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Trip Report: Lovely London, Parisian Pickpockets, and Eerie Edinburgh

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Mar 10th, 2005, 04:44 AM
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Trip Report: Lovely London, Parisian Pickpockets, and Eerie Edinburgh

Our trip began on February 11th and covered London for five days, a daytrip to Paris, and Edinburgh for three days. We arrived home on February 21st.

Hotels- We stayed at the Thistle Victoria in London. Our room rate was 116 GBP per night, which included continental breakfast. The room was a superior double. The room was renovated, and in the wing. Our closet was about six inches deep! We never had any problems with noise, considering we were above Victoria Station. Although small, the room had adequate space to store our luggage. The location was perfect for us, with easy access to the Victoria, District and Circle lines of the tube. There were a number of pubs nearby that we enjoyed. In Edinburgh, we stayed at the Apex International on the Grassmarket. Our room was a king bed superior with castle view. The rate of 140 GBP included breakfast, and we were given chocolates, wine, and bathrobes. There was a small balcony off of our room. The view of the castle was great, but it was a trade-off for the noise we experienced from the pubs across the street. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to hear people scream “Hey, hey, we’re the Monkee’s” at 3:30 a.m.!

Airfare- we had an open jaw ticket from New Orleans to London and returning from Edinburgh. We flew Continental for $580 per ticket, which might seem high to some people, but we now have enough miles for a return trip to Europe. The price out of Edinburgh seemed to make our ticket price higher, but it was worth it not to backtrack.

Guidebooks and prep- We have been planning on doing this trip for almost two years. Loaded onto my palm pilot were the Lonely Planet cityguides, fancy a pint, and tube and metro programs. My palm pilot was invaluable, as we had the answers to many questions at the touch of a finger. We also read a number of guide books, but did not travel with them. A book on London and one on Edinburgh stayed in our hotel room for review if we needed it.

About us- I am 38 and my partner has just turned 40. I went on a school trip to Europe, including London and Paris, when I was seventeen. Jill, my partner, has never been there and is very set in her ways. I was concerned about the ‘fish out of water’ factor, but she did very well the whole time. I was the obsessive planner and researcher before the trip, she was along for the ride. The trip was to celebrate our tenth anniversary and to get us out of the daily rut.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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Friday, Feb 11th- We left New Orleans on a 3:30 flight to Houston, then left Houston at 7 p.m. After dinner and a movie it was time to sleep. Well, I couldn’t . And Jill only got about three hours of sleep. But who needs sleep when you are about to be on an adrenaline high? We touched down at 9:45 a.m.at Gatwick. We cruised through immigration and customs, and grabbed the Gatwick Express. I had gotten e-tickets online so that all we would have to do was hop on the train and give our confirmation number. It took the agent several minutes to figure out that we did indeed have e-tickets. The train was not very full, so I can see why they might want to do away with it.

Arriving at Victoria Station, we found the door off the main area to the Thistle Victoria. There were a few steps up with our luggage, but we managed to haul it up.

Our room was ready early, as I had requested. We dropped off our stuff and hit the streets! We purchased our seven day travelcards from a machine, as well as an international phone card, then went outside and caught the Big Bus tour. It was exhilarating to finally be on the streets of London after so much planning and anticipation. We stopped at Hyde Park and walked to the Hard Rock to get a leather jacket for a friend. Yes, our first meal was at the Hard Rock! Shame on us! (But it is the original Hard Rock) Afterwards, I called my mom to let her know we had made it there. She wanted to discuss the Charles and Camilla engagement and wanted to know what everyone in London was thinking. Seeing as how we had only been there less than two hours, I really didn’t have an answer as to public opinion. Why would my mother want to get into a long conversation about them when I’m making an international phone call?

Back on the Big Bus, we had a great guide who kept everyone entertained, but I felt she could have been a little more knowledgeable about what we were seeing. We saw all of the main sights, and got a really cool picture of Big Ben framed by the London Eye. We hopped off near Buckingham Palace and wandered around a little. By then it was misting, so we headed back to the hotel for a breather and to unpack. That evening we walked down Buckingham Palace Road and went to our first pub, Kings Arms. I loved it immediately. It was small, and the menu looked good, so we ate dinner there. Bangers and mash and fish and chips really hit the spot! And the pints were good. We were worried that Jill would not be able to find anything to drink, as she is a Miller Lite drinker. But she tried Kronenbourg, and ended up drinking it the entire trip. Good thing, because I didn’t want to hear her complain about not finding any beer she could drink.

