Sunday July 5, 2009

I’m sitting in Heathrow Airport, along with at least five million other people. It’s unbelievably crowded here in Terminal 3, and unbelievably chaotic. But it doesn’t seem to matter, because I’m in a bit of a daze.

Our Mad Midlife adventure in Scandinavia and St Petersburg has (as you can probably guess) ended. We disembarked a few days ago, kissed goodbye to the Prinsendam and its crew, and have been enjoying enduring old London ever since – still (if I may add) under glorious sunny skies!

On Friday we did a sightseeing tour of all the famous landmarks: Knightsbridge with Harrods … the Houses of Parliament beside the Thames … Big Ben, the largest tick-tock in the UK … St Paul’s Cathedral (we spent some time inside, under that stunning dome) … Westminster Abbey’s lattice-work towers … Whitehall’s mounted horse-guards … the Prime Minister’s Downing Street … Buckingham Palace where the Queen stays when she’s in town … the London Eye, with its observation capsules … and 101 other places that all seemed so familiar (thanks to Monopoly).

On Saturday, we Kiwis headed off on our own (in our case, down some oh-so-lovely country lanes to some oh-so-old country villages). And then, that evening, we toddled out again for our final ‘fling’: a Midlife Madness farewell meal at Chez Gerard (right by the infamous Tower of London) – followed by an after-dinner cruise on the truly beautiful River Thames.

It’s hard to believe how much we’ve crammed into the past 20-something days. (Is it any wonder I’m in a daze?) It’s hard to believe it’s over. And it’s hard to believe that some of us (those few who aren’t going on to do all sorts of other things in the UK and Europe) will soon be home.

It’s been a BLAST … this combination of luxury-at-sea and discovery-on-shore! We’ve seen so much, done so much, learned so much, gained so much and laughed so much that we don’t know where to put it all!

But all good things come to an end.

Although, it hasn’t quite ended. We’ll be flying home in one of Singapore Airlines big new A380 Airbus jets – just one more new experience to add to our list!

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If following this travel diary has whet YOUR appetite and got you thinking, “Hey, I’D like to go on one of these Mad Midlife adventures!” … click on the TOURS list/logos on this page, and read all about our upcoming schemes and dreams. Or go to our website: www.johncooney.co.nz. Or phone our travel colleague and booking agent, Roger Glynan (Lion World Travel) in a week’s time when we’re all back in New Zealand – tollfree 0800 277 477.

P.P.S. You can also follow the ‘blogs’ from some of our previous trips by clicking on the titles under ‘Categories’ (on the left). And remember, if you want a better look at our route map and photos, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!