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Our Adventure to the Southeast of England and London

Our Adventure to the Southeast of England and London

Old Aug 28th, 2014, 03:25 AM
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Enjoying this a lot but desperately hoping you got to eat some British food at some point - we have fab seafood, game, cheeses, fruit (especially berries) and veg. Please tell me you did.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 03:44 AM
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EUROPEANNOVICE, very interesting about Letchworth. You folks certainly mastered public transportation. I wasn't that great with the buses and used the Tube almost exclusively.

You added "...the British Library remains on my list for the next time! You never have enough time to see/do it all." So true. I intended to saunter through the St. Pancras terminal near King's Cross when I visited the British Library. I wanted to see the stature of Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman who led a successful campaign to save the station from demotion in the 1960s.

All the more reason to return...
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 04:09 AM
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RM67--Yes we did eat lots of fruit especially Kentish cherries. I guess I neglected to mention a few times we passed by a fruit stand on the way to and from and bought some Kent cherries--although I think they were at the end of their season they were still very good. Our B&B host would wash them out for us when we returned to eat as a snack in the parlour before dinner

We had fish and chips a couple of times in the pubs and other times we did order seafood as the main. We did tend to try the ethnic restaurants--Italian, French, Thai but seafood was often on their menus and they were prepared very well.

Lateday--Yup--always more things to add to the list!
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 04:27 AM
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Phew!
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 04:30 AM
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europeannovice:

Well done on your reporting of Letchworth Garden City. Interesting piece of trivia about the first roundabout.

Good share about the Cafe Forum - what hotel are you at and how is it other than the expensive breakfast.

Sandy
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 05:42 AM
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My husband had a happy childhood growing up in Letchworth in the 50s. He went to Norton village CofE primary school, was a choir boy and loved cricket. His mother's family were among the first occupants of Letchworth, his mother only ever moved one street in her life. They were working class through and through, his dad worked on the line at Vauxhall and his mom did piece work for a lingerie company.

I don't think he wanted for much, he was a much-loved and spoiled post-war surprise baby, his brother and sister are much older. He said that on a Saturday it would take all morning to run errands because everyone you knew was out on the high street.

I loved the beautiful parkway system which is very much like my hometown of St. Joe, MO. He said the downtown was ruined in the 60s by ill-thought urban renewal, coincidentally something that happened in St. Joe. Since then, the worst of the covered walks and giant cement flower pots have been taken down but I have to admit I didn't find the high street area very appealing.

During his childhood there were no pubs allowed, in keeping with the practices of the Quaker founders. His father used to go to the Baldock (sp?) Working Man's Club in the next village.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:00 PM
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SandyBrit--We stayed at the Crowne Plaza London Kensington. Other than the expensive breakfast which I guess is to be expected in large city hotels, the room was fine. It was very clean and had two double beds to accommodate the three of us. There was plenty of room for us to store our luggage. We had a garden facing room so even though the hotel is on busy Cromwell Road, we did not hear a thing at night. It was a good place to stay. It would have been even better if the Piccadilly line was running at Gloucester Road tube station but....

Cathinjoetown--Thanks so much for the additional information about your husband's upbringing at Letchworth. I know it did change from its original inception and they added new parts to the development which may not have been in keeping with the original idea. Interesting that his Mom was one of the first occupants in what was a novel idea at the time.

Ca
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:04 PM
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I meant to ask . . . I'm staying near Gloucester Rd station next month. Are the Circle/District line platforms working as usual w/o disruption (only the Piccadilly line bits closed)?
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:08 PM
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europeannovice:

Thank you for always answering questions about where you stayed. I think for anyone searching this type of information is most helpful.

Cathinjoetown: The information about your DH was very interesting. I was not expecting you to be from St. Joe, MO - small world isn't it? I am an expat in the St. Louis area

Sandy
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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janis: Yes:
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tube-dlr-overg...tations-status
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:37 PM
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Lateday--I got the book you recommended from the library today about Churchill. It is a hefty book and will take me a while to read! I am looking forward to it.


