London, UK

Thursday, May 2, 2013

D-Day has come and gone and I have survived the ‘shock’ of no longer having house keys, at least temporarily. I guess they will be replaced with car keys soon enough, but for now I am footloose and fancy-free. Although, by now, boarding The World is always a little bit like coming ‘home’.

So yes, Stephen and I did some serious packing last weekend and we got most of it done. All my clothes made it into boxes, except for the 4 bags I took on this part of my trip.

Excessive? Totally.

But necessary for my peace of mind for now; I don’t think I could’ve handled leaving with less. It is after all luggage for what I consider 4 different ‘sub’ trips: The World, The White Sea Expedition, Europe (and hopefully it will get warmer soon or I’ll have to hit the shops) and the Big One.

Naturally I won’t be taking the fancy stuff after this Europe leg of the trip. Some of it will stay on board The World, some at my mum’s in Belgium (will be nice to have those clothes when we get there in Sterlin some time August/September 2014) and some will be put in storage when we pass through San Francisco early July. Which should leave me with the appropriate stuff for winter in Australia and warm weather in SE Asia. We’ll deal with Vladivostok and Russia at a later date.

Sunday evening, April 28, I took my house keys off my key ring and handed them to Stephen, who will leave them in our loft when he leaves on May 27th.

Around noon on April 29 my flight left SFO for LHR where I arrived early morning the next day. A pre-booked minicab ride later (so no need to worry about being stuck in the morning commute) I boarded The World, docked at Greenwich Pier.

Old Royal Naval College Greenwich.

Apart from a quick hug as we briefly crossed paths on the pier, as I arrived and Alison left, I haven’t seen Alison yet; she’ll be back on board in Hamburg.

I always like spending a few days in London and it’s always first about the friends. My first evening here I went to dinner at Silvia and Wayne’s and stayed the night at their place; much easier than making the trek back from Balham late at night.

The next morning I took in the National Portrait Gallery (Man Ray exhibition), walked around Greenwich a bit, relaxed, before heading to Skylon Restaurant in The Royal Festival Hall for dinner with our good friend Pete. Today I went to Wagamama’s Canary Wharf for lunch and then walked back, via the Greenwich foot tunnel, to The World. Tonight I’m meeting up with Silvia again.

Greenwich foot tunnel.

Friday, May 3rd.

Spent a lovely evening with Silvia last night; started off for drinks in the Old Bank of England Pub and followed with dinner at Cote Restaurant Covent Garden.

Today I didn’t wake up until 7:30am (a vast improvement over the previous mornings), so jetlag is just about over. Caught up with friends Stephanie and Peter on board and then went for a walk up to the Royal Observatory here in Greenwich. And yes, I paid the money and queued up to do the ‘one foot in the East, one foot in the West’ thing :-). The photo below however is not of the Meridian Courtyard but of the line under the Meridian Laser.

Panorama shot from the Observatory. Yes, that is The World on the left.

Walking through Greenwich Town Centre I came across ‘Jamie Olivier in Greenwich’ where I bought a yummy salad for a late lunch. Also did some grocery shopping for the next few days on board.

And now I am just back from the mandatory safety briefing on board before The World sets sail on the Thames towards the channel and the North Sea en route to Hamburg. About 30 minutes after leaving we should pass through the Thames Barrier.And pass through The Thames Barrier we did…. just!