Posts Tagged With: Boat trip

Tuesday 4 July: Day 2 in London

Today was all about being a tourist, and seeing as much of London as possible in one day. First stop breakfast. For the first time I have not been concerned that I would not be able to find decent tea, as this is after all London. Unbelievable, endless teabags of every flavor known, apart from English Breakfast!! Luckily there was a twining tea called Every Day tea.

The buffet seemed a bit weird, no cereal or toast (or toaster) even though there were pots of marmalade and honey on the tables. I just assumed we had arrived after the rush, and had a croissant instead.

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Just before sunrise

After breakfast we got passes to the Original Tour Bus from the hotel, and headed to the stop to wait. Don’t ever get tickets for this bus – get tickets for the Big Bus, Golden Tours, or London Hop and Off – at least 3 each of these buses went past whilst we waited for the Original Bus to appear!

The bus was due at 10am, by 10:40 we were getting pretty frustrated, along with other people also waiting for this company, who like us were watching numerous other tour companies come and go in this time.

Finally the Original Bus arrived and off we went. We stayed on the bus for about and hour and half looking at the sights, and then we got off by Hyde Park and looked around the outside of Buckingham place and Westminster Abby.

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Buckingham Palace

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Westminster Big Ben

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Westminster Abbey

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Trafalgar Square

I got a photo of me in a red phone box with Big Ben in the distance, looked at the horses by 10 Downing Street, and at 10 Downing Street from the gate.

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Horse Guards

We saw theaters (Phantom of the Opera has been running non stop for thirty years), and London Taxis and double decker buses, and hordes of tourists. There are a number of places I wanted to go to but ran out of tourist enthusiasm, as well as time –  Platform 9 3/4, Harrods, to name but a couple).

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Victoria Tower Gardens

We got on a cruise to go up the Thames back to Tower Bridge, and got off at the Globe Theatre stop, and looked at it from the outside. After looking around this is also on the list for the next trip.

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Westminster. Parliament House under repair

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River cruise back downstream

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The London Eye

It was nearly 3pm and we had not had lunch so we went into a pub to try the pub pies. I had a Steak and Ale pie, which came with gravy, mushy peas and potato. The pie inside was nice, but the pastry was really tough. Shellbe said later this is usual for them, rather than it having been over cooked. Brett had a Beetroot and Camembert pie which was also pretty nice.

Then off to The Shard which has a viewing platform on the 68th floor, where you can get a pretty good view over London.

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View over the River Thames and the Tower Bridge from The Shard.

Then back to the hotel to get changed before going out for dinner. We had dinner with Shellbe, Brett’s nephew Ben who lives in London, and Brett’s stepson (also called Brett) who was in London for work.

We all met at Canary wharf at an Italian restaurant called Amerigo Vespucci. I had risotto with truffle and salad, it was really nice.  We went both ways on the metro, I am starting to get a bit more familiar with changing lines.

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Last night in London

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Editor’s note: The caption that came with this picture was “No miracles just don’t happen” . . . 

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Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 79/164: Rest Day in Puno

Breakfast was included with the hotel stay and such joy when I got down to the restaurant: a toaster! 😀 😀 I have certainly missed being able to have toast. There was also butter but no grapefruit marmalade, so not quite perfect but pretty close. They did have some very nice honey and some pineapple jam.

As there is only one rest day I decided not to do the full day tour to the floating islands and planned to do a three hour one instead. I went down to the wharf, about two kilometres from the hotel, politely declining the numerous offers of rides in a tuk tuk.

The trip to see two islands is $20 sole, plus a $5 landing fee. You had to wait for the boat to have ten passengers before it would leave but that did not take long. The first mate was a boy aged about 8, who was in charge of the ropes and telling the passengers when they could go up to the top of the boat etc.

Boats that take tourists out to the floating Islands

Boats that take tourists out to the floating Islands

On the boat

On the boat

The trip out took about 30 minutes to the first island. We had an explanation of how the islands were made and what they ate (Editor’s note: I honestly have no idea what Kaye means by this . . . maybe the islands are like the one in Life of Pi?).

Then we were each taken to one of the individual’s houses to look inside, then that person took you to their market table to sell you either weaving, jewellery or small boats made out of the reeds. The islands surface was dry reeds – you would not like to see a fire!

View of the floating island, ground surface covered in dried reeds

View of the floating island, ground surface covered in dried reeds

Island people waiting to welcome us onto the floating island

Island people waiting to welcome us onto the floating island

Sitting with the one of the Island woman holding the wall hanging I bought

Sitting with the one of the island woman holding the wall hanging I bought

Enjoying the sunshine

Floating islands

Then we had to pay another ten sole to go on a traditional boat to the next island. The traditional boats are made of reeds also. This boat was not rowed however, it was pushed by a dingy with an outboard motor.

Boat being rowed not push by dingy

Boat being rowed not pushed by dingy

Editor's caption: Kaye looking too cool for school

Editor’s caption: Kaye looking too cool for school on the boat to a floating island

The next island was the chance to buy food and beverages at hugely inflated prices, twice that as on the mainland. The whole experience was a bit tacky and about milking every possible $ out of the tourist. The longer trips are a bit more of a real experience but overall I was happy with the trip. I got to go on a floating island on Lake Titicaca.

Kaye on the restaurant island (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Kaye on the restaurant island (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

View of Puno from boat

View of Puno from boat

After getting back to the mainland I had lunch then back to the hotel. The plan was to Skype with a couple of my children and catch up with the blog and emails. Once again problems with the wifi: too many riders crashing the system. I could not get Skype to connect! Again! Most frustrating and disappointing when you have limited access to wifi. One of the riders was telling me that you can also do a Skype like thing through Facebook that works better. Will have to look into it.

I ended up dozing off to sleep in the sun and woke up and it was dark.

Usually on rest days I still eat early but tonight it was after 7pm before I left the hotel. All the restaurants were packed. One had an hour long wait just to order. I managed to find a place that was not as busy but just in time, as it filled up within 5 minutes of getting there. I had a quick Pizza and headed back to the hotel to pack and try again with the Skype. There was an eclipse of the moon so watched that for a while. Very clear sky, so easy to see.

Looking at the rider’s whiteboard it looks like the next four days are going to be quite easy. Nothing over 83 kilometres, and nothing with climbing over 950 meters. We will still be at about 3,800 meters in altitude every day though. I am still having problems with asthma and altitude sickness, so a few easier days will be great.

No luck still with the skype :/. Into bed with my hot water bottle, it would be great if I could have one of these delivered to my tent every night.

Lake Titicaca

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments