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Trip Report TR: Self indulgence in London and Venice

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Some of you have read my 'sad' TR about the trip to London, northern England and the Cotswolds in May. The ankle sprain and all -- I enjoyed myself but felt a bit 'put upon' and a certain amount of feeling sorry for myself. So soon after getting back home I decided to book a 10 day trip back to London solo - sort of to erase the memory.

Then I thought - heck, I've been to London several times in the last couple of years maybe I want to tack on a few days somewhere else. Venice won. I tried lots of different permutations of flights open jaw in to Venice home from London and vice versa and none of the schedules/fares were doable. What did work was Business SMF/LAX/LHR, then 7 days later easyJet LGW > Venice. After 3 nights, I took an evening flight back to LGW, stayed the night, then a late morning coach to LHR and afternoon economy flight LAX > SMF.

I got business/lie flat bed for the overnight flight when it matters and saved about $2000 over booking business both ways. (wasn't an upgrade - it was cold hard cash so business one way and coach return was a good compromise)

Sept 24/Sept 25 to London
Supershuttle picked me up about 10:30AM for the drive to SMF. Had a couple of hours to spare so I had a salad and prosecco (getting in the mood for Venice) at Esquire Grill. Then I got my shoes shined - You haven't lived til a shoeshine man flirts w/ you :)

Short flight to LAX and use of the Admiral's Club during my 4 hour layover. We were about and hour late taking off - the plane was delayed flying in from LHR because one runway had been closed due to some sort of debris on the runway. We had a sort of cattle call shuttle ride to AA's remote terminal at LAX and then delayed some more because the captain was somewhere on one of the shuttle buses.

OK, I am ruined for coach . . . RUINED I tell you. I've flown business a few times but not for several years and not in the sort of roomettes you get in the AA 777-300 cabins. They provide Bose noise canceling head phones (I have my own Bose ear buds so didn't use AA's.) Had sirloin steak which was pretty good. A continual dessert bar set up in the galley. Even w/ the bed, I didn't sleep a whole lot . . . but it was so comfortable that I still felt pretty good when we landed at LHR.

Because of the Fast Track here was really no queue at all for immigration. I topped up my Oyster and pulled some ££ out of a cash machine. I'm staying at Fraser Suites in South Kens just up the road from Gloucester Rd tube station. For the time being the Piccadilly line doesn't stop at Gloucester Rd but changing at Hammersmith to District/Circle got me there easy peasy. There are two Fraser Suites across the street from each other - mine was the Queens Gate property http://london-queensgate.frasershospitality.com/accommodation.php

A bit of a splurge for a solo visit but very worth it. I LOVED my room!!! Very large studio w/ entry hall, full kitchen including 4 burner hob and full sized oven, dining table w/ 2 chairs, nice desk, two lounge chairs/ottomans, King sized bed, high ceilings, and a large bathroom. No tub but a huge shower w/ rainfall and hand held shower heads.

You know how it is so frustrating there is seldom an outlet anywhere near a mirror? - well, the entire kitchen backsplash was a large mirror and there were lots of outlets.

I unpacked everything and then jumped on the tube to Tower Hill. Some of you know about the poppies in the tower moat. a couple of months ago I purchased one which will be sent after Nov 11. I really wanted to see them in situ.

http://poppies.hrp.org.uk/about-the-installation
http://outandaboutinthecity.com/2014/08/20/tower-of-london-goes-red-for-ww1-centenary/

I got there at dusk and it was very moving.

Took the #15 bus w/ intentions of eating somewhere around Covent Garden. But after wandering around a bit (it was a gorgeous, warm evening) I was starting to flag a bit so decided to head back to S Kens and eat near the hotel. Ended up at Ask which is ins't at all gourmet but is usually reliable and it was. (hey, it could have been Garfunkles jus next door :) ) Had antipasto, a caprese-ish salad, wine and gelato. Seated next to a couple from the tiny California mountain town (like 3500 population) where my Dad was born! VERY small world. They were Raider fans going to Wembley on Sunday so I gave them some pointers from my experience at last year's 49er game. It was nearly 10PM and I popped into the next door Waitrose just before closing and picked up cheese, biscuits, yoghurt, juice, wine, fruit, etc.

stumbled 'home' and to bed . . .

Next: V&A wedding Gowns, Unsuccessful visit to Imperial War Museum, Fortnum & Mason, and the Wolseley

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