Munich >>> (England) London >>> Sevenoaks [Housesit with Maisie]
9/24 – Research and Planning in Munich, Travel to Zurich
9/25 – Fly to London, Relax at Hotel
9/26 – Rest and Planning Day. Got vaccine boosters
9/27 – Change to different hotel in Croydon
9/28 – Rest and Planning Day
9/29 – Day in London with Jeremy and Carey, Churchill War Rooms, Imperial War Museum, Covent Garden, British Pub
9/30 – Travel to Sevenoaks for Housesit with Maisie
Research and Planning in Munich, Travel to Zurich
+ When we woke up today, we had no idea where we were headed! Maybe Austria, maybe Switzerland, maybe somewhere else in Germany? We had no idea so it was going to be a big research day.
+ For the entirety of the day, we researched places to stay in all of those areas, as well as how much it would cost to get there. What we found though, is that it was going to cost a whole bunch for a Saturday night with Oktoberfest going on. Every location nearby, even spread into bordering countries, had spiked prices for both transport and definitely for accommodation and most places were fully booked!
+ We also had been going and going for a few weeks now since the first campervan trip started with only the 1 day break in the UK to catch our breath. So we wanted to take a few days to just relax and also plan our upcoming route through the rest of Europe. And we didn’t want to waste any of our limited days in the Schengen zone doing that.
+ So after much deliberation and frustration, we decided to …… return to London! That was the only place that fit the bill of a place we could get to cheaply and stay for cheap (all paid for with credit card points) and as a bonus we would be out of the Schengen visa zone again. Plus we could do extra things like get the travel vaccination boosters we needed and use the extra 85 pounds we recently found we forgot to spend!
+ When the decision was finally made and all the travel plans booked, it involved taking a bus 4 hours south to Zurich and arriving at 4:30am. Then we would catch a train directly to the airport so we could catch our flight to London! Phew! So we packed up our stuff and left Laura’s house and traveled into the main train station of Munich.
+ At the train station all the girls were dressed in their Dirndl’s and guys in their Lederhosen since Oktoberfest had just finished for the day. And the were A LOT of drunk people! In fact, we had to make our way up the stairs and there were so many drunk people trying to come down that the police literally had to form a line to hold them on one side so as not to trample the ones going up!
+ We then grabbed some dinner to eat before the bus and settled in for the ride. We were surprised to see almost every single one of our busmates traveling to Zurich were drunk people who were returning from their day at Oktoberfest. I would have never thought to stay so far away and then bus in just for Oktoberfest! We chose the front seats on the bus and all the drunk people (later- vomiting people) luckily chose the back!
Fly to London, Relax at Hotel
+ We tried to muster a few hours of sleep on the bus but didn’t manage much. Around 4:30 am we pulled into Zurich and walked through the quiet town to the train station.
+ Although no one else was buying tickets for the trains, Liz really didn’t want to risk the chance of getting caught so we had to buy tickets for the short ride to the airport. Over $25 just for what ended up being a 5 minute ride! And of course no one checked any tickets at all so we could’ve just ridden for free like everyone else. This makes Corey so mad thinking of the hundreds of dollars we could’ve saved throughout the different cities by not buying train/tram/tube tickets like so many other people.
+ At the airport, we got our boarding passes and then ate some breakfast snacks before getting on the plane for our 2 hour flight to London. During the flight, we watched a couple episodes of Ballers and then Liz slept while Corey started watching the movie “In the Shallows”.
+ A whole 25 minutes ahead of schedule the plane landed and we caught the underground tube to the hotel we’d be staying in. This was again paid for with credit card points. They have saved us so much money on this trip!
+ We didn’t think we’d be able to check into the hotel (Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow) since it was only about 9:30 am, but to our surprise they had a room ready for us! So we unloaded all our stuff and then spent an hour or two looking up house sits in the UK and applying on the Trusted House Sitters website.
+ Eventually our sleepiness took over and we took a nice long nap in our quiet room, alone for the first time since the last visit to London!
+ When we awoke, we spent some more time doing some necessary stuff online and then settled down to watch an episode or two of the show Stranger Things. Turns out those 2 episodes turned into 8 as we binge-watched the entire first season!
+ By the time it finished it was pretty late and we both discussed the show until we passed out.
Lounged around in the Hotel, Got shots at Clinic
+ We slept in a good bit for the first time in a while with no alarms or social obligations to wake us up. Then after lounging around the hotel taking care of emails and editing our YouTube videos, we needed to head a bit into the city.
+ Since we’d gotten our initial travel shots back in Florida in November, we needed some extra Hep A boosters to ensure the vaccine lasted 10 whole years instead of just one year. So Liz found a health clinic online and we headed there for our shots.
+ After coughing up more than our daily budget just for the vaccine, we went looking for a coffee shop to use the Internet for some work. While there we took care of some credit card stuff and secured a house sit in the Sevenoaks area (south suburb of Loundon) for the 30th- 3rd watching over a cute little cat.
+ For dinner, we went to a place that looked good online with solid reviews, but ended up disappointed with it’s Wal-Mart quality hamburgers. So to get a better taste in our mouths on the walk home, we popped into a Burger King and each got a delicious ice cream concoction for a dollar.
+ Before going to sleep at the hotel, we watched a few things on the tablet before bed.
Change to different hotel in Croydon.
+ Today we were checking out of our airport hotel and moving to a different hotel father east in the city that cost less credit card points per night. Getting to the hotel proved to be a long adventure with multiple bus, tube, and train transfers along the way.
+ During the journey, we stopped at a Pizza Hut buffet for all you can eat pizza because Corey is a pizza addict. Duh.
