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Maze Hill Railway Station

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    • Day6

      Dummy spit at Greenwich

      September 1, 2022 in England ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      I heard a dog groomer once say the biggest difference between grooming a dog and grooming a cat is this: when a dog gets upset or angry, you can give them a break, a treat, and then their good mood will be restored and you can continue the groom. When a cat is done,

      It. Is. Done.

      and there is nothing in heaven or earth that will return a cat to its good mood: no treat, no break, no distraction, no patting.

      I definitely got into the feline spirit in Greenwich. I might have been sulky around Greenwich Park, but I was insufferable around the Cutty Sark and by the time we were at St Katharine's Docks, I was practically a wraith.

      Still, there's no doubting that Greenwich has been my favourite part of London so far, and I will infuriate my partner when I recount for decades to come what a good time I had, when in reality I had absolutely no energy left to do anything but watch the inside of my eyeballs as if they were a cinema screen.

      Because Greenwich is set up beautifully for tourists, but all the tourists had gone with Bank Holiday and the end of summer, the place felt restored to itself somehow. The Cutty Sark precinct of course felt like a theme park, but a theme park at closing time: nostalgic and depopulating.

      I have been whingeing about how Queen Victoria has absolutely colonised London with her architecture and her propaganda, but Greenwich felt curiously 18th century, something not built for the likes of her. Walking through the observatory's hallways and stairways - all milk white, toast brown - and seeing the iron and brass instruments was properly transporting. The place was quiet, even with a busload of Spanish school kids giddy at the prospect of a good gift shop, which is after all the apex of any tourist experience, as every child knows.

      Mum, Dad, and Stuart were all absolutely energised and reassuring, a pleasure to be around, while I was all vortex and debility. After the observatory - where the greatest observation might have been Dad spotting the editor of The Guardian Australia - I broke off from the group and went to the Kings Arms to draw some architecture in my sketchbook and drink an oversized Lemonade.

      After that, a patrol around the cobblestones to look at Greenwich Market - I nearly bought a wooden watch with a teal face but then I remembered that it was 2022 and I didn't use a watch anymore, besides which I had the gorgeous one that Stuart gave me in 2018 which would not appreciate the infidelity. I didn't really want a watch. I just wanted the dopamine that comes from buying 1 x crapthing please. Yes I would like my crapthing giftwrapped.

      I ordered an espresso in Waterstones Bookshop and a small chocolate bar which had oxidized to the point where it was no longer a food item but some brownish chemical quiddity. I just opened the chocolate bar wide and ate none of it, looking at it, feeling like it expressed my soul.

      A ride on the brilliant DLR and then lunch at St Katharine's Docks in The Dickens Inn (named not after Charles Dickens but his (great?) grandson Cecil ) and the best burger anyone could have imagined did nothing to restore me to myself. You might as well have stuffed a beef burger inside an anatomical skeleton model for all the pleasure it gave me. But I was abstractly aware it was actually incredible.

      Coffee and real edible chocolate at Mum and Dad's place was a very gentle affair. I could tell how much they had pushed themselves to get the very most of out this foreign rendezvous with me and Stu, and I was moved by it. Seeing them really was a once in a lifetime experience, and I know that because it has only happened once in my lifetime. Hugging them goodbye will be a core memory now.

      That evening at home was a blur. The bathtub in our AirBnB doesn't work because the water doesn't heat up. And apart from that, the bath surface is grimy from a week of standing on it in the shower and we don't have cleaning products. Are we supposed to go to Tesco Express and buy bleach, pine-o-clean, sponges, and rubber gloves? The Virgo in me thinks this is a thrilling travel idea, practically the Virgo equivalent of bungee jumping. Cleaning in a foreign city? Where does the line start!?

      A curious thing about the day was that I got to see the true size of London, first by ferry (the "Meteor" clipper) and then by DLR. The tube has a funny way of folding London up like a map ready to put in your satchel, but the ferry unfolds that map. Mum and Dad's place at Tower Bridge was much further away than I could have anticipated - a full half hour ride. I'm glad we didn't try to walk it. The DLR too showed us plenty of poverty and really sad social housing and buildings demolished by neglect - I needed to see this. London was starting to get out of sight, out of mind.

