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goddesstogo and mr. goddess's big London adventure (an ongoing tale)

goddesstogo and mr. goddess's big London adventure (an ongoing tale)

Old Dec 17th, 2010, 02:40 PM
  #741  
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Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes.

Just one last post about tonight because I wanted to tell you about Clos Maggiore. The restaurant is as beautiful as it looks in the pictures and now, of course, it has the added extra sparkle of a few tasteful Christmas decorations. There are two seatings and we chose the earlier one (7 pm) because of tomorrow's travel day.

Here's the website so you can see the restaurant if you haven't already:
http://www.closmaggiore.com/home

At first we were seated in the little room before the conservatory (I believe that's what they call the room with the skylight and flower-covered ceiling). I was a little disappointed but it was OK. We did ask the hostess if there was a table available for us in there but there wasn't.

A few moments later, just after we'd ordered wine but not food, a waiter dropped a tray of wine glasses practically at my feet and glass went flying! The glasses were empty and none of it actually touched me but there was quite a bit of broken glass under our table and at my feet. I had to stand up while they swept it up (which they did very efficiently) and they were very apologetic but we were also very nice about it. I find that goes a long way in getting good service. The maitre d' came over to apologize and we asked again about moving into the conservatory and he said he'd see what he could do and a few minutes later he came back and said that if the people who booked a table in there and who were already late didn't show up within a few minutes, he'd move us. They didn't so he did.

There are only a half dozen or so tables in that beautiful room and we were at the centre one in front of the fireplace. The room is ultra-romantic. The service was excellent and the menu interesting. Both SO and I like to eat but neither of us would be considered foodies and the meal seemed excellent to us. Neither one of us opted for the tasting menu and we both ordered a la carte.I'm not a 'subtle' eater and like highly spiced and highly flavoured food (I'm a pizza with pepperoni sort of girl) and this was more delicate but very tasty. We both ordered dessert and they also brought us a anniversary plate of tiny sweets. The plate actually said "Happy Anniversary" in the glazing so it's obviously something they do. I suspect they have a happy birthday plate in the cupboard as well.

It was a lovely evening and a fitting end to a wonderful visit here.

Adieu for now. See you on the travel threads!
gtg
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 04:53 AM
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Sounds like a wonderful evening!

I am guessing by the snow and shut downs at the airport that you didnt make it out today! Hope you are safe and warm and catch the soonest flight home (if you are still here xmas weekend come spend it with us!!!) Just kidding...I hope for your sakes!

xx
J and S
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Old Dec 19th, 2010, 01:09 PM
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Trapped in London! Yesterday and last night were horrible! Right now we're at the Master Robert Hotel near Heathrow and moving to the Radisson tomorrow. Trying to book alternate flight but earliest possible hope will be Xmas eve if we're lucky.

More later.
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Old Dec 19th, 2010, 01:48 PM
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oh nooo - how horrible. having got all worked up to leave and then not to be able to - awful.

have you got a firm flight or are they going to keep you hanging around?
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Old Dec 19th, 2010, 01:53 PM
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See London's not ready for you to leave!

Sorry to hear this - one of my co-workers son's who's going to Uni in Britain hasn't been able fly home since Friday. Take care.
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Old Dec 19th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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We can't believe how little snow closes these European airports! This would just be a little snowfall at home.

Saturday started off just fine. We got to the airport and got on our plane at noon when it had just started snowing big fluffy flakes. We sat on the plane from the till about 6 pm and every now and then the pilot would say that he's been told we'd be leaving in an hour, or 45 minutes, or another hour and a half or whatever. Around 6 he told us that the airport was closing down and all flights would be cancelled BUT he said we'd be leaving on exactly the same flight the next day (today), same seats, same everything and our bags would stay on the plane. Of course by that time, it was too late to get a hotel room anywhere and it was absolute chaos at the airport with wall-to-wall people and all their baggage, little kids, babies, elderly people, etc. We ended up sleeping on the ughly floor in the terminal. We wisely took our pillows and blankets from the plane and they were also giving out these foil 'blankets' which were incredibly noisy. What a good idea, eh? Then, of course, there were the idiots who didn't notice that everyone around them was trying to sleep and just chatted and laughed at the tops of their voices all night. I didn't sleep at all and watched a movie on my ipod.

