Saturday, Aug 17- London

Didn’t get terribly solid sleep on the plane – probably 4 hours or so.

When I got to the airport I ran into a couple things that went counter to my pretrip Internet research. First – the ATMs at Heathrow appear to ALL be high-surcharge machines. If you can do so, wait until you can get outside the airport to make your GBP withdrawal.

Second, if you want to get a SIM card from a vending machine, you need to do so before leaving the secure area. After that you need to use the shop, which is much more expensive.

That said, it was a little nerve-wracking going without my GPS, until I got to the Sainsbury by where I stowed my luggage where I ultimately got my SIM card, but I made it.

I detoured to Leicester Square to pick up my London Pass, so I wouldn’t have to pick it up on my return to London next Tuesday.

Finally got my morning coffee after getting off the train by British Museum. Posting galleries for my three main destinations below as well as one with street pix.

Continue reading Saturday, Aug 17- London

Very quick post

I’m having problems with this blog, connection issues, tablet issues, and losing drafts that were allegedly saved. So my real posts are going to have to wait.

Doing fine in Edinburgh. So far have seen 7 shows and gone on a creepy tour. Have plans to climb to the Arthur’s Seat (top of a defunct volcano) at dawn tomorrow, so going to bed now. We’ll see if my lower extremities and the weather agree tomorrow morning.

8/20 6:15 update: I failed. What I did see was still pretty.

Friday, Aug 16 – On the Way

Did not have an auspicious beginning to my trip. Awoke at scheduled time of 3am (trying to reset my internal clock all week), and all went well until I was 2 minutes to leaving my apartment. I inadvertently placed a not-quite-closed water bottle in the side of my backpack, which was setting on my bed. By the time I figured out my error a large part of the bed was soaked, as well as parts of my backpack and its contents. Sigh.

Well I just tried to post a whole bunch more I typed, but the sucky wifi at the airport seems to have caused me to lose all my work. Aaarrrgghh. So, less eloquently, and probably with too much annoyance I will repeat…

Even though I checked in online yesterday, I had to stand in the same line as folks who hadn’t checked in, as there is no separate baggage drop off. But on the good side of things, I flew through security even though both my backpack and my body required a “closer look.”

Currently writing this outside a charging station by gate M13 (I’m departing from M11), but I think I’ll go ahead and post this and perhaps add more later if something interesting happens.

Location: Chicago Metro, then in a 747
Shows I saw: None, but I might watch the season 2 Christmas Episode of Downton Abbey while in transit.
Other things I did: Took the CTA Blue line to work and had a full day of work.
Who I met:Well, my coworkers, mostly. Shout out to Cristina, who was kind enough to drive me from the office to O’Hare!
What I ate:Bowl of cheerios at home
Mocha and scone at Starbucks on the way to work
Microwave popcorn, cheese, triskets, and cherries for lunch
Likely more of the same (sans popcorn) for dinner unless I’m still awake when the airlines brings food around.
Weather: ☀ 19°L/ 27°H
No forecasted rain in Chicago today or in London tomorrow so looks good for flying.
Tomorrow’s London forecast is ☀ 13°L/ 21°H – Yay!
What I wore: Teal leggings layered with patterned light knit pants
Pink T-shirt layered with mauve button up
Black socks and Keens
Things I discovered or learned:Always double check the lid on a water bottle.
Things can go wrong, but I don’t have to freak out over it.
My tablet’s camera does not focus very well in the dark.
Checking in online so you can just “drop off your checked baggage” does not necessarily keep you from standing in exactly the same line as people who are checking in or even buying tickets.

Berlin Pix

Yeah – there are a lot of pix from the Netherlands I still haven’t posted, but I didn’t want to get even further behind. So I’ll post those (as well as all the missing pix from India) once I get back home. Or if I get bored later on the trip. But here you have my first full day of touring Berlin. (BTW – I scored a second theatre ticket for Berlin!)

First Full Day in Berlin

After sleeping most of the day I arrived - I did NOT sleep well on the overnight bus - I was refreshed enough to spend nearly 9 hours walking about. First I took transit to to Grosse Tiergarten (a park) and walked through the fall foliage. Then I took a bus to the Lustgarden where, after grabbing some breakfast at a Starbucks clone, I went on a fantastic "free" (pay what you want) walking tour. I will definitely be doing more of these. Then I walked back past the Maxim Gorki theatre where I bought a ticket to another show. Yay! Then I fortunately came across a Vietnamese restaurant on my way back to the train. Except for bread items, German food is not tempting me at all.

Mostly Vondelpark

Well my activities yesterday pretty much consisted of getting lunch (I was smart enough to do that first), visiting a coffeeshop, walking around Vondelpark, and coming back to the hostel and being completely useless for the entire evening. I don’t think I’ll repeat that again. Uses up too much time. But Vondelpark was wonderful. And my back was pain free for a few hours, which was quite nice.

Mostly Vondelpark

Grabbed lunch, then visited a coffeeshop where the couple of lovely young women working there were very kind to a clueless old lady. After recovering somewhat, I moved on to walk around the awesome Vondelpark. Then I was pretty much useless for the rest of the day. But my back felt good.