This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Back to the USA – 24 MARCH 2016



We actually managed to fit everything into our luggage with room left over. I know traveling with only carry-on bags isn’t for everyone, but it sure works well for us.




A first during our stay in London. No one else on the escalators at Holborn station. Of course the fact it was 6 AM may have had something to do with it. It’s like that old saying, “The early birds get to the airport on time.” Early Bird Bob and Linda.




The Piccadilliy line drivers strike was actually happening. The easy and least expensive way to Heathrow is the Piccadilly line, which we always take, but not because it is the cheapest, rather because it’s the easiest as we don’t have to change trains and the Holborn station is just a few minutes from the hotel we use. Today we would take  the Central line to Oxford Circus transfering there to the Bakerloo line and then it taking to Paddington station.




When Linda saw this sign she got a little excited, at least until I pointed out the dates to her. All that internet research was paying off for me. Prepared Bob. (It doesn’t happen very often, but I sure picked a good day to be a boy scout.) Lucky Linda for having approved me as marriage material those decades ago.




The 7:03 to Heathrow was on time. Once again my internet seaching paid off. We bought out tickets from a ticket machine, I knew the track the train was arriving on but Linda was not convinced that I knew what I was talking about. A lifetime of me going left when she said right has taken it’s toll on my credibility. Still, I spent most of my working career traveling so she should have had at least some faith in me. Hopeless Bob.




On the Heathrow connect train going to Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. My smile is because I did good. Linda has that, ‘'Thank goodness he was right for once,” sightly stunned expression. And I didn’t even gloat. Much.




So, we get to the right terminal at Heathrow, they have five of them, check in and take the train out to somewhere near our gate, then make the long walk to it. So what do I see as we get there? We were to leave in one hour and 45 minutes on a 747. The other thing was there were no passengers at the gate.




I found a customer service desk while Linda had a Starbucks coffee and gooey roll, and learned that the gate had been changed and the trains didn’t run that way, so we would have to take the tunnels and walk, like forever. this photo is of us lost somewhere in Heathrow, but at least the tunnels had a beauty of all their own. I mentioned to Linda the colors were of a calming nature. It is not in Linda’s nature to be calm at time like this, but the colors and my calm and poised demeanor gave her courage. Okay, so I wasn’t sure we were going to make it to the gate on time either, but what I wrote sure sounded good and there was no way I going to let Linda see the concern I had. Wonderful Husband Bob.




So we arrive at the new gate only to learn the flight has been delayed for an hour plus. It turned out the original plane had a mechanical problem and they had to bring in a replacement plane. Think back to our Feb 24 departure from DFW on BA when the plane had a problem and couldn’t be repaired because they had to fly the replacement part in from Heathrow to Dallas. Not that we have problem with being afraid to fly, but two planes, two problems both on BA? We only had to think of Norwegian Fjords, Kinky Boots and Jersey Boys to know that it was still an awesome trip.





Once we boarded the plane we weren’t sure what happened. Our tickets had us listed as World Travelers something or other, and we ended up in the business class section of the plane. Super luxurious seats, champagne before takeoff and even real metal silverware with our meal. I know we have flow a huge number of miles with this alliance of airlines, but this was certainly most unexpected, but also most appreciated. If Linda’s champagne looks a little pale it’s because she was having water. If it makes her happy, it makes me happy. On the other hand, free champagne and wine is right up my alley. As they say, “When Life hands you roses, smell and enjoy them.” We did.




I really like being a World Travel Plus flyer. And can you believe it, one of the choices was fish. Happy Fishetarian Bob.




As good as any meal we had in London. And even though the Spanish white wine was in a plastic bottle, it was the perfect accompaniment to my cod meal. Definitely Delighted Bob.




No, we did not divert to Norway, it is St Paul, Minnesota. I could say something about the mentality of those who would live here in the winter, but having friends and cousins who did just that before retirement, I’ll be good Bob and say nothing further. Readers, however, are allowed to think what I can’t say. Courteous Bob.




This photo has nothing to do with what happened at DFW after we arrived. Well, in a way it does, because we were there so long all our electronic devices needed major recharging. Just let me say that American Airlines, our least favorite airline in the whole wide world, and we have flown a lot of airlines around the world both in my working life and in our retirement Life, had a total of four gate changes and four time changes for our flight from Dallas to McAllen.


When it comes to Good People, our dear friends, Roger and Dianne, said they would still pick us up at the airport even though we weren’t arriving until almost 11:30, many hours after we were originally scheduled to arrive.  We said we would take a cab, they said no way. Special Friends, Special People. It is what Full-timing and living at Retama are all about. It was midnight when we arrived back at the coach, but as Dianne said, “It’s great to know we can still do what once did as much younger people.” Grateful Bob and Linda. Awesome Roger and Dianne.


Life is meant to be Lived. May you Live your Life as we fully as we Live ours.


P.S. If you ever get the opportunity to see Sunny Afternoon, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots or The Play That Went Wrong, in a Live performance up close and personal , do it. You’ll never look at Life the same again. What An Awesome Time We Had!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Last Day in London - 23 March 2016


We’ve been to London many times and have visited most all of the popular sites, so what we see and do now is what we enjoy the most. That’s why there has been no changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, etc. Next time we might get back to Churchill’s War Rooms or spend a few days in Norwich, Bath or up to Manchester, but for this trip, we pleased ourselves.




Speaking of pleasing ourselves, Linda is definitely one happy girl come breakfast time.




Selfie of the day. Back again for another dose of world history.




We have never been to London and not seen the Rosetta Stone.




I know there was something very similar to these in the my high school world history book. This is one of our favorite sections of the museum.




