We spent most of the day yesterday hanging around the hostel. Two weeks of walking, travelling, and sleeping in new places, exhaustion has finally set in. The bar/restaurant attached to the hostel really does make the most delicious cheeseburgers. I got through a little over half of it and couldn’t eat anymore, they’re decently sized, but the reason was due to two weeks of eating smaller portions.
An interesting thing about England is that their food doesn’t have all of the preservatives that our food has it. Even the sodas don’t have the preservatives and even use real sugar instead of corn syrup. The food there is so much better for you and even tastes better.
We got up early in the morning, just shy of 4:00am so that we could check out and hop on a bus that would eventually lead us to Heathrow Airport. We would have taken the underground, but almost all of the tunnels were shutdown today due to maintenance. The bus completely passed up our stop, unfortunately. We ended up having to take a taxi.
Check-in at Heathrow also took forever, because in front of us was a group of tourists, over ten. They didn’t have their stuff ready and instead of all of them going to one check-in window they clogged up most of the open ones. We were also delayed on take-off due to software problems in their maintenance checklist program. The flight back to the states was a better one than the one coming to England.
Back in O’Hare in Chicago we already had a 4 and half hour layover scheduled there between the flights. However, storms in the area pushed that back for about another hour and a half.
After all of that I finally got home around 8:00 pm. So tired.
We checked out of the hostel and made our way through the street markets we had seen two days ago. As it had been on almost all of our other flights we had time to kill.
Going through customs and boarding the plane was once again an annoyance. Customs literally look back and forth between your passport and your face five times. Boarding the plane, there was a lack of personal space yet again, and combine that with a lack of deodorant.
We got into London fairly late. Luton Airport is a good distance outside of the city, so we had to find train tickets to get us back into London. Unfortunately the train was ending before the London Bridge exit. So we had to take the underground from the place where the train ended to London Bridge.
We quickly checked into the hostel, which was the first one we stayed at, and went to bed. It was after midnight at this point.
We got up crazy early at the hostel because the train from the station going out to Luton Airport was leaving around 7. We took the train out to Luton, about a 45 minute or so ride. This was a smaller regional airport compared to Heathrow. Having some time to kill before the WizzAir check-in was open, we grabbed some breakfast at the Burger King in the terminal. The plane ride was a fairly short one probably an hour and twenty minutes or so.
Arriving out at the Prague International Airport (the actual name escapes me), we quickly made it through customs. There were shuttle buses that would essentially take us wherever our destination was from the airport for a small fee.
Driving in this city is pretty much insane. For the most part there is a complete lack of traffic signals and pedestrians have so many crossings as well. There are also cable cars that ride through the main streets.
They dropped us off at the hostel. This hostel, the Manhattan at Charvatova, was absolutely horrible. This is not the “American” in me needing the best. The place itself was on the second floor of a building that smelled of mold. No one at the front desk spoke any english. The wireless Internet connection was non-existent and the machines for Internet access were old P2 machines from about 1997, no kidding. Outside of the rating, the things we looked for in the hostel was that it had wireless Internet access and the staff could communicate in English. This wasn’t the end of the problems with this hostel. In the common room there were a couple guys actually smoking weed.
We met a gentlemen, from New Zealand, who had stayed in the hostel for a few days. He was a really nice guy. He had been traveling in Europe for a month or two. Unfortunately he had been pick pocketed not far from the hostel on the street while he was there. Two guy apparently got buddy buddy up to him. He checked his pockets afterwords and his money and passport were gone. He didn’t have much money on him, luckily. He backtracked and found his passport, but his customs stamps had been smudged from where the passport landed in water. He had come to Europe through a connecting flight in the United States. Unfortunately, if he returned that way, he would be given a lot of grief in customs. He was going to have to return home by connecting through Hong Kong now. We grabbed some Chinese food down the street with him before we left for our new lodging.
We ended up booking a nice Best Western hotel (Hotel PAV) on Kremenkova. It was a bit expensive for three nights and a bit complicated to book because we didn’t have Internet access, but to be sure we were in a good location it was a really great decision.
What a day….
Today we hopped on the underground and headed out to Westminster. We got most of the way there on one line and the line was ending before Westminster that day to a lack of staff. So we had to backtrack and hop on another line. Out at Westminster we crossed the bridge to the side with museums in an old, what looked to be governmental, building.
We toured through the Aquarium as well as the Movieum. Probably the most awesome thing out of the two places was in the Movieum, there were original props from one of the old Doctor Who series including the blue police box (the TARDIS). Completely geeked out at that.
We stopped at an asian place inside the building for some grub, but the food wasn’t very good. So we ended lunch there quickly and headed back to the hostel. We decided to eat dinner there in the bar/restaurant where we had the night before.
Tomorrow we hop on a plane from Luton and head to Prague.
Arrived in London around 8 in the morning after a rather long flight from O’Hare, luckily I slept a few hours on the flight. Once we got here and went through customs we took the underground to the London Bridge. It took about 45 minutes on the underground to get from Heathrow out to London Bridge. The Hostel that we’re staying in is right down the street from the London Bridge tunnel exit. Check-in wasn’t until 2pm, and at this point all I really wanted was a shower. But we had to wait and kill several hours. So we walked around the London Bridge area. I have to say this, trying to find a public restroom can be tricky. I finally managed to find a self “cleaning” toilet that you have to pay to use. The HMS Belfast was down from the bridge, so we decided to tour it. It saw action during the second world war. The rest of the evening was hanging out at the hostel and catching up on sleep.
Today, we got up and ate lunch at the hostel, cereal with toast and jelly… yum. We took the underground out to Hyde Park. It’s a fairly large sized park. We walked around there for a bit, and from there we found a bus tour that we could get on and off of that would take us around the city to the sites we wanted to see. Our first bus guide was really interesting, but unfortunately the bus was having problems so we had to get off and change to another one. The lady doing this one was basically Eeyore. The most interesting thing she said was that her great great great grandfather owned a shop in an area we were in, but had it taken away because he turned out to be counterfeiting. We didn’t have to stay on this bus long because we got off at Trafalgar Square. From the square we walked our way down to Buckingham Palace. And then we made it back around to Big Ben, Parliament, and other government buildings. From there we made it back to Trafalgar an got on to another bus. We stayed on it until it stopped at London Bridge/ Had lunch/dinner at the restaurant-bar that is attached to the hostel. It was really good… Aussie Burger (hamburger with aged cheeses, ham, fried egg, heart attack and a few other things) with potato wedges.
A lot of the things we wanted to see we got to see today, so I’m not real sure what’s up for tomorrow. Cheers!