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Helicopters $10.50 with Missle Bomb must buy fast!
amazon $10 helicopters
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DPGV30W/?tag=cl03f-20

December 31, 2013, 12:23:09 PM
1
Re: Helicopters $10.50 with Missle Bomb
@yos9694
when do you ever find a heli for $10 shipped!!!
@davidmal do you know davidmalcohen the op? if one of the two of tou know the "guy" who selling this poj helicopter tell "him" he will get a lot of returns. must buy tell him fast

December 31, 2013, 04:58:53 PM
1
Re: Sub-forums: a solution to the "master thread" madness? Maybe... We should have a thread in 'Start Here' with all the Master threads?
July 28, 2014, 07:38:56 PM
1
Re: Upcoming SPG Hotels
Can't be. Because the W is being built by Daniel Libeskind.

Oh ok, because the King David would be a perfect fit for the W brand

November 10, 2014, 11:13:37 AM
1
Re: Best Frozen Pizza
I love the Macabee frozen pizza bagels.
yeah but you have to let them completely defrost before you make them otherwise the outside will burn and the inside will still be frozen.

January 16, 2015, 12:33:53 AM
1
Re: How To Pronounce DO? What Does It Mean?
Have them take 500 from me and give them to you.

>:D

Seriously, though, why shouldn't posts in this board count? JS, I can understand - it's a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding. But DO posts are useful, constructive conversations, just like GD or even Trip/Destination Reports. So why don't posts on this board count?

April 01, 2015, 12:36:15 AM
1
Re: Sports Teams With Kosher Food Stands
Anyone know what type of kosher food they have at jet games?
Depends where you are seated. The stands have hot dogs, knishes and i believe chicken nuggets and pretzels. There is a little more selection in the Chase and Toyota clubs. If you have access to MetLife 50 or the Coaches Club, they have hot dogs and other hot food (similar idea to legends at Yankees).

November 12, 2015, 02:12:00 PM
1
Mrs. Hvaces42's Surprise London Birthday Adventure So I figure I’ll give this TR thing a whirl. First time TR so bear with the lack of proper captions and photo formatting issues. And away we go...

With my wife’s birthday fast approaching (and it being a very significant number, 21, of course) I was stumped as to what gift I could possibly get the woman who has everything. Jewelry, what woman needs more jewelry? Clothing, eh, a closet full of clothing is more than enough. Fancy restaurants and surprise parties, old hat. Hmmm…Dan’s Deals Twitter Notifications to the rescue!!!

BA’s Business Class Sale came at the perfect moment. My wife and I hadn’t been overseas in 5 years and the last time we were, we transited through LHR without exiting the airport. The initial sale notification didn’t really get my attention. Then the pay with Avios information started filtering in and this began to look like, and actually turned into, a steal.

I was sitting on a pile of Avios after having been F/R’d by Amex and having to choose wisely between the programs I would transfer my soon expiring MR. I chose to transfer a chunk to my already sizeable Avios account. So the 60k Avios were really a drop in the bucket compared with the $1,700+ in airfare that it saved me.

After signing up for AARP membership, I quickly booked the 2 seats on BA’s latest flight out on Motzei Shabbos, her actual birthday, returning Tuesday evening on the latest BA flight out of LHR. Only after I was booked and confirmed did I realize that I could have reserved on AA’s 77W and still made it on Motzei Shabbos or pushed the return to Wednesday, but I guess you live and learn.

Now came the planning stage. As this was to be a surprise birthday trip plus I needed to work out some kinks and a high level security clearance list of people who could help me pull this off. In addition, we needed hotel, food, work schedule adjustments and child care arrangements.

My schedule is flexible and not much of an issue. Mrs. Hvaces42 on the other hand works weekends and per diem so I needed to make sure both her employers could have coverage for the days she wouldn’t be here and that she wouldn’t be asked to come in per diem on the days we would be away. Took care of that with both her workplaces.