      I was disconsolate by bedtime knowing that we had paid for two tours in a row the next morning, each 1.5 hours. I just wanted to stop.

      The sleep train hit me like the Victoria line to Brixton: fast and impersonal.
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      Traveler

      those haunted eyes. By this stage I'm already a reanimated corpse. But with very minimal animation.

      9/3/22Reply
      Traveler

      Jo and Graham are also in this photo.

      9/3/22Reply
      Traveler

      St George Wharf Pier, which has a great view of Battersea Power Station. I didn't upload a picture of that view but sheesh do I have to everything?

      9/3/22Reply
      Traveler

      A simply inspired post, full of heart with some amazing pics.

      9/3/22Reply
       
    • Day9

      Septième journée : Greenwich

      January 9 in England ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

      Pour la dernière fois pour ce voyage, salut!

      Effectivement, dernière journée d'activités aujourd'hui. Je repars demain matin. Avant d'en venir à ça, voici ce que j'ai fait aujourd'hui!

      C'était une journée plutôt tranquille, pas trop chargée. J'ai (enfin) pris le bus pour me rendre dans le coin de Greenwich. Après ce qui m'a semblé une éternité dû à des changements de bus, je suis finalement arrivée à ce que je voulais visiter en premier, c'est-à-dire l'observatoire royal de Greenwich! Je voulais absolument y être pour 13h parce qu'à cette heure exacte, la "boule du temps" (Time Ball) tombe pour marquer ce moment de la journée. Je ne voulais pas manquer l'occasion d'assister à ça! 😂 Après ça, j'ai fait un tour des lieux pour traverser de manière officielle le méridien de Greenwich (oui oui) et pour observer les institutions des alentours (le planétarium entre autres).

      Ensuite, j'ai encore fait une balade suggérée par mon guide dans Greenwich pour observer des monuments historiques surtout. J'ai observé une vieille église anglicane du nom de St Alfege pour commencer. Ensuite, j'ai fait un tour au Greenwich Market. Je me suis arrêtée dans une chocolaterie et me suis choisi quelques chocolats et truffes à déguster : c'était très bon! 😋 J'ai passé dans le coin du Old Royal Naval College où j'ai croisé plusieurs énormes bâtisses que j'ai trouvées magnifiques! Ensuite, j'ai vu un grand bateau du nom de Cutty Sark qui a marqué le 19e siècle en étant le dernier à avoir navigué entre la Chine et l'Angleterre à l'époque.

      J'ai terminé en traversant le fleuve pour avoir une vue globale de ce que j'avais observé de plus près plus tôt à partir de la rive nord. C'était tellement beau avec l'eau! À ce moment-là, j'ai eu une forte émotion parce que je savais que c'était ce qui mettait fin à mon premier périple en Angleterre. Réaliser ça m'a rendu triste et émue de tout ce que j'ai accompli et appris avec cette expérience. Je suis vraiment fière de l'avoir fait et j'encourage sincèrement tout le monde à réaliser leurs projets, quels qu'ils soient. J'ai éprouvé tellement de satisfaction à voir mon rêve se concrétiser quand j'ai passé à l'action! Et ça a été le plus bel accomplissement de ma vie jusqu'à présent.

      Sur cette note de style discours de motivation 😂, je tiens à remercier ceux qui ont suivi mon aventure. J'ai aimé vous partager mon expérience, ça m'a fait sentir un peu moins seule. 🙂

      À la prochaine!
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      Traveler

      ❤️❤️

      Traveler

      ❤️❤️

       
    • Day193

      Uber boats

      November 18, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      Scout and I went to Greenwich markets after the museum and caught the ferry back to London Bridge ! Super exciting :)
      We stopped to take a photo and heard some girls singing in the apartment balcony sideways above us and so we started dancing from the street with them with our phone flashlights and they saw us and we all were dancing on seperate levels together for a min. Very funny - we laughed the whole way over to Borough markets which I have been to so many times now and we got some mulled cider mm mmm. Love me a good mulled anything. It’s her last day here before she goes to Munich tomorrow 🥺
      And here’s another museum photo from a mirror in the kids section :)
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    • Day193

      Maritime museum

      November 18, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

      Absolutely loved the first few pics - a photography exhibition in the Maritime museum :)
      Spent a few hours here and then scout came and met me and we did Morse code with lights and sound to each other in the kids area. It was actually quite hard to interpret it when you were hearing or seeing it. And we tried on the Antarctic room ancient and modern glasses. You would not be wanting to come here with the old ones let me tell ya that.Read more

    • Day3

      Head Over Heels

      September 4, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

      This morning, we had breakfast and tea on the balcony. From our fifth floor apartment we can see north to the Queen’s Olympic Park. Site of the 2012 Games, the Park runs several urban blocks, north and south. Most noticeable from our vantage point was a twisting, red, metal structure. It was odd enough that it made me curious, so I did a quick google search. It turned out to be the Arcelomittal Orbit. What the heck is that, you ask? It is the world’s longest tunnel slide, conjoined with a fantastical steel structure, created specifically for the Olympic Games. Well, no challenge like that is going unanswered. I immediately purchased tickets for an afternoon ride, and we were off to the Park in minutes.

      We strolled along a series of waterways to reach the Park. Moored to the piers, several long, slender, houseboats filled the narrow rivers. The walk was quiet, despite the bustling avenues a block or two away. Entering the Park on the south side, we walked past the Arcelomittal and the hill that once hosted the medal podium. To our right was a giant, clam shaped building that houses the aquatic center. The building shimmers a blue hue and made me want to take a swim; unfortunately, we were under time constraints. We hustled to the Olympic Rings for a quick picture, before turning around to make our slide appointment. The walk back along the river included cool shade, under oak trees, with coots lazily swimming upstream.

      We arrived for our slide right on time and took the elevator to the launching deck, about 250 feet up. The views were incredible; the outfit, not so much. We had to put on a silly hat that looked like an old time football “helmet.” The old leather ones that you see in black and white photos. Not sure what the point was then or now, but we complied. Along with the head gear, elbow protection was required and made more sense to me. As we waited in line, Kim started to second guess her choice, but I reassured her. Then came the scream from the woman, who had just slipped into the tube. The young man working the entrance of the tube smiled and said, “She’s loving it!” I’m not sure that it was a scream of joy or if she waited for her friends, but it got me even more excited. Restraining myself, I let Kim go first. She nervously pushed off and it was silent, until it wasn’t. Suddenly a prolonged howl emitted from the slide, which I later confirmed was a spontaneous utterance of enjoyment. I came down next, smiling the entire way. It was 600 feet of pure fun that ended way too soon.

      We left the slide and grabbed a quick bite, simultaneously eating and walking to the ABBA arena. We stood in the short line, with lots of platform shoes, before entering the dance floor. Although we got there with ten minutes to spare, somehow we ended up on the railing of the stage, smack in the middle. What? We just got the best dance spot in the house? Uh, yup. We then met Andy, who flew from Australia for the show. As a matter of fact, he came on Friday night and loved it so much that he was back for the matinee today. Although I had worried that my expectations might be unrealistically high, Andy just put me at ease. In only moments, the show started. I can’t really explain what I saw, but it was incredible. Andy and I had waited 40 years for this, so I smacked him on the butt and danced with him to”Does Your Mother Know.” Kim and I bounced up down but when they let loose “Dancing Queen” the entire place erupted. It was bananas. I turned toward the audience, and none of the ticket holders in the seated area were in their chairs. Jumping, shaking, singing, the whole place was deafening. It was like a huge sing-along with 2,999 of your best friends and everyone knows the words. Wow! By the time we left, I was partially deaf, and we were almost back to the apartment by the time I could hear again. Before we left, I asked Andy if he preferred his seat in the back of the Arena on Friday or center stage on the dance floor today. With a huge grin, he said, “This is the best seat in the house!” Then, he paused and leaned in toward me, as though revealing a secret, “I’m supposed to go to the theatre before I leave on Friday, but I might just skip it and come back here.” It was that good. (I have to admit, I looked but couldn’t get tickets for tonight’s show-sold out).
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      I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much! Sounds like a fun day! Where’s the sweater? [Debbie]

