Showing posts with label London. Show all posts
Showing posts with label London. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

London ~ We Are Where we Are!

“We are where we are. Why DO you need the map?”

London's Theatre District
That is The Scout’s response when we set off on a DIY (do it yourself) exploration and invariably somewhere along our route, I start searching for the map that has disappeared in my purse. (No, we don’t do apps or downloaded pre-recorded tours.)

When you think about it, it is an excellent question and one to which I really have no answer.  Maybe I just like to get my bearings. Maybe I don’t want to miss something that might be nearby.

But in reality, we are where we are. . .what does it matter?

A garden on Park Lane - London
As I told you in earlier posts, circumstances prompted an earlier than planned return to Seattle from Greece, so we gave ourselves a few days layover in London with little thought to what we would do when we got there. We were blessed by the travel gods with blue sky and sunshine which encouraged our decision to explore the city on foot with no particular destination in mind.  So this week, take a look at some of the places we ended up with this devil-may-care approach. . .

The Old and New

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Old and ornate giving way to sleek and modern
No matter what direction we walked there was evidence of the old, ornate architecture giving way to new buildings. Or they’d given way to new train connections which will certainly ease traffic woes in the city, but on the other hand, it seemed in some places have lost a bit of charm. Sleek, modern high rise buildings made it look like any other city.

Gardens and Squares

Manchester Square - Marylebone - London
There were squares scattered about the city – some were open and inviting and others, like the one above, Manchester Square, had no public access. All were different but picturesque.  This 18th-century Georgian garden square, not far from Oxford Street in the Marylebone area is in front of a mansion that is now the home of the Wallace Collection, a major collection of fine and decorative arts. It is open to the public free of charge.

Home of the Wallace Collection - Marylebone - London
St. James’s Park, near Buckingham Palace, is always a people-magnet and in spring its blooms were irresistible.  It is also open to the public free of charge.

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St. James Park in springtime blooms - London
Buckingham Palace

You can’t visit London and not be drawn to Buckingham Palace. . .even if you are wandering as aimlessly as we were.  And sometimes you find you’ve arrived at just the right time, because the Queen just might be passing by. . . (She’s in the car on the right but I wasn’t expecting to see the Queen come by so didn’t have time to zoom in.)

The Queen really is in this photo - London
Even knowing the Queen isn't inside, one really must take a moment to admire the palace. How many times have we watched our television screens to watch the Royal Family step onto that balcony?

Buckingham Palace - London
Travel Tip:  Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

Diana Memorial Walk plaque - London
If you want to do a DIY tour but aren’t ready to set out as aimlessly as we did, you might give the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk a try. It is a 7-mile loop marked with 90 sidewalk plaques like the one in the photo above. It leads to four parks, past three palaces and two mansions.  A downloadable PDF map can be found at:

Guards Museum

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Palace Guards at Work - London
Another bit of free entertainment we happened upon was at the Guards Museum, located near Buckingham Palace and just across Birdcage Walk from St. James’s Park. Troops were out practicing formations – and we had a front row spot at the fence because most tourists were back at the Palace waiting for the changing of the guard there.

Big Ben - London
I’ll sign off this week with a photo of Big Ben. I don't want you thinking we missed all the tourist ‘sites’ that London has to offer - our wanderings took us to many of them.   We walked 33.5 miles in the four days we had in this jolly ol’ town. There is so much to see and do that we could have doubled that distance, had we had the time and energy.  London isn’t an inexpensive city but there are ways to ‘do it’ inexpensively, as we’ve shown you in recent posts.

How about you?  Any money-saving travel tips for those heading to London?

We thank you for the time you’ve spent with us and so appreciate your comments. Hopefully you’ll be back again next week and bring a friend or two with you. . .we’ve got some travel plans to tell you about that might make some of you want to join us and may simply bring on a wave of discomfort for others of you. Until next week, safe and healthy travels to you and yours ~  

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

London ~ DIY Low-Cost Sightseeing

Four days. No plans. Blue sky and sunshine. Temperatures in the 80's (26C).

London called out for aimless exploration. DIY – Do It Yourself sightseeing.

Street Scene Mayfair District
Our stopover in London en route to Seattle from Greece was -- even for us who love to go ‘where-the-wind-blows-us -- a rather spontaneous adventure.  We hadn’t had time to do our usual guide book and internet research.  (If you missed why, and care to find out, you can read that here.)

