London Day Twelve

Thursday 13 April

Today we returned to England from Paris.  We caught the Metro back to the Gare Du Nord right where we started from, but this time it was easy.


Again we had a nice little bottle of wine each and then I fell asleep completely missing the Channel Tunnel, last thing I remember was the yellow flowers flooding the fields and then we were back in England.

Before catching the train back to Oxted we checked out Kings Cross Station which is across the road from St Pancras and that’s where platform 9 3/4 is located for all the Harry Potter fans and there’s a shop.  But the queue to get your pic taken pushing a trolley through a wall was ridiculous and I couldn’t even get anywhere near it to just take a photo.  The shop was crazy busy too and we had our luggage so I didn’t feel like dragging that around narrow shop aisles.

So we went home and then for dinner we went to a really good Nepalese Restaurant called Gurkha Kitchen.

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London Day Ten – Paris

Tuesday 11 April

Today another very exciting thing finally happened – we went to Paris on the Eurostar (one more bucket list item ticked off). The Eurostar leaves from the stunning  St Pancras station.


The train ride took just over two hours and after consuming a cute little bottle of wine I slept for most of the journey and woke up in France.

 The first challenge we had in a foreign country that doesn’t speak English as a first language was trying to figure out how to get to the hotel from the station.  We had two options – the number 42 bus or the Metro. Both options were fraught with problems; the Metro looked to be a complicated system of about three different trains and trying to remember which stations to change at, and the bus stop we needed to get a number 42 could not be found.  Even the info centres were no help as they only gave info about the main line trains.  After much walking around the station inside and out we found someone who could help and were on our way on the bus which was a great way to see a lot of Paris before even arriving at our hotel.

Once we had dumped our bags we set off for something to eat and drink and then walk to the Eiffel Tower.  The main reason I wanted to go to Paris was to photograph the tower at night, plus go up the tower and drink champagne. 


Security is extremely high right now, so to get anywhere near the tower involved long queues, body scanning and bag checks, but once inside the area under the tower the queues were even bigger just to get up the tower.  One of my friends pre-booked a dinner up the tower and river cruise for our birthdays so we wouldn’t be worrying about long queues tomorrow night.


At last the lights came on and it was fabulous and near the park there were very cool little bike taxis that were all lit up in LED lights and looked invitingly cool.

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We found a nice corner cafe for dinner where we could watch the world go by and soak up the Parisian atmosphere.


One of the girls had a room on the 4th floor with a view of the tower so she very kindly swapped with me, so I sat up till the lights went out.  I learnt the sparkling lights come on every hour for five minutes till 1:00am when the orange lights go out and the flashing lights come on one last time.

London Day Three

Tuesday 4 April

Today’s main mission was to go to the brand new Lego Shop in Leicester Square, but we ended up doing sooooo much more.  It was a totally awesome day and there were many moments of nostalgia from when I lived here back in 87/88.

First we caught the train to Waterloo Station, which reminded me a lot of the Westend Girls video, but maybe all big London stations look like that.

  
From there we strolled along The Strand in search of coffee and a Vodafone store.  Apparently we couldn’t go to just any old coffee shop so luckily it wasn’t too long before we found one called Pret A Manger.

          
After coffee we found a Vodafone store where the very helpful man sorted my phone and we were off again.

Yes at long last I made it to a real Lego store.  Luckily there was no queue (there were queuing barriers but not needed at that time, many other times I walked past there and there was always a queue).  The Lego store was amazingly cool.

                            

After that we went for a walk to Picadilly Circus to see my old work, which closed down long ago, but the building is still there.

      

After that we were hungry so we headed back to Leicester Square to find somewhere to eat.  We ended up at Little Italy.  After eating Michelle went to some tea place and I headed towards M&M world via the old Hippodrome where I used to go clubbing, but now it’s a casino.


M&M world, close to Easter in the school ideas was not the best time to go – it was crazy busy, packed, unbearably hot and not really all that great.  It was four floors of mayhem.

            

We met up outside M&M World and then headed to Trafalgar Square and another Pret A Manger to wait for Michael.

    
We all caught a bus to Regent St so I could soak up the atmosphere of the incredible experience that is a real Apple Store.

    

Next was Hamleys toy store with a very awesome Lego department on the top floor and an amazing Star Wars section in the basement.

      

Next we went to the Penhaligans rather exclusive fragrance boutique to get some Juniper Sling. 

From there we found a nice theatre pub to have a drink in (I think it was the Garrick).

After a drink we walked down to the Embankment so I could see the lights, crossed the Thames to have dinner in an Italian place and headed home.