Tag Archive for: travel


Yesterday was our whirlwind tour of Paris. Joshua and I left our hotel at 6:00am to arrive at the Eurostar Waterloo station in time for our 7:00am departure. The train ride was a great experience. Travelling at 200 miles per hour on land was a first for the both of us. It is very fast.

Going through the chunnel was a bit unreal. I knew that we were going under the English Channel, but it felt more like an extended subway ride. About twenty minutes and we were in France. We arrived at about 11:00am.

The first challenge was how to navigate the transit system. Without a doubt, one of the most cryptic transit systems in the world. For whatever reason, the transit maps at the Paris Gare du Nord were all blended: train, trams, buses and metro. We could not figure it out and there were very long lines for the ticket agents. We took a taxi.

We covered a lot of ground during our time in Paris: Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, the Louvre as well as the Eiffel Tower. The weather was like the middle of summer: sunny and hot. The temperature was certainly above 25 degrees Celsius. An amazing day.

We spent an hour or so at the end of the day at a sidewalk cafe near the Eiffel Tower. The French Pastries we enjoyed there were quite memorable.

We took the last train back to London. Departure time was 8:40pm. A long day. My feet are still hurting.

Here are a few pictures from my son”™s camera.

JC 1

RC 1 Paris

JC 2 Paris

RC 2 Paris

JC 3 Paris

RC 3 Paris

London Pix

Here are a few pictures on today’s adventures from my son’s camera. The first two were taken at the British Museum. The next two were taken just after the Tower of London. We were drinking a tropical ice drink. Very potent. Brain freeze. Ouch.

I’ll let you guess where we were for the last two pictures.

Paris tomorrow. Weather looks great. 25 degrees Celsius. Should have brought along some shorts.

Josh British Museum

Richard British Museum

Josh Tower

Richard Tower

Josh Apple Store

Richard Apple Store

Paradise Found

Joshua and I found the Apple store as we made our way from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus in London. What an impressive store! And the internet access is free. Unlike the hotel, which charges $50 a day for internet access.

We had a busy day touring today. We took in the British Museum this morning. Remarkable facility. I will post some images when I get back to Canada later this week. A quick lunch break at a British pub. Yes, I had fish and chips. Classic.

And then we spent the afternoon touring the Tower of London. Equally as engaging as the British Museum.

Tomorrow we make our way to Paris for the day. We will be leaving the hotel around 5:45am. And we won’t get back until around 11:30pm. The blog won’t be updated until Wednesday.

We are having a great time in the U.K.

London Day One

A full day of touring today. We took advantage of the beautiful weather to tour the city of London. We left the hotel early and arrived at Westminster Pier at about 8:00am.

The hotel is only a minute away from the Marble Arch subway station. I purchased travelcards for the day and proceeded to discover London”™s tube. We took the Central line subway one station stop to Bond. And from Bond we took the Jubilee line to Westminster pier.

The underground system in London is quite impressive. Westminster station looks like something from a movie set. It is huge.

As it turns out, today was the London Marathon. The downtown core was closed to traffic. For the first three hours, we basically wandered downtown London almost on our own. Big Ben, the Parliament buildings, Westminster Abbey. All amazing sights.

We sidetracked to St. James Park and enjoyed a late breakfast at the Inn on the Park. We sat outside enjoying the sun and the stunning British gardens. We continued walking through the city to Trafalgar Square. And we made our way from Trafalgar Square down to St. Paul”™s Cathedral. Along the way were numerous points of interest.

After about 5 hours of walking, we decided to take in a river cruise. We took the tube from somewhere deep in the city of London back to Westminster Pier. We crossed the bridge to the London Eye and purchased tickets for the cruise. The cruise took about an hour and highlighted the major attractions along the Thames River.

Going under the Tower Bridge, I waved and someone returned the wave. This means five years of good luck according to the tour guide.

After the cruise, we made our way to Waterloo station. This is where we will be taking the Eurostar to Paris on Tuesday. Quite an impressive station.

We are now back at the hotel resting our legs and feet. My son is sound asleep on one of the couches. I am updating my blog. Here are a few photos from my son”™s camera. My own photos are in RAW so I won”™t be able to post those photos until after I come back to Canada.

A great day in an amazing city.

Josh Westminster Abbey

Richard Big Ben

Arriving in London

The flight to London was uneventful. Air Canada has still not refitted their transatlantic fleet. The inflight entertainment system consisted of an old RGB overhead projector throwing a dim beam of unfocused light on a white board.

Joshua and I had packed along our own entertainment for the 7-hour flight. Mine was the first two seasons of 24 ripped to AVIs on my ThinkPad X60 ultraportable. Joshua had a collection of DVDs for his MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro is a stunning laptop with an exceptional display. However, the battery life of the ThinkPad is much longer. I was able to get over 5 hours of playback on the X60. Joshua had to shut things down after 3 hours.

We landed in London on time at 9:05pm. It was quite a sight coming in to the city from the coast. I wish I could have taken some pictures.

I thought that we would spend a lot of time waiting to clear customs and the baggage claim. Not the case. The Passport Control was very quick and the luggage was basically ready as we cleared customs.

We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. A quick, 15-minute trip on a very slick high-speed train. We arrived at Paddington Station around 9:45pm. The taxi from Paddington Station to Hotel Montcalm was fairly quick. There was a line for the taxis but the processing was quite fast. The taxis are a neat experience. Very different from taxis in Toronto.

We arrived to the hotel about 10:00pm. Almost an hour earlier than I had predicted. The room is quite dramatic. A two-storey suite with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a courtyard park. A spiral staircase leads from the first-floor living room to the sleeping level. Two washrooms.

Very nice.

We did take some time to walk around the area of the hotel. A great evening. The temperatures have been very mild for London. All of the trees and flowers are out. And it looks like the weather is going to be very nice for our stay here.

We did well by getting to bed early. Although it was 11:30pm London time, our bodies thought that it was 6:30pm. We were able to get a night”™s rest. We were up for our first day of touring at 6:30am London time.


In just a couple of days my oldest son and I will be making our way to London, England. I have read through The Rough Guide to London as well as Rick Steves’ London 2007. Both are excellent books. I have mapped out an itinerary which promises a wonderful adventure in Europe. We will tour London and Paris. And I have over 40 sites of interest that I would like to see.

I will take a lot of pictures and I will post some of the more interesting shots on this blog.

We definitely want to see Abbey Road. We must also stop by a few guitar shops. Fortunately, there is one close by called Hank’s Guitar shop. Two stops on the tube from our hotel at Tottenham Court Road. Too many guitars in that store.

Hanks Guitars

Eurostar Tickets

I had posted on April 9th that I had ordered the Eurostar tickets for the London to Paris trip. We leave for London on April 21st. I was hoping the tickets would arrive here in Canada before we left. The tickets came today. One business day!

What a small world.


The finishing touches are being applied to the London itinerary. My son was home over the week-end and we agreed that we would take one day to ride the Eurostar to Paris. I booked the tickets online and they will be shipping the tickets to Canada within the next couple of days. Hopefully the tickets arrive before we leave the country.

We will leave London on the 7am Eurostar and proceed to Paris by going under the English Channel. The chunnel is a 31 mile rail tunnel that connects Folkestone with Calais. Folkestone was home to me many years back. And no time to visit on this trip. However, we will arrive in Paris by 11am. A day to enjoy the city and then back to the station in Paris late in the evening.