Author Topic: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London  (Read 994 times)

Offline dpk4588

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A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« on: May 22, 2019, 04:06:24 PM »
Planning

The time had come to start planning my post tax season vacation, and I had decided to go to Seattle. I had thought about Seattle last year, but it fell through (I ended up going to Charleston, SC) and I was talking to a friend about planning the trip to Seattle and he said (as heís said a number of times while discussing my vacations) ďyou should go international.Ē My hesitation to go international had usually been the language barrier, but this time the reason I came up with was that I didnít really wanna fly transatlantic for ~4 days. Since it would probably be too late to leave Saturday night and I didnít wanna risk a Friday morning flight coming home, that would leave me with the option of leaving Sunday morning and Iíd have to leave Thursday afternoon/evening. Which didnít seem ideal. He suggested western Europe which doesnít have such long flights, so Iíd have more time, and I started looking at London. I realized I had a friend in London who I could spend Shabbos with and that would allow me to do a Tuesday to Tuesday trip.

The once I decided on London, the next issue was flights. My outbound flight was relatively easy, since AA/BA charge YQ, and UA only flies out of EWR (ew), DL and VS were the options. So my options came down to booking DL in J on the A333 for 58.5k FB or VS J on the A346 for 85k DL. I asked in the Business and First Class Products Master Thread which was better and was told that VS had a better vibe but DL had more privacy. Since it was a relatively short redeye, and I wanted to maximize sleep (and the fact that it was significantly cheaper) I decided to go with DL. I transferred from 59k from Citi to FB and booked (after an hour on hold). Annoyingly I now have 500 points in my FB account, oh well.

The return flight was more complicated. Since most airlines (if not all) charge YQ leaving London, and Iím generally morally opposed to paying YQ, I thought that maybe I could find a cheap flight from London to somewhere else in Europe that wouldnít charge YQ. I then remembered the EK MXP-JFK flight. I know that has YQ, but I figured $221 in YQ for EK F was worth it, especially when my options ex-LHR were all J and had higher YQ. Since the AS devaluation of EK F, it looked to me that the best way to book was directly with EK for 85k. I transferred from MR and tried to book. I got a message saying that I didnít have enough miles. Uh oh. I called and after a short hold I had an associate who wasnít sure why that error was showing up but confirmed that it was 85k and booked it over the phone.

I booked my LHR-MXP for 4k +$44 BA. I thought about booking cash, but it was ~$150 and the cheapest ticket didnít include a bag which booking with Avios did.

Once my flights were booked, next up was hotels. I had an IHG anniversary night expiring soon, so that was an easy option and I figured it wouldnít be terrible to burn another 70k on the second night (should have been a net of 63k since I thought the IHG card came with a 10% rebate when redeeming points, but those havenít posted so Iíll have to look into that). I was leaving NY on Tuesday night so I needed hotels for Wednesday, & Thursday, then Saturday-Monday. So for Wednesday & Thursday I booked the InterContinental London Park Lane. For Shabbos I was going to a friend so I needed to find a hotel for Saturday-Monday. I decided that because I had an early flight Tuesday morning I would use my expiring Hyatt anniversary night for the Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport. All I had to find now was a hotel for Saturday & Sunday. I looked at the usual suspects, Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt, and I noticed that Hyatt has a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of The World and I could use Hyatt points for these crazy expensive boutique hotels. I found the St. James's Hotel and Club which seemed nice enough and it was 25k Hyatt/night. I had some Hyatt points left over from previous stays and I transferred the rest of what I needed from UR.

Summary of Travel/Hotels
JFK-LHR - DL 1 J - 4/30/19 58.5k FB (TYP) + $10.10-Cash Cost:$6,603.70 - Value of 11.27 CPP
LHR-MXP - BA 572 Y- 5/7/19 4k BA +$44.35 - Cash Cost $152.38 - Value of 2.7 CPP
MXP-JFK - EK 205 F - 5/7/19 85k EK (MR) +$288.23-Cash Cost $3,796.63-Value of 4.13 CPP

(Yes, the JFK-LHR in J costs almost twice what the MXP-JFK F cost, the JFK-LHR market is crazy expensive)

InterContinental London Park Lane - 2 Nights-One Anniversary Cert+70k. Cash Cost $462/night Value of .73 (if I get the 10% rebate on the points) or .66 CPP
St. James's Hotel and Club - 2 Nights - 50k Hyatt (UR) Cash Cost $507/night-Value of 2.03 CPP
Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport - 1 Night -Chase Hyatt anniversary night Cash Cost $110

Once I had all my travel figured out, it was on to planning my activities. I looked at the London Master Thread and took some ideas from there. I also bought Rick Steves London 2019 and found some more interesting things there. Once I had most of the things I wanted to do, I put them on a map so I plan things near each other. Once I had everything pretty much planned it was just a matter of surviving tax season and Pesach.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2019, 04:06:47 PM »
Tuesday - April 30, 2019

