Exchange Rates $
|Dates: 1997 Oct 6, 7, 8, 9
- We arrived at the London Waterloo train station on the morning of Oct
6. The Eurostar Chunnel train ride (from Paris) was interesting. The actual
time in the tunnel under the English Channel was 20 minutes. It seemed
like the train was going slow, but anything would seem slow if you were
travelling at 300 km/hr for a couple hours (I estimate the train was doing
80 km/hr through the tunnel). Also, the train had to adapt itself to the
British rail system; in mainland Europe, the trains get their power from
overhead wires, whereas on the British Isles, they get the power from the
"third" rail. Also, the rails aren't as smooth as the French
rails, thus the top speed of the train (in England) was maybe 100 km/hr.
- Arrived at London's Waterloo Station on the morning of Oct 6. We got
a hotel booking from the tourist information booth at a hotel called Linden
House; the room rate was 20 pounds per night and included breakfast. Room
rating: VERY GOOD ...... the room had a TV (wow!), but a lot of stairs
to climb and the rate was a little pricey ..... it was an actual hotel
type establishment. The breakfast was excellent, as it was an authentic
English breakfast, consisting of toast, beans, eggs, sausage, and ham,
with coffee or tea and juice.
- We had a three day London "Visitor Travelcard", which allowed
us unlimited travel on the London Transport system, including "The
Tube" (London subway system). One of the annoyances of The Tube was
that you had to use your travelcard for entering AND exiting the transit
- The weather was overcast, rained sometimes, and cool. True London weather,
we had to pull out our jackets and long pants out of the backpacks. I guess
summer is over.
- One thing I had to get use to was learning which way to look when crossing
the street, as the British drive on the left side of the road. Thus, one
must "look right, then look left" when crossing the street.
- London is known for it's live theatre (there's 45 theatres), with most
theatres around the Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square area. I went
to see three plays: Beauty And The Beast, Les Miserables, and Oliver! (all
musicals). Beauty and The Beast was a fun musical that anyone would enjoy;
Les Miserables was an intense musical (one of those "I laughed, I
cried"); and Oliver!, the musical loosely based on the Dicken's tale
"Oliver Twist", was good (I've always liked the 1968 Academy
Awards Best Picture version of Oliver!), although the acoustics of the
theatre was not that good. Decent tickets cost around 30 pounds.
- Saw some of the London sites such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster
Abbey, Tower Bridge,
- Rode on a double decker bus .... it smelled like piss (yech!).
- Visited the Tate Gallery, home to the national collections of British
Art. It has a large collection of Turner's works.
- Visited the British Museum, home to old art and artifacts. The Rosetta
Stone (the rock which helped translate hieroglyphics into Greek) is the
major artifact housed here.
Our next destination was to be Brussels, Belgium. Like the trip to London,
we planned on taking the Chunnel train. The cost was 34.50 pounds for Eurail
Pass holders. We left London on the morning of Oct 9.
around outside Big Ben
to see if the Queen is home