Saturday, 15 July 2017
15.07.2017 - 15.07.2017
Arrived in Dover at about 06:00 with overcast sky and a light haze making the famous White Cliffs barely distinguishable. Breakfast in the Buffet and we made our way to the Pacific Lounge to await our departure scheduled for about 08:00. It is a venue we've rarely visited as it isn't often for shows or movies. By way of entertainment we watched two of the crew bring in a grand piano and take out a faulty one. An amazing range of skill to be found on board.
Our departure is announced just after 08:00 and we check out for the last time. There's no congestion in the luggage collection area and an obliging porter takes all our luggage out to a taxi. The driver suggests that catching the bus from the Ferry Terminal will be more comfortable than at the in-town stop that we're booked for. We go along with his suggestion and appreciate the covered waiting area, conveniences and snack bar. Our coach is due at 10:20 and it is now just 08:30 so we have a long wait. The driver uses his phone to check if an earlier departure is available but he has no luck, suggested we try the booking office in the terminal.
We sit for an hour or so while an earlier bus passes through fully booked so we resign to a longer wait. To our surprise the taxi driver turns up expressing his concern that he may have given bad advice and offers to take us to the in-town bus stop at no expense. We thank him profusely and decide to remain where we are watching the traffic arriving and departing this busy ferry terminal. We are further entertained by a gentleman from Macedonia who neither spoke or understood much english but made his feelings known with gestures. He LOVES Australia, he doesn't like England but comes here to work. He has six kids and carries a small photo of each in his wallet.
The coach arrives at 10:25 and the three of us board, leaving about 30 or more seats vacant. Next stop Canterbury where about half the empty seats are occupied. On to Kent University and we fill the coach to capacity. A lady in the front seat and the driver discuss the virtues of this part of the UK. We are one seat back and eavesdrop the conversation. He lives in this area and is a keen student of the local history. We encounter some brief showers but the clear up as we approach London. On the way to the terminal he keeps up a commentary on some of the many landmarks and famous buildings. On arrival at Victoria Coach Station at 13:10 he digs out all the luggage and signals a porter to help us with ours. In no time we're escorted through this maze and arrive at the correct departure gate with our next departure due at 14:30 for the next leg to Heathrow.
Given the pleasant and helpful nature of the last driver it was a disappointment to be put through the third degree by an officious driver who enforced the rule that bus-cards must be shown. Jenny found hers, mine is buried in the luggage he's not amused. He then informs my that the carriage of the fifth item of luggage should be charged at 5 pounds. I'm quickly getting to dislike this guy, Out on the road he drives aggressively pushing his vehicle into the smallest of gaps and explaining that this is the only way to drive in London. This will be the fourth drive through London, the other three were much more tolerant and got through just as quickly. At the scene of a fender-bender he blocked both free lanes claiming he couldn't see sufficiently to pass the cars involved. After some loud horn blasts from other motorists and an exchange of threatening gesturers from him and some frustrated motorists he found he COULD manoeuvre his vehicle. He had made his point. We were happy to get off that coach at the Heathrow Central Bus Station.
Found a baggage cart and loaded our lot for the underground passage to the Terminal 2 Arrivals forecourt to connect with the Hoppas service to our hotel. We've visited this part of the complex previously and confidently found our shuttle coach to the Leonardo Hotel. We check in and sign up for the full breakfast option for Sunday and Monday. The room is superb and Internet is free and fast. Absolute bonus !!
We're a bit hungry and order a room service meal of steak and ale pie with vegetables and masked potato. Excellent meal and fully satisfied us. We haven't done much walking but are quite tired after the travel and managing the luggage.
A full day and two nights at the Leonardo and then we start our journey home.
Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony