Archive for May, 2009

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Taking The T.A.R.D.I.S. To India

May 25, 2009

Finally, I have internet access.  The Space Apart Hotel was the last place we had access.  It was the place we stayed in London, and I was very pleased with it.  We had a little studio that came with a kitchenette and a washer/dryer.  And when I say “washer/dryer,” I mean a washer that is also a dryer.  I never have figured out why we have to have two machines to do one job…

However, we found out the hard way you should not use the timed dry function.  After 60 minutes, the clothes were still very damp.  So, I set it on automatic dry.  This would not have been such a problem if it had not been 11 o’clock at night.  The dryer was a bit loud, and it kept making this swishing water sound that really worried us.  Thankfully, the clothes were dry the next morning.

After leaving London, we went to Glasgow.  We stayed at the Kelvingrove Hotel for the one night we were there.  It was a nice place with really friendly people.  The receptionist was excited for us going to the Doctor Who exhibition, and one of the other employees had been there.

The exhibition was fantastic.  It had the classic monsters that have been in the new series, a lot of the good new monsters as well.  There is even a dalek you can stick your head in, move the plunger and gun, and it changes your voice to sound like a dalek.  It was great fun, and Ritsa took a video of it.  I will see if I can get it posted to either my blog or YouTube later.

The receptionist at the hotel gave us a recommendation for dinner at Mother India.  We had a leg of lamb there that was to die for.  It was tender and covered in spices.  I could have eaten an entire lamb done like that.  It is a must eat in Glasgow.

The next day we went to Edinburgh to pick up my sister-in-law. More about that tomorrow!

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Prison, Tea, Celebrities and Murder

May 18, 2009

Another busy day in London!

This morning we headed to the Tower of London and discovered yet another site we could spend most of a day touring.  The Beefeater-led tour of the grounds was great, but seemed really short even though it was an hour long.  Then we saw the crown jewels.  They were impressive, but I got more enjoyment out of the Henry VIII exhibit.

We came back to the hotel room and got ready for high tea at The Dorchester.  It was fun, and the food was amazing.  The fun part was sitting next to a room where all this activity was going on.  We had no idea what it was.  Then we heard a guy asking if he could bring Barbara Windsor out.  We got kind of excited, because we thought maybe she was a minor royal with the name Windsor and all.  Turns out, she is a pretty famous actress.  So, that was our brush with celebrity for the trip.

From The Dorchester we went and saw The Mousetrap.  It was written by Agatha Christie, one of my guilty pleasures of reading.  Ritsa guessed the killer, and I had guessed the killer and dismissed it because I had read a similar plot in one of her books.  I will not, however, reveal the killer.  That would be wrong.  Go see it; it was very enjoyable.

We are now packing up in order to catch a train to Glasgow tomorrow.

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The Tudors: True Bollywood Stories

May 17, 2009

Today we went to Hampton Court Palace, as featured in The Tudors.  We again took the Tube, but we managed to account for route closures ahead of time today.  We then had to change to an overland train, and after a total of 45 minutes, we were walking into the palace.

I am not familiar with Tudor construction, so the use of red brick surprised me.  I always associate it with construction in the 1940s in the U.S.  The palace is rather large.  We spent six hours touring the different wings of the palace and the gardens.

While I was a bit disappointed that the real people were not as hot as the actors in The Tudors, it was still a fascinating place. The gardens were magnificent, and we got to see the oldest and largest grape vine in the world.  I do not know how people can show up and only spend an hour there.

After Hampton Court Palace, we came home and ate at the Curry Place/Palace.  They seem to use the two names interchangeably.  We had a very good meal there, though.  I love lamb vindaloo, and even though it could have been a touch hotter, I figure they might have not wanted to kill the white American.  They had some Bollywood movie playing, and we found ourselves hypnotized by it a few times.  We have no idea what the plot (if there was one) was, but all that synchronized gyrating is mesmerizing.  Speaking of movie-like things, the first table when we walked in was populated by an Asian woman with funky hair and a sleeve and her table-mate, who had a shaved head and tattoos on his skull. I felt like I was walking into a set of Blade.

Oh, it is between the Queensway and Bayswater stops, if you want to eat there.

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Heaven and Hell

May 17, 2009

Our first day in London, we hit a couple of major tourist spots.  Of course, our day started in normal fashion for this trip: the quickest underground line to Westminster Abbey was closed for repairs.  The second most convenient route was also blocked due to repairs.  That left us the third best route.

Westminster Abbey was beautiful.  To get there we had to get off at the Embankment stop, which let us see the London Eye from across the Thames and took us right by the Houses of Parliament.  The movies do not do the Houses justice.  They are HUGE.

As I said, the abbey itself was gorgeous.  I am a sucker for gothic architecture, and the abbey has it in spades.  It is hard for me to decide on what part was my favorite, but I think I liked Poet’s Corner best.  If you are in London and have not seen it, see Westminster Abbey.

From there we went to the War Cabinet Rooms and Winston Churchill museum.  The cabinet rooms were pretty interesting, but the WC museum left me a little bored.  They had some neat interactive displays, but I was still left a little cold.

Then we ended up walking through the exercise grounds for the calvary.  We got some pictures of mounted guards and walked pass the entrance to Downing Street, since they do not let you get near #10 any more.

We walked by Trafalger square.  Neither one of us really wanted to spend time there, although Nelson has an impressive column.

We then mosied on through St. James Park and avoided both wildfowl and canoodling couples.  The park is beautiful.  I would not have minded wasting an entire afternoon there, but we had to soldier on to see Buckingham Palace.

We missed the changing of the guard by quite a bit, so the palace itself was kind of boring.  We did not stay there long.

Finally we ran an errand for one of my wife’s co-workers and hiked to Harrod’s to pick up a bag.  Harrod’s is my own special kind of hell.  It was full of people and over-priced, over-designed… stuff.  We got out of there as fast as we could.  We even asked the girl that rang up our purchase what the fastest way out was!

That left us with a tube ride home, a quick dinner of salad, bread and cheese, and an early bed time.

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What A Crazy Trip So Far!

May 15, 2009

This is one of the worst flights we have had on a trip, all for reasons of our own making.  Allow me to recount all of these for you:

1. I left my contacts and contact solution with my sister-in-law.  This actually is not too bad since she will be meeting us in Scotland in a few days.  (We are also sans deodorant.  Sorry, London.)

2. Then I proceeded to spill my full water glass all over my lap and a little into my wife’s lap.  Thankfully I did not hit the guy sitting on the other side of me.  I spent the next six hours of the flight with a damp lap.  There may or may not have been chafing.

3. Next, I sprayed my wife with salad dressing while opening the over-pressurized container.

4. Then it came time to fill out our landing cards for passport control, and I could not find my passport.  I figured it must have been in the backpack in overhead storage.  When the flight landed, I opened up my backpack before disembarking, and the passport was not there.  Begin minor meltdown.  It turns out the passport had gotten stuck in the pages of a book in a different bag.  Disaster averted.

Other than those four things, the trip has been good so far.  The Heathrow Connection was clean and quick, and Paddington station is large and is pretty awesome in the daylight, I imagine.

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Starting Another Trip

May 15, 2009

This time we are off to Jolly Olde England.  Well, we will be in London for three days, and then the bulk of the trip will be in Scotland.  So, hopefully I will have lots of great pictures for you all and some witty commentary.  The only problem so far is leaving my contacts at home.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law will be meeting us in Scotland, and she can bring my contacts wit her.

So long for now.