My flight was at 7:30p, and I wanted to maximize my sleep on the ~7.25 hour flight, so I went to the airport relatively early, so I could eat dinner in the Delta Sky Club. The last time I flew Delta internationally, the line for Sky Priority was a disaster. I waited in line for almost half an hour and that was before security (thank god for Pre-Check). I was worried about that being true this time too, but thankfully it was not. The place was deserted. There was no line, and I was through check-in in about 3 minutes and through security about 5 minutes later. I walked (for what felt like forever) to the Delta Sky Club and upon entry I asked about Kosher food. I was brought by the attendant at the front to the kitchen where she inquired about what was available. They have 5 (I think) items on the menu but they donít always have them all in stock. I was told that they definitely had fish and meatballs, and maybe chicken. Since I donít like fish and wasnít in the mood for meatballs I asked if the chicken was available. It was and they brought it out for me about 5 minutes later. I found a seat in the cubicle area and watched tv (on my laptop) while eating dinner.





Delta Sky Club KSML

I also did some plane spotting. Possibly my ride home?


Emirates A380


ElAl 787
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2019, 04:07:07 PM »
Wednesday  - May 1, 2019

The flight itself was pretty uneventful, although boarding took forever. I fell asleep shortly after takeoff and was woken up for breakfast. Which was kosher for pesach (not surprising since it was 3 days after pesach).


Delta A330 Seat  -Bed Mode


Delta JFK-LHR KSML


Delta JFK-LHR KSML

Shortly before landing I was handed a landing card, and as business class passenger I was also given a fast lane pass. Thank god for that fast lane pass, because I had to wait about 10 minutes at passport control and the if Iíd been in the regular line, it might have been an hour or more.

When going from Heathrow to downtown London there are 2 train options. You could take the Tube which takes about 45 minutes and costs £5.10 or the Heathrow Express, which goes to Paddington, takes 15 minutes and costs £22 (or £37 round trip). In retrospect I should have just taken the Tube because I still had to go from Paddington to the InterContinental London Park Lane and that took me another 20 minutes and would have cost me significantly less. I also was in no rush on my way back to the airport since would be going back the night before my flight. Since I was buying a 7 day zone 1-2 travel card, it would have only cost me the difference between a zone 1-2 fare (£2.40) and the cost of LHR to zone 1 £5.10. You live, you learn.

I waited about 5 mins for the Heathrow Express train (a Tube came by first), and ~15 minutes later I got to Paddington, found the Tube and bought an Oyster card and a 7 day travelcard, and took a bus (what google maps suggested) to the InterContinental. I was able to check-in early, dropped my stuff off in the room and headed out.

I often like to take Hop-On/Hop-Off busses when in a new city because they give me the option of seeing the city (while hearing some dry British humor) and I have the option of doing things along the way, if I so please. I knew in theory where the bus stop was, and it was close to my hotel, but theory only goes so far. I saw the bus and started walking in the direct it was coming from, only to find that I was going the wrong way. After about 30 mins of walking around lost, I finally found the stop that had actually been only a 5 minute walk from the hotel, in the opposite direction I had originally gone. Of course.

I finally got on the Big Bus London and followed the Red Line from the Hyde Park Corner stop until the Tower of London stop. I got off there because I was going to the HMS Belfast. Looking at the map now, I probably should have gotten off at Tooley Street. I walked back over the Tower Bridge (not the London Bridge as many people think it is) and walked along the Thames to the HMS Belfast. Upon my arrival I see a sign saying that the Belfast is closed today (May 1) for a private event. I had been on the website on Sunday and there was nothing about the closure for the private event, but when I looked later that night, it was there. Lovely. Sadly Iím no stranger to making changes to my plans on the fly so I just moved on to the next item on my itinerary. The Big Bus comes with a river cruise from City Cruises, and they go from nearby Tower Pier to Westminster Pier. The river cruise does have some nice views but nothing spectacular, or that you canít really see from elsewhere, add that to the dry recorded commentary they have left me feeling underwhelmed. If I was going to do it over, Iíd have hopped back onto the Big Bus and taken it to Westminster.