That being covered it was time to do some research. DDF Destination and Trip Planning Forum is an invaluable tool. Additionally, being that so many people had taken advantage of the BA sale, including Dan, it was great to see itineraries in progress.

Based on the recommendations I got, it was a choice between the Hyatt Regency Churchill and the Andaz. A quick check of the Regency website made the choice easy. They were under construction. Who wants to deal with that? So the Andaz it was. (I couldn’t be that far off because the Rebbe Reb Dan also considered the Andaz ) I tried to see if a DSU was available but there was none and I held no hope as it was a holiday week and the regular rooms were actually selling out fast.

Transferred 25k UR to Hyatt (I know, poor use of UR, but I don’t have any Hyatt points or Chase Hyatt) and booked a Points + Cash booking for a King room 12.5k per night plus £99. After booking the room rate dropped had some more buyers remorse for using the points, but what was done was done. Around Thanksgiving Hyatt had a 15% off sale on Certificates. I purchased a $300 certificate for $276 on my Capital One Venture card, hoping to use it to pay the cash portion. Used 27,600 Capital One points to erase that certificate purchase.

Contacted Hyatt Concierge through Twitter to see if we could get room upgrade in celebration of Mrs. Hvaces42’s birthday. Was not promised anything. Contacted the Andaz Concierge directly via email and gave them the rundown of what I wanted to do for the birthday including flowers and kosher cake. They suggested I order cake directly and have it delivered. They provided me with the option to purchase flowers for £25, which I found very reasonable so I ordered through them. Andaz Concierge was very responsive and helpful even though they screwed up after the fact.

Next it was figuring out what we must see and what we could get away without seeing. I modeled my itinerary on Dan’s with some modifications for the short nature of our trip versus his 5 days and kid-friendly itinerary.

This is what the final itinerary looked like. Of course it changed upon arrival but it gave us some guidance.

 
Sunday 12/27:
Arriving at LHR 9:30am Pickup from LHR
Private Driver to Windsor Castle.
Driver to take bags to Andaz Liverpool Street
Underground/Train to Golders Green
Dinner at Kaifeng 
Underground to Andaz.
   
Monday 12/28:
Tower of London  and Tower bridge.
Lunch 1701 at Selfridge’s
British Museum
Emirates Air Line Cable Car
Dinner LaFiesta.    

Tuesday 12/29:
Underground to Changing of the Guards tour
London Eye
Churchill War Rooms
London Dungeon
Lunch/Dinner
Underground/Train to LHR 7:30pm Departure



Finally, some loose ends needed to be tied up; cell phone, food recommendations and transportation.

I spoke with Sprint and they have a phenomenal plan which charges $0.20 per minute of talk and unlimited 2G data included in my plan. They offered me a plan with 500MB of 3G data for $50, but I declined. Andaz offers free wifi and leaving four kids at home we were able to Skype and Whatsapp call with them from the hotel and communicate regularly throughout the day using the phone when we needed to do so.

After some fits and starts regarding food recommendations and even a nice suggestion from some DDF users to cancel my trip because I was frustrated with Bevis Marks closing and other poor food reviews I just picked a few choices and figured I’d give the birthday girl her choices of where we would eat.

DDF user ZOW was kind enough to send me some Oyster Cards pre-loaded with a few pounds each which are required for entry (and exit) from the Underground. I did some research and couldn’t figure out how to load the cards online as it required activation by “tapping” in at an Underground station. I figured I had enough on each card to get me where I wanted to go. Then I learned that there is a maximum charge that you can be charged per person each day when using the Oyster card on the Underground. So I was basically good to go.

