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Wednesday
Apr132011

Our Special Christmas Journey London 2010

We had the chance to make a special Christmas Journey for seven days and six nights to London to visit our son who is working in London. The pictures reflect on what we saw and experienced there. 

 

Islington, London is a town built in 1965 “Medieval Time” and in 2010 it has a population of over 200,000. Many of the people commute to the city by Double Decker bus approx 4-5 mi to the city of London. We loved riding the busses and most of the time we rode on the top level for the best view of the sights.

 

We went out to many of the pubs and restaurants in the evening.  The Steam Passage Tavern and the Pizza Express were our staples for dining in Islington. The cute breakfast room served a delicious breakfast at a delicious price $34 US dollars. It is impossible to dodge the British Vat taxes so just bring along a lot of extra US Dollars.

 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are very quiet in London after 10 pm and don’t think you will find Thyme for your Roast Beef unless you buy it two weeks before Christmas. They have open-air malls there and the impressive winged “Angel Sculpture” was one you would definitely want to lay your eyes on.

 

The Brits look forward to their custom of shopping the day after Christmas called “Boxing Day”. Very traditional to get in the thick of it and fight for the best bargains! We went to the city after Christmas and shopped at Harrods Department Store. You wouldn’t believe it, thirty people in the revolving doors and thirty out all day. Check out my picture of the Egyptian Pharaoh on the second floor.  I was sure that security was going to take my camera with all my London photos on it, or escort me to the door, but I must have been quick enough.

 

Covent Garden in the center of London is where our son works. The Apple store there has two glass staircases and every thing Apple ever made for you to buy. It is a technological experience that will leave you with your eyes wide-open, ears full of music and empty pockets.

 

Covent Gardens is amazing at the holiday time. Beautiful decorations and lots of visitors from around the globe. A must is the hot cider or coffee at the Silver Air Stream trailer where people sit outdoors and catch up on holiday plans with family and friends. At lunch time make your way to the Pie shop serving beef and lamb pot pies or try the Peyea cooked in a giant skillet outdoors in the open air. The desserts are to die for and there are bakeries to please everyone.

 

Somerset House is a historic complex in downtown London where Tiffany ‘s sponsors a wonderful outdoor skating rink. It is open day and night and has skate rentals, hot beverages, Tiffany blue sparkle snowflake cupcakes and delicious mince pies. They also have a mini Tiffany gift shop perfect for holiday shopping.

 The Hilton Islington was a perfect place for us to stay. Islington is where our son’s apt is so it was convenient, close to shopping, restaurants, churches and it was styled like a ski lodge with some special touches like a Cappuccino bar in the lobby.

 

A special Christmas surprise from our son was taking the London Eye Champagne Flight. We could see all of London from up in the sky and the spectacular views made our trip extra special. The picture taken from the London Eye Capsule of the Parliament Buildings, Big Ben and if you look close enough “Westminster Abbey” is directly behind Big Ben where Prince William and Kate Middleton will be getting married. 

 

We saw several ornate outdoor carousels in London; this one was on the Thames River on the way to the OXO Tower for dinner. The other one we saw was at the Natural History Museum outdoors.

 

Our afternoon at Buckingham Palace was cold, but well worth the time we spent there. The fantastic Victoria Memorial placed at the centre of Queens Gardens in front of the Palace gates, is stunning and Sculptor Sir Thomas Brock completed in 1911.

The Queen’s Guard was in their winter uniforms and many of them were musicians with special talent. The gates of the Palace had insignias that were gilded with gold and stone carvings. 

 We were able to visit the National Gallery with paintings from around the World. Everyone had their favorites but mine were the Renoir and Monet Collections. The National Gallery fronts on Trafalgar Square in the heart of London with its beautiful fountains and as a popular place for a wide range of events and activities throughout the year. Another favorite museum was the Natural History Museum whose architecture took my breath away. The outdoor skating rink and carousel set the stage for outdoor fun year round.

 

Inside the Natural History Museum are exhibits that are creative and outstanding. An entire terraced walkway leads you through the incredible Dinosaur exhibits.  Take the escalating stairway through Mars and the Universe beyond. 

