Flight Review – BA A-380 First Class LHR to YVR

After our round the world flights and Visa points, we had over 500,000 BA avios points, so we decided to splurge. As a once in a lifetime opportunity, we booked First Class tickets on the outbound flight back in April and our return in September.

The outbound flight was on an old B-747 and could best be described as disappointing. We were hoping for better on the new A-380, which operates on the Vancouver route during the summer months.

I’ll review both the flight and LHR T3 Galleries First Lounge.

Continue reading

London – Our Final 2 Days

Shortly after docking at London Cruise Terminal, we disembarked MV Columbus, on completion of our 12-day Baltic Cruise. In-bound to the Thames, as soon as we got mobile (cell) service I called Addison Lee for a pick up. Yet again, they provided exceptional service.

Arriving Sept 25th, our flights to Vancouver were on Sept 27th, so we had 1 full day in London. We had already visited many of London’s attractions, but to date, we had never visited the Houses of Parliament, so we booked a guided tour, followed by afternoon tea.

Continue reading

Tower of London Ceremony of the Keys

The Tower of London houses the Crown Jewels, so one assumes it is a secure facility, with the gates locked at night.

How about an opportunity to assist closing and locking the Tower gates in the evening!! Well you don’t actually assist, but you do get to watch this long standing daily ritual, known as “The Ceremony of the Keys.” Having taken place daily, rain or shine for over 700 years, I believe long standing is an apt description.

Continue reading

London – Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and Fire of London Monument

On our 2nd day in London, we had tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys, at the Tower, in the evening. Judi opted for a quiet day, while I visited some of the locations around our hotel.

I planned a round trip – Tower Bridge, south embankment, HMS Belfast, London Bridge, the Great Fire of London Monument, then back to the hotel along the north bank of the Thames.

It was a pleasant day, so I enjoyed an excellent walk, visiting some interesting attractions.

Continue reading

London – Buckingham Palace “Royal Day Out”

In mid-September, our extended 5-month UK trip was coming to a close, as we departed Strathkinness for the final time, bound for London. A one-way trip to London normally has many options – flying, driving or train. However with over 200lbs of baggage, flying wasn’t an option and having driven over 7,000 miles, in the past few months, I didn’t need more practice on the left side of the road. This left the train, so we booked seats on Virgin East Coast from Leuchars to London Kings Cross.

We had 2 days in London, before joining our Baltic Cruise in Tilbury. As usual, both days were packed with sight-seeing, with the first day being a “Royal Day Out” at Buckingham Palace.

Continue reading

Rangers FC Match Day Hospitality

My grandfather had season tickets at Ibrox, as did my dad for many years, so little wonder, I am a “Died in the Wool” bluenose. I may have spent almost 40 years in Canada, but I still follow Rangers F.C. Although I can’t get to the matches every week, I still keep abreast of news, follow the scores and watch matches on the telly.

So it goes without saying, when in UK, I always try to get tickets for a home match. Just after we arrived in Strathkinness, back in May, we got tickets for the last home game of last season. During our final 2 weeks in Strathkinness, we didn’t have many options, as Rangers only had 1 home match on September 9th. Continue reading

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2017

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of performances, comprising the UK Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands, a Tattoo dance company and various artistic performers. It is held during August, rain or shine, at the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade.

On August 26th, we attended the final performance of the 2017 Tattoo, which I consider is Edinburgh’s premier summer performance. With the inaugural show in 1950, the Tattoo has just completed the 68th continuous annual series of performances, with the last 18 years being completely sold out.

I specifically left the camera at home, so that I could enjoy the show live, and not through a camera view finder.

Continue reading

Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia

Judi and I returned to the St Andrews area at the end of August, spending another 2 weeks with my dad, before heading down to London for our Baltic Cruise.

HMY Britannia, is secured at Ocean Terminal in Leith and is billed as Scotland’s premier attraction. We had already visited Windsor Castle and have tickets for the Royal Day out at Buckingham Palace, so a trip to visit the RY Britannia was high on the list of places to visit.

It is only about 40 miles from St Andrews and with excellent train service to Edinburgh, it is an easy day out.

Continue reading

Land’s End, Cornwall to St Andrews

Yes, we drove the entire route, but the photo may provide a clue where we stopped for a break. As retirees, we don’t do long drives at home, so why did we complete this one, especially considering it included the M5 & M6?

The previous week, we received sad news of the sudden passing of a good family friend, who we had known since the early 1970’s. We wanted to attend the funeral, so did my dad. However, we had his car, so he would have to catch a bus from St Andrews to Prestwick. At 86, we didn’t want him spending hours on buses.

Solution – cut our 5 days in Cornwall to 1 night and drive back to St. Andrews on Sunday.

Continue reading

Cornwall & Land’s End

Cornwall is the final stop on our current UK travels. We originally planned a week, but cut it back to 5 days, so we could attend the final show at the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo.

However, the passing of a long time family friend required a change of plans, giving us a single night in Cornwall. Our original detailed 5-day plan was curtailed to include the following objectives:

  • Lizard Pt – UK’s most southerly point
  • Land’s End
  • Cornish Cream Tea
  • Authentic Cornish Pastie
  • Cornish ice cream

After an almost 11 hour day of driving and sight-seeing, we achieved our 5 objectives, then the following day, we drove the 550+ miles back to St. Andrews.

Continue reading