Total expenses for 15 nights in London…Leaving tomorrow morning for long drive to cruise pier in Harwich….Cheerio, London…Hello world…

Its a beautiful area with most of the buildings well maintained in black and white.

Tomorrow morning at 10 am, the private shuttle we’d arranged long ago, picks us up from the hotel for the two and a half hour drive to Harwich, the cruise ship pier in England.  

Yesterday, we walked down this road toward Bobo’s Bubbles to do our final two loads of laundry. 

It’ll be wonderful to see the ocean once again after leaving Madeira a month ago.  While in both Paris and London we came to the decision that no matter how appealing big cities may be to many travelers, they are not for us.  We’re love the country, the bush, the ocean and anywhere far from the hustle and bustle of city life.

There are numerous old hotels in the Kensington area.

This gave us a new perspective in our travels, that we won’t want to spend a week or two in Sydney or any other big city in Australia or any other parts of the world.  We’re certain they are filled with much to see and do.  But, that life is not for us.  Plain and simple.

Many street lamps and building fronts are decorated with colorful flowers.

Occasionally, we spotted a brick building mixed among the white buildings.

We have three big cities ahead of us soon, one in Boston on September 14th for three nights; two in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 17th for six nights; and lastly, in Waikiki/Honolulu on October 5th, Hawaii for 11 nights.  Boston will be a breeze when we’re busy with family, Vancouver is a relatively short stay until we board the ship to Hawaii and Waikiki…well, it is Hawaii after all.

This was the shortest (height) car either of us has ever seen.  I can only imagine that getting out of it would require rolling out the door onto the street and then standing up. 

South Kensington consists of one pretty street after another, parking always at a premium.

Today, as I write here, I’ll be flipping back and forth to our comprehensive Excel workbook to finalize our expenses for the 15 nights in London.  As we share these expenses, one may assume these totals are realistic for any traveler to London, on a budget.

Tom’s haircut was only US $16.60, 10 pounds including the tip.  Not bad.

When we stopped at the market for a few items Tom decided on a haircut before the cruise.

We must admit that our total expenses may be misleading for the following reasons especially when dining out for all meals.  Here’s why:
1.  We only eat once a day due to our commitment to intermittent fasting for our health (two meals per day while on cruises).  A typical tourist dines in restaurants two to three meals each day, as we would have in years past.  Please take that into consideration when reviewing the totals. Also, we don’t order starters or desserts which I can’t have, and Tom doesn’t want, never liking the available options.
2.  Another factor in regard to restaurant dining:  Tom ordered one beer on four separate occasions.  Since I don’t drink alcohol I usually have tap water (when its safe to drink) such as in London and Paris.  By not adding cocktails and other beverages to our restaurant bill, we’re usually saving as much, if not more, than 40% on the bill. Tom rarely drinks alcohol when we’re dining in making this no sacrifice to him.  On the cruises, he’ll enjoy cocktails at the table during dinners (at an additional cost).
3.  No extra charges were added to  the hotel bill:  In the case at the Regency Hotel, Queen’s Gate, they’ve waived our entire WiFi bill upon my request this morning based on the daily issues getting online.  We don’t order room service, have spa treatments, order cocktails, coffee or tea.  We use the complimentary coffee and tea in the room. 
4.  We save money by walking as opposed to taking taxis when the distances are manageable, using public transportation when possible.
5.  Keeping the cost of sightseeing and tours expenses to the budgeted amount.
6.  We’re willing  to pay a little more for better hotels with at least a four star rating which are in good neighborhoods, such as in South Kensington.  The hotel becomes our “home” for a period of time with comfort and convenience most important to us.

The street corner where last night’s restaurant is located.

Here are our expenses for the 15 nights in London:

Hotel:              US $3,312.26, 1,995.40 pounds
Transportation:          455.29,    274.28
Tours:                       451.81,    272.18
Groceries:                 240.34,    144.79
Restaurants:              850.46,    512.34

Grand Total:     US $5,310.16, 3,198.99 pounds
Daily Rate:         US $354.01, 213.27 pounds

In London, there are no large trash bins for residents in which to place their garbage.  Instead, they put the bags on the sidewalk or street where they’re picked up a few times a week from what we’ve seen. 

In this particular case, we’re under budget by 7%.  Having a budget helps us to curtail spending.  Although, we frequently commented as to how expensive dining out is in London, the only reason our daily average was this low was due to the facts above; no beverages, no starters and no desserts.  

Last night, we tried a new restaurant, Wildwood several blocks from our hotel.

Wildwood had a comfortable ambiance but, the food and service was mediocre.

Without a doubt, once we’re on the two upcoming cruises, we’ll be having breakfast and Tom will order starters and desserts (few starters will work for me). After all, our meals with multiple courses are included in the cost of the cruises (the actual costs hidden from our view).  We’re free to dine as we so choose, (cocktails are extra), although we’ll only do so twice a day, breakfast and dinner. 

Tom order Beef Bolognaise which he said was good.

I ordered this chicken Caesar salad, minus crouton adding avocado.  The chicken was fatty, poorly trimmed and hard to cut.  Had it contained boneless, skinless chicken breasts this would have been a great salad.

Now that our laundry is done at US $33, 20 pounds, to wash and dry two loads, we’ll be packing our bags as soon as we’re done posting.  We’ve reconfirmed with our driver for tomorrow’s 10 am pickup.  Our hotel bill is completed.  Tonight we’ll dine at Byron, one last time (included tonight’s dinner in totals above).

This was the lowest dinner bill we had in London at US $32, 19.30 pounds, plus tip for a total US $35.36, 21.20 pounds

Sunday’s post with new and exciting photos will be available late in the day after we’re checked in and we’re situated on the cruise. 

And tomorrow, we’ll be on our way.  Once again.

Photo from one year ago today, August 30, 2013:

This pile contained all the clothing I owned one year ago.  Now, the pile is one half this size.
This photo was on the last few days we were in Italy preparing to depart on September 1, 2013 for Kenya.  For details from that date, please click here.

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