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Bimmer09

Celebrity Silhouette, Norwegian Fjords Sept. 1 2019

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A statue of Boadicea 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boadicea_and_Her_Daughters

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I wish we had time to get off and take a look in this grand train station

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Waterloo_station

 

our hotel peeking above the trees

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one of many pubs I will find along our route

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 we were driving along Fleet Street now and this is a pub from 1667

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1 hour ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

Yes - the picture you labeled Lambeth Palace is Lambeth. It is the home to the Archbishop of Canterbury - and therefore the center of the Anglican Communion. (It is basically like the Vatican to Roman Catholics.)

 

Thank you for the confirmation!

If there are others I stumbled upon please feel free!

Cheers,

Norris 

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28 minutes ago, Bimmer09 said:

 

Thank you for the confirmation!

If there are others I stumbled upon please feel free!

Cheers,

Norris 


You’re welcome! I really only know it because a seminary friend did a year internship there so I saw lots of pictures. I’ve only been to London a couple of times and never to Lambeth.

 

Really enjoying your review!

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Saint Paul's Cathedral

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I have to shamefully admit I have never been inside it, despite spending a total of 13 years of my life in London. I've been in most of the 1970s and 80's rock pubs and concert halls and famous clubs like the Marquee ( too many times to count) and Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club and I visited many of the museums multiple times, particularly the National History and the Imperial War Museum. I shopped in Petticoat Lane and Notting Hill Gate markets and ate out in Berni Inns, Wimpy Bars (I loved you!) and countless Indian Restaurants. My concert venue was Hammersmith Odeon. But I wasn't interested in Cathedrals as I am now. I went to pubs that had live bands or good lunches of bangers and mash or fish and chips. 

 

I left London very quickly when I got an offer to join Royal Caribbean playing drums on the Song of Norway and didn't look back once I got into cruising (a minute after I stepped on the ship in Miami) and have only been back to London for 5 months starting November 85 to March 86, then a week's visit to London and Belfast in 1994 and 3 days in 2019.

 

I regretted having stayed away so long but I have enjoyed my time since in the USA and Western Europe. I would have loved to have called up some old friends in London and have visited them over 30 years later as I didn't see any of them since March 1986. No time! We might have only our senses of humor in common now but that's a great start.

 

We are on a bus. I moved to a seat by myself so I had free access to swivel and contort my body for the shots of things above me. Like this

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and whatever this is

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an over the shoulder contortion shot

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the modern

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classic architecture

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a pedaling bar on a bridge over the Thames 

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pubs with flowers, so London!

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I had often driven across this bridge to get somewhere but this is the first time I wasn't behind the wheel and had a camera in my hands

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The Shard and the Tower of London

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odd edifice

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a London ambulance in yellow

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there's some significance in the dragons seen along the Victoria embankment but I haven't the foggiest idea what the guide was saying

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_boundary_mark

 

We got off the bus where we had got on, very happy with our 2 hour tour for 35 pounds each.

We had killed time nicely and our room would be ready after our short walk to the hotel.

Highly recommended!

 

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Now we could get the keys and enter our room and unpack for one last time before our flight from Heathrow to Chicago on Monday morning. We were one floor higher and more to the center of the hotel than before

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More accessible closet than before which was a narrow room with a doorway. Here it was bigger and out in the open 

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Having the safe etc in the center ate up space for long clothes to hang

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Nespresso on the desk and a complimentary mini-bar provided

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art reflecting our surroundings

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we had a small balcony but the doors were locked for safety

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view from our left window

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while Carol unpacked and Clorox-wiped all surfaces I visited the gardens and when coming back in noticed people having afternoon tea just off the lobby. Carol thought tea would be splendid and so we decided to splurge at 49 pounds each as we hadn't eaten since breakfast about 10 hours before. We asked for a window table.

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finger sandwiches including cucumber, prawn salad, chicken egg and salmon. Big fluffy scones with all the trimmings, and 4 kinds of delicious cakes all washed down with Lapsang Souchong tea for Carol and English Breakfast for me. Leaves steeped in a classic teapot.

 

Sitting back refreshed in our comfy chairs Carol said I should pick the next adventure and I immediately proposed sitting outdoors at a pub overlooking the Thames and watching the world go by.

 

So that's the plan.

 

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Norris, I've been following your review with great interest. Fantastic pictures and commentary. We are doing the same cruise next year and finding your review very helpful in deciding what to do in each of the ports. 

