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Trip Report 3 weeks in London, Cornwall and a tiny piece of Wales

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I am ten days back from my trip and still getting caught up on stuff that needs doing after being away, but this TR is a good excuse to stop the boring stuff for a while.

Things I learned:
Marmite, which is mentioned on the Europe thread from time to time, is either an acquired taste or must bring back warm fuzzy feelings from childhood. It was on the breakfast buffet in several hotels and I decided I ought to try it. No need to try it again.

I am converted to the idea of making reservations ahead. I have always gone as a free spirit as the will took me (except for big cities). However, after nearly spending the night in the car, I give. The planners have me convinced!

I will have a cell phone of some sort next time.

I will find some small device for checking and sending emails, etc. Internet cafes are harder and harder to find but wifi is everywhere.

I guess I am looking old. Several times young people on the Tube or on busses got up to give me their seats. I got the "concessions" rate without even being asked.

I owe my guardian angels big time. Well I did know that, but it is easy to forget.

London is still my favorite city across the water.

First off, London.

I arrived on April 22 on a flight on BA from Boston. Anted up for premium economy and it was well worth it. Had the two seats on the outside section to myself. Slept a bit, though the two twenty something guys in front of me seemed to bounce around most of the flight. I am always amazed at how fast one gets through customs at Heathrow.

The day I left for my trip the last of the huge snowpile that the town plows had pushed up at the corner of my street finally melted away. Bulbs were just pushing up in my yard. I found that the daffodils in London were gone by and the tulips had just passed their peak.

Took the Heathrow Express right into Paddington. My hotel was just a few steps away on Norfolk Square. I had stayed at the Cardiff Hotel on my last trip. The rooms are small, but the price is right, it's clean, safe, friendly. Breakfast included. (Buffet--scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, bacon, baked beans, basket of fresh fruit, cereal, fruit juices, tea, coffee, milk). Internet café across the street.

I did a lot of walking and revisited many of my old favorites--Tower of London, national Gallery, British Museum, St. Paul's, . V&A, and more, but others have covered those places thoroughly.

I went to mass at Brompton Oratory. The mass was sung and very uplifting. (Thanks Pegontheroad for mentioning that in one of your reports) One amusing incident. In front of me there was a young couple who looked about fifteen, but must have been older as they both had on wedding rings. He could not keep his hands off her and he was kissing her all over. A gentleman with a cane was sitting next to me. Finally, under cover of singing, he reached out with his cane and hooked the guy's arm as he exclaimed, "For Christ's sake! Get a room!" They stopped for about five minutes and I did my best not to laugh!

I went back to Westminster Cathedral, the Roman Catholic seat in England. I had been here more than thirty years ago and remembered that one can take the lift and go to the top of the campanile. Then there was quite a good view of London, but with all the building in that area, there are just little peeks of places.

I went into the Royal Mews, a place that I have somehow missed over the years. It was nifty to get a close up view of the state coaches. I was also interested to learn that there are now two Bentleys and three Rolls for processions and such. One of the Bentleys has a specially designed engine that lets it move at a constant 3 mph. I never thought of that as being a necessity, but it makes sense now that I think about it.

Decided to take the bull by the horns and go up in the London Eye. I am not too fond of heights, but decided that this thing is safe enough. finding the ticket office was a bit of a quest as I kept seeing the wrong signs. Going up was pretty unnerving for me. I did look around, but kept saying to myself, "don't have a melt down," and wondering why I had paid twenty five bucks to scare the sh** out of myself. The mantra worked and I managed to keep it together. Once we were over the top, it didn't seem so bad. It was a gorgeous day and the views of London were wonderful.

One night got tickets to Les Mis. The show itself was wonderful. My seat was not. It kept threatening to dump me on the floor and the woman in front of me was very tall. Oh, well, it was London and it was live stage.

One day I took a ride out to Hampton Court. I had been before--once in November, once in February (chaperone on student trip), and once in July. I wanted to see what it would be like in spring. The gardens were fabulous! The interior of the place was as interesting and as wonderful as I remembered.

However, I did have an adventure here. It was getting towards the end of the day (I could have spent two whole days here) and as I was leaving to go back to the train station, I saw a toilet sign. Well my mother always taught us to take advantage of opportunities; you never know when the next chance for a widdle will be. I dashed into a stall and pulled the latch and some pieces came out and went rolling into the next stall. I did my business and then realized I was stuck. I couldn't make that latch undo. I started calling for help. While the stall was commodious, the thought of spending the night there did not appeal.

Finally a woman came in and heard my cries went to find help. The person who came couldn't figure out what to do. They did retrieve the pieces that had rolled into the next stall, but I couldn't put them together to get the latch working. The person on the other side finally went to get someone with a tool box who disassembled the whole bit and let me out. I thanked him profusely and he smiled and made a typical British humorous remark.

Well it is time to get back to work. More later.

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