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Celebrity Silhouette, Norwegian Fjords Sept. 1 2019


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6 hours ago, perfect match said:

Norris, I’m loving your view of London! Looking forward to the cruise portion of your trip, too! Your pictures, as always, are excellent! 


Thanks, Nancy.

I haven't looked at the cruise photos yet but will be working on them tomorrow I imagine.

I have been back  for a week but have been working and writing this and doing the everyday.

I did a quick skim through the Norway pics to choose those you saw on page 1 showing where we were each day. That I did on the flight home.

We visited some beautiful places on a stunning ship so I am really looking forward to having time to work on them and see what I got.



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St. James's Park





We love public gardens. Carol though didn't bring her pruning shears and saw much that needed to be done.





Carol sat at the first bench after entering the park while I wandered lonely as a cloud and came to a lake. I found a bench easily there and texted her that intel.



Looking back to Horseguards



A lovely spot to sit and watch the world go by



People from just about every nation walk by. I didn't see any Antarcticans though.



We did have a play to see at 2.30 so I wanted to get us to the environs of the Garrick Theater and find a place to have lunch well in advance so we strolled through the park towards the Mall which runs up to Buckingham Palace from Admiralty Arch.

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Away from the lake we came to a meadow bordering the Mall and people were sitting in the grass on blankets or in deck chairs. We found a couple of deck chairs under a shady tree.



We had been sitting for 5 minutes when an Indian gentleman came along with his money satchel and ticket machine. "That will be one pound ninety pence each please". "Say what?"

"For how long?" asked Carol. An hour. Yikes. I paid the fee even though I hadn't intended to sit for an hour. It was a nice quiet spot though. Quiet enough for Carol to take a nap while I wandered around. I'll head over to those gates.





To my left Buckingham Palace but I am not going to walk there and back



As the theater is near Trafalgar Square we will be walking that a way



Before our deckchair time expires we are on the move again and at times find ourselves crossing streets with maybe 100 other people, many of them teens in large groups.


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6 hours ago, SempreMare said:

@Bimmer09, your Churchill War Room pics are mesmerizing.   Thank you for your keen tactics and assertiveness needed to get the great photos.  Much appreciated.


I went to the Churchill War Room museum > 10 years ago.  I thought I remembered it well because it had such a profound impact on me.  But you posted pics of much that looked new to me.

Did they mention an expansion?    (but ... how would they expand?  It's underground!) 


Maybe they just enhanced some of the exhibits.   


The quandary your pictures put me in: 

I will be on the Apex to Norway in May  (Hey - you should be on that cruise too!) 

Pre-cruise London itinerary not planned yet, but now this makes me want to see the Churchill War Room museum again.  But... there's so much else in London I haven't seen!  Gah! 


Are you going to St. Pauls?   We were in the middle of a Santa's Elf flash mob at St. Paul's Cathedral one Christmas.  So much fun!  


@Deck Chair Queenthanks for adding that insight re: ROH.


Could I ask you & @Bimmer09 & London mavens an additional question about London hotels? 


My Big City Hotel selection strategy that has worked best to date: 


1) Select a hotel near the most "alive" and fun area of the city at night.

Advantage:  Explore all day.  Return at 4pm.  Shower, nap, rest the feet. 

Then dinner and fun at night to late night someplace very close.


Alive and fun to me means not just bars but including sights and overall pedestrian activity.

This strategy works great in Rome which I've been to ~ 12 times for work and fun.


2) Select a hotel with a room view of something really interesting at night and day.

An active river or port with lots of boat activity would be my choice over a beautiful but mostly empty beach view any day.


London area for 1) would be where? 

London area for 2) would be where you are right now! 😉  Congrats on an awesome location & hotel! 


I don't imagine myself to be a man who could tell you where to find fun. I guess I would look at the Covent Garden area which has been revitalized since my day. You are never going to be far from a Tube station or a bus stop in London.


We like quiet, especially at night and we always look for a view and the Horseguards gave us both. (Whitehall Gardens were a tremendous bonus). A quiet street all day long. Stately buildings which aren't going to be torn down for new construction.

The beauty of London is the public transportation to get you anywhere there is fun or you can do what we did which was to get an Uber or use the Tube. After the fun, dinner, whatever you go to that quiet elegant place to rest. I wouldn't want to step out of the hotel and be in the middle of SOHO or such.

Luckily you have a lot of TripAdvisor time before your cruise.

or Google....https://www.trivago.com/london-38715/city-districts/covent-garden-1969869?sem_keyword=&sem_creativeid=319624531827&sem_matchtype=b&sem_network=g&sem_device=c&sem_placement=&sem_target=&sem_adposition=1t4&sem_param1=&sem_param2=&sem_campaignid=430498349&sem_adgroupid=24653658269&sem_targetid=dsa-402035491826&sem_location=9021710&cip=11131&gclid=CjwKCAjw5fzrBRASEiwAD2OSV94cCfEEmPqxGaJ836xBvZ1LQ_HzLCVXzWp072bX1SRKMMX4vJvEZhoCLX4QAvD_BwE






Just some ideas.

