Day 1 and 2 - And We're Off

Published: July 12th 2019
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Stop, Hamster Time!Stop, Hamster Time!Stop, Hamster Time!

Hamster gets to go on this trip. I hope we remember to take pictures with him!
Once again we are off on a long summer trip. This time, the originator of the trip is a North Sea cruise aboard the Disney Magic, leaving from Dover, England. We decided to add on a few things to our itinerary and make it a full month trip. This trip has a unique feature. Michelle has her learners permit and is driving us partway to LAX.

We left nice and early to have plenty of time for the trip. We were so early we decided there was time to watch Spiderman: Far From Home in Calabasas. The shopping center the theater was in had a big fountain with a multitude of turtles. One turtle was crossing the parking lot when we drove in so Tony jumped out and put him back in the fountain. The theater was very nice with power reclining seats and little tables and the movie was great.

Back on the road, Tony took over driving. There was a ton of traffic and parking was not easy. LAX had closed the regular long term parking lot for remodeling but the overflow lot was hard to find. By the time we got all
Because... DisneyBecause... DisneyBecause... Disney

Prairie Dogs and Fish Extender Gifts... 2 suitcases worth
our luggage to the terminal we were some of the last to check in to the flight. We still had an hour until boarding but we needed almost all that time to get through security (TSA and Air New Zealand apparently don't have an "agreement", so we could not use TSA Pre). We ended up having 15 minutes to spare before boarding.

The flight was long and uneventful. We landed at Heathrow around noon the next day (local time). Our goal was to stay awake long enough to go to bed at a regular time so we could rest our internal clocks.

After a typically long cab ride, we dropped off some of our luggage at the London hotel we will stay at before the cruise. They have convenient and inexpensive long-term luggage storage. However, we confused them with our request to unpack and re-pack bags in their luggage room. We could not put all of the cruise items in the same bags, due to weight distribution, so we had to do some creative (and pre-planned) repacking in the hotel. We hustled the rest of our luggage over to Kings Crossing train station to
Luggage WoahsLuggage WoahsLuggage Woahs

Woah, that's a lot of luggage.
take the express train to Newcastle. There is a nice pub in Kings Crossing to your left as you face the departure boards, up some stairs (walk past the crowded Platform 9 3/4 line). If you go upstairs again after going inside (to your right), there is a huge, and very relaxing, sitting area and tables to eat at, and Air Con!!

We will stay in Newcastle overnight and pick up a car in the morning.

With so many stages to our trip, and some strict luggage weight restrictions for carry-on luggage, we packed a lot of luggage for this trip. Probably more than needed. We encountered many helpful people, both at the airport and all along the way who made it a little easier on us, though.

The hardest place to stay awake was on the train. We played a few card games until our fried brains told us to quit. By the time we got to the Royal Station Hotel we were all tired and frazzled. The hotel was very cool but, like many older hotels, the hallways were not exactly straight forward. Two flights of stairs up, a hallway, down
VIP HamsterVIP HamsterVIP Hamster

Hamster gets a front row seat (until the first Starbucks)
a half flight, through a doorway, up another half flight, around a corner and down to the end of another long hallway and we found our room. Our window opened up onto the roof of the adjacent train station, and beyond that, more roofs. It reminded Tony of a Virtual Reality book named Otherspace where one of the areas had the entire earth covered in a continuous building.

After dropping off our bags in the Hotel, we ventured out into Newcastle to find some food so we didn't wake up hungry in the middle of the night. A late dinner was found at a family owned Italian restaurant called Paini's. All homemade pastas and some lovely fresh ingredients. It was just right. The specials and drink menu were on portable chalkboards that they placed on your table when you sat down and picked up when you ordered. Brilliant!

Tomorrow we will repack our bags for the next leg of our trip and pick up our rental car before heading to Hadrian's Wall.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Large BearLarge Bear
Large Bear

Is it a boy in a suit ready to jump at us?
Giant StuffiesGiant Stuffies
Giant Stuffies

No idea why... but there were giant stuffies at Coco's.
The Comfy SeatsThe Comfy Seats
The Comfy Seats

We might stop in Calabasas on every LA trip from now on.
Driving Lesson #482Driving Lesson #482
Driving Lesson #482

When driving through the movie theater parking lot, watch out for TURTLES!!!
Waiting For BusWaiting For Bus
Waiting For Bus

Everybody remember where we parked.

Something about Sardines
Living London ArtLiving London Art
Living London Art

Just a wall with some plants, with plenty of time to view it due to engineering works.

Hamster helping us unpack Airplane wight distribution and repack an actually usable distribution.
Cool ChandelierCool Chandelier
Cool Chandelier

Especially from the top floor.

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