|Friday, September 16 - Monte Carlo, Monaco
Today we sadly leave the ship and head off to London. After a late night of frantic packing and three hours of sleep, a final breakfast on the ships Veranda and many good byes to folks we had met, we are escorted to our luxurious Mercedes and driver for our trip to the Nice airport.
An uneventful, quick flight to London (1 ½ hours) we ease through immigration and customs areas of the airport and find our driver waiting outside customs, who gets us safely to our hotel - Dukes.
After we get settled in, we wander out to explore the streets of London. To our amazement, there are so many people and they are moving at the speed of light. Rick and I are doubting if we made the right decision to stop here. It’s Friday night and the weather is warm so as we learned, this brings people out to have a “pint” after work. We noticed all these pubs with groups of people standing outside on the street appearing to be waiting for something, but as it turns out, they are drinking and conversing. We thought it was very curious, but found out it was normal. We managed to find one of these pubs that wasn’t quite to crowded and went in to find a table and order a glass of wine and a gin and tonic. Upon further inspection, I noticed ledges built into the outside window sills that are used to place your pint on whilst chatting with friends on warm English evenings.
After our Pub experience, we walked the streets around Piccadilly and looked at the menus of some restaurants and decided to try Wilton’s. Unbeknownst to us, Wilton's is a rather posh old very traditional London establishment, founded in 1742. When we walked in, the maitre d asked if we had reservations, I told him we were hungry tourists new to London and were looking for Lobster Thermidor which was on their menu and one of their specialties. The proper gentleman at the door explained to us that reservations were necessary and that gentlemen are required to wear a jacket, however, he would make an exception. He asked if we minded sitting in a corner where we would not be too visible, we didn’t mind at all as it was away from the other crowds of people. The food was wonderful and the staff was very attentive. I had the Dover sole grilled and Rick got his Lobster, we shared a bottle of French wine. It was a fabulous experience for our first night in London.
I was exhausted and could hardly walk back to the hotel and get into bed . . . .