Terra Nomad

Every day is like survival. You're my lover, not my rival.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Italy Trip - Day Seventeen

Friday June 1

Time to head home. I was going to tube to Victoria, but I saw a bus that was headed there, so I hopped on that instead. It took a bit longer to get there, but I was still able to get a ticket for the 10:02 train to Gatwick. I grabbed a Falafel sandwich and sat down on the train. I realized I was on a local train, which made about 7 stops before finally getting to Gatwick. I got to go ahead in line for check-in since I was a bit late. There was some band in front of me in line for security and a girl asked them for their autograph. I still don't know who they were, but they all looked about 15. I hurried to my gate but it was still a long wait to board. I didn't sleep on the way home, I just watched tv and some movies.

When we landed around 4, I finally got to go through the short line at customs/immigration. They asked me what kind of food I was declaring and then I got my luggage. I called my ride, but then a guy yelled at me for using my phone. There were no signs that you couldn't use them, and I was not aware that I had to go through another customs line.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Italy Trip - Day Sixteen

Thursday May 31

I woke up after not sleeping well and went to take a shower. I sat there for a good ten minutes trying to figure out how to get the water to come out of the shower and not the faucet. I finally figured it out, but I was very close to calling the front desk.

I stopped at a bakery for a croissant and juice and then hopped on the tube. I transferred at Notting Hill Gate and saw two Shih Tzu's on the platform. I got to the London Eye right at 11 and was able to get right in line to board because I had purchased my ticket back on my first day. I think the Eye was my favorite part of London. It is a giant observation wheel built right along the Thames. You get awesome views of all of London in your pod that holds like 25 people.

After that, I walked past County Hall and the Aquarium and over Westminster Bridge. I went right past Big Ben, through Parliament square and over to Westminster Abbey. There is a small church right by Westminster called St. Margaret's, and that's where Sir Walter Raleigh is buried. There are lots of other famous Brits buried in there, including the "Discoverer of Nineveh."

Inside Westminster Abbey there are many more graves and memorials: Oliver Cromwell, Elizabeth I, Mary I, Mary Queen of Scots, Cecil Rhodes just to name a few! In the Lady Chapel there are seats for the knights with helmets and swords hanging around them. I saw the coronation chair, where the monarchs are crowned and Poet's corner. At 1pm, some music started playing. I hit the gift shop and cafe for some postcards, a drink and a rest.

I headed out towards the nearest tube station and got some nice pictures of Big Ben on the way. The British Museum was my destination, but I stopped on the way for some groceries. I had a picnic in front before going inside the museum. After entering, I saw some artifacts from the discovery of Nineveh, which was weird considering I had just read about it in St. Margaret's. I also saw the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin marbles, and a huge figure from Easter Island.

I tubed back to my hotel and watched some Graham Norton before going to sleep.

Day Seventeen

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Italy Trip - Day Three

Friday, May 18th

More like Day One
Today I flew from Minneapolis to Detroit and then on to London. My Detroit flight was uneventful, but my London flight had problems with the video system, so we had nothing to watch. There was an American guy in the row ahead of me sitting next to a British woman. He asked her about her trip and when she told him they visited Los Angeles he says, "Oh you've got to be kidding, LA is horrible!"

After dinner I got some sleep and woke up to breakfast sandwiches. We got vouchers as we disembarked because of the video malfunction, one for a free beverage and one for $50 off our next flight.

Day Four

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Italy Trip - Day Two

Thursday, May 17th

I am still in Minneapolis, so I went to work today. I also booked myself on new flights, Minneapolis to London and London to Rome. I now have a $450 credit on United Airlines, because my new transatlantic flight is on Northwest. I also booked a new B&B for my first two nights in Rome. I have been packed since about Saturday and it looks like I will actually be able to leave tomorrow!

Day Three

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Monday, April 16, 2007

T minus 30 Days

I leave exactly one month from today.

I bought the Moleskine City Notebook for Rome and I have been filling it with my schedule, flight times and hotel maps. Amazon's list price is $27.95, and they try to dazzle you by selling it at $16.95. In reality, you won't find it anywhere online for more than $20 and I got mine at Barnes and Noble for under $15. If you go to any of the cities the notebooks cover, I highly recommend them.

I used Google maps to print a small hybrid map showing the route from the nearest tube or subway stop to each of my hotels. My favorite is the one for my hotel in Florence, where you can see the Duomo from the air.

Instead of staying in Naples for two nights, I am going across the bay to Sorrento. From there I can take a boat to the Isle of Capri or a bus to Positano, or I can just veg out on the beach.

I have scheduled most of my days at least as far as the major things I want to do. My 2 days in London are very, very planned out and so is my only full day in Florence. In Florence, both the Uffuzi and Accademia tend to have long lines, so I will prebook my tickets to avoid them. I will also be visiting Santa Croce, to see the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Fermi.

I am still waiting on my passport. It took 43 days after I applied for me to be able to track the application online, even though their site still says "up to 4 weeks" and some pages are even still saying the old 3 weeks. When you try to call, you are advised that they can only help people travelling within two weeks. So, I will be calling on May 2nd to expedite if I still don't have a delivery date. I should have just expedited when I applied.

The other thing that irks me about the passport process is that the site claims that some Minneapolis area post offices will take applications on weekends and that is not true. I have sent them 3 different emails asking them to correct the info, but they still haven't.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Would You Buy One?

Yes, I would buy a house from IKEA.

But since 100,000 pounds is nearly $200,000, I won't be doing it soon.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Did you know...

"If you ask for lemonade in a British pub or restaurant, you'll most likely get a can of 7-UP ... or Sprite"
via Metafilter


"While root beer is so popular in the US & Canada ... it is relatively unknown in the UK"?
via Root Beer in the UK

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Across the pond

I booked my flights this morning! In May I am flying to London (laying over in Chicago) and then on to Rome, and I am also going to Florence and Naples while I am in Italy. I am spending 2 nights each in Florence and Naples, 3 nights in London and 8 in Rome. I may be going to Florence just to see David, and Naples just to have pizza and see the Mediterranean. Of course, I will do more than that in each city, but that's why I am going.

Kayak.com is invaluable for airfare.

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