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Published: April 20th 2019
we arrived in southampton to a cloudy, wet, bleak industrial port. it's definitely not the most scenic of places.
i spent the last few days disassembling my cabin home and enjoying my last days at sea. the bay of biscay
lived up to it's reputation. on our last night we had a beatles tribute band perform for us in the palladium theater. they were excellent. they even looked like the beatles, especially the one who was paul. i am not a big fan of beatles music but i did find myself singing along and jigging about in my seat. afterwards the entertainment manager brought some crew and officers from all areas of the ship onto the stage so we could thank them all with applause. the beatles sang a few more songs and we all stood and danced. it was really touching. the finale was a short film showing a condensed look back at the world cruise and some world cruise statistics. for example how many bottles of wine were drunk and how many loo rolls were used. quite staggering. 11 km of the horizon paper were printed! then to top it all off confetti was blasted into the audience.
what a way to end the world cruise!
because i was an independent traveler i was able to disembark the ship when i was ready. my taxi arrived to take me to the train station at 9 am. i have traveled the trains and tubes in london before i know there are often stations where there are only stairs and no lifts or escalators. there was no way i would have been able to cart my heavy large cruise case all over london. there is a service called the baggage handling company
who will for a small fee transport your luggage to your final destination for you. brilliant. problem solved.
it was about an hour and a half trip from southampton to london waterloo. one stop before waterloo was clapham junction, the area where i was born 52 years ago. i could see the london eye from the train. 48 pounds sterling to go to london one way! crazy expensive the trains here. when i got to waterloo i looked for the loo. once again i had to take 2 flights of stairs down carrying my backpack and small carry on case. there was a notice that read
starting march 1st all of the stations toilets will be free of charge, so that was a nice surprise. some toilets in london used to charge 1 pound. the other change i noticed since i had been there last in 2014 was the presence of armed police in the station carrying assault rifles.
it was nice to see my godmother again. she sure looks good for 89. a nice cuppa and a catch up chat in wanstead.
i arrived on a tuesday, and on thursday i was treated to a private tour of the houses of parliament.
tamila, who is a ukranian girl and goes to the same church as my godmother works there. we were also met by her roommate elena, another ukranian girl who works as a chef for the horse guards
and used to cook in buckingham palace
and the tower of london
. elena has met the queen twice.
i was to meet them outside the westminster tube station. from wanstead i took the central line tube to the district line. when i got on the central line tube i sat down in a carriage that was completely empty. quite pleased for having so
much space all to myself i noticed a black backpack across from me all on it's own. i looked around and noticed an english gentleman approaching me. he told me they have alerted the police but in the meantime i should move to the other end of the carriage. great..... i'm on a train that is going to blow up! we went 2 more stops before 2 policemen boarded and removed the bag. after a short delay we were off again. most likely it was just a forgotten backpack, but nowadays you never know!
some of you may have seen on the news all of the protests happening in and around central london. they are climate change protesters and have taken over many of the main streets in london including parliament square
where i arrived. hundreds of people everywhere and no cars. it was so quiet and peaceful. hard to believe i was in london. usually the streets around parliament are bumper to bumper cars and buses. they have been protesting for 5 days now and are planning to stay for 2 weeks. there have been over 500 arrests so far. even emma thomson
came out to show her
support. the police should do like the arcadia and get the water hoses out!
lots of security to enter the houses of parliament. big ben
the bell inside the clock tower was completely covered in scaffolding. it is being renovated with the big unveiling to take place in 2023. tamila told me it will be a blue colour when it is finished. over 4,000 people work in the HOP, which include 7 buildings in total. tamila works for the house of lords.
our first stop was to the old pub where we had a beverage and a chat. i asked if theresa may
ever comes to the pub to drown her brexit woes? she said no.
it is so beautiful inside. all the old art work and colourful tile floors, the gold and wood interior, full bookcases reaching to the ceiling and stained glass windows. amazing. i saw the house of lords which has red upholstery, and the house of commons
which has green upholstery. when the members vote they have separate corridors they go in to on either side. one side is for the yes
vote and the other is for the no
. stone statues of
great leaders such as margaret thatcher, churchill
and even lenin
. one of the halls had large mural size paintings depicting the fighting between england and france. tamila said when ever there are french dignitaries visiting they cover these with a large red curtain. i saw the throne where the queen sits in the HOC when she declares parliament open. the changing room for the queen which prince albert had built for queen victoria. we also went to the roof top for views of the city and visited an old chapel underneath the HOP. unfortunately photos were not allowed in most of the areas inside parliament. we ended the tour with coffee on the terrace alongside the river thames. afterwards elena and i went to the tower of london
and tower bridge
for a few photos before heading home. we passed the corinthia hotel
with hundreds of young girls gathered outside waiting to catch a glimpse of shawn mendes.
our next outing is a visit to the sky gardens
in may. these gardens are on the 38th floor of a building in central london which offers great views of the city. i think this is something fairly new. what a great
i will be in england until the end of may before heading home to canada. my mother has decided she won't be meeting me in london. traveling is too much for her now. i was thinking of doing a walking holiday but i don't think i will have time now. i have been invited to visit tony in cheshire for a few days, and i also want to spend some time with my turkish father and his family in southgate, north london. i would like to do an open bus tour of london and was hoping to see the musical billy elliot but it is not playing here anymore. so i think all of this should keep me busy.
the weather here has been incredible. it is so hot and sunny and everything is in bloom. tomorrow, which is easter sunday is going to be 27 degrees. i will have to crack open my cruise case and get my summer clothes out!
happy easter everyone!
cruisin susan x
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