07/23/13
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Hat Hunt

Ivan, Lil Dave and I packed everything up.  Tomorrow, we would be leaving London.

We took the bus and then the train with Neal to King’s Cross.  It’s the platform where the 10 1/2 Harry Potter platform is.  I wanted to take a picture with the bags, but the line was too long.

Lil Dave went out to meet up with his friend Robert.

Ivan and I stored our luggage at baggage storage which was £9 per bag.  We all went to Leon for lunch.  I had a tasty chicken superfoods salad.

We walked to HintHunt which was nearby.

HintHunt logo

We met up with Ivan’s dad Ken.  We were going to play HintHunt which is a fun live escape game designed for groups of 3-5 people.  The lady told us about the room and that we had 60 minutes to try to solve a murder and try to get out of the room.  She would help us along the way if we got stuck by the tv screen in the room.

The room was the John Monroe room.  We had to try to solve his murder by looking for clues in his office.  The lady helped us out on the tv screen telling us to look for something or if we’re going in the wrong direction.  It was really warm inside the room.

It was fun searching for clues.  I’ve always liked mysteries.  You really have to search the room under desks and in books.  Sometimes you have to put in numbers to open something and we did find keys to open locks.  We found another room and then later a closet.

Words on the closet wall

I was taking pictures, but was told to erase them.  I kept two though.

We had a good time trying to solve the murder, but unfortunately we ran out of time.  We came really close though.  I recommend doing HintHunt.  It’s lots of fun and makes you work as a team.

We met up with Ivan’s mum Denise at Whole Foods.

Then, we walked to the Soho’s Secret Tea Room which is located upstairs in the pub Coach & Horses.  I love this cute place.

Tea and scones at Soho's Secret Tea Room

Ivan and I had tea with a tasty scone.

We walked to Covent Garden.  We wanted to go to Union Jacks for dinner, but unfortunately their basement room was only open on Saturdays.

Ivan, Neal, Ken and Denise and I walked to Bistro 1 for dinner.  Ivan and I shared falafel and hummus, grilled sardines, creamed spinach and salmon with cream sauce.  The food was good.  We said good-bye to Ken, Denise and Neal.

Ivan and I went to see the musical Top Hat.

Top Hat sign

Ivan thought that it should have had the big musical act with the whole cast like most musicals have.  It was a good musical, but not amazing.

We went back to Kings Cross to retrieve our bags and we met up with Lil Dave.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I took the train to Heathrow and then a taxi to our hotel. It was then time for bed.

07/18/13
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Aussie Tea

On July 18, 2013, Ivan, Lil Dave and I met up with The Aussies at Wetherspoons.  We talked and had a pint of cider.

Ivan, Jen, Gabbie & Tim

We walked to the bus station.  Tim and Gabbie were headed to Manchester today.  Their bus was delayed.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I said good-bye.  We were all very sad since we weren’t sure when we’d be able to see each other again.

We got the tube to Temple and tried for Top Hat concession tickets, but we didn’t have any luck.

It was time for lunch, so we walked to Union Jacks in Covent Garden.  Ivan and I got the Cornish mackerel, mussels in a vodka sauce and the delicious Woodman pizza.

Tasty food at Union Jacks

Lil Dave got banana fettuccine and a banana shake.

Lil Dave went to explore London with his friend Robert.

Ivan and I went to see the play Relatively Speaking.  It’s about a guy named Greg who likes a girl named Ginny.  She says she’s going to visit her parents.  Greg thinks it’s a good idea to go there uninvited to ask her father for her hand in marriage.

Greg goes to the address and he meets two people, but they aren’t actually Ginny’s parents.  The guy turns out to be Ginny’s older lover.  It was a very funny play.

Headed to the Soho’s Secret Tea Room for tea time.  It’s located inside the Coach & Horses pub.  You can make reservations, but we didn’t have one.  Ivan asked the bartender if there were any openings.  He called upstairs and told us we could head up.  We walked through the bar and up the stairs.

There’s a timer, so you know how long to steep your tea for.  Ivan and I had some tea with scones and jam in the cute tea room.

Jen & Ivan at the Secret Tea Room

After, Ivan went with me to Magma, Agent Provocateur and Ann Summers to look for bras.  I didn’t have any luck finding a good bra though.