Lastly, I needed a driver to pick us up from LHR and take us to Windsor Castle, bring food, fetch the surprise birthday cake from Stamford Hill and drop the cake and our luggage at the hotel. Every one of my English friends had a driver for me, until I needed a phone number?!?!? I finally got one who wasn’t available on that day and he referred his friend who was very competent and helpful. He charged us £100 plus disbursements. I asked him to bring sandwiches as well as rolls. He only brought us rolls. Otherwise he was prompt and got the job done. A bit of a steep price, but a reliable, frum, driver to deliver my luggage, which I was not going to leave to an Uber driver.

We left JFK Terminal 7 on BA 0114 which is “Sleeper Service”. We checked in and were directed to the Lounge Dining Room where we were served pre-flight dinner. I think this was very smart as it maximized the amount of time we could get to sleep on board.

The meal was Borenstein standard business class food. Not too great. The appetizer was some kind of cold fish dish, which is not something I would eat anyway. My wife tasted it and it was dry and tasteless. The main dish was a very tasty chicken in a bbq type sauce. It was filling.

As it was Motzei Shabbos we left a bit later than we normally would have so we didn’t take in the full lounge experience including the free Elemis spa and showers, which we took at home.         

We flew on a 777-200 with a 2-4-2 configuration in J. We sat in seats E-F middle seats of the 4 seats. The seats did not have aisle access but one aisle seat was empty so it wasn’t too bad. The seats were comfortable and we were quickly asleep. I slept for most of the flight, my wife not that much.

Davened on the plane. Had a quick breakfast of fruit (nothing else offered). We were given landing cards and Fast Track Immigration entry. Had a quick immigration and customs experience and we were out in no time. Driver was waiting so we couldn’t use the arrivals lounge and wanted to get going.

We left for Windsor Castle right away. The weather was a bit drizzly, but not too cold. We arrived in Windsor in 20-25 minutes. The left side driving was a bit disconcerting to me.
IMG_1298 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1295 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1292 by hvaces42, on Flickr
St. George’s Chapel

IMG_1291 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1289 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1286 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1287 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1283 by hvaces42, on Flickr

At Windsor Castle we waited on line for tickets for about 10 minutes. The tickets were approximately £25 each adult. You can rent headsets for an audio self-tour. We didn’t but it definitely looked worthwhile. There is a full airport style security check after you buy tickets before you get in to the actual castle.

The Castle is one of the official residences of the Queen. It is actually used by the Queen regularly. The place is basically a museum that the royal family gets to live in. Artwork, china, room after room of unbelievable excess. As an American it was eye-popping. Everything is old and regal. Obviously there is much more but here is a taste.

20151227_120200 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_120135 by hvaces42, on Flickr

One of the highlights is Queen Mary’s Dollhouse. You are not officially allowed to photograph it so the pictures I have are all low light cell phone shots taken surreptitiously. The detail in the dollhouse was astounding. From the perfectly packed linen closet to the miniature Rolls Royce’s parked in the garage.

20151227_113310 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113309 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113149 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113120 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113105 by hvaces42, on Flickr



Seeing the Queens Guards standing guard was a welcome surprise. They look like dolls off in the distance until they started marching. It was really cool to watch them. The march every so often without the benefit of looking at their watch and no clocks in sight. St. George’s Chapel is one of the most magnificent buildings I’ve ever seen.

IMG_1304 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1303 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_122458 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_122238 by Hvaces42 hvaces42, on Flickr

We spent approximately 2 hours at Windsor Castle. We left the castle grounds and checked out the touristy shops right on Castle Hill. We actually bought some English wool scarves which were rather decently prices at 2 for £20. You can buy souvenirs in the many shops there. I found that the best souvenir shops were in Terminal 5 at LHR. 

At that point, my wife having basically missed a night of sleep I made an executive decision and changed the plan from taking train and bus to the Andaz to trying out Uber for the first time. I ordered an uberX which quoted at £41 - £55. The wait was about 9 minutes and the driver called us when he had an issue finding us. He showed up in an older Ford minivan but it was clean and the driver was friendly.

