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England March-April Part 1, Active

Left California 29th first to MSP to meet up with nephew. Stayed at airport hotel since early flight to ORD and then onto LHR that day. Good thing too, freezing rain in morning so good to have him at hotel. Hung out at BA lounge in ORD which was actually nice, made to order food and quite good. Boarded around 4, one thing wasn’t fond of was an evening flight but with an early morning arrival. Hate those but I literally could not find biz class mileage tickets on BA from anywhere except this flight. All well, nice flight, did get a small bit of sleep. Arrival 7, we lost each other a bit after immigration and were both having phone trouble so just reminded me WTH did we used to do in those situations? Anyway eventually work out, Heathrow Express in which even though $$$ glad we did after being so rummy and after a long day of travel. Made it to our hotel, Montague on the Gardens, directly across from British Museum and LOVE LOVE LOVE this hotel. Will write up a separate review. Excellent staff, very sweet hotel. Also $$$ but worth every penny IMO.

Met up with his folks and had breakfast.

Now here is where things went whacky. THE WEATHER HAS BEEN HIDEOUS! I mean 30sF, maybe maybe low 40sF. Rain, snow, hail, terrible wind. Sorry folks, layers schmayers. It has been VERY cold. I have wind resistant pants, long underwear, raincoat with a wool liner, gloves, deep fleece hat, wool socks, waterproof shoes, three shirts and light sweater. Ah, nope. For all those people saying “why do you Americans come to the UK dressed like you are going to climb Everest?” Yeah, well I wish I had. I had checked weather but reports apparently not very reliable even days out when I had to finalize packing. I wish I had ski clothes to tell you the truth. You can’t layer enough for this mess. Not without Everest type clothing.

Anyway as a result he and his folks took off and I took a long hot shower and got a short 1 hour nap. Then, since right across street I went to the British Museum and for hours had a great time. Loved wandering by myself. There are perks to solo time. Also incredible perks to being out of 40F with huge wind, on and off hail/snow/rain (don’t you folks who do NOT live in SoCal call this “wintry mix”). They had gone walking and to Churchill War rooms. They came back to meet at British Museum but I was getting done at that point so went across the street while they were touring before it closed to the Museum Tavern. They met me later and we had dinner there. For those that gave tips on non-alcoholic beers I had a great LA Old Hen which was a suggestion. Great. Back to hotel and sleeps, etc.
Next day, despite these so called “best practices” of layers, bundled up again and headed to the Tower. Ice box wind outside. Headed first to Crown Jewels, spent a long time in there. One of my favorite things to do is actually engage the docents which I did and learned SO much. Do you know the punch bowl holds 144 bottles of wine? Anyway that part was great. Then we went back down and tried to do the Warder Tour. Between freezing cold, the fact our guy clearly did NOT like Americans (lots of snide remarks) and the fact he was spending most of the time on the blood and guts, we bailed. Spent quite awhile doing the White Tower. Then the small museum, ANYTHING inside that kept us out of the bitter cold and wind. Everyone starving so went to nearby restaurant. Hopped Uber Boat down to Westminster, due to wind and waves they were running late but we made it to the Abbey just about 3, enough time to do the 1 hour with audio guide and even caught choir rehearsal at end. My SIL had booked inexpensive tea at Swan next to Globe so we taxied. Was fine but way too much sugar so I didn’t eat nearly as much as them. Taxied back to hotel. More later. Especially some tips on Covid.

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Part 2. Some observations and things we have done: a) no one hardly at all is wearing a mask anywhere except for people like us. It’s like a different world. So between that and the awful wind and weather we have done mostly taxis. Splitting fare 4 ways works and just quickly getting out of weather makes it even better.

b) not sure if there was any way I could’ve figured out weather better before I had to finish packing which was actually 3 days before arrival. Maybe UK folks have insight. I would’ve definitely brought more Arctic type gear.