We returned to our room that evening and started watching EastEnders, which became our little obsession. We really enjoyed watching British television, especially Stars in Their Eyes and the original Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. We managed to stay awake until almost 11, even after nearly killing a bottle of champagne.

Our first day in London was over, but it was magical and couldn’t have been more perfect. It was time to sleep. Which finally, I could.

Sunday, February 13th- We woke up around 8 and felt no jet lag whatsoever. The plan today was to tube over to the Cabinet War Rooms, then see either the Horse Guards Parade or the Changing of the Guard. We realized that the Circle and District Lines were closed for the day, so we walked down by Buckingham Palace and along St. James Park toward the Cabinet War Rooms. We really enjoyed seeing the various rooms. Someone had doodled Hitler on one of the maps. We did not go into the Churchill Museum. It was amazing to think that as soon as the war was over, everyone left the area and it pretty much stayed untouched. Afterward, we walked through St. James Park.

I was really not looking forward to the Changing of the Guard. I had seen it before when I was younger, but wound up really enjoying it. The crowd got a good chuckle as the band started playing the James Bond theme.

We then headed to the London Eye. Big mistake! It was Sunday, and we learned the kids were on school break, so there were tons of people. The wait to get on was almost two hours, so we decided to go eat at Yo!Sushi instead, and save the London Eye for later. Eating lunch was fun, as we’re both big sushi fanatics and loved the conveyer belt.

On our way back, we meandered by Big Ben, the House of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. We returned to the hotel to freshen up, then it was off on the Victoria line for our evening adventure- a London Racers Hockey game. We took the tube to the last stop, Walthamstow Central, then planned on getting a cab. Jill panicked a little when she realized there were no cabs and we would have to take the bus. Doing my research beforehand, I knew to take the 48 to the rink, which was on Lea Valley Road. There was a pub, Ship Aground, across the street from the rink, so we went in. We immediately got sized up by everyone. The pub drunk befriended us and chastisted us repeatedly for coming all the way from America and not going to Ireland. He also kept asking us the same questions, until he decided he was “pissed ” and left to go home. This pub turned out to be our favorite, as we felt like we were probably the only tourists ever to set place in it. Everyone seemed to know one another, and there were lots of families with several generations enjoying themselves.

We met several hockey fans there, who took us under their wing at the game. London shut-out their opponents 8-0, and in the process we met a lot of nice people. We also got to say hello to two of the London players who know a mutual friend of ours.

Monday, February 14th- Today was all about the Tower of London. We headed over and got there about 10:30 am. It had opened at 10:00 since it was a Monday. There was no line for tickets. Our yeoman warder was great. We spent about three and half hours there, and probably could have spent more time. After a quick lunch there, we went to St. Paul's Cathedral. There was still scaffolding on the outside and inside. We took the tube back to the hotel, where we did our postcards. We decided to do a little pub hopping to kill time until the Ceremony of the Keys that night. We first went to Bag’O Nails on Buckingham Palace Road, then backtracked to Kings Arms for dinner. We realized that pubs have a standardized menu after our third pub. It was interesting to see how similar menus were, but sometimes the prices were different. For us dumb tourists, I suppose, the menus have instructions telling you to order and pay for drinks and food at the bar, let the bartender know where you are sitting, and then the food will be brought to you. These similar menus were even in Scotland. I order welsh rarebit and really liked it. We headed to Liberty Bounds, which is a Weatherspoons pub near the Tower. It was quite large, and there were several families upstairs.

The ceremony of the keys was an amazing experience. While waiting, our yeoman warder explained the history of the ceremony and what would be occurring. We were not allowed to take pictures or talk during the ceremony, which made it even more special. After it was over, we were allowed to ask questions. Seeing the ceremony after touring the Tower earlier in the day really helped us to get a sense of how important tradition is. Something about it really touched me, as I got a little teary eyed during it……..