      9/4/22Reply
      Traveler

      Awesome. So much fun!!

      9/4/22Reply

      That’s a great day! Several more to come I’m sure. [Eileen]

      9/4/22Reply
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    • Jun19

      Mamma Mia: The Party 🎉🕺🏼🌺☀️🥗

      June 19, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      A balmy 23 glorious degrees as you enter the island 🏝 of Skopelos. Crickets 🦗 chirp & Greek music 🎵 plays as you are strategically and well organised taken to your table under the pergola entwined with vines 🍃and flowers 🌺 Authentic & welcoming… served delicious Mezze 🫒 of olives, dips, breads & tangy Greek salad 🥗. Musicians circle, chat and mingle. And, then…

      The hits begin!

      What an amazing interactive performance it becomes… All of the actors & musicians circle the entire venue and make everybody feel part of the action! 🕺🏼💃🏼🕺🏼💃🏼 The waiters become actors and enthusiastically embrace the surroundings.

      You are reminded how many amazing songs ABBA actually have. It is hit after hit after hit! Even some of the lesser known songs from the back catalogue are used to perfection in the performance. Everybody in the audience/tables feel like they are on the stage and the emotion is palpable. I honestly had a tear (…actually quite a few) in my eye just thinking how lucky I am to be here! 🥰

      By the way: the food is superb. Everything is cooked to perfection & really delicious and fantastic quality. Extremely clever and appropriate menu of Greek delights! Tender lamb and beef with tantalising lemon potatoes & zucchini. Speaking of delights…the boys in the show are beautiful too 😝😍 😝

      Benny and Bjorn are Masters in manipulative marketing! I mean that in a really good way: Even if you were not an ABBA fan (unlikely in this room) you would still be completely and utterly transported away to the island they are representing here. It is absolutely amazing and beautiful. What a truly wonderful experience. This will allow ABBA’s astonishing music 🎼 to continue on for generations to come. The most amazing part of the experience is that you actually feel like you are on an island in Greece (even down to temperature of the room!) and this is all happening around you; literally & naturally. Who can do that?
      Only ABBA! ❤️❤️❤️

      You never have to wait for anything; food, drinks, service: there are enough waiters and waitresses who double as performers to cater for your every need. Yes! I am gushing but I am so glad that I was not disappointed. It is pure magic! 👍🏻🌺

      The next 24 hours will have me an emotional ABBAwreck! 😜

      There are 3 acts which are skilfully and purposefully wrapped around each deliciously prepared course! It’s a whole lotta bang for your buck! Well worth every cent. The ticket 🎟 price is high but we were upgraded as well: to a table right inside the action…no value or price can be associated with such a privileged ‘experience’ 🕺🏼

      Not only do you get this thoughtful & well produced show (slightly resembling the original Mamma Mia) but the entire room becomes a gigantic glitter ball ABBA disco! Everybody goes joyously crazy, as they should!

      I can only imagine what future generations will think of this amazing band and a legacy they have left! The absolute beauty of this is that we have people from all ages and all walks of life enjoying every moment!

      ABBASOLUTELY Brilliant!

      🕺🏼💃🏼💃🏼🕺🏼🥰❤️🎉
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      Looks and sounds amazing [Jules]

      6/19/22Reply
      Traveler

      It is well worth every cent… It was quite expensive but it is basically a three act show, a concert, a disco and a meal all in one!