We went to see Derren Brown’s show Infamous next.  It was a very entertaining show with lots of Derren’s amazing tricks.  I’m always baffled by what he does.

Ivan and I went to Spuntino for dinner.  We shared a prawn po’ boy, eggplant, fennel, feta and casareccia, egg and soldiers & a beetroot, walnut and ricotta salata.  The food tasted great.

07/13/13
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Comedy Battle

Ivan woke up early at 8 am on July 13, 2013.  He went back to sleep at 10 am.  We both woke up at 1:50 pm.  It was another Sea Day on the boat.

Ivan and I had lunch at the Truffles Restaurant.  Ivan got a vegetarian pita with hummus for an appetizer.  We both got a delicious salmon piccata with risotto for our main course.

Ivan went to see if The Aussies were up.  Tim was still in bed, but Gabbie was up.

We went to to the Battle of the Sexes with Gabbie.  It was a funny game with the women winning.

We went to see if Tim was up.  He was eating food he ordered from Room Service.

Ivan, Tim, Gabbie and I went to Tea Time.

Ivan & Jen at Tea Time

The scones, apple tart and chocolate tart tasted great with our tea.

Checked out the Bean Bag tournament.

I went to the room to nap while Ivan watched the orchestra band in the Firebird Lounge.

Got ready and went to dinner at 8:15 pm.  Ron and Lisa didn’t come to dinner.  I started off with the corn chowder Maryland while Ivan got the broccoli soup.

Basa filet with cous cous hash

Ivan and I both had the delicious award-winning basa filet with cous cous hash.  We shared a chocolate melting cake and amaretto cake for dessert.

Went to the comedian Lowell Sanders with Tim and Gabbie.  He was funny.

Next, we went to see hypnotist David Knight.  It was a clean hypnosis show and it was good.

We saw the comedian Mark Simmons who was really funny.

07/12/13
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Elegant Marriage

On July 12, 2013, Ivan woke up at 8 am and watched the Morning Show.  I heard the show, but went back to bed.  Ivan went back to bed after the show.

It was a Sea Day so it was nice to sleep in until 1:50 pm.  Ivan and I headed to the Caribbean buffet where we had grilled fish, potato wedges and sweet potato salad.

Lil Dave was out having fun with his monkey friends – doing the usual monkey business and eating too many bananas.

Went to the theatre for the Marriage Show.  Ivan noticed Tim and Gabbie sitting off to the side, so they could avoid being chosen.

The cruise director John asked for people who had great or horrible marriage proposals.  He chose a few people from the audience.  Then, he kept asking for any really special marriage proposals.  Ivan and I knew he was looking for Tim and Gabbie since he read about their underwater proposal.  John pointed in their direction and Gabbie went up.

We heard good and bad marriage proposals.  One guy put a ring on his girlfriend while she was sleeping, woke her up and asked him to marry him.  How weird is that?

It was Gabbie’s turn and she said how Tim proposed to her while diving.  Tim was to re-create the proposal, although it wasn’t underwater this time.  Tim had to get down on one knee and sing a few lines from their song “(Everything I do) I Do it for You” by Bryan Adams.  It was cute and sweet.  Tim sang better than the other two guys before him.

We all went to Tea Time and enjoyed a tasty scone and a brownie with our tea.

It was time for the Bean Bag Tournament.  Ivan and I got knocked out in the second round.  Tim and Gabbie ended up winning the tournament.

Tim & Gabbie win the Bean Bag Competition

I headed to the jacuzzi while Ivan, Tim and Gabbie went to the Mini Golf Competition.  I chilled reading Lee Mack’s funny autobiography Mack the Life.  They got knocked out pretty quickly and came to meet me at the pool.

Tim and Ivan talked awhile while I continued reading my book.  Gabbie chilled on a lounge chair.

Everybody went to get ready for Elegant Night.  Ivan made some Hammer & Sickle drinks for us.

Ivan and I took pictures on the staircase with our fancy clothes on.

Ivan & Jen all dressed up

It was dinner time.  Ivan started off with pea soup while I had a lovely ricotta cheese and spinach crepe.

Ricotta cheese & spinach crepe

Our main dishes were blackened tilapia for Ivan and Cornish game hen for me.  We decided to share a delicious chocolate melting cake for dessert.