Another great day was over and it was back on the tube to the hotel.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 05:01 AM
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Enjoyed reading your report, especially as you visited The Ship Aground in Lea Bridge Road! I know it very well and I can imagine how surpised they were to see tourists! Also know The Liberty Bounds very well near the Tower as it's very near to where I work. From what we've heard so far you seem to have enjoyed London.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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Tuesday, February 15th- Westminster Abbey and Harrods were our objectives today. We spent almost two hours wandering around Westminster Abbey on our own. I had been there years ago when I was a teenager, but the experience seemed new to me. It was nice to see tombs for individuals we had learned about at our Tower experience the day before. We bought a guide book to use as we wandered around. There was no photography allowed, but of course one man had to whip out his camera. He got a lot of dirty looks, and someone even reported him to staff. We enjoyed Westminster Abbey a lot more than St. Paul’s.

We took the tube to Harrods and found the Egyptian Escalator and the Princess Di/Dodi memorial at the bottom. Many of our souvenirs were purchased here, and we got our first experience with trying to get a VAT refund. Later, we found the Al Fayed childrens’ handprints behind one of the columns on the second floor. We knew they were somewhere after watching a show about Harrods on the Travel Channel. We wandered through the food hall and made our way down to the Green Man Pub for lunch. It was small and cozy, and my cheese plate was good, but I wish we could have tried somewhere else in Harrods for lunch. But with traveling with someone else, you have to compromise…….

We wandered around Knightsbridge before returning to our room. We wanted to go to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant 15 that evening, but decided against it due to an early Eurostar departure the next day. We knew that we would still have Thursday to go there. Dinner ended up being Marks and Spencer eaten in our room. We spent an easy evening watching more television, including Holton City, which is a hospital drama like ER without the complex plot lines and more soap opera-like. Also, a lot fewer extras and medical equipment in scenes……

We were having so much fun in London, we joked about not even going to Paris the next day. But we asked the front desk for a wake-up call anyway.

Wednesday, February 16th- A day in Paris that almost didn’t happen. We were supposed to get a 4:15 a.m. wake up call, which we didn’t. As a backup, my palm was set for 4:20, but it didn’t go off because I accidentally set it for p.m. So at 4:45 I woke up, looked at my watch, and panicked! Bad sign number 1. We both managed to shower and be out the door at 5:15 for a cab. The shower almost didn’t turn off, though. Bad sign number 2. We ran outside and flagged a cab. We made it to Waterloo station by 5:30 and it was almost empty. After retrieving our e-tickets, we went through security. I passed through the metal detector with no problem, but was asked to step aside by security. And with that, I was groped like never before! The women who have complained about airport screening in the US would have had a field day with this. It stopped short of a full cavity search, and after having my crotch patted down, I knew I was definitely awake. Bad sign number 3.

Our train left at 6:30 a.m. and we had reserved first class seats. It was nice to be able to spread out, and we had a very enjoyable breakfast. Once in Paris, we knew to get on the RER B to get to Notre Dame. Getting off the metro, and walking up the stairs to a view of Notre Dame was breathtaking. Before we could get to the door, a gypsy was begging for money from us. We went through Notre Dame, and although we weren’t supposed to take pictures, everyone else was. So Jill got out her camera and took a lot of pictures, especially of the carvings. Finished with our visit, we stopped by the little stand by the door so Jill could buy her grandparents rosaries. And that when it happened- her camera that was in a small bag, was pickpocketed! Apparently, when she was fooling with her money, she must have slid the bag to her side and they managed to get the snaps and Velcro undone to take it before she noticed.

Anyone who knows Jill, knows that she keeps track of her things at all times. In fact, she keeps track of my things at all times, too. So she noticed immediately that the camera was missing, but of course it was too late. She was heartbroken that over 400 pictures (1 gig card) were now gone! I tried to explain to her that it could be worse- she could have been hurt or her passport and credit cards could have been taken. But that didn’t help much. I had to somehow cheer her up and we now made our way on the metro to the Eiffel Tower.

At the Eiffel Tower, the lines were about twenty minutes long. It was bitterly cold, so we decided to only go to the second floor. We started taking more pictures with the 35 mm we had brought, but Jill was in a horrible mood still. Paris would now seem mean to her, no matter how breathtaking the view, or what we saw.