Anyway today we got up, took train from Kings Cross to Cambridge. Saturday, we had to share one seat between us, train was packed. As an aside we saw the queue at St Pancras and wow! Out the door and WAY down the street. Anyway nice express to Cambridge but Saturday and also graduation apparently so place is jammed like the train. Staying at Graduate Hotel, it’s fair. Close to town which is nice since we have no car. Again starved, pubs packed so I actually asked one of the punt hustlers for suggestions and we ended up at the Chop house. So nice, we got a table away from everyone else in a little nook and had a fabulous meal (basically will be our dinner). Poked our heads in the Eagle which we plan to stop in tomorrow after Ridgewell since our Dad was a pilot here. Then walked to the open air market in search of better gloves and hats for my family members. But then a big cell went over and our not-friends the snow/hail/wind came through with vengeance. So we ended up hanging out under the tarp at the glove and hat guy’s booth while they all decided what to buy. Finally at end when we were getting ready to leave the seller says “yes I want to get done today because I have a NASTY COLD” and “gosh I haven’t been sick in years”. Ya think guy? And, the ONE time none of us stupidly had our masks on! So fingers crossed and crossed and crossed our vaccines and boosters hold because it could very well be the dude had Covid. UGH. At least it was outside. Anyway after enough of that and more wintry mix we just came back to hotel after stopping to see a few things here and there but it’s just damn cold. And in this instance layers aren’t cutting it. Wish I had a heavy calf length parka, etc.

so tomorrow we have a driver taking us to Ridgewell to a small museum there that is opening for us because our Dad flew B-17s out of there before he got shot down and spent 2 years in a POW camp. Weather not better.

Monday we head to Jersey where the reports are 50sF which any of us will gladly take right now, even me the SoCal cold wimp. They are from Minnesota and Even they have been miserable. Oh well. More later next week. Cheers!

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375 posts

Cchapin100, I know what you mean about the cold. We are in Belgium. Yesterday, we were walking around the WWI cemeteries near Ypres. I had on long-john leggings with heavy jeans on top. On top I had a smart-wool first layer, a turtleneck shirt, a cashmere sweater, a down jacket, a waterproof windbreaker with hood and a scarf around my neck. I was freezing all day. I had gloves, but forgot my hat. We had snow off and on all day long with strong winds. I think our entire tour will be cold. I brought 1 sweater and 1 insulated vest. I will be wearing one or the other every day I think.

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6349 posts

Sorry guys but travel in March and April doesn’t always mean Spring weather. Not with global warming. That and Mother Nature does what she wants when she wants.

At least you got to see the Tower of London. Curious as to what the snide remarks about us Yank’s the Yoder made.

I live in LA and go to London nearly every year. Favorite city on the planet. Heading back in July and I might take a pair of shorts. Might. Mostly like long jeans and I’ll definitely have one turtle neck packed.
Even in July I intend to layer.

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454 posts

If I could’ve easily found a ski coat today would’ve bought on the spot. Best we could do was more and better gloves and hoodies. It’s ridiculous!

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454 posts

Yes Claudia, well aware but I had to finish packing 3 days before arrival due to transit and stayover in MSP and at that time the weather reports (even UK) were 50sF. It’s not, it’s 30s and 40sF with snow and wind and hail. I even asked for help on the board for Uk weather sites to check and checked like 5 sites constantly. Not really sure what else I could’ve done. Anyway the minute I come across a ski jacket or heavy parka, buying it.

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9706 posts

Sorry the weather is being miserable. Hope you will get some enjoyment out of the museum and location tomorrow. I've known some folks who were keeping the memory alive at the airfield in Southern England my Dad's group flew (P47s) from and they are awesome, dedicated folks.

Looks like there are both Jack Wolfskin and Cotswold Outdoor shops in Cambridge both of which should have nice jackets. Go for a puffy one that will squish down small. You may be able to wear it under your raincoat for more wind block.

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928 posts

“March, in like a lion, out like a lamb”. Guess it didn’t get the 2022 memo. Although last week we took a short break to Beverley, Yorkshire and wandered round in shorts and t-shirts and sat outside at cafes and ate ice cream and lounged in pub beer garden over a pint or two.

Back home (still in Yorkshire) exactly a week later and woke to Baltic (Britspeak for ‘extremely cold’) conditions and three inches of snow. Melted pretty quick but was still perishing (Yorkshire speak for ‘incredibly cold’ - don’t get me started on ‘brass monkeys’) in the stiff wind.