Pics from Big Bus:


Big Bus Tour-Marble Arch


Big Bus Tour-Nelsonís Column at Trafalgar Square


Big Bus Tour-Tower Bridge & HMS Belfast


Big Bus Tour-Tower Bridge

Pics from the River Cruise:


River Cruise-Shakespeareís Globe


River Cruise-Elizabeth Tower & Palace of Westminster


River Cruise-London Eye

I went from Westminster Pier to my next stop, the Churchill War Rooms. The War Rooms, is a part of the Imperial War Museums. There are actually 5 museums, IWM London, IWM North (near Manchester), IWM Duxford (about an 1:15 north of London, near Cambridge), Churchill War Rooms, & HMS Belfast. The North and London branches are free, while Duxford costs £20, Churchill War Rooms costs £22, & HMS Belfast costs £18. Membership includes unlimited admission to all 5 museums for £35, so since I was planning on the Churchill War Rooms, & HMS Belfast it made sense to buy the membership and save £5. Who knows, maybe Iíll end up in the London area again the next year and Iíll be able to go to the Duxford branch which served as hangars for RAF and has a large display of aircrafts spanning a century of aviation.

The Churchill War Rooms is a series of bunkers from which Churchill ran WWII during the German Blitz (the bombing of London). There are exhibits explaining different aspects of life in the bunker and an exhibit on Winston Churchill. The Churchill exhibit was good, but IMHO very poorly designed. They separated the exhibit into different aspects of his life, but there was no proper flow within the different sections of his life so there were people constantly bumping into each other in the relatively small spaces. Other than that, I found the war rooms and the Churchill exhibit very good.


Churchill War Rooms-Cabinet Room


Churchill War Rooms-Weather Sign

Since people would regularly not go outside for days at a time, they had signs saying what the weather was like outside.


Churchill War Rooms-Schedule of Alarm Signals


Churchill War Rooms-No Unnecessary Noise Sign
Apparently Churchill HATED unnecessary noise, they even used noiseless typewriters in the bunker.


Churchill War Rooms-Daily Log Including D-Day

[
Churchill War Rooms-Letter Making Churchill an Honorary US Citizen


Churchill War Rooms-Churchill Nobel Prize for Literature


Churchill War Rooms-Chiefs of Staff Conference Room Drawing of Hitler


Churchill War Rooms-Map Room


Churchill War Rooms-Churchillís Bedroom

I went from the Churchill War Rooms across Westminster Bridge to the London Eye. At £30, its kinda steep for what it is, but it did provide some nice views. I had read that the lines were really long, and it was relatively long, but it moved fast since there are 32 pods (representing the 32 Boroughs of London) and each one fits up to 25 people. I spent about 20 mins on line, which is annoying because you only spend about 30 min on the ride. London doesnít have much of a skyline, so there really isnít much to see. It is something at could be skipped but not something I regret having done.


London Eye-Pod Below


London Eye-Elizabeth Tower & Palace of Westminster


London Eye-London Skyline


London Eye-Elizabeth Tower & Palace of Westminster

After the London Eye I was pretty exhausted, since Iíd been running around all day on short rest, so I headed back to my hotel to find this on the table:


Intercontinental Park Lane-Birthday Chocolate Cake & Card

A little background. I had emailed the hotel, saying it was a belated birthday trip (my birthday is early April) and I asked if they could do anything to make my trip special. I was hoping for an upgrade. I didnít get one but I did get this delicious looking chocolate cake and a nice card.

I was too exhausted to schlep out to the kosher areas for food, and didnít feel like going to Rubenís (something Iíd regret later in the trip). I went to the local Sainsburyís to pick up some DD sandwiches. I got a few (the selection was pretty small), and I had 2 for dinner and had for lunch on Thursday. That was it for day one.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 04:07:21 PM »
Thursday - May 2, 2019

Thursday began with a short Tube ride to the British Library. The exhibit at the British Library is all in one room (except for the special exhibits they have which change once in a while and have paid admission). The collection ranges from the Magna Carta, to ancient sacred texts of many faiths and languages, to writers like Shakespeare and composers like Mozart & Bach. They also have a small exhibit on the Beatles. Clearly London is a little obsessed with the Beatles. I used the Rick Steves' Audio Tour, but I found it lacking. The whole audio tour runs about half an hour, but doesnít really provide much additional information and moves too quickly through the exhibits. It also isnít necessarily updated to changes in the museum. There were a few things he talked about that werenít there or werenít where he said they would be. I spent about an hour there, but could have easily spent another hour. As is the case in many places with historic documents and manuscripts, they donít allow pictures.

After leaving the British Library I headed to the British Museum. Again I did the Rick Steves' Audio Tour. I found the tour very informational, but limited as he only covers the Egypt, Assyria, & Greece sections of the museum.  To me the two highlights of the audio tour were the Rosetta Stone, and the Elgin Marbles Frieze from the Parthenon. I spent about 2.25 hours there, you could easily spend all day there and still not see everything. I was only half way through my day and my feet were already killing me, so the little walking around I did outside where the Rick Stevesí tour went was enough for me. They have a few food/coffee trucks outside and some tables so I sat outside and had my DDís sandwich. It wasnít anything special, but it did the job.