The trip back took us through central London past Parliament Square where I got my first look at Big Ben, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. We arrived at the Andaz in a little over an hour. Total Uber charge £46.34 which translated to $69.26 (£1 = $1.4946) on my Capital One Quicksilver card. I always thought that the 20% off Uber on Quicksilver was for USD charges only. I was surprised to get a $13.85 credit. So that trip cost me $55.41, a bargain for that length of trip.

We got the Andaz and checked in. This began our birthday cake saga. The Andaz has this fluid check-in desk with computers on both sides of a conference table in the lobby and concierge associates milling about the lobby. Its very awkward as you dont know where to stand during the check-in process.

So the associate we got had no brains whatsoever. Chatty, flamboyant, flirtatious are a few of the choice adjectives I’ll use for this family friendly site. He’s just talking up a storm and casually tells my wife, “oh I see from the notes here that there was a cake delivered for you, Happy Birthday”. Surprise ruined!!! Oh well.

He did upgrade us to a “Large King” room which wasn’t too large but we didn’t need much of a large room anyway. Having ruined the surprise I asked him to send up the cake right away and the flowers I had ordered through the hotel. We went up to our room on the 5th floor which had views of a courtyard.


Andaz Lobby by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_140421 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_141259 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_141256 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_171227 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1379 by hvaces42, on Flickr

We relaxed for 2 hours and then decided to go to Golders Green for dinner. Still no cake to be seen.

To be continued very soon…       

January 07, 2016, 11:25:00 PM
1
Re: Mrs. Hvaces42's Surprise London Birthday Adventure Next Installment

We left to Golders Green using the Underground (Moorgate Station, about a 10 minute walk from Andaz). You have to “tap in” and “tap out” of the Underground using the Oyster Card. Make sure you do because they have station monitors watching at each station and there is a fine if you don’t do it. Its also important because the is a maximum charge you can be assessed each day. So its almost a flat fee for unlimited usage of the Underground. I think it depends on what zones you go to. Most of the sites in central London that you will want to see are within the zones that will cost £6.80 – 9.60(I think) per day.

We arrived in Golders Green in approximately 25 minutes. It was one train direct to Golders Green Road Station. Golders Green Road was all lit up for the holidays so it was easy to identify the main street when we got out of the station.

We decided on eating Chinese. Our choices were between Kaifeng, which is a bit further in Hendon (really just a bit up the road) or Met Su Yan. On the walk from the Underground we passed by the other kosher restaurants including Isola Bella, Novellino, White House Express, Pizaza, a schwarma joint and some others that I cant recall off-hand. They were all packed at 5:30 in the evening, granted it was Sunday and a holiday weekend.

We arrived at Met Su Yan and asked to be seated. Met Su Yan is a nice, newer restaurant, seats approximately 70 people. The waitress asked if we had reservations and of course we didn’t. The place was deserted except for two couples sitting in the back. They said they would see if they could seat us. After a minute or so they said we could have a table for two if we promised to leave by 8:00pm. We agreed and were seated smack in the center of the place. A shame I didn’t take pictures of the seating. They were a bit rude to a party of 5 that arrived towards the end of our meal too, moving them from table to table because of later reservations.

They offer a prix fixe menu, three courses (Appetizer or soup, Main, Side dish and Dessert) for £27.50 per person or four courses (additional Second Course or Sushi) for £32.50. We went for the three course meal.

20151227_183032 by We ate some of the nuts before I took pic…tasty salad
hvaces42
, on Flickr

For the appetizer I ordered the Deep Fried Wontons and my DW ordered the Chicken and Shitake Mushroom Dim Sum. Wontons were not real wontons, they were chicken wrapped in spring roll skin, not wonton  wrappers, served with sweet sauce. Dim Sum was four pieces served with ginger based sauce. A bit doughy but tasty.     

20151227_183657 by Wontons
hvaces42
, on Flickr

20151227_184033 by Dim Sum
 hvaces42
, on Flickr

For the main dish we shared the Sweet and Sour Chicken and Szechuan Chicken. Portion were tiny. Sweet and Sour very good dish, crispy and properly spiced. Szechuan chicken was tasteless boiled pieces of chicken in jalapeno based pepper and onion mix. Sides were Fried Rice with eggs.

 20151227_184758 by Sweet and Sour Chicken hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_184754 by Szechuan Chicken hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_184800 by Fried Rice with Eggs hvaces42, on Flickr

For dessert we had the hot chocolate cake with ice cream (sorry for the half eaten pics) and the Toffee Apples, which were apple slices deep-fried in a batter with hard glaze served boiling hot!!! Cake and ice cream were phenomenal. Apples started off very bland but by the time I got to piece number four it was quite tasty and I was overdosing on the sugar.

20151227_190700 by Chocolate cake and Ice Cream hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_190705 by Toffee Apples
 hvaces42
, on Flickr

All in all ambiance was ok. We got out in time. Felt a bit pressured, but my fault for not making reservations. Food portions were small and we left a bit hungry. Some dishes hit the mark others did not. Pricey by any standards, especially us being from New York and knowing the Chinese food is not that expensive or unique.

I get the sense when we spoke to other local people that they know this restaurant is over-priced and doesn’t serve decent portions. Final bill was $99.13 (don’t recall how many pounds), including 12.5% tip already on the receipt with no place to add or subtract on final receipt, as chip and signature payment doesn’t allow for final receipts to be signed manually.

We made our way back to the Andaz via Moorgate Station. Got absolutely lost on the 8 minute walk back to Andaz it took us 40 minutes. Google Maps was no help due to the 2G service and lag in time it took to get our location. It was downright scary to walk that area on deserted streets (it is the financial district and very quiet at night and on the weekends). Learned our lesson for the next two days taking Underground, with switching trains once (or twice) to Liverpool Station was a much better and safer alternative.       

January 08, 2016, 11:34:14 AM
1
London + Scotland Trip Report This is my first trip report. Trying to do my best based on ones that I have read.

Wednesday – BA to LHR departed JFK at 8:15 AM in Business.  We sat on the last row of the top of the plane so that we could use the bassinet/infant seat.  Oh yes, we travelled with a 6 month old.  Flight was amazing, flight attendants were very sweet and accommodating.  The food was decent but looked like garbage compared to the food they were serving the other passengers.  As I mentioned on a previous thread, John Krasinski (The Office) and Emily Blunt were also on my flight sitting next to us with their daughter, they are a completely normal family and very nice.  We arrived in London around 8 PM and got those fast-track passes for customs (the best thing ever) and took a cab to our hotel.  We would normally have taken the tube but with a baby, stroller, car seat, and a bunch of luggage (9-10 day trip with no laundry and our daughter spits up all the time) it just made sense to take a cab. 

We stayed at the Sheraton Park Lane with SPG points.  I know it’s not the hotel that everyone on here was staying at but there were no renovations or construction going on when we were there and they treated us amazing and always put us in the newly renovated rooms (which were renovated about 2-3 weeks before we arrived).

So we arrived and checked in and our room was tiny! (apparently all central London standard rooms are relatively small) and I called the front desk and said that I have too much stuff and a crib and it won’t all fit in the room so they upgraded us to a suite (for free).  We stayed there until we checked out Friday Morning to go to our friends in Edgeware for Shabbos.   We left our stuff with the concierge and checked back in on Sunday and added our weekend bags to what we had in storage.  Didn’t officially check back in until later in the day and they upgraded us to a massive suite with amazing views of Green Park, Hyde Park and the London Eye.  They gave us free coffee and milk and all the rooms we stayed in had nespresso machines. Overall had a fantastic experience and would stay there again.  We checked out in the afternoon on Monday and headed over to the airport to go to Scotland.