 

I've been looking at the Royal Horseguards Hotel for our stay in London as it looks wonderful. Do you have any suggestions regarding the rooms there. I'm trying to decide between the River View and Garden View King Rooms. Do you think the River view was worth the extra cost?

 

Thanks. Rick

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Norris, I haven’t forgotten you! We have been away on a land trip of our own, followed by some unexpectedly busy days when we returned home. I’m finally caught up, and, as usual, I have thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful pictures and wonderfully entertaining narrative! 

 

I will I’ll be here until the very end, and be looking for your Sky Princess narrative on January 26!  😎

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4 hours ago, rdt10 said:

Norris, I've been following your review with great interest. Fantastic pictures and commentary. We are doing the same cruise next year and finding your review very helpful in deciding what to do in each of the ports. 

 

I've been looking at the Royal Horseguards Hotel for our stay in London as it looks wonderful. Do you have any suggestions regarding the rooms there. I'm trying to decide between the River View and Garden View King Rooms. Do you think the River view was worth the extra cost?

 

Thanks. Rick

 

Rick the  garden view would give you a very pretty public garden to look at but for us we always ask for a high floor as far from traffic noise as we can get and when I saw the photos of the Horseguards with those tall trees I was glad we got rooms on 6 and 7, though higher would have been even better for us. To wake up with a Nespresso and a view of St Paul's in one window and the London Eye and all that boat traffic in the other was unforgettable and there was no forgetting we were in London. 

 

The Horseguards is an old fashioned hotel with few amenities like fitness centers and pools and convention rooms and that's exactly what we like. We like olde worlde charm, elegance and quiet with stellar service and that's what we got. We will go back to London and will book the same hotel again. Eating breakfast outdoors was fabulous! 

 

Thanks for reading this and for the kind comments! I hope you will read my next two- Sky Princess on January 26th (Western Caribbean) and Azamara Pursuit, October 11 (Rome to Venice via Adriatic ports and all three ships in Koper for a 10th Azamara anniversary)

 

Norris

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51 minutes ago, perfect match said:

Norris, I haven’t forgotten you! We have been away on a land trip of our own, followed by some unexpectedly busy days when we returned home. I’m finally caught up, and, as usual, I have thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful pictures and wonderfully entertaining narrative! 

 

I will I’ll be here until the very end, and be looking for your Sky Princess narrative on January 26!  😎

 

Nancy, where was your land trip? We just had a quick 3 day driving tour to Northern Michigan with not the best weather but fantastic nonetheless. 960 miles in 3 days.

 

We are choosing excursions for the Sky Princess cruise and will be happy to have the sun on our faces again. We will be eating ashore at some ports which is my favorite thing. I'm looking forward to Roatan as the swimming is good there near where the ship docks. I never swim on the ships. 

 

I know about busy days and they have kept me away from the computer more than normal when writing a review. January is not a busy month for me.

 

Coming to the end so thanks for sticking with this!

Norris

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25 minutes ago, Bimmer09 said:

 

Rick the  garden view would give you a very pretty public garden to look at but for us we always ask for a high floor as far from traffic noise as we can get and when I saw the photos of the Horseguards with those tall trees I was glad we got rooms on 6 and 7, though higher would have been even better for us. To wake up with a Nespresso and a view of St Paul's in one window and the London Eye and all that boat traffic in the other was unforgettable and there was no forgetting we were in London. 

 

The Horseguards is an old fashioned hotel with few amenities like fitness centers and pools and convention rooms and that's exactly what we like. We like olde worlde charm, elegance and quiet with stellar service and that's what we got. We will go back to London and will book the same hotel again. Eating breakfast outdoors was fabulous! 

 

Thanks for reading this and for the kind comments! I hope you will read my next two- Sky Princess on January 26th (Western Caribbean) and Azamara Pursuit, October 11 (Rome to Venice via Adriatic ports and all three ships in Koper for a 10th Azamara anniversary)

 

Norris

Thank you Norris. The Horseguards sounds perfect. I'll definitely request a room on an upper floor. Your review has us very excited about our trip next year. Looking forward to your future reviews.

 

Rick

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Goin' down the pub

Carol- my researcher- found us a pub that promised water views but it was in Southwark and her research showed we could take a tube (and I don't mean toothpaste) to Blackfriars and walk across a bridge to our destination. We walked to Embankment station a one minute walk.

