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April 17, 2010 - another exciting day in London

There seems to be no escape. The volcano keeps erupting and the airlines keep cancelling flights.

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground

Day 4 — April 17, 2010 (Saturday)

Another day and the volcano is getting worse. Flights are now canceled until Sunday at 1:00 PM and probably until Monday. The French train strike is still on; ferries are swamped and not even accepting foot traffic. Our hotel has no British Airways information and we are expected to check out at noon . . . with no place to go.

We had breakfast and Ed left for the airport to see if he can either get his suitcase or file a lost luggage report. My Internet access is used up and the phone Edie loaned us has no minutes left. This is an unending bad dream.

Noon has arrived but Ed has not. I called Peugeot and explained we can’t take our car today. He understood, said they would hold it and to give a call when we had a pickup time. Thank goodness Peugeot listens to the news.

I e-mailed the kids with our (Edie’s) phone number but told them we have no minutes so can’t use it. Peg sent a Eurostar web link for a London–Toulouse train on the 19th but since Ed isn’t here, I can’t book anything.

I called the front desk and they said I had to check out so I packed all of our luggage and somehow managed to get it all down to the desk. There were two families ahead of me but when my turn came, they rebooked us back into the same room so I had to drag everything back upstairs . . . but we have a room!

I’m sitting in a very noisy lobby for an hour so they can clean our room. I found a chair facing the door so I can watch for Ed. It’s noisy here. Some man lost his daughter and started yelling hysterically. She was right there! All our fellow BA refugees are now lined up trying to rebook and rooms are limited so I’m glad I came down fifteen minutes early. We have to pay tonight and it’s pricey. Wish we could sightsee since we’re paying for the room. Ah well, just happy to have a room. Now if Ed could find his suitcase . . .

An older Houston uber-Republican decided to start a conversation that was inescapable. I remained polite but not very agreeable. I finally escaped him and returned to our now-clean room. Decided to do my nails while watching the depressing news about the volcano.

Ed finally appeared triumphant with his suitcase. Joy! We checked with the concierge about church and then made a wild attempt to book trains online to Toulouse. We could book to Paris for $568 and couldn’t figure out how to continue. French rail strike and lousy web site . . . sigh. We gave up and started calling travel agents who were not interested in our business. Strange country.


We gave up and set off in search of church discovering a rather strange locked church about a 20 minute walk away . . . on my now-serious foot blisters. Walking back we stopped at J.G.W.S. Masque Haunt [pub at 168-172 Old St., London] for dinner. We got a Finian’s Red Ale and Ed got a beef pie while I opted for roasted lamb. It was superb and everyone in the place was a neighborhood resident. It was truly a fun pub with excellent food and a great choice of beers. They also had a nice wine list including California wines.

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground

The Masque Haunt Pub in London

The Masque Haunt Pub in London

Stopped at a pharmacy for band-aids (called plasters here) for my blisters before returning to the hotel. We booked Sunday night at the hotel and really need to get to France. We’re paying for a leased car and a gite in the Dordogne while we are in London.

Posted by Beausoleil 15:53 Archived in United Kingdom

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I know it was a long time ago, but what a nightmare that must have been.

by irenevt

i feel the stress for you. ! I've been caught up in a couple of French train strikes. They have a law ,that means a minimum of trains must run. They are crowded. I did find in Paris, extra "Helpers" on duty to direct travellers.

by alectrevor

So stressful for you! I'm impressed though that you managed to find a pub full of locals in such a central part of town ;)

by ToonSarah

Hi Irene, Alec and Sarah. Thanks for visiting. It wasn't hard to find a pub full of locals because all the tourists were desperately running around trying to find ways to get to the continent. After each exhausting day, they holed up in their hotels, often online still looking for trains or ferries. It was a very untouristy time to visit London.

The good part was that everyone was exceptionally friendly and helpful.

by Beausoleil

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