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Trip Report Book Club Trip to England

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We are back from a wonderful two week book club trip to England. So many of you helped in my two years of planning leading up to this trip. it was a unique trip and a very interesting group dynamic. It will take me several days to get a trip report completed and posted but will kick it off now with a few notes.

Who we are: Six members of a book club in Colorado and one brave husband who tagged along with his wife. We all met in London, coming in on different flights with four of us coming from a week in France prior to this trip. The six of us ladies range in age from 48 to 62 and many of us work together as well. I was the unofficial leader of the group, having planned the itenarary and made all the reservations.

We met on June 6 at our hotel, The Holiday Inn Kensington Forum. This was a good hotel in that we were a three minute walk to the Gloucester Road tube station, had several grocery stores and fast food restaurants and Starbucks next door. I needed to ease the group into the travel spirit and this was a familiar setting to start from. The hotel is a twelve or more story typical Holiday Inn that served lots of flight crews from the airport. It was clean, quiet, and had helpful desk staff. Price was just over $200 per room per night. We had 4 rooms but all on different floors.

On day 1, the group went in different directions for sight seeing as some were new to London and some were repeat visitors. Four went to see The Book of Mormon that night and loved it. Two went to War Horse and enjoyed it as well. Theatre tickets were all purchased in advance from home.

Day 2, we again split into small groups to see the London sights. I took H. who was using a cane and needed knee surgery as soon as we got home. She almost didn't make the trip due to the pain but with plenty of alcohol over the next two weeks and pain medication, she soldiered on.

She and I took the tube, armed with our one day travel card, and started at The British Library. The Library is free. We were amazed with the treasures room, seeing such beautiful maps, books, letters, lyrics, Bibles, from the likes of Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, the Beatles, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth, Handel, and a Magna Carta as well. helped set the mood for our book club themed tour. They have a well stocked gift store there with all kinds of literary souvenirs.

We asked several employees for directions to our next stop, The Charles Dickens Museum, but no one knew where it was. We found a nearby hotel whose doorman pointed us in the right direction. It was in walking distance but with H and her bad knee, it was a little too long but we didn't know that until we were almost there. The Dickens Museum has undergone a recent remodel and was delightful. He wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby while living here. The house had a lot of his personal belongings, manuscripts and other exhibits about his life. There was a lovely backyard patio where we had a scrumptious peanut butter cookie. The cafe had several tasty treats to choose from. The gift shop had a good selection of Dickens themed stuff. Admission to the house was 8 pounds.

Since H was hurting from the walk and from climbing up and down the stairs in the house, we took a cab from there to the British Museum. Had a very chatty cab driver and he dropped us right at the front curb at the British Museum. We spent the next three hours or so roaming about the glories of the British Museum. Had a fantastic goat cheese sandwich at one of the cafes.

Incredibly, we had time and inclination to head next to the Museum of London via the tube. This is a free museum, donations welcome, as was the British Museum. Very good museum giving the history of London from prehistoric times to modern times with great exhibits on the London Fire, the Plague and all the other historical biggies. okay, by now, we were museumed out and our feet were killing us.

We headed to St Paul's Cathedral to meet the whole group for Evensong. We were thrilled to get to sit in the choir loft area. Evensong was lovely, though the organist had the night off and I really missed hearing that organ. Still, there is nothing like being in a cathedral when a service is happening and you experience the space as it was intended, a place of worship, over a tourist attraction. Evensong is free and you can check the cathedral website for times.

All 7 of us headed to the Counting House for dinner. We had an upstairs room with a large table, great service and a fun atmosphere, watching all the young professionals on a Friday night kicking back with friends. Yes, many of us had the fish and chips, which were good, though not spectacular. A tube ride back to the Holiday Inn and day two was in the books.

Next up: We leave London and start our two week trek to book club heaven.

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