Another lovely day in Oklahoma. . .

Twilight Sparkle

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 24, 2015
More info please! We'll be in London for a couple of days prior to a cruise next May and I'm very interested in how you found it. :wave2:
Well, the bumps were:

- We lost an entire 24 hours of London time because American Airlines cancelled our connecting flight. We ended up spending that time in Charlotte, NC, instead, and I never want to go back there again. It might be a lovely place, but it wasn't London, so it was not at all a pleasant stay to us.

- Because of the missed time in London, we missed out on seeing the special collections at the British Library, St. Paul's Cathedral, The National Gallery, and time in Greenwich.

- After a few days in London, my respiratory system couldn't handle the smokers and the overly perfumed people. I have asthma, and it flared up badly. I'm still recovering and have been home a little over a week now. This is making us think about skipping Paris next year and spending more days in Switzerland instead. I think smoking is supposedly even more popular in Paris than in London, but maybe I'm wrong? I'm worried perfume might be super popular in Paris, and that's just as dangerous of a trigger for me.

- We thought we were going to have to spend another night in Charlotte on our way back home because our flight leaving Heathrow sat on the tarmac for about 2.5 hours. When we finally landed in Charlotte, we had less than an hour to get through customs, go back through normal security and switch terminals for our connecting flight. We made it, but just barely. Thankfully, we have global entry and we went carry-on only, and I think that's the only way we made our connection.

- the shopping. So many things we wanted, but no room to take stuff home. Sad, sad, sad. Great for the wallet, but still sad not to have the souvenirs. Yes, we have the memories, but darn it, I want that Fortnum and Mason tea set with the bird knob on the teapot and the sugar. It was not cheap, so not having the room in the suitcase was probably best. Next time, I'm taking my rattiest pjs and anything else I can get away with and throwing them away at the end of the trip to free up space in the carry on.

The things we loved:

- Westminster Abbey. It's so beautiful and steeped in so much history.

- free museums and so many people actually using them. The interest in educational opportunities over there was wonderful to see.

- the parks. Hyde and St. James' parks were our favorites. Lots of wildlife and such beautiful scenery. The leaves were just starting to change while we were there.

- the tube. It's so easy to use. I wish we had something like that here. We can't have an underground because the water table is too high, but a high speed over rail would be a wonderful thing to have here.

- the Dickens museum (not free). Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors, and it was a dream come true to walk the streets he walked and to stand in the rooms where he lived and wrote. The museum is very nice, and the people there are passionate about sharing their knowledge. It was a great experience, and I would go back. Bonus, we stayed about a 5 minute walk from this place.

- diversity. There were people from all over, speaking all sorts of languages., and it was just normal. This is how I think life should be. People co-existing peacefully in the same space no matter where they are from, what language(s) they speak, or what they look like. It felt right.

- along the same line as above, so many multi-lingual speakers. I love that people over there are able to speak more than one language, seemingly fairly fluently. I wish that was more of a thing here.

- the prevalence of afternoon tea. We have one place to have afternoon tea here, and it's expensive. There is an endless variety of afternoon tea at all price levels in London. I could get addicted to that sort of thing as a regular way of life fairly quickly.

- the food in general. We had great tasting, mostly healthy food there.

- the zoo. We have a top notch zoo here, but we loved the London Zoo so much. We even went on a rainy day, but it wasn't a big deal because there are so many ways to escape the rain there.

- the architecture. So much to see everywhere you go.

- our one day out of the city. We hired a private driver and guide to take us to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath. It was very nice to do this tour just for our family and not with a busload of people. Our guide was fantastic, and the day was incredible. The British countryside is gorgeous. If we return, we will likely hire him again for either touring Wales or the Cotswolds.

- the West End. We saw Wicked, and it was the best production of the show we have seen. We all wish we had arranged to see more shows while we were there.

- Covent Garden. We were lucky enough to be there when an opera singer was performing. She was wonderful, and it's one of my most favorite memories.

- the weather. It actually wasn't bad for most of our trip. It was mostly cool and dry which was very nice. We really only had one full day of rain.