This morning we waited and listened as flight after flight was canceled till the whole airport was closed down. We had to collect our bags and because we were here so long we had a lot of luggage to contend with. Thank heavens for luggage carts. We were traveling with a nice young woman who was trying to get to Toronto to get her connecting flight to Colorado and we spent most of yesterday, last night and today with her. We lucked out with rooms at a small hotel called the Master Robert Hotel near Heathrow but tomorrow we're moving to the larger and more comfortable (read warmer) Radisson which our young friend tells us is very nice. It's just a few pounds more expensive and includes breakfast and it's also near a tube station so we can go back into town and do stuff. She's going back to her base (she's in the US Air Force and stationed here) and has a ticket to Colorado on Christmas day. We're hoping to get a flight as soon as possible but that's not likely to be till Christmas eve at the earliest and then, of course, if it snows again... Air Canada has been its usual useless self. They've given us a number to call but of course you can't get through and the few staff left at the airport this morning didn't know anything. By the way, they have an AC lounge at Heathrow. And was it open? Guess.

Will keep you up to date. If you have a private jet, send it.
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Old Dec 19th, 2010, 03:19 PM
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GTG - why dont you get on the tube and come stay with us?? We have a spare room and 2 bathrooms and if you can put up with our small dogs you are more than welcome and we would love to have you!!!
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Old Dec 19th, 2010, 06:43 PM
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Oh no! What an "exciting" end to your trip! I'd rarely complain about being stuck in London, but right before the holidays... ugh.

It is really amazing how little snow can cause problems in areas not used to it. I live in Nashville, where we got about two inches of snow on Sunday and the threat of ice on Wednesday - our airport canceled all kinds of flights. We just don't have the equipment. Hoping your flight on Christmas Eve gets out with no problems!
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 09:29 AM
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Oh no, gtg and SO! DH and I were wondering if you would be forced to sleep on the airport floor. Not a pleasant way to end what was clearly a wonderful experience but knowing you, you will make the very best of it and find that silver lining. I'd love to be trapped in say...Paris, but I hear you: once you have to go home, you want to be home without all the hassles. Here's to a trouble-free return.

Does anything Air Canada do/not do surprise you anymore? I refuse to travel with them. Useless. So sorry for your troubles.
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 11:03 AM
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Thanks for all the sympathy -- it's appreciated. I've been doing well for the past couple of days. I had a bit of a teary low before but I feel better now.

We're at the Radisson Edwardian now, near Heathrow. It's a lovely hotel and our package includes breakfasts, tea (the kind with sandwiches and cakes, etc), discounts on meals and a very nice room. We're lucky to be here. We've heard so many sad stories at the airport and here -- huge family groups unable to get to family reunion vacations, students not getting home, lost luggage, people sleeping on the airport floor for 3 nights. We've seen people standing in the snow beside their suitcases, crying on their cell phones. I saw a couple with 4 children, all rambunctous boys, the oldest one about 9, who had been sleeping on the floor. The mom was trying to corral them and get them all put back together while security was busy making the dad empty out all their carry-on luggage. Nice, eh?

The young woman we've been spending a few days with went back to her airforce base here today and won't get home to her family till Christmas day. Her husband of 5 months is in Afghanistan and she was really looking forward to spending Christmas with her family in Colorado. Our situation isn't a happy one but we've got a nice place to stay, enough money to be flexible with our travel and most important, each other. I'm not being pollyanna-ish but today I was chatting with a woman who slept with her daughter on the airport floor for two nights and all their luggage is missing. They only have the clothes they flew in. I'd have to be pretty petty to think I'm worse off than that.

Tomorrow we're going to a nearby mall to buy a few necessities and to pick up some meds for me. I always travel with a few extra thyroid pills but this time a few extra wasn't enough and I took my last one today. Fortunately, I was able to arrange to get some at Boots at Chimes Mall. From now on, I'm traveling with at least a week's worth of extras.

Then I think one day we'll take the Westminster Abbey London Walk. We were thinking of doing that but didn't get a round to it. And it's London...I'm pretty sure we can keep ourselves amused, at least till Christmas when everything shuts down. Then we'll just order up a bottle of wine and snuggle up and watch Christmas movies and get ready to go home the next day. Yay!