+ With the heavy packs feeling a little bit tighter, we hiked back to the train station and finished the transfer to the new hotel which was located over in the Croydon area (southern part of London). While the room was a bit smaller, it had a much better view of London from our 10th floor location and the hotel itself had a ton of restaurants and shops within easy walking distance (which is why we’d chosen it). (The airport hotel was quite isolated and did not have any good budget options for food.)
+ The rest of the day was pretty lazy as we applied for some more house sits and also looked at some more 1-way campervan rentals, this time from Italy to London.
+ We also hung out and watched shows and movies on the tablet. We watched the rest of Season 2 of Ballers and also the movies The Legend of Tarzan and The Do-Over.
+ These relaxing days were just what we were looking for!
Rest and Planning
+ Since we hadn’t heard back from either Spaceship Campervan Rentals yet or the Brighton housesit we had applied for, we weren’t able to figure out our future plans. So besides doing a little bit of smaller work and organization, we mostly hung out and watched shows and movies on the tablet.
+ We watched episodes of The Last Man on Earth, The Shallows, Jason Bourne, a few episodes of John Oliver Tonight, and lots of clips of Triumph Insult Comic Dog: Election 2016 Special.
+ For dinner we tried to eat at a local burger joint, but they weren’t serving food so we grabbed some McDonalds to go and ate it back in the hotel room while watching some of those shows.
Day in London with Jeremy and Carey, Imperial War Museum, Covent Garden, British Pub
+ While eating breakfast downstairs, we got in touch with Jeremy, a friend from back home who had contacted us that he happened to be in London with his wife! We excitedly organized meet up plans for later this afternoon.
+ Around half an hour later, we set off from the hotel in the dreary London weather towards the London Bridge/Central London area.
+ We met up with Jeremy and his wife Carey outside of Big Ben and Westminister Abbey and hung around there for a while talking and catching up on what had been going on for the past 9 months!
+ Then we set off for the British Imperial War Museum, which was focused on the Winston Churchill War Rooms and his role in leading Great Britain through World War II. While not the most interesting museum we’ve ever been to, it did offer an over whelming amount of information which meant hours and hours of reading. Our group of 4 slowly made our way through the museum and around 3 and a half hours later we emerged into the sunlight from the underground bunker.
+ Since we were all a little famished so Liz and I took them to one of our favorite UK restaurants- Nandos. As we sat there eating the spicy chicken and slurping down soda (they even offer the illusive refill here!), we continued to talk about our travels and their business back home. After way too many refills and fulfilling our “Fat American” stereotype, we left to walk around the city some more.
+ We came to an area called Covent Garden and there was a street performer getting volunteers from the crowd. We steered clear since we’d seen a countless number of these before, but Jeremy and Carey were entertained so they stayed to watch. Jeremy even ended up being one of the main volunteers in the show and the guy juggled a double edged sword right over Jeremy while he lay on the ground!
+ From there, we ambled along through all the little shops and boutique stores in Covent Garden and then we led them towards the SoHo area of London. This area was very similar to I-Drive in Orlando or even Times Square in New York, and very very touristy.
+ We eventually made our way a little outside of the craziness and found a pub that looked like a good place to grab a few British pints and we spent some time there. Jeremy showed Corey a card trick where you could “read other peoples minds” and we fooled Liz and Carey a few tmes until we finally broke the sacred magician rule and revealed our secret!
+ With it being almost 11 o’clock already, we all needed to head back to our hotels so after saying goodbye in the metro stations, we went our separate ways and retreated to our comfy beds. Like always, we always love seeing familiar faces from home!
Travel to Sevenoaks for Housesit with Maisie
+ Somehow our time in this hotel had also come to an end and we needed to pack up and head towards our housesit in Sevenoaks- just a little Southeast of London. Although it only looked about 10 miles east of where we currently were in the hotel, the public transportation required us to go back up into London and then down again to get there.
+ Since we weren’t experts on all the London transportation rules, we used our Oyster Cards, thinking they would get us there since they’d worked for the trains just the day before (and in previous experiences). However after we finally made it to Sevenoaks about 90 minutes later, the cards wouldn’t let us out of the station and we had to speak with the ticket people. There, the lady was very unapologetic and told us the cards wouldn’t work and we needed to retroactively buy a train ticket which would cost 12 pounds each. In addition, we’d be charged the max amount on our Oyster cards since we had swiped them in but not out, which meant the system would automatically charge the max amount (we had only 6 pounds each on our cards so hopefully only that much). So now we’d be charged twice, around 50 dollars total, just to go a total of 10 miles east. Ridiculous! This put us in a very sour mood and honestly made us fed up with London public transport for good.
+ When we’d forked over half of our daily budget, we then had a 15 minute walk to the house we’d be sitting at. The house was huge and really well decorated inside and the little cat Maisie was really cute and friendly! This was our first housesit where we did not meet the owner beforehand. Not even a skype call or anything! We communicated a bit before our stay and sent updates over WhatsApp but never actually met Sarah, Maisie’s owner, as we also left before she arrived home.
+ We got settled in and relaxed for a little bit in the living room before heading out to the grocery store to get supplies for the next 3-4 days. Only a 15 minute walk away was a giant Tesco Supermarket and we got a few delicious meals to cook and some new British Beers to try.
+ Back at the house, we had dinner and then watched the movie Braveheart on the couch. Liz had never seen it and it had been on our watch list since we toured through Scotland. After that, Liz went to bed but Corey stayed up for a little while reading sports articles in preparation for the FSU game tomorrow!