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This is the one about London.

May 12, 2008

It’s hard for me to imagine filling my upcoming summer schedule with yet another excursion, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. Although this trip has been in the works since back in December, it’s now officially going to happen.

There’s not turning back.

The tickets have been purchased.



On Saturday I purchased my roundtrip ticket, which has me leaving Newark at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 2 and arriving at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 3. Yes, that means I’m taking a red-eye, but that also means I get to enjoy a full day in England instead of taking off an extra day for flying or simply losing a day altogether for flying. I’ll spend 4 days in there before taking off Monday morning. Because of time zones and non-stop flights, I actually get back mid-afternoon on Monday, which gives me plenty of time, to get home, unpack and sleep.

I know what you’re thinking: Oh the irony of going to England over Fourth of July weekend. And I’m using my stimulus payment to boot!

Quite a few people have asked me why I am going to London. Well, my two best friends from high school are currently gallivanting around Europe (they are headed to Spain later this week) and I am here chained to a cubicle. One friend has spent the last year in Germany studying on a Fulbright scholarship, and my other friend is spending three months touring Europe. I, of course, was the one who had to get a job right away because of a little thing we like to call diabetes. I probably could have figured out some way to travel around the world for awhile, but I don’t think it would have lasted very long and it certainly wouldn’t have been safe had I gone by myself. I would love to travel more extensively when I’m older but hopefully I will have a friend/boyfriend/husband to do it with.

Anyway, I am using their whirlwind adventure in Europe to have a little one of my own, so I’ve seized the opportunity and requested a couple of days off to go to London. What’s great is that this is on a holiday weekend, which means I’m forced to take a day off, and also that I now live on the East Coast which means it’s a lot easier to get to Europe than it was when I lived in Oregon! The flight to London is only about an hour and a half longer than it is to get to Oregon, and I think that’s just because we’re flying at a diagonal instead of a straight shot over the country.

I know a few of you have across the pond, so I would love some suggestions about things to do while we’re there. Also, if you have any recommendations for cheap, cheap places to stay, that would be swell too.

I am so excited!! Yay England!!

  1. May 12, 2008 6:21 PM

    We stayed on Gower St at the Ridgemount hotel – you can find on tripAdvisor. Rooms were cheap and clean, owner was amazing at recommending cheap food, sights, travel routes, etc. Have tons of fun!

  2. May 12, 2008 6:32 PM


    Have a great time. I normally fly to Ireland on the red eye. Change your watch and insulin pump when you get on the plane. Then put eye shades on and try to go to sleep immediately. You’ll arrive tired but hopefully with enough to get you through that first day. Try not to sleep before the end of the day and expect to fall asleep around 9 PM. You’ll probably sleep through the night and wake up close to normal the following day.

    You’ll have a great time. Four days, wow, you’ll pack those with lots of things to do.

    Maybe you can interview someone about diabetes in Europe and write off some of the travel costs!

  3. May 12, 2008 7:34 PM

    Good for you! Have a great time and enjoy.

  4. May 12, 2008 9:28 PM

    I agree with Bernard. Change the clocks right before you leave.

    Best tour in London: Tower of London.

    Rick Steves’ guide is the way to go.

    If you feel you just have to see Madame Tussaud’s, then make sure you go after the price drops and there’s a flier that we found at the train station for Queen Victoria’s Gardens (I think… I can confirm later if needed) and it offered a discount on top of the reduced price. We even surprised the cashier with how cheap our tickets were!! I found, for me, it was only worth the reduced price.

    The London eye is a cool view–a lot pricey though. I recommend going to St. Paul’s Cathedral and climbing to the top for the view if you’re looking to save some money and feel better about the view that you worked for!

    Oh, and I too flew over on the fourth of july 🙂 seemed fitting!

  5. May 12, 2008 10:55 PM

    You know, I hadn’t even thought about overseas travel WITH diabetes… I was dxed just after my last major trip.

    Anyway, my two favorite places were Camden Market and Westminster Abbey. I am an avid people watcher, and between the goods sold and the people I met/ encountered, Camden Market was fascinating! How often do you get to see hair that was shaved in a thin ring around the crown of a man’s head, that was Hairsprayed (?!?) straight up to about 3 feet high and spray painted pink with black polka-dots?

    I would advise catching a service at Westminster. The church put me at a true loss of words, and was awe-inspiring! I’ve been to a lot of really impressive churches, and this one is second to the top.

    Something cheesy, but still free and interesting was the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. I’m still amazed at their ability to tune EVERYTHING OUT, especially when I saw people heckling them. This was many years ago, before 911, and now I certainly wouldn’t dream of heckling men in funny hats with guns!

    I also agree with Mel’s sugg. of Tower of London and Madame Tassaud’s (which is really kind of creepy, but that’s why it’s cool) .

    I can’t help with hotels. I stayed with a host family in a home in London. Their houses are like REALLY skinny tall townhomes, and they cost a fortune! There were 4 of us in practically a closet. It was really nice to learn a little more about the culture though. The really funny part was that, the ONLY 2 reference points they knew about in the US were Washington “where the president lives” and Disneyland in LA. The Southeast was completely lost on them!

    I hope that helps a little, and I know you’ll have a fabulous trip! I’ll be celebrating my Dx day, 1 year anniversary that weekend. I can’t believe how fast a year goes by!

  6. May 13, 2008 8:31 AM

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

    Val: The hotel looks great, but I think it might still be above our budget (one of my friends wanted to find people to stay with – that’s how low it is). Maybe next time!

    Bernard: I like the way you’re thinking! Hmm, I wonder who I should interview…

    Mel: I love Rick Steves. That’s definitely on my to-buy list.

    Mandy: Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve actually seen Madame Tussauds here in NYC (see pics from last week), so I don’t think I’ll do that again quite so soon. There are other more unique things to see in London. Camden Market sounds great, it’s definitely going on the list.

  7. Kate permalink
    May 14, 2008 12:23 PM

    Hey Allison, I duno if you remember me but im Kate from DTT, and ive been following your blog and i think it’s great =]

    I hope you enjoy London, there’s a franchise of motel – type accomadations called Travel Lodge, they can have really good prices, we usually stay there when we go to England. I live in Ireland so we travel to England quite alot. I’m not really sure of any good attractions though, we usually just go to see family there.

    I hope you have a great time =]


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