Trip to Europe 2005 - London

Day 1 – May 20th, 2005

Today, I got up at about 4:30am to get ready for my trip, I have to take the Shuttle to the Lindberg Field in San Diego to catch my Airplane flight to New Jersey, even at this hour, there are so many people, at this hour of the morning I can not tell how the weather is like, besides, I am still not completely awake yet, I have not eaten any breakfast yet.

The Flight to Newark, New Jersey is uneventful, by the time I get there, it looks like it has been raining all morning and afternoon in that Region. I guess that I got lucky, by the time I left Liberty International Airport, the weather looked like it has gotten a lot worse, I found out later that some of the other flights that came later in the day got delayed because of the bad weather later in the day. Even though none of us had been introduced yet, I know that many of the other members of the tour were on the same flight, I recognized the faces after we had been introduced. I sat next to a Australian Family, the Father, Mother and Son were traveling from Las Vegas Nevada, I did not get a chance to chat with them to much, they had flown from Australia to Las Vegas Nevada – Wow what a long flight (about 22 hours)!! They said that the flight from New Jersey to London UK was not so bad.

Now, I have to sit back and enjoy my vacation!!! Next stop Gatwick Airport in the outskirts of London.

British Museum 1

Day 2 – May 21st, 2005


Website for inforamation on city of London:

Russell Square

After spending a uncomfortable evening on the plane, I arrived at Gatwick airport outside of London, I got through customs (was worried about nothing) and took the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station, No Problems, unlike last time, I got stranded in Heathrow two times in 2002. After traveling the Underground (tube to some of you), I got to Russell Square, and the Imperial Hotel, after getting lost trying to find the hotel. I followed Laura Cates for a while we both did not know that we were members of the same tour group, after getting separated, we both found the Imperial Hotel. Basically we both crossed the street instead of making a left had turn. :-/


I though that I would have to wait until 2pm to check in, but the hotel said that the rooms are clean and ready for us to go check in. The Imperial Hotel is a nice 3 star hotel (very close to Convent Garden, Soho, and Leicester Square, but the beds are uncomfortable.

I would have gone over to the Contiki Basement, but stopped one street short of my destination, I should have made left hand turn on Bedford Way instead I turn around and headed back down Torrington Place and eventually found the Imperial Hotel instead.

With a entire afternoon left, I walked around Bloomsbury where the London University is located, explored all of the side streets, and walked down Tottenham Court Road which is lined with mostly stores, shops and what looks like a shopping center ( I did not go inside). But I had a great time wandering the streets of this area, eventually I found my way over the British Museum, it is free, so I went inside to have a look, I did not know that many other members of the tour spent part of the afternoon in the Museum just like me.

The British Museum is huge, I did not see everything inside of it. I I saw the Parthenon frieze, the Rosetta stone, and ancient artifacts from every part of the world that the British colonized and stoled stuff from. I heard that every year the British Govt. gets a letter from Greece to return the pieces of the Parthenon and the answer from the British is always no. After Lunch in the Museum, and a visit to the Islam, Egyptian, Greek-Roman, and Asian Exhibits I decided to head back to the Hotel. Personally, I liked the Islam and Chinese Jade exhibits that the Museum had on display. There was so much stuff there, I did not get a chance to see everything. But I did get to take a few pictures of the interior of the Museum, which is kid of nice, normally you do not get to do this.

When I got back to the hotel, I had to take a nap, I have not slept at all since 4:30 Friday when I got up, I had to get use to sleeping so close to a busy street, it is not so bad, I am use to it. I got woken up by a Knock at the door, it was Obi my roommate for the trip, I had a chance to introduce myself, and we both spent the rest of the Afternoon watching the Arsenal vs Manchester United FA Cup Finals. I was wondering why so many people flying to London Gatwick were wearing their Arsenal or Manchester U jerseys, Arsenal won the cup on a penalty shoot out. Cool!!! the rain is gone, and would stay away for the rest of the evening.

Meeting the Contiki Tour Group

Later we headed down to the lobby of the hotel to meet Maggie our tour manager and the other members of our tour, we introduced our selves and headed down to the bar for a drink and to wait for Dinner to be prepared. Had a beer at the bar, and introduced myself to Jim, Mary Anne, Chris, Hus, Bec, and Michelle. I though to myself wow, here are a lot of Australians on this trip, my tour manager Maggie is Australian, and the people at the Contiki Basement are all Australian, this is really neat. I found out later that Contiki is a Australian company which started out taking Australians to trips all over the world, well now I have my answer, we had people from South Africa, Canada, Australia, and the USA in this tour group. Later at dinner, we had a buffet English Style, I have to admit, English food is very bland (laking in taste, sorry to any one who likes English food).

Later we all took a walk around London at night, when we walked over to Convent Garden, we had a little orientation from Maggie. By now she was out of her Contiki outfit, and into her street clothes, I did not recognize her in the Hotel hallway, she said hello to me, I just walked by, how rude of me, I later apologized to her for not saying hello.


Wandering London After Dark...

Once the orientation was finished, the tour group broke up and everyone went their separate ways to explore the city of London at night. Jim, Mary Anne, Obi, Mike, Vanvy and headed towards the West End theater district, where Mike and Vanvy split off from the rest of us. The rest of us made our way over to Leicester Square, which was packed with people, both Londoners and Tourist alike. I heard that Leicester Square is one of the areas where Londoners come to, there are clubs, cinemas, restaurants, and fast food joints, the square was packed with people, I had my pony tail pulled a few time followed by some comments from the English that passed by. It was really cool walking in to a place that is so alive with people. If there are any big movie premiers in London, this is the place that it is held, after that, our little group headed down twards Piccadilly Circus, on the way I recognized the area and took our little party over to Chinatown in London, (sorry everyone, I did not eat any Chinese food in London), I am glad that I found it, I wanted to see Chinatown in all of it's electric glory, the last time I was in London, Chinatown was shut down for the eventing. Had my pony tail pulled a few times again, I am so not liking this. :-(

Instead of heading over to Piccadilly, Jim, Mary Anne, Obi and I ended up in Soho, the streets were packed with people, the traffic was horrible, but it was so much fun. I had a lot of fun that night, I learned that Fridays, and Saturdays are the busiest for Leicester Square and Soho. I believe it, all of the Bars, Clubs, Restaurants, and Pubs had their bouncers guarding the entrances since there were so many people.

After wandering around Soho Jim, Mary Anne, Obi, and I found our way back to the Hotel via the London Underground. Then we called it a night.