Joined April 2018 Message
  • Day14

    Day 14 London

    November 2, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 43 °F

    Last day in London. 😰. A beautiful crisp sunny London day and off to explore the South side of the Thames. Closest underground station was St. Paul’s and, while not part of today’s itinerary, we decided to visit, thus fulfilling the obligatory task of every trip to Europe to visit at least one church. I’d forgotten how beautiful this iconic London church is and along with it’s rich history made for a welcome quiet time during a rather hectic week. I do not think I had been inside St Paul’s since my first trip to London over 40 years ago when John and I went to Christmas Eve mass there. They are currently renovating one area of the nave which will have a new remembrance room dedicated to all who died from COVID. An especially good gift store where we did some “damage” as well.
    Back to our “scheduled” itinerary. Walked across the Millennium Bridge enjoying the great weather and the boat traffic on the Thames. (See Uber Boat pic). 😂. All of the skyscrapers of London outlined against the clear blue sky displaying the very old vs the very new architecture of the City.
    A short visit to the Tate Modern museum. We wanted to eat lunch in their beautiful restaurant on the 6th floor overlooking the river but needed reservations so had to settle for the cafe. Always some weird exhibits there - today they had strange creatures (think large balloons) floating around the entry hall. Had some meaning which I read but have already forgotten. 😫. Then a walk along the South shore of the Thames, always a fun scene with many sites to see and always a lot going on. Today it was another reminder that tourism in London is still minimal. Way fewer people , restaurants that were always packed now looking for customers and street musicians playing to the few of us walking by. Have no idea how all of those people survived throughout COVID.
    A fun stop at Borough’s market. A lively scene with all kinds of food imaginable, fresh produce, fish and lots of small upscale products. About 75% open but nowhere near the usual number of people.
    Back to the apartment to pack and out to dinner. Found a small,cute,good Spanish tapas place nearby that was a great find for our last dinner in London. Home and early to bed as a 6:30 AM Uber pick up 😫. It’s been awhile since I was up that early!

    Walking App: 8.5 miles
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  • Day13

    Day 13 London

    November 1, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 43 °F

    A morning without rain and a crisp fall day in London. First stop - another COVID test for our return flight on Wednesday. Thank heavens for rapid tests, result in a certified email within 2 hours. Then out to breakfast for the first time on the trip. Did not chose well on the cafe. 😩👎
    Since weather is so nice, scratched the museum plan for this morning and went for a walk. 😂. Decided to walk Downtown instead of taking the underground. Meandered through Russel Square, another favorite of mine, with the beautiful hotel on the corner: the first place I ever stayed in London, at that time it was the Russel Square hotel, then it was designated a Trust hotel, and now it has gone upscale and is a Kimpton.
    The British Museum is around the corner and we paid it a brief visit, long enough to see the Rosetta Stone and a few of the other major sites. And long enough to hit the Museum Store. Had a bit more time to kill so tried some London geocaching. No luck. 😫. Especially frustrating as some had just found it this morning.
    I have always wanted to have “High Tea” in London and before we left I scheduled one for today. Lots are held in the posh hotels but I picked a trendy, upscale restaurant that looked funky and fun - Sketches - in the Mayfair area of the City. Great fun, way to much food, 4 courses, and lots of food art and design. A special treat.
    Back for a rest and out for the night have been waiting for for some time. Cinderella is the new Andrew Lloyd Weber extravaganza that opened in London about 6 weeks ago when the theaters reopened. It was fabulous! The sets, the costumes, the theater that it was in and the cast, all was over the top experience. A new spin on the story of Cinderella but the basics still there. A wonderful way to finish up the theater for this trip.

    Walking App: 8.5 miles
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  • Day12

    Day 12 London

    October 31, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 55 °F

    Happy Halloween to all.
    Another rainy start day. Out as soon as it started to clear and off to the Churchill war rooms - a museum to Churchill as well as an audio tour of the underground rooms that were Britain’s war headquarters during WWII. I had been there previously but so much to see and listen to there I was able to “ relearn” it all o er again.
    Spent a wonderful afternoon doing one of my favorite things in London - walking the huge parks to enjoy the fall colors, the families strolling the well trodden paths, kids playing with the plentiful waterfowl and birds as well as the ever changing new sights. Walked through St James Park, Green Park and Hyde Park. We had a couple destinations in mind but mostly just wandered for a couple hours. Buckingham Palace, always a major attraction, but the queen is not “in residence” right now. 😂. Then a favorite spot of mine, the memorial fountain to Diana. A lovely location and built for children to enjoy, although too cold today. Cannot get a good picture as it is a large space with flowing water (think like a track oval with water). Next a walk to see the well know Peter Pan statue, now by the large Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. And then a surprise and the most fun of the day - came across a doggy Halloween Party. There must have been close to 100 little dogs, all with Halloween costumes on!!! It was hilarious
    Back to the apartment for a short rest and back downtown for our first show in London - Six. An enjoyable show which is a big seller right now both here and Broadway. (Tried to see in NYC but the few tickets available were $500 😱 and I did not want to see it that badly) In London the theater is partially subsidized by the government and tickets are much less expensive. Show is a pop concert on a modern day version 6 wives of Henry VIII. Think Hamilton o steroids. Dinner at an Italian restaurant after and home for a well-deserved sleep. Walking App today: 7.5 miles
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  • Day11

    Day 11 London

    October 30, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 54 °F

    A very early start to the day, both of us awake sometime between 4 and 5A. As much as I travel, I cannot solve the jet lag issue. 🤬. A rainy morning and fist had to do our day 2 COVID test which had to be scheduled to get into the country. Good news was that we could now do the rapid tests which are quite easy. However we could not figure how to upload the results photo into their website. Called and Emailed the lab and no response. Expecting someone to come and take us to jail any minute now. 😂. Some catch up on things his AM while waiting for the rain to take a break.
    Out around 11 to work on the next COVID test, the one we need to return to the US 😅. Found a place nearby that we could schedule for Monday, again a rapid test, so results right away.

    Weather clearing so decided to take a chance on outdoor activity and off via underground to Kew Gardens, the Royal Botanical Gardens. I always love this place although more so in the Spring. About an hour out of London from our place and several tube changes. A stop for lunch at a Japanese cafe in the sun outside the tube stop in the upscale Kew Gardens community.

    Then into the gardens. Spent 3 hours wandering around, seeing the major sites. Tis late fall and this part of the world has had lots of rain and wind but still quite some fall colors in the magnificent huge trees that cover the miles of walking paths. Their special exhibition was a Japanese motif - a large installation in one on the greenhouses hanging from the ceiling of red strings with white paper on it. Picture does not do it justice. Lovely with music playing representing nature sounds. A peaceful place, even with the crowds. All in all a wonderful afternoon.
    Back to home with a stop at the grocery store to find food to heat up for dinner. Too tired to go out. Total walking mileage on my app today is 6.8 miles. (Yesterday 9.8)! No wonder we are tired.
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    Rennie Brong


  • Day10

    Day 10 London

    October 29, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    Thinking we were a bit tired. I slept 12 hours and Illene 14!!! 😃. So off for a walk! A break in last night’s rain so we decided to take a chance and try something outside. Considering the forecast is for rain almost every day we are here, 😩 there will be plenty of times for museums.
    On the “tube” to Paddington Station which exits onto the canal. We are on our way to Little Venice. If you have never done this in London, it’s a must do. We did the walk from the station to Regents Park. ( including a few wrong turns). All along the way are interesting canal boats, some are house boats and others quite in ruin. Some boat “traffic” on the waterway and lots of wonderful fall colors in the trees. The weather could have been better but still a great outside activity and away from the hustle and bustle of the City. Lunched at a restaurant on one of the many bridges over the canal. Great spot for a stop.

    Walked a mile or two in the huge Regents Park, one of my favorites in London. (I once went to the outdoor theater here and saw Peter Pan). Back to our “home” tube stop and walked around the train station and had tea in the St. Pancras hotel there. Wonderful sculpture representing the historic train station and the lovers saying goodbyes. (Paul Day - sculptor)
    Back home for a “lie down” before our evening plans. Finally into “downtown” London; Piccadilly, SoHo, Coventry Garden and the heart of the West End - the theater district. People everywhere, as usual. Wended our way to St-Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalger Square, historic church on this site since Medieval times. Also a venue for classical music all year around. Tonight’s ensemble from the UK is playing Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart in a candlelight service. Wonderful familiar music well-performed. Still had lots of energy so stopped for a drink at The German Gymnasium. 😂. Huge, multilevel bar/restaurant and very busy at 11PM. A glass of wine and home to bed. 9.8 miles on my walking app today! 😱
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    Patricia Rebello

    love the photos and the explanations!