British Museum-Rosetta Stone


British Museum-Head of King Ramesses II


British Museum-False Door & Architrave of Ptahshepses


British Museum-Human Headed Winged Lion


British Museum-Lion Hunt Relief


British Museum-Elgin Marbles -Parthenon - Frieze

From the British Museum I headed back downtown to the Westminster area to sit in on a session of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster. When you get there, they assign you either the House of Lords or the House of Commons, I was sent to the House of Commons. I donít know if any of you have ever watched CSPAN, but sometimes thereís just one or two people there ranting just to get something into the congressional record. This was basically that. When I got in, Sir David Amess was talking about new housing in South Essex. There were literally 4 people in the room (there were more in the gallery, but Iím not counting that). It was really pretty boring, but still an interesting thing to do. The building itself is gorgeous, but sadly under construction so there was tons of scaffolding. One funny/cool thing was that they make you sign a declaration that you wonít make any disturbances or interruptions. 


Palace of Westminster (Parliament)-Declaration of Non-Disturbance


Palace of Westminster (Parliament)-Main Entrance


Palace of Westminster (Parliament)-Fresco


Palace of Westminster (Parliament)-Main Entrance Ceiling


Palace of Westminster (Parliament)-Stained Glass Windows

As I left I saw some Brexit protesters, who didnít seem to be doing much, just sitting there schmoozing with other protesters holding flags.

From Westminster I took a bus (my first time on the second deck of a public bus) to the Bond In Motion at the London Film Museum. They have the largest collection of Bond vehicles. After seeing some of the cars, it hit me that Iíd seen a number of them at the Spy Museum in Washington DC during my 2014 trip. It was still cool to see more of them.


Bond In Motion-Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II - A View to a Kill (1985)


Bond In Motion-Aston Martin V12 Vanquish - Die Another Day (2002)


Bond In Motion-Jaguar XK8 - Die Another Day (2002)


Bond In Motion-Aston Martin V8 - The Living Daylights (1987)


Bond In Motion-Aston Martin V8 - The Living Daylights (1987)


Bond In Motion-Boat Chase Storyboards - From Russia With Love (1963)


Bond In Motion-Boat Chase Storyboards - From Russia With Love (1963)


Bond In Motion-BMW Z8 - The World Is Not Enough (1999)

I went to Golders Green for dinner and I saw a frum kid and asked him where I could get a bottle of wine (for my Shabbos hosts) and he asked where I was going, I said Flipside Burger. He told me it was closed, but I could get a bottle of wine down the block. I was then left with a decision of where to go for dinner. I pulled up the London master thread to see what my options were and I decided on Samiís. I look across the street and they were apparently closed as well. They were only closed for renovations, but still, I was 0 for 2. I then decided on White House Express, which according to the website is located at 102 Golders Green Road, except it wasnít. There was another restaurant called PITA.  I figured after being 0 for 3, Iíd just go to PITA. As you can expect, they serve mediterranean food, and I ordered a shawarma lafa and chips. I got the shawarma lafa pretty quickly and he told me that the chips would be ready soon. I started eating and after almost 10 mins, I finally went back to the counter to inquire about my chips, apparently he forgot, and he said heíd put in a fresh batch, and I had them about 3 mins later. Food was good, service left me disappointed. I headed back downtown and called it a night.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2019, 04:08:03 PM »
Friday - May 3, 2019

Friday I started with Fun London Tours Changing the Guard Walking Tour. Theyíre recommended by everyone and did not disappoint. My guide Dani (Danielle) gave us an explanation of what happens, and what weíd be doing (marching down the mall along side the band). She also gave us a history of the changing of the guard and information on the different regiments of the Household Division.

I was lucky enough to have been on a tour that got to see something special. On the Queenís ďbirthday,Ē June 8, (her actual birthday is April 21, but since weather in London in April can be iffy, they celebrate it in June when the weather is more stable) there is a ceremony called Trooping the Colour (yes I spelled it the British way), where the queen basically the Queen ďinspectsĒ the guards, they march by her 3 times (I think) each time at a different pace. Anyway, apparently starting in May, the guards practice this on Fridays and I got to see them practicing.








Changing of the Guard-Trooping the Colour Practice

After seeing the practice for Trooping the Colour, we headed to the to corner of the Mall & Marlborough Rd to watch the beginning of the parade. The guard comes from St James's Palace (I believe) turns onto Marlborough Rd and starts coming right at you.


Changing of the Guard-Changing of the Guard Band (Welsh Regiment)

As they turn onto the Mall, we march along the Mall with them.








Changing of the Guard-Changing of the Guard Band (Welsh Regiment)

Once we reached St. James Park, we cut through, so we could get a view of the new guard coming from the barracks to the palace. Unfortunately we didnít get a great spot and I was stuck taking pictures over peopleís heads.




