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h20skibum

Live - Independence Italian Med (7/13-7/27) - European Vacation

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Stonehenge was about a half hour drive from Salisbury.  Unlike the cathedral when we arrived, this place was packed.

 

I seem to remember, from the National Lampoon movie with Chevy Chase, that you could drive right up to the stones.  Maybe that stopped when he tipped them over with his car😁

 

Now, you park and take a shuttle bus to the site.  We had prepaid our admission, so the tour guide picked up everyone’s tickets.

 

There was a line for shuttles 

 

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It looks small when you approach, but the people look even smaller

 

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From some of the vantage points, you can have the stones hide the crowds, as you walk the perimeter 

 

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We had a couple hours time at Stonehenge, to visit the site, and to grab a bite to eat.

 

Our next stop would be Windsor Castle.  It was overcast, and threatening rain, but our luck held, and the rain didn’t start until after we left the castle. 

 

We had prepaid for entry, and the advantage for our group, was we got to skip the line.

 

Walking to the castle, we found this picture made from legos

 

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We walked along the train station past this engine, called the queen.

 

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Some views of the castle 

 

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It looks like someone likes Star Wars

 

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More photos from the castle

 

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We caught a guard procession 

 

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We did a tour inside the state apartments, and the cathedral.  Photos are not allowed inside, but I had already taken this couple before someone kindly reminded me. 😬

 

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We had a couple hours at the castle, before we left to be dropped off at our London hotel.

 

A few more photos from the castle

 

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3 hours ago, h20skibum said:

Stonehenge was about a half hour drive from Salisbury.  Unlike the cathedral when we arrived, this place was packed.

 

I seem to remember, from the National Lampoon movie with Chevy Chase, that you could drive right up to the stones.  Maybe that stopped when he tipped them over with his car😁

 

Now, you park and take a shuttle bus to the site.  We had prepaid our admission, so the tour guide picked up everyone’s tickets.

 

There was a line for shuttles 

 

Years ago you were allowed to walk right up and touch the stones. I remember going on a primary school trip and wandering among them.

 

I've just googled and it looks like they stopped that in 1977. You can though pre book a 'special' access' tour which happen on certain dates when you are allowed to go past the ropes and up to the stones.

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This has been a great review!  Not sure what your plans are in London but if you'll be visiting Westminster Abbey, I'd recommend paying a little extra (£7?) for the Verger Guided Tour.  The Vergers add some great info and will take you into places that you normally can't go (St. Edward's Chapel, sitting on seats in the Quire).  We didn't know about these tours until after we had entered the Abbey and were lucky to get the last 2 spots on our tour.  I don't think these tours can be booked in advance.

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We had a packed day for our first day in London, and walked 20 miles, according to our Fitbit’s.  We both love walking, and it was just easier for us, given the route I mapped for things to do on Day 1

 

We have been lucky with the weather. Just overcast yesterday, and bright sunshine today. 

 

Will post more about our first day in London later.  Waiting in line for the Tower of London now, but here is a nice photo of Tower Bridge this morning. 

 

 

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On 7/18/2019 at 7:37 PM, h20skibum said:

 

When we first ordered drinks at the pub, early in the cruise, there was a little bit of a wait, but only 5-10 minutes. 

 

We have had no problems at the schooner bar, but maybe that is because the bartender is getting to know me, because I tip cash for each drink. 

 

At Diamond Club, we usually have the same server, and he has been fantastic. He has another drink brought to us before we finish our drinks.

We were also on thus cruise and never had any issues getting a drink in the bars, or even the outdoor bars on sea days, I think there were many servers in the pub on the prom and many bar staff else where, loved being able to use diamond drinks in the bars as well as the lounge.

 

The guys in the lounge were very good, I did always go to the bar since we mostly sat out side

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Love to see some pictures of The Tower. I've been to London 6 times and to The Tower, 6 times. My absolute favorite place!

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We had a couple of really full days in London.   The Park Plaza hotel, near Victoria station was a great place to stay.  It was within walking distance of many of the places we wanted to visit, and the underground was a quick walk, if we wanted to travel to other places in London.

 

I bought a two day London pass that included entry into several London attractions.  Our two day pass cost £199, and was delivered to the London pass app on my iPhone.  The app, and the pass works offline, so there is no need for an internet connection, or a cell signal.  Our cell phones were on airplane mode for the entire cruise, as well as for our stay in London.

 

More later about the advantages, and disadvantages of the London pass later, but how about some photos from our first full day in London.

 

Sunday was our first day there, and some of the attractions were closed, or would have limited hours.  We were up early, and decided to do a walking tour past some of the exteriors we wanted to see.  It was cloudy all day, but our early start meant there were not may people out.

