright and early, as we had a bunch of postcards that needed to get sent. Found a Post Office on the map right near London Bridge station, but to our dismay it was closed. So we checked the map again, and found another one right near Charing X station that was also on the way to our internet cafe. Brilliant! (This became our pattern every morning for the rest of the week. Send cards, check email.) By now, we were running a tiny bit behind, so we high-tailed it over to Sloane Square station and got a quick bus ride over the river to Aunt Win's. She's such a doll, and it was nice to have the chance to see her while we were here. We talked for a little bit and looked at the house, and then she made us ham & butter sandwiches for lunch, with Bakewell & jam tarts for afters. Quite yummy indeed!Talked some more, and then we (literally) went across the street to walk around in Battersea Park. Even though there were still some trees wrapped in plastic (protection from the winter or fresh off the truck?), this is one beautiful and large park. We walked from the Rosery Gate entrance to about the middle, and then walked through almost in a straight line towards the river, next to the Peace Pagoda. Relaxed a while just looking at the water (which was heading in the wrong direction!), and then headed back to the entrance gate, this time on a path on the opposite side of the pond. Back at Win's house we sat and talked a bit more, and then it was time to go. The bus stop back is mere yards from her door, so it was really easy to return to Sloane Sq.

Made our way back to Charing X and walked up The Strand looking at the shops. Found 'The Stamp Centre', which, if you've seen their ad in Dr. Who Magazine, carries an assortment of Who items. (As well as some other TV-related things and their main focus, stamp stuff.) Some of it I hadn't even seen at conventions before -- interesting. When we got to Lancaster Pl. we turned towards the river. Decided not to cross Waterloo Bridge, but instead walk along the Embankment. Got a clear view of Cleopatra's Needle than we'd gotten from the boat. But soon after that, we found it. The very spot where the TARDIS was parked for the filming of the scene in Rose where they figure out that the London Eye is the antenna for the Nestene Consciousness. That was ultra-cool to actually BE STANDING right where Eccleston was. *giggle* Anyways, we went on from there to get to the Westminster station to head home, as energy was flagging at this point. Got the Jubilee back to London Bridge station and then the National Rail train to Hither Green. Dinner tonight was leftover steak pie from the night before plus more veggies. We'd walked around a lot today, so we went to sleep at a decent hour.

Day 12 -- Tuesday, April 12

Awoke to yet another busy day. Did our usual Post Office/internet run, and after that went from Charing X station through Piccadilly to Hyde Park Corner to see the Wellington Arch and the other military memorials on that little chunk of land. IT was very humbling to see the tributes to the many that had lost their lives in service to their countries. After a few photos, we walked along the path in Green Park that paralleled Constitution Hill all the way down to Canada Gate. We passed through it and there in front of us was Buckingham Palace. Nice-looking building, I guess. Very angular and stiff, as opposed to the organic antiquity of Windsor Castle. I guess I prefer the style of the latter. We took some omre pictures in front of the gates and not the Queen Victoria Memorial, and some of the fountain part of it as well. It was at this point that we made a small mistake. In comparing our maps to the map in the park, we somehow went the wrong way and went up Queen's Walk to the Green Park station, instead of down The Mall so we could make our way to Downing St. (Now that I look at the maps again, it might have been a better choice to take Birdcage Walk instead! But then, we were also looking for something along the way...) So, we left that for another day and went Underground to Covent Garden. Watched some of the performance artists for a bit before hitting the Market proper. Looked at some of the shops, listened a while to the opera singer in the courtyard. ??? Rocks had some great music stuff in it, but was too expensive for me. (Took some pictures of artifacts, though...) We both bought a couple things at ??? Books, and at good prices, too! We walked back out to St. James Street and got a sandwich to share for lunch. Tubed back to Piccadilly Circus to explore some streets we hadn't been on yet. So we took the short bit of Coventry Street and turned down Haymarket Street. Took a picture of a theatre where Patrick Stewart was in a play. Cool. Turned onto Cockspur Street and we ended up in our usual stomping grounds, Trafalgar Square! Seems like some roads all end up in the same place, funny enough.

Even though it was early, time to get going because we wanted to make an extra stop before our final stop. So we hopped into Charing X station and got the next train to Chislehurst. Paul hadn't realized that I'd bought the Caves history booklet instead of the Cave map, so he wanted to go back and get one. Unfortunately for us, it was closed early that day. Nuts! But we took some pictures in front of the sign to submit to a local paper when we got home (along with another in front of a sign in Santorini as well). Walked back to the town buildings and shopped for a bit. Paul found his sweet pickled onions & I found the juice drink that Robbie had recommended called J2O. Then it was back up the road to the train station and on to Chelsfield.

Pam & Gemma picked us up and we hung out at their house for while, had some tea, took a little tour (very cute house). Then Gemma went off with friends for someone's birthday. That left the rest of us to do our own thing for dinner. Pam knew just the place, and Claire drove us there. Down into Kent, to Otford we went. Destination: This fabulous 15th century pub called "The Bull". Simply gorgeous old wood on the inside. I took a few pictures of the area we were seated in, because I just loved the way it looked. Dinner was yummy: Paul had this thing called the "Mixed Grill", which consisted of just about everything they could make. Way too much food for even me, and certainly for him -- had to get some of it wrapped up to take home. After eating, we went back to Pam's for a while. Claire burned a couple of CDs of her favorite songs for Paul. (And once we got home, he enjoyed them immensely!) It was kinda late at that point, so Pam drove us back to Sandra's (which was so sweet of her). Then as a surprise, we brought her inside with us. The two cousins had not seen each other for like, eons, and us sneaky people wanted to bring the families closer together again. Then Paul called home and got his mother on the line, and all three of them had great conversations. Then Pam had to get home, and we got to bed ASAP because it was now ultra-late.

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