Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Travel Maths, Saving and Spending in London

We rejected Heathrow Express train from the airport to downtown yesterday in favour of the considerably slower but much cheaper Underground ( a savings of about 40 pounds between us). We questioned our budget when the Piccadilly Line experienced stoppages that brought our trip to over 90 minutes when the Express would have been 30. . . And 90 minutes for travelers who boarded a late afternoon flight some 11 or 12 hours earlier might have been a different 90 minutes than those experienced by other commuters....

Inside the British Museum

Still, we had little luggage to wrestle, we knew our way to the hotel, the trains are quite safe and clean, and we finally arrived in our hotel to be warmly recognized and welcomed by one of the owners. Yes, we did have to carry our bags up to our top floor room, 40 or 50 stairs. And yes, the room is small and spartan, but it's also clean and bright and it overlooks an elementary school, so that the ambient sound ranges from quiet to happy and loud.

I haven't quite shaken my sads yet, although the anxiety over travel has settled. I get crankier than I want to about the coolish, wet weather and the inadequacy of my carryon's contents. Still, I focus on how easy it was to lug that small case up the stairs and on and off the Tube.

And to balance the frugalities of our budget, Pater responded to my interest in a theatre billboard yesterday evening by inquiring at the Box Office, with the happy result that we saw Imelda Staunton in Good People last night. What a magnificent performance!

Today, the aforementioned grumpiness over the rain was somewhat mitigated by a foray into the British Museum, followed by a very nice lunch in a delightfully decorated bistro in Bloomsbury. And Pater has splurged away more of our savings by ordering tickets to Kevin Spacey performing Darrow at the Old VIc tonight.

I haven't figured out how to caption these photos in Blogsy, but they are primarily of the interior of the Great Hall at the British Museum, where I was struck again by the totem poles from my part of the world, particularly by the way their language of materials, motifs, and techniques speaks in the context of European architecture, so differently than in the context of the rain forests of their/my home. The bottom photo is of the charming murals and the ceiling of the wee Bloomsbury bistro Le Savoir Faire...

So there you have it: my first report from Abroad. time to get changed for the show now. Chat soon. As always, comments much appreciated although it will take me longer to acknowledge than usual.

 

17 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your safe arrival and courage to use the tube! It saves a lot of pounds better spent on the theatre as you have done! Enjoy your time in London and if you can prioritise going to Dennis Severs house in Folgate Street, Spitalfields it's a gem and unique.
    Have fun! Imagine how we feel about living in such a climate! Never mind.
    Best Wishes Jeni

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    1. Thanks Jeni.Luckily, our climates are very similar so we are acclimated. Less luckily, we'd just begun a brilliant week of sunshine at home. . . Oh well. I'll make note of the Severs house recommendation although it may have to wait for next visit. . .

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  2. Welcome to London! Hope the weather is good enough for lots of strolls in the parks and ice cream.

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    1. Not so sure about park weather, but there are many compensations here for poor weather. . .

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  3. Enjoy the play!! Glad you're there and settling in.

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  4. Welcome to the UK and apologies for the weather. As per.

    Enjoy your time over here and all your trips and treats. As one who has little knowledge of London, my top tip (and recent discovery) is the joy of walking in Central London. The Tube map can make places look a long way away but, now that I have committed to checking the street map first, I find that a half hour walk through the streets gets me there almost as fast and with the bonus of lots to see in the process.

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    1. Absolutely agree! the Tube is great for the big trips, but anything up to 45minutes, more if we have time, we prefer to do on foot. So many brilliant discoveries to be made around every corner here.

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  5. Chiming in late to sympathize on the pre-travel sads and ESPECIALLY the hearing aid loss - I too have $5K hearing aids and the very idea of losing them gives me the chills, especially pre-trip! Note also that our cultural response to hearing issues is so different than to (for example) being unable to see - no one is annoyed when someone is blind, but the inability to hear is perceived as irritating by those who are probably mumbling anyway......

    Sorry for the rant; hope the whole thing turns into a non-problem and that you settle into your happy travel routine in no time!

    Ceci

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    1. So you know! Years ago, before I'd admitted I could use hearing aids, I bumped into a friend doing a counselling Master's, specializing one working with the hearing impaired. His particular research interest was in the shame associated with deafness, more than with many other disabilities. I certainly find that to be part of what I experience. so feel free to rant in this space!

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  6. I would have loved to have seen Imelda Staunton. She is such a great character actress!. I think that if you purchase the National ExpressSenior Coach card that it covers the Heathrow Express. Does your room include breakfast? London is very expensive and our dollar is weak compared to the pound. Did you see the Viking Exhibit at the British Museum? If you have time, I would recommend War Horse. All of Britain is celebrating the 100th anniversary of WW1 so it is especially relevant. Is the Chelsea Flower Show on now?

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    1. We don't do enough coach travel to make the discount card worth purchasing, but thanks for the suggestion. Yes, our room has a hearty breakfast included, and we take full advantage. The Viking Exhibit was booked for the next few hours when we popped into the BM yesterday, but we did get to the Tate for Matisse. And yes, we loved War Horse when we saw it a few years ago, and I'd definitely consider seeing it again.

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  7. I think you made the right choice with Tube rather than the Heathrow Express as you still need to get from Paddington to your hotel (Tube, bus, cab) after your 30 minute rail journey. If you are lucky the Piccadilly line is convenient for your hotel without changing tube lines.
    The weather is showery and cool for the next few days (we never know if we will get good weather) but Thursday might be the best day to be outdoors.
    Do enjoy the theatre performances, you were lucky to get tickets!

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    1. That's how I feel about the tube vs. express as well, especially as our hotel is v. Close to king's cross station. No mental energy for making connections at that stage... As for the weather, Tuesday was a bit nasty, but overall not bad...

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  8. Your pictures of the British Museum reminded me of the times when the British Library was still housed there. I had the privilege of doing research there for a month in 1984, sitting in the beautiful Reading Room almost every afternoon. (The Public Record Office closed at 4 p.m., then I would put in an evening shift at the BL.) Working in a place where most people came as visitors gave me this wonderful feeling of belongig that makes a stay in a city far from home so particularly exciting.
    Keep enjoying yourself and good luck with the weather!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that memory, Eleonore. Very special and, yes, a wonderful way to feel part of the city

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  9. Oooh, glad to know you've begun! I'm sorry that your mood isn't yet cooperating. But a few more great performances, some good meals and I'm sure there's better weather on the way. I totally understand how hard it is to have that weather a) in the summer and b) on vacation. I loved my trip 3 yrs ago to Amsterdam and Paris, but the weather really bummed me out. Esp. after last winter, we need some ease. Mind you, I'm sure it's only going to improve from here.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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