April 16, 2004
Saturday, April 3rd: Planes, Trains and Automobiles I
- Leave at 8:15am with drive to Boston,
then Air Canada to London via Montreal.
- A little confusion in Montreal since we first go through Canadian
Customs, but luggage is checked through to London.
- Dinner in Montreal Airport---Canadian Smoked Sandwich (smoked
- Children's menu on flight to London is chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaur,
Gwyn likes them---a good start.
Sunday, April 4th: Scooby Dooby Doo!
- Arrive London Heathrow. Heathrow Express to Paddington Station.
- Find hotel. Hotel has wrong reservation information. Head out
for breakfast and look around while they figure it out.
- Breakfast: Full English (Gwyn has Pasta).
- Play in Princes Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Park.
- Acquire room, attempt short nap.
- Head to Kensington High Street, visit Waterstone bookstore.
- Watch Scooby Doo 2. Reserved seats, 20 minutes of commercials
and trailers before movie British Film Board approval and movie.
(First flatulence commercial. Chinese on moon.)
- First meal at MacDonald's.
Monday, April 5th: The Tower
- King's Cross and St. Pancras station for Platform 93/4.
- Cornish pastry for second breakfast (first was continental).
- The Tower of London: Tower Yeomen tour (lots of stories of
beheadings, re-headings, etc.), Crown Jewels, White Tower and
lunch (beefy sandwich, mac-n-cheese for Gwyn---she didn't like it).
- Tower bridge walk and tower bridge tour. (Rained while we were
on upper walkway). Tour of engine room. ``Easter egg'' hunt.
- Dinner at (sorta) pub. Fish and chips, chicken and chips.
Tuesday, April 6th: Westminster and London Eye
- Tube to Piccadilly, and Starbuck's coffee.
- Walk to Trafalgar Square, continue on to Whitehall.
- Changing of the Queen's horse guard.
- Road to Number 10 Downing Street.
- Westminster bridge to London Eye and second McDonald's meal.
- British Airway's London Eye. Lots of photos. Rained while
we were on top (and in line).
- Walk to Westminster Abby. Gwyn enjoys Queen Elizabeth's
tomb and wants to hear story of Queen Elizabeth. My knowledge
of Tudor's (and lines of English monarchs in general) tested.
- Gwyn enjoys treasure hunt in Abby Museum.
- War memorial to coalition of willing along cloister wall,
Anti-war posters outside in Abby quad.
- Dinner at Italiana restaurant on Argyle Street near
Oxford Circus and across from:
- Live stage performance of Chitty Chitty Bank Bank
(interesting information about car and story in playbill).
Wednesday, April 7th: British Museum and Toys
- Carla goes to Victoria and Albert.
- Gwyn and I head to King's Cross for more pictures at
platform 93/4. (Loads of fun both times.)
- Full English breakfast at King's Cross, Gwyn has donut.
- Walk past St. Pancras station (mostly covered during
restoration), and British Library (very nice plaza).
- Continue on to British Museum: Celtic artifacts,
coin room, children's interactive coin display, Roman,
Greek and Etruscan rooms. (Impressive Roman glass,
Greek Hopite armor, and prehistoric---30,000 year old---bead work that looks
like Gwyn's bracelet.)
- The Egypt rooms with Mummies, Sarcophagi and cats.
(Greek era mummies with inlaid portraiture, and animal mummies most interesting
to me. Gwyn's somewhat overwhelmed by the very crowded mummy rooms---nearby
rooms are almost deserted by comparison.)
- Off to Museum bookstore. Gwyn picks out ``Tales of the Silk Road.''
- Rosetta Stone and other Egyptian stone and sculpture artifacts.
- Walk to New Oxford Street and third McDonald's meal. Tell Gwyn story of
the Rosetta Stone over lunch, comparing it to Inspector Digit puzzles.
- Walk past Fitzrovia pub where George Orwell and Dylan Thomas drank. Alas,
no time for a pint since we are late to meet Carla.
- Pollock's Toy Museum: wonderful place to visit, with or
without children. Like a giant toy store, only you cannot buy the toys.
Well, you can buy some in the gift shop. Gwyn gets a recorder. Carla a
silhouette puppet guide, and I a tin windup robot.
- Underground to Oxford Circus (forget why we got off there), walk to
Piccadilly past Hamley's Toy Store. Fantastic store, like a toy museum
except you can buy things. Stairwell decorated in Harry Potter motif.
Race cars, flying saucers, dress up corner, and a Sweets shop (bags of
gummies, chocolates and jelly beans).
- Dinner at pizza buffet near Piccadilly.
Thursday, April 8th: Warick, Stratford and Oxford and the Cotswold.
- Premiere coach tour of Warick, Stratford on Avon and Oxford's
Christ Church college.
- Up early, Continental breakfast, picked up at Paddington Hilton Lobby.
- Coach ride around London picking up other passengers, then
to Victoria Station for loading on tour coach.
- Coach ride to Warick Castle: Archer demo, climbing battlements and
towers, knights in court yard. Loads of fun, Gwyn has great time,
but only there for 80 minutes. Gwyn has hot dog for lunch.
- Coach ride to Stratford on Avon, and William Shakespeare birth place.
Bill's birth place much improved since last visit (25 years ago). Furniture
all replaced with Tudor period pieces and decorations. Glove-making demonstration
(Will's father was a glove maker).
- Visit to sweets shop. Visit to book shop, buy blanket and sweater.
- Coach ride to White Stag Public House, for lunch (beef and Yorkshire
pudding---chips for Gwyn). First hand pulled ale.
- Coach ride through Cotswold. Thatch roof houses, quick glimpse of
- Oxford and Christ Church college: Charles Dobson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll),
John Locke, etc., and site for filming Harry Potter movies (dinning hall,
hallway, and water dock doorway). Gwyn has great time.
- Coach ride back to London.
- Dinner at Bizzaro restaurant: Spaghetti Carbonara. Oddly indifferent
Friday, April 9th: Greenwich
- Tube to Tower Hill stop. Visit Merchant Marine memorial.
- Dockland Light Rail to Greenwich.
- Gwyn lunches at McDonald's (her last McD meal in England).
Carla and I dine to Pie and Eel shop around corner: Steak and
kidney pie, vegetable pie---delicious and best dinner bargain so far.
- Cutty Sark tour. Gwyn makes figurehead.
- Nautical Museum and ``Tintin at Sea'' exhibit. Purchase a few
Tintin books, exhibit book and The Terrible Tudors.
- Walk to Royal Observatory. Hop back and forth between hemispheres.
- Tour of first observatory house and museum. Octagon room,
clock exhibit including Mark I, Mark II, Mark III and Mark IV clocks.
- Dinner in Greenwich at Pizza Express. Gwyn has tomato and cheese
pizza. I have Napalito (anchovy and black olive). Carla has ??
- DLR and Tube back.
Saturday, April 10th: Kensington and Museum of London
- Carla goes to large antique market.
- Continental breakfast
- Gwyn and I ride double deck coach (all over the place),
then take tube to Green park.
- Catch changing of the guard at Buckingham.
- Walk Hyde park past various waterfowl to Peter Pan statue.
- Gwyn has English hot dog for lunch.
- Gwyn plays in children's playground in Hyde park.
- Meet Carla for lunch at Swan Pub on Bayeswater: Very good
fish and chips.
- Afternoon: Carla and Gwyn to Kensington palace tour,
including room of Queen's dresses, Diana's dresses and Queen's
- I head to St. Paul's, and the Museum of London.
- Museum of London: Early Thames settlers, Roman Londinium,
Saxon Londonwic, Norman London, Tutor London, Victoria London,
items, houses, entertainments, government, Cromwell's death mask.
Very impressive museum, worth returning to.
- Second Dinner at Bizzaro's: Bizarro pizza, risotto.
Sunday, April 11th: Planes, Trains and Automobiles II
- Heathrow Express, Air Canada to Boston via Toronto.
(Get through Canadian and U.S. Customs and recheck luggage
in 1 hour.)
- Crazy holiday weekend traffic along Rt. 90 from Boston.
- At home at 10:30pm.