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Our Trip!

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Inverness, United...
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241 posts
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Our Trip!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the help and advice we recived on here prior to our trip - though I was concerned I was not taking it in it DID stick and was enormously valuable.

Well, we had a fabulous time!

We arrived by train around 4 o'clock on the Monday, and took the 59 bus from Kings Cross station part of the way down Waterloo road. We walked the rest of the way, which wasn't too far..the Hotel (Travelodge Waterloo) was easy to find and far exceeded our expectations, so we were delighted.

Not wanting to waste any time we headed out for a walk all the way up Waterloo Road, past the IMAX, and up to Waterloo Bridge..we were going to walk across it but looking down at the riverside it looked so lovely (the sun was shining) that we took the steps down and walked along the waterside to the next bridge (the Jubilee Bridge I think?). What a lovely area, lovely cafes and eateries, and of course the London Eye too, such a nice vibe! We walked over the bridge and then past lots of Governmental type buildings (which I think must have been Whitehall?) and on to Trafalgar Square..we people watched, and annoyed a few pigeons and then headed back, crossing the same bridge again and heading for Wahaca, the Mexican restaurant right by the steps up to Waterloo Bridge. The food there was VERY yummy, and we thoroughly enjoyed it..a lovely walk back along Waterloo Road (with a quick detour to the pub) and we were back at the Hotel, time to rest before the next big day.

Day 2:

In the morning we headed for..

Westminster Abbey

(by bus), which is very beautiful, but shockingly expensive to get in to! Against my better judgement (I could feel OH's disapproval at this point!) not only did we pay to get in but we also paid for a guided tour. At £42 for the pair of us it was not cheap, and I wondered what I had done..however I have to say it was worth every penny! The guided tour was excellent, explaining so much and allowing access to areas the normal ticket did not (such as the shrine to Edward The Confessor, plus we got to sit in the choir stalls!). We both thoroughly enjoyed it, the highlight for me being visiting the tomb of Elizabeth the 1st (I still can't help feeling she wouldn't be too happy at being buried with Mary). Lunch in the Abbey cafe (which really was not good value at all and not much choice - I would avoid if possible), a quick look round the gift shop, and then we headed for ....

The Churchill War Rooms.

Thanks to a 2 for 1 rail voucher this was much more reasonable to get in to, and in truth really really enjoyable. We loved seeing the war time set up (I could have easily *borrowed* one of those lovely phones), and who knew that Churchill invented the Onesie?! The cafe was lovely, and very good quality/value - save your pennies for there - and the gift shop too - especially if you love the wartime/vintage stuff as I do.

Leaving Churchill to His bunker we took a leisurely stroll down past Horseguards parade in the glorious sunshine, and then through St James Park - beautiful! squirrels! birds! baby ducks! ice cream! - all the way to Buckingham Palace..after a sit down to soak in the sunshine/view/atmosphere (it was about 5:30 pm by now!) we headed back down Pall Mall, past Clarence House, back through Trafalgar Arch (is that right? Admiralty Arch?) and walked home to Waterloo. Thoroughly exhausted but very happy we managed to grab a curry on the way, very tasty it was too. Sleep and aching tootsies (note to self : take better shoes next time) but spirits undimmed we were looking forward to Day 3!

(more to follow!)

Nijmegen...
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11. Re: Our Trip!

What a wonderful read, love the little bits of humour(love that Peter Crouch quote). So glad that the tour worked out for you, what a weird security man though! And I also loved the verger tour.

Very much looking forward to the rest!

Inverness, United...
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241 posts
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12. Re: Our Trip!

Parkland walk, yes he did explain the origin of toeing the line, I had forgotten that!

For those who don't know there is a line in front of the benches in the House of Commons that you are not meant to cross when you speak. Because the chamber is MUCH smaller than it appears on tv you are really VERY close to your opponents and anyone you might generally hate , therefore the theory is that the distance between the two lines is slightly over two swords lengths apart, therefore if you * toe the line* and do not cross it you cannot inflict mortal harm upon your political opponent (since your swords can never touch). I must say (and I say this with zero political affiliation) it took on a whole new meaning for me having watched Ed Balls making menacing eyes at all and sundry when the Budget was delivered..it was so close it must have been intimidating!

Day 4

We had hoped to visit the Imperial War Museum (a long held dream for OH) but sadly it is closed for refurbishment, so we searched around for something similar to fulfil Mr Teapots dreams. The thing we alighted on in the end was the RAF museum in Hendon..so off we went.

