Tuesday 27th April.....from Hamburg.....to London for a compression session....sooooo exciting!

It feels unreal to be in an airport again and heading off on another adventure.....this time feeling very excited and relaxed. I took the HVV (Hamburg rail) to the airport without any problems. I gave myself 2 hours to find my way around and already I have been through the first check in, received my boarding pass and enjoyed a coffee and roll for breakky. The next series of gates pulled me up requiring quite an undressing....all my bags which is usual but then my fleecy...my jewellery....my boots....and a thorough going over with the detector gun followed.....I knew I was clean but it’s still very scary to endure this rigorous treatment! Having passed all these checks I arrived at the boarding gate to be told I could only take ONE bag and that my backpack didn’t constitute a ‘handbag’....My cabin bag was already FULL and I didn’t think I had any hope of being able to absorb it all into my cabin bag.........I guess it’s amazing what one can do if under extreme pressure.....I have enormous respect for my CB.....he is my best friend on this trip atm....He just swallowed up the BP and its contents and didn’t even burp!..............The girls at the boarding gate were shaking their heads in amazement....and so was I!!.....It was another moment when you just gotta laugh....otherwise I know I would have cried in frustration!!
A relatively quick flight with EasyJet during which I bought a Gatwick Express train ticket to London Victoria Station...as I was flying into Gatwick I still needed to get to London Central... and a discounted ticket to the London Eye....something I have been told ....not to miss out on doing! Arriving at Victoria station I tossed up whether to walk through Hyde Park to Lancaster Gate where Columbia, my hotel for 2 nights was, or to negotiate the Tube....I decided the latter as I wasn’t sure what the paths would be like and whether I could manage the weight of my stuff all the way .....SOOOOO glad I took the Tube...took me longer than it could have but for a first effort I was very proud of myself and only had to ask about 10 people whether I was on track for LG...These Londoners are great value....AND they all talk my language!!
Culture shock for ‘she who hasn’t travelled’...Evie said that I would love it.....and I do!....heaps of parks, greenery, blossoms, double decker buses, funny little British taxis.....great public transport....and The Red Bus.. hop on, hop off tour buses which run very frequently and efficiently and are focused on giving the tourist a detailed insight into all London has to offer...They wind their way through interesting little streets and well known precincts with a continuous, personal tour guide on each bus providing detailed history, funny stories and great entertainment. I was so totally in tourist mode....snapping pictures of everything....trying to follow the guide map....listen to the info....read the info ....compute it to memory....then I remembered Evie’s trick and took pics of street names and buildings so that when I look at my 100’s of photos (I know each one was extremely important when I took it!)..together with my tour map..I might be able to remember some of what I experienced in my 3 hour compression session...and I haven’t even done a whole circuit yet!
Having had the foresight to purchase a 48hr pass I have another whole day and some, to ride the buses and access the attractions I want to explore further....However, I did do the cruise on the Thames....met some wonderful travellers doing the same as me....and, arriving back at the Waterloo Pier, I realised that if I hurried I would make it back to Trafalgar Square in time for the 6pm walking tour: Ghosts by Gaslight!.....
Tim, our friendly guide and 5 others, headed off the beaten track and meandered through backstreets learning so much more than concrete history....hearing some eerie stories and unbelievable accounts of ‘very real’ experiences people have encountered over the century....apparently London has more sightings of ghosts than any other country....and here we were right in amongst the history of them....Tim liked a tipple so we agreed that ‘when in London...do what the Londoners do..! We stopped over at 2 very typically English bars.!’ I questioned some English Gentlemen propped up against the bar, as to which typically English beer I should consume....they were more than happy to give me their choices which, between them, quickly became a fiery discussion as to which one really was the best...I left them to it and joined the others....Stewart & Lynne,...from Sydney... Tania from LA, and Joan and Jeff from Canada....
Finishing our tour at the second pub...four of us decided to enjoy a meal together (as I realised, that in all the excitement of the day, I hadn’t even thought to stop and eat!!) and enjoy each other’s company before we attacked The Tube and ‘confidently’ made our respective ways home!

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