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Trip Report The volcano gods smiled, then frowned. UK citizens endangered

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When: April 23 - May 10.
Where: London, Salisbury, Bath, Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, York and Edinburgh.
Overall impression: Wow!

We left from JFK even though we live just south of Baltimore. AA does not have direct flights from nearby airports and past experience with missed connections and delayed luggage made the 4.5 hour drive to JFK seem prudent. Flights were leaving from JFK to Heathrow for the past 36 hours but we kept tuned to the news on the drive up to learn of any changes. Not to worry. Our flight left on time and arrived nearly one hour early. We got through Heathrow easily and wended our way to the tube station dragging our far too much luggage behind us (hey, we were going to rent a car in a few days for most of the rest of the trip, so why not bring lots of stuff - such was DW's thinking). The ticket seller at the tube station advised us that a one day ticket for each of our two days in London would be the best bet. We did get excellent value from that.

Our London Hotel, the Millennium Bailey is just across from the Gloucester tube station. How good is that? Lots of stairs though to reach the surface. As I was schlepping the biggest duffel up the stairs, a well dressed fellow offered to help, and of course I let him, thinking that if he was going to steal it, I would have no trouble catching him. That was a really nice gesture on his part and the first of a long series of just plain decency that we would experience during our travels in the UK. The "friendly virus" has hit Britain and everyone we met was infected.

Even though we were hours early for check-in (it wasn't even breakfast time yet) there was a room that was ready and it was quite nice. The hotel location is excellent. Across from a tube station with 3 lines, a short walk to the V&A museum and the Natural History museum. A quick breakfast near the hotel - there are many eateries nearby - and we were ready to invade London.

Next: Tales of the Crypt.

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