      6/19/22Reply

      wow Troy it looks great what amazing start to the next step of your ABBA experience the concert to morrow night will be great too xx [us]

      6/19/22Reply
      Traveler

      It was fantastic! They do such a fantastic job… I am really looking forward to the voyage concert tomorrow… x

      6/19/22Reply
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    • Day3

      The Forgotten Genius

      June 26, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

      When we returned from our excursion to Westminster Abbey, we grabbed a quick lunch. I was ready to re-visit the Old Naval College, the Maritime Museum, and the Royal Greenwich Observatory. I can’t imagine why Glenda wouldn’t want to see the chronometer that John Harrison developed in the eighteenth century. I mean, it completely changed the world. But I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

      Today was a perfect Sunday afternoon with bright sun, a gentle breeze and a high of about seventy degrees. I still lacked a thousand steps to meet my Walkingspree obligation, so I set off for the Old Naval College. It was originally called the Old Sailors’ Hospital, but the word “hospital” has changed meanings since then. A hospital was not primarily tasked with healing illnesses, but with providing a home for the elderly. So old, worn-out sailors who had given their life to the King’s Navy often retired with no home or family to tend them in old age. To meet this need the British government set up hospitals for old sailors, and a similar hospital for old soldiers (which still exists, by the way). When society changed so that almost all sailors did have families or the means to pay for lodging, their facility became the Naval College, something like our Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

      I had to admire its beautiful architecture very quickly because it was already almost four o’clock, and the places I wanted to visit closed at five. I did a quick run-through of the Naval Museum, wondering at the hardships of a life at sea. I didn’t have time to re-visit the Queen’s House, the very first totally neo-classical building in England. (Architect Inigo Jones should be proud.) I walked quickly up a stunningly beautiful hill called Greenwich Park to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the place where longitude was first officially determined. Finding one’s longitude requires two elements: first, knowledge of the exact time. This can be ascertained by looking at the motion of heavenly bodies such as the sun or the moons of Jupiter. An observatory is a good place to see such things. Secondly, it requires that the ship seeking its longitude to have a clock that is insanely precise. Then the captain compares the time at the ship’s location with some standard (such as the exact time at London, well Greenwich) to calculate his longitude. No clock in the eighteenth century was sufficiently precise to give longitude. The rocking and heeling of ships in storms rendered pendulum clocks useless. However, in an epic struggle taking 31 years, clockmaker John Harrison finally made a timepiece that was sufficiently precise and robust to be used at sea. The British Navy took his double-gimbaled clock and declared it top secret. No other nation in the world had the capability to measure longitude until another generation had passed. The British government did not even acknowledge that they had such an instrument, and therefore, they could never recognize nor compensate Harrison for his genius. His son persisted in his efforts to have his father’s genius recognized, and finally the nation acknowledged Harrison’s accomplishment many years after his death.

      Unfortunately, as I approached the Royal Observatory it was about to close, and a guard denied me entry. Still, I have some photos I took on my last visit, and I still have profound respect for John Harrison, the unacknowledged genius.
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    • Day2

      Longitude Zero

      June 25, 2022 in England ⋅ ☁️ 66 °F

      We landed at Heathrow Airport and, because we were carrying our luggage, breezed through immigration and customs. The Viking representative snagged us just outside the door of luggage claim to put us on the bus. The ship’s crew needed some time to debark our predecessors and make the ship ready for us, so we drove to a palatial Sofitel at the edge of the airport, where we killed about an hour and a half feasting on coffee, cinnamon buns, cheese and fruit. Another 90 minute bus ride brought us through Kensington and Chelsea, and along the Thames to Greenwich. There we boarded a tender that took us to the middle of the river, where the beautiful new Viking Mars awaited us. This ship is only one month old, and ours is only its second cruise. It is good to be in Greenwich again. We walked through the beautiful green lawns of the Old Naval College, saw the clipper ship Cutty Sark, and passed the church of St. Alfege, which contains the body of British General Wolfe, who was killed on the Plains of Abraham at the Battle for Quebec. He and his family were parishioners in this church. The congregation here also displays behind a glass panel the old organ keyboard used by the noted baroque composer Henry Purcell, who was choirmaster and organist here. The Royal Greenwich Observatory winked at us from high atop its hill at exactly 0 degrees of longitude. We grabbed a quick lunch at the World Cafe and found our stateroom prepared for our arrival. Much of the history of the English speaking world took place a stone’s throw from here and we are about to dive into it.Read more

      Traveler

      Happy memories

      6/25/22Reply
      Traveler

      So glad you are situated and already enjoying the trip!!

