July 27, 2005

Lisa: UK trip, day 13

We got up quite early this morning so that we could catch our train for London at 8 am. The owners of Dunedin House left out some breakfast food for us, which was nice, so as soon as we were packed we hopped on to the city bus and headed to Waverly Station. We felt like experienced bus travelers by now--no need to call a taxi!

On our train ride back to London, a train in front of us broke down, causing a delay, and we picked up some of their passengers--making our very HOT train car also very crowded. The plan for the night (after checking in to our last B&B) was to divide and conquer. We each wanted to see three museums in differing amounts: the Victoria and Albert, the Natural History Museum, and the British Museum. Since they all close around six, we wanted to try to see as much as we wanted of each of them before then. My plan for after dinner was to try to track down the toiletry bag I had left at the Garden Court Hotel.

Unfortunately, Thursday night didn't work out quite as we had hoped. The train just got hotter and hotter, and more and more full, and the automatic door between our seats and the smoking section kept opening and letting out smoke on us, and we just got more and more misterable. When we finally got to London, we were hot, sticky, and starving. We grabbed some overpriced sandwiches in the King’s Cross station and ate them standing up (because for some reason the English don't believe in seats in their train stations, not to mention garbage cans) before dragging our luggage onto the subway to Victoria Cross station, close to our last B&B, the Elizabeth Hotel (not nearly as pleasant as it looks on their website).

When we got there, our room was up three flights of stairs and was tiny and not air-conditioned. I didn't think I'd ever cool down!

Blake wasn’t feeling too well, so he opted to take a shower and spend the afternoon in the room, but Molly and I headed out to the Victoria and Albert museum as planned. We split up so that we could each see the sights we were interested in, and agreed to meet back at the room so we could go to dinner together.

I spent most of my time at the Victoria and Albert looking at the fashion exhibits. There was an amazing exhibit of the clothing of Queen Maud of Norway.

After I was done at the V&A, I took the subway over to the Garden Court Hotel. I had left my toiletry bag there on the previous Friday, and had several subsequent frustrating phone conversations with the staff there, trying to track it down and get it back. At first I was hoping they could ship it up to the Dunedin House in Edinburgh. I thought that it could be waiting for me when we got done with our Highland tour, and then I could use my regular toiletries and take my medicines and everything for the last four days of our trip. Unfortunately, I overestimated the competence of the hotel staff, and probably the speed of the UK postal service as well. When the bag still hadn't appeared by the time we were leaving Edinburgh, I called the Garden Court again to see if the bag had been mailed. The woman working at the desk had no clue, of course. I told her to leave a message for her manager that if they hadn’t mailed the package yet, they shouldn’t mail it--and that I would stop by on Thursday night to try to pick it up. Long story short, the bag was waiting there for me on Thursday (with no explanation as to why it hadn't been mailed). Anyway, I was happy to have the bag back to take home, at least.

On the way back to the subway stop, I stopped at Boots, a sort of drugstore that sells all kinds of toiletries and things, and is ubiquitous in Britain. Kate (from our Cornwall tour) told me that Sol-Tan, the Boots-brand sunblock, was the best ever--so I had to get a bottle (or two, since there was a 2-for-1 deal)!

Then I tried to get back on the Underground to go back to the Elizabeth Hotel, only to find that there were massive delays on the Circle Line. I had to take THREE very hot and crowded trains to get back to Victoria station, and it took me about an hour. When I got there, Blake and Molly were waiting to head out to dinner, so I turned around and we walked over to a place recommended by the hotel. After we ate, we stopped at a convenience store for necessities: specifically water, candy, and pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream!

After the ice cream and a cool shower back at the room, I felt much better. We settled in for the last night of our trip, which turned out to be (in the grand tradition of that whole day) noisy and hot.


Posted by lisa at July 27, 2005 09:58 AM
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