We’d booked a hotel. But nothing more than that and our flight to the States five days later had been given much thought. 

A Home? A Club? in London's Mayfair District

While that is far too unstructured for some of you and probably has you wiggling in your chair with discomfort, we found that having no expectations meant we had no disappointments. We hadn't arrived with a list of 'must-see' or 'must do'.

Because we weren’t rushing to get to the Tower Bridge, or Big Ben, or Buckingham Palace, or some other of London’s ‘tourist sites’ we had time to enjoy the street scenes that played out right before us – scenes we’d have likely ignored had we been racing to get somewhere to see ‘something’.

Exploring the Mayfair district
Selfridge and Co. on Oxford Street
Our hotel in London’s West End Mayfair district was footsteps from Oxford Street, a wide boulevard that is home to some 300+ shops. It is said to be  Europe's busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors. Perhaps one of the most well-known stores (thanks to the British television series) is Selfridge & Co. which opened on Oxford Street in 1909 in a building designed by Daniel Burnham for Harry Gordon Selfridge. It continues to be the company’s headquarters and with a reported  540,000 square feet of selling space, the store is the second largest retail store in the United Kingdom. It was a short walk from our hotel and provided free ‘window shopping’ entertainment as we explored its many floors.

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Just across Park Lane from our hotel, the 350-acre Hyde Park, offered a green, quiet alternative to the bustling Oxford Street. It is one of the city’s eight Royal Parks and its more well-known features include the Marble Arch, Serpentine Lake and the Speaker’s Corner. The weather had drawn multitudes of bikers, joggers, and sun worshippers – and strollers, like us – to it.

A delightful place, its history only adds to its ambiance: in 1536 King Henry VIII confiscated Hyde Park from the monks of Westminster Abbey. Back then it was used primarily for hunting. King Charles I opened the park to the public in 1637. The current park layout was planned by architect Decimus Burton in 1825.

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Animals in War Monument - Hyde Park
The park, which has no entry fees, is filled with beautiful statues but my favorite – a must-see any time we get to London – is the monument to animals who served in the war. The two-sided art work in which statues of animals with war equipment marching on bricks to the drab concrete wall which reads, “Animals in War – they had no choice” and on the other side the ‘free’ animals emerge to a green lawn and flower beds.

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American Embassy at Grosvenor Square
We were just a few blocks away from one of London’s many squares, Grosvenor Square, pronounced grove-ner. Once part of the Grosvenor family’s estate, the square was opened to the public and since the 1930’s has had a strong association with the United States. The American Embassy, pictured in the above mosaic, is located at 1 Grosvenor Square.

Seeing London – On foot

No getting lost in London - thanks to these signs
London is a pedestrian-friendly city with sidewalks generally free of barriers and obstructions and crossing signals at busy intersections. Londoners do drive in the opposite lanes of what we do in the U.S. and other parts of the world, so visitors need to be mindful of that when crossing any street. 
Should you become confused about where you’ve taken yourself, you’ll find clarification from one of the many signs installed at intervals throughout the town, which tell you not only where you are, but what you are near as well.

For those who can’t or don’t want to walk, the city has any number of sightseeing options including:

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Tours of London from the Thames are popular
Tourist boats of every size, shape and description travel the Thames River.

Regular city buses are a good way to see the city 
There are 'Hop On, Hop Off' tourist buses, or plenty of regular double-decker red buses that traverse the city, or for those who can’t decide between a bus and a boat:

Is it a bus or a boat or both?
They even have those tour bus/boat combinations.

We set out on foot with tourist map (from the hotel concierge) in hand and next week I’ll tell you about some of the places we visited on this spur-of-the-moment DIY tour of ours. Thanks so much for the time you spent with us today.  Our wishes for safe and healthy travels ~ 

Linking up:

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A London Stopover– On Airline Miles and Hotel Points

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life;
for there is in London all that life can afford.
                                -- Samuel Johnson

While song writers seem beguiled about springtime in Paris, we found London to be equally as enchanting. It didn’t take long for this jolly ol’ capital city with a population of more than 8.5 million to wrap us in its charms during our brief visit in May.

Those London phone booths are icons of the city
Because we were returning to the States from Greece earlier than originally planned to deal The Scout’s, medical matter, he was tasked with finding us a reasonable and affordable routing for this rather spur-of-the-moment trip. 

