london's congestion fee
An amazingly viewful dinner at OXO Harvey Nicks was our welcome to London Tuesday night. The meal for media was in a restaurant high a tower on the south bank of the Thames with great city views of St. Paul's and the river traffic far below.
En route into the city from our Heathrow Marriott Hotel we learned about the inner city Congestion Zone, a plan that has kept central London more or less free from traffic snarls. Built long before cars came into existence its streets are narrow and parking if difficult to say the least.
An 8-pound fee (about $13) is assessed to motorists during working hours and it's enforced by remote cameras that record license plates. Those who don't pay are fined 80 pounds (about $100) So needless to say that encourages people to use public transportation, which includes the legendary tube or Underground — a subway system that works quite efficiently and goes everywhere. The per ride charge is about 4 pounds, but residents and those who use if more than once or twice can get a pass that costs significantly less.
This morning motorcoaches transported our group of writers 90 minutes to Southampton, a busy English Channel port city where Celebrity's Equinox was at anchor. We've spent the afternoon exploring the ship, and discovering its many beautiful and interesting spaces. We have a veranda, perfectly amazing shower and many intuitive touches A deck 5 espresso bar was heavensent for our jetlag.
We checked out the spa and huge exercise room. Since my guest Nancy and I know each other from the gym at Mentor-Heisley we've tried to keep up our workouts here, starting our morning with exercise at the Heathrow Marriott. Our footwear wasn't quite the thing during our visit to the ship's gym but here's Nancy on the eliptical. Perhaps our workouts on this two-day cruise will help cancel out all the food and wine.
Labels: cruise london