Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 3 - And we thought living in London was expensive - Getting out is prohibitive

We currently have two weekend trips scheduled, one to Edinburgh and one to Bath, and we're going by train.  Though we're taking the same line for both trips, we leave from different stations.  That means figuring out the train schedules and choosing between Off-Peak, Off-Peak Day, Super Off-Peak, and Ranger and Rover tickets, Single and Return, Flexi or Fixed.  Rail Discount cards are available as well, but for some you need to be a resident of the UK, and eight weeks does not a resident make.

So, today we rose early for us (11:30 AM, which my body still insists is 6:30 AM and is asking whether or not I've lost my mind).  I did make a go of it, really.  I checked e-mail, worked with Triberr and even started this blog post, then I (ahem) petered out and went back to bed.  So, we didn't leave the flat until 4:30 PM.

TKTS Booth in Leicester Square

Walked to Leicester Square and visited the TKTS Booth where we like to purchase seats to the West End shows for half price (some shows that is).  We decided to see Spamalot.  We saw it in 2005 in NYC, but we're both Monty Python fans, and with tickets available for half price at 25 GBP each, we decided to see it again.  Spamalot is based on the movie "Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail."

Naomi Watts in Diana
While we were in Leicester Square, we took a picture of the Odeon movie theater poster of Naomi Watts starring in "Diana."  Both of us thought she looked spot on for the ill-fated princess and I think it's fitting we see the movie in London.  We'll see.

Kings Cross/St. Pancras train station
Tickets in hand, we got on the Picadilly tube and got off at King's Cross/St. Pancras to buy the rail tickets. Another successful outing that cost us 239 GBP, and that's with discount rail cards.  London isn't cheap, and getting out of it is really expensive.  As a side note, King's Cross was the station with track 9 1/2 for the train to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.  St. Pancras is known for its beautiful Victorian architecture.  From Wikipedia: "The Grade I listed building stands on Euston Road in St Pancras, London Borough of Camden, between the British Library, King's Cross station and the Regent's Canal. It was opened in 1868 by the Midland Railway as the southern terminus of its main line, which connected London with the East Midlands and Yorkshire."

London Eye from Embankment
Rail passes and tickets purchased, we hopped back on the tube to Leicester Square and ate dinner at our favorite Cafe Rouge.  Hubby managed to get Tesco (grocery store) vouchers that give us a 20 GBP discount off of our food (not alcohol, so glasses of wine are not eligible, but that doesn't stop me from ordering one with dinner).  Interesting side-note, refills on soft drinks are not free in Europe, nor is bread and butter complimentary like it is in the states.  After dinner it's back on the tube again this time taking the Northern Line to Embankment.

Festival on the South Bank
There was a fair or festival going on near the London Eye on the South Bank, so I tried to get a video of its rides as well as the London Eye, which you can see above is a striking blue at nighttime.

Ride at the Festival on the South Bank
We sat on some benches and watched the tourists go by on a sight-seeing boat.  We're regulars, you know.  Not tourists at all.  Hubby even gives lost souls directions on how to get about the city, and where they should visit.  We'll be spending our 36th anniversary here, and I thought it would be fun to take a dinner cruise on the Thames.  Unfortunately, we'll be on a train to Edinburgh on that day, but maybe the following week.

Spamalot at The Playhouse near Embankment
Curtain time for our show tonight is 9 PM, which is late for the West End.  Most shows start at 7:30 PM.  So at 8:30 PM we strolled from Embankment to The Playhouse theater.  We had front row Dress Circle seats, which were very good, though the guard rail partially obstructed my view, unfortunately.  It did not impede my enjoyment, however.

Set of Spamalot
Rich was very naughty and took a picture of the stage set at the end of the show.  If you've seen the movie, you know it ends abruptly.  Actually, there is no ending.  For the musical, they bring the house lights up but leave the stage lit, so audience members (like me) think the actors might return for an encore, but they don't (you'd think I'd remember that from the first time I saw it, but no.).  Instead, the audience sits there flummoxed until the orchestra finishes and packs up to leave.  It's sort of funny, when you think of it.  You almost expect someone to come out on stage and say, "The show's over, folks.  So, pack up your stuff and leave already.  What do you need, an invitation?"

Now, we're back at the flat and I'm going to add pictures, check e-mail, etc. then make an early night of it. Right.  It's 2:30 AM now.  Yup, it's an early night all right.  Bye.

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