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November 2013 - England

UK | England | London | Regents Canal | Little Venice

November 14, 2013

Hi Family and Friends, We have our tickets purchased for our trip home. We arrive in Chicago Dec. 12 and return to London Feb. 19. We'll be in Minnesota for Christmas until late January at Pat and Nicci's in Cottage Grove. Much of our visit depends on when baby Lucy arrives. She is scheduled for Jan. 23 and Justin and Chris have asked us to be with Sara while Mom and Lucy are in the hospital. We'll spend a week in NY with my Dad then come back to Chicago to help out and get to know our new grand daughter. We'll spend the last week with Chris, Mary and kids before we return to London.

We enjoyed several lunchtime concerts this past week. Friday we visited Tate Britian Museum, a more traditional Art Museum than Tate Modern:-) Sunday was a gorgeous sunny day so after mass we decided to take a bike ride. We rode to Limehouse and then followed the Regent's Canal through Victoria Park to Camden Market and Little Venice area. Dark was fast approaching so we skipped Regent's Park and headed back to St. Katharine Docks through central London. Fewer buses and traffic on Sundays made it an easy fun trip. Bike lanes are shared with buses and taxis so on a week day we would never have attempted this route. It was fun watching canal boats work the locks by hand. Another surprise was Camden Market. It's actually four separate markets jammed with international goods and food for sale. We could barely push our bikes through the crowds of people hanging out here and along the canal. We decided it was a place to return to another day without bicycles.

Tuesday after our lunchtime concert we walked up to Covent Gardens and Oxford Street area. Busy fun part of town. Sometimes when you're riding the tube you forget how big London really is yet so walkable. We hope to catch some theater one of these days. Like anything else once you've figured out the logistics of obtaining the ticket we're more likely to do it again. Our friend Rich wrote of several worthy choices it just a matter of doing it. Some other cruisers have done both the lottery method and the same day ticket lines and have enjoyed several performances for 10-20 GBP. Booking on line is 3-4+ times that much money! We're planning to visit Windsor Castle and Eton tomorrow. Hope all is well and look forward to hearing news from home. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

UK | England | London | St. Katharine Docks | East Basin and Artemis

November 3, 2013

Hi Family and Friends, We are settling in at St. Katharine Docks. Every Tuesday morning we have coffee with fellow cruisers and discuss upcoming events or things we've done in the past week that may be of interest to others. On Wednesday we joined a walking tour with an excellent guide talking about the history of St. Katharine Docks and the Wapping area just east of our location. We had a nice lunch at Captain Kidd Pub along the Thames at the end of the tour in Wapping. Friday we went to our first lunchtime concert at St. Martin's -in-the-Fields. Juan Maria Solare is an Argentinean pianist and composer.

Saturday we took a train (30 min.) out to beautiful Hampton Court Palace. Many Royal families used Hampton Court as one of their many residences but Henry the VIII and King William of Orange and Queen Mary are the royalty featured at this palace. It is beautifully decorated in both Tudor and Baroque style and has several lovely gardens. We had excellent audioguides for all but the temporary Royal Bedchambe rs exhibit.

Sunday we went with our friends Dick and Ginger on a hike. There is an organization called London Walks that organize walks outside of London. Anyone can join. You meet at a train station and whoever shows up joins together for a hike. We went to Effingham Junction in Surrey about 50 min from London by train. Beautiful day and lovely countryside. Two highlights were the views of London's skyline seen from a hillside and another was England's largest vineyard near Dorking, Denbies Wine Estate. England has many footpaths and bridelways that are public domain. We stopped at a the National Trust site Polesden Lacy for lunch and then at Denbies Wine Estate for afternoon tea, Fun day and our group was only lost once:-) But then Al and three others arrived 15 min later for lunch than anyone else so perhaps they were lost for a bit:-) I was getting a little worried as he had all the money and my train ticket!

The days not spent playing are spent on sewing projects. Al's busy at the sewing machine while I measure and cut fabric. The current project is new hatch covers and weather cloths. Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

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