- our neighborhood. We rented a flat in Bloomsbury near Russell Square, and this ended up being the perfect neighborhood for us. It's known for writers, philosophers, political activists, and students. It's still somewhat central but not nearly as crowded as other areas we visited. We loved it, and it has the cutest tube station in all of London.

We also did the Tower of London, The London Transport Museum (not free and very crowded the day we went), Harrods (prefer Fortnum and Mason), Thames river cruise, the View from the Shard (did this instead of the London Eye due to not wanting to pack into pods with so many people), Borough Market, Chinatown (I was in heaven being able to have steamed custard buns again - it had been 14 years since I last had them in China - and our daughter was in Pocky heaven at a snack store she found), St. Paul's at Covent Garden, Regent's Park, and Kensington Palace (I preferred the tiaras at Kensington to the Crown Jewels at the Tower so I guess I'm a cheap date). We saw Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and Piccadilly Circus but just in passing. We saw the changing of the guards at Windsor so didn't want to bother with it at Buckingham. Instead, we went at sunset which was really nice - not at all crowded. The Queen was in, but no sign of her, of course. We were also right by Big Ben and Houses of Parliament at one point, but sadly Ben is still covered in scaffolding and Parliament was having some work done, too.

Do you know yet where you are staying and what you will do while you are in London?
 
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leebee

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 14, 1999
Well, the bumps were:
The things we loved:
OK, I quoted and edited because I am not sure how to tag posters. Twinkle Sparkle, what an amazing vacation! How long were you there, but more importantly, HOW did you find out about all these things to do? DH and I want to go to London (actually there are many places) but I am stymied as to how to go about planning. I've looked at things online/read books but it gets overwhelming fairly quickly. I'm not stupid, but it baffles me trying to figure out an itinerary, what is where, which things can be seen on the same day, etc. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. This isn't like planning a trip to Disney!

I am currently out sick for the week. I thought I had a pimple (at 63 years old?) on Saturday. We were in Indiana at a wedding, so I didn't think much of it. It was still there on Sunday and by the time we got home, I had a reddish/purple swelling under my eye (we flew on American, through Charlotte NC, also). By Monday morning I knew I was in big trouble: The entire area around my eye was swollen and sore/painful with movement, it was bright red/purple, and I had pain inside my nose and along my jawline. My eye looks clear, but I have momentary double vision. Turns out I have orbital cellulitis, which can be fairly serious if it goes too far. I am having IV antibiotics every morning for 5 days and taking 350mg clindamycin three times a day. Consults with the ophthalmologist and maxillofacial surgeon are scheduled for Thursday, to make sure my eyeball and my jaw/gum line aren't infected. I am not much better today, but at least the infection doesn't seem to be spreading, which is a good thing, and it doesn't hurt too much. If they can't eradicate it completely, I may end up hospitalized to have a variety of antibiotics, pretty much 24/7. So that's my tale of misery, for the moment. The only other thing I have to say is, daytime TV stinks!! I think this, more than anything, is going to push me over the edge into cutting the cable and getting Netflix!!
 

PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
@leebee, hope you're feeling better soon!!

If you don't get Netflix right away, I recommend these YouTube channels:

MsMojo
Disney Food Blog (not really all about food)
Absolute History
SciShow

(I like them when I'm watching on the treadmill.)

And if you have an iPad (or the eyes to play on a phone), the latest app/game DH and I have been loving is called Word Stacks.
 
  • Kitty 34

    Hums in her sleep
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2000
    OK, I quoted and edited because I am not sure how to tag posters. Twinkle Sparkle, what an amazing vacation! How long were you there, but more importantly, HOW did you find out about all these things to do? DH and I want to go to London (actually there are many places) but I am stymied as to how to go about planning. I've looked at things online/read books but it gets overwhelming fairly quickly. I'm not stupid, but it baffles me trying to figure out an itinerary, what is where, which things can be seen on the same day, etc. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. This isn't like planning a trip to Disney!