Changing of the Guard-(Coldstream Regiment)


Changing of the Guard-New Guard (Welsh Regiment) Coming On Duty

With things being a little abnormal due to the Trooping the Colour practice, Dani thought that the practicing troops would be heading back to the Wellington Barracks (on the other side of the park), so we headed there to try and get a real up close look, but after about 10 mins of waiting, we were told that they wouldnít be returning for another hour. At this point there was no chance of us getting a good spot to see the stare down between the old and new guards, so we went to the Victoria Memorial were we could sort of see things, but it wasnít the best of views.


Changing of the Guard-Victoria Memorial


Changing of the Guard-Buckingham Palace - Gates


Changing of the Guard-Buckingham Palace - Changing Guards Stare Down


Changing of the Guard-Buckingham Palace - Changing Guards


Changing of the Guard-Victoria Memorial - New-ish Nose

On my way to the Tube, walking down the Mall I got to see the Horse Guards.






Changing of the Guard-Horse Guards

I took the Tube to my next stop, IWM London. This is one of the free museums operated by the IWM. There are six floors, the bottom floor contains the newly redone WWI galleries and thatís where I started. The exhibit contains a large number of artifacts as well as informational boards about different periods of the war and about life in the field and on the home front. They also have a trench experience where you walk through a trench ďwith a Sopwith Camel plane swooping low overhead as a Mark V Tank looms above you.Ē I thought the trench experience wasnít anything special, but I enjoyed the rest of the WWI Galleries. My one complaint is that it was so dark that it was sometimes hard to get good pictures without flash.


Imperial War Museum - WWI Exhibit-French 75mm Quick Firing Field Gun


Imperial War Museum - WWI Exhibit-Company Sergeant Major William Williams Jacket


Imperial War Museum - WWI Exhibit-Recruiting Poster


Imperial War Museum - WWI Exhibit-''Do Not Stand About Here''


Imperial War Museum - WWI Exhibit-German Minenwerfer


Imperial War Museum - WWI Exhibit-German Gewehr Sniper Rifle


Imperial War Museum - WWI Exhibit-Retail Max Prices

After the WWI Galleries I headed up to the 4th (really 5th floor) to the Holocaust exhibit. The exhibit (which doesnít allow pictures) contains a variety of artifacts including diaries, clothing, and videos of survivors telling their stories. They also have a model of Auschwitz-Birkenau and basically walks you through the process of arrival and what happened to people who were sent there. It was a powerful exhibit, as most Holocaust exhibits are.

From there I went down to the ďTurning Points 1934-1945Ē exhibit on level 2. This exhibit focused on (as you can imagine) turning points in WWII. There are artifacts from different periods of the war that had different effects on the war.


Imperial War Museum-Midget Submarine X-7


Imperial War Museum-8.8 cm Flak 36


Imperial War Museum-Clarkair Bulldozer


Imperial War Museum-Bronze German Eagle


Imperial War Museum-Japanese Zero Fighter

Unfortunately, because it was Friday afternoon and my feet felt like they were gonna fall off, I only saw those three exhibits. I missed out on Peace and Security: 1945-2014, Curiosities of War, & The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes. I went back to my hotel, picked up my stuff and headed up to Hendon for Shabbos.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 04:08:20 PM »
Saturday- May 4, 2019

After a nice Shabbos with my friend I headed back downtown to check-in to the St. James's Hotel and Club. I had emailed them in advance (like I did with the IC Park Lane) but in this case they told me they were able to confirm an upgrade to the deluxe room. I got to the room and it was tiny. I thought to myself ďif this is the deluxe room, I canít imagine how small the superior (the basic) room is.Ē Hint, I later found out it wasnít the deluxe room and they didnít give me the upgrade. It was pretty late by the time I got to the hotel and I had an early tour the next morning so I crashed for the night.


St. James Hotel & Club-Bed & Desk


St. James Hotel & Club-Desk & TV


St. James Hotel & Club-Bed


St. James Hotel & Club-Bathroom
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 04:08:31 PM »
Sunday - May 5, 2019

I had booked the Stonehenge Express with Evan Evans for £54. It takes about 2 hours to drive to Stonehenge and public transport would have been about 2.5/2.75 hours and cost about the same as the Stonehenge Express so I figured it was easier to go with the tour, and not have to deal with changing trains and everything. The tour leaves from their office near Victoria Rail Station, so I took the Tube and figured Iíd pick up a DD Sandwich from the shop in Victoria Rail Station, only I couldnít find it, and when I asked someone he had no idea what I was talking about. Thankfully I did find a snack at the food court at Stonehenge that I knew was Kosher from the LBD is it Kosher App.