      6/25/22Reply
      Traveler

      So thankful you two are safe! Have a wonderful time. Love you guys!

      6/25/22Reply
       
    • Day2

      Millwall FC - Coventry City

      August 13, 2022 in England ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

      Von der Tower Bridge sind er nur 4 Minuten Bahnfahrt bis „The Den“. 4 Minuten, die gefühlt in eine andere Welt führen.

      Touristen sind nicht mehr zu sehen, die Müllabfuhr wohl auch länger nicht 🙈 Scheinbar wird hier ein Süd-Londoner Dialekt gesprochen, der nichts mit dem britischen Englisch zu tun zu haben scheint 😄 Industrie links, schmierige Fast-Food Läden rechts, das Stadion gradeaus, Menschen aus der Arbeiterklasse. Authentisches England also 😍👌

      Der Millwall FC ist besonders durch den Film „Hooligans“ in der Fußballerszene bekannt und berüchtigt. Tatsächlich scheint hier eine erhöhte Zahl dieser Gruppierung vorhanden zu sein. Zumindest ist das unsere Wahrnehmung.

      Das Stadion ist dann wieder ein typisch, altes englisches Ding. Klassisch vier Tribünen und eng. Die Sonne heizt von oben ordentlich ein.

      Das Spiel beginnt dann mit einer schnellen 2:0 Führung für die Gäste aus Coventry. Ehe das Heimteam speziell im zweiten Durchgang aufdreht und am Ende mit 3:2 gewinnt. Das Stadion rastet aus, eine wahnsinnige Stimmung 🤩 Groundhopperherz - was willst du mehr.

      Mit dem Bus fahren wir am Abend zurück in die Nähe unseres Hotels, gehen essen und verbringen ein paar Stunden im Viertel Notting Hill.
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      Traveler

      Ne abwechslungsreiche Mischung für den Tag und abends und schön klimatisierte Zimmer ✊🏼

      8/14/22Reply
       
    • Day2

      Arrival

      September 3, 2022 in England ⋅ ☁️ 68 °F

      It’s funny how the mind conveniently forgets things, when it is distracted by a major health crisis. I had been fantasizing about this trip for months and not once did I recollect the special kind of hell that is an overnight long haul flight. Almost three years since our last red eye, and I had come to believe the delusional idea that I would sleep from Denver to London. Rubbish! We left Denver at 8:20 last night and were kept awake most of the night. Just as I would find myself drifting off, we hit turbulence, of which, there was a lot. In those other moments, when my sandpapered eyeballs finally closed and sleep felt near, the flight attendants hit a high point in their conversation, raising voices to make a point. They seemed to talk incessantly for nine hours. Unfortunately, our seats were located right next to the galley, where they apparently were not short of spirited topics. Fortunately, we arrived in London just after noon, so we only needed to stay awake eight hours before catching up on the hours of lost sleep.

      After our plane touched down on time, the flight attendant announced that portions of the public transportation system were not available, due to striking workers. Of course, it was the line that we had planned to take to our Air BnB that was not running. We pivoted to the train to get us to a different underground line and made it to the apartment in a couple of hours. We stocked up on fresh food at the nearby store, grabbed some dinner, and spent the evening watching Derry Girls. We made sure the closed captions feature was turned on, so we could get in some good practice for our visit to Derry later this week.
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      Traveler

      Can’t wait to hear about the concert!

      9/4/22Reply
       

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    Maze Hill Railway Station, MZH

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