The Nereid Monument. Several thousand years from now people will visit a museum to see bits and pieces of the Lincoln Memorial. Their knowledge of it will be the same as our knowledge of this monument.




Linda really gets into sculpture.




Why we walk or take the underground.





Linda really loves the G&T’s at The White Hart. Unfortunately I had my pint of ale turned in the wrong direction, so now everyone knows where I get my brains from.




Stand Street was one giant parking lot as we walked to the theater this afternoon. I counted 26 buses as we walked along.



Excellent seats once again.




Wow! One of the stars of this afternoons performance, not. Actually, she didn’t even want to pose for this photo at first. Glad she did. Love that smile. As you can tell from the photo, the play was Kinky Boots. It is a musical about a shoe factory that makes boots for transvestites. Talk about great entertainment, I rated it the best show we’ve seen. Linda enjoyed the music, the tempo and the story. Yes, it is different, but it has a great message, accept people for who they are. If we weren’t flying home in the morning we’d be going back to see it again.




Last night, the last of the 13 plays we saw. The two best plays we saved for the last day, in my estimation that is. Linda loves Jersey Boys, so that is her number one, but The Play That Goes Wrong is by far the funniest play we saw. And they start 20 minutes before the curtain goes up. Having seen this play back in 2014 we knew to get there early. I feel sorry for the people who arrive at the last minute because they miss out on the pre-performance fun.


Thus ends another great trip, and once again we have to ask ourselves: How did we ever get to be so lucky? A morning flight from Heathrow, and an evening arrival home. A long day ahead tomorrow. I hope to write several more posts before signing off until our fall trip to Easter Island and Patagonia.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Deja Vu All Over Again - 22 March 2106




With the Batman vs Superman London premier tonight the fanboys and fangirls were out an about in the Leicester square area this morning.




Even Batman was playing tourist in London today.




The pipe organ at St Martin of the Fields Church.




There may be a slight hiccup to our early morning travel to Heathrow on Thursday via the Piccadilly line. If so we will take Heathrow Connect to the airport.




The last time we were here the moat was filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies representing the British and Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives in World War I.




Tower Bridge with the Shard in the background.




Selfie of the day.




The reason Monument underground station is called Monument.




We were back to the Mexican restaurant we ate at the other day because the matinee we were attending was just a couple of blocks away and also because the food was so awesome.




Dessert. Linda almost licked her plate clean. Great Food. Great Theater. Great time.




The play was The Mousetrap which has been running continuously for 64 years. After the performance Linda couldn’t, for the life of her, see why it had even lasted a month let alone decades. Wow, that sure made me feel better. Now I know why I have such a hard time pleasing her, just because I’ve been around for a long time doesn’t make me special.




Holborn station escalator selfie. Having fun living Life.




Linda wanted to see Jersey Boys again.





Our first time ever not sitting in the stalls. Never again. We really enjoyed the show, but like Linda said, we want to the the sweat on the actors faces and the spittle spew from their mouths. The reason we were up here was because they had no seats available in the stalls. The Easter holiday was the reason. Linda clapping her hands to the music while a million watt smile lite up her face said all was good no matter where we were sitting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Magna Carta, Beatles and Carol King – 21 March 2016




Selfie of the day. Back at the TKTS booth for more discount play tickets. We once again lucked out with seats near the center of the 6th row to see Beautiful - Carol King Musical tonight at a huge discount. Our method is simple, we ask for seats nearest the front in the stalls. The stalls being the equivalent of the orchestra. If they don’t have them for that play we have a list of others, though we almost always get great seats for the first one we ask for.




No rain, just the fountain in Leicester Square.



Setting up at the Odeon in Leicester square for the 22 March UK premier of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. We won’t be in the area of Leicester Square tomorrow night, so won’t be able to report direct from the scene as we did for Eddie The Eagle for you cinema buffs out there.




The British Library is not some stuffy old building, besides it’s what’s inside that counts. No photo’s allowed, but we spent over two hours in the Treasures room seeing everything from an original copy of the Magna Carta to original Beatle's lyrics, including Yesterday which was written on the back of an envelope and Hard Day’s Night written on Julian Lennon’s birthday card. That leaves out so many other awesome written artifacts, i.e., Fleming’s notebook with the entry when he discovered penicillin, the original score of the Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah, and many, many more. It is always a must stop on our trips to London.




Just because the British Library is new doesn’t mean there are old things in the area, like this one for instance. Bad Bob.




Speaking of old, we stopped in to The White Hart pub, the oldest licensed establishment in London for a pub lunch today. For the record, it was licensed in 1216, 800 years ago, and you know it has been around that long the drinks and food have to good. Before the food Linda enjoyed her double G&T made with a slice of cucumber. She loves cucumber. She loved the taste. Guess what will be in her nightly G&T when we return to the States. As for me, it was a barley ale that was spot on. They were both so good we had a second, though Linda only had a single this time.




We were discussing which play to see tomorrow night and Linda mentioned Mrs. Henderson Presents. I had barely gotten over the shock of that statement when she said she really wanted to see Jersey Boys again. What Linda wants, Linda gets.




A steak and ale pie for Linda, a chicken and ham hocks pie for me.




Linda the chow hound.




We shared dessert. I got two bites.




Scarfie of the day.




At the Aldwych Theater waiting for the start of Beautiful – The Carol King Musical.




This really doesn’t show how ornate the theater is, but both the theater and the show were totally awesome.




The opening set, which gave no hint as to what was come. Six rows back and just right of center, it was almost as good as it gets. We still have Kinky Boots to see, so we will wait to say which was the best musical until then.