Speaking of icons, there are those double-decker buses as well. . .
The best option he found was flying via London, using some of our accumulated airline miles. (There are no direct flights between Athens and Seattle, so you need to stop somewhere. Sometimes depending on flight connections the layover could be a matter of hours and other times, overnight at least).

We purchased tickets on Aegean Airlines for our trip from Athens to London. We then used Alaska Airlines miles,a regional U.S. carrier, to fly on one of its partners, British Airlines.

Traveler’s Tip: We booked two one-way tickets London – Seattle, in Premium Economy, that rather comfortable section that isn’t quite Business Class but certainly isn’t Economy Class. The price 42,500 air miles PLUS $432US a seat in taxes and fees: (85,000 miles + $864US) AND THEN an additional $169US to select the seats we wanted to sit in – two seat side by the windows (and assure ourselves we weren’t stuck in the middle of a center row).

While all those extra $$$ were equivalent to what we would have paid for a regular economy class seat it does make one wonder about using airline miles for ‘free’ travel.

That London Stopover

London, London, London
It occurred to us that we could make lemonade out of the lemon he’d been handed by using some of our horded hotel points to pay for a stay at the Marriott’s Park Lane Hotel. It’s located across the street from Hyde Park,in the rather posh and privileged Mayfair District.

Traveler’s Tip:  Even using discount sites, the price of a room here hovers at $500 a night, plus another $100 per night in taxes and fees.  We paid nothing more for our room than 180,000 points,(which we’ve earned on previous Marriott stays and credit card spending).

Because we have stayed in Marriott hotels enough nights to qualify for their ‘elite’ level benefits, we had access to the hotel’s Executive Lounge were we ate breakfast daily, and drank happy hour wine and an afternoon espresso drink each day – all complimentary which further saved us a great deal of money. A British pound was at the time equivalent to $1.46US.

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Marriott Park Lane - London
After arriving at Heathrow Airport and caught the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station, 32 kilometers, or about 20 miles away. Paddington has been the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. The high speed airport ‘shuttle’ trains leave the depart every 15 minutes. More than 16,000 passengers use the train daily.

Catching the train was a snap as they’ve simplified that process since the last time we’d visited London. A young woman was standing just outside baggage claim selling train tickets and we had only to follow signs posted in the airport to find the train platform.  Two round-trip train tickets: $105US

Heathrow Express at Paddington Station
From Paddington it was a short taxi ride to the hotel. Once settled in to our room, we set off to explore.  We walked 33.5 miles in the 4.5 days we were there and next week, we’ll show you some of our routes through London’s neighborhoods.

A London Park
Before signing off this week, we want to thank all of you who wrote emails or comments on last week’s post about The Scout’s trip through the medical worlds of Greece and the U.S.  Your kind wishes and ‘sighs of relief’ were most welcome.

Those ‘medical moments’ whether experienced at home or while traveling do make travel experiences just a bit more precious.  Booking a one-way trip instead of round-trip because you don’t know when you will be able to return was a good reminder to us to keep traveling as far and wide as we can – while we can! In other words:


Hope to see you all back here next week! Until then safe and healthy travels to you and yours~

Linking up:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Seattle Seahawks and Other Travel News . . .

What do those Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawk’s have to do with travel?
Well, plenty in the Pacific Northwest!

And as the football season gets underway, several Seattle hotels are paying tribute to the "12th Man" as the fans are known, by offering some interesting packages. Take Seattle’s Kimpton Hotels (Alexis, Hotel Monaco and Hotel Vintage), for example:

12thManFinal 002
Each of the three Kimpton hotels is offering the ‘12th Man’ Package (Thursday – Sunday on home game weekends) which includes:

· Accommodations
· Poster making bar in the lobby for game days
· Upgrade (based on availability) for guests who wear a 12th Man jersey upon check-in
· In-room gold fish named for Seahawk player (i.e. Russell Gilson, Richard Merman, etc)
Remember to use the rate code 12MAN when making reservations:

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More Travel Tidbits from this week’s headlines

Web based travel companies are coming under scrutiny in various metropolitan areas, among them:

Boston, Mass., USA:  The City Council is considering restrictions on ride-sharing services like Sidecar, Lyft and Uber and lodging websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and Flipkey. reports  The Associated Press

Austin, Texas, USA:  has set up a licensing system with an annual fee and limits on the number of units in a building – or houses in a residential neighborhood – that can be rented at a given time. – reports The Associated Press.

Portland, Oregon, USA – allows single-family homeowners – but not apartment and condo owners – to offer short-term rentals as long as they notify neighbors and complete a safety inspection. –  reports The Associated Press

londonparisiceland2011 023

London’s Gatwick Airport, England  British Airways has added three new routes from Gatwick airport to its 2015 schedule:  Seville (Spain), Funchal (Madeira) and Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) will be introduced from March 2015.  They join the new routes  for next year from previously announced:  Cagliari (Sardinia), Heraklion (Crete), Rhodes (Greece) and Bodrum and Dalaman (Turkey).

Also beginning in December are the new winter sun and ski destinations of Fuerteventura (Caneries), Friedrichshafen (Germany) and Grenoble (Switzerland). reports BTN, The Business Travel News

 English football fans take note:

London, England:  Coming soon: The Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium – 99 Sir Matt Busby Way, a location that is recognized by sports fans all over the world will open as  Hotel Football on Dec. 8, 2014. Behind the project are former Man U teammates, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville. Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, all members of what is known as “the class of ‘92”, are also involved.
The 133-room hotel will offer the ultimate match day experience, as well as being home to The Old Trafford Supporters Club.” –  reports BTN, The Business Travel News

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That’s it for now ~ happy travels to you! Hope to see you back here soon and do bring some friends and family with you!  If you’ve not yet signed up to receive posts in your inbox, do so by using the box to the right on our home page. 

And if you liked these news tidbits let us know and we will keep them coming ~

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TP Thursday: A Blooming Good Trip!

We had such a blooming good time on our trip last spring to Madrid, London and Paris that I decided to create a bouquet of memories today:


High above us on the side streets of Madrid, flowers cascaded over the railings of even the narrowest of balconies.


Parks were tapestries scattered throughout Madrid; their designs created by endless beds of red roses.


It felt as if we were staying in London’s Chelsea Flower Show each time we entered our Chancery Court Hotel.   The pungent peonies filled the lobby with a springtime aromatherapy.  (As well as providing inspiration:  “Why it’s simply flower stems and candles mixed. . .why couldn’t I do that at home?”)


It seemed all of London was in bloom – even the bench in the hotel’s courtyard.


A cold, blustery wind swirled street dust during our too-brief overnight stay in Paris. Despite the harsh chill that cut through our coats, balcony blooms reminded us that it really was springtime in Paris.



When someone asks, “But, . . .is there anything to see there?”  these are the images that come to mind. What every day images are in your bouquet of memories?

It is Travel Photo Thursday and there’s a lot of places to see in the world by just clicking this link to Budget Travelers Sandbox and see where our fellow travelers are this week. been.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday’s Satchel: London, Hawaii and Greece

This weeks tips and tidbits:

London: The Courtyard at 51 is celebrating summer with a series of musical performances. That would be the courtyard at the 5-star 51-Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences, -- the posh digs formerly known as St. James Court -- tucked away on a side street between Buckingham Palace and Westminster. 

Tickets for the musical events are priced from 75L and include a three-course dinner and signature ‘51’ cocktail. 
Hawaii:   If you are planning a visit to Hawaii think about going for Oahu’s 2011 Food and Wine Festival being held in a number of locations including Waikiki Edition, Halekulani and Hilton Hawaiian Village, Sept. 29 – Oct.1, 2011.

We can only imagine the culinary wonders that will be created by chefs from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia will take part. For ticket information, click the link above.

Symi, Greece:  This comes from Symi Dream, one of our favorite blogs written about one of our favorite Greek islands:

The Symi Dreamers Exhibition runs through October 2011 at the gallery of the same name as the blog.  Artists who are visiting the island are invited to bring a piece of art to display that has been inspired by the island. (Contest rules can be found by clicking the link above). And if you make it to the island (which, drat, we won’t this year) stop by the Gallery and meet James and Neil.  They also offer photo walks of the islands – which will be high on my list when we return.

Symi Dream is a great source of information about activities and life on this island, just a short ferry ride from Rhodes.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Volcano Didn't Blow the Vacation

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in London when the first reports of Iceland’s volcanic eruption flashed across the television screen. I suppose we should have started fretting about the affect it might have on our flight home – via Iceland – later in the week. 