Thursday – tube to London Eye, we really had a great time and really enjoyed this. We got the fast pass tickets and they were well worth it as the lines were crazy on Christmas Eve.  We got there late and “missed” our time slot but they didn’t care and let us on either way. We walked around that area a bit and explored that area of London.  We then headed back to the area of our hotel and walked down Park Lane to Selfridges to get food at the kosher counter there.  It was such a madhouse and the food was 50% off because they were closing for Christmas.  Walked around Selfirgde’s a bit to see the store. Everything in London is really nice around Christmas time, the decorations are phenomenal, much cooler than NYC.  We walked some more around London and then I went to a convenience store to buy a Lebara SIM card.  I had ordered a giff gaff to the hotel but it never came so I had to improvise.  I got a plan with some data and 100 international minutes to call the US in case I needed to.  I believe the whole package with the SIM card cost me 20 pounds.  For the meantime, I used KNOWROAMING which was good bc I had ordered a card sticker from them and it was $15 and there was a promo for a $15 credit to the account.  So I used that Wednesday night and Thursday until I got my Lebara SIM card.  Hotel I used Wifi.  We then took the tube to Baker Street to check out the famous Reuben’s.  The food was decent, neither of us were in the mood for salt beef so we ordered the lamb chops and the beef wellington and the artichoke/avocado appetizer.  We really liked the artichoke/avocado appetizer and the lamb chops were okay and the beef wellington was too heavy.   We also got 2 desserts, chocolate mousse which wasn’t good and then a hot soufflé cake which was amazing.  Tube back to the Green Park Station and walked (about 15-20 min) to Hyde Park to walk around London’s Winter Wonderland (Christmas Festival).  This was really cool, had awesome lights and decorations and ice skating, bumper cars, carousels, arcade games and food and drinks (obviously nothing kosher).  Walked back to Hotel and called it a night

Friday – Tube was shut down on Christmas. Our friends from Edgeware picked us up at our Hotel and went for a walk along the river Thames, had a really nice time and really enjoyed all of the sights over there.  Headed over to Edgewood and had a very nice Shabbos there with our friends.

Saturday Night – We used our friend’s babysitter and they got a different one for their child and we went out to Golders Green.  The babysitter was a high school boy who was very mature and responsible and was studying for the UK version of the P-SAT’s.  Our daughter was sleeping by the time we left and she slept the whole time we were gone.  He was really nice and he only charged us 5 pounds an hour which I thought was very reasonable.  We were out for 3 hours and I just gave him a 20 pound note and told him not to give me change.  We went to Pizzaza and loved it!  We each got milkshakes (Oreo and Kit-Kat) and they were amazing, we got a personal pie and regular fries and their famous pesto fries which were all very good.  The pesto fries are basically fries sautéed in pesto for a few minutes after they’re fried.  Service was phenomenal and they give you their 4 sauces for everything which is sweet chili, pesto, pizza sauce and garlic mayo.  Then we went to Kosher Kingdom (their BIG kosher supermarket) and bought some food for the rest of our trip.  We also went to the bakery across the street to buy freshly baked bread for sandwiches and chocolate rugelach which were amazing.  The baked goods in London were amazing.  The bakery was called Grodzinski’s. 

Sunday –  we went to Orli’s for breakfast in Edgeware and uber’d back to the Park Lane Hotel and then took the tube to the Victoria Coach Station where we boarded a bus to the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour.  We’re both HUGE Harry Potter fans so this was fun for us.  It’s a really really cool place and we had a phenomenal time.  We got off on baker street on the bus back to London and went to Reuben’s again and got Salt Beef sandwiches which were nothing short of amazing also tried their schnitzel which was great too. They serve it with a lemon similar to how people eat fish n chips and its actually really good on schnitzel too. 

Monday – we walked to Buckingham Palace and around that whole area to Marble Arch and then to Knightsbridge to go to Harrods’s famous Boxing Day Sale.  We walked around that area a bit and headed back to the hotel to pick up our stuff.  Instead of going to the airport, we stopped off at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel at Heathrow to drop off our bags that we no longer needed (dirty clothes, Shabbos outfits, etc…) because this is where we going to stay the night before our early AM flight back to JFK from LHR.  Headed to the airport and flew BA (4.5K Avios) to Glasgow, flight was good. A little difficult bc short and many changes to altitude but we got our own row and it was a 3X3 plane and was virtually empty so was comfortable.  We uber’d to our hotel.  We wanted to stay somewhere close to a bunch of things in Glasgow that we could rely on as good, decent hotel.  Marriott’s were Category 6 but $80 in cash so I paid the cash rate and stayed at the Glasgow Marriott. The water was broken and wouldn’t shut off in the room so they upgraded us to a suite.  The cribs in Marriott’s we found to better than in SPG hotels.  In Marriott they gave us Pack N Plays and SPG gave us those metal cribs and our daughter wasn’t too fond of them.

Tuesday – I went in the morning to the only kosher Restaurant/Store in all of Scotland called the Café at Mark’s Deli. They were very nice.  I used Uber there and back. I got some Deli and food for the rest of our trip. Their Salt beef isn’t as good as Reuben’s and I only tried the cold version but it was pretty solid. We took some sandwiches to go and some meat alone for deli sandwiches at night.  Came back to the Hotel and checked out but left my stuff there and they refrigerated the cold bag I had with me in addition to the regular bag storage which was nice.  We then took Uber to the Glengoyne Distillery to do a Distillery tour.  We chose the Malt Master Tour and they told us we were the first ones to do that tour with a baby, even a child.  We got a look around the distillery and got to see the process of how things are done and it was really cool. The site is also very pretty, there is a waterfall in the back and they start you off with a dram (they gave us what we would call a bit more than a shot) of the 12 year old.  After the tour we went to the Malt room where we were each presented with 5 scotch whiskeys that were 18 years old all barreled differently with drams of each one to try.  They gave us an empty 220ml bottle and some measuring cups and beakers and we made our own whiskey.  This was awesome and a super cool activity.  I would definitely recommend this tour. Very intimate and fun.  We had a great tour guide but I forgot her name she was probably in her fifties.  There were only 8 others on the tour with us.  We took a cab back to the hotel to get our stuff then took an Uber to Edinburgh where we spent that night and 2 more days.  We had too much stuff to take the train and uber wasn’t too bad. I think it was 50 pounds.  We stayed Tuesday and Wednesday night at the AMAZING Glasshouse Hotel in Edinburgh.  This was one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at. They upgraded us for FREE to the Auchentashen Suite which is their biggest and nicest room in the hotel by far (I checked out other rooms when I was there).  They name their suites after Scotch Whiskeys.  The room had a waterfall shower and a Jacuzzi and Panoramic views of Edinburgh that included Calton Hill and the Edinburgh Castle.  The room comes with a fully stocked minibar that’s FREE for guests staying in the Auchentashen Suite, a Nespresso machine, and snacks.  The room had 2 tv’s, one in the living area and one in the bedroom.  Behind the bed they had a divider and that’s where we put our daughter in the pack n play from the hotel.  They actually brought us a pack n play and it was broken so we asked if they could send another one, they said they were fully booked and didn’t have another one.  Then they came back 30 minutes later with a brand new one from the other Marriott in Edinburgh that is around 25 minutes away. Very good service.  When you stay in the suites that are named after Scotch Whiskeys you can go to the bar and try your room’s whiskey for free (2 double shots, one for each guest).  They didn’t have Auchentashen so felt bad and offered me 2 shots of Glenfarclas 40 (which they sell for 39.95 pounds a shot).  The service at this hotel was amazing. So nice and so quick and just had a wonderful experience here and would highly recommend this hotel to anyone and would definitely stay there again.  It’s also so close to everything in Edinburgh.  We didn’t take cabs anywhere inside Edinburgh, we just walked everywhere.

