London: Ho-Ho Tour and River Thames Cruise

With 4 full days in London, prior to jumping on the train to Southampton, our objectives included – Florence Nightingale Museum (Judi), National Maritime Museum (Andy), Royal Observatory (Andy) and a Ho-Ho tour (Judi).  Yes, we have taken the big red buses in London before, but when the weather isn’t the best, they are usually a great way to see the sights. The Met. Office forecast rain on day # 1; therefore, we started with the Ho-Ho tour, followed by a couple of days in Greenwich, with the last day walking to the Florence Nightingale Museum, Westminster Bridge and along the south bank of the Thames, around Waterloo. We have additional visits to London for a couple of days prior to and after the cruise, so will visit Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, London Eye and hopefully the Palace of Westminster/Parliament on those days.

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London – What Is Best Option Between Heathrow & London

Arriving in London Heathrow (LHR) at the end of April, we faced a new challenge. How do you get from LHR to downtown London.

Over the past 40 years, we have arrived in LHR way too many times, but have either caught a connecting flight to Edinburgh, or some other distant continent. Not this year!!

This time, we have 4 days in London, followed by the annual P&O re-union lunch in Southampton, before finally taking the train up North. Many others have the same challenge, and reviewing on-line forums, TripAdvisor, etc you will find numerous posts, with the question,  “What is the best way to get from LHR into London?”. Continue reading

Visiting Harrods of London

On our first day in London we jumped on the Original London Ho-Ho bus, completing the city loop in the morning, followed by the western loop after lunch. While driving along Brompton Road, Judi spotted a carphone store, so we jumped off at the next stop to get a UK SIM for her phone. Returning to the bus stop, I spotted Harrods across the street; it takes up an entire city block, so you really can’t miss it. I asked Judi if she fancied a wander through Harrods and a cup of tea? Judi never declines tea, an opportunity to shop, or even wander through shops, so we headed across the street.

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Vancouver to London, First Class With British Airways

Since our round the world sojourn in 2015, we have taken a 2-year sabbatical from long haul flights, but at the end of April, we were back in the air, aboard a British Airways (BA) B-747, bound for London Heathrow. While we normally opt for Business Class on long-haul flights, this time we decided to splurge and spoil ourselves in First Class.

You may ask, how can we afford First Class? If paying cash, we definitely couldn’t, and if truth be known, we really can’t justify paying the premium for Business either. However, with over 500,000 BA points, we had options – Business is 125,000 points & First is 170,000 points, with the taxes, fees etc. being the same price for each option. Prior to booking the flights, we discussed our options, with the decision being – was 45,000 points x 2 worth the upgrade!! Even with my thrifty heritage, we decided that in all probability, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so we booked return flights in First Class. The just completed outbound flight was aboard a B-747 (Jumbo Jet) & the return flight will be on one of the new BA Airbus A-380’s (Super Jumbo).

Which option would you pick?

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Pre-Spring Visit to Victoria

Already the middle of March, but due to our dreadfully cold winter and frequent snow storms, the tulips, daffodils and other bulbs have not even started to poke through the ground. A most depressing situation, especially since we were cutting the lawn in February last year. What better time to spend a few days in Victoria, BC’s coastal sunshine capital. This year, our plans were to visit the Parliament Buildings, Provincial Museum, craft breweries and partake in Afternoon Tea.

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2018 Travel Plans

Yes, you read the title correctly; while I am still finalising our 2017 trip to UK, I am also planning for 2018. After the six weeks of snow and freezing temperatures, we were subjected to this winter, we are reverting to the snowbird lifestyle.

During our recent stay at our Indio condo, we visited our old neighbours at Indian Waters RV Resort & Cottages and immediately felt the desire to return. Therefore, I just completed a reservation for February 1st 2018 until the end of March. On departing Indio, Judi really wants to see iceberg alley, off the coast of Newfoundland, which is normally at its peak about middle of May and June. So, we will embark on a 4,000 mile voyage up to Labrador & Newfoundland.

Departing Newfoundland we will head to Shipshewana, Indiana for the 2018 Redwood Rally, then straight back to British Columbia, to ensure we meet our minimum of 5 months per year in BC. Once we get back to the Okanagon, we are considering heading down to the mainland and picking up our grandson and bringing him for his first RV excursion.

Between Indio and Newfoundland, I am currently researching routes, with The Alamo, Memphis and Nashville being our immediate thoughts for stops enroute.

Can you provide any other suggestions for points of interest, that should not be missed?

 

RMS Queen Mary, A Truly Grand Ocean Liner of a Bygone ERA

queen-mary-bowAn iconic landmark on the Long Beach waterfront since her arrival in 1967, the RMS Queen Mary is undoubtedly one of the world’s last, grand, old trans-Atlantic ocean liners. While initially built to ferry passengers across the Atlantic, before the onset of air travel, she also spent the war years as a troop carrier. As a passenger liner, she carried multiple classes of passengers, from those expecting the ultimate luxury experience, to steerage class that slept in multi-bunk dormitories.

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Sunday Brunch on the Queen Mary

qm-from-water-sideOn October 31st 1967, the venerable grand old lady of the Cunard fleet, the SS Queen Mary, departed Southampton on her final voyage. She arrived in Long Beach, California on December 9th 1967, where she remains to this day. For almost 50 years this grand old liner, has remained in Long Beach, as a functioning hotel, with multiple restaurants and attractions.

Considering the number of times we have visited SoCal, and my many trips into the adjacent San Pedro Cruise Terminal, it is surprising that neither Judi or I have previously visited the ship. Well, our first visit to this grand old lady was more than a stroll around the decks, as we enjoyed an exceptional Champagne Brunch.

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Anaheim – Should We Visit Disney??

pool-and-clubhouseAfter a fairly short, but definitely interesting drive from Indio, we arrived in Anaheim, just as the sun was setting. We have 2 options for condos in Anaheim, both less than a mile from Disney – Worldmark Indio and Dolphin’s Cove. On a previous visit we stayed at the Worldmark, so this time we tried Dolphin’s Cove, which is a Wyndham resort.

We have visited Disney Resorts, both in Anaheim and Orlando, many times and have no doubt we will be returning with grandkids in the future. Therefore, it was rather easy to give the most obvious Anaheim attractions a miss. But, what else does this area offer??

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Bye Bye Snow, Hello Sunny Indio

lazy-riverAs we arrived at our Worldmark Condo in Indio, the storm front that had dumped many inches of rain over the previous few days, had moved through, leaving clear blue skies and that big, round, yellow ball. It’s been so long since we had seen the sun, we almost forgot what it is called.

We only have a few days in Indio, but they will be busy meeting friends, visiting The Living Desert and we might even find time to sample the wares of at least 1 craft brewery.

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