The ride took about 2 hours (as expected) and while there was WiFi, it wasnít strong enough to stream anything, so I just listened to some music and fell asleep, waking up about 20 mins away from Stonehenge. The busses park at the visitors center, where you catch a shuttle bus to the stones which takes about 5 mins. Admission comes with an audio guide, but they also have an app and since I didnít feel like holding a thing to my hear the whole time I opted for the app and used my headphones. The audio guide talks about the history of the stones (or at least what they think is the history) and about the people who built Stonehenge. It was informative, but not that interesting. You walk around the stones and I spent about an hour walking around. The Evan Evans tour gives you 2.5 hours at Stonehenge, so I headed back to the visitors center for a snack and shopping. They also have some replicas of the huts they believed the builders of Stonehenge lived in.

Thereís an exhibit at the visitors center, but at the entrance thereís a sign that says ďexhibition contains human remainsĒ and as a Kohen thatís a no go. I headed back to the bus with about 45 minutes left until we went back to London. I honestly wasnít impressed by Stonehenge, yes itís a marvel that they (whoever they were) were able to build it without modern technology, but Iím not sure it was worth traveling 4 hours round trip to see it. I think I would have been better off going to Windsor Castle as my day trip.















After we got back to London I headed for my next stop National Army Museum. There are five galleries, soldier, army, society, battle, & insight. Since I got there an hour and a half before closing I only got to see the Soldier & Battle galleries, and part of the Society gallery. I thought the Soldier gallery, which is about becoming a soldier and life as a soldier, was very good, the Battle gallery was ok.


National Army Museum-Recruiting Poster - See the World


National Army Museum-Basic Training Time For Different Rifles


National Army Museum-Trade and Proficiency Badges


National Army Museum-ĒTaliban Hunting Club'' Badge


National Army Museum-NAAFI Cocktail Formulae


National Army Museum-Sign Against Looting


National Army Museum-Penny Hit by Musket Ball




National Army Museum-British Army Soldiers Toys


National Army Museum-Boy Scout Service Uniform Set

I spent about an hour and a half there, until closing and then headed up to Hendon for dinner. I had really been craving a burger since I was denied one on with the closure of FlipSide Burger, so my friend recommended Bistro 86. He didnít mention the Bistro part, so I didnít realize how expensive it would be until I got there. The burger was delicious, but expensive and they add on 17% gratuity even though it was just one person, and one order, which kind of bothered me. After dinner, I headed back downtown and watched the Blues/Stars game.


Bistro 86-Burger
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 04:08:49 PM »
Monday - May 6, 2019

My day started off (and in retrospect it made more sense to do it like this anyway) with the  HMS Belfast. Since I bought the IWM membership at the Churchill War Rooms admission was free. There is an audio guide (the kind I had to hold to my ear) which leads you throughout the ship. The audio guide was very in depth and informational without being too dry. I unfortunately got held up by some dumb parents with little kids who ignored the warnings not to bring small children to certain parts of the ship. Other than that I thought it was excellent.


HMS Belfast-Silver Bell


HMS Belfast-Things You Can and Cannot Be Helped With By Your DO


HMS Belfast-Laundry- Even back then Amazon ruled all


HMS Belfast-Color Map


HMS Belfast-Use of Safety Lamps Sign from 1916


HMS Belfast-Sick Bay Stretchers


HMS Belfast-Naafi Canteen


HMS Belfast-Shell Room


HMS Belfast-A-Turret


HMS Belfast-Fo'c'sle - Forcastle


HMS Belfast-Bridge Wireless Office (BWO)


HMS Belfast-Tower Bridge - from HMS Belfast

From the HMS Belfast I made the short walk to the Tower Bridge. There was kind of a big line, which was frustrating because it had gotten quite chilly and on the bridge it gets kinda windy, but the wait was short (at least shorter than when I left). The Tower Bridge had a combo ticket with the Monument to the Great Fire of London of 1666, and I bought that. You take an elevator up to the walkway, walk from the north side to the southside, then walk back on the other walkway. There are sections of the walkway that have glass floors so you can see the bridge below and while I was up there, the bridge was being raised. Unfortunately it meant there were so people crowding around the glass that not only could I not see, I couldnít even walk by. I was able to see the bridge going down as I squeezed through, just to walk through.


Tower Bridge-Bridge Closing


Tower Bridge-Inside South Tower

You have to walk to the Tower of London end of the bridge to go to the engine room, which while no longer operational, has a small exhibit and you can see the engines (one of which is running but not doing anything).


Tower Bridge-Engine Room


Tower Bridge-Engine

After the Tower Bridge I made the quick walk over to the Tower of London. When Iíd heard about the Beefeater tours, I thought they took you around the whole tower. While I was somewhat disappointed about that, I still enjoyed the tour.


Tower of London-Beefeater


Tower of London-Traitorsí Gate

After the Beefeater tour, I went to the Beauchamp Tower which has an exhibit on prisoners and the marks (graffiti) they left on the tower.


