We had a first today for the holiday. NO RAIN!!
We had to get up at 6:30am this morning in order to have breakfast and then take a taxi to Gare du Nord. We had booked a taxi that was big enough for all of us and our luggage. It was meant to arrive at 7:15 but by 7:25 there was no sign of it. It eventually pitched up just as we had flagged down two other taxi’s. They weren’t too happy when we ditched them and got into the booked one. We were taking the Eurostar to London. They said get there at least 30 minutes in advance. Couldn’t understand why until we got there. Only one way to get to the departure level and that was by lift and only one was working. The whole train of 18 coaches had to get onto the departure level with one lift! That probably sums up France. You have to clear both French and UK passport control and go through a security scan. We managed to get onto the train 8 minutes before it pulled out of the station.As we sat down Helen said “Well that was slightly stressful.” The train journey was uneventful and we arrived slightly early into London. It really is the best way to travel between Paris and London. It is quick and very convenient as it goes from the centre of Paris to the centre of London. If you ever have to do the trip, don’t hestitate – take the Eurostar.
Oh the joy of being back in a civilized country. All you have to do is raise your hand and a little black car pulls up, you tell them where you want to go (in English) and they drop you right outside the door. We were at the flat by 10am. Nothing opens in London before 11am on a Sunday (but at least the shops do open). We did some grocery shopping and after lunch those who don’t come regularly to London decided to go shopping down Oxford Street. It seemed to be a successful trip for all of them despite the crowds of people.
This evening we went to Covent Garden for dinner at Sophie’s Steakhouse. It was Stephen’s choice as it is his 16th birthday today. As we can’t all fit into a taxi (they only take 5), the boys very quickly volunteered to take the tube instead. We left 5 minutes after them and arrived 5 minutes before them. The taxi won this race. You have to love public transport in London though. We could also have taken a bus. And they would all roughly have taken the same amount of time. Spoilt for choice yet Londoners love to complain about it anyway. All they have to do is come to South Africa where we pretty much don’t have any public transport and they might appreciate it a little more.
We decided to walk back. That usually takes about 20 minutes. We thought we would walk down the Mall but little did we know it was totally closed off for construction of the Olympic Beach Volleyball stadium on Horseguards Parade. That meant we had to walk all the way around St James Park. It did mean that Lara got a good view of Buckingham Palace. Michael whistled for Lizzie (because we knew she was in as the flag was flying) but she either didn’t hear us or was already in bed. We figured if she knew it was us (and she was still up) she would have invited us in for a cuppa but we will forgive her because Michael’s whistle wasn’t very good. The walk back took us about 30 minutes instead of the 20 minutes it would usually but it was still a pleasant walk back after dinner.
Sorry there are no pics at all today. Just realised it now that we never took any today. And excuse any typo’s, missing words etc. I was watching “Have I Got News For You” while typing this and my attention was generally on that than what I was writing. If you have ever watched it you would know why.