7/25/2008 & 7/26/2008 -- Dover and London
As we sailed into the port of Dover, a sad feeling kind of sunk in. We were to leave this beautiful ship after being on her for 20 days. This has been a memorable trip from the Mediterranean to the Baltics. Debarkation was fine this time around except for the bus transfer. We waited at the lounge until they called us to get off. Once we were off we went to look for our bus. We had purchased the ship transfer to Heathrow. First they took us to the bus which was going to T5. We didn't want to go to T5 but T4, so they got us to the other bus which was full. We had to push the luggage in and struggled onto the back of the bus. The ride was fine and we arrived Heathrow T4 in one piece.
White Cliffs of Dover
After getting off the transfer at T4, we took the regular public bus that goes around the airport to Marriott. It was about three stops away. Once we got off the bus we just walked across to the hotel. The problem was that we were early and were not able to check in. The staff told us that we could use their club facility if we wanted to but at that point we were not interested in using their pool or sauna. We just sat at the lobby and waited. I also went out to the McDonald's nearby to get lunch.
Our room had two queen beds, spacious and clean.
Originally we wanted to go to Windsor but the front desk staff kind of discouraged us from doing that. We ended up just relaxing at the hotel in the afternoon. For dinner, we just walked around the neighborhood for about a mile, found a little grocery store and picked up some cup-of-noodles and snacks to take back to the hotel. The room was surprisingly quiet for being so close to the airport.
7/26/2008 -- London
This morning we took the bus in front of the hotel to Hatton Cross Station. The bus ride was free. From Hatton Cross we took the underground to London and it took about 45 minutes.
We got off at South Kensington and then took another line to High Street Kensington.
From there we walked to Kensington Palace.
We were there too early and had to wait for it to open.
Once the gate was opened, we were ones of those who got in first.
No pictures from inside. Comparing to the palaces in Russia, this one is very low key and humble. Felt like walking around the Huntington Library. It was interesting to see Diana's wardrobe though.
After visiting the store, we headed out to the gardens and the Round Pond area.
Then we took the double-decker to Trafalgar Square and purchased the Fish and Chips tickets from the Original Bus Tour office. They did not ask to see the tour tickets and there was no problem just purchasing the meal tickets. We also purchased the tickets for the Afternoon Tea at St. Martin on the Field.
One more time at Sherlock Holmes Pub for more fish and chips, but this time Christian had the pie.
After lunch we took the tube to the British Museum and spent over an hour there.
This place is huge and you can easily spend a whole day here.
After the museum we took the tube back to Charing Cross and enjoyed another afternoon tea at St. Martin.
Our next stop was the Harrod's near Knightsbridge Station. It was very crowded with people demonstrating outside and security was everywhere. It was just too crowded that we didn't feel like walking around. We found the food hall and looked for stuff we want to buy for dinner. There were so many good choices but unfortunately we had no microwave to heat up the food we would like to have. We ended up buying some sushi to go and then headed back to our hotel for the night.
During weekends they do a lot of maintenance for the underground and they switch trains without telling people ahead of time. When we got to one station, they announced that this was the last stop for...if you want to go to Hatton Cross, please get off and take the ...train on the other side of the platform. Good thing I listened and we jumped off to get on the other train.
great dinner but not cheap!
7/27/2008 -- After checking out of the hotel, we took a cab to T4. It was very busy with long lines everywhere. Good thing we got there early enough so we took turns exploring the airport. It is a huge terminal with lots of things to see. We bought some sandwiches as we waited and then caught our flight back to the U.S. Our flight took us to Houston, then to L.A. ending our month-long trip in Europe. What a wonderful trip it was! I am thankful that we got to spend time together visitng the parts of the world that we never thought we could have visited. This is certainly a trip that will forever stays in our memories.