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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Sunday, June 06, 2010 08:07:51

England Narrow Boating: 1 Getting there & around London

The idea originated at a cocktail party in Victoria early last year when long time friends Bob & Gaybrielle Halsey asked if we would like to join them to cruise English canals for a couple of weeks - they had done it previously and thoroughly enjoyed it. As it was something Marilynn & I had thought about for some time we agreed on the spot.

When the economic collapse arrived in Costa Rica we were pretty busy, but kept planning regardless. A condo project we are building with partners on Costa Rica's northwest coast ate up a huge amount of our time, but we were able to get financing, design and landscaping work done before our departure, giving the project over to the engineering experts for things we know little about, such as storm drains, sewage treatment plant, high voltage electrical installation and the drinking water system.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It was frantic work up until we left for the airport. We flew Concord Airlines from Costa Rica to Frankfurt, Germany, then Lufthansa to London, England. This avoided the US immigration & security circus. The Boeing 767-300 pulled away from the gate 15 minutes early, stopped for an hour for fuel and passengers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and arrived in Frankfurt 50 minutes ahead of the 7AM estimate time. The food and service on board were very good.

In Frankfurt it wasn't even necessary to show passports. Security was easier than many places - no need to remove shoes, for example. Lufthansa had a lounge with computers available, so we had drinks, snacks and caught up on internet while waiting 3 hours for our connecting flight.

At Heathrow Airport in London there was a 15 minute wait for immigration, but processing was quick and easy. We purchased a day pass for trains & buses at an information counter in the central bus terminal, and had only a few minutes wait for the 25 minute bus ride to Feltham Station were we caught a train to Wandsworth Station, about a block and a half from the Holiday Inn Express we had booked on line.

The hotel was a pleasant surprise - comfortable beds in well equipped rooms, included full breakfast buffet. The posted rate on the rooms was 159 pounds ($US252) per night, but we paid only 58 pounds ($92) per night through Direct Rooms.

Marilynn was wiped out from the trip, so went to bed. I took a bus to the next town to change money. HSBC bank suggested I change at the post office, which was no problem except for their $1.5849 per pound exchange rate - I later found I could have changed money across the street at $1.35 per pound. Don't trust the local post office!

I decided to walk back, but got lost wandering along various rivers and canals, including the Thames. After asking directions I found a nice pub, where over a beer they told me how to get to the hotel - it was only 5 minutes away, but took somewhat longer as there were a number of pubs along the way.

Marilynn was feeling a bit better, so we had appetizers and drinks at the closest pub, and then walked 5 minutes to the first pub for a delicious dinner. We both had a great sleep.

Wednesday June 2 - Friday June 4, 2010

Basically we took it easy in London - the first time ever we didn't go to the theatre at least twice. The only difficult part was being dragged off to various shopping areas, where I walked my feet off. Fortunately there is a healthy smattering of pubs where rest was possible, and most serve amazing gourmet meals!

The London transport system is excellent. We'd buy a pass at the station each morning for 5.60 ($8.80) each, good on all local trains, subway and buses. Waterloo Station in London was only 15 minutes from the hotel by train, and from there it didn't take long to get anywhere by tube (subway) or bus.

On Friday we met Tristan Palmer, who helped us hugely when the Rolls was delayed getting to England in 2007, and his lady Jenny for a superb lunch at the Giaconda Dining Room , followed by a stroll though back streets and squares. After a couple of pints at the base of a statue in the center of 7 converging streets, we took the tube to a pub in another part of the city to meet up with the Halseys. Shopping lists and various other items were decided upon before Marilynn and I went back to our hotel in Wandsworth.

Tomorrow we'll head off by train to join the boat that will be home for the next couple of weeks.