London: room and packing in sights

The room is reminescent of our first night in Zurich. The suitcase needs to be standing up if we’re both going to be walking and/or moving about. The heat in here is cranking, too. We’ve got no control — it’s either on or off. They’ve been sending someone to turn it off for 10 minutes now. That’s service. It’s a bed, a toilet, a shower and a roof. It’s all we need. What do you expect for $70 a night. We packed in a whole lot of stuff today. The plan* was a little disrupted when we got in at about 7 and we couldn’t get into the room. There was a place for us to store our bags and have a quick change. Then we were off.

Took the tube all over. First to Westminster Abbey where we beat the majority of the crowds — there was just a small line, er, queue… No photos allowed inside, though.

DSCF0009We took some around Parliament and Big Ben

DSCF0020and then we walked across the Thames to the Eye.
DSCF0026We were way early for our noon reservation, so we grabbed some food and got our tickets printed… and got in line early. No big deal. Don’t imagine it would be unless there were lots of crowds.

So we went around in little pods — they don’t stop them unless there is someone with a wheelchair or something — so you board and disembark while they are very slowly moving. It takes half an hour to go all the way around. After that it was off to lunch.

DSCF0089I didn’t have us “slotted”* to start through the Tower of London until 2:00 — so we had plenty of time to have a good lunch, wait in a slow line for tickets and walk and walk and walk. We saw the jewels, and the White Tower. Good stuff.

Then, since we had loads of time, we took the Tube to Knightsbridge, headed into Zara (odd that I’ve been to the store in Montreal and London, but not in Georgetown) and got a cute dark emerald/hunter knit turtleneck.

DSCF0092And then it was across the street to Harrod’s. What a zoo. It was completely insane. couldn’t stay in there for terribly long. And now, we’re in the room until about seven when we’re going to dinner. Going to try and stay up until nine or so. I got a few hours of sleep on the plane. Bren didn’t get any… Tomorrow’s plan is for St. Paul’s, Buckingham Palace, Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square.

*We don’t normally plan much of our trips. We just go with the flow and do what we feel like, when we feel like it, and take it pretty easy. But since this time we had a little time and so much we wanted to do, plus it was a holiday weekend; I had to make sure we knew what was open when, so that we could see everything.

Italy, June 2003, Day 7

Drove to Sorrento and took a ferry across the Bay of Naples to Capri. Once we got to the island, it became clear that we were going to have to hire a car to take us around. The main cities, Capri Town and Anacapri, are way up a hill. You can see the harbor where we arrived in this picture. We did start to walk, but we just couldn’t do it. Our exhaustion coupled with the short amount of time we had on the island meant we had to hire a car. It turned out to be the best thing we could have done. Someone (Keith?) bargained us a good deal.

The main square in Capri Town, the Piazza Umberto, is quite nice. There are all sorts of fancy shops around. If only we could shop at them! Cartier. Chanel. Everyone is so fashionable. It’s too hot for me to really care too much.

I end up preferring Anacapri. It’s quieter and less pretentious. If I had to live on the island (which is terribly expensive), I’d live here. We don’t really have too much time to explore, though. Our driver is just running us around before we have to go back to the boat. We did have enough time to go shopping. Bren and I picked up some souvenirs for the family, I got a new purse since mine got trashed on the plane to Heathrow and Keith found himself a nice Italian magazine.

Of course we had to see these, the Faraglioni. Then it was back to the boat.

Later on that night, we went back to L’Africana. This time, we went a little bit later, but it really wasn’t too much better. It could have been so cool! Apparently, we were too early in the summer season for it to be packed (with tourists of course). There were some Aussies who were also on the coast for a wedding. They got naked and went for a swim — so it was at least more interesting than the night before. Plus, we had money for the poor parking attendant, so we tipped him extra well. He seemed a little bewildered. I don’t know that he remembered us.

Italy, June 2003, Day 3

Originally, the plan was to pick up Keith and Gail in Rome, give Vince one phone and then meet up with him in Pompeii. That of course, didn’t happen.

Since the car is practically the only place where there is any air conditioning, everyone in the backseat falls asleep.

Once we arrive, we take out the cell phones. Vince still hasn’t called. One phone through a freak series of button presses locked itself and became unusable. The other has no time left, there isn’t even enough money left on it to call and add more money! We decide that the way this trip is going, we’ll just run into him in the ruins. Since we just ran into Keith and Gail at the airport, and somehow found Pepino. Plus, hell, we’re in freaking Pompeii!

The old city is pretty much just in the middle of the current city of Pompeii. There’s just a big fence around it. Before we even get our tickets a guy at gate tries to be our guide. Basically tells us we’re fools for going it alone.

We took an insane amount of pictures in Pompeii, but there is so much to see here.

There were some places where you could wander around in the ruins, and some more intricate homes with paintings on the walls, and columns in the courtyards that you couldn’t walk in. Mostly it was just like any city, with tenements and wealthy sections, bars, entertainment venues. It’s just eerily quiet and still dusty. There were moments when I felt like the volcano had just erupted. But maybe that was just the heat. I did get a little sick and dehydrated because of it. There were practically no trees, just dust and stone.

We did have a few things on our itinerary to see:

The forum with Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

The ampitheater.

The gates to the city.

Petrified body.


There were these dogs that roamed around and a couple of them had taken up residence in the governor’s house. Gail went up to one of them, that seemed to be blind in one eye, and as she got close and reached out her hand to pet it (it was a huge St. Bernard looking dog) it barked and snapped and almost got her. (Unfortunately, no pictures of the dogs.)

Once we were finished with the city, we walked around outside of the fences looking for Vince. But nothing. What else could we do? We decided to go back home, and figure out something then.

Sorry, you’ll have to wait the recap of day 4 to find out what happened to Vince!


Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

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