Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"London - 101" Blog.


How about a… Trip to London, UK? I live in Florida and my airport is Tampa International Airport, in Tampa Florida. I will use my experience from my 3-trips to London and share some things that will make you trip a little easier.

First you are… going to need a… “Valid US Passport!” Special Note: If your passport will expire within… ‘30-days’… airline regulations will not allow you to travel to the “UK”. You will ‘not’ need a visa to travel there. You will not need any shots either and the language should not be a barrier. …LOL!

“Planning and Flexibility”… are the ‘KEYS’! I Love LONDON! The UK was the pattern for the USA. As they now have more people attending Mosques than Churches, we are not far behind Spiritually! But enough of that… May I share with YOU… How to Go To LONDON!
First, you cannot drive and you must take a plane or a boat! Even though I do on not travel for business any longer, I still maintain my FF-accounts. Frequent Flyer accounts are available for all airlines ‘On Line’ where you may also book flights and even print out your ‘e-tickets’ from you home computer.

When you sign up… for a FF account you may also sign up for the ‘deals.’ I still get weekly email deals about trips. Some time ago, I went to Puerto Rico for $200 round trip. My first trip to London was $350 with stops and my last was a direct flight from Tampa to London for $800.

What about the… Money? The BPS [British Pound Sterling] or Quid is about equal to Two USD! I always have coins and paper money when I go and come back. Any bank in the USA can get you the BPS prior to your leaving. I generally convert about $500 USD… about… “250-L”… in British Pounds Sterling! Any ATM Card can dispense BPS from any bank there in London should You need more. I use it if I need more! Generally that is enough for a week if you are frugal! Oh yes, most places even take the Euro.

Ok make plans… with your Income Tax Refund… and or some savings. Do all your homework on the internet as I will give you some links. I take a Digital Still and a Cam-Corder and as I ride the city buses I photograph Everything! Don’t worry about batteries as you may purchase them there without any problem.





Of course… you can shop on your own for the many travel sites. Sometimes they have better bargains than the Airlines! Shop till you find the Right Price. Shop Early and shop often. IF you are flexible on your travel, you may get some ‘real deals!’ When I go, I fly from Tampa Florida to GATWICK UK. You may also use Heathrow UK airport.



There is a… train station right at the airport. I take the regular… ‘Not the Express’, to Victoria Station! It takes less than an half hour and costs about $8 USD. IF you prefer you can buy a round trip for your trip back. I generally ‘do not’ get a RT. You can easily buy the return ticket at Victoria Station.



When you get… to Victoria Train Station in the East End of London you will be central to many sites and places to visit. The Victoria Bus Station and the Underground Tube [subway] are adjacent to the station. There are plenty of people there to assist you, as they wear uniforms and are easily indentified.

You may ride… a ‘Double Decker’ bus around London as I do, or the Tube if you are in a rush. I like to see sites and speak with people. Children under 18 are free on the bus. Whichever you chooses, be flexible. In the mornings the work crowd mostly takes the buses and tubes. There will always be another bus behind that one going the same route, so do not crowd the bus.
Up the stairs… inside Victoria Station and out the back of the station, to “Belgrave Road!” There are over… 200 Bed-&-Breakfasts there, as I turn LEFT and walk down the street and look for a Vacancy Sign! I get one for about $50/60 USD a night! That is called the “West End” of London.



In the mornings… I walk back to Victoria station, about 3-4 blocks and get a City Bus, Day Pass, less than $7 USD good till 4AM the next morning! I ride the Double Decker Buses… and see the sites. You may also get A Double Decker Bus Tour… as I did my first trip which includes… a boat ride on the Themes! It costs about $50 USD.




The TUBE - subway is about $12 for a day pass. But you don't get to see everything because you are Underground! It is faster, but I am never in a rush! I rode it several times on my way back to my hotel because it was getting late. It can get crowded as the buses do in the evenings. They will try and sell you the “Oyster” pass. If you will be there for an extended time, get one.



My yahoo 360… background page picture is of Trafalgar Square, here is the Cam. Sometimes it is not working. Much of London can be seen efficiently if you Plan, Plan and Plan. Taxies are expensive and the traffic makes them more so.


Buckingham Palace is… within walking distance of Victoria Station… but I take the busses everywhere! Once you have learned the routs or where you want to go, you may “ALWAYS” ask the bus people that are in Uniform at the bus area.


On Sundays, I… go there, I speak at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park! You can speak or just listen to the Many Speakers there… it is really good entertainment! Every time I go I always meet Americans from somewhere.


One “Must See”… is the London EYE! A Ferris wheel which takes about 30-minutes flight or ride. You ride inside the dome, and see all of London from the Air! It was my most enjoyable site as you really get a perspective where everything is.



Of course the… British Museum is north of China Town not too far from “Piccadilly Circus” which is comparable to our New York Time Square. The “Rosetta Stone” is there and many artifacts from all over the planet. If you want to see a show, you are in the right area at Piccadilly Circus.



And of course… Harrods! Sorry I was not willing to pay, $138 USD for an ounce of Caviar! There is another department store that has most of what Harrods has only two blocks away. Their prices are about half.



Need I say… Big Ben, The Tower of London and the London Bridge which are in walking distance from the London Eye! And the souvenir vendors… are on most corners. Take your time as you may spend about 2-hours or more with the ‘Tower of London’ on the speaking walking tours. Cameras are aloud outside the but NOT… in the room with the ‘Crown Jewells’.




What more can… I say? For about… $2000 for one or $4,500 for two, you can have the time of your life… in the Historical or Modern London! London has a… ‘Late Night Life’ but I am not a ‘party animal’ so I passed! …LOL!

There are… grocery stores around, as most of the B&B have microwaves in their kitchens and hot pot’s in the rooms for instant tea or coffee. There is a “Sainsbury” grocery store two blocks from Victoria Station. I often went to their Deli in the evening selected something delicious to take back to my B&B. In the mornings I went there and got some ‘Cornish Pastries’ for breakfast, as I do not care for hot cereal.

On one of my trips… I took the ‘Euro-Star’ train through “the Chunnel” for a trip to Paris from Waterloo station. You may travel outside of London to see the country side or visit other cities. Plan you trips before you go.



Well that is… enough to get you... Ready to GO! I spent a lot of time on the Internet before I ever left for London. You do it to so you have some general idea of where you are going. You may even print out a map of the area.

Take your time… and Plan… Plan… PLAN! In your Planning, be Flexible! Take a backpack and buy snacks in the USA or in one of the many stores. Bottled water and snacks are locally available in a local London store!

Thanks for Your EAR! Roger //Email// roger459@gmail.com