I used to work with an American who had experienced much lower temperatures both at home and in Central Europe but confessed the damp cold he experienced in the U.K. was the only one that got through to his bones. Penalty of living on a (comparatively) small island I’m afraid, plus you are on approximately the same line of latitude as Alaska! Sorry, the weather hasn’t cooperated for you but fingers crossed it will be ‘cracking the flags’ for the rest of your stay!

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1302 posts

Hey cchapin, glad you made it. Sorry about the weather. I bet it’s warmer in Switzerland. 😊 Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

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454 posts

Ianandjulie yes that’s what people said, like 60sF last week, guess we came a week too late. Asked concierge, they gave me names of shops and map. After we do the Ridgewell museum going to have our driver drop us there. I think parkas will be on the agenda. We’re hoping that just by the act of buying heavy parkas it will cause the weather to contradict us once again and temps will go up. Never seen it like this in April, at least on Continent. Biting! Anyway onward and upward! More reports later, cheers.

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5547 posts

Last week, we were in T-shirts, as it was 10 degrees above the average temperature for late March and 4 days later, we had a sprinkling of snow, but it soon melted and, sorry, but it’s not that cold. I haven’t needed to wear my thick down coat or thermals. I went for a walk yesterday in the hills and I did don a pair of gloves. I usually feel the cold, but honestly, it’s not that bad at present.

The Met Office weather forecast has been pretty reliable.

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27720 posts

we and Cambridge will be -4 tonight but between the wintry mix tomorrow will be a little light cloud.

It will warm up by Tuesday to 13, but rain.

If going shopping watch out for Sunday Trading Laws. Most places close at 4, some at 5. Just restaurants and corner shops after that.

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2086 posts

You make me laugh with your humor- knowing that we leave in a few weeks. I'm hoping "shoulder" seasons starts leaning towards some sunny days for us all!

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454 posts

Part 3. Today we had a full breakfast at Fitzwillie’s, go there at 9 right when they opened and glad we did because our driver was coming at 10 to take us to Ridgewell. Really good breakfast. Driver arrived at 10 and we headed to the small museum outside of Ridgewell where our Dad was stationed flying B-17s in WWII before he was shot down on his 13th mission ove Belgium on the return. The two volunteers who met us and opened the museum just for us today were absolutely incredible people. After touring the museum itself they took us on a drive viewing some of the bare remnants left of the base. Definitely hardest for me was when we stopped at what was the end of one of the former runways and the guy said well this is where your Dad last flew a B-17. Sob. Anyway was lovely and touching. 381st was the first to open the base and our Dad was there until shot down August 1943. Great volunteers and museum, surviving on a shoestring so if you get a chance ever, great to visit.

After returning had our driver drop us at the arcade shopping center in Cambridge and I bought a parka!!! It was $$$ but will last me the rest of my life so ok. FINALLY warm and tomorrow will not have to wear everything in my suitcase. Now I will just have to schlep the raincoat around for the rest of the trip. Though we decided with our weather karma it will now turn to 20C and sunny. Whatever. Am happy I have it. Came back and ate at the Eagle, a pub that among other things houses the RAF bar that was heavily used by RAF and USAAC pilots during WWII, they have preserved the ceiling that is covered with graffiti from said pilots and crew that were written in lipstick, candle and lighter burns. Very special place. Great Sunday fare. Afterwards the fam went coat shopping for themselves trying to find cheaper places. They’re doing that now. They are from Minneapolis yet didn’t think it was going to be this cold, windy, wintry mix, etc. so are themselves freezing. All looking for heftier winter gear. Hoping they will have good luck.

Light dinner tonight and then depart 7 tomorrow morning with goal to get to LHRT5 for our noon flight to Jersey. Bro and SIL will stay until Wednesday and then fly to LHR late for overnight before early morning back to MSP. Nephew and I stay Jersey until late Thursday, then return to London for another 5 days until back to MSP. I return to SoCal after a couple of additional days in MSP.

More later. Cheers, C

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1739 posts

I am loving your tour report. Sorry but I am laughing myself silly. Poor you. And the visit to the airfield where your father took off from before being shot down was very touching. I hope the weather improves but at least now you have warmer clothing. I will remember your experience with weather and clothing before our trip Scotland and Ireland in August/September and be sure to pack some lightweight long johns and a wool sweater. The coldest wettest July I ever experienced was in Ireland many moons ago so best to be prepared.

