London – 10 Things, Maybe True, Or Not

After our trip to Costa Rica I posted about 10 things we had heard about or things we should do before we took our trip. We then determined if they were true or not about the country. I’ll now do the same for our London recent trip.

So following, in no particular order, are 10 things about London we had heard about or things we should do before our trip.

1. Get a London Pass and an Oyster Card – True. If you are going to do any site seeing the London Pass will save you money on admissions to the sites. The Oyster Card is used to get on subway (Underground). Just swipe and go. Once we got the hang of it we used it daily. And there were two workers at each station that helped with directions.

2. Along with #1, the Underground is the only way to get around London – True. Even if the Underground isn’t as modern as my wife thought it would be, it was very efficient. Our hotel was less than a minute from one of the stations. I used it to get to the London Wetlands in about a half hour.

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The entrance to the Undergound sits between restaurants and stores.

3. The food in London is bad – False. I don’t know if it was the particular area we stayed in but we had zero problems with food. Except the Fish and Chips with soggy Peas is just as bad there as here.

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The food in London even looked good as well as tasted good. Alright, this isn’t food from London but from the one day tour we took to Paris. Lunch at the Eiffel Tower. We never did figure out the no-flavor White Foam on top.

4. Take an umbrella – True. We didn’t have much rain though almost every day it rained at one point and we needed umbrella.

5. Lots of people – True but… Take this from a guy who grew up in a town that literally had one stoplight at Main and Jefferson. My wife who has been to New York more than I have commented several times it had a completely different feel than New York. The crowds of people never seemed to be a problem.

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We are heading towards Big Ben which is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. As you can see there were lots of people but it didn’t feel like it.

6. Small Rooms in the hotels – True. The room was small but not a problem. Since we spent most of the time out of the hotel it didn’t matter. Now if we had to stay in the room it would be a different story. What do you expect for the cost of real estate in a city that size?

7. London is expensive – False. Relatively. We found most things were less than New York or even Chicago in many cases. Once we got it in our head things cost the same in pounds that we pay in dollars, we were OK. For example, a small coffee at Starbucks was on sale for 1 pound, which is $1.60. Which would be the sale price here also.

8. Speaking of coffee – it sucked – True. OK, I hadn’t heard the coffee was bad but beside the hotel restaurant the coffee was bad at every place I tried. And I like strong, black coffee.

9. Take an electric plug adapter – True. Most electronics – phones, laptops, etc, – are now setup for either the US 110 or European 220 volts, you just need the correct plug adapter.

10. The water pressure in London is bad – False. My wife had been told this by several people. The hotel shower’s water pressure was fine.

11.  I said 10 but thought of 11. The flight is long and unless you pay for first class the flight is tight and a pain – True and False. Going over the flight was full. And tight. And a baby cried the whole 8 hours. So yes it was a PAIN. On the flight back the plane was only 20% full. You could sleep in the center seats. And no babies were crying. I guess it’s a hit and miss.

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Not sure why I took this photo but I’ll use it. Did you know the board the arrow is pointing at folds down and a small crib can be attached? Not that the child slept in it…

A few things we didn’t hear before but wonder about??

1. There is an ice cream stand on every corner. What’s the deal with that?

2. Everybody in customer service, and I mean everybody, says “No worries”. I was beginning to have worries since I heard “No Worries” so often.

3. Not making a statement here but everyone wanted to know the deal on Donald Trump. Once they heard our American accent that was the first question.

4. We are used to flying Southwest Airlines. No frills. So when we were constantly fed on the flight over we were amazed. And what type of internal radar do people have that makes them wake up from a sound sleep when they know there is another meal coming?

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The plane on the left – Big Boeing 777 for long flights – has numerous meals served. The plane on the right – little Boeing 737 – has peanuts thrown at you as the flight attendants run down the aisles. (Not really)

For friends and family somewhere down the line I’ll post a boring travelogue of the trip without any birding.

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2 Responses to London – 10 Things, Maybe True, Or Not

  1. Greg says:

    I loved the coffee in London (and I also like it strong and black)! In fact, of my favorite things about the UK breakfast might be #1, which also corresponds nicely to your #3.

    • BobC says:

      You are correct about breakfast, it was good. Besides the so-called meat they tried to pass off as sausage.

      We must have got coffee at different spots! Seriously, the only good coffee was at the hotel. But it wasn’t so bad that I had to use my instant Starbucks I always carry just in case.

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