You know us better than that by now:  we started thinking that we might have to stay in Europe longer: Tough duty! 

cretan peoplenplaces 002 Meanwhile in Greece, our friends, Bill and Val Kitson were trying to return to England. . .and this is their story:


Having lost 10 days of our holiday to the volcanic ash cloud last year, we couldn’t believe it when our travel plans were disrupted again. This time it was the return journey, however, and the delay was only 24-hours.

Having said that, we were uncertain whether or not the flight was going until check-in time at the Heraklion, Crete airport.

Having learned that nobody was flying to Newcastle that night, our next concern was, what would happen during the delay?

As independent travelers, we had booked “flight only” on a plane carrying mostly package holidaymakers. They would be catered for, but what of the independents?
crete 2010 003 We needn’t have worried.

We were with Thomas Cook, the oldest travel agents in the world. Instead of a night in the Crete airport lounge, we were taken by coach to a resort complex twenty minutes away to Gouves Park Resort complex, an all-inclusive center catering for mostly family holidays.

Although it was way past the normal hour, a buffet-style evening meal awaited us. Then we checked in to a comfortable ground floor room. Because of the distance from reception, there was a golf buggy to take our luggage. Breakfast and lunch next day were provided, and when we returned to the airport, we were at last able to set off home, even though we’d a wait while they sorted a small technical problem with the plane.

On arrival at Newcastle, we were handed a letter by Thomas Cook’s representative, confirming details of the delay, should we wish to claim on our insurance. Although some travelers might have had to do this, with connecting flights, or lost working time, as all we’d had to pay for was one glass of beer and one glass of wine, we didn’t think it worth bothering!

Full marks to the Thomas Cook team at Heraklion airport and the staff at Gouves Park Resort, for turning what could have been a highly stressful experience into a relaxed end to the holiday.

Note:  Click the link to read an article that outlines EU airline responsibilities in event Mother Nature vents her pent up steam.

To those of you wanting to find Bill Kitson’s novels: go to the Amazon carousel on our home page and click on either of his books to get to the full list.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day: Lest We Not Forget

Before we began traveling to Europe, what we 'boomers' knew of World War I and II came from teachers and textbooks, historical novels, movies and television, and a few tales – that were seldom offered without great encouragement – from family members and friends who had lived through those years.

londonparisiceland2011 008
In recent years, our travels have in Europe have made real those snapshots of history that once were but words on a printed page or on a television screen.  We’ve visited cemeteries and stood before war memorials.

But often we’ve been reminded of war’s impact in the most unexpected of places.  . . like the pub in London – Shakespeare’s Head Pub on Carnaby Street – where a bust of the old Bard above the entry is missing a hand and a sign tells us it was blown off when a bomb fell, obviously, not far from where we were standing.

Or even as we descend deep into the earth to reach the subway, thinking of the many who once took shelter in these same tunnels seeking safety from those falling bombs. . .

We pause at every memorial for each tells a story about those who fought for what they believed, others who were innocent victims of a war taking place on their homeland and others who traveled to foreign soil to fight for freedom, putting  the call to service before self.

Their unselfish actions then, gave us the freedoms we enjoy today, among them the freedoms to travel. . .and to write.

londonparisiceland2011 016So on this Memorial Day, we say, “Thank You” to the many to whom we owe so much.
“Lest we not forget.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In London “with” the Obamas

(Or with due respect to Charles Dickens) “A Tale of Two Cities . . .2011 Style”

You know our US President is into social media. . so that, along with recent travel overlaps, has me thinking that  someone in America’s First Family reads Travelnwrite!  Why? You might ask. . .
London 2010 002
Okay,. . .because we’ve been here twice and each time we’ve come to London, the Obamas have also arrived.  I think they are liking our destinations because here we all are again. . .’doing’ London. Thursday we all head to France.

And after seeing a US newspaper today, you folks back home don’t have all the details that the British media are providing about their visit, so I decided to give you my account of  ‘Two Cities’. . .ours and theirs.

Saturday afternoon the Smiths walked up to our hotel entry, hauling our own bags, after the world famous accuracy of the London Black cabs  failed us and our driver dropped  us behind the hotel – pointing out that we could reach it by walking  through a maze of construction scaffolding, around the corner and down a block and we’d be at the front entry. The doorman welcomed us warmly.