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9706 posts

So happy you found a coat! And delighted your experience with your Dad’s airbase was awesome. Yes, very emotional when you think of what they went thru, and most at pretty tender ages.

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27720 posts

So the thing you most wanted to do went off well. Relief of stress and welling of tears.

Congrats.

Now it becomes warm for a week. Can't win. Bet you won't be cold in the Channel Islands.

Can't start the day better than at Fitzbillies. The original on Trumpington Road near the Fitz Museum or the new kid upstart on the bridge?

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454 posts

So today we left Cambridge early to catch a flight to Jersey. Our luck continues: yesterday when I bought the now beloved parka I had set my raincoat, hat and gloves on the counter while the guy cut off the tags and took off security device on Beloved Parka so I could wear it. Asked him to put the stuff in the bag. Never checked the bag and this morning while packing discovered hat and gloves missing though raincoat was in the bag. Score: Beloved Parka 1, hat and gloves 0. Oh well no time to try to locate (can they just build Apple Tags into all my stuff please?) so gone. But Beloved Parka remains.

Concerned about what can sometimes be the Hell that is Terminal 5 at LHR but it was fine. Went for breakfast. We have no eggs. Ok we’ll get pancakes or porridge. Wait, 10 minutes later we DO have eggs. Our karma continues. Flight to Jersey fine. Upon landing, wind howling and raining buckets. Good, now we need to learn to drive on the left in a tempest. Gave us a Mini Cooper and we had to pile and pile bags on our laps but since we are not leaving all together only time we need to do that.

Honestly Mini Cooper is barely small enough here. A motorcycle might be the most practical. The left is a challenge, retraining the brain but we’re just driving like people in LA doin the rain or people in Seattle do in the snow which is a cross between a creep and way too fast at 20MPH. We’ll get there. And my family now understands why I said we are NOT driving in the dark.

Then struggle this late afternoon to find anything relatively close that was serving FOOD. Finally went to a pub/restaurant called St Mary’s country inn after pub we were going to opened 1/2 hour late and we asked the guy, Nah I don’t cook Mondays and most other places don’t either. But we had a fabulous meal at St Mary’s. Also should note we ADORE Greenhills where we are staying. Very charming and nice people.

Tomorrow weather supposed to be around 10ishC, windyish but partly cloudy. We shall see. Can only hope because we are driving around the island and 9 miles will seem like 200 I think with the roads or lanes or whatever you call a bit of asphalt bordered by stone walls. But Beloved Parka now in hand ready to face anything. More to come.
Cheers!

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27720 posts

check box next to another day - done!!!

sorry about the hat and gloves

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454 posts

Will add more soon about this great trip to Jersey but had to say I told John Major today to his face I didn’t know who he was. So there’s that.

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27720 posts

I hope you didn't tell him that you don't know cricket either!!!!

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27720 posts

I'm sorry you have Storm Diego to deal with now... the weather doesn't like you....

High winds here in Northamptonshire today... my roses are NOT happy

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454 posts

Where was I? Oh yes, cold and wind. So we loved loved loved Jersey. We had gone there because a portion of our Mom’s family had lived there over 500 years, another portion had immigrated there from Normandy in the 1800s before immigrating to the US in the early 1900s. We didn’t know anything about Jersey but we loved it.
So day 2 still learning to drive on the left on narrow lanes hemmed in by granite walls. Now we know why all rental cars in Jersey automatically include scratch and dent insurance. Uh, yeah. Blind corners, many lanes narrow enough so someone has to back up to some type of mini-pull out. But I have to say the drivers are lovely. The complete antithesis of the impatient gotta-be-there-now SoCal drivers. Many would stop for us and flash their lights to tell us we could go first. Really chill and nice.

So first we went to the Jersey museum which was great, my brother actually got choked up watching the movie learning about Jersey history. We spent quite a bit of time there. Afternoon the tide was out somewhat so they wanted to walk part of the causeway. We ended up walking down there to the harbor bay area because parking difficult. The causeway is just that—can reach the castle by foot only when the tide is out. I didn’t want to walk out there in the mud, etc. and of course the WIND was still blasting. However, I had Beloved Parka so I sat on the nice area above the beach out of the wind. They came back and our goal was to get to the winery in time for late lunch/early dinner before they closed. But we wanted to swing by Trinity cemetery too to see some of the headstones. No sweat, the darn island is just 9x5 miles. Nope. The drive was up to top of island, did I mention narrow lanes? Anyway net result is we did make it and the La Mare winery was lovely, had a great meal. Nephew is 22 and not a stop and smell the roses type so he’s like “let’s go out to the sunset place”. Ooookay. By this time getting later and we wanted to be back by dark but place was amazing. Rugged, old ruins, cliff side, small trails. We had sun but still the WIND, I am SO HAPPY I bought Beloved Parka! As we were getting ready to leave, 22 year old “hey let’s walk to that far point”, nope but you guys can go. SIL and I stayed with car and brother, nephew took off WITH the keys. At this point we realize all cell phones are dead. We’re separated. We can’t move the car. Long story short, after an hour finally rendezvous. Lesson learned on the phones.
Next day decided to do our final castle, Le Orgiel or Gorey I think they call it. WINDY and cold AGAIN. even Beloved Parka had trouble that day, 90% of it outside. We had a great docent though. I finally bailed and hit the tiny cafe for hot drink. Then leaving in my stupid American way noticed this guy with two trailing bodyguards and three cars pulled up close. Passed me and I said “wow, you must be famous”. “yes, former Prime Minister” . “really, what’s your name?” Grimace from him “JOHN MAJOR”. Okay, sorry. Yeah now idea.

Back to town for brother and SIL had to get tests, they had to get back to US next day, were flying to LHR that night for early a.m. flight to States. Met for lunch at place recommended by bartender at hotel, had huge lunch, dropped them AND the car at airport, nephew and I taxied back to hotel.
Overall, loved Jersey. Rugged. Beautiful, looks like it must’ve 250 years ago. Many old ruins, lovely people, COWS!

More later but definitely a highlight of the trip. All buildings stone, charming, just a very special place. Next portion of TR: nephew and my return to London for end of trip. Cheers.

Posted by
27720 posts

wow!

short sleeves today and this weekend in Cambridge and Northamptonshire.

22C possible today, calm winds

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454 posts

Ok so following day nephew had some work to catch up on so we just had a casual breakfast before our flight back to London. We loved the little made-in-Jersey shops at the little Jersey airport and bought some things there like liqueurs, chocolate, small COW paintings (my favorite cows next to Swiss cows) and a few other things as gifts. Hopped our short flight back to LHR. BA had told us both going and coming we were mandated to check bags due to small planes but actually people did carry on some stuff. Which is what we should’ve done. We landed at LHRT5. And waited and waited to have the checked bags delivered, all the while listening to announcements that they were sorry for the delays all over. Yet they didn’t seem delayed at all on the long haul flight from Vegas which came in an hour after our little Jersey flight and who got their bags on the same carousel that ours were coming in on. Anyway after TWO HOURS bags came in. Headed back to our hotel in Bloomsbury and we’re starving so walked over to a little noodle place on Museum Street we had noted before. Got there: cash only. Wha? Nephew kindly ran out to a cash machine (honestly we hadn’t used any cash before this) but our reward was great ramen noodles. Think the name was Menya Ramen.

Next day went to National Gallery in the morning. Semi-crowded but not overwhelming. More later on the lack of masks and the many coughing, sneezing people. Love this place but there were a number of paintings in need of cleaning, some of These were in disgraceful condition. I did ask someone about it, he told me several are out for cleaning and restoration that he hasn’t seen in 2 years. After we hit a Pret in Trafalgar and then walked down to St James Park to picnic. This turned out to be a “fair” day weather-wise. Maybe around 10ishC. Light wind, scattered clouds with breaks where we actually had some sun! Took us awhile to find a bench but got lucky and pounced when someone was leaving. This was the first day where Beloved Parka was borderline, but I had bought a great canvas tote in Jersey so anywhere I needed to carry Parka like museums could just stuff it an use tote like a backpack. After lunch we thought we’d bop over to the V&A for a short while since we were headed there in earnest the following day. Saw a few things. Honestly love this museum.