Luckily for us the museum was on a straight line (tube wise) from Waterloo, so we did not have to change at all, and I must say it only cost us a bargainous £2.70 (or thereabouts) to get there (which for about 10 stops, if not more, I forget, was very good value!).

It's a lovely HUGE place, full to the brim with planes from all eras.. from the first realms of flight to World War 1 , then World War 2, then into modern day - planes used in the Falklands conflict - and right up to date with the latest military plane thing they are having all the problems with - the stealth thing, I forget it's name!

We got there pretty early (10:30 ish, it opened at 10) but it was already very busy - lots of excited little kids running about, and equally excited grown men...one in particular who was terribly sweet and kept getting OH to take his photo with any and every plane..and funny thing was he was into full hero pose as soon as the camera turned on him! (We saw him the next day at the Tower of London looking equally excited!)

Planes are not really my thing, I must be honest, but even I could enjoy their style and design.

My personal favourite was a burnt out plane (a Halifax) which (if memory serves me correctly) had been involved in the bombing of the Tripitz (German boat) and had later been recovered from the bottom of a lake.

OH had MANY favourites, as the 50 or so photos he took of planes alone can testify!

With many of them you could climb up steps to look right inside, and there was even one you could sit in, and a plane/boat you could walk through.

There were also lots of little exhibitions, such as a recreation of Barnes Wallis' office (he created the DamBusters bomb), Herman Goerings' uniform and medals (most of which he rather gratuitously awarded himself!) and a look into the wartime mission control office, which I loved.

We were there for most of the day (6 hours?) and that was going at a fair pace - a true connoisseur - or a husband let loose for the day by himself - could no doubt spend much longer!

We had lunch in the WINGS restaurant, which was very nice - soup and tea - and wonderfully decorated with old war/recruitment/aviation posters if you like that kind of thing (I do - I wish they had been for sale!)

There is also a very nice shop, selling many vintage plane/war based items - some lovely prints, some of which are duplicated from The Churchill War Rooms, but much cheaper - £5.99 at RAF Hendon, £10 at the War Rooms. They also sell lots of vintage flying magazines and plane related second hand books - one of which was a paper manual for identifying different convoy ships (I am sure I had seen this in one of the displays at the Churchill Rooms too). I would have liked to have bought this, but at £35 I could only admire it. OH did find a MASSIVE book about Israeli war planes though, for £4, so he was happy.

When I finally tore him away we were both dog tired, so we just got the tube home to Waterloo, where we stopped at the Patisserie Valerie in the station for a cake and a coffee. I had the biggest custard slice known to man, and OH had a huge slab of chocolate cake - very nice, though he looked slightly green afterwards (eyes bigger than belly).

Having decided to have an early night and watch Masterchef on tv, we didn't venture out later but got a takeaway from the Chinese Canteen next door. It was both very cheap and very nice.

It turned out to be a good job we went to sleep early because the fire alarm went off at 2:30 in the morning and we all had to evacuate the Hotel...it was an experience standing in our pyjamas on Waterloo Road at that time with bus loads of people going past!

Though I was sure I could smell smoke in the corridor it turned out it was the Gym next door the alarm had gone off in, and it was a false alarm. We were warned it might go off again and if so we would all have to troop out again..thankfully it did not and we did get some more sleep..but almost everyone was up very late for breakfast the next day, so much so that they ran out of knives and plates!

Final day to follow!

Roeselare, Belgium
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1,684 posts
21 reviews
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13. Re: Our Trip!

Wow, what an eventful night: being on Waterloo Road in pijamas is a London experience not many others have shared ;-)

I'm loving every bit of your writing, informative, witty and a delightful read! Sad that there's just one more day to follow...

Btw, when we visited the RAFmuseum, I was similarly surprised at how interested it kept me. Being the sole female in our group, I went in thinking of it as a 'sacrifice' to keep the guys happy, but I ended up loving it as much as they did. We only stayed some 3 hours, but the place is so massive that I can easily imagine it filling a whole interesting day. Recommended, I agree!

Southampton
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4,013 posts
24 reviews
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14. Re: Our Trip!

Wow, you are a star magnet. You have seen more famous people in a couple of days than I have seen in my entire life (though I did once see The Queen popping in to Westminster Abbey). Great report!

Illinois
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16,037 posts
16 reviews
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15. Re: Our Trip!

I really enjoyed the RAF museum. There's also the Army Museum in Chelsea, but I didn't think that was quite as good. If OH is interested in WWII, you can visit the RAF Ops room in Uxbridge, but you have to book in advance, so I don't know if it would work for this trip. There's a phone number though, so you could see. It was really good.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/battleofbritainbunker/

16. Re: Our Trip!

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