|With the high cost of driving in London, most of the cars we see other than taxis are high end vehicles, such as this Lamborghini, Bentley, Ferrari, and Maserati.|
We don’t dread doing laundry, not the waiting on the uncomfortable chairs, nor watching the sudsy wash go round and round in the front loading washers, nor the 90 minutes we spend doing nothing.
|There’s row after row of ornate white apartments in South Kensington.|
We people watch, chat and discuss when the wash will be done with Tom keeping tabs on me to keep me from opening the dryer until the cycle is done. I’m impatient, worrying that his few shirts will be wrinkled. All of my clothing is wash and wear.
|A church we spotted on the walk to the laundry.|
Tom hauls the heavy wheeled duffel bag both ways preferring to carry it when the wheels are wobbly on uneven pavement. In London, its a two mile round trip. We ran into a guy we met at our hotel also doing his laundry. What a coincidence. We chatted with him while we waited. The time went quickly.
|We had no trouble finding the distant Laundromat, Bobo’s Bubbles.|
On the return walk, we stopped at every restaurant along the walk reading their outdoor menu, hoping to find a great restaurant suitable for both of us. Many were Moroccan, Middle Eastern or Indian restaurants, none of which Tom will eat. Some were Asian with dishes made with batter fried meats and flour laden sauces, unsuitable for me. We asked at a few of the Asian restaurants if they could stir fry or steam a few dishes for me without sauce. Their response was a firm “no.”
|The two loads of washing and drying, not including soap, was US $28, 17 pounds.|
Tourists seem more interested in ethnic dining and London, a city which may have formerly been filled with pubs is less so now instead appealing to the desires of the general tourist population.
|The boulevard outside the Laundromat.|
Often Italian restaurants work well for both of us. I can always order a dinner salad with chicken, seafood or grilled beef with lots of vegetables. Last night, we returned to Bella Italia to see if they had avocado on hand for the chicken avocado salad. They did. Tom had the pork ribs platter. The food was good, not great.
|The Royal British Society of Sculptors.|
Each day, we have the challenge of figuring out where to dine. The restaurants that work for me are all non-fast-food types which are more expensive at around than US $30, 18 pounds per entrée.
|On a walk on Saturday, we stumbled across a Farmer’s Market open from 9 am to 2 pm on weekends. The smells were amazing.|
Fortunately, we’ve been able to stay within the budget for the 77 days without be able to cook, 26 days of which we’ll be on two cruises with meals included. Dining out has never been a novelty to us. In our old lives, we seldom dined in restaurants, as little as two or three times a year.
|If we could’ve cooked our meals in London, we’d have purchased some of the items for sale at this Farmers Market.|
Prior to undertaking this strict way of eating, I was always watching my weight making dining out less interesting. Now that its been three years since the onset of this strict regime, I’ve found it challenging at times to figure out how to get enough food to prevent me from losing weight.
|The produce looked too perfect to be organic.|
Basically, with this low carb, grain, starch and sugar free diet, I can eat as much as I need to feel satisfied, never gaining an ounce. Munching on raw nuts (when available) after dinner has helped maintain my weight with relative ease when seldom getting enough to eat in a restaurant.
|It was around 1 pm when we arrived. We wondered if these chickens been sitting outside for the prior four hours.|
Its easy to see how dining out is not always easy for us especially with Tom’s picky taste buds thrown into the mix. However, we’re grateful that I’m healthy now, able to travel, that we consider the challenge a part of our travels that we attack with enthusiasm and determination. Neither of us ever complains to the other about the challenges taking all of it in stride.
|It wasn’t crowded at the outdoor market.|
In 53 days (or 42 days if we decide to cook during the 11 days on Oahu where we’ll have a kitchen) we’ll be able to cook again, do our laundry without hiking to a Laundromat and spending each day discovering and sharing the wonders of living on four different islands in Hawaii: Oahu, Maui, Big Island and Kauai.
|Vegetables and herbs. Those tomatoes on the right were the same variety we’d often purchased in Italy.|
As for WiFi, here we go again, one week away from the first of two upcoming cruises with their pricey, slow Internet. A few days ago, we placed an order from XCOM Global and much to our surprised it arrived yesterday here at the hotel. We’ll be able to use the device when we’re close to land on the ship reducing our overall WiFi costs.
|These baked goods looked good!|
Each time we’ve booked a cruise we’ve budgeted for WiFi expenses including the cost of the device. At this point, we have five future cruises booked; two upcoming soon, one in 2015 and two in 2016.
|Fruit, vegetables and bottled drinks.|
When we’re out to sea, we’ll use the ship’s wifi. Overall, with the combined cost of XCOM Global’s Mifi and the ship’s WiFi, we’ll be able to save between US $200 to $300, 121 pounds to 181 pounds, after the shipping costs.
|The larger bread was prices at US $8.12, 4.90 pounds.|
We’ll post the total costs for the cruise, including the combined WiFi fees at the end of each cruise also including extra fees for events and alcoholic drinks for Tom (averaging at US $10, 6 pounds, each). I always drink complimentary sugar free ice tea or our own ice tea.
|Beef from the farm.|
We don’t gamble in the casino, book spa treatments or buy “stuff” aboard the ship. The total bill at the end of each cruise consists only of tours, WiFi charges and cocktails. In most cases, its approximately US $1000, 603 pounds.
|Small roses for US $34, 20 pounds for three dozen or is that for three???|
After numerous calculations we felt comfortable that ordering the MiFi was a worthwhile expenditure. A week from today, we’ll fire up the device, returning it back to the US on October 6th, the day after we arrive in Oahu, Hawaii.
|It was good to see that the fish was on ice.|
Once we board the ship next Sunday, we won’t be able view any videos or large files. Tom won’t listen to his radio shows nor will we upload videos from Graboid. However, while on the ship every evening will be filled with socializing and watching live performance shows if we choose, leaving us no interest or time to watch our favorite shows.
|The restaurant where we dined last night, Bella Italia, rated in the top 10% in TripAdvisor.|
With the potential of a volcanic eruption in Iceland, at this point, we have no information if this will affect our scheduled 36 hours in Iceland on September 7th and 8th during which we’ve booked a nighttime tour to see the Northern Lights.
If the cruise continues on to Iceland and any eruptions have occurred between now and the scheduled arrival date, the tour may be cancelled due to poor visibility. (This also could happen if it rained or if the sky was cloudy on the night of the tour).
|Tom’s platter of ribs, fries, corn and three onion rings at US $29.75, 17.95 pounds.|
If the ship doesn’t go on to Iceland, typically, the cruise line will choose an alternative port of call suitable for the itinerary. We may not know more until boarding the ship or several days later.
|My chicken and avocado salad, one of a few items on the menu that work for me, priced at US $18.15, 10.95 pounds. Many restaurants include a standard service fee although this restaurant does not. We paid a good tip for great service.|
When we sailed in the eastern Mediterranean in June 2013, we were scheduled to dock in Athens, Greece for a day. With the then strife in Athens, the captain decided to avoid Athens entirely, instead docking in the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, an exquisite location we loved.
|Advertising on the side of a truck. Very British. Shown in the reflection is Tom and the rolling duffel bag filled with our laundry.|
Although we’ll be disappointed if we’re unable to see the Northern Lights, we may sometime in the future. With all the exciting plans ahead of us, we don’t worry or concern ourselves with these types of “blips on the radar.” As long as we and others are safe from harm, we’re content.
Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2013:
|Finally, the Internet was back up. This is a view from the veranda of the 300 year old stone house in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy where we lived for two and a half months last summer. At this point we were a week from leaving for Kenya. For details from that date, please click here.|