We decided to get on the Open Top tour bus because of the cold, and her bad mood. After about thirty minutes, we got off at the Opera Garnier to head to the Hard Rock on Blvd. Montmartre. We passed le Grand Café on Blvd. de Capucines, and decided that some real french onion soup might cheer her up. We liked the art deco style of the café, including the stained glass ceiling. It was now time to splurge, so we ordered a bottle of wine to help change our moods. During our three course meal, we practiced our french, which would have horrified our high school French teachers. The waitress was not amused by our attempt.

We ducked into the Hard Rock and bought some souvenirs, then wandered into Passage Jouffroy for chocolates at Le Valentin. We got back on the bus to tour the Montmartre area. I had wanted to get off at Anvers and take the funicular to Sacre Couer, but Jill had pretty much had it with Paris, so we got off at Gare du Nord. We took the last train back to London, and got back to the hotel around 11:00 p.m.

Note- watch your stuff at Notre Dame- since there is no charge to get in, that means it’s a good place for pickpockets. A hard lesson we learned that day. I will probably have to twist Jill’s arm to get her to return to Paris.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 05:12 AM
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Thursday, Feb. 17th- We started the day with a trip on the London Eye. It was fun wandering around the capsule pointing at places we had already been. No wait this time, as it was only 9:30. More pictures of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, etc since we had lost most of the previous pictures. We spent a lot of time in Covent Garden wandering around. It felt like being at our flea market in the French Quarter. We went to the London Transport Museum and had a great time watching all the children with their parents. My favorite souvenir came from here- an underground map mouse pad for my office. By the time we walked out at around 1 p.m. they had stopped admitting people and there was a line of about two hundred people waiting. We had lunch at the Maple Leaf pub, where I got to try Jacket Potatoes. We then explored Picadilly Circus and walked through the Trocedero. After that, we wandered to the edge of Chinatown, stopping at Waxy’s Little Sister for a pint.

We returned to our room after one last tube ride. Instead of going to 15 for dinner that night, we wandered around going to different pubs. We had half pints at the Duke of York, which full of office workers. Then we stopped at Stage Door, but for some reason I got a bad vibe there, and we were the only women. After that we headed to Shakespeare Tavern for dinner. I finally had fish and chips, as did Jill. This pub was renovated and pretty large. Our waitress had about 15 tables to cover by herself, but managed to give us good service. Leaving there, we found it only fitting to stop at Kings Arms for one last pint. This was our third visit there, and I felt for some reason that this was my favorite pub. More British television to watch when we got back to the hotel to pack. EastEnders was about to have the demise of a major character.

Friday, February 18th- Trip to Edinburgh. We booked first class seats on the 9:00 a.m. GNER to Edinburgh. Our taxi driver was very knowledgeable about the United States, having visited a lot of historical sites on the East Coast. Some we still have never made it to! He was the only person to ask about George W, and we took a little pride in telling him we also could not understand why he was reelected. We easily retrieved our tickets from the fast ticket machine, and boarded at about 8:45. Joining us a few stops out was a couple in their seventies who took an immediate liking to us when we said we were from New Orleans. Years ago, the man had the best meal of his life there. He took great pleasure in telling us all about the restaurant and the food, as well as the fun he had seeing jazz. His companion showed us a lot of sights along the way, as she used to live in Scotland. Being given the paper and a cup of tea made us feel very special and civilized. We took a lot of pictures of the shoreline, but in a speeding train with dirty windows, they didn’t turn out very well. By 1:30 we were at Waverly Station in Edinburgh. After checking into our room at the Apex International, we went to the Black Bull pub for lunch. Service was really slow, so by the time we walked up the steps to the castle, it was 3:45. We decided to go to the Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center. We were given a glass of whiskey and started with a tasting, with an explanation as to what we should look for in a whiskey. We got to keep the glencairn glass as a souvenir. The tour took an hour, as we went from room to room and finished off with a ride – think Disneyworld- through whiskey’s history. We opted out of the additional tasting at the end. Across the street was Camera Obscura, but it had closed at 5 p.m. My guide book had said six. Oh well. We wandered through the souvenir shops and then walked back to the hotel.

We changed back at the room and headed to dinner at the Witchery. It was a great experience. Our coats were taken by the staff, and Jill had a momentary panic about our passports being in the inner pockets. We decided to try the oysters. They were small and rather expensive, but well worth it to compare them to Louisiana oysters. We also ordered a globe artichoke that was topped with hollandaise sauce and a poached egg. Delicious. The wine list was somewhat overwhelming, but we settled on an Australian Sauvignon Blanc. Our entrees were monkfish with pork and Atlantic cod. We had a rather large dessert sampler. We decided to take Edinburgh at a slower pace than London, and just enjoy being rather than doing.