I liked this little tourist shop along the way

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in Embankment station, so much better lit than I recall platforms being

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our only tube trip even though we had an Oyster card for getting around on public transport

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after a very short ride we emerged up into the sun again

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one of our favorite buildings

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we had to go down a long flight of steps to get to the pub level

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the dark cloud was moving North so not an issue

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the pub was found after a walk along a busy riverside walk offering a great view

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not a historic pub where Dickens drank but it had the location to offer and served food and drink

https://www.foundersarms.co.uk

 

if you click on their gallery there are good pics inside and out, which I wouldn't have felt comfortable taking. You can see the tempting menus too

 

I had to go to the bar to get our drinks as there were no waiters taking orders

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we sat for maybe an hour, relaxing and soaking up the vibe. Foreign languages spoken a plenty.

A table of Brits nearby heard us speak and started chatting-how long are we here for, how did we get here etc. I try to avoid being "that guy with the camera" in crowded situations like this so I don't roam the tables taking unwanted pictures. While we sat there on a balmy Sunday evening Carol was finding a way to get us to our dinner spot which came highly recommended to her from a cyber friend who lives in London. A fish and chip shop in Covent Garden. Taking the tube involved a train change and left us with a walk, so we agreed on letting Uber get us there. We both use Lyft in the USA but loaded the Uber app as they are more prevalent in London.

 

We both enjoyed visiting the Founder's Arms with its stellar views and ambiance

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12 hours ago, Bimmer09 said:

 

Rick the  garden view would give you a very pretty public garden to look at but for us we always ask for a high floor as far from traffic noise as we can get and when I saw the photos of the Horseguards with those tall trees I was glad we got rooms on 6 and 7, though higher would have been even better for us. To wake up with a Nespresso and a view of St Paul's in one window and the London Eye and all that boat traffic in the other was unforgettable and there was no forgetting we were in London. 

 

The Horseguards is an old fashioned hotel with few amenities like fitness centers and pools and convention rooms and that's exactly what we like. We like olde worlde charm, elegance and quiet with stellar service and that's what we got. We will go back to London and will book the same hotel again. Eating breakfast outdoors was fabulous! 

 

Thanks for reading this and for the kind comments! I hope you will read my next two- Sky Princess on January 26th (Western Caribbean) and Azamara Pursuit, October 11 (Rome to Venice via Adriatic ports and all three ships in Koper for a 10th Azamara anniversary)

 

Norris

 

Thanks for the tips Norris . We many look into it for April's and May's cruises .

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The Last Supper

We Ubered our way over to Covent Garden chatting to the African driver as we rode on unfamiliar streets. In Chicago we gave up using taxis a couple of years ago and don't miss the dirty cars, reckless driving and listening to one half of a phone conversation with someone back in Turkmenistan.  We use Lyft and like their service and pricing and lack of would-be race car drivers yakking on a phone. 

Before going to London I had been looking to have a fine dinner at Gordon Ramsay's on Hospital Road, the foundation of his Empire just to satisfy my curiosity but I really enjoyed our pub meals and their economy: you are hungry, there's a pub, go in, no reservations or dressing up.  So when Carol mentioned Rock and  Sole Plaice, a fishy play on words I was game but after having fish and chips 4 times already in the last 9 days I was going to avoid ordering fish and chips.

Looking back I may have been insane however there are other British dishes I crave living on this side of the pond.

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In business since 1871?!!! Yikes, that's impressive. Fish and chips is very simple cooking

and is a good counter in Britain to the myriad of Indian and Chinese restaurants that appear in every town. This chip shop came recommended and the smells wafting from the kitchen into the street where we would be sitting were familiar and welcomed. They were frying with ground nut oil which was a new one on me. We have used peanut oil at home.

 

no takeaway fish fingers and chips for us

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 The menu of delights but I had to go in and order 

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rock is rock cod but Carol ordered the plaice. Me, I ordered a favorite non-fish dish called steak and kidney pie, knowing I would get to try Carol's fish.

 

I went in and met the cooks, one of which posed for me

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I told them the photos were for TripAdvisor and I meant it

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the evening was too beautiful and pleasant to sit inside

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we shared a table with two Asian girls for a short time before they left

 

while we waited

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my steak and kidney pie was delivered

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a red bottle of Sarson's malt vinegar was pressed into use as was some salt.

Big chunky, hand-cut fries, crispy on the outside, pillowy soft potato within. Fantastic. Happy.