Wednesday – We went for a walk on Princess Street to see the Balmoral Hotel and Waldorf Hotel and then headed to the Edinburgh Castle to begin our Royal Mile walk.  Edinburgh Castle is really pretty and offers fantastic views of the entire city.  We then walked along the royal mile and stopped at all the shops we found interesting.  If you’re a whiskey fan, stop by Cadenhead’s which is a private bottling company that goes into Distilleries and bottles parts of barrels and blends with other whiskeys or keeps them single barrel.  They will let you try anything you want as long as they have an open bottle and they are very knowledgeable.  Then we finished the Royal Mile walk at the Palace at Holyrood House.  We got a late start to the day so we got their afterhours so we didn’t go for a tour inside but we got some really awesome sunset/dusk/nighttime pictures of the Palace.   We walked through the Scotland Winter Wonderland World Festival on the way back to the hotel for about 45 minutes.  We visited all the world shops that were selling little trinkets.  They had Ferris Wheels, bumper cars, carousels, arcade games and an ice rink. This was similar to the London Winter Wonderland but added the shops which London didn’t have.  We went back to the hotel to eat our dinner and to watch the Hogmanay Fireworks (New Years Festival).  Since our Hotel offers incredible views of Calton Hill which was where the torch ceremony ended and the fireworks began we just had to step outside onto the Gardens and we got amazing views of the fireworks.  They were amazing.

Thursday – We checked out of the hotel in the morning and left our bags with the concierge.  We went back to the Palace at Holyrood House for a tour of the palace.  This is where the Queen stays for about a week in July.  Very cool palace, functioning and lots of history. The tour is done well.  It’s self-guided with a headset.  The palace is located on a 10 acre property (I think that’s what they said) and so it offers spectacular greenery and views of the hills outside Edinburgh and Arthur’s Seat.  Then we walked back to the Hotel to eat our lunch (Tuna on rice cakes).  And then walked over to St. Andrew’s Square to the other Winter Festival they have.  This one is smaller, has only local Scottish vendors and a small ice skating rink in the middle.  My wife bought some Scottish lotions and lip and hand balms.  She says they are amazing and smell great. We bought some candles. They had a bunch of Gin, Beer, and Scotch Vendors.  I met this man who started the St. Andrew’s Distillery which is located in St. Andrews (the location of the big University there) and they make beer, gin and scotch.  He was selling a bottle of his 10 year old which wasn’t his it was Bruichladdich’s.  Apparently the story is that Jim McEwan loves this guy’s beer so they traded a barrel for some beer and that is the first thing they bottled at this distillery.  They recently started making scotch but it’s not aged for three years yet so its technically not scotch. I bought some.  I hope to hear more about this distillery soon, he mentioned he’s doing a trade show in NYC sometime in 2016. We walked around Harvey Nichols and then headed back to the hotel to get our stuff and head to the airport to go back to London.  Airport was empty, crazy sight. Our plane was half full and the flight was very quick and we were back in London in 55 minutes.  We took the hotel shuttle hopper to get to the Sheraton Skyline Hotel.  I did not like this hotel.  I should have stayed in the other Sheraton that’s closer to the airport.  They told me the hotel was fully booked but when I got into the room it had a foul odor (that eventually went away) but when I complained that I couldn’t stay there they told me it was fully booked and then showed me 3 empty rooms, go figure.   It was fine was only there for a couple of hours, checked out in the morning and left on the shuttle hopper to the airport and flew back to JFK via LHR early on Friday morning.  The business lounge in British airways was much nicer than the one in JFK.  The flight was great, food was ok.

I don't know how to add more pictures so I just attached four. the first is the palace at holyrood house, the second is fresh salt beef from Reubens, thirdis the Suite door of the Glasshouse in Edinburgh and the fourth is in the Glengoyne Distillery.


January 11, 2016, 11:21:32 AM
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