A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: MaryDavis

India trip

Day 22

October 31

Well, so much for reflections. I have to share my experience first. I am on the flight home but Glenn is somewhere in London, I think. I got on the flight but her did not. But let me start out in the beginning. We got up early, no alarm needed, and started getting ready. Last night Glenn had realized that he left his phone in our rental car yesterday. So he was going to drop me at the tube station and run back by the rental car place when it opened at 7:30. So I sat and drank coffee and ate an excellent roll and waited for him. His errand was a success, his phone was still in the car they hadn't even found it. So we headed for the airport on the tube. The train we got on didn't go all the way to the airport so we hopped off at one station to change and Glenn got on the train that would take us all the way but the doors closed before I could get on. So I waited for the next train and knew I would just meet him at the airport. Well, I waited and waited and finally got on one that would at least get me closer to the station. Then I switched at another station and finally arrived to see Glenn standing there waiting on me. We hurried to the check in as we were running a bit behind where we wanted to be only to be told that they have over booked and we did not have seats since we had not paid the extra to reserve our seats in advance. With all the rerouting do to the hurricane we were not terribly surprised but still we had bought our tickets months ago.

In the end they were able to get me on, but only because Glenn insisted that I needed to be at work tomorrow. They weren't going to let us split up before that. So they told me to go to the head of security and I ran to security got through in record time, ran to the shuttle, ran to the gate and waited....they hadn't even really started boarding yet! I was sweaty and out of breath but I was where I needed to be. They had switched planes to a 747 from a 777 so that they had more seats. If they hadn't I wouldn't be on the flight at all. They assured Glenn that he would be on the next flight but I think it is not until tomorrow. Not sure what is up with him but will hopefully Skype tonight with him. Anyway I have a nice aisle seat next to a nice woman who is from Sante Fe. We have just had our lunch which was good and I had my little bottle of wine with it which was excellent. I am going to probably watch a movie or so because if I try to read like I have been I may fall asleep and I am trying not to do that so that I sleep well tonight. I am really curious what is up with Glenn and it is very hard with him having no cell service. Hopefully he is comfy and at least he is the one with the pounds and I am the one with the dirty clothes. He also has our cosmetics so luckily I have replacements for most things. I will reflect later for now I think a movie is called for!

I watched 2 movies back to back and then had a chicken salad sandwich for not sure of the meal since it was 2:30 US time and 7:30 to my body. It was good and free on the flight. I quick note on the woman who sat next to me. She sat the entire 10 hour flight with her purse on her lap. She fretted and frittered the whole time. At least she wasn't too bad all things considered. Got in to Dallas on time with no problems with immigration or customs. Made it to my connecting flight with plenty of time and had priority seating so I got to get on early. The flight was not full but a woman sat next to me and could have moved to sit by her husband who was right in front of her but she didn't move. Instead she talked to me the whole flight! I know her whole story...she lost a son 17 years ago, both her boys are adopted, in February she was in a coma for 9 days, she has 2 grandkids....and more! I kept trying to stay awake but my brain kept fuzzing over while she was talking.

While I was getting off the plane in Dallas, I get a call from Glenn and he is in Chicago! I was thrilled he was in the US and would be home shortly after me. I called Mom and just told her to come a bit later and we would wait for Glenn. He made it in early and we were home by 8! Now it is laundry and sorting and unpacking. Trying to stay up till 10:00 to try and get our bodies on US time. We will see how that goes! So for now this is the end of my travels and end of the blog unless I get time to reflect sometime this weekend or until my next travels. Thanks for tuning in!

Posted by MaryDavis 20:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

India trip

Day 21

October 30

The alarm woke both of us up this morning. We actually slept very well and have finally adjusted to the time difference just in time to leave. We cleaned up and had a quick breakfast before walking to the rental car place. We ended up with a little Peugeot 107. It is bright blue and very cute. We got the Sat Nav system which is priceless or we would never have made it out of London central! On the highway things move at a fast clip and even on the back roads we seem to be moving fast. Glenn has done real well with keeping us on the left side of the road. I slept a bit on our first drive.

We started out by going to Avebury which was about 2 hours away from London. It is the largest rock ring structure in the world. The stones are just in farmers' fields with sheep grazing about. We got there with perfect timing and very few people. By the time we left the parking lot was crowded and it would have been difficult to get pics of the stones without others among them. We walked among the stones taking lots of pictures and getting to touch the stones and watching out for sheep poop. It was a great way to start our road trip. They had an old farm house there and a little cafe so we bought some coffee and sat outside and drank it. Glenn thought it was the best coffee of our trip. We were lucky and the sun was out most of the time we were there. This has been gorgeous weather.

After Avebury, which is one of the sites the concierge told us about, we headed to Stonehenge which was only 45 minutes further. On our way we passed several signs which I have never seen before..."Tank Crossing"! We were near their military firing ranges. Glenn couldn't believe they would let them fire tanks only a couple of miles from Stonehenge.

Once again timing was perfect at Stonehenge and there were no tour buses and not a lot of people. By the time we left there were 7 tour buses! Stonehenge was absolutely amazing to see. I really wanted to walk among the rocks but they only allow that in very special groups and not in the month of October at all. You could get fairly nearish in some areas. But it also kept people from getting in your pictures. It is an amazing sight to see those huge stones placed in the ground and on top of each other knowing that it was done without the use of heavy machinery. It is also cool that it just sits our in a field with nothing else around it. We went to the gift shop and did the tourist thing. We bought a few souvenirs which we really haven't done much of. We got to try their wine and liquors that are made specially for them. They were yum! We headed out next to Castle Combe.

The road to Castle Combe looked like a movie set. The fall colors and green fields. It is beautiful here and the sun keeps peaking out. We are planning on having a late lunch at Castle Combe which the concierge also recommended as a quaint picturesque old English village.

Castle Combe was way way back in the middle of nowhere. If you weren't headed there it was not a place that you would just happen upon unless you were lost or had a satellite navigation system to get you there. It was very quaint and very picturesque just as promised. It would be a great place to come stay at a B&B for a couple of days. There were several walking paths and trails. We stopped first at the White Hart pub and had a yummy lunch. I had a 1/2 pint of cider and Glenn had a1/2 pint of their local brew. The pub was warm with a small fire going and the people were very friendly. I had beef stew and Glenn had pork and currant pie which looked amazing. We were so stuffed when we finished we waddled around the town and took a few pics before heading on the road back to London. Castle Combe was like its own little world and was a great place to stop.

Back on the motorway with all the traffic but nothing compared to India! Glenn did really well driving with only one minor oops so all is good. It was crazy trying to navigate through the city streets to find a petrol station and then where we turn our car in. It was during rushish hour and it was dark and there are so many one way streets and buses and bikers and I was in the car with Glenn and I have no idea how we got to the return place but we did. We have learned our way around on foot and in the tube so getting back to our hotel way easy and getting to the airport tomorrow will be easy too. Neither one of us was hungry after our huge late lunch so we decided to just wait to eat again until breakfast. The evening consists of resting, packing and preparing to leave. It has been a wonderful holiday! Tomorrow's entry will just be reflections on the trip, unless something noteworthy occurs. Good night!

Posted by MaryDavis 12:16 Archived in England Comments (0)

India trip

Day 20

October 29

Woke up early and just rested in bed until time to get up, 5:00 am. We got cleaned up and ready for our day. We rode the tube from Victoria station to Kings Cross station which St. Pancras, the international station, is attached to. We checked in for our train ride and boarded at 7:13. It was a very smooth, very fast train. We had gotten muffins and coffee before we got on and so we ate those and then Glenn went to the snack car and got us grilled ham and cheese sandwiches too. We saw some of the countryside but then quickly reached the tunnel under the English channel. We were glad we were not going to be in London today as it was a bigger chance of rain than any other day. It rained on us some on the train but as we approached Paris the clouds were higher and lighter. Paris is an hour ahead of London so we arrived there at 10:30.

We had to walk to the Hard Rock Hotel to pick up our day passes for all the stuff. The ones Glenn arranged put us in the Fast Track lines. After finding the restaurant we got our passes and sat a second to plan our route. We decided to walk to the Louvre. It was quite a ways but it was fun to see the streets and the sites. When we arrived at the Louvre we were ever so grateful for the Fast Track passes as the queue to buy tickets and the queue to go in and the queue to get tickets for certain exhibits were monstrous and we just by passed them all and walked right in! It was amazing! We saw Venus di Milo up close and personal! I am not sure why she is so famous when there were so many other marble statues. It was way cool! We walked around and saw lots of other stuff and then went into the room with the Mona Lisa. There was a huge crowd around her but we got a good view. It was neat to see but would have been nice to see closer up. We walked and walked and walked all around the museum and probably only saw 1/3 before we figured we better move on.

