Tuesday, May 23, 2017

London, not at all off the beaten path

I had such a wonderful weekend in London, and didn’t have the chance to write a post because I had a business trip the week afterwards. Then I hesitated to share because I felt badly about the incident in London, which took place long after I had left. But I refuse to stay put and not travel at all, so I’d like to share some photos and tips.
We stayed at a hotel in Trafalgar Square, which is a busy part of town. The benefits are that you can really walk to most of what you’d like to see in a weekend, and the trains run extensively (but we didn’t use them). The disadvantage of staying there is that there is quite a bit of city noise (no surprise there!), and it is more challenging with luggage from the airports late at night or very early in the morning.
The food in London was much better than I thought it would be, and I now regret my negative recollection of British food, from a trip there 19 years ago! We didn’t have any meal that was bad, but we did try some perhaps “non-traditional” places, such as an Italian restaurant, the Jaimee Oliver place in Covent Garden, outstanding salads at “Pret a Manger” and a great snack at “All Bar One” at Leicester Square.
We went up in the eye, and I marveled at the engineering (can’t help it, daughter of an engineer!). We walked all over the first day, and took the hop-on-hop-off bus the second day. We enjoyed a beautiful choir concert at St. Martin in the Fields church, and admired the carriages at the royal stables.
We saw a couple having their wedding photos taken outside Westminster Abbey, and were curious about the building we saw behind the couple. While we were disappointed that churches, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, charged admission to view the interior, we were pleased that the building behind the couple being photographed was a high court with lovely architecture, and they allowed us to take a self-guided tour for free! 
There are many other areas of the UK to explore, but London is especially worth a weekend trip on a discount European carrier from  within Europe. Having lived in Germany for more than 2 years now, I just loved walking into a book store where everything was in English!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The 4th cat?

Last October, our cats shared their latest goings-on. That post included a photo of an outdoor cat who was hanging out on our back porch. 
He’s still here, and is hanging out quite a bit, much to the great annoyance of our cats (members of the “permanent party”). He is quite chatty, greeting us loudly in the morning, and yodeling some hellos in the evening. Here he is in March, along with the green crate from our weekly farm share.
What to do with a stray cat who makes googly-eyes through the glass door? One person here says, “feed him, he’s obviously hungry. Oh, and give him a bowl of water, too.” Another person here says, “three cats is enough!” The cats say, “get outta here!”
Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hello, new luggage!

Good-bye, old luggage! Someday when I am bored (aka no time soon), I will calculate how many thousands of miles our luggage has travelled in recent years. During 2015, I flew across the Atlantic 9 times (the odd flight was moving to Germany). We flew to Norway, Denmark, and Ireland last year. Plus prior years of travels!
Our two-wheeled suitcases and carry-ons served us well, but I had recently noticed other airline passengers with four-wheeled suitcases, gliding effortlessly across miles of airport lobbies. Once the handle of our faithful suitcase stopped pulling out all the way, and the rubber tires of the old carry-on broke off (resulting in loud clacking noises with every step), we decided to upgrade. One zippered lock on an older piece of luggage had snapped entirely.
I will report in on the upcoming travel adventures with a full-sized 4-wheeled suitcase and a 4-wheeled laptop bag as a carryon. We noticed passengers on discount European airline flying to Ireland without a checked suitcase, but with a strictly-measured carryon mini-suitcase, so we will try that idea out on our next weekend trip with rock-bottom airfare.
Of course the cats were not happy to see more luggage show up in the house! It took me so many months to post this after drafting it, that I can report back two successful transatlantic flights with the  full size and carryon 4-wheelers! We are fine, just busy with day-to-day things (maybe I should post about that, but it seems kind of boring)!