 

Victoria Station was pretty quiet at 8:00 am on a Sunday. 

 

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Just across from the station, we found Little Ben, and Victoria Palace. 

 

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Only a 3 minute walk, and we were at Westminster Cathedral.

 

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And a little further is Westminster Abby.  Since it is closed Sunday, our plan was to tour it on Monday.

 

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Our first glimpse of Big Ben, was of the scaffolding covering it.  It seems there were lots of buildings with scaffolding and wraps, as work was going on.

 

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The clock face is visible on the west side 

 

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The London Eye was just downstream, on the opposite bank of the Thames

 

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The Houses of Parliament were also undergoing some renovations 

 

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Whitehall gardens was across the Thames from the Eye, as we made a loop to walk up to Buckingham Palace 

 

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Buckingham Palace was next on our list.  Entry to tour the palace is not included in the London Pass, so if you want to go, get your tickets early.  

 

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We walked to the Queen’s gallery, and planned to tour it, since admission was included with the London Pass.  It was then, that we found one drawback to the pass.   At 10 am, when the gallery opened, all of the tickets for the day had already been sold out, so you couldn’t get entry with the pass.

 

We walked back to Buckingham Palace, and got in the queue to by tickets for a tour of the state apartments.  They work on a timed entry system, so our ticket was for 1:15.

 

With quite a bit of time before we could enter, we toured the Royal Mews, where the carriages are kept.  Entry was included on the pass, and the line was not long.

 

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The Royal cars are kept here also

 

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The gold state coach

 

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We walked up to the Wellington Arch, and got there just in time to see the Royal Horseguards parade, as it came up from Buckingham Palace and through the Arch.

 

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We toured the Arch, and went to the observation platform at the top.

 

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The entry to Hyde Park is across from the Arch

 

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The way back to Buckingham Palace is on the opposite side.

 

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Entry to the Arch is included in the Pass, but this must not be a popular attraction, since there was no one there while we were.

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Everyone back home wanted shirts from Hard Rock, so that would be our lunch and first shopping stop.

 

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What would a London Hard Rock be, with out some outfits of the Beatles?

 

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Back to Buckingham Palace for our tour.  No photos are allowed inside, so here is the only photo from the gardens at the rear.

 

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Posted (edited)

Great photos around London.

We have only ever been to London twice in our whole lives , the last time was in the late 80s. 😆.

 

Edited by heatherb1958

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I’ve enjoyed your whole review. I love London! I had no idea you can go inside Wellington Arch - that is something I will have to keep in mind for next time!

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Whenever we travel we always visit Hard Rock, like you DH collects the shirts, but we've never been to the London one. 

 

We rarely visit London either, never been inside Buckingham Palace, was it impressive? 

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Just now, kernow said:

Whenever we travel we always visit Hard Rock, like you DH collects the shirts, but we've never been to the London one. 

 

We rarely visit London either, never been inside Buckingham Palace, was it impressive? 

I remember the excitement in the '70s when Hard Rock opened, nothing like that had ever opened in UK before, queues right down the road and round the corner.  As to Buckingham Palace, I was gifted entrance tickets a few years ago and was a little disappointed. Big queues and crowds and not that special in my opinion. My eldest son lives in London now so we visit quite a bit, sometimes treating ourselves to a few days in town. Always so much going on and so much to see 

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1 hour ago, cft8 said:

I’ve enjoyed your whole review. I love London! I had no idea you can go inside Wellington Arch - that is something I will have to keep in mind for next time!

 

Inside the arch was not too impressive, but this was another place where photos are not permitted inside.  Some places we visited, they were allowed, and others they were not. 

 

Could not figure out their reasoning. 

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4 minutes ago, h20skibum said:

 

Inside the arch was not too impressive, but this was another place where photos are not permitted inside.  Some places we visited, they were allowed, and others they were not. 

 

Could not figure out their reasoning. 

I think the view would be worth going!

 

There are lots of reasons why photos are not allowed, ranging from copyright issues around the art and artifacts on display to the fact that flash photography can damage fragile paintings and fabrics. I also think some places do it so as not to impede traffic flow with people stopping every 2 feet to snap a photo. As much as I like taking photos, I almost enjoy places that do not allow them more, because I focus more on the experience. If I want to remember a particular thing, I can get a postcard or book that will have way better photos than I can take! One thing I appreciated throughout our trip is that many of the guidebooks were reasonably priced.  

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3 hours ago, kernow said:

We rarely visit London either, never been inside Buckingham Palace, was it impressive? 

 

We were most impressed with the Cathedrals, with all their intricate details and artwork. 

 

There is just so much history here, it would take a long time to take everything in. 

 

I thought it was similar to what we saw at our stop at Windsor Castle. 

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