This always happens in the summer. July is a write off for some reason. I think it is because it just gets so painfully hot that i close my eyes and forget it exists, living fully only in the mornings and evenings when it is dark and cool enough to move.
This july was even more of a zip-by because my mornings were filled with immersian italian classes, my afternoons with homework and playing star wars galaxies and my evenings with much of the same. This has been my escape month. I did no sca work and in the middle of it all we vamoosed off to London for the Huge Star wars celebrations.

—here is the trip cut and paste from an email I sent because I ain’t retyping it all—

We left from Malpensa airport on easy jet- one of the better discount
airlines and for the most part it was smooth sailing. Marcus has flown
with easy jet before so he knows ‘how it works’

The flight was about and hour and a half long and we got there more or
less in good time despite the being made to wait for 45 minutes for a new
take off slot by malpensa atc.

The flight was smooth and we landed without any issues at gatwick. Got our
luggage and because Easy Jet allows you to buy the train tickets for the
express to london in the plane all we had to do was grab some food (
cornish yum yum yum pastie) and find the train- easy.

Train goes ever 15 minutes so we were in London proper in half anhour and
found ourselves in Victoria Station and oh my lord the people… so many..
it felt great!!! Civilization!!! We did the lost tourist thing for a few
minutes then found our bearings and stood in line to talk to a real person
about how to navigate the undergournd system. In the end we bought two
full week passes ( new oyster card system) for 27 pounds each ( so much
cheaper than single tickets every day) and then went off to find our
hotel.

We took the circle line from Victoria to where the Dock light rial starts
and transferred there to the DLR to Limehouse which is where our hotel
was. Holiday Inn express and it was really right around the corner from
the station so it was a short walk with our suitcases.

The hotel was to my great surprise excellent. ( we have not had good luck
with Holiday Inns in the past) but this one was very clean, very
convinient and had everything we could ask for, even the room was nice
with a small couch to watch TV, kettle with tea and instant coffee, A/C
and so on.

So Thursday we had most of the late afternoon and evening to explore the
docklands area – very nice. It is the new Banking area of London and all
very modern and snobbish. We ended up fining a decent place to have a meal
and settled down to bangers and mash for me + a guinness and Marcus had
fish and chips + a guinness. The weather was brilliant and it felt like a
good omen.

we walked back to the hotel and watched some tv and relaxed before the
main event.

Friday I woke up more excited than I can remember in a long time, that kid
at christmas feeling. We showered, dressed in our “we are star wars fans
of various sorts t-shirts” and had breakfast then off we went.

The train was fairly quiet it was early but we spotted a few people going
to the same place as us, they had that look in their eyes…

When the train stopped at the Excell center the conductor did the usual
blah blah speech about taking all your belongings with you but then added
and don’t forget your lightsabers ,,,” excitement grew and people cheered! ( I love British sense of humour!)

When we got there we saw stormtroopers ( the 501st in action) and
wandereed inside to line up for our pre paid- tickets.

After that we meandered about a little but the actual exhibition hall
didn’t open for another 2 hours for us so we went back into the Canary
warf for breakfast and browsing. By the time we got back to the Excell
center things were open.

It was cool but for the most part we looked at the stalls ( mostly it was
a huge star wars products mall) and watched the 501st in action, took some
photos and a few of the organised talks/ events – that evening we watched
the opening speeches and most of a scfreening of ANH till it got too cold.
then we went back to east india gate to find supper sadly the restaurant
we found was bad, bad service , bad food but that was okay, afterwards
tired and happy we went back to the hotel to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

day 2 we decided to not rush in until we heard from one of our on line
star wars galaxies friends that he wanted to meet, then we headed out, and
much to ours and the organizer’s shocks were confronted with thousands of
people. The event sold out on Saturday and line ups to get into the
exhibition hall went all the way through the building and out again. We
ended up watching some very cool previews of the up and coming animated TV
series. ( Goosbumps on my arms – wow) then we lined up to go inside to
meet Achim.

Achim is German who now lives in London and play online as two charaters (
Torlina and Varylin both female- he’s not) We only know him from online.
It was so cool to meet him and we watched some more talks and took in the
show by Anthony Daniels ( C3P0) then watched the costume show which was
also cool and in between ate something and wandered around A lot. Most of
saturday though was spend standing in lines. After the hall closed Achim
said ciao and went off to see a band and we headed out to eat. We found an
amazing indian place at West India Gate and stuffed ourselves silly on
amazing indian food. ( The Tale of India- 53 west india dock road, Docklands, free home delivery and you canfind them here http://www.thetaleofindia.com ) after which we headed back to the hotel and lazed about watching tv and planning out day 3.

Sunday we got on the go early to avoid the massive line ups but as I
suspected Sunday was not nearly so crowded. This time we had a definate
plan and saw certain shows the first being the talk by Ray Park who plays
Darth Maul in the Phantom Menace – not dissapointed at all he was
amazingly fun to listen to and watch. (Warrick Davies – who played wicket the ewok was the master of ceremonies and he was also very cool and fun to listen to and watch)

after that we went shopping at the biggest star wars mall I have ever seen…- I had thought we would spend a ton of money we didn’t really have but the truth is there wasn’t much we wanted to buy and the things we really did want were so far out of our price range that it was okay just to look, however I did buy a Dalek bubble bath firgure ( that is a figure who is really a bubble bath bottle) and I got a beautiful
.45 scaled replica of Lord vader’s light saber for 13 pounds ( an excellent price) and a book – the how to draw starwars book by DK and ended up managing to get it signed by one of the artists.Marcus got a scaled replica of the stormtrooper rifle also for a great price and the day eneded superbly by us managing to chat with the 501st swiss garrison people with whom we had been in email contact.

When the show closed I was so sad. It was just magical. there were so many
things that could have been done better and there were a lot of very
frustrating issues but in the end it didn’t matter, we had fun, and when
it was over we were both sad.

That evening we ate in the pub next to the excell center and then went
back to the hotel to pack up and get ready for the adventure home. Since
we had most of the morning to poodle about we went back to Canary warf and
did some shopping at Tesco’s so I could buy some things for mum.- ( mostly chocolate whioch I can’t mail right now as it woudl be a puddle friom the 31+ degrees here)

we never did get into London down town but that was okay, this trip was
for Star Wars. It was fun and it was relaxing and it was magical.

So now it is back to earth with a bump, though I had my classes to keep my
busy and all the guys were online when we came home so it was not so
lonely. SOE has made some serious improvements to the SWG game so I am
back playing again, much to Marcus’s relief.

there are some photos of the event here but the old digital camera is not
doing so well and we still waffle about getting a new one.

http://picasaweb.google.com/merly.gabriel/StarwarsCelebrations

The big guy with the beard is Achim. 🙂

I have to start publishing my star wars fan story – book 3 because I promised I would begin in August and I left them all hanging – I get bug mail about this now.. so I have to begin. Which means a month of writing will ensue, and inbetween that is the SCA which we are slowly gearing down from. Also in August we have been invited to go to an informal BBQ at the homes of the two swiss 501st people we met in
basel so that will be fun and then we need to get our asses together and
make real costumes to join!

http://www.501st.com

these guys do VERY cool things.

I now have to catch up on sca work, my book and continue to do some italian every day.But today is Saturday which is poodle about day!

until then be excellent to each other.

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