The Obamas ,of course, have traveled in Air Force One, a helicopter and a bullet- and bomb- proof SUV; their “Beast”, the iron-plated Cadillac, they’d shipped over got stuck on a ramp at the US Embassy in Dublin yesterday so they used the SUV. The vehicle didn’t matter though as thousands  of people along their route have greeted them with rock-star-fan enthusiasm.
crete 2010 001
The Smiths have two carry aboard sized roller bags, two shoulder bags and my Baggallini purse. I suspect they have a few more bags as all the headlines report what a fashion plate our First Lady is. . .I haven’t seen me -- or my hand-washable Chico’s fashions --mentioned in any of the local newspapers.

The work done by the Smiths these days can easily be accomplished on our Netbook  which we carry with us.
In contrast, the Obama’s have 1,500 people in their entourage – including chefs, doctors and who knows who all else. 

The Queen is hosting a dinner for them this evening. Obviously, someone forgot to mention to her that the Smiths from the ‘Other Washington’ were in town or we would undoubtedly have been invited. We will be dining at the pub around the corner.

Tomorrow evening Mrs. O. and the Prime Minister’s wife are putting the hubbies to work bbq-ing at 10 Downing Street – as they are hosting a dinner for invited military families. Obviously they didn’t know of Joel’s barbeque talents or he’d be there cooking as well.

We thought about dropping by the American Embassy and saying hello today but the rows of fencing, and lines of armed guards – not to mention a  low flying helicopter hovering overhead, didn’t quite make us feel welcome so we continued our stroll. I think the helicopter was keeping an eye on the Obamas . . .well, it might have been keeping an eye on us as well, since I felt the need to take a photo of it.

The Obamas are spending two nights at  Buckingham Palace where they (the Obama’s) have installed bullet-and-bomb proof windows in the suite where they will be staying.
London 2010 001
The Smith’s are quite content to be in their own palace-like digs at the Chancery Court Hotel on High Holborn.  The windows keep out the sound of traffic and that’s the only thing we need worry about. . .which makes me  think, it really is nice to be nobody!

But just a note to the Obamas:  if you need help flipping burgers tomorrow, we could be there!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Jolly Good Day in London

Our week in Madrid came to an end Saturday morning and an Easy Jet (one of Europe’s cheapy airlines) flight brought us to London’s Gatwick Airport.  A quick ride on the Gatwick Express train (the airport is 28 miles from London), brought us to town, and a cab ride later, we were at the Chancery Court Hotel.
London 2010 007
Our time in Europe comes to a close this week with  five nights here, (thanks to those Marriott loyalty program points) and an overnight in Paris prior to our Friday flight to Seattle on Iceland Air

Well, we think our time in Europe comes to a close this week. . .but as we watched news reports this afternoon (Sunday, London time) we are advised that the volcano in Iceland has closed both air space and airports. . .so maybe we will have a whole new adventure still ahead. No need to worry about it this far in advance, but it does keep us watching the updates.

We’ve left  Spanish tapa bars behind to explore English pubs for a few days and I’ll be intermixing stories of both. . .stay tuned. . .who knows? The gonzo geezers may have more adventures to tell you about than we thought we would. That's one of the joys of travel.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Perfect Pub - and Grub

There seems to be a pub on every corner in London. . .but after stepping inside any number of them, we decided they weren't what we wanted.  We wanted character - the step-back-in-time sort of place that made you feel you were in Jolly ol' England.  Some were quite modern on the inside and one - to my horror - looked like a designer for a US-based burger chain had designed its interior. So we kept searching for our 'perfect pub'. 

We were ready to admit defeat when we recalled the recommendation from one of the hotel staff - he'd suggested The Ship Tavern at 12 Gate Street (within a block of our hotel) and just off High Holborn.

As we approached we saw that it was so jam-packed with the local after-work crowd that they stood on the street outside its entry - that's one of their heads in the photo.  Good sign. Noting that it had served 'quaffable ales and fine fayre' since it's beginning in 1549, we figured it had the history. (And what history! Click on the link and read about some of the things that happened here).

When we saw the wood paneled, candle-lit upstairs dining room, we knew it had the character. We had arrived at our perfect pub.

And then eating one of the best - and biggest - plates of fish and chips and smushy, minty green peas, we confirmed the grub was great.  So overcome with food and atmosphere, we couldn't resist eating even more and tried English pudding at its finest for dessert.  That white stuff is cream, pure cream from the pitcher. . .need I oink more?


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