Author Topic: London, Paris September 2021  (Read 2249 times)

Offline g8trgr8t

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London, Paris September 2021
« on: March 23, 2022, 10:17:12 PM »
Family of 4, kids 21, 18. Two weeks in the middle of September.

pics here

https://www.flickr.com/photos/85268984@N02/albums/72157720007600721

MIA - LHR on United business on miles. Air BnB in a working class neighborhood twenty minutes by the tube to downtown.

As a family, we have been trying to get to London for two years. It has been on the list of places to explore and experience. Covid last year, covid again in August, travel certificates and events in London set to expire in December and we finally made it late September. It was our first trip there and we learned a lot to make it easier next time

We did so much I will try and do the report by the day and link a few pics per day.

Covid - rules were test 72 hours before departure, we all did that, then ruels changed and it was 72 hours before arrival. That made 1 16 hour differnece for us as we had a long layover at Dulles, Had to get tested again the enxt day, all four of us. Had results in time for flights. No cost to us.

Used miles for wife and I in first and kids (18, 21) in premium economy. Tampa to Dulles, Dulles to London. Plane was around 60% full from Dulles to Heathrow. John Kerry was across the aisle from me flying commercial on United with 1 aid. Saw no security. He is now envoy to environmental negotiations and was traveling for meetings prior to Copehangen conference.

Upon arrival, we had to get tested again within 48 hours of arrival so we did it upon arrival at testing center in airport. All vaccinated , all passed, $95 each. And we ahd to get tested prior to departure back to US so that meant being careful and mask up indoors while there. I'm sure the rules have changed again since

We ubered from Heathrow to an air bnb in Fulham, outside city limits, but nearby. We picked a place in a working class neighborhood to be able to get a feel for the real London and not just the highlights. That and it was about half of what the flats were in the areas closer to the city limits or Hyde Park/Soho area. Hotels in the US accommodate 4 easily, not so much elsewhere, so bnb with a kitchen and a washing machine and 2 bedrooms for a week was what worked for us. Breakfast at room, lunch outside somewhere, and dinner outside or carry out back to room. Checked in around 10 am after an overnight flight and not much sleep. 6 hour flight, 5 hours lost.

Once we were checked in, we got our passes for the system of trains that would be our primary source of transport for the next week. We could get to most parts of London with just one change of trains and don't think we ever spent more than 30 minutes to get anywhere. This does require you to be mobile. And I mean capable of doing a bit of walking and up and down stairs. We walked between 8 and 12 miles a day most days.

On our day of arrival, we took the tube and Visited Hyde Park and walked around there for a few hours before calling it a day and heading back to the flat. Bog park, cental lake full of swans, statues, Went to the pub across the street for dinner, sat outside, and had some fish and chips and a guinness.

First full day Nice weather, in the 60's, and sunny, rode the London Eye, visited St Paul cathedral, found out the dome was closed on M - W so called an audible and jumped on the hop on/off bus tour. Highly recommend this early in the visit to get a feel for the whole city, Find one with someone doing live narration instead of the taped version. Those bus drivers are good, very narrow streets full of pedestrians and bicycles but they move around no trouble. Visited the Tate modern art museum, not a fan. Went by the Globe Theatre (Shakespeare) but it was closed. Walked almost 10 miles total, ended the day in Chinatown for dinner.

First impression, London has great public transport, felt safe everywhere we went, not cheap but not as expensive as Sydney or even San Francisco. Average age of people we saw may have been 30 - 35. Very few people overweight, not sure if portion control or all the walking required.

Crowds were minimal which was good. Not sure what percentage of workers still working from home but tube was rarely crowded.

second day we spent the am on the bus tour as tickets were good for 24 hours and there were parts we didn't see. in the afternoon we visited the skygarden, large indoor atrium at the top of a tall building, outdoor deck. free to enter but have to schedule tickets and wait in line for security. The next morning we went to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and then went to the Tower of London. Fort originally established by Caesar then built up over the years by kings and queens. Saw lots of armor, swords, and various weapons of war at the exhibits in the White Castle and saw the crown jewels. No pictures there. The wealth taken by the Brits from the countries they controlled is amazing.


« Last Edit: March 23, 2022, 10:41:32 PM by g8trgr8t »

Offline g8trgr8t

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Re: London, Paris September 2021
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2022, 10:22:32 PM »
we had good service everywhere we went but maybe because the crowds were so low. we spent 4 nights in southern Ireland a few years back. We stayed in Kilarney area. enjoyed it. enjoyed Dublin too. I agree on diversity in London. I would hear at least 10 different languages a day

the following day we took the train to visit the Royal Palace at Windsor. Maybe 30 minutes, 25 - 30 miles outside of town. Castle built on high ground enroute to London. Perimeter was set by 1300's and the interior built up since then. No pictures allowed but I snuck a few. Got back into town in time to head downtown and take some night pictures. So much wealth accumulated by the crown

Daughter stayed in London with her boyfriend and my wife, son, and I took the channel train to Paris. Security and covid took us about an hour to clear and then wait on boarding. We spent three nights in a IHG product on points there and did a whirlwind tour of Paris. We were so busy with other things that we never really dedicated any effort to food. Maybe next trip. The Arc de Triumph was covered in fabric the day we arrived and was being derobed when we visited. bus tour was a great way to see the city and giving away the tickets to another family to use within the 24 hour window was a bonus. visited the Eifel Tower, took a river tour, walked around town a lot.

Flew home Paris to Miami and then drive to Naples. Flew on Air France using miles in coach but the plane was empty so the three of us had rows to ourselves. Daughter flew United LHR to TPA direct on miles.

Hope you enjoyed the photos. Most shot on a galaxy s-20.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2022, 10:37:47 PM by g8trgr8t »

Offline yitzgar

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Re: London, Paris September 2021
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2022, 11:17:19 PM »
Great TR and pics!

Offline WhiteWolf

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Re: London, Paris September 2021
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2022, 07:13:50 PM »