Europe 2009 – Back to London

Migrated post from Blogger.com.
Refer to Europe 2009 Blog Migration

Tuesday 8 September 2009

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This is a transition day, marking the end of my time in Sutton-in-Ashfield with family. I return to London for the day since tomorrow (Wednesday) is the start of my tour of Western Europe.

I will quickly mention the totally random and unrelated fact that for the past two nights in a row, I have been having baths… proper baths, complete with bubbles. And played with the toy rubber duck… hehe… [I guess part of why this is significant is that back in Australia for the last season we have been suffering from water restrictions and to bathe like this is a complete luxury]

Things I accomplished today:

  1. Dropped by the Sutton Post Office to send home two parcels – to explain more fully, I had accumulated stuff like tour guides and one jacket which I had worked out would not be required during my travels of Europe. This jacket was only £30.
  2. Caught the coach back to London; a four-hour trip occupying the whole afternoon from 1pm.
  3. Caught the London Tube to Bayswater / Umi Hotel (where this post was originally composed)
  4. Went shopping for a bit – ended up buying a new Nike ultra light-weight water-proof jacket and a JAG top.
  5. Had dinner at a place called Bodean’s BBQ. Their claim to fame is to be London’s original BBQ smoke house. Ate a great rump steak for the main, sampled some of the ribs and topped it all off with a most excellent Dulce de Leche flavoured ice-cream. The ice-cream flavour was like something in between toffee and coffee…

It is currently 10pm and I figure I will sleep early tonight since I have a wake-up call set for 6am which is half an hour before the meeting time for all tour participants.

During the course of spending some time here at Umi Hotel I met with the TopDeck tour host – she’s an Aussie from Cairns. She shared some insights into the tour group that I would get to know over the next week+. There were 35 of us travelling down to Rome, some of us (including myself) would leave the group but with more people joining at Rome, a total of 43 would continue on to Amsterdam via East Europe and Germany. The tour host also helped me to work out how to manage my tour departure next Thursday when I travel from Rome to Rotterdam.

A quick stock-take – plenty of £s left; 900+ photos taken (2.6GB) after culling ~100 of lesser quality. The tourist guidebooks that I mention in (1) above weighed 2kg. As a result of reducing and minimising my travel luggage, everyone is really impressed at how little and how light my suitcase is. I figure that if I have made it this far on the clothes and luggage I have with me, I can make it through. Partly, this is because the total four-week holiday is in reality broken up into three distinct segments – the first and last ones being time spent with family in their homes, so they are opportunities for me to wash and refresh my clothes. The longest period where I need my clothes to survive without laundry services is this next period where I tour Western Europe.

I don’t miss Chinese food in the slightest. The closest I have had to Chinese cuisine would have been the mee-hoon cooked by my cousin and also the Indian food from Monday’s dinner.

So, all in all, I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the tour. It’s gonna be a long day ahead so good night all!

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