Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

First trip we lost a car, this trip we lose a lady >)

First trip we lost a car, this trip we lose a lady >)

Old Jun 8th, 2014, 03:26 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,053
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
First trip we lost a car, this trip we lose a lady >)

I've been back 2.5 weeks from my latest UK trip and the TR is past due. It may take me a week or so to complete the whole thing since I didn't keep a regular journal like on most trips. I'll be recreating what happened when/where from receipts and 'stuff' I brought home. Those of you who've read my infamous TR from several years ago will know a bit about two friends who traveled w/ me. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-england.cfm

<B>Background:</B> In Jan. one of the 'ORD ladies' from the earlier trip called and asked me to help them plan a trip to London, Durham and Norway. (translation - would I plan the whole thing). For this TR I'll call her B1. She lives in northern Indiana and is the sister of one of my friends here in northern CA. (I'll call the sister B2) I explained I'd only been to Norway once for a long weekend years ago and am FAR from an expert. B1's friend D really wants to visit Norway and see the fjords. They had made a pact that if B1 would do Norway, D would visit England. Oh - and they REALLY wanted me to go w/ them. I said the England bits wouldn't be a problem at all - but I'd have to do some research re Norway.

In the meantime B2 calls me an asks if B1 had contacted me - that the two of them REALLY want to go back to London and maybe re-visit the Cotswolds. I left it up to the 3 of them to decide where they really, really want to go. After 6 or 7 phone calls back and forth it was decided this would be an England-only trip and the B1 and D will do a Scandinavian cruise next year.

So I set to work. Dates of travel May 4-21. First a week in London, then train up north, collect a car and spend a couple of days in Northumberland, down to N. Yorkshire for 3 days, then the Cotswolds for 3 or 4 days, flying out of LHR on the 21st.

Things I pre-booked: B2 and my flights; Flat in London; Car service; Blithe Spirit tickets; Dinner at Rule's and tea at the Ritz (neither of these were my choice - both were musts for B1 and/or B2 - we did them on the earlier trip); Train tix to Newcastle; Rental car; B&Bs in Alnwick, Borrowby a bit north of Thirsk, and in Kingham; Last night's hotel at LHR.

<B>May 5-12 London:</B>. B2 and I flew out of SMF on AA and B1/D flew out of ORD on Sunday w/ ETAs w/i 30 minutes of each other at T3 and T1. First slight hiccup - B2's husband drove us to SMF and dropped us off 2+ hours before our flight - and when we go to the check in desk, I notice when B2 pulled out her passport . . . it had 2 holes punched in it (!) (if you have not renewed a passport - the punched holes indicate a cancelled/replaced passport). YIKES! She brought her 8 yo, voided passport. While B2 called her husband who was still driving home, I was frantically trying to figure out what to do if I made the flight but B2 didn't. I really did have to make it to London because B1 and D would be counting on me to get them to St Katharine's Marina. Thankfully, B2's hubby made it home, found the passport (after 4 or 5 phone calls back and forth) and got it back to SMF about 30 mins prior to our flight. Close one!

I had debated long an hard about how to get all of us from LHR to the marina and asked here for suggestions (there is a <i>history</i> and I wasn't confident we could meet up w/o some snafu. I opted for two drivers, thinking that would be easiest if one or the other flight was delayed. But justairports said they thought we'd do fine w/ just one driver - meeting at T-1. So that's what we did.

Our AA flight was totally uneventful - they put us in E+ even though we only booked regular coach (the extra leg room isn't really an issue for either B2 or me - but the extra space when the folks in front recline is a MAJOR bonus) All is well - sort of.

At LHR there was ONE person ahead of us at immigration. I never check bags, but since B2 did I checked mine too. Our bags arrived almost before we got out of the ladies room.

Then we walked over to T1 to hopefully meet the others. The driver was already there . . . And about 5 mins later out walks . . . <B><red>ONE </B></red> of the T-1 ladies. Just B1. D decided not to come - and told B1 while they were on the way to the airport (!) . Her husband had a minor health scare - his doctor said things were fine but D thought she should stay home. Thing is - she decided this on Friday, and didn't tell B1 til they were about to leave for ORD on Sunday afternoon.

Wow - just WOW. But B1 seemed to have recovered from the shock and wasn't terribly upset. In fact she was pretty upbeat - so maybe she knows something about D that we don't

The driver scooted us across London to Tower Hill and the manager was there to let us in to our home in London for the next week. We stayed here http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hamlet_uk/ Ours was a 2 story/2 bedroom flat w/ a view of the Shard, a bit of the Marina, and a patio/terrace. Rest of the day was low key - walked around the Marina, had a Starbucks break, early dinner at Cafe Rouge and to bed.

<B>Next: Tuesday May 6 - Tower of London, Greenwich, GTG w/ Patrck_London</B>
janisj is online now  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 06:05 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,313
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great start to the trip report. Hopefully your ankle is healing by now.
europeannovice is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 06:10 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
JANISJ, so glad you started your report - will be following along.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 11:06 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 15,091
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 1 Post
Nice start, Janis, thank you. Looking forward to the following your travels. Or will it be travails?
Bokhara2 is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 11:56 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,942
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm saying <i>nothing<i>.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 03:12 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Another big fan awaiting more!
Ackislander is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 04:19 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,332
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And here's a link to this TR's prelude:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-the-box-.cfm
29FEB is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 07:02 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
even though I followed your planning thread, JJ, I'm still looking forward to reading this.

keep it coming!
annhig is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 04:50 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm looking forward to reading this!

