Monday, October 8, 2012

Sunday Sunday Goodbye London for Now

It was nice to have a later flight as in 12.15 last time I had a 10.15 flight so I spent the night close to Heathrow this time I spent it in London. I was up around 7 and got ready to go had time for breki and savored my English bacon and had an 3 pieces OINK. I had plenty of time to get to the tube without rushing so I was on the road about 8.30.  I was smart staying in Kings Cross area as did not have a lot of up and down with my luggage.I got the tube but it was packed surprising really for a Sunday morning. I had to stand the first 4 stops and finally some younger woman noticed me and let me have her seat. Its a long ride to Heathrow about an hour and was there about 9.30.

US airways was pretty unorganized I had been pretty spoiled with Delta's check in the last few times so it was a long wait, felt bad for anyone behind me as they would have really rushed. Security was pretty quick and I had a few moments to check the shops and then saw that is said time to go back to the waiting area. Turns out it was quite a hike, they had a new area, or at least to me where there was this big "frame" with London stuff and you could get in it and pose, I was watching people for a few moments but I realized I did not have time to stop and hope I could get someone to take my photo so sadly I moved on.

The flight to Philly was pretty good dozed some and watched 2 movies and we arrived early damn. The damn was because I had 7 1/2 hour lay over as it was. When you travel with a free air miles tickets you have to take what you get however I did have a free pass to use the Club at US airways We went through immigration and customs pretty quick. Some how I managed to loose my pass and I panicked I was semi hysterical as I counted on relaxing and sleeping in there. I decided to go in anyway and see if they could check to see I had one and they were able to.
never get tired of this view

It was really nice they had snacks you could eat various cheese and wine and water beer and coffee tea and fancy chips, so I had a nice little meal then I walked around and saw another area with tomato bisque soup yummy!  Then I found a quite corner settled down with my little pillow and set my alarm clock my little glass of wine was all I needed to put me out. I slept for close to 2 hours and then I got up and had some water and tried to sleep again. dozing off and on. At around 7 I walked out to look at the schedule and was shocked to see that my 10.50 flight was delayed to 11.20, that figures another 30 mins at the airport, well I went by again closer to 7.30 it was pushed back to midnight and now I started to panic I was already tired and also started to worry what if they cancel the flight, (that happened to me in Florida last year and we had to fly to Albany NY and rent a car and drive home as we would have had to stay 2 extra night to get a flight). I walked up to the desk and the guy checked my ticket said delayed and handed it back. I walked some more then I spotted another desk and walked up to a man there and said would this flight be cancelled he said no. Then he took my ticket and started looking at it and then he said there is a 8.50 I will put you on that. So he made the change and there was the luggage problem he kept making calls to move my luggage. I hurried to the gate as it was already 8.20 lucky it was close so I got there just as they were about to board PHEW. Then came the announcement they were being delayed as the first captain was on a flight that had not even taken off yet and it would be around 9.30 before we could leave. I walked away thinking well cant go back in the club already used my pass so after I bit I walked back to sit it out and try and sleep by the gate.  I got there and suddenly they were boarding the flight was going after all and they were calling for people to come back, not sure what happened but heard the gate agent said he will be on the plane in about another 20 minutes I assume she meant the first captain. We wound up leaving about 30 mins late which was not bad, we landed at 10 pm and I went for my luggage which of course did not make the plane but I did not care I was home saw the arrival times and my flight that I did not have to wait for was due in at 1.40 am. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Last time in London for now

After breakfast I went out side to take some photos of Derek's garden and the sun co-operated today we walked around and the mailman showed up as I was filming so he got filmed too and Derek was introducing him.  Sadly it was time to head off for the train it was a short but nice visit and got a chance to catch up on things and also discussions about my cousin Michael who died in January. I really miss him, I saw him on the majority of my trips to the UK and we also traveled England and Ireland together.

My arm was starting to feel better as I had iced it twice and was using the cream. Margie had packed me a lunch, she told me she planned for days, I had 2 small roll ham sandwiches, 2 apples from the garden, 2 Cadbury bars, Spanish orange juice and crisps. Shrewsbury looked lovely in the sun light if only the day before. I sat on the side of the train where I could see the Abbey that is the The Brother Cadfael Chronicles mysteries drew international attention to Shrewsbury.

I had to change trains in Birmingham and was a bit lost but another woman and I figured out where to go and took a lift.  We made the train in plenty of time and I had a good window spot.  I was hungry so I had one of my sandwiches I arrived to blue skies and sunshine in London and back to my B and B when I was there 3 days earlier the woman changed my room from 3rd floor to first floor and it was the same room I had in May.  I quickly changed my clothes and headed for St James Park.