Next day came back to V&A in earnest and enjoyed a long visit. Went back to Museum Street for early dinner and hit a small Italian place, very good. That night and almost entire next day nephew took off for somewhere around Camden. He and his pals are into that TV show Fleabag so he wanted to tour around that area. Old Auntie clueless so this was my day to just wander. Love doing this. Final day he went back out to his place, we had lunch in Soho and then had to get back for our Covid tests to get back to US. By this time I was worried a bit because he had started with sniffles and a bit of sneezing. Negative, thankfully but I could tell he was coming down with something. After that I went to watch Liverpool- Man City match while he did some work. Our last night, he wanted to go back to this Indian restaurant in Shoreditch area on Brick Lane he had been to with his pals a few years ago. Problem was he didn’t know the name of it and really couldn’t remember what it looked like. And Brick Lane is full of Indian restaurants! Finally was getting cold and told him he needed to decide on one since he couldn’t find the place he had been too despite us walking up and down that street for an hour. Good dinner and then took us forever to get back because I wanted to take a taxi. Guy who finally picked us up said we were lucky to get one because it was Ramadan.

Anyway, final part coming up will be some thoughts and as always things learned. Cheers.
BTW am back in SoCal and it is in the 80sF.

Posted by
1302 posts

I really have to read these posts closer. I thought you were in New Jersey and didn’t know who John Mayer, the singer, was. 😊

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454 posts

Carrie, lol! I actually thought of you in Jersey—the COWS! Real Jersey cows. So sweet. So cute.

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27720 posts

ready for the last bit!!! can't wait

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454 posts

Last bit, Lessons learned (every trip), and various other things:

  1. Don’t Be Stupid. I suffered for 3 days in the cold, wind, snow, hail, etc. with what I thought would be enough clothing. It was not. One day I wore a large amount in my suitcase: two pair socks, two pair long underwear, heavy jeans, thermal shirt, thin shirt, turtleneck, sweater, thick fleece hat, gloves, and the wool lined raincoat. It was not enough. When I bought Beloved Parka on day 3 the entire trip changed for me. I was actually able to enjoy it. My fretting was over the weight of having to now pack the raincoat into my roller bag for the remainder of the trip. I learned, so what? I was now warm, and able to be much more active. And yes it was expensive. Again, so what? It completely changed the trip for me and I should’ve done it on day 1.

  2. Don’t be Stupid, 2. Due to the fact it was cold my clothes got dirty much faster than anticipated since I had to wear so many every day. I wanted to wash more but the first part of the trip was relatively rushed since part of my family who still work were on a quick schedule. So I wasn’t able to do as much sink washing as usual. Finally just paid to have it done, but even so with this being wintry mix weather could’ve sent it out again. Would’ve been a small price to pay to not be so grubby especially near the end of the trip.

  3. Don’t Be Stupid, 3. Trust the UK People! I did ask the Uk folks on here for specific websites to check for forecasts and though given many said “you really can’t trust them more than 2 days out”. They were absolutely right about that. They gave many valuable tips on here and that was one I should’ve kept more on top of my mind when packing.

  4. Don’t be Stupid 4. We ended up taking a lot of taxis and sharing the costs. First it was colder than cold and windy as all get out. For the first part of the trip we had 4 people so splitting made it very reasonable. But even afterwards just being able to hop in a taxi made the trip better due to the weather. If it costs 8 pounds, so what? Spend less on something else. Second, we had a variety of ages and health backgrounds. Plus the test to return to the US coming up. People who say mask wearing is still happening are likely tourists like us. After one Tube and train being packed in with maskless people that was enough. My estimate was there was almost no mask wearing anywhere inside we went. I remember the day we did National Gallery there was maybe 1% wearing a mask and you’d get someone up against you coughing, sneezing, runny nose. So we didn’t want to compound this by massive Tube rides. Taxis were the best choice for our particular situation and saved a lot of fretting.

  5. Contactless. This actually was one of the best parts of the trip for the UK now. I have an Apple Watch with Apple Pay and everywhere I could just tap and pay. Made getting around easy. Made buying anything as simple as gum easy. Only one time did we need cash for a tiny noodle shop. Well unless you count the time where we had a spat with a taxi driver who-after waiting until we had arrived at our destination-claimed he didn’t take any credit (yeah, BS).