Tower of London-Graffiti in Prison Towers - Thoms Peverel, 1570


Tower of London-Graffiti in Prison Towers - Shield of the Ashfield Family


Tower of London-Graffiti in Prison Towers - Willem Tyrrel, 1541

After the Beauchamp Tower I went to see the Waterloo Barracks to see the Crown Jewels. As I was about to go in they started the changing of the guard which I caught a piece of.








Tower of London-Changing of the Guard at the Crown Jewels

I noticed that one guard had his gun in his left hand and the other had it in his right, I assume thatís because one is right handed and the other left handed, but I never noticed it anywhere else.

After the Crown Jewels I went to White Tower which contains the Line of Kings (statues of Kings in armor and on horses), and the Royal Armouries.


Tower of London-King Henry VIII


Tower of London-King Henry VIII


Tower of London-Prince Henry


Tower of London-Spears.


Tower of London-Jewelled Pistol


Tower of London-Dragon Made of Weapons

After the White Tower I went to the Mint, which has an exhibit on the Tower of Londonís function to mint coins.


Tower of London-Edward I Half-Penny, 1279


Tower of London-Various Coins


Tower of London-Charles II Petition Crown, 1663

I certainly didnít see everything there was to see at the Tower of London, but I think I got a large chunk of it done. After the Tower of London I walked to the Monument to the Great Fire of London of 1666. Because I thought I hadnít walked enough, I used the combo ticket from the Tower Bridge and climbed the 311 step spiral staircase to the top, where thereís a fenced in (after some people fell/jumped) viewing deck. Unfortunately there isnít much of a skyline in London so there isnít really much to see. You can get much better views from other places and this is something that can easily be skipped. While the walk up was painful, I found the walk down much harder because I was petrified of falling down 311 steps. Going up, if you fall, youíre likely to fall forward and while it would hurt, youíre likely to stay put. If you fall going down youíve got a long way until something is gonna stop you from falling.  The worst part was I kept looking to see how much further I had until the bottom and Iíd see white, thinking it was the floor on the bottom, but it was actually just the walls lower down, the floor is actually black.


Monument to the Great Fire of London-Cheese Grater Building


Monument to the Great Fire of London-Tower Bridge


Monument to the Great Fire of London-HMS Belfast


Monument to the Great Fire of London-London ďSkylineĒ


Monument to the Great Fire of London-Stairs

Since I was leaving London early Tuesday morning I had decided to stay at the airport, and I didnít wanna schlep all the way out to GG or Hendon for dinner and then come back downtown to get my stuff so I decided it would be fitting for my last night to go to Rubens. I get there after some delays on the Tube, and theyíre closed. Uh oh. I figured maybe since it was a bank holiday, maybe they thought there wouldnít be enough working people for it to be worth opening. I found out 2 days later, nope, they just closed. Just my luck. Now I really regret not having gone my first night in town when I settled for DDs sandwiches! I then headed back to the London Master Thread to figure out what restaurant was closest to downtown, and settled on Deli 98. Where I got a pulled beef sandwich and lunch for Wednesday. The pulled beef was delicious.


Deli 98-Pulled Beef Sandwich

I went back to my hotel to pick up my stuff and headed by tube to Paddington for the Heathrow Express. Things were going fine until I switched at Baker St (where Iíd been only hours earlier when I tried to go to Rubens) and there was a delay. I waited 10 mins, 15 mins, 20 mins until there was finally an announcement. There was a signal problem and they were working on it. 20 mins later, they say they donít know how long it will take to fix and you should take alternate transportation. Unfortunately for me, there are no other Tubes that go from Baker St to Paddington, finally, they made an announcement that for Paddington, you should take the 18 bus. Google maps disagreed and I caught a bus and finally got to Paddington, took the Heathrow Express and after a short bus ride made it to the Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport.

I checked in and when I got to my room the lights wouldnít work. I tried every single switch in the room and nothing worked. I went back to the desk and told another associate (not the one whoíd checked me in) that the lights didnít work. She said ďdidnít you put the key inĒ I said, ďOf course, how else would I have gotten into the room.Ē She then told me that apparently in many European hotels you have to put your room key in this little box near the bathroom to activate the lights. Now I canít say Iíve been to a lot of hotels in Europe, but Iíve been to a few and Iíd never heard of that. I went back to my room and sure enough, it worked.


Hyatt Place Heathrow-Bed


Hyatt Place Heathrow-TV


Hyatt Place Heathrow-Sofa


Hyatt Place Heathrow-Bathroom Sink

I was getting up super early for my flight to MXP, so I turned in early.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 04:09:03 PM »
Tuesday - May 7, 2019

I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5 am for my 7:50 BA flight to MXP. Check in was simple, I made it through security an headed to the Aspire Lounge which I access through Priority Pass. I only spent about half an hour in the lounge and then headed to my gate for boarding. The flight was uneventful, I slept through half of it, but I did get some nice views over Eastern France.