We couldn’t leave London without visiting Windsor Castle…

To get there we took two double-decker busses, the Tube and the Train to get to Windsor about 40 minutes from Islington.  Arriving we walked through an open-air market with restaurants featuring international cuisine and Specialty Shoppe’s. Later in the day we dined there at a delicious French restaurant that aimed to please our appetites after a remarkable day touring the Castle and Town of Windsor.

The Castle has special headsets to rent to help you understand all of the history and regalia in all the tucked away places in the Castle. The reception room was lined with hundreds of bayonets, swords, guns and knights in shining armor. There was a moat, many statues, Gift Shoppe’s, a fabulous photo exhibit by Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer exhibiting a unique photographic record of two generations of royal children, a fitted Dollhouse  and several of the Queens Guards for security.

St Georges Chapel was so historic with vaults in the floor with

Tombs of Kings from the 14th century. The architecture inside and out is a work of art. It is a must see and you will be in awe standing in the presence of those who lived from another time. The village of Windsor is just like being in a Dickens Christmas village. Our last train ride took us back to the Tube and gave us the chance to reflect on a day well spent in a historic time.

Sandra Ward

Friday
Feb182011

London + Family = Holiday FUN!

Sally,

Thank you so much for a wonderful trip to London to see our son- Everything was great and as you know, the ride over was LONG!

We saw a lot day 1... his town of Islington, Covent Gardens, Somerset House skating adn Tiffany', NarHist, Buckingham palace, Harrods and even out to Windsor castle.  The food was excellent as Kevin had beent o most of teh restaurants before.  OXO Tower Restaurant was the best along with the London Eye Champagne flight views!

Give us a call so we can share pics.

Fondly,

Dave and Sandra

Monday
Dec132010

Trip of a Lifetime...

Dear Sally,

 

Our three week trip to Austria and Italy you arranged on our behalf was absolutely fantastic!  We cannot begin to express how much we appreciate the professionalism, knowledge and assistance you gave.  You took the time to discern preciously what we were looking for in our “trip of a lifetime”. 

 

You helped to make our dream come true.  All the arrangements – lodging, tours, train schedules and miscellaneous recommendations were right on the money.  Janet and I will always be grateful to you.

 

Thank you is hardly adequate.

 

Janet & Marv

Thursday
Aug262010

Sally Fedrizzi <sally@vagabondtourandtravel.com> wrote:

Well, I am back from my Grand European Adventure with my 15 year old.  I

can't wait to tell you all about it.  It was great fun... although I need a

vacation from my vacation.  Twelve days on the train every day is a LOT of work!

On the up side, you can eat and drink all the rich and delicious foods you

want because the workout of carrying your luggage from train to train makes

up for the extra calories!

Our next meeting is Thursday, September 9th at 7PM at the Ramada on Buckley

Rd.  Remember to RSVP.  It gets quite warm in that small room and I can rent

the bigger room if it is available and we have enough in attendance.  Also,

dessert will again be made by my friend, Dawn Custer at Canal Walk Café.

http://www.canalwalkcafe.net           

 

From: Jeanne Hickock

Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 10:56 AM
To: Sally Fedrizzi
Subject: Re: Travel Club mailing List

Hi Sally -- I just wanted to say how funny your email was about the suitcases and trains on your trip.  That's what Nancy, Tina and I went through in Italy......it was an adventure going up and down those stairs dragging 3 weeks of luggage.  But so worth it.  And u r right, great exercise!!

Regards,

Jeanne

Thursday
Aug262010

Amsterdam to Basel including Switzerland

Hi Sally---

Not sure if you are still home or on Vacation.

The trip went great.

The weather was between 80 and a bit hot 93 or so in Zurich.

It was sunny every day.

The trip up the Rhine was really wonderful---they said the two weeks before it had been rainy and cool.

So we got lucky there.

Everything was on time with no problems---thanks.

We actually landed about 30 min early back into Boston.

 

Thank you for all your help.

Not sure what we will do next, any suggestions???

Thanks,

 

Tom and Sue Dietrich