DAY 9 REMNANTS OF HURRICANE BIRTHA VISITS LONDON AND GETS US SOAKED

Well on my original itinerary we were going to go to Greenwich today but you have to adapt to changes and the weather. We thought since the forecast called for heavy rains from the hurricane it would be better to stay close and visit the Natural History Museum in the morning and Science Museum in the afternoon. We thought we would stay drier that way. Wrong!

We left the hotel on the way to cafe Forum for breakfast when we realized today was the day of the big Bike race. In the rain! Bike after bike was cycling across Cromwell Road. We weren't crossing the street anytime soon. We actually had to wait for the masses to ride on through and wait for a break from the slower cyclists so we can safely cross the road. It took a while until the road was clear enough to safely make it across. Those people riding were going to get really soaked. Some were prepared by wearing ponchos as they rode.

Anyway breakfast at our favorite little place and then the tube over one stop to South Kensington. We could have walked but it was already raining.

We waited 40 minutes for the Natural History Museum to open. While we were waiting with the other tourists and locals alike, the heavens opened up and sheets and sheets of water came rushing out of the sky. Within minutes (maybe even seconds) our ankles were covered with water. We were then told by the museum staff that the museum entrance was flooded and that they were not allowing anyone to enter from that side but we should all go to the other side to enter. One entrance is on Cromwell Road and other on Exhibition Road. Well forget that--we weren't going to stand any more time in the soaking rain to wait to enter some more so off across the street to the science museum we went. We and everyone else went to the science museum that day too. We should have just done that from the beginning and we would not have been wet! But it can't be a visit to London for us and not get wet.

We ended up spending most of the day at the science museum but even at 17:00 my socks were still wet! That is such a yucky feeling. I am glad the museum did not have air conditioning otherwise we would have been shivering.

The science museum has a strange layout. You can only access the top floors from certain lifts in the front of the building but not from the back or is it vice versa? We toured floor 2 with the computer and math exhibits. There is a lot of information on Charles Babbage who invented the first machine which could calculate.

We also visited floor 3 which focused on flight. There was a flight demonstration geared to little kids.

We ate lunch at one of the cafe's and took our shoes off under the table so they could air out but it didn't help that much. I had a fish cake and a cup of tea. DH and DS had something with chicken and they also had tea.

We had to go to the other side of the building and then go up the lift to floors 5 and 4 for the history of medicine. This was a really good exhibit showing how different parts of the world deal with illness and what instruments they used--some in the days before anesthesia. I loved the picture of Sigmund Freud and it shows what he was thinking. Indydad had taken a picture of it when he visited and posted it on his blog a few years ago.

We also enjoyed the Who am I exhibit. It is a bunch of interactive screens that tests various parts of your personality. For example, answer a series of questions to determine if you think like a girl or think like a boy.

After the science museum and before dinner, we popped into the V&A museum. It is one of my favorite museums in London. I had a two for one coupon for the wedding dress exhibit but neither DH nor DS of course was interested so I went in by myself while they explored something else and we met back up at closing time.

We went right across the street to our other favorite restaurant in London, Orsini. We had made a reservation for that evening since it is a tiny place. This time we were not in a hurry for any walking tour so we shared a couple of appetizers and each tried a different main plus we had the best lemon cake (homemade). It melted in your mouth. It was so good. The food was very good again too. DH and I had a glass of wine with the meal.

NEXT: BLETCHLY PARK AND NATIONAL MUSEUM OF COMPUTING
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:41 PM
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Janisj--Yes. It is only the piccadilly line that is affected so district and circle lines are running as usual. No big deal really just have to take district/circle line one stop over to South Kensington for piccadilly line when needed. A little more of a hassle but we have no choice in the matter. I think it will be that way until Dec. so they advise.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 06:00 PM
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EUROPEANNOVICE, sorry about the soaking rain, but you made the best of it. Did you enjoy the wedding dress exhibit at the V & A? That was on my "maybe" list in June if it rained. The weather was great, however, so I did not make it. Truthfully, I am overwhelmed by the V & A and the British Museum.

