The Grouch clan headed to the UK and Ireland for a 11 day whirlwind tour recently. We flew to London, stayed for a couple of days and then boarded the Princess cruise ship the MS Ocean Princess.
Our flight in both directions was on Air New Zealand, a very nice airline that provided two meals during the close to 10 hour flight plus had seat back video monitors that held endless entertainment options. The flight was on time and everything went well except the cabin was overly warm and there were no fresh air vents available to the passengers, Don't dress warmly on ANZ expecting the typical freezing airliner experience. Dressing for the beach would have been a better idea.
Older Son and his girlfriend joined us at the ship.
London was hyper crowded! The sidewalks were jammed and jumping from early in the morning until late at night - at least where we were staying within walking distance of Buckingham palace, Big Ben and Hyde park. Along with the summer tourists were the young professionals hurrying to and from their places of employment. Add to that the aggressive motorists and swarms of bicyclists and moving from place to place could be an adventure. All of that said we had a great time and eveyone we encountered was very friendly. A clerk in a convenience store quizzed the Missus about the U.S. He was originally from Pakistan and felt that London was way too crowded. He asked how many hours it would take to drive from L.A. to New York city. When we told him about three days, stopping for the evening, he didn't believe us. We wished him luck and hoped that someday he would visit the U.S.
We checked in to our hotel and then set off to see the town.
|The L.A. Grouch contingent patiently waiting at LAX for our 10 hour flight to London. Everyone looks rested and fresh!|
|Our luxury room at the Grosvenor hotel. It was pretty small but in comparison to the Grouch children's room it was quite spacious!|
|We had a tour guide for our visit who was very knowledgeable and entertaining. That is the Missus.|
|And Young Daughter|
|The royal family doesn't usually travel by horse coach. One of the motor vehicles used by the Queen.|
|Now that is a coach!|
|Our tour guide|
The newer coaches have heating and air conditioning, lights, power windows, metal bodies...We encountered more coaches at Windsor and in the Queen's residence at Holyroodhouse in Endinburgh
|Lunch at the Bucket of Nails pub with some hard cider for the Grouch young adults. Both brought their Lego mascots with them.|
|Young Son stretches for a better photo|
|A future Wellington?|
|War memorials are everywhere in London, to every military formation and for multiple wars. Many started as great war memorials and then had WW2 added to it. This is the Imperial cavalry memorial in Hyde park.|