By the way, while most of the people in this mess have been lovely, we've also seen our share of ay-holes. Yesterday at the terminal people were lined up to use the bank of about 12 pay-internet computers, looking for hotels, emailing home, etc. I was standing in line and a guy a couple of people in front of me was screaming at a woman he thought was on Facebook, calling her vile names. Five minutes later when it was his turn at a computer, what do you think he was doing -- playing games! What a complete ay-hole!!!!!

(And Muskoka, don't even get me started about Air Crapada!)
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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At our house (which we sold, BTW) we call it Air Carnival. I knew you'd have it all together and functioning in short order. Enjoy your enforced extension - as you say, it's London - and it's wonderful!
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Mazel tov on the house sale, muskoka! Soon we'll be neighbours!
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 03:43 PM
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Yes you are lucky-on the news they were showing a woman sleeping in those aluminum foil blankets on the floor of Heathrow. Eww, knowing what people throw down on the floor makes it worse.

Doesn't sound like you'll make it home in time for Xmas? At least you'll have an adventure to tell to folks back home. From the cameras, it looks like London is moving again so at least the tube and shops should be open. This may become the Neverending Trip Report! Just think, it could be worse. You could be flying BA.
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 05:03 PM
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oh, GTG, just checking in and now see you are involuntarily in London. gah!

I want you to keep in mind my core faith- everything... I mean everything... happens for a reason. We may not know what the plan is. But trust that it is and there will be some silver lining for you. May not be noticed or recognized or maybe not for years. But everything is linked...

Until then, please enjoy the view for the rest of us. Merry and Happy!! Come visit us in TX again soon. (79 degrees here today in Dallas!)

Paula
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 06:19 PM
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Oh, GTG, I thought you'd have been just lucky enough to fly out just BEFORE the snow came down. Sitting on a plane for 6 hours and going nowhere is miserable but afternoon tea at the Radisson sounds much better!

Keeping my fingers crossed you make it home soon.

Oh, get up tomorrow and check out the selenehelion a once in a lifetime opportunity!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...inter-solstice
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 06:58 PM
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Very sorry to hear of your situation; I can just imagine how it must feel like to come at the end of an amazing sojourn in London as you've had. However I also commiserate with you about how terrible it must be for all those others stranded with children and families to attend to. I also believe that everything happens for a reason, even though it may not be immediately apparent. Hoping that you and your SO will be home sooner than expected.
I've just come off playing the Ghost of Christmas Present this weekend in an amateur production of 'A Christmas Carol'; wish there was more of that magic dust to sprinkle over all of you to get you on your way again.
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 07:13 PM
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I saw on the evening news that one runway is open. My fingers are crossed for you.
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 08:45 PM
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gtg, I swear that I did not ring up the UK branch of the weather fairies and invoke this mess just so I could get a few more vicarious days in jolly old.

Glad to see you exhibiting your typical stay calm and carry on attitude. Worked for us last Spring when we were stuck behind the volcanic ash cloud.
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Old Dec 21st, 2010, 03:23 AM
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I could live with staying here till Boxing Day if I were absolutely sure we would get out then. I'm just worried about the weather. I can't believe we were so close to leaving. If our flight had been at 11 instead of noon, we'd be home right now. I know...there's no point in thinking about things like that.

What's really annoying is that I'm missing my days off at home where I'd planned to do nice house stuff like baking my annual Christmas treats, painting the spare bedroom, visiting my SO's mom, and the all important lazing around. I have 10 days off work at this time of year and I had plans for them. I'm keeping calm and carrying on. What else is there to do?
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Old Dec 21st, 2010, 07:15 AM
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Ouch, that's a l-o-n-g layover to get you both back to Toronto. If it were me and I needed to get home, I be checking seat availability on British Airways or any other airline for that matter. If there is seats available on another carrier, I would then have Air Canada endorse your tickets. There is usually no charge for the same class of service.

If you plan to stay, Heathrow airport has a bus station were you can easily go to Windsor, Hampton Court etc for day trips.

Well GTG, thank you for sharing with us your stay in London. My SO wants to know what other pub in West Hampstead did you go to as we really didn't care for the two that were there. Friends from Beaufort, SC went to the grand opening of the Railway Pub several years ago. They made "friends" that evening and was invited to party at some "after hours" pub down the street. This was there first day in London and first time to Europe. Oh the darkside of West Hampsted.

I was hoping to get back there this year, however... I have marked it for fall 2011.
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