I've been dying to visit England since I was 10 years old and fell in love with the Beatles. Although my family lived in Germany from the time I was 10 till I was 14, and we did a good bit of traveling around, we never made it to the UK. I can remember begging (well, we weren't really allowed to beg, but definitely asking) my dad if we could please, please, please go to England, but we never managed to go. SO imagine my excitement that our ship was stopping in Southampton and we could take a shuttle to London. I even booked the excursion way in advance while we were still at home in Alaska because I didn't want it to sell out.
It was supposed to be a two and a half hour bus ride to London, and when we got our passes I asked how long we would be in the city. I was told "till 7 PM." We were leaving at 10 AM so I was thinking, "okay, that's a decent day of sightseeing." We had signed up for the shuttle only and "London on our own." Our Danish friend Palle was also on the bus so we were going to hang out with him for the day.
I wish I had a picture of it, but the bus had a bathroom down some steps and into the side wall of the vehicle. It was really small and hard to maneuver in and out--quite the little experience for me!
As it turned out, we were going to London the day after the national elections. And it was also the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Once we got to London, the traffic was pretty bad and some of the streets were blocked off due to all of the people and the press everywhere. Our driver announced that he could not drop us off where he usually dropped visiting tourists because of the street blockades. He had to drive around for another 20 or 30 minutes to find a spot to let us out. Unfortunately, that was then about a 30 minute walk back to the major sights we wanted to see. The kicker was that he said, "Okay, everyone be back at the bus at 4 PM." I thought we had till 7 PM! Oh, no, come to find out, we would be back at the SHIP at 7 PM. Seriously, by now it was almost 1 PM. I was SO upset about this! Usually I am a pretty slow walker because I have short legs but let me tell you, I took off on a fast clip. Rich said he'd never seen me walk so fast. I said, "We don't have any time to waste!" Honestly, I was such a whiny griping mess that day. I just could not let it go that one of the places I'd been so looking forward to seeing was going to be cut really short.
We basically just had time to walk past the London Eye, the Thames, Big Ben, Buckingham, Trafalgar Square, some statues and fountains, up and down some streets, stop for some fish and chips, and head back to the bus. We had been collecting magnets for our fridge everywhere we went and didn't even get one in London. :)