We went back on the street and headed to Notre Dame. We walked along the Seine enjoying the sites and the people. It was quite a walk and we stopped across the street from the cathedral and had a very tasty lunch. We sat at a table looking out at Notre Dame and it was so cool. After lunch we walked around the cathedral but didn't go in since the queue for it was huge and we had limited time. The building is really worn from the elements but it was still very neat to see. Lots and lots of gargoyle! We walked along the Seine to the Musee de Orsay which houses the Impressionist paintings but it is closed on Mondays. I was bummed but Glenn said we would just have to come back! I can live with that.

After walking more we walked to Champs Elysees which is the road leading to the Arc De Triompe. Glenn stood in the middle of the road, between where the cars drive, to get pictures of the Arc. It was very impressive and the walkway leading to it is an outside mall with lots of stores and lots of people.

From there we headed to the Eiffel tower. It was once again a long walk and my legs were pooping out. It was way neat to walk up to it and see all the crazy people going up the stairs on the tower. I saw in the park right by it and Glenn ran and got drinks. We sat and admired it and then walked and got a snacky dinner and ate it right under the tower. It was getting cold and very windy by then as the sun was almost set. We got to see the lights on the tower and that was a beautiful sight.

We caught a red tour bus which our passes let us do and road around up on top till we got to Notre Dame again where Glenn had noticed metro goes to that was a direct shot to Gare du Nord, our train station. The metro was crowded like a can of sardines! It was rush hour and everyone wanted on. At each station a few would get off and twice as many would get on! It was crazy. We made it to our station with plenty of time to spare but no energy to spare at all! We hung around till around train left at 9:13. We got back into London at 10:30 since we gained an hour. The ride back was uneventful and I slept a lot of the way. We caught the Victoria line at Kings Cross again and were back home in no time. We are getting very good at taking the tube.

I am sure I will think of things I forgot to say as I think about the day but it is late and I just wanted to get the basics down while I was thinking of them.

Posted by MaryDavis 16:48 Archived in France Comments (0)

India trip

Day 19

October 28

It is a cold gray day here in London but we are hoping the clouds go away as they are possibly supposed to do. Just to screw us up a little more Europe went off day light savings time last night so now we are 5 hours off instead of 6 from the US. And of course we will get home just in time to do it all again next week end. Anyway, we slept well and were able to sleep in fairly appropriate hours. We both had weird dreams but nothing too bad. The shower felt good and it was so nice to be able to brush my teeth from the tap water! It is truly the little things!

Had a yummy breakfast with lots of coffee to get us started and hopefully keep us going! We are getting ready to hit the site seeing trail. Of course that means more pictures posted on Facebook later! It is chilly out but at least the wind isn't as strong so it should be better today.

As we were heading out Glenn talked with the concierge about a trip to Stonehenge and such for Tuesday. The concierge recommended just renting a car and doing a driving trip ourselves and gave us some other places to go to too. He is going to give us a list of the places and one includes another rock place similar to Stonehenge but you can get up in the rocks where you can't at Stonehenge anymore. So we have a car lined up for Tuesday. Then we set off walking.

We walked and walked and walked and walked..... I could go on for pages. We walked for 6 1/2 hours with a short break for lunch and one for coffee. We walked back to the Thames and over to get a picture with Big Ben in the background. While we were standing there we heard Big Ben chime for 12 noon and Glenn recorded it. We stopped at a street side souvenir shop and got a few things and then walked down the river all the way to the Tower of London bridge. We passed the Eye which is the giant Ferris wheel and the Globe theatre where Shakespeare had his plays performed. We saw lots of street performers and lots of very interesting people. Why anyone would wear stiletto heels to walk the cobblestone streets of London is beyond me! We saw the Millennium bridge and the London bridge. We had lunch at a gourmet pizza place and it was very good. We crossed on the Tower bridge and of course Glenn took lots of pictures. We stopped and had coffee outside of the Tower of London complex and got to see a parade of people from the complex pass by. We saw St. Paul's Cathedral and Glenn kept singing, "Feed the birds, tuppence a bag." We passed the New Scotland Yard building and No. 10 Downing Street. We saw many other cool buildings too. We walked all the way back to the Royal Horseman place and on to the Queen's Garden. We went to Buckingham Palace as it was turning dark but got pictures of the palace and the guards and the gates. By the time we got back to our hotel with very tired legs we had walked 10 miles. It was a great day but I am pooped! I am thinking dinner will just be here at the hotel tonight.

Glenn still wasn't hungry from lunch but I was starving so I ordered a hamburger and fries from room service. Too pooped to even go down to the restaurant. It was a very yummy burger and very crispy fries. I ate it all and now am stuffed. Glenn worked on pics and finalizing our stuff for our trip to Paris tomorrow. He went down stairs to the business office to print our information out and also to talk to our concierge friend and get the list of places for Tuesday. We are all set now. I finished my current book, I have read 9 different books over this trip and decided I was too tired to start a new one. I think I shall post this, brush my teeth and hit the sack. Tomorrow is going to be another busy and exciting day!

Posted by MaryDavis 12:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

India trip

Day 18

October 27

Happy Sweet 16th Birthday, Emily! We are now in London and operating in a fog at this time. We had no trouble getting on our flight here and it was a full flight but no crying babies or loud people so we were able to rest and/or sleep on the way here. Glenn actually had a "dinner snack" when we first got on at 2:30 but I decided I would rather go on to sleep. I slept fairly well all things considered but I couldn't stretch my legs out and my knee ached a bit in the night. They turned the lights on in the plane about 5:15 am to give us our breakfast. It wasn't the worst meal but definitely not the best either. We ate, got our stuff loaded up and landed. They had announced on the plane that at the time of landing it was only 3 degrees C. So I was wishing I had something heavier than just a hoodie.

When we got off the plane we exchanged some money so we had our British pounds and bought our tube pass for the day and made our way to the tube station. We had to change trains to get to Victoria station which is very close to our hotel. We stopped at a coffee shop in Victoria station and had a BIG cup of coffee that was so warm and yummy! It was very chilly out so I decided that the first order of business was to buy me a sweater to wear under my hoodie. Actually the first order of business was to drop off our luggage at the hotel but the sweater was the second! We found our hotel with minimal wandering which is good since we were dragging our bags around. It is nice hotel very conveniently located. We couldn't check in yet since it was till morning but we could leave our bags which we did.

We then went in search of food since it had been 6 hours since I had eaten last. We found a little sandwich/snack shop and got warm ham and cheese croissants. It sure tasted good. We also scoped out the pub that is near the hotel where we will grab dinner tonight. Then we went in search of me a sweater. We went back to Victoria station since they had all sorts of shops in there and found me a sweater very quickly. It is a very warm sweater and I love it. We then went exploring.

We walked by Westminster Cathedral and the by Westminster Abbey. We saw the Parliament building and Big Ben. Then we walked to the Thames and walked down near the river for quite a while. We just enjoyed being out and about and seeing the sights. We took a few pictures but we only had my camera since Glenn's was still in his bag at the hotel. It was cloudy and quite windy so I was very thankful for my sweater and felt sorry for Glenn. He only had his light jacket and his thermal stuff was still in his suitcase. We will both be better prepared and warmer tomorrow.

When we made it back to our hotel our room was ready and we were able to come in and get situated. It is a nice room with a view. We are up on the 9th floor (that is the top floor for this hotel) so we can see quite a bit. I think I may rest just a bit but don't want to do too much as I was to sleep tonight and try to get adjusted to this time. We will have 30 hours of October 27 so it will truly be a long day!

Had a good little rest. Our bed is really comfy after all the rock hard beds in India. Glenn was going through his email as I was resting and had one from Anil that he had sent to the Department of Overseas Ministries of UCC and Disciples and CC’ed Glenn on. It told about our visit and about me giving blood. Less than 24 hours after I gave that blood a 20 year-old woman came in and gave birth but her placenta was attached to the uterine wall. She was bleeding profusely so Anil sent her husband and brother-in-law up to the lab to donate but she had O+ and they both at B so they could not give. Since O- is a universal donor type he was able to use my blood and save her life. Wow! Now the baby still has a mother and I got to see a beautiful picture of a smiling woman who would not be alive if I hadn't given the blood. When I gave I wondered if I would ever know who got it and now I do! Makes me feel pretty darn good. It truly is the gift of life. Think I will go celebrate with fish and chips and a pint! Okay I was going to have that any way but now it is a celebration.

We went back to Victoria station and looked at souvenirs and such but didn't buy anything yet. I haven't decided what exactly we need yet but I wanted to know prices there and what they have. Then we went to King George Tavern and had awesome fish and chips and mushy peas! Glenn had a pint of Guinness and I had a pint of Lamplighter which was very good. We are now so full since we are used to sharing and eating much lighter meals. Don't think I will be hungry for a bit at least. We are going to watch some “telly” and hit the sack earlier than usual for India, since we ate dinner at 5:45 instead of 11:00. But of course it is now 11:30 India time so I guess we did eat at 11. Tomorrow is sight seeing around here again. Going to Buckingham Palace again especially since last time Glenn had forgotten to put his stick in his camera so all the pics he took were not actually on the camera.

Posted by MaryDavis 11:44 Archived in England Comments (0)

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