You mentioned, "This was a really good exhibit showing how different parts of the world deal with illness and what instruments they used--some in the days before anesthesia." If I recall, you folks went to some other medical museum on your last trip to London - or was that someone else? If you ever go to Boston, you must explore the "Ether Dome" at Mass General Hospital.

I know that THE CHURCHILLS IN LOVE AND WAR is hefty - but what a read! Have you been to Blenheim? Will continue to follow along.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 12:42 AM
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If anyone wants to follow up on the medical museums line: always interesting, if you're in that frame of mind, is the Wellcome Collection, up on Euston Road, which focusses on where medicine, art and anthropology/sociology meet (some bits may not be suitable for children, unless you're ready to answer some embarrassing questions).
http://www.wellcomecollection.org/
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 01:52 AM
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Sandy,

I lived in St. Joe until I was 18, graduated from Mizzou/Columbia then after a few fun years in KC have been on the move ever since.

We did live in St. Joe again from 2006-2009 before moving to France. I wanted to help a bit with my parents as my brother was shouldering it all, without complaint I have to say.

Although older than Letchworth by about 60 years or so, the parallels between Letchworth and St. Joe and my husband's and my childhoods are many. I knew very little about the garden cities before I met my husband. Also visited Bourneville, the Cadbury factory town, which is interesting.

europeannovice (btw you don't travel like one) Looking forward to reading about Bletchly--also on our list. I read recently that several huts have been rennovated with clever use of film and possibly holograms--that last bit may be my imagination.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 04:03 AM
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Latedaytraveler--Yes, we have been to Blenheim Palace. The place where Churchill was born is quite ostentatious. It is very different from Chartwell which looks more like real home than a museum. They say he was very fond of Blenheim but he chose quite a different place to live as an adult. I liked the landscaping all around Chartwell.

It wasn't us visiting the medical stuff before. That was a different poster. I think I remember that thread too.

PatrickLondon--the Wellcome Collection was also on my list along with the British Library since it is nearby but we got to neither. The Wellcome Collection though is undergoing extensive renovation right now so only parts of it are open.

Cathinjoetown--Thanks. There are indeed holograms at Bletchly. No time now. More on that later.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 04:30 AM
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Cathinjoetown:

Thank you for sharing briefly about your life. I walked down that same path with my mother. A very difficult time and it was one of those times that I regretted very much being an expat. Our youngest son graduated from University of Missouri at Columbia.

europeannovice:

I apologize for hi-jacking your thread.

You peaked my interest with your report on the science museum and I loved your "I had a fish cake and a cup of tea" "DH and DS had something with chicken and a cup of tea" - that is what I miss so much a proper cup of tea available everywhere in the UK.

I am starting to think about the possibility of a London visit not just pass thru on my way elsewhere.

Sandy
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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Really enjoying your report!

I meant to ask earlier about your B&B in Tunbridge Wells. What is it called and would you recommend staying there? Thanks.

On our only trip to London (so far) I HAD to go to the British Library and have my photo op at Platform 9 3/4! I will return to the former but not the latter next year, lol.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 03:39 PM
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NOLA, just wondering, did you take a tour at the BRITISH LIBRARY?
The treasures room is fabulous what with everything from Shakespeare to the Beatles and everything in between.

I really enjoyed the tour (given twice a day I believe) because it covered many parts of the library where the ordinary tourist would not go. Also gives insight into the work done by scholars, grad students, and ordinary folk pursuing their interests in a variety of fields - and in a wide variety of languages.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 05:58 PM
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Still following your TR and enjoying. I am off to London on Tuesday.
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