England Travel Stories, Page 2


Peter came to London. We walked towards Hyde Park from the Hostel. We passed Harrods Department store. We went in an looked around. Blah blah blah...

Not sure about the fuss. The building is nice on the outside. Not sure of the age, but took some photos and will send in next newsletter. Now I am wondering if Pete is Tourist? I get a real feeling of being a tourist when entering that store. Plus there was not any good looking young women in there.

Some older yes. Maybe rich. Oh well. I suppose I would stop in Macys in New York.

Just to see where they have the Parades?


I know it appears that I came to Europe or London to be a tourist. But my goal this time was more an effort to discover how to travel in Europe for 6-8 months. Europe is expensive and hectic. Not my favorite type of travel. The biggest problem for me is the need for reservations. This remove the spontaneity and the pure joy of adventure. It can become more of job then an adventure.

I have discovered some ideas to make my next trip easier.

1. Travelers congregate in London and sell their camper vans.

2. It is legal to camp in Sweden along side the road. It may be possible to do this in most of the Scandinavian countries.

3. Renting an apartment for a month works.

4. London is a great place to find a temporary job. Do not need a work visa and they will pay cash. (That is illegal.)

5. I can buy car insurance that covers almost all of Europe.

6. Germany may be a good place to buy a used vehicle.

7. I need to take into consideration loneliness more in Europe. It is more difficult to meet and share experiences. Especially if you are not willing to spend lots of money.

8. My Mother and Father dream of going to Europe.

9. I want to get here in very early spring before the rush and / or crazies arrive.

This listing of idea helps me to think though my trips. I will often make a list of things to do and then never look at the list again.


I woke up at 1:50 in the morning. Could not sleep, but actually I thought it was time to wake so went down stairs to the TV room and watched a movie. The movie was “Finding Forester.” An excellent movie and inspiring.

What am I do next? This part of my daily thoughts and the question becomes bigger and not smaller. I now after my Iraq trip realize that I can go anywhere I wish. A person is suppose to know that they have the freedom to travel and do as they wish. But this often is an evasive thought and hard to believe. I seem to fall into a channel and have trouble thinking about where I want to go, and just go to the places that I hear other travelers say is nice.

I try to understand myself, and what is of interest to me? This is not always simple. So I choose a country that seems interesting and then go there. Once I am in the country I experience or hear information that tempts me to visit. Then I go visit.

Yesterday I went on a walk to Hyde Park to catch a bus that would tour the city. This is the double decker type bus and would take me to the main attractions. It cost about 10 pounds for a day ticket says the manager or my Hostel. This is a very good value in a city where one metro ride cost 1.60 pounds.

So on the walk over to Hyde park to catch this bus, or try discover how to catch this bus my true desires surfaced. I was looking at all these building and take a few photos. I had this vision of a Charles Dickens book and old historic homes. So I change my plans and decided to walk. This would allow me to the ability to walk through or wander around in the local neighborhoods as I head for a major attraction. So I started walking toward Buckingham Palace and keeping my mind open to the idea of wandering in the local neighborhood. Now this sounds good, but it did not work. I never seem to leave the modern areas. But I had a fresh walk on an Fall day in London. I think I need to go farther into the outskirts of the city to find the more bedraggled parts of this metropolis.


China has successfully put a man in space. This is wonderful and it makes me think of China and what the future will bring. Current Events travel is starting to be on the top of my mind. History only occurs when it occurs so if you or I have the opportunity. Why not go and share in the moment.

Peter my friend from Iraq was going to go and watch the last landing of the Concorde as it came into Heathrow airport here in London, England. I hope he got his wish. Concorde was the first supersonic passenger plane. But as always a business is about making money and this plane has not competed.


Chris sent me and EXCELLENT link on adapters. I want everyone to know that most computer use both 220 and 110. Before you go crazy buying all these adapters. In all the countries I have entered they have hardware stores that sell the same adapters on the page. They are only selling the ones that are needed in the specific country. But if you wish to really get ahead of the game. Here is a link to help.

Subject: Electricity page

India adapters, same as British adapters.

- Chris


Walked to Hyde Park, made my way to Hyde Park corner. Crossed over toward Buckingham Palace. Found this statue as part of a larger monument to the Soldiers that helped in WW 2, then walked on to Buckingham Palace. Afterwards I walked over to Big Ben. Took some photos then across the street is a protestor against the war. I went over took some picture and said hello. He pointed that he was doing a silent protest. I said I was in Iraq and the people were happy. He then start to holler at me. So much for the silent protest. The next newsletter will have all the photos.

"...with the faith that all mankind would benefit from their sacrifice."

Buckingham Palace

china-marbles.info... was here X!


I have had various people feeling sorry for me because of long plane trip to India I will make soon. Geeez!. I do not know for sure how long the trip will be.

...But long is the bus trip between.

Santiago Chile to Punta Arenas, Chile.

From Rio Gallegos, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Rio de Janeiro Brazil to Maceo, Brazil.

All 3 trips were between 30-40 hours continuous on a bus. This plane is a walk in the park.

By the way. The Europe backpacking is for wimps... hehehe.

Oh yea. The train from Baghdad to Basra was hot. Not long.

Long starts for me after 30 hours of travel time.


I could maybe have this comment about Great Britain and not just England. But I would probably tell this wrong. This all started me thinking when I was in the TV room of the Hostel and someone asked,

"What is a Quid?"

Good question, and before the Brits get a chance to make fun at your expense.

They always say,

"You got to understand their humour." I disagree.

BUT... Here goes.

1 Pound = 1.66 USA dollars

As best I understand without driving myself crazy trying to research this is that you have various types of paper money. It starts with the 5 pound note and goes up. Under 5 and they give you coins. The have for sure coins of 1 - 2 Pounds, 50 - 20 - 10 - 5 - 2 - 1 Pence.

What this does is makes sure you have a lot coins in your pocket. Because you always have a few 1 pound coins in your pocket. I always look at 1 pound as being 1.50 US dollars. Easier to calculate in my mind the value.

So they could say,

“It cost 1 pound.” or 1 pound sterling,

Because it was once the one “Pound of Sterling.”

So if I buy something that cost 1.50 pound.

They could say,

“1 Pound and fifty P” (Pee)

or they could say “one Pound, fifty Pence.”

The conversion problem. Not really a problem in England. You do not need to convert. You are using pounds 100 percent of the time. So there is no conversion problem. Except if you bought pounds. Then it may help to know the conversion rates. I do not carry Travelers Checks or exchange money. Only when I have too much of the local money and leave the country. I have 2 debit cards or bank cards. The ATM or Automatic Tell Machine Cards. Traveler checks will cause you to have a big conversion problem. You will lose money on the conversions and you will loose money because it will cost you more because you have traveler checks. Get 2 debit cards. That is my advice. If you are afraid. Get 3.


The word that confused me is the word “Quid.”

It means pound. So 1 Quid is 1 pound. A person in England could talk about Sterling. This just mean in English money. Sterling is interchangeable for English money.

These terms are old and not really used. Farthing, shillings, and pennies, They use pounds and pence now.


My eyes are getting bad. I use glasses to read. The numbers on the coins are very small and difficult to see. This is a problem. I am slowly learning the differences by the size, shape, or color. But for the first week I would just hope up a hand full of change and say take the correct money. This works pretty good in England, because their basic value system is honest. Do NOT do this in 80 percent of the world. I normally will only give correct change to people in most countries because they will not give you the correct change back. Or they do not have change and thing I should just donate the balance.



“the basic monetary unit of Great Britain, divided (since 1971) decimally into 100 new pence. The term is derived from the fact that, about 775, silver coins known as “sterlings” were issued in the Saxon kingdoms, 240 of them being minted from a pound of silver, the weight of which was probably about equal to the later troy pound. Hence large payments came to be reckoned in “pounds of sterlings,” a phrase later shortened to “pounds sterling.” After the Norman Conquest the pound was divided for accounting purposes into 20 shillings and into 240 pennies, or pence. In medieval Latin documents the words libra, solidus, and denarius were used to denote the pound, shilling, and penny, which gave rise to the use of the symbols £, s., and d.

On Feb. 15, 1971, the pound sterling was officially decimalized into 100 new pence. The symbol £ was retained for the pound sterling; the letter p. was chosen for the new penny.”

NOTE: I collect converters and things like that on this page.


PLATYPUS CALLING... Reader and friend.

German from Bogota writes:


I also stayed there a few ( many ) years ago....loved

that place but I payed ashor visit in april/2003 and

was very much shocked with the prices !!! Aren´t you ?

Good luck with the indian visa...back to Asia !!! When

is South America having the honour of your visit ?

Some guy tried to rip me off at Victoria Station 20

years ago. He say he was a lorry driver and offered me

a lift all over the UK, we went to a pub for a beer,

he said he didn´t have any money and ask me to lend

him 20 pounds,luckily I didn´t have that much with me

otherwise I would have done. At the hostel somebody

told me it was happening a lot.

Have fun , amigo, and keep conquering the world ...it

is all yours !!!! Enjoy it !!!



Web page: http://www.platypusbogota.com


I think too much about Colombia and South America. But I will return. As for the cost in England. I have been listening to people complain about the cost of England for 7 years. No surprise. But Paris is still worse. But there are lots of jobs here. I have sat in the TV and people come in an ask if we want to work the next day. This is good. So I can always stop in London and pick up some work.

I hope you notice that I am still trying to send people to visit you German!

There are robbers everywhere. The bad part is people come here thinking it is safe. They are easy targets.

I now have the India Visa in my passport. 6 months multiple entry.

Rain is Not Good Weather for Travelers

I am worried. It was beautiful all day. Now it has started to rain.

I spent the whole day wrapping up business stuff. I got my Visa for India. I got a place ticket to leave Heathrow on Monday morning and arrive at 3:45 the next morning, Tuesday in Bombay. So the business is done. But my photos?

I only have Fridays, Saturday, and Sunday to take photos of London. What if the stories about England are true. Like the sun never shines and it is always cloudy. I have to admit. It has been very nice weather so far. Now it starts to rain.

I am a slow study. I have finally chosen a few places to visit and it rains. I am counting on one of the next three days as being nice. I am conservative. Three days and my odds are good. Lots of travelers visit a city or have a city on their agenda for one day. Now that is a big gamble in Europe. It does rain a lot in Europe. That is why I keep trying to plan to stay in places for a 10- 30 days. Guarantees I enjoy the place and have enough good weather to see the sights.

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