A Travellerspoint blog

Heathrow Airport

a long boring night

semi-overcast 7 °C

Yesterday we spent a good part of the day getting to Heathrow Airport.
My father in law took us from his place in Llanadog yesterday morning to Swansea. we started by dropping my sister in law at the rail station, because she had an earlier train, then we did a quick bit of shopping and had lunch. Back to the station for our 3.00 pm train to Heathrow.
Swansea to Cardiff; Cardiff to Reading; Reading to Halsey; Halsey to Heathrow.

We arrived at Heathrow at about 7.30 pm. This gave us enough time to have some dinner and then find a nice hard bench (with lots of handles - so no lying down) so we could settle in and wait until early morning when we needed to check in.
I found Heathrow quite interesting. Around 10.00 O'clock it became almost deserted, except for a few staff and people like us trying to sleep on uncomfortable chairs while we all waited until this morning.
However, at about 11.30 the airport became quite busy - not with airline staff, but with service staff. The cleaners arrived and started sweeping, mopping and driving around big cleaning machines. The services people arrived with aluminium ladders (amazing how load they can be to put up) to take down the Christmas decorations. Various construction people arrived to do things which required lots of banging.
At midnight, people started arriving to settle in for the wait. I'm assuming that it's to do with the last trains and buses that arrive at Heathrow.
In all the airport seemed quite busy and noisy until about 2.00 am when it became very quiet again. Around 4.00 all the airline staff started arriving and around 4.30 started checking in passengers.

WE got our luggage checked in by about 5.00, had breakfast at about 5.30 and are now we're in the departure area waiting to find out what gate we have to go to for our 8.50 am flight to Frankfurt, which connects with our flight to New York.

Posted by Markfr 23:06 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged heathrow sachsenhausen Comments (0)

National Botanic Garden of Wales

rain 6 °C

Yesterday we managed to visit the National Botanic Garden of Wales. It's very large and has a number of great features, including a great glasshouse - which is a large glass dome - which looks very futuristic.

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The glasshouse contains various gardens from warm climates - like Australia, California and Chile. It's a very pleasant walk through the dome, particularly when it's cold and wet outside.

The remains of the gardens have some lovely features like a water feature that winds it's way down the main path to the entrance, a walled garden and various other displays, like the history of Welsh apothecaries.

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All in all it was a lovely place to visit and would be magnificent during another part of the year, like spring.

Today we had plans to visit another town about 50 km's away by train, but the weather was so appalling that the idea was cancelled before we were all up, so instead we had a walk around the local village (Llangadog) earlier this afternoon and ended up at one of the 4 pubs in the village (all of which are next door to each other) for a drink.

Posted by Markfr 07:40 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged gardens botanic welsh Comments (0)

Taunton & Wales

Christmas rest

Since Christmas eve we've been visiting relatives in the UK, so it's been very quiet; no museums. no tours etc, just the occasional walk in the country side and spending quiet days and nights with the odd dinners out.
We had a lovely dinner in a very old Welsh pub for new years eve.

This part of the holiday has been very quiet and restful.

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In a couple of days we head to Heathrow and fly to New York.

Posted by Markfr 10:19 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Taunton & Wales

Christmas rest

rain 6 °C

Since Christmas eve we've been visiting relatives in the UK, so it's been very quiet; no museums. no tours etc, just the occasional walk in the country side and spending quiet days and nights with the odd dinners out.
We had a lovely dinner in a very old Welsh pub for new years eve.

This part of the holiday has been very quiet and restful.

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In a couple of days we head to Heathrow and fly to New York.

Posted by Markfr 10:04 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged wales taunton Comments (0)

London - Museums to Lions to Stephen Fry

British Museum, Wordaholics, DR Who and Lion King

overcast 6 °C

Time for a bit of catch up.

Monday - 19 Dec 2011
We left Edinburgh about 12.00 and arrived in London (Kings Cross) at about 5.00. We got over to the St Paul's YHA, checked in and dropped our bags in our room and then headed straight out. We had tickets for the recording of a BBC 4 Radio show called Wordaholics. It hasn't been shown. IN fact the recording we went to was the last episode recorded, but it will be the first one broadcast.
Anyway, we got to BBC Broadcasting house, which was beautifully lit, and then got ushered into the waiting rooms.
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We knew it was on a first come - first serve basis, so we arrived about 6.45 pm for a 7.30 recording. Anyway - we were 132 and 133rd to arrive.