Good slow cooked chunks of beef and kidney in a rich gravy. Very happy.

 

Carol's fish and chips

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No need for fine dining when this good simple comfort food is on the end of your fork

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I think 50 GBP covered it. Takeaway is about 40% cheaper and a steal. (see green menu board in photo)

 

a home run and we agreed it was worth the trip to get here. We will go back when we do a land visit to London which we have already been talking about. Maybe 4 days with 3 in Northern Ireland.

 

The light was fading but while we were in the area we decided to walk our meal off by searching for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden before heading back to our hotel..

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All caught up! Amazing review as usual. The London photos are gorgeous. Sun with a few clouds makes for he best photos. Looks like you had perfect accommodations in London. 
I worry about the Edgeification of the Solstice class Celebrity ships. I guess it happens to the Silhouette after it crosses the ocean. I met a woman the other day who is on that cruise, possibly right now. Fortunately our next cruise on the Reflection & it doesn’t get drydocked until 2023.

Thanks again for posting such great reviews and photos and thanks to Carol for keeping her extensive notes. 

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13 hours ago, Marvy Mare said:

All caught up! Amazing review as usual. The London photos are gorgeous. Sun with a few clouds makes for he best photos. Looks like you had perfect accommodations in London. 
I worry about the Edgeification of the Solstice class Celebrity ships. I guess it happens to the Silhouette after it crosses the ocean. I met a woman the other day who is on that cruise, possibly right now. Fortunately our next cruise on the Reflection & it doesn’t get drydocked until 2023.

Thanks again for posting such great reviews and photos and thanks to Carol for keeping her extensive notes. 

 

Hi, Maris and thanks for the very kind words.

The Edge has a series of missteps and blunders in her design for my taste and I'm not alone and I just hope X  thinks things through a little more in the future Edgefication. Already I see them putting sofas and chairs where the "bocce ball"  (seldom used) space was and I bet they haven't got a place to put all that furniture when it rains- the Sunset Bar was a disaster in Norway as the furniture and cushions just got wet as the  crew weren't on their game.

I'm all for practicality over fluff any day. Designers have to imagine being passengers and no shade on the sun deck where the metal garden is was a big gaff. But we'll see. I'm an upper deck dweller as you know.

For us I think a 4th cruise line choice is on the horizon. So many choices now.

I'm leaning away from Seabourn as it only has 4 aft cabins and they are priced high. Viking is on the radar, and maybe just maybe if they stop the brochure price fiction Oceania will be considered.

Smaller ships.

We are beyond Norway now and looking forward to January on the new Sky Princess and are in excursion researching mode. We've already decided no excursions in Grand Cayman (an island with little character as far as we are concerned) but there we will dine ashore. Belize will be the zoo (featured recently on Jeff Corwin's "Ocean treks" show and a butterfly/tropical birds place. Cozumel- Carol might not even get off the ship but I will and Roatan will be beach swim in that cool Carnival manicured port complex with the chair lift and a botanical garden visit.

So looking forward to some sun and color in my photos.

 

Thanks for following along Maris!

Norris, in the home stretch

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10 hours ago, cinnamon said:

Norris, Groundnut is another name for Peanuts, so, same oil. 😀

 

Thanks for that info!

I started cooking chips in N Ireland when I was about 5 as I have always been useful in the kitchen- when I was on my dad's cargo ship I would help the chef in the galley- and back then I was cooking with lard and later  beef dripping. It was only when I left home at aged 18 to live in London that I discovered oil (probably Canola or vegetable) and, many years later the said peanut oil which was the very best.

Norris

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15 hours ago, cinnamon said:

Norris, Groundnut is another name for Peanuts, so, same oil. 😀


Thank you for this info. As one who is allergic to peanuts, I will store this info away for when I visit London and the UK!

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The Royal Opera House

We didn't have far to walk said Google Maps.

A cozy pub along the way

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a couple of street turns ....

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Opera_House

 

their season won't start until September 16, a week away 

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nothing happening tonight

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the steel and glass section was added in 1999 to give more bar and restaurant space

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someday we will go inside holding tickets!

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We summoned an Uber to pick us up at the ROH and within 20 minutes we were back at the hotel and a few minutes later took one last look before an early to bed, early to rise

 

The Coca Cola London Eye

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It was there next morning  when I was out around 6 a.m

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too early for the Starbucks next door so I got my cup of Joe here

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I sat at a table outside with my coffee and an ashtray and was joined by a Welsh man who rolled his own cigarettes for economic purposes. During our chat I mentioned the clever homeless people who sleep in tents on the streets and he said " I always have trouble folding mine up".

