Mon 29 Jul - London, England

A very short night, and quite a short flight... Given Aussie standards where everything is far faraway.

We arrived in Zurich some 30 minutes late which gave us less then 30 minutes to find our way around the airport to the gate for London. The good news was that Swissair had a long list of people who came from Montreal and via Zurich were going to somewhere else.

Still, they told us that Zurich is a small airport (it's not, it has a train between terminals) and no security screening would be required (it was), but we did make the connecting London flight in time as two of perhaps 10 remaining passengers, including a spaced out flower power girl who giggled constantly and performed strange gymnastic exercises while waiting for the Tarmac bus to drive us to the plane.

Two quick photos from Zurich airport, waiting for the train...

And here is one of the passengers...

A slightly late departure on our short flight to Heathrow, which as most people would know is a very busy airport. This being a Monday morning around 8am local time, and despite summer and holiday season, there would be a fair few business people flying in so we had to circle the skies over London for a while.
Immigration went all good, very fast for Hans with his EU passport, a bit slower for Di on her Australian passport.
As advised by the London Visitors Hotel, we took the tube to Hammersmith station, then bus number 10 to the corner of Holland Road and Hammersmith Road from where we walked a block and a half to the hotel. All went smoothly and we were outside of London Visitors Hotel on 42 Holland Road around 10am.

Unfortunately, when we arrived to get our room, there was a glitch. Apparently we were supposed to believe that the room description in Priceline was incorrect and that we therefore must make do with a smaller room.

Here is what we booked and paid for back in March, exact quote using Priceline: "This room features both a single and a double bed and is located on the top floor. The shared bathroom is located just a few meters from the room. Max 2 people"

Anna, the Polish lady from Lublin who was running the place, tried to "upgrade" us to a tiny tiny room with a double bed on the first floor but with private bathroom facilities (rejected), and then to another slightly less small room on the top floor (rejected again).

Anna claimed that the rooms with a double bed and a single bed were for 3 people only. We cynically believed that she is charging per person, not per room. But hey, didn't the original spiel say "Max 2 people"...

Anna had clearly stuffed it up, but as we had booked based on the description (and they were happy to accept our $ way in advance) we stood our cause. She even called up Priceline at one stage who confirmed all of the above.

Oh well, some reshuffling of the deckchairs was required as no room was immediately available for the whole of our 10 days, so we went out for a short wander and had a bite to eat at a local cafe, nothing glamorous, sandwiches and coffee. We then went back to London Visitors Hotel and decided to hang around in the common room until things were sorted. We didn't really need all that shite.

Di looked surprisingly upbeat, but she usually does... Although the next photo could have been her asleep slumped in the chair....

Hans used the spare time to catch up on emails and to blog...

Hey, remember the other day when we bumped into Wil Anderson and Kitty Flanagan on Segways in Montreal and Di took at picture of Hans with the two guys?

We also posted that picture to Wil's official Facebook site, who then decided to publish it. Our brush with fame has been extended...

A lot of people liked the picture too, with some perhaps a bit odd commentary but there must be some inside jokes here that we don't know about.

Back to the room circus... Well, in the end it all turned out fine. By 1.30pm or so we had a room with one double and one single bed. Not big, and without private ensuite although we do have a sink in our room, but at least there is enough space to swing that proverbial cat inside.

Our view from the 3rd floor at the back of London Visitors Hotel.

Zooming in a bit to the left, there are an awful lot of chimneys here but we really like the area.

After having the long awaited showers, we rested for a couple of hours in the room as some cold medication helping us to sleep.

Before 5pm we decided to explore just a little bit of our area and to get some provisions so we walked towards Shephards Bush, where the nearest tube station is located and where there also is a Westfield shopping mall.

It was busy busy busy around Shephards Bush. There is a large traffic circle opposite rows of shops with a triangular park in the middle.

We found a small shopping mall and walked in, and what is there, the English version of Traveller's Friend called Poundland. Everything for one quid unless there is a different price tag on the merchandise. We get 3 plastic bags full of stuff for a total of £11.

We were on the outlook for a small kettle for tea on our travels and the check-out chick at Poundland recommended these guys called Argo in a "shop" opposite.

Argo was another new concept to us. A mail order firm where you choose what you want from a huge catalogue, fill in your order on a simple form, pay for your goods and then wait for it to come out from a warehouse somewhere behind when it is given to you.

Di got some help in filling out the form from a nice gentleman. The "phone book" she is reading from is their catalogue. Wow.

Pay counter at the back, get your reference number and pick up your stuff from the left when buzzed. Di is in the middle of it all - very busy.

All went well and for £5 we got a cordless kettle. A bargain shopping expedition.

By now, the time is around 6pm and we thought that we need to have dinner to get into UK time zone, 5 hours ahead of Montreal. Chop Chop with chopsticks looked promising. These lads with ladder were suddenly just there doing some work for the establishment next door.

Guess what. Chop Chop does Laksa. Seafood Laksa for £4.95. Huge meal and quite tasty. Perfect, of course, if you have a cold which we both had as the steam and the chili "cleanses" your system. Even looked authentic.

After dinner, we wandered just a little bit more and saw this converted old convenience facility. We have heard about old loos being converted into fancy drinking places in London, but unfortunately this one looked like it had gone bust.

Around 7pm we wandered back to our room along Holland Road for a road test of our new £5 kettle, using our 3 mugs for £1 and £1 tea (that's £1 for 100 tea bags). Surprisingly good and tasty.

Not a champion night tonight either, sorry. More cold medication, blog and sleep so we are ready for a big day tomorrow. Good night (yes we feel time zone adjusted already).

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