St James must have known it was my goodbye for this trip as it was full of sunshine and squirrels and all the birds, I got my token bridge photo taken. I sat on a bench and had my other sandwich with the crisps. I then walked around and saw the pelicans that I had not seen at the beginning of my trip. I then decided to walk over towards Westminster Cathedral as I had never made it in May. The sun was still shining but evening was descending and the skies were starting to look amazing and I was loving walking back towards Big Ben. After that I crossed over the Westminster Bridge and down along the walk way along the Thames  for a bit and then headed back to the Bridge looking at Ben I could see it was almost 6 so I got a spot and decided to film as Ben struck 6.          

I headed over to the London Eye which was packed well a Saturday night and lovely weather I spotted a whippy ice cream truck and ran to get some I had not seen any this trip I saw on a wall and enjoyed then walked around. I decided to head off to the Menier Chocolate Factory as I had tickets to see Jane Asher in Charley's aunt. I had been in the area at the beginning of my trip but I just was not able to spot the right area. I knew it was on Southwark Street so I kept walking went past the Southwark underground and went in and asked the man there was very helpful and even gave me a map he said I should have gone to London Bridge Underground. I stopped at a Tesco's and grabbed some of my fave cream biscuits and then off to the theater.

The theater was very small and you actually had to walk on the stage to get to your seat which was more bench like and there was not a lot of room esp if you had a bag of things you bought and camera and water. The play was excellent it was very very funny and so many people just laughing out loud I loved it so much, what a great sendoff.  Afterwards walked to London Bridge and he was right it was only a few minutes away. What a great last night in London.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shuts of Shrewsbury

My cousin Margie asked if I wanted to do the tour of the Shuts of Shrewsbury and I said yes I had wanted to go through Shrewsbury again it had been many years since I was in town, I would just see if from the train when I arrived and picked up it is one of my very fave towns in England it is full of Tudor building or black and whites as they are called there are many 16th Century ones in this town. Shrewsbury was also the setting for Christmas Carol 1984 with George C Scott, I have seen that movie a couple times just to see the places I know.

cereal cocktail

After a good breakfast we headed to town, we drove to a place to catch a
bus shuttle and hopped on we were in town very quick. It was on the dark side but as I kept saying to myself if it is not raining and I have been blessed to have seen the town on a blue sky day more than once.

Margie had a little pamphlet of the Shuts so we proceeded to find them here is a bit of a description of what they are:

Shrewsbury is a fascinating city to explore especially as it retains a number of ancient 'shuts' or alleyways which provide convenient shortcuts and which enable pedestrians to get around the centre of the town in an almost bygone world behind and between the busy shopping streets. These narrow passages date back to the Middle Ages when the town must have been a veritable rabbit warren: many have disappeared in the course of redevelopment and those that remain deserve to be preserved. The origin of the name 'shut' is obscure but, it has been suggested that, unlike closed cul-de sacs, these alleys, being open both ends, allow the pedestrian to 'shoot' rapidly from one street to another. 'Shut' could also be a contraction of 'shortcut' which is what it usually is!

So we explored up and down alleyways and then to take a break we had a bit of a lunch stop we ordered soup and bread after I placed my order I spotted scones would have had that if  I had seen them first. They we went in search of a chemist my wasp sting had become very itchy red burning the past few days Margie had suggested using  HC45 and I had but she said lets have a chemist look at and we did. She said it was reaction to the sting and would probably calm down in a few more days and she recommended HC45 as Margie had told me so I bought a tube she also suggested using ice.

Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury to we walked over by the River Severn to look at the memorial and it was quite an ugly piece of work it is called  Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap
We finished our Shut tour and we lost Deric for a few moments and missed the shuttle so Margie decided to walk a bit more and we would up by the Castle so I ran over to snap a few photos as they had Diamond Jubilee spelled out in flowers. Then we hopped the shuttle and headed back to the house.

Margie made a yummy chicken dish and we sat and talked awhile and they went to watching Dancing with the Stars UK style.  I was checking email and then I had a phone call from my cousin Gerry in Ireland. He was all excited telling me that I was in the Mayo news I was confused at first and then he kept saying the Gathering. (just before I left for my trip I got interviewed over the phone by a woman from RTE in Ireland about my web page and my experience in Ireland we chatted about 30 mins.) Somehow an article about this appeared in the Mayo news mentioning me and my website. As my cousin said once again Pat puts Gorthbawn on the map, this is the village my mom was born in. He was thrilled and so was I.

so old its crooked

looking through the shut

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Goodnight Vienna

Neues Rathaus
I was greeted by blue skies and sunshine me on my final day in Vienna after a quick brekie I headed out early to wander around some more before I had to check out. I found another area and what I thought was a church but it was New Town Hall Neues Rathaus which was amazing to look at.  Then I headed to The Rathaus Park it was a nice little park and then found  a church museum they were working on. I knew I was running out of time so I headed back to take the U stopping by the Parliament Buildings again.

Parliament Vienna

I made it back to Pension Mozart in time to check out and then I started talking to the owner I had seen all these photos on the wall that were clearly of her. So I asked her about them and she said she was a conductor originally from St Petersburg in Russia her name was Gal Rasche so she gave me a tour showed me the articles written about her in the newspaper. She showed me the special Mozart room and let me take photos. I also met the bird and the man older gentleman there got the bird to sit on my hand for a photo but he left so Gal took my photo pointing at the bird. It was a nice little visit she told me Vienna is a smaller version of St Petersburg, St Petersburg has been on a list for a few years now. This B and B is one I really enjoyed I would recommend it to anyone.

This room is a must for any Mozart fan

I started back to the train station and noticed a gelato place that I had not seen earlier(too bad it was the best I had) and I decided might be nice to have a bit to tide me over as I walked back to the train station and caught the bus to the airport, As it turned out I was way to early as had to a wait to check in and not many seats I was one of the first to check in though and then looked around a bit I found a airport lounge and was rudely asked what I was doing there and because I was not a member? and started leaving and walked  in confusion I headed the wrong way and got yelled at, man oh man. Just plain RUDE.

The plane ride was not quite as bouncy and we were back to London it was cloudy but not raining I was through customs in minutes because there were so few of us without European passports so I was able to be on the train 45 mins after I landed.  I was back in my old digs at the Montana Excel in Kings Cross/St Pancras area, so now I felt at home.  I went to get some dinner had lamb skewer with chips with garlic sauce and then it started raining so after trying to no avail to find an internet place I set decided to go in for the night. I was exhausted.

I did run around a bit in the morning and bought some Cadbury bars and some Mars bars and then it was off to the train station, I had picked up my ticket the night before which was good as I did not have to rush. Then it was off to visit my cousin Margie and her husband Deric who live outside of Shrewsbury in a quaint village. I had to change trains at Birmingham New Street which brought a tear to my eye because my cousin Michael (died in Jan) lived there and  I could picture him getting off the train there in 2009.  I could not find where the train to Shrewsbury went from I asked several people. I was even told the wrong track that did not even exist but when the man saw me again he sent me in the right direction. I made the train barely.  

I sat in a single seat near the toilet because there was no place to put my suitcase but I had it by the window near there. I used the toilet and it was hard to find the spot to close the door there was a   D  which was for door and a L for lock. Well as people came along most people could not find it so I was giving the instructions to everyone only one person came out and actually said thank you. I had been laughing about it with another woman and I kept putting my hand out like they should be paying me of course they could not see me.

My cousins met me at the station and we made a quick stop at a store where I got some more cadbury bars and then back to the house for a bit of lunch and then just relaxing and catching up. Later we went to a pub for dinner and I had haddock chips and peas, they love those peas with fish.

toilet special Mozart room

It never fails we are everywhere

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rudeness in Baden

Trinity statue
It was kind of gloomy out and I was trying to decide where to go my last full day in Vienna in the end I choose Baden, the bus was not hard too get to about a 20 minute walk from my new B & B and it left from the Opera House. I asked for a round trip ticket and thought he understood me especially with the price of 6.60 euro which was three times the cost of  the trip to Laxenburg.  So we set off to Baden, arriving in about 45 minutes it was a bit gloomy but not raining.

 I had printed off a city map and direction so I set off but I had trouble figuring out the map at first. I found a tourist information place and asked where the rose garden at park was and she told me. That helped because now I knew how to look at the map once I knew where that was. I found it The Doblhoffpark there were still a lot of roses in bloom in the The Rosarium  and a nice little lake. I strolled around it they were doing work on it looked like covering up things for the approaching winter. There were not a lot of roses left but it was still pretty and gave me an idea what it would like in full bloom.

Interesting Fountain

The Beethoventempel

There were more areas still explore and now I knew how to find them. I went off to Beethoventempel which was in Kurpark The Beethoventempel was built in 1927 on the occasion of the 100th death year of Ludwig van Beethoven. It was quite a hike to the top and climbing many stairs but it was worth it and a nice view. There was  a statue to Mozart on the way up and benches I sat and rested awhile. Then I continued to the top for the temple the inside was beautiful and I sat and enjoyed. Then I headed back down the rest of the park was nice with several different fountains and a man on a horse the park would be beautiful in the spring I am sure. There was a cafe that looked good but it was closed. I saw a casino to the side but had no interest.

Lanner Strauss Monument Kurpark

Monday, October 1, 2012

Where duh Castles go

I had a lovely breakfast and have to admit it was nice to have one provided, it was buffet style and there were meats, rolls, cereal, crepes (they were nice tho a tad cool) filled with chocolate, all sorts of tea and several different coffees and juice. The only downside was the eating area was really small and could only hold so many people at a time but it was all nicely decorated and they they even had some Halloween decorations up.

I decided to checkout Laxenburg which is close to Vienna because there are 3 castles I took the U to the bus area and got off at the stop as instructed but in the end turns out I was still quite away from the bus station, as the norm nothing was marked  so I finally asked someone where it might be and she pointed me the right direction which was about another mile away. No indication of that on the directions I read online before I headed out.

I caught a bus pretty quick and headed off on my unknown adventure the fare was good only 2 euro arrived after about 45 mins later and got off at the stop no one else did then again really only a few people on the bus. I set off in search of any castles. I walked around in circles trying to find any hint of where I might be going to no avail. I did visit the Baroque style church it looked like a postcard or a painting the sky perfect color, I couldn’t even find a tourist area or anyone to ask. I finally found a huge map of the area pointing out the castles etc but sad to say it was all in German, Vienna is not tourist friendly at all.  

Postcard perfect day

I don’t recall how I found this park I think I saw people headed someplace and followed, not to get into the park you had to pay admission of 1.80 euro or about $3.  I paid it and asked where the Castle (Franzensburg Castle) was she pointed it out and said you pay separate admission. I walked through the park it was huge but I could see no reason to charge admission. I saw a pretty lake and there were boats and various water devices for sale and could see the castle across the water  I kept walking. I finally got to a place but could see the only way to the castle was across the water but no idea how to get there, I was thinking how on earth will I get over there.  Then I saw this contraption across the water moving and it seemed like a deck/dock/boat  it ran on some kind of pully and there was a guy taking it across.  I never saw that before you had to pay 50 pence for the ride I was the only one crossing over.

Franzensburg Castle
The Castle grounds were free so looked around, snapped some photos and used the toilet, hey free why not. Then I went to the ticket desk and paid 8 euro (seemed steep) and waited for the tour the woman said something about this is to go to the roof do you understand? Another young couple were waiting and the guide came. It seems that the tour only included
going up in the Tower and out on the roof  for 8 euro (approx $11), I guess the rest was a museum and separate cost.  However right from the start the guide asked where we were from and I said NY he decided to throw in what he called the special tour he took us through the museum and gave us Hapsburg story he said hope my English will do and it did. He was very nice and friendly got me thinking need to read up on the Hapsburgs I know I read about them years ago.  After the tour I walked through the park to a man made wasserfall (waterfall), pretty fall scenery as trees were getting some color. I also came across the ground of where they held medieval jousting that ended the day before.   I ran into the Dutch couple walking the grounds with older people and then I decided to hop the contraption back. After my ride back I was surprised to see them eating ice cream and was trying to figure how they got there so quick as they were going a different direction.
up on the roof

 The ride to the Castle

Schloss Laxenburg
The Castle Franzensburg

Parish church build 1693-1726

After that caught the bus back to Vienna whereupon I discovered a different entrance to the U that was not as far from the bus station.   I now looked up Laxenburg again and saw photos so I did see another Castle it is just used as a International Institute, I saw it just did not know it was a castle.

I then decided to check out the Danube so I looked  at the U map and then headed out. I walked a bit from the U stop and found it snapped some photos a lot  of boat trips from there but reading the schedules as everything else in Vienna they were hard to figure out. I was walking back and almost got hit by a man on a bike I saw nothing to indicate I was on a bike bath after he passed he looked back and shook his fist at me so continued my feeling of Austrians being not very friendly people.                                                               

Had a very  good doner kebab for dinner and sat on a bench and had it I was by a very beautiful church that unfortunately had no marker I could see, (going through images of churches in Vienna was able to find the name Kaiser-Jubiläums- Kirche" at "Mexikoplatz) this was pretty much be coming a common thing. By I found an internet place the only cheap one in Vienna and logged on for awhile and I then headed back to my B and B.

Kaiser-Jubiläums- Kirche