Venice ... the Finish line

End of August 2018

After exploring Venice we packed up the bikes and flew to London where we would have a house sit as a home base for some sightseeing with Stephanie before she flew back to Canada to go back to school.

What happened…

Amanda writes: We left Venice and flew to London. Then we had to ride to a hotel for a night in preparation for getting to our house sit in London which would be our home base with Stephanie. I was happy to introduce her in our world of house sitting to see how wonderful the house sitting community is. She was welcomed with open arms and we enjoyed the luxuries of a nice family home. We did some sightseeing and it was great for Stephanie to see a friend she knows from Maui. In the end it was great to see her off and surprisingly there were few tears. I’m so happy we had this time with her and hope she enjoyed most of it.


Stephanie writes: We packed for the plane in Venice and rode to the airport. We rearranged the bags for a long time. We bagged bikes then carried them upstairs. They didn’t fit through the scanner thing and we almost accidentally skipped the guy who stamps the passports. We rushed through security and got in line to board. The flight was delayed. We sat in a boiling hot bus waiting. The speedy line didn’t even benefit us at all. We sat in front of little girls slamming the seats. We had to pay for our drinks on the plane and then everyone rushed off the plane. We got to baggage claim and got all the bags at baggage claim 1. Andrew said the bikes would be at the very last baggage claim so we walked to the opposite side with the bags. He was wrong and it was right next to terminal 1. We loaded up the bikes and went out into the rain. THE ROADS AND STEERING WHEELS ARE OPPOSITE! It was pouring rain and super cool weather. We checked into a hotel and ate dinner at the hotel restaurant.

The next day we woke up early to catch a train. Amanda and Andrew went out and bought breakfast. The train station is attached to the airport so we basically rode back from where we came from yesterday. The train station had really nice big elevators. Andrew cut the line when he bought the tickets; oops. Everyone’s accents are awesome!!! We got onto the first train. I talked to some guy that was totally hammered about traveling Europe. They asked for first aid people in car 14 while we were on the train and we had to move out of the way so that people could pass us to go help. I talked to some nice lady with a little boy in a stroller. Everyone was super nice and moved out of the way so that we could get off the train at our stop. I had to go up over and back down for the next train. A nice man in a wheelchair moved over so I could fit in the area. They have a car wash for trains!!! Andrew told Amanda we were on the wrong train and she started crying; tensions are high. It was a non-stop train to London bridge so we got off at the end of the line. Saw some famous makeup Instagram chick. People that work at the tracks told us three different tracks, 11,13 and 14… it ended up being 14. It was super easy to roll onto and off of last one. There was a good spot for the bikes so we could sit down. Everyone had the whole train to pick from but always seems to sit right next to us. A nice family told us if we go around the station and buzz in that we don’t have to take the stairs. We rode to a giant Tesco (grocery store). I waited outside while they took over a half hour in the store. Some guy ran past in a bullet proof vest and some old guy with a balding white beard who was super drunk walked past in a green plaid dress dragging on the floor and left his tie in front of me. Some guy came up to me asked my name age and then said awe too bad and patted me on the shoulder and left. Everyone sits down right next to me and smokes. We went to the Wonderland cafe. It seems all guys in sports cars and motorcycles or mopeds race at the lights. The light we were at, some guy totally gassed it and the other guy did a poppawheely on his moped. Went to little family run business for lunch and it was way too big to be able to finish. Then we rode to the house and met the family and learnt the rules and tasks. The Mom is Amy, can’t remember the Dad’s name. Poppy is the daughter and Zachary is the son. The hamster is Marshmallow and the cat is Pebbles. I sleep on top bunk in a room with the hamster. Amanda and I walked over to see Mamma Mia 2. It was disappointing and so was the bland popcorn and drink options. There was a super nice ticket chive king lady told us how to get Oyster (bus) cards and how they’re helpful as we were leaving. We tried to hop on bus to get back and our cards got declined. The guy didn’t care at all so we got to go back for free. Andrew wants to go to a live musical. The cat is interesting and the hamster is basically Spider-Man hanging upside down.

On our first full day we woke up and rushed to get ready and go to a walking tour. We walked to a corner store (Indian store) to get Oyster cards. We got on bus 57 and went upstairs (double decker bus!!!). We transferred into the tube (subway). You can see sparks flying under the train as it approaches. We got off and got some pastries. Then we went into a shop to buy an umbrella because it was bucketing rain. We went to a souvenir shop for pins and a French guy was working there. We met the strawberry tour guide Alice. It was pouring rain the whole tour. We saw Buckingham palace and the red dudes with black big hats. We stopped for hot chocolate because it was so cold. Next to another monument where there were men on horses. Then we went out for lunch with Alice the tour guide and two guys from Seattle and a couple from Germany. Alice’s sister is studying to be a librarian in Seattle. The German couple said to go to Sweden and Denmark. We walked to the tube to go home and there was a cute little girl that kept smiling at me. Her brother was hilarious with his comments on walking in the rain. We transferred on to the 57 double decker bus and got to go at the front upstairs. We thought we locked ourselves outside and came home to the cat sitting at the top of the stairs. The cat kept nipping at me and sleeping on my lap. We couldn’t figure out the Rubik’s cube and the hamster making weird squeaking sounds. We FaceTimed MATTHIEU!!! He’s the French boy I met on our first day in France. We’re still married and I need to go visit my husband ASAP.

On day 3 it was the latest I’ve slept in this whole trip! I took a long time to get ready and we walked over to a double decker bus and then took the tube to the tower bridge and London bridge. We walked back to tube and went down 3 super long steep escalators and walked over to look at the London eye. Then we walked to Hyde park, past Buckingham palace again. The guards don’t have the red fun uniforms:(. There were guys on roller skates doing tricks. We walked over to a little pond and then walked to Hard Rock Cafe. We had lunch and a dessert there. We went to the Hard Rock shop and waited like 10 mins for a guy to pick his pins. Then we went into some souvenir shops to look around and went back to tube and down a few flights of stairs again. When we came off some kid dropped a coin and when I went to hand it to him he said I could keep it. A guy on a moped winked at me and motioned for me to come sit on the back. My Oyster (bus) card went red when I initially tapped it on bus and when I tried again it worked. I fell forward on the bus. We came home and Auntie Sam gave us some tips for the cat that nips a bit.

On day 4 I woke up and got ready to see Savannah my friend from Hawaii. She asked to visit later so I waited a bit before taking the 333 bus to the tube and got on to meet Savannah at Oxford street. It took some texting before finally finding her and then we went to Starbucks and got drinks. She paid because our dollar sucks. Then walked over to Wagamama for a vegan lunch. We walked to carnaby street and went into Monkey to go shopping. The store worker started screaming because someone was trying to pickpocket. Savannah and I tried on some clothes and she got two discount shirts. When I went to pay, my card got declined because it’s Canadian


Today’s Flickr Photographs


Cycling Stats

August 24, 2018
Start Point: Gatwick Airport, London, England
Destination: London Airport hotel, London, England
15.60 km trip, 13.86 km/h average speed, 31.09 km/h maximum speed, 1:08 time on the bike

August 25-29, 2018
Travel within London


Route Description:

August 24, 2018 Cycling around Gatwick airport isn’t ideal but it is possible. Just keep you head up and remember most people near an airport are in a rush and likely don’t see you.


Accommodations:

August 21-23, 2018 We stayed at a hotel in near the airport and then had a house sit that included Stephanie.

Venice ... the Finish line