He was a construction worker at the site a 100 yards away where a 25 million pounds sewer upgrade was in progress and was sleeping in a tent during his contract to save money.

Another Welsh construction worker joined us and they both spoke in Welsh, something I had never witnessed before. It was time for me to move on as we were having an early breakfast in the Horseguards before getting an Uber to the airport

 

we would be eating indoors as it was early and not yet warm enough to sit outside

 

the hot food awaits

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today a modest plate for me

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Carol's scrambled eggs and ham

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we pack like people who have done this before-a well oiled machine. Even in a small room there is no bumping into each other: spatial awareness and a focus on the task

 

We leave enough time to go to Monument Station to see if we can get a refund on the unused portion of our little-used Oyster card for public transit. Alas our balance is too big and must be claimed online.

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On the brief walk back to the hotel a sign shows the attractions within a 5 minute walk

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While I am savoring our last minutes in Whitehall I order an Uber to Heathrow.

Meanwhile up in our room Carol summons an Uber to Heathrow. I had to cancel mine while he was en route and paid a 6 pounds penalty, which was a good learning experience. We gave up the motorcade which was the only downside .

 

We don't weep into our suitcases while packing (well, not much) as we knew this day would come, which is something our cat didn't. We were looking forward to seeing her again

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Snowy, the cat, taken just an hour ago. She lives! Viva Snowy!

 

the hotel doorman helped with our bags and we were in a nice car on our way to Heathrow....

Edited by Bimmer09
removing the letter d

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Thank you Norris and Carol for another fabulous travel journal!  Have been with you all along, I just don't comment much.  Already have my calendar marked in January for your Sky Princess (can't wait to "hear" your thoughts as we hope to sail her later 2020), and again in October for your Azamara journey!

 

Love Snowy!

 

Tracy

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We left the hotel behind as it was much too big to pack and we will need it to stay put and await our return, for return we shall. We had a flight around 10 a.m so gave ourselves 2.5 hours to cover the Heathrow trip and the inevitable time-suck of that vast bonkers airport second only to Atlanta for aggravation and long distance carry-on schlepping.

 

I would normally have taken mucho pics along the Uber route but there is only a shot of Egerton Terrace SW3 a rare opportunity as there wasn't a truck driving right  beside us

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I look at my watch and there is enough time for a flashback....

 

readers will remember that I began this review on September 10 and immediately was in the story-telling weeds. For me (us) the vacation/cruise begins with leaving Chicago behind and I was thwarted by Flickr issues. F wouldn't accept my iPhone photos so I had to skip the beginning of our odyssey. "I'll do a flashback once I get it fixed" I told Carol.

 After a week of back and forth emails with Flickr's helpful desk I found I had to (a) eliminate an old account and upgrade my 2nd account which has all my Rome to Barcelona pics for $ 50 to allow more capacity for the iPhone photos. I am now down to just 2 Flickr accounts holding a total of 20,000 photos .

Then Youtube proved problematic and I had to spend $80 on a Vimeo Plus video account, so I am out $130 but in good shape technologically for a long time to come.

Now as the car drove along the awakening London streets on this Monday morning, September 10 2019 I felt the flashback coming on.  My eyes went blurry and voices began to echo and diminish in volume. The road ahead began to rotate antic-clockwise and the faster it spun the more I remembered.....

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Norris, Thank you for a fantastic review. Your writing style is so easy and enoyable to follow along, and of course your pictures are always fantastic, always waiting patiently for the next installment. I especially enjoy the early morning ventures and your description of enjoying a cup of local coffee and watching a city awake.  I met you several years ago aboard the Ruby Princess, I believe, at a CC Meet & Greet and I've been quietly following your reviews as they come along. We are sailing Celebrity and Silhouette very soon for a change of venue and experiences. It's certainly interesting, the common refrain across the various forums, of getting just a bit tired of our long time cruise line host and wondering if there is something better to experience out there. It is common on all the boards. The honeymoon is over I guess. I'm sure we will thoroughly enjoy the Silhouette and your pictures make us anxious to board and enjoy.

 

Your final flashback and online storage challenges brings one song to mind..... hey, hey, you, you, get off of my cloud. How did the Stones know what the future held???

 

Bruce

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