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Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,476 posts
16 reviews
Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

I'm starting an ongoing trip report for my current trip to London and Sussex. I've been to London several times before both solo and with my daughter over the last 10 years or so, I guess this is probably around my 11th trip, so I won't be doing all the normal first time things. I have theatre booked every night for the London part, so it may become less ongoing at that point in the trip...

This particular trip started because I wanted to see the Anglo Saxon exhibit at the British Library. On one of my earlier trips, I visited the National Archives in Kew, where they display a facsimile of the Domesday book. They only display the real one every 4 (?) years or so (not sure of the exact number) for conservation reasons. I was checking to see if they were displaying it anytime soon, and discovered it would be on display at the British library. That seemed like a good reason for a visit to London to me...

Sussex came into the trip because I was looking for other things to do related to Anglo Saxon history, and a lot of the suggestions were in Sussex.

I'll post each day as a separate reply.

69 replies to this topic
Illinois
Level Contributor
19,476 posts
16 reviews
1. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

So this trip was actually supposed to start on 11 Oct, but my daughter contrived to cut her digital nerve in her hand and saw the hand surgeon on the 10th. He promptly scheduled her for surgery on the 11th, so I couldn’t really leave. Fortunately, I had booked my flight with miles, and those flights are easier to change than ones booked with money (at least on American). My elderly dog has been sick too, and he has been having to be lifted to get up from his bed/the floor, which my mother can’t do due to her own health problems. (I realized at this point that an illness in a dog is not likely to be covered by travel insurance…)

I moved the flight to the 14th, which saved me a few cents in cash but cost 35,000 extra miles since there weren’t any more saver award tickets available. The earliest I could have gotten a saver ticket was the 24th, which would have been rather pointless, as I return home on the 25th. Fortunately, I have a bunch of miles. Out of curiosity, I priced a trip with money and it was $3000 round trip (in economy!) I think it was around $1200 when I booked the award flight. I didn’t price one way tickets though.

Daughter’s surgery went well, and after a couple of days at home recovering/learning to function with one hand (she has a big splint/cast on the injured one), she was able to head back to university and I was able to come to London. (The dog is doing better too, and we were able to find someone to watch him who can lift him when needed.)

Inconveniently, that meant I missed the Rye part of my trip, which originally involved flying to London, spending one night, taking the train to Rye, and staying there for 3 days. During that time, I was going to go to the Battle of Hastings reenactment and the bonfire night celebrations in Hastings. Plus visiting Rye, possibly Winchelsea, possibly Bodiam Castle, and possibly the St Thomas a Becket church on (in?) Romney Marsh. Daughter, however, says it’s fine that I missed that part because she wants to go to Rye anyway.

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,476 posts
16 reviews
2. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

I'll add my warning here, that my trip reports are generally long. So if you don't want to read a lot, you may want to stop now...

Usually I put that warning in the intro paragraph, but I forgot.

Gard, France
Destination Expert
for Avignon
Level Contributor
16,034 posts
150 reviews
3. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Oh good, one of your TRs coming up; a comfy chair needed for this.

Sorry to hear about your daughter’s injury, pleased to hear she’s coping OK. A pity you had to change your booking.

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,476 posts
16 reviews
4. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Yes, I was disappointed to miss Rye. It wasn't major surgery, but it was general anesthesia and you never know what will happen.

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,476 posts
16 reviews
5. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Day 1 – 14 Oct 2018

I guess this doesn’t really count as a day, since I spent pretty much all of it on a plane. I took the day flight from Chicago, which meant I was up at 3AM to catch my connecting flight. The flight went well though, and arrived early at Heathrow. I did lose my window extra legroom seat, but at the last minute (about 18 hours before the flight) an aisle extra legroom seat became available. Before that there were only middles. It turned out that a bunch of rows had empty middle seats, but not mine. (Naturally…)

We were supposed to arrive at 22:44 (I think) and we touched down at 22:18. There were only about 5 people in line in front of me at immigration, and it only took me about 5-10 min to get through. I don’t think there are very many flights landing then, as it’s usually pretty quick to get through. “What’s in Sussex?” asked the immigration officer. Of course my mind went blank, but I did come up with Chichester Cathedral, which seemed to be sufficient, since he let me in.

I reached the tube station just in time to catch at train at 22:45, so I think there were even 2 later trains I could have gotten, since I was going to Victoria (thus needing one that would connect to the District line, which stops running earlier than the Piccadilly line). I ended up with no seat, although there were some farther down the car, but I didn’t want to drag my luggage through, so I just stood. About halfway to London, the side of the train (over the window where you can put luggage) started dripping water (I think) on me. Extremely dirty water, as in black. There are stains on my backpack now. I’ve never had this happen before, and I must have ridden the Piccadilly line to the airport in the rain before. Has anyone else seen this happen?

I thought they announced Hammersmith at Turnham Green, so I got off there. This is also a cross platform change to the District line, so that was ok. However, I had forgotten to check for engineering works, and it turned out there was no District line service between Hammersmith and Earl’s Court, so I had to get back on the Piccadilly line. The driver announced that you could change at Gloucester Rd, but when I look at the map, it doesn’t have the little green rectangle showing you can change there. I looked on the District line train too, and it doesn’t have the blue rectangle for changing to the Piccadilly line. Not sure why, but I ended up changing at S Kensington, which involved several flights of stairs. I think one down and 2 up. Fortunately, I travel light enough that I can carry my bags upstairs, although I prefer not to. (The 2 flights going up to the District line were tough – one flight is pretty easy.)

The journey planner also showed a change at Green Park to the Victoria line, but I checked the timetable and wasn’t sure I’d get to Green Park before the last Victoria line train. I could have gone to Hyde Park Corner and gotten a bus, but I didn’t want to wait for one in the rain. As it was, I made it to the Premier Inn Victoria a little after midnight. The machines wouldn’t let me check in. I think the payment part was broken, so I had to have a human check me in. I swear she said it was 158 GBP, and I was pretty sure my confirmation said 128 GBP, but I didn’t have the energy to deal with it. Fortunately, my receipt said 128, so all was well.

It wasn’t a long walk to the Premier Inn, but I was still wearing my crocs from the flight. These are excellent for flying as they never set off the metal detector at security, and they’re easy to take on and off for going to the toilets on the plane, but they’re horrible for walking around London in the pouring rain. I had packed regular shoes at the top of the suitcase so I could change, but they looked like they were wanting to close the tube station and I figured wet feet wouldn’t kill me, so I just walked in them.

As an aside, why do they turn the lights off in the plane on a day flight? I looked around me, and almost no one was sleeping. Everyone was reading, working on laptops, or watching movies.

My room at the PI was decent, although very small. It had a double (king?) bed, and not much room to walk around. It also had sort of a musty smell. Everything looked clean though, and it was only for one night, so it was ok. In fact, when I woke up in the morning, I didn’t notice the smell anymore. I don’t know if that means it was gone or I just got used to it. The windows at that PI don’t open, so there wasn’t a way to air out the room. It does have AC, but I didn’t bother with that and just went to bed.

Winchelsea, United...
Destination Expert
for West Sussex, East Sussex
Level Contributor
6,446 posts
15 reviews
6. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Sorry to hear that you couldn’t join us in the Rye Bay Area. Contrary to your earlier concerns about the wind and weather, Romney Marsh has been basking in warm sunshine over the time of your scheduled visit.

Hope your daughter is now ok.

Mike

Watford, United...
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
44,603 posts
54 reviews
7. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Sorry to read about your daughter, hope she has an easy recovery.

The carriage stock on the Piccadilly is ancient by tube standards and is one of the many complaints that the drivers have that has lead to this current round of industrial action on the line. Next strike, a 24 hour one from noon on November 7th.

London, United...
Level Contributor
712 posts
33 reviews
8. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Wow, and it's only day 1 of your holiday

Sorry to hear about your daughter and dog but glad your daughters recovering and you found someone able to look after your dog

Your travel so far sounds lined with hurdles which you seem to have overcome and taken in your stride (Well done) hopefully the rest of your holiday will be a lot smoother

Finland
Level Contributor
2,111 posts
117 reviews
9. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Love your long trip reports, yes please. 😊 Sorry to hear about your daughter (and the dog)! Hopefully she'll recover fast. (Mr. Ariel managed to cut a nerve in his hand too a few years ago. Quite alright now.)

Waiting to read more of your adventures!

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,476 posts
16 reviews
10. Re: Ongoing Solo Trip Report London and (half of) Sussex Oct2018

Figures the weather would be great when I wasn't there. ;-) It will probably be a hurricaine or something when I finally get to Rye!

The doctor seemed to think the nerve would be fine. He said everything went "perfect", but it takes a while for nerves to regrow, so she'll be in a splint/cast for 3 weeks and then need some therapy. Her main problem is that she's a student and her part time job involves mostly typing on a computer, and typing on a computer is hard to do when you can't use one hand.

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