Friday, June 29, 2007

All the Pics

I decided to add all the rest of the pictures from the London trip to the slideshow.
Click Here

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Travelers Guide To London: Chapter Four

Welcome back to my American guide to London. Here is a list of all the places I would either recommend that you visit or skip followed by the reasons for each.

Where to go:

Madame Tussaud’s
Where else can you get a picture of yourself kicking Saddam Hussein in the nuts? We were pleased that it was more than just wax figures in a room and thought you got pretty much for the ticket price.

The Royal Albert Memorial
You just can’t understand the ornate grandeur of it without seeing it up close.

Changing of the Guards
Even though it’s just the Guard guys marching, it’s still pretty neat. The guards on horses provided another unique little show.

Piccadilly Circus
Since walking and looking at things is mostly all that London has to offer, the fun atmosphere of this area was a nice change of pace. The incredibly expansive Trocadero Arcade was pretty fun. And according to restaurant signs, it is the home of London’s best fish and chips.

Trafalgar Square
The National Portrait Gallery is here, as well as some famous statue that is so far up on this column that you can’t really see it. I especially like the view of Big Ben and the Admirals Arch from here. And according to restaurant signs, it is the home of London’s best fish and chips.

Hyde Park Corner
The original Hard Rock CafĂ©, and the Hard Rock Vault are here, so of course I liked this area. This is also a good picture spot for the Wellington Arch. And according to restaurant signs, it is the home of London’s best fish and chips.

Oxford Circus
This wouldn’t be on the list except there are some real good places to eat in this area. We got great Italian and Spanish food here. And according to restaurant signs, it is the home of London’s best fish and chips.

The