    I am currently out sick for the week. I thought I had a pimple (at 63 years old?) on Saturday. We were in Indiana at a wedding, so I didn't think much of it. It was still there on Sunday and by the time we got home, I had a reddish/purple swelling under my eye (we flew on American, through Charlotte NC, also). By Monday morning I knew I was in big trouble: The entire area around my eye was swollen and sore/painful with movement, it was bright red/purple, and I had pain inside my nose and along my jawline. My eye looks clear, but I have momentary double vision. Turns out I have orbital cellulitis, which can be fairly serious if it goes too far. I am having IV antibiotics every morning for 5 days and taking 350mg clindamycin three times a day. Consults with the ophthalmologist and maxillofacial surgeon are scheduled for Thursday, to make sure my eyeball and my jaw/gum line aren't infected. I am not much better today, but at least the infection doesn't seem to be spreading, which is a good thing, and it doesn't hurt too much. If they can't eradicate it completely, I may end up hospitalized to have a variety of antibiotics, pretty much 24/7. So that's my tale of misery, for the moment. The only other thing I have to say is, daytime TV stinks!! I think this, more than anything, is going to push me over the edge into cutting the cable and getting Netflix!!
    I just asked you on another thread if you were hospitalized. Sounds like you aren't so don't feel the need to answer the other thread especially feeling as sick as you are. :hug:
     

    leebee

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 1999
    I just asked you on another thread if you were hospitalized. Sounds like you aren't so don't feel the need to answer the other thread especially feeling as sick as you are. :hug:
    Actually I just answered over on the other thread, but wasn't surprised to see you posted here, too. Like I said over there, mostly I'm just bored.. and I try not to think about the "what ifs" too much.
     

    hereyago

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2008
    Leebee, hope you get better soon!


    As for the weather in my area of SE VA: today was cold with rain then turned into snow that didn't stick. However, the mere mention of snow makes some people cringe lol.
    Dd picks up dgd on Tuesdays for parents pick up then we go shopping etc. Today you would think it was a blizzard coming with all the parents that usually don't show up and people driving crazy.

    We ended up getting food on way back home I didn't feel like dealing with the madness.
     

    leebee

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 1999
    Update: My infected areas were worse this morning so I came into the ER. After 12 hours they finally had a room open up and admitted me. They did a CT scan of my head and found a small abscess, but there is NO EYE INVOLVEMENT, which is the best news I've had in awhile. I have had 3 different antibiotics today, all in whopping doses; the 3rd is infusing as I type. It's definitely orbital cellulitis and they are hoping these antibiotics will clear it up. I will be in the hospital until the redness is gone and the swelling goes down. SO... that's what's happening here. At least I got the window side of the semi-private room and have a great view of the river!
     
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  • Micca

    SAHG: Stay At Home Grandfather
    Joined
    Dec 5, 2000
    @leebee I saw your post on the other thread, so sorry to hear you're not well:hug: The good thing is you and your doctor are on top of this, here's hoping for a fast recovery.

    @Twilight Sparkle the London trip sounds great...save for the "bumps." We don't fly a lot but I pretty much assume something will go awry on every flight. The asthma issue--Yikes! That's awful that it happened and sad to think you'd have to curtail travel due to smoke & perfume.:crazy2:

    @Kitty 34 I'm not doing anything special with facial hair, I've had a beard in one form or another for almost 50 years:)
     

    Twilight Sparkle

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2015
    @leebee , yikes! I am so glad you are getting this treated. It sounds like it's a very good thing you went to the hospital. Hopefully the antibiotics do their job well and kick that infection to the curb. Sending you get well soon wishes!!!! Thank you for keeping us updated.

    As for planning the London trip, I watched a lot of youtube videos and read a lot of blogs on London travel. I made a list of places we wanted to go, and mapped them out on google maps. Then, I broke the points of interest down into areas of London and planned a different section for each day of the trip. That way we could easily walk or take short tube rides to different points of interest. I made a map layer for each day so I could just bring up that layer and see only the points for that day. Breaking the city down into sections helps with time management because you're not trekking back and forth across the city to get from one point to another.

    Since our trip length and our must sees worked out to where the cost made sense, we also bought the 10 day London Pass when it was on sale. We more than used our $s worth. We never stood in line very long after a staff member found out we had the London Pass. The longest line we stood in was for the Natural History Museum which is free. We waited about 20 minutes to get into the museum that day. If you don't want to purchase the London Pass (includes the view from the Shard) or ride the London Eye and you want a good view of the city, try to book a spot at Sky Garden about three weeks before you wish to visit. The view is not as high as the Shard, but it's free and the venue is pretty.

