Thursday/Friday June 28/29, 2007
We’re finally on board! And the ‘Marco Polo’ is finally underway, pushing through choppy Channel seas to le Havre in France! Over the past couple of days, undeterred by bad weather and a bomb scare, we’ve enjoyed London to the full. And all agree: we’d love to come back to this old, worn, fascinating, fabulous mega-city.
Yesterday, we headed off in different directions to ‘do London’. Several of us bought tickets for the famous red ‘Hop-On-Hop-Off’ double-decker buses, and enjoyed what often felt like a game of Monopoly – photographing sites squares and circuses and stations and properties which were very reminiscent of that popular board-game.
To cap it all off, we stood in the packed crowds outside Buckingham Palace and watched the Changing of the Guard. The Queen was home, but I’d forgotten to let her know we were coming – so we weren’t invited to join her and the corgis for tea and pikelets in the royal dining room … Shame, really!
We made up for it last night, when our group headed down the historic Thames River on a Bateaux Dinner Cruise. As darkness fell and the lights came on, the views out the windows just got better and better: Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye (a humungous ferris wheel), the Millennium Dome, London Bridge and the infamous Tower of London – the highlights just kept coming.
We woke this morning to heavy windy rain – and the shock news that there’d been a bomb scare in the Piccadilly-Haymarket area: the exact same streets we were exploring yesterday. Gave us a bit of a jolt, I tell you – an unpleasant reminder that this gracious welcoming city is still a target for radical forces bent on violence.
Early this morning you could have found us gobbling an early breakfast before climbing onto a brand new coach and driving out of London through the Kent countryside (very like NZ) to Dover and our waiting cruise ship.
The entrée had been yummy – Singapore and London – but now the main course was on the table. And we demonstrated our enthusiasm en route by joining in a rousing sing-song (old fun favourites from our Midlife Madness ‘Ye Olde Songbook’).
We waved goodbye to the white cliffs of Dover, England, and the shapely blue ‘Marcol Polo’ nosed out through rather stormy waters of the English Channel. And our mad midlife Kiwis headed for their beds an hour ago – knowing they will wake up in France.
Tomorrow: we’ll view the highlights of beautiful romantic Paris, and take a boat-ride on the River Seine.
So don’t go away, y’hear?!
Yours bloggedly – JOHN