BA 572-Over Eastern France

Upon landing I cleared passport control, got my bag and went to check in for my EK flight to JFK. The problem was that apparently check-in only opens 4 hours before departure and it was 5 hours before departure, so I had to wait an hour to check-in. I spent my wait time by the window watching takeoffs and landings.

I was finally able to check-in, made it through security, missed the sign for the priority line for passport control, but it only took about 10 mins. I made my way to the EK lounge and relaxed and had my lunch from Deli 98 and before I knew it, it was time to board. An attendant came through the lounge checking passports and boarding passes and told me I could board which I did through the lounge.

I made it to my seat where I was greeted by two flight attendants, and then shortly after by the purser (who said Shalom). One of the flight attendants showed me around my seat and then brought me my pajamas and amenity kit and told me that someone would be coming by shortly to book my shower. I didnít notice at the time, but of the 16 first class seats, only 3 were filled so I could have showered pretty much any time I wanted. I chose to shower shortly before landing.

After being offered a drink (I chose Dalmore 15) the purser came back and asked me when I wanted lunch, and I said shortly after take off. I explored the IFE a little and we were soon in the air. I watched takeoff from the tail camera which was cool.

EK 205 F-Take-Off (Video)


EK  205 F-Seat


EK 205 F-TV & Vanity


EK 205 F -Vanity


EK 205 F-Min-Bar


EK 205 F-Flower & Light


EK 205 F-TV Screen


EK 205 F-Suite Doors


Normally Iím not a social person, but I figured if I had the chance to go to a bar on a plane, I would, except that I caught a cold on my last day in London and I didnít think everyone else at the bar would appreciate me blowing my nose every 30 seconds so I stayed at my seat most of the flight.

Shortly after takeoff I was served lunch, if thatís what I could call it. They called it ďpizzaĒ, but it had no cheese and it was not what I would call food. It had a side of a borekas and a vegetable croquette. Thankfully I ate in the lounge.




EK 205 F- ďKSMLĒ

After during and after lunch I watched a movie and then took a nap.  I love how when you close the blinds (which I also loved that they were electronic) the ceiling looks starlight.


EK 205 F -''Starlight Ceiling''

EK 205 F-Video of Window Shade Opening (Video)


EK 205 F-Bed in Sleep Mode

 After my nap I watched another movie and then took my shower. Iíd seen pictures of the bathroom and the shower, but nothing does it justice. There is no experience like it. The only problem with my shower was that there was pretty bad turbulence during my entire shower.


EK 205 F-Bathroom


EK 205 F-Shower Door


EK 205 F-Inside Shower


EK 205 F-Bench Inside Shower


EK 205 F-Soaps & Shampoos

After my shower I finished my movie, watched some TV, had some Woodford Reserve, and before I knew it we were making our descent into JFK.  I have global entry, but the last time I came back into the country there were really long lines, and I figured since mobile passport was no longer going to be free Iíd try it while I could. I had downloaded the app a few weeks earlier and added my passport info. I went to mobile passport line (there was one person in front of me) and I saw that global entry had no line as well. I cleared passport control. Got my bag and was on my way home.

I wish Iíd been feeling better on my trip home as Iím sure it put somewhat of a damper on my EK F experience, but overall it was still great as was my whole trip despite the few little things that went wrong.

I hope you enjoyed my TR and that even if you didnít I hope it helps you plan your trip to London.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 04:27:26 PM »
Me: I'm going to London  let me have a look.
Also me: I'm there for just 18 hours, let me get out.

Looks amazing,  will definitely read it thoroughly before my trip.
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2019, 04:08:44 PM »
Nice report! Thanks for taking the time!

Offline LoLo

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2019, 02:07:05 PM »
Very nice report, thoroughly enjoyed it.

I had the luck of visiting IWM Duxford on a day they had an air show, very interesting chain of museums.

Does the British Museum not have any human remains?

Offline dpk4588

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2019, 02:12:41 PM »
Does the British Museum not have any human remains?
It did, but I avoided them. They were on the second floor.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline PlatinumGuy

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2019, 03:30:04 PM »
Very nice report, thoroughly enjoyed it.

I had the luck of visiting IWM Duxford on a day they had an air show, very interesting chain of museums.

Does the British Museum not have any human remains?
Only Jewish remains are a problem for Cohanim
Purpose > Pleasure

Offline yitzgar

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Re: A Trip to See the Queen's Place: dpk4588 Takes on London
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2019, 03:33:50 PM »
Only Jewish remains are a problem for Cohanim
-1