Ivan, Tim, Gabbie and I went to The Big Easy show which has a Louisiana theme.  It was an amazing show with terrific dancing and singing.

We stopped by our room to grab the vodka.  There was a cute hanging monkey towel animal hanging in our room.

Monkey towel animal hanging around

Headed up to the Lido deck to get orange juice, but lemonade is only available at night for some reason.  Vodka and lemonade is tasty, but really sweet.

Tim thought we should play a Bean Bag Drinking Game.

Gabbie, Tim & Ivan having fun

The lights kept changing different colors while we were enjoying our game and drinks.  I think Security was watching us since the lights went off after we finished playing.

Ivan thought we should check out the nightclub Medusa’s Lair.  It was nice to see lots of people dancing in the club.  It’s a really cool club.

Gabbie and I went on the dance floor and danced around.  We noticed a few of the entertainers.  I was drunk and told Gabbie that I danced better than the entertainers which I thought was funny since they dance professionally on the ship.

We had all had another drink in the club.  After dancing, we went to Tim and Gabbie’s room and chatted for a long time.  It was another fun night with our favorite Aussies.

Ivan and I went to sleep at 6 am.

06/16/13
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Quad Bar

On June 16, 2013, Ivan and I packed everything up and moved rooms in Riad Villa de Arsa.  We had the free breakfast on the terrace.

Lil Dave went to roam around the medina.  He was going to meet up with Reggie and take a cooking class on monkey Moroccan cuisine.

Ivan felt a lot better.  He got lucky that his sickness only lasted a day.  Ivan and I walked around the Jemaa el-Fna square.  We went to Taj’in Darna Café and Restaurant for lunch.  We had a boring lunch of a tuna sandwich and a fruit salad.

Pretty Moroccan glass cups

Ivan and I checked out the shops since we had time to spare.

Perfect coned spices

Ivan and I walked to a parking lot since we were waiting to get picked up for a trip.  We got picked up by an SUV and picked up two girls nearby.  The driver drove us to a street and got out.  He was waiting for two more people.  A French couple went into the backseat and we were off.

It was time to go on The Rock Desert & Palmgrove of Marrakech half day trip run by Dunes & Desert Exploration.  We tried on our helmets and were given goggles.

I sat on the quad bike with Ivan driving.  He said I could drive my own if I wanted.  I tried driving the quad bike, but I think I was too slow.  It hurt to keep my finger pressed on the acceleration button.

The group started following our guide.  We saw a lot of rock desert and wild palm groves.

At first, the guide was going slow.  Ivan said How come we’re going so slow?  He thought it was like we were out for a Sunday afternoon ride.  Lil Dave wanted to drive, but Ivan told him not to be such a silly monkey.

The guide actually listened and we started going faster.  The scenery wasn’t amazing, but it was fun being on the quad bikes.  It was really hot out though.

The other group caught up with our group which only confirmed that we were going too slow.

Ivan on the mountain

The two groups went on top of a mountain for a nice view of the desert.

Me with my helmet hair

I’m glad we stopped a few times for a water break.

The group started driving more in the desert.

Berber village

Everybody stopped at a Berber village.  It was time for tasty mint tea and honey crepes.

Time for mint tea & crepes in the shade

I’m glad we got a chance to relax for awhile in the cool shade.

It was time to head back.  A guy was using a spray gun to knock dust off people.

Ivan getting sprayed

Ivan and I both got it done.  It was a fun day on the half day tour riding in the desert on quad bikes.

That night, we walked to the Jemaa el-Fna square for dinner.  Ivan read that #1 and #14 stalls were best restaurant stalls.  Ivan thought we should check out #1 tonight.

Chez Aicha is the #1 stall which has been visited by Jamie Oliver.

Eating dinner among the locals

Ivan and I shared fried eggplant, vegetable tajine, sardines, sole and fried calamari.  The food was good.

We walked around the market and came across a row of tea vendors selling cardamon tea and a spiced cake.  The cake tasted good with the tea.

Having cardamon tea

The cardamon tea was really spicy and delicious.

Ivan found a nice bar online that he thought we should visit.  We walked to Kosy Bar.  Ivan and I shared a bottle of rosé‎ and talked about traveling and life amongst all the other tourists.

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