  • Day8

    NYC to London Days 8 & 9

    October 27, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Up and out for our last day in NYC. Night flight to London around 8 PM. Packed first and then out for one last stroll on the NYC streets. A stop at Rockefeller center to admire the Halloween decorations and array of ornate sculptures. St Patrick’s Cathedral was right across the street so we stopped in there for a look around it’s amazing interior, especially the stained glass windows. Next church stop up the street was St. Thomas - Episcopalian. Spectacular circular stained glass window here as well.
    A very nice lunch at LaBonne - a French cafe in that part of the City.
    Back to Isabel’s to finalize the packing and say our goodbyes. And one last pic of Isabel’s cat, Agnes. 😂
    Airport check in amazingly easy after the hassle to get all the prerequisites together. Dinner and wine while we waiting for our flight. Flight went fast. (Shorter from NYC than SF. 😂).
    Arrived around 8 in the AM London time. Breezed thru the airport and found out way to the Heathrow Express, our train to Central London. Then the underground to the stop closest to our apartment and a 15 minutes walk followed. A bit early for our check in so found a cafe in the area to have a cup of tea - Kay (and a Diet Coke for Illene).
    Our apartment is as advertised. Compact but all the necessary amenities. A short nap and out to checkout the neighborhood. We are in Islington section of London, sort of NW - amour a half mile from the Kings Cross St Pancras underground stop.
    Headed towards the British Library, an amazing complex of buildings with the showcase 6 story glassed centerpiece- King George III personal library- pic below. Spent a short time in their Treasures exhibit which includes one of the four original Magna Cartas. A walk and some pics at the St. Pancras Hotel - now a Marriott - in the St Pancras train station. Spectacular Gothic building. Found a nearby pub for lunch/dinner and after one drink with out meal realized that we both “hit the wall” and needed sleep. Grocery shopping doe essentials on the way home, a bit it BBC and both to bed by 7:30P!!!
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    Patricia Rebello

    especially like the last photo.:-)

    Rennie Brong

    Love it

    Rennie Brong

    Is that first class?

    Kay's Travels

    Business and it was wonderful!

  • Day7

    Day 7 NYC

    October 26, 2021 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 57 °F

    A rainy day in NYC. Poured during the night but a window of no rain from 11-7P. Did some “chores” - mailed some things home, went to Macy’s for Illene to buy socks and then to find lunch.
    Met Isabel at the NYC Public Library where they had an exhibition of the “Treasures” from the library. I love the reading room there however you cannot visit anymore unless you are on a tour. 😩.
    Walked back to Isabel’s for an afternoon “lie down” and off around 5P to Greenwich Village via subway. Walked the streets of the Village admiring the architecture and the numerous street restaurants. Ate dinner at a seafood/pasta place and enjoyed Isabel’s stories of the transition of the Village from artists and actors to now an upscale residential neighborhood. Struggling performers cannot afford the Village anymore.
    Walked to our show for tonight - Fairycakes. A comedy that is new to the NYC theater scene. A comedy and funny 😂. Enjoyable evening’s entertainment and different from anything else we have seen this trip. Great fun costumes and one of the actors was Mo Rocca, for any of you who watch the Sunday Morning show. (He should stick to his day job). Home in the pouring rain.
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  • Day6

    Day 6 NYC

    October 25, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    On arrival in NYC we were talking with Isabel about what to do while we were here. Isabel said she had never been to Governor’s Island so that was the plan for today. Made ferry reservations and off via subway to lowers Manhattan and the ferry terminal. The terminal is next door to the huge Staten Island ferry terminal. Had a very enjoyable 3+ hours walking around the island. Governors Island is are the South end of Manhattan in NY harbor. The island was a military installation for the Revolutionary War. And more recently a Coast Guard installation until 1996. Currently partially run by the National Park Service and a Trust. Found all 4 geocaches on the island ! 👍. Beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan. A thoroughly enjoyable and quiet hours I’m the City.
    Back via ferry and subway for a very late lunch at Isabel’s. And a relaxing several hours before dinner - good for some catch up time.
    Great dinner tonight at a place Isabel had not been to previously. Oceans - beautiful decor, quite modern and wonderful food. We were all happy.
    Rain scheduled for later tonight and tomorrow and our walk home was the warm, very humid weather that I remembered from early years on the East Coast. The pic of the Empire State Building with the green top in the fog was from out walk home.
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  • Day5

    NYC Day 5

    October 24, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 57 °F

    Spent most of the morning getting our required Day 2 COVID tests purchased. Do not need to test before we go but do need to test the 2nd day after arrival. Good news is that they now accept rapid tests so cuts down the price a bit. We have to have them delivered to our rental apartment so gets a bit complicated. Then we needed to print several theater tickets so first has to fix Isabel’s printer. 😂
    Out around 11 and off to the 3rd museum of the trip - the Guggenheim. Exhibition we wanted to see was Kandinsky. Pretty far uptown so we took a cab. Enjoyed the show but loved the building more - a very well know Frank Geary architectural achievement. Took our time and had a nice lunch there while weather looked threatening.
    This afternoon Illene and Isabel are going to the Metropolitan opera at Lincoln Center and I am going to Chicago - a new remake of a classic Broadway standard. I walked back from the theater and wandered around a bit taking pictures of the City. Thus the Rockefeller, Times Square pictures today. We got back together for a drink at Isabel’s and then out to The Smith for a good dinner ar one of the numerous outdoor dining areas that dot almost every street in this area. Back in time for a bit of Niners football and called it an early night.
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    Rennie Brong



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