The history of the War Room which I linked before my photos will tell you about the expansions.


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Whew that was a long walk!

We have passed through Trafalgar Square and are at St Martin in the Fields church



The London Colosseum theater's unique crown and I spy a pub







We go in to pick up our will-call tickets and the lady at the kiosk tells us she has upgraded our seats. No argument here!  Ta very much! With that squared away it is time to eat as the show starts in 75 minutes. So many cuisines to choose from nearby but I am thinking Pub Lunch all the way and mention The Chandos to Carol. Rick Steves mentions that says she and we retrace our steps...


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Food is served upstairs in the Opera Room 



Order at the bar



All the taps are Samuel Smith. No Guinness. They have a dark stout "like" Guinness but if word got back to Dublin....beach of contract by  Mr Norris and no more Guinness. I ordered a nice crisp lager.

Lamely focused



My steak and kidney pie would draw me back. Great crispy chips too.



Carol's cheese and pickle sandwich had us thinking crusty French bread with slices or a slab of strong aged cheddar and some Branston pickle. She got a soft bun with shredded flavorless cheese and a close attempt at Branston...close - but no cigar.



Off to the play! (but really off to work)


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Just catching up with your latest London photos and I see I have been walking in your footsteps today...through St James’ Park and along Horse Guards Road. I rarely get the chance to visit this part of London and has forgotten how beautiful it is.  



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On the way to the theater I checked the crowd going in to see the Gloria Estefan musical "On your Feet". We love Matinees!



We went into the Garrick Theater to see Bitter Wheat because the writer and director, David Mamet wrote our favorite movie "Glengarry Glenross" starring Al Pacino. Jack Lemon, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin and Alec Baldwin. We actually own it on DVD and know much of the dialogue. This new play was about a successful movie producer who uses his position to force himself on female actresses. Basically its harvey Weinstein. Very, very, witty but dark humor

and disturbing as you feel your skin crawl thanks to the writing and John Malcovich who is as brilliant as you might expect.


There was an intermission of 15 minutes when I went upstairs to the street to smoke and watch the busy London world go by. I had gone in with my camera in hand and no one questioned that which was odd and at the curtain call with the crowd going wild I took a snap.



Now we had to return to the hotel to meet Carol's cousin Heather who lives in Australia (Perth)

but also has a house in London with her husband David who is a classic car man (8 cars, most of them Lotus brand and rare).


On the walk there is a demonstration happening in Trafalgar Square as people are protesting Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament for 5 weeks.





We sat with Heather and David on the hotel terrace enjoying afternoon tea and scones for a convivial hour as Heather and Carol got caught up


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On 9/16/2019 at 4:28 AM, SempreMare said:

Which was your favorite? 


Favorite port in Norway? 

I liked them all for their beauty. The only thing that would separate one from the other were the excursions and the Celebrity experience ashore. I'll tell you about that as we go along.


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Last supper in London

We've been here about 31 hours and this would be our last evening meal. Carol found a Gordon Ramsay gastropub via Yelp and we passed it on our Thames cruise. River view. Count me in!

I found a photo I took that illustrates the hordes of people in London...

Footbridge over the Thames by our hotel



We used our first Uber to find The Narrow as the restaurant is called as it was way out East in Limehouse. It took about 25 minutes and included driving through some street tunnels to an industrial/residential part of the East End. Remote I would say with little chance of flagging down a black cab on the way home. Down a long flight of steps in the failing light...

Those outdoors on sofas were just drinking.



It was cool enough for us to prefer to sit inside in what they call the conservatory with its floor to ceiling windows and warmth. The windows can be slid open on hot days. We passed the bar to the hostess stand and met the welcoming and bubbly Tabitha.  We had an 8 pm reservation but our table wasn't ready. Luckily there were a couple of waiting sofas away from the bar.





In 5 minutes of so Tabitha bounced back with a smile to tell us our table was ready and escorted us to our riverview seats. The menu spoke of BBQ but there was no one at the outdoor grill so nix that. The Sunday Roast looked amazing on paper but true to its name is only served on Sunday. Sad faces. Even though I had fish and chips the day before I ordered the haddock and chips with mushy peas. Carol found a chicken dish that appealed but it had sold out.

Bummer. She ordered a pan fried Sea Bream with fennel and tomato-olive ragout instead and a salad that came with green peas, mint and fried lardons. We had heard good things about their bread and ordered some at a cost of 2 pounds 50 pence.





view from my seat-a party(dinner cruise) boat goes by



Our waitress was Simona a young Italian girl who was on her game all through the meal


Carol's Sea Bream



I had a bite and agreed with her on its perfection. Nice crispy skin added flavor.


My haddock and chips 



Disappointing following a day after the perfection at the Trafalgar. The batter (the tastiest part of the dish) was tempura-thin and didn't help the blandness of haddock (or cod) and the chips were more like roast potatoes in consistency-soft and pillowy with no crispy edges. They tasted good but couldn't really call themselves chips. Very fat potato cuts. Still, I cleared my plate as I was hungry. Another Guinness sir? Much head nodding like one of those fake dogs that people used to place in the back window of their cars. Where are they now?


We got our just desserts

My sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream



OMG delicious and I took a photo on my phone and put it on my Facebook feed.


Carol's berry crumble with marscapone ice cream



Another winner!

Suitably stuffed and with a service charge of 10 pounds we were out the door for 92.14


The view of Canary Wharf from the outside balcony





We summoned an Uber who arrived in 2 minutes. Score!


We were soon back at our hotel



and in our room



Tomorrow night we would be sleeping on the Silhouette!

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Love the last day and the play.  Your description of the changing of the guard and the horses had me in stitches. And your meal looked fantastic, especially the dessert. 


I looked up what happened with Uber in London.  I knew had been banned a while back, but it went to appeal for a long, long time. It looks like they are still allowed to operate with changes made.  


I cannot wait to see the ship and your pics soon!!

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Reading this I can’t believe how much we packed into one day in London! I bought tickets for the Mamet play months ago when it hadn’t even opened yet. This was the world premiere so we knew nothing about it except the subject and the star. It opened to horrendous reviews and is closing this month. That’s probably why we got our seats upgraded. But I found it to be thought provoking although very difficult to watch at times. It’s an important topic to tackle and Mamet did it with wit and even some sympathy for the devil (more for the victim, of course, but she does fight back effectively). I love all his plays, not just GGGR. Many premiered here in Chicago, where I saw the premiere with the original casts. Then seeing  my cousin was so special for me. She is a year younger than I and we were the best of friends when we were girls, spending every summer together at her home in Kingston, Jamaica while my mom visited my grandmother but for the past few decades she has lived so far away I seldom see her. But when I do, the years just melt away. Thanks to Norris for capturing all this on film!

Edited by Deck Chair Queen
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I'm off to work this morning but will return to the GSJ after 5 with an early morning Thames walk followed by breakfast. Then we are picked up at 10 a.m and driven to the ship in Southampton by Blackberry Cars.


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From one Carol to another - I love it when you chime in.  I thought you and your cousin must be blood cousins, there is a lot of resemblance between you.  Norris does have a way with the camera.  It was wonderful he could capture memories like this for you.  

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It's a wonderful experience to go to bed at night in a beautiful hotel that you (I) love. Quiet. Look out the window sipping a cold Heineken from the free mini bar-the lights of London and the Eye glowing red like a Coca Cola can. ("Coke" owns the Eye). Reflection on an other great day, one treat after the other for the eye, the stomach, the psyche. Feel-good moments from waking to sleeping. No work. No effort. Just pleasure unending.


Then thinking....this is my last sleep in these crisp clean sheets in this magnificent city. When my head hits the pillow tomorrow night I'll be lullabied by the Azipods churning the cold North Sea waters a few decks below my bedroom as we speed along at 19 knots, heading for Bergen.


I am sure I fell asleep grinning...


Early Morning Thames walk

Upon waking I decided to do an early morning camera walk along the bonny bonny banks of the Thames and without coffee (hard to imagine now) I set off with one camera, no bag, as there is always a chance of being set-upon by ruffians but at least the lateness of my rising without an alarm (6 a.m) meant it would not be dark like my scary 5 a.m walks in Venice and Rome.


One of the lobby horses saw me leave



I stopped by the Starbucks to rectify the coffee issue but the staff within gestured that they wouldn't be open until 6.30 and rather than wait I set the feet in motion.



Up the steps and onto the bridge which I have to myself. I look back to the hotel



and then 3rd base of my Home Run in the distance



A brisk walk and I am soon on the South Bank and right by the Eye



The big wheel keeps on turnin' (since the year 2000)



Only the maintenance crew are around at this time. Each of the 33 cars waits its turn to get vacuumed and prepped for another day. 25 passengers per car times 33 at 2 turns per hour times at least 12 hours means an awful lot of money being slowly spun. The ride lasts 30 minutes I'm told.



Getting closer



Marriott Hotel on the South Bank



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Just another welcoming London pub



From men who spent great energy building timeless edifices to men who didn't have the strength or motivation to walk to a trash can.



There follows some great British military men







Another beauty for the weary traveler



Further on up the road



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Back by Embankment Station and I love plants and grasses as art



Here, on Villiers Street lies the Starbucks under scaffolding . No people sitting around at tables as it is too small yet it has a food selection the like of which I don't see in the USA




this is in addition to their small baked goods section!


With my tall Pike with an inch of room- I pour flavored coffee down the sink and only put cream in my coffee, plus sugar, I walk the 10 paces to Embankment Park where some homeless people are still asleep on the benches. I find one for myself as they are plentiful and the gardens are gorgeous.



I think that at this time if Celebrity had called me and said "dude, Captain got wasted last night and lost the keys to the boat. Sorry man but the cruise is cancelled" I would have been fine with it. "I'll just chill in London, bro, no sweat"


It's a destination city like no other.


I looked at my watch...

It was time for breakfast and then packing!



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There are several bicycle share companies in London. This is Santander



Enough of bicycles as it is time to eat!


Tiny bistro table



Unbeatable location!



Juices in the buffet



and cereals



and a Full English from the buffet scores again!




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