Tempus Fugit

Time Flies…

   Dec 25

RTW 08/09 Part IV – Europe

London – Day One
Eventually boarded a flight to London around 0130. Arrived lunchtime.

Was supposed to catch up and spend the day with Big G who’d taken a day off work. Caught up in the afternoon – better late than never.

Staying at the usual … Palmer’s lodge at Swiss Cottage. Amazingly cheap for what they provide.

Wandered through a rather pathetic “Christmas Market” and drank mulled wine. Went to the portrait gallery.

Big G and I caught the Tube to Clapham Junction and caught up with Fashionably-Sized-T (Mrs Big G) [note: Big G has no reference to physical size...rather, a historical reference from years ago...] and Klaus (a Danish import). Several pints later, I managed to catch the very last Tube back to Swiss Cottage.

London – Day Two
A relaxing sleep in – although I did manage to get up in time for the free continental brekky. Was rather non-plussed by the big green pennicillinesque mold spore that I saw on my toast. Needless to say I refrained from consuming that particular piece.

A leisurely Tube ride to Bond Street and a rendezvous with the Swiss connection (otherwise known as Chris and his friendly woman-folk, Anjum). Was great to catch up again – in spite of Chris doing his best impression of a viral incubator and disseminator.

London at this time of the year is a mad-house. GFC notwithstanding, every man and his dog was out buying stuff. Anjum was of great assistance in helping me locate a Christmas present for Mum. The day was replete after a leisurely dinner at another pub and another Christmas ale.

London/Milan
Why on earth do I even contemplate early flights? Especially when the airport is three million miles away and I’m reliant on pubic (sic) transport? To boot, I was somehow erroneously convinced of the fact my flight to Milan left Gatwick at 0830. It was only when I arrived at Victoria station that I was shocked to discover my flight left at 0715. On the train out to the airport I was convinced I had missed the check in time for my flight and had resigned myself to being homeless somewhere in the UK on Christmas day.

Somehow though, in spite of the Christmas airport madhouse and the train arriving two minutes before the luggage check-in cut-off, I was able to skip the queues, check my luggage in and catch my EasyJet flight.

Masterfully conquering Milan’s train network with not much more than “mi scusi” and “grazi”, I made it to my hotel…if you could call a single rickety bed in a tiny room a hotel. Still, it was cheap.

Afternoon power-nap.

Met Mik for dinner. Saw the Duomo (impressive). Ate dinner near the canals. Quite foggy. Great atmosphere.

Milan –> Florence
One thing that can be said for cheap and nasty hotel….it made awesome coffee. I should have expected no less being Italy I suppose, but it came as a pleasant surprise.
Early train to Florence. Old European train stations fascinate me architecturally. SMN Florence stazione is very art deco.

Mik and I found hotel. Wandered around. Had a coffee in a very eclectic little store that I swear could easily have doubled for the lounge room of one of my great aunts. It was packed full of delicious sweet morsels and hideously kitsch trinkets.

Mum arrived. Wandered around town. Had dinner in a little restaurant near the Duomo. Slept.

Oh yeah….forgot. It was Christmas Day today too. For whatever that’s worth. Merry Bah-Humbug.

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