  6. London itself. I have been to London 20+ times, mostly on work though usually was able to fit in a little time off. Stayed all over the City. For some reason (still noodling) for ME, seems to have lost a bit of its charm. I know many of you are huge huge fans, but not sure I will be back. I WILL be back to the UK itself and definitely will return to Jersey which was the highlight of the trip. London just seemed different, and so much construction! Lots more skyscrapers. Anyway if I did go back would be to an outside area (used to stay in Windsor sometimes for work) and just transit in for day visits. Don’t blast me, just my feeling right now.

May add more later. Special thanks to the UK folks on this board

Posted by
27720 posts

Those aren't so much "Don't be Stupid", they are actually "This is how I was Smart".

Posted by
2938 posts

Thanks for your great trip report!
I've been reading since the beginning and enjoying every post.
So sorry to hear of the horrible weather early in your trip! Sorry you had to go through that.
I'm glad you found Beloved Parka. That thing should go with you on every trip to England, unless of course you're going in August some day. It can be freezing cold even in May in England. For example:
The coldest I've ever been in my life was on 1 & 2 May, 2018, in Windsor. We did the castle, then were walking around town, with the cold wind blowing the whole time. Finally went back to our hotel. Were sitting in the bar area of our hotel, having hot chocolate, and there was a big screen TV in the wall. On it, the weather presenter was saying, "We have a cold front coming down from the North Pole, over Norway, and onto England today." The map behind him showed the flow of the icy blast. So this was spring in Windsor, and I was dressed in layers wearing what I'd wear to go skiing in Colorado, and I was still cold.

In your last post you said you are rapidly having enough of London, its skyscrapers, ongoing construction, etc.
"For some reason (still noodling) for ME, seems to have lost a bit of its charm."
There are many great places to go in England besides London. Cathedral cities, such as Salisbury, Winchester, York (and many more) have more medieval and Tudor buildings left than London, are generally quieter, and can have that charm that you say London has lost for you.

Your posts about Jersey have made me want to go there. You went to the museum, so you know all about the German occupation. But do you know they celebrate their Liberation Day each May 9, with a parade of old German vehicles and American jeeps? The locals dress up in old Army uniforms, the ladies in fashions of the 1940's, as spectators line the parade route. My husband has always wanted to go there and see this parade. It sounds as though you liked Jersey very much, and will be going back there some day. Thanks again for a most enjoyable trip report!

Posted by
454 posts

Thanks All.

Nigel you are a wealth of helpful into.

Rebecca, we loved Jersey. Did not know that about the parade. I would love to go back. I know it’s busy in summer, beautiful beaches and places to swim, etc. We just fell in love with it and would like to go back sometime when we had more time to search family roots. It’s a charming place with very nice people and plenty to do outside. St. Helier seems to be also getting some high rise creep, sadly, but the whole rest of the island was like 200 years ago, or more. I would HIGHLY recommend if you aren’t used to driving on the left, which we were not, to not drive at night. When I was planning, everyone I was corresponding with at the hotel, rental car place, the museum and winery warned me about the “lanes” there, but they were NOT kidding. Driving was a challenge. I would like to find more of the footpaths and places where you could bike on a PATH, not the road, lol.

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27720 posts

I'm so glad for this trip report - bookmarked

Posted by
2938 posts

cchapin, thanks for all the great information.
We would not drive on Jersey, but would hope to find a network of buses serving the island.

I hope you enjoy these videos of the Jersey parade celebrating the Liberation from German occupation during WW2 (I certainly did). Very moving, the enthusiasm the island residents still have for this celebration.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHwvm5sFVmc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH0KFEqDdoU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgC5bNqrfYo

I thought you might enjoy this:
British Movietone Newsreel about the German occupation during WW2 and then liberation of the Channel Islands:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfw5-IGKg0A
At 4:20 into the film, "On the 9th of May, 1945, the first British forces arrived."

Guernsey celebrates every year with the May 9th parade, too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzR-CJJY0GE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO7HbNygW4o

A visit to Jersey and to Guernsey is definitely in our future plans.