For some reason, Jill felt very creeped out by the dark and windy streets. She does not like to watch scary movies, so I made sure not to fill her in on the gory stories I had learned about Edinburgh.

Back at the room, we had trouble sleeping due to the stag and hen parties down below in the Grassmarket. It seems that Scottish drunks are a lot louder than British drunks.



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Mar 10th, 2005, 05:16 AM
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Saturday, February 19th- I woke up with a horrible cold. My nose ran constantly the rest of the trip, as well as giving me a sore throat. We ate the free continental breakfast, then headed to the castle. We got there shortly after it opened, and got audio guides and the official guidebook. It was nice to see the Scottish crown jewels and the stone of destiny. We spent several hours there, and probably could have spent more if it hadn’t been so very cold and windy that day.

Next, we stopped at the Scottish Woolen Mill. It was a series of shops as well as an actual weaving area. I kept looking for a tartan scarf, but just could not find one I liked that would go with my coat. We walked down the street from the castle to catch the City Sightseeing Tour bus. We wound our way down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and got off. Once again, we got the audio guides and official guide book. It was nice to see where Mary Queen of Scots lived, as well as hear about the restoration the Prince Charles has done. It seemed weird going into the dining room that the Royal family uses. We then walked outside to the Abbey and stood in the middle staring up at the sky. (There is no longer a roof on the Abbey) Across from the Palace is the new Scottish Parliament, which is a very strange modern building. It somehow seems out of place. We could see Arthur’s Seat in the distance, and were amazed that people were walking up the path in the bitter cold. I guess I’m just not the outdoors type. Back on the bus, we headed towards Prince’s Street and got off near George Street to find the Hard Rock. We were really cold at that point, so decided to eat there before we got our souvenirs. We sat near the wall dedicated to Rod Stewart.
We wandered around some more, hitting Rose Street and Prince’s Street. We stopped in the Kenilworth for a pint. At that point, I decided I would have to break down and get cold medicine. We found Boots, and I settled on the Sudafed, which is sold with caffeine instead of pseudophedrine. I haven’t had caffeine in eight years, so for the rest of the trip I was pretty buzzed. And it only helped a little with the congestion.

We walked back to the room and decided to make it an early evening. We ordered room service and I tried vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties. Interesting.

Sunday, February 20th- Our last day. I still felt crummy, but with a weird caffeine buzz. We got dressed and headed out to buy a few more souvenirs. I finally settled on a tartan scarf that went with my coat, but was a rather plain brown. We went near Mary Kings Close, but I knew better than to ask Jill to go through it. We walked around and headed to the Prince’s Street Mall. Then we walked back up toward the Royal Museum. We found the Greyfrier’s Kirk and the statue of Greyfrier’s Bobby. We wandered around a little, but a lot of shops were closed. The Royal Museum opened at noon, and we went in to the special dinosaur exhibit. The museum was free, but we paid for the exhibit, which was great if you were a child, but pretty boring for adults. It took ten minutes to walk through and see the large moving dinosaurs. Afterward, we walked over to the wing with the Museum of Scotland. The artifacts were amazing, but unfortunately I was pretty burned out and sick at that point to get much out of it. We headed over to Greyfrier Bobby’s Pub, but it was very crowded due to a rugby or football match on t.v. We ended up back at the Black Bull Pub for lunch.

After watching more episodes of EastEnders, we took a taxi to Murrayfield Ice Rink to see the Edinburgh Capitals play. The rink was pretty old, and it was so cold that we could see our breaths and had to keep our gloves on. The game was fun, as it was against Dundee and went into overtime with Edinburgh losing unfortunately. We were so exhausted at that point, that we hardly talked to one another, let alone striking up conversations with the locals.

We got back to the room and ordered a pizza. I’m not sure what kind of cheese was on it, but it was yellow and very salty. We packed up our things as we would be returning home the next day. We had packed an extra bag for the VAT purchases, and it was so full with leather jackets from the Hard Rock and other miscellaneous souvenirs that it almost didn’t close. Next time we would not promise to bring back things for every person we know!


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Mar 10th, 2005, 05:20 AM
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Monday, February 21st- We got up early and looked out to see snow falling. It was the big fluffy kind that covered the roofs. What a nice final impression of Edinburgh. We arrived two hours before our 10 a.m. flight. We found the customs area, which consisted of a phone with a recording on the other end telling us to drop our forms into the box. Hmm, no one to stamp them. So we’re figuring that we won’t see the refunds, which are supposed to be credited to our charge card.

Boarding the plane I got very sentimental and started to tear up. This vacation had been fantastic in every way, except for the little glitch with the camera being stolen. More importantly, Jill and I got along very well and never bickered once.

Arriving in Newark almost nine hours and numerous Kleenexes and coughs later, we breezed through immigration and customs. Everyone was passing by the customs officers, I didn’t see one person get stopped to open their things. Our flight back to New Orleans seemed very long, even though it was two and a half hours. Arriving home was bittersweet- we were tired and ready to be home but sad that the adventure was over. The weather was 78 degrees, quite the change from the last nine days. We grabbed a cab and headed uptown, back to the routine of our life.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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I forgot to add: Thanks everyone for your great questions and answer- it was invaluable for this lurker's trip planning!
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Mar 10th, 2005, 05:50 AM
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So sorry to hear about the theft. I never felt uneasy or had a sense of that in Notre Dame before. Just goes to show that you should never let your guard down.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Very enjoyable trip report, sorry to hear about Jill's camera.
On another note, Scottish drunks ARE British drunks! Scotland is in Britain! LOL.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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We had Irish drunks under our window in Dublin at 3 a.m. singing U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". Except for the sleep loss my husband said he rather enjoyed it!
Thanks for reiterating the pickpocket warning. It's sad; pictures are irreplaceable.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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I'd rather lose my money than my camera with pictures!

Glad you had a good time and thanks for the report.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the loudest:

American drunks: 8
London drunks: 9
Scottish drunks: 10
Irish drunks: 34
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:40 AM
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Thank you for the enjoyable trip report! I've always wanted to visit London and Edinburgh, and it was delightful to read your account while I drank my morning coffee.

Too bad about the camera. I think I can really relate to Jill - I'd be heartbroken to be planning a vacation such as this for 2 years and have most of my pictoral memories stolen. Unfortunately, it can color an entire place for some when they've had a bad experience. I know I can be like that. (Though I wish I weren't!)

Sorry about you getting a cold. That could not have been fun, either! But all in all it appears as though the two of you had a good trip with good memories, and that is what counts in the end!
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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ally, thanks for a very interesting & enjoyable report. So glad you both had such a nice time, & especially impressed you appreciated our beer so much !

Probably as well you never made it as far as 15 - I believe it is booked up several months in advance !!
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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Ally, very enjoyable report, thank you, and glad you liked my town so much! You must be pretty dedicated hockey fans if you were prepared to treak out to deepest darkest Walthamstow. I have an American friend who lives there - she likes to call it 'Waltham-on-the-Stow" to make it sound posh, but she's not fooling anyone.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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Really enjoyed your report, Ally. Sounds as though you saw and did loads without trying ot pack everything in. I'm tempted to pop to Victoria on my way home tonight to check out the King's Arms!

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Mar 10th, 2005, 08:05 AM
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Great report!!! Will take it with us when we hit the UK later this year. Eerie Edinburgh is precisely the way I remember that city ... thanks!!
 
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Mar 10th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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Glad everyone enjoyed the report.

Patrick- us New Orleans drunks might also be a 9. Especially during Mardi Gras and JazzFest! Maybe even a 10 then.

Caroline- 15 has a trattoria part upstairs that is half reservations and half first come- first served. Maybe next trip we'll make.

We still wound up with almost 250 pictures, although almost all of the Tower, Changing of the Guard, and Buckingham Palace were on Jill's camera. Almost everywhere we went we purchased the official guide book, which helped with the historical aspect and provided great pictures when we weren't allowed to take them.

Jill's harsh memory of Paris is fading. Just last night, she said she wouldn't mind going back to Paris as long as she has her camera on a chain around her neck. They'll have to choke her to get it off.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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I've heard some really loud Italian drunks at 3am under my window...I'd say they were about an 8.
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