    If you want a private tour either of London or a day trip from London during your trip, I recommend Kingdom Private Tours. That's who we used, and we were so happy with our choice.

    And if you want a fun place to eat, try the Coppa Club but book ahead and try to reserve an igloo if you are going when it's cold or a pod during warmer weather. The Coppa is on the Thames right by the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The view is amazing, and our food, at least, was very good. We didn't think the prices were too bad, either. The service was more attentive than other places we visited, but still not what we're typically used to here in the US. For London, though, it was very good.

    Now, hurry up and get well so you can start planning your trip! If you have more questions, just let me know.

    P.S. You're right, London planning is not Disney planning! I much prefer Disney planning.
     
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  • Kitty 34

    Hums in her sleep
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2000
    @leebee I saw your post on the other thread, so sorry to hear you're not well:hug: The good thing is you and your doctor are on top of this, here's hoping for a fast recovery.

    @Twilight Sparkle the London trip sounds great...save for the "bumps." We don't fly a lot but I pretty much assume something will go awry on every flight. The asthma issue--Yikes! That's awful that it happened and sad to think you'd have to curtail travel due to smoke & perfume.:crazy2:

    @Kitty 34 I'm not doing anything special with facial hair, I've had a beard in one form or another for almost 50 years:)
    I can say the same about my DH. Never have seen his chin.

    Leebee.....Take care and enjoy the view. I spent Thanksgiving week in the hospital several years ago and had a nice view. Gotta look for the positives which sounds like you do. :goodvibes
     

    leebee

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 1999
    @leebee , how are you doing? Are you home from the hospital yet?
    Hi, thanks for asking. I got out of the hospital Sunday afternoon. The drug that worked best is not available other than as IV, so they had to juggle things for a few days to find something effective that can be given orally. I am home with 10 days of antibiotics to take and strict instructions to return ASAP if it seems to be getting worse. I took Monday and Tuesday off from work, and will work half-days through next Tuesday. The University is closed for the rest of the week after that for Thanksgiving, so hopefully I'll be back at full strength when I go back to full-time in December. I'll tell you- it really hit home how quickly things can change (and also how thankful I am to have good, affordable health insurance).
     

    Twilight Sparkle

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2015
    Hi, thanks for asking. I got out of the hospital Sunday afternoon. The drug that worked best is not available other than as IV, so they had to juggle things for a few days to find something effective that can be given orally. I am home with 10 days of antibiotics to take and strict instructions to return ASAP if it seems to be getting worse. I took Monday and Tuesday off from work, and will work half-days through next Tuesday. The University is closed for the rest of the week after that for Thanksgiving, so hopefully I'll be back at full strength when I go back to full-time in December. I'll tell you- it really hit home how quickly things can change (and also how thankful I am to have good, affordable health insurance).
    So glad you are back home and hopefully healing. Thank goodness you got this checked out so quickly.
     

    Dan Murphy

    We are family.
    Joined
    Apr 20, 2000
    Hi, thanks for asking. I got out of the hospital Sunday afternoon. The drug that worked best is not available other than as IV, so they had to juggle things for a few days to find something effective that can be given orally. I am home with 10 days of antibiotics to take and strict instructions to return ASAP if it seems to be getting worse. I took Monday and Tuesday off from work, and will work half-days through next Tuesday. The University is closed for the rest of the week after that for Thanksgiving, so hopefully I'll be back at full strength when I go back to full-time in December. I'll tell you- it really hit home how quickly things can change (and also how thankful I am to have good, affordable health insurance).
    Good news, leebee!!
     

    Micca

    SAHG: Stay At Home Grandfather
    Joined
    Dec 5, 2000
    Thanks Jane! Watching the weather I'm so glad we're staying home this week, travel is just going to be a headache. Christmas is getting set up here--the tree is assembled, DD put the Mickey topper on last night and youngest DGD hung the first ornament this morning. It's a Lion King ornament that plays "Hakuna Matata." :simba:
     



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