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 05:52 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,053
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
<B>Tuesday May 6 - Tower of London, Greenwich, GTG w/ Patrck_London</B>

Forgot to mention -- the first 3 days of out time in London were supposed to coincide w/ a tube strike - so I worked out several things we could do Tues-Thurs sans the tube and w/o fighting huge crowds on the buses. Early this evening we have a GTG w/ PatrickLondon at the Grapes so I decided spending the day in Green which would be good -- DLR and/or boats and/or the under river tunnel -- no tube/buses required. We were staying in St Katherine's Docks so right next door to the Tower of London. Neither B's visited the Tower last trip so we decided to hit the Tower early at least to see the Crown Jewels and look around a bit.

After the B's required Starbucks break, we first walked over to All Hallows by the Tower. Fascinating church (US President John Quincy Adams was married and William Penn was baptized there). It is the oldest church in the "City" and it long pre-dates the Tower. It survived the Great Fire but wasn't so lucky in WWII, so was mostly re-built in the 20th century.

The church is just around the corner from the Tower, and we were among the first inside. Went to the Jewel House first and quite literally had the Crown Jewels to ourselves. The girls were gobsmacked - they knew the jewels would be impressive but they were even 'more so'. We were in the Tower for maybe 2/2.5 hours and spent a lot of time in the White Tower (I was surprised the girls were so interested in all the Armor). Stopped in one of the gift shops and and had drinks in the cafe. I didn't tell them til after we left the cafe - but while they were looking in the food cases not one but TWO mice ran w/i about 4 feet of them. From the reactions when I <i>did</i> tell them -- well it was just a good thing I didn't say anything at the time

Then we caught a boat from Tower Pier to Greenwich.. First stop was the Cutty Sark. I hadn't been there since the new Cutty Sark display opened - what an improvement - really terrific. You get a real good idea of what it was like on those long voyages. Plus lots of fun, interactive displays, and a great display of a LOT of ships' figureheads. It is Expensive - though well worth it IMO. Had a decent late-ish lunch in a pub near the covered market (I'll have to look for the name) and then wandered around the maritime Museum grounds and up to the Observatory. B1 was having a bit of foot trouble so B2 and I climbed up to the Observatory while she waited on a bench and enjoyed the lovely weather. I may be the only American who knew what a tea towel I bought meant . . . It is dark blue ground w/ the UK and Ireland surrounded by cloud shapes and <i>all the stations of the <B>Shipping Forecast</B></i> I LOVE the Shipping Forecast I'm sure B2 thought I was nuts being so jazzed about this silly tea towel . . . But honestly, how would one explain the Shipping Forecast to anyone?????

We made it into the Chapel but the Painted Hall closed for a special even a few minutes before we got there. Then we took the under-river tunnel to the north side of the river (they've certainly improved/enlarged the lifts since the last time I walked it). We stopped for coffee at a small cafe in the park near the DLR station and watch about 8 dog walkers and their 20+ dogs romping/playing. Then we took the DLR to Westferry and met up w/ PatrickLondon to walk to the Grapes. This pub is co-owned by Ian Mckellen - but he was performing in NYC so unfortunately no Sir Ian sighting. We had a nice long visit - Patrick totally understood about my tea towel B1 tried cider for the first time and seemed to enjoy it. I honestly don't remember what we hung around for nearly 3 hours and had a great time.

DLR and back to Tower Gateway.

<B>Next: Wed. Late start, Sir John Soanes Museum, F&M, Tea at the Ritz and the amazing Angela Lansbury
janisj is online now  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 05:54 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,053
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
oops - that last should read >>I honestly don't remember what we ate but we hung around for nearly 3 hours and had a great time.<<
janisj is online now  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 07:06 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,090
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've been waiting for this one. Loving it!
Trophywife007 is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 08:39 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,741
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
IT would so throw me into a tizzy if I had planned an entire trip for 4... and one tells me on the way to the airport that she is not coming.

I sure wouldn't have acted as non-plused as you seem to have been. Had she already paid you the balance of her share of the trip?
sarge56 is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 09:20 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 6,134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm envious of your tea towel and, yes, I do understand the shipping forecasts. I'm also a frequent customer of Starbuck's but when in the U.K, much prefer Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero or having a Cafe Maya at AMT.

With the exception of the beginning of your journey your first few days seem fine. I can't imagine not realizing your passport is invalid if it's punched full of holes and wouldn't you think something was wrong as you put it in your bag? Won't even begin to comment on the last minute cancellation.

Looking forward to more.
historytraveler is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 09:41 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,617
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Glad to see this - you might post a link from the planning thread.

Totally understand about the shipping forecast, but I grew up with it.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2014, 03:25 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,900
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well done, as usual--trip's planning, execution (uh, not meaning anything about how you might have felt at certain moments!), and report.
texasbookworm is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2014, 05:55 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
I didn't tell them til after we left the cafe - but while they were looking in the food cases not one but TWO mice ran w/i about 4 feet of them. From the reactions when I did tell them -- well it was just a good thing I didn't say anything at the time>>

i had the same thing happen with a rat in Sri Lanka, only on that occasion it was DH who kept quiet about it, thank goodness. i only found out that it had been running around our bedroom at night when i saw his slipper in the bathroom and he 'fessed up that he'd been using it to drive the rat out of the bathroom window, which stayed securely shut for the rest of our stay!
annhig is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2014, 06:08 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,332
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thursdaysd, link posted 7:19am June 9.
29FEB is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2014, 06:21 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 304
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tagging in for the ride. Great start
johnnyomalley is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2014, 07:40 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Jumping on the roller coaster as well.
Cathinjoetown is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -