Hello to All
The 2011 Coss Cruise has started off with a bang – several in fact! But let’s start at the beginning.
The flight to London was fine – Air Transat was better than we expected. Leg room was good but the seats were a little narrow. Definitely an incentive to lose some weight over the summer (any excuse is good – pick one of several!) We arrived so early in the morning we had to amuse ourselves while waiting to get into the self-catering flat. A good old fashioned English breakfast did the trick. We took the Gatwick Express (an aboveground train) to Victoria Station and checked the bags so that we could wander around. At £8 a bag (X 4) it was almost cheaper to rent a room for the day. Oh well – nobody said travel was cheap.
The first thing we did was head off to the Visit Britain office to pick up our pre-ordered London Passes. It got us into a great variety of sites ‘free’. While there we also purchased a London Oyster travel card which gave us access to tubes, buses and trains in Zones 1 and 2. What a great time saver that was – no hunting around for change every time you get on a bus or the tube. We wandered some more in the Westminster area noting all the preparations for the Big Event – miles of cables for the media littered the streets.
Just a sample of the many temporary studios
Looks like a good place for a kiss!
It was time to catch a cab to 29 Berkeley Street – our home for the week. It might have been that I was tired, jet lagged or just plain grumpy but my initial reaction to the flat was not good. Once again, Sharlene, beware of pictures on the internet. However we`ve booked several places using the same agency prior to this and had really enjoyed our Cotswold cottage, Italian villa etc. Maybe my expectations for a £100 a night accommodation in central London were a little ambitious but the quality of furnishings was not up to Coss standards – which let`s face it - aren`t that high!!
The flat however was in a very central location, 2 blocks from Marble Arch and in an interesting Lebanese/Middle Eastern neighbourhood. The smells emanating from the shops as we walked by were tantalizing and we made sure we got at least one meal while we were there. Phil had the mixed grill and I had lamb chops followed by baklava – scrumptious. There was also a pub right across the street which became our ‘local’. We got to know the girls there several of whom were from former Russian controlled countries. Now that they are independent countries and part of the EU they can travel fairly freely to go to school or work for short periods.
The second day was mostly spent scouting the neighbourhood, picking up essentials for breakfasts and some suppers as we usually eat lunch out. The next day we headed out – I finally got to the Tate Britain after our 4th visit to London. We did the Victoria and Albert again for a special exhibition of Romantic Period art called Beauty. The Churchill War Rooms were very interesting and I loved St Paul’s which I hadn’t visited before - even made it to the Whispering Gallery some 300 feet up. My vertigo doesn’t allow me to look down but I was glad I climbed those 500 steps!!!!
Sadly I felt a cold coming on and by Thursday it was full blown so I thought I’d better stick close to home to try and head it off. We did walk over to Hyde Park to scout out our location for the next day’s big event – the Royal Wedding. We also had to cancel meeting Jeff and Jessie’s brand new baby daughter but they certainly didn’t need a visitor who was sick. The Coss luck reared its ugly head again and by the time I woke up on Friday, I couldn’t breathe and was too sick to move. So there I was –on the couch in my pyjamas watching the wedding on a little 17” TV screen, not even HD. Grrr. All that expense for nada. Our Canadian flags stayed in our bags, but heh – maybe I can pull them out for France’s Bastille Day. Let’s see – a Canadian flag on France’s most patriotic day - what do you think - a hanging or guillotine offense?
Nevertheless, roll with the punches Cosses – get ready for the next part of the adventure as we board the EuroStar to cross through the chunnel to Paris, grab a local train to Charleville Mézierès and a cab to Pont à Bar where Calypso awaits our return!!!
Love to all – the Adventurous but Unlucky Cosses