Eventually at almost 7.30 we were brought into the studio (a lovely art deco room) to wait for the compere and the guests. The compere arrived and did some warm up, then introduced the guests. The only one I knew was Stephen Fry, but what a lovely surprise. Stephen is well known to be remarkably educated in language and the arts, and this was proven repeatedly through out the show.
The recording took one hour, much of it being Stephen, but I suspect tat a lot of what he said will be edited out. One because it was fairly direct, and two to give the other guests a semblance of involvement.

After the show we found a restaurant close by (Ozer) and had a very nice, relatively inexpensive dinner, then returned tot he hostel.

Tuesday - 20 Dec 2011
We spent the day at the British Museum.What can I say - it's very very big.
A lot of work has been done on changing the courtyard. A dome has been installed above the courtyard, and a new building erected within the courtyard.
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The Museum houses many incredible things, but perhaps the Rosetta Stone is one of the most famous.
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We spent almost 5 hours walking around the museum, and we were quite tired at the end. There were some great displays, but trying to fit so much into a day was hard work. You really need a couple of days to even get close to seeing what's in it.
After we finished at the museum, we had a cider across the road at the local pub, then headed to southwark.
We had tickets for a play - Howls Moving Castle.
Getting tot he area was fine, but we spent over an hour and a half trying to find the theatre. Evidently it had moved from it's old address (the one we had) to a new address - in the opposite direction.
After wandering around for close to 60 minutes trying to find the theatre, we first tried some guys in a car wash, but they had no idea. Our next stop was a local pub. The first couple of people had no idea, but an old chap, obviously a local, knew exactly where it had moved to (down an alley beside a pub, after the London Dungeon exhibition).
We knew where that was, so we were able to get there and pick up our tickets. That gave us about 30 minutes to try to find
We found a pub across the road that did a steak for under 10 pounds, and we managed to get served and eat dinner by 7.10.
The play wa sa lot of fun, and one of the recorded characters was voiced by Stephen Fry.

Wednesday - 21 Dec 2011
Today was more about entertainment and fun.
We started the day by visiting the Dr Who experience. Evidently it's been so popular, that it's been doing a second, extended tour in London. It was a fun experience, with displays, a bit if a story and some sets to walk through, complete with moving floors and Daleks threatening to exterminate us.
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We finished that at lunchtime, and then headed over to Covent Gardens where we'd managed to get tickets this morning for the matinee session of Lion King. Great show - great music.
After the show we headed to Covent Gardens where we heard a local choir, and had a look around the market.
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Posted by Markfr 15:17 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged king museum who stone british lion dr stephen rosetta fry Comments (0)

Edinburgh to London

overcast 2 °C

Today was mostly spent getting from Edinburgh to London. We left Coldingham, drove about 50 miles (~80 km) to Edinburgh, to returnm the hire car. This morning when we went out to the car we had to clear the ice off it. Driving into Edinburgh, the car ws registering the outside temperature as 0 deg C.

Then we had a 20 min bus journey top the central railway station in Edinburgh. Right now we're on a train from Edinburgh to London which left Edinburgh at 12.00 and arrives in London at 4.55 pm. We then have to take a tube from King's Cross to St Pauls, where we check in to our accommodation. Then we have to head to Oxford Circus where we have tickets to be in the studio audience for a BBC radio show - wordaholics.

Posted by Markfr 06:43 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london to edurgh Comments (0)

Edinburgh

overcast 5 °C

We're staying with some friends outside Edinburgh, so we're using this as a chance to slow down a bit. Yesterday we went to a carols concert which was lovely, then went into Edinburgh for dinner. In the middle of Edinburgh was a small German style Christmas market. It was interestng walking around it.

Today we're going into Edinburgh to tour the Royal Yacht Brittania.

Posted by Markfr 01:21 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged edinburgh Comments (0)

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