As with any morning before travel, today’s was challenging. We had to figure out how to repack all of our bags with our new shopping purchases and the food Jolie had so thoughtfully given us for our trip. No fruit left behind! That’s what I say.
Unfortunately, Jolie couldn’t join us today. She had to be home because she and Ray are getting work done on their house. Kathleen and I had a really nice morning with her. After some sisterly bickering, our bags were successfully repacked and we were ready to enjoy some more time in London.
Our first stop was actually Kings Cross/St Pancras, where our Eurostar trip was departing from. Our bags were to cumbersome to really be able to navigate through London with. We were looking for luggage storage when Kathleen mentioned that Kings Cross is where the students of hogwarts depart from at platform 9 3/4.
Of course, we set out to find it. We went to the platforms themselves and took a picture of Kathleen between 9 and 10. I then very sweetly asked the platform staff if we could get a bit closer, explaining that my little sister is such a big Harry Potter fan. They pointed behind us, and we realized there was actually a labelled 9 3/4 platform and a line of people to get their photos taken at it. I held our spot in the queue while Kathleen checked out the adjacent Harry Potter store. She returned with her £33 purchase of a wand. I’m not so sure about that one. But at least the photos are adorable!
While waiting in the queue, I did some research on luggage storage. While the facilities in the station are quite expensive, I learned that the British Library (literally across the street from St Pancras) has free lockers. Kathleen and I got a little turned around looking for the place, and when we finally arrived the lockers only fit carry-on size luggage. This meant we had to go back to the station to store hr backpack, but it save us nearly 20 quid because of the two pieces we did manage to ditch at the library.
We then met with my friend Marcos at the Old Spitalfields Market. We were horribly late. We hadnt counted on getting lost going to the library, and we got lost again trying to find Spitalfields Market. It seemed much easier than it actually turned out to be. We made it very nearly to the right area, them wandered around in the blistering cold for 20 minutes. The signs made no sense. We finally got directions from a nice English lady. it turned out we had been within 20 feet the whole time. we hadnt realized that you had to go between the buildings, and the market was just a covered area behind and between them all around us.
The market was interesting, but cold. It was a covered shopping area full of stalls of interesting things. Much of it seemed handmade or old or just unusual. We ate lunch at Giraffe, a restaurant much more to Kathleen’s taste than Thai food.
A glitch in WordPress just erased my last 45 minutes of painstaking iPad typing, and Kathleen and I have to get to bed soon. I’ll have to summarize the rest.
We walked around brick lanes which was fun and made it to St Pancras in plenty of time. However, it turned out our train tickets were for next week. For an extra £30 each, in addition to the £180 we had already paid, we were given shit leftover seats by the luggage rack just inside the door. We paid more for a one-way ticket to Paris than I did for a round trip ticket to Istanbul on “Europe’s Best Airline,” Turkish Air. This is getting hard to deal with. Our trip to Paris is now more than 5x as expensive as it was when we were planning it, and we only really have one day.
The weather is beautiful though and really warm. We walked around Montmarte and enjoyed wine and cheese and bread on a Cafe patio. We’re happy to be here. The hotel is small and the lobby is grotesque, but the rooms appear clean. We are looking forward to a busy day tomorrow. Hopefully things will go better.
I’ve seen London, I’ve seen France, I’ve seen Ireland on St. Pat’s!
by Kitty Blackwell (it’s my new pen name, guys)
My last day in London was quite lovely. Well, mostly. We spent our time in the morning getting all packed up and ready for our Chunnel ride to Paris. Anna was also preoccupied with finding our way to the hotel nice we arrived in France, which turned out to be a stellar move.
We eventually made it to London, saying good bye to the lovely Jolie and her soft water showers, and stepping into the cold British almost noon air. It became immediately apparent, as I sat sideways on our train into the city, that we couldn’t last the day with my monstrosity of a backpack.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the thing. I couldn’t imagine this trip without it. However, it doubles my thickness, making any mobility slow and difficult. We had a choice. Westminster abbey or load free day of sight seeing. We chose to get rid of the backpack. A few tube rides later and we were at King’s Cross. Some of you may recognize this from Harry potter, and guess what, you’re right!
Any educated Potterhead knows that the train to Hogwarts departs from Platform 9 3/4. Obviously, the sight must be seen. We made our way over to platforms 9 and 10 and took a few great shots. Then, hoping to get closer, we asked the ticket people if we could get through for just a few minutes. They laughed and pointed us to the half protruding luggage cart on the side wall.
Anna, being the loyal and loving sister that she is, stood in line for me to take pictures and let me run into the Harry Potter store. I came out just in time to get my picture taken with a new Ginny Weasley wand! Well worth the quid spent (quid is a thing, right?).
We took some classic pictures and I used the appropriate scarf (a JK Rowling approved test has put me in gryffindor). After this, our goal was to rid me of my backpack. Anna stored her bag of snacks at the public library and I went to the larger luggage facilities for my bag. We only got lost a coupe times and with grumbling stomach went to meet Marcos for lunch. The original plan was to get Thai, but I can officially say that I’ve tried and disdain the food, so we went to the giraffe instead. It was delicious!
We shopped around until it was time for Marcos to leave us and our train to depart. Anna and I split up to find our bags and met back up to check in.
Sorry, guys, it’s late and I have a head ache, so I think my charm is just a little bit off tonight.
We had a few problems, as per usual, but overcame the worst of it and arrive in London. Really the trip was only kind of bad in the tip up seats. We had the best meal packed for us by Jolie, so that made it much better.
Once in Paris, we had no problem finding our hotel, all thanks to Anna. It’s surprisingly clean, though a bit cold we set our stuff down and decided to walk around just a bit. Anna took me up a whole bunch of stairs to this beautiful church for my first view of the Eiffel Tower. Paris is gorgeous at night!
We lingered for quite a while but finally decided to do what I had been begging to do since arriving in Europe: eat bread. And it was worth the wait! We sat outside and watched the French walk past as we drank red wine and ate baguettes and it was just lovely.
The waiter brought around our check and I had a mini heart attack when I couldn’t find my wallet. Don’t worry, folks, Anna covered the bill and we found my wallet in our hotel room.
I heard from my darling little David tonight! He’s bored out of his mind, so go hang out with him everybody.
He’s over five foot tall, blond hair, blue eyes, pretty good sense of humor. You won’t regret it!
And now I am sleeping! Adieu, adieu to you and you and you!