Goodbye, Hadet, SLáN agat, Adios, Au Revoir, Farvel, Auf Wiedersehen, Við Sjáumst, Hwyl, Feumaidh Mi Ruith

That is goodbye in English, Norwegian  Irish, Spanish, French, Danish, German, Icelandic, Welsh and Scottish.  I’ll end this trip with a few thoughts a little later but first my last full day in London and the long, long trip home.

Monday was a beautiful day, to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral and visit the Royal Academy to see an exhibit of Dennis Hopper’s photography.

The first stop was the Royal Museum.  I had heard that Dennis Hopper was a profilic photographer but I had never seen any of his works and, as far as I know never exhibited them during his lifetime.  After his death in 2010 the Los Angeles County Museum mounted an exhibit of his photographs.  I’m not sure if this was the exact same exhibit but it contained 400 of his photographs.  I learned that Dennis Hopper was not only a fine actor, director, but also a successful, sculptor and painter as well a photographer.  He was a civil rights activist, and based on the photographs of Martin Luther King and some other famous and not so famous people he was right there in the heart of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama back in 1965.  The photographs also included portraits of famous and not so famous people.  What I really could not understand was that he took thousands of photographs from 1961 to 1967 and never touched a camera after that.

Here are some quotes that I found interesting.  “The Human Be-In happened in Golden State Park in San Francisco and was one of the first crazy 60’s happenings and everyone was there-Allan Ginsburg and Timothy Leary spoke, the Grateful Dead played.  And I remember walking around taking photos, just blown away by the number of people who showed up. It was all pretty idyllic.  We were all going to take LSD, hold hands and find God….”

“I was involved in the hippie movement and the free speech movement.  I was never a biker even though bikes were a symbol of freedom to me.  Bikers were the modern cowboys, which was something I knew about because I come from a farm and because I was in a lot of westerns for film and television…so that was part of my sensibility, traveling, sitting around a camp fire and then saddling up and riding on.  I was a hippie.”

Finally, there is this quote.  “I am an Abstract Expressionist and an Action Painter by nature, and a Duchampian finger pointer by choice.  As Duchamp said ‘The artist of the future will mearly point his finger and say it’s art - and it will be art.”  Dennis Hopper was cool.

Next it was off to St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Another monster sized cathedral and second only to St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.  There is no way to get a picture that would actually capture the size of this place.  It is not my favorite building architecturally but I did pay the 15 pounds even though photographs were forbidden in the cathedral.  However, photographs were allowed outside, on top of the dome.  There are pictures from the dome as well as some exterior shots of the cathedral in the London Part Two photo album.

Tuesday, September 16, (Has it been six days already since I left London?) I got up at 6:00 AM London time, (1:00 AM EDT) because I wanted to finish packing, shower, eat breakfast, and be out of the apartment by 9:00 AM.  It was an hour's ride by tube and airport train to Gatwick Airport.  I decided that I wanted to allow three hours to check in, get through security, exchange all the Kroner, Euros, and Pound Sterling I had accumulated over the last 91 days and get something to eat.  At the check in line I managed to get behind a couple with an infant, a small pet (I was unable to ascertain whether it was a cat or dog) and, what looked to be, at least 300 pounds of luggage.  Just before they got to the front of the line some official person said they could not check all of that baggage at the check in counter and told them to follow him.  I guess they eventually got all of their luggage checked because I saw them get on the plane minus the pet but with the infant.

At 1:00 PM London Time (8:00 AM EDT) Our two hour and thirty minute flight to Iceland left on time and arrived on time and after a two hour layover, we boarded our plane for JFK airport and had another uneventful flight that arrived six hours later at 7:00 PM EDT (midnight London time).  Going through US immigration and customs was quick and easy.  My partner Jim met me at the airport and we got home at about 11:30 PM EDT (4:30 AM London Time).  I think I got to bed at 12:30 AM EDT (5:30 AM London Time). At about 3:30 AM I woke up and was not able to go back to sleep.  Clearly my biological clock had kicked in.  I got up and read till the sun came up.

Later that morning I went to my BMW dealer and retrieved my new BMW and drove it home.

So before I close here are some statistics.

Miles traveled - 15,416 miles including 7,483 air miles

Countries visited - Iceland, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, England, Ireland, Scotland

Cities visited - Reykjavik, Iceland, Oslo, Norway, Sandefjord, Norway, Copenhagen, Denmark,Paris, France, Mt. St. Michel, France, St. Malo, France, Chanel Island of Jersey, England, Munich, Germany Barcelona, Spain, Seville, Spain, Cordoba, Spain, Granada, Spain, Toledo, Spain, Segovia, Spain, Balbo, Spain, Mieses, Spain, Potes, Spain, Hendaya, France, London, England, Salisbury, England, Fishguard, Wales, Wexford, Ireland, Cork, Ireland, Dingle, Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, Arrochar, Scotland, Fort William, Scotland, Dundee, Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, Durham, England, York, England and Cambridge England.

Number of places I stayed - 35 (this includes 4 nights with friends)

Number of times I packed and unpacked -74 (including packing for the trip and unpacking after the trip)

Number of times I hand washed under ware and socks - 79

Number of trips by rail - 28

Number of trips by ferry - 3

Number of trips by bus - 4

Number of trips by automobile - 2

Cities I rode the subway - Paris, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Munich

Number of photographs taken - 4,922 (including both my Nikon D7100 and iPhone 5s)

Number of countries I visited for the first time - 3

Number of cities I visited for the first time - 22

Languages I encountered - English, Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish, French, German, Spanish, Welch, Irish, Gaelic

Number of meals I consumed at a restaurant - 170

Number of items I lost - 1, my camera harness which made carrying my camera easier because my neck wasn’t supporting the DSLR.  I left it in the trunk of a taxi after I got off the Jacobite steam train in Fort William, Scotland.  By the time I realized i left it in the trunk of the taxi it was too late.  I didn’t have a phone number of the taxi company or a taxi number. 

Total cost of the trip - I haven’t calculated that yet and I’m not sure I will because I’m not sure I want to know the exact figure.  The trip is over, the bills are all paid and its time to move on.  Hoverer, I would estimate the cost to be approximately $20,000.00 including airfare, Eurail pass, hotels, food, rail and ferry transportation in the United Kingdom, subway, bus and taxi fares, rental cars, fuel, theatre, concert and film tickets, shopping, museum and church entrance fees, foreign transaction fees and supplemental fees when using a credit card (The hotels and banks get you coming and going).

Was the trip worth the time, some of the hassles, and the costs?  In one word, ABSOLUTELY!!!

What would I do different next time?  The main change I would make is not go to as many different places and spend more time in the places I do visit.

What was the one thing I should have done?  I really wish I would have asked at the time I made a rail reservation what the cost of each train trip would have cost without the Eurail pass in those countries that accept the Eurail pass.  I’m not sure that the Eurail pass was worth the cost on this trip, but I’m not sure.  Maybe next time there will be an app for that.

Was having a smart phone helpful?  Absolutely! There was free wifi at almost all restaurants, trains and even public buses.  There are a lot of helpful apps that I was able to use without being connected.  I did not have to carry my heavy DSLR at night because, my iPhone 5s took great pictures (it actually takes better night shots than my DSLR because the aperture in my DSLR is 3.5 while the aperture in my iPhone 5S is 2.8).  I also think you’ll agree that the videos may have looked amateurish but the HD video quality was excellent.)

How about the iPad?  Again, absolutely.  My iPad mini carried all of my tour guides, it allowed me to read the New York Times, and the New Yorker magazine even off line.  All I had to do was download the NYT’s each morning and the New Yorker each Monday.  I also read two books and transferred some of the photos and videos I took with my iPhone to my iPad which made them nicer to look at.

At this point I can’t think of anything else to tell you.  If you have any specific questions please don’t hesitate to email me and ask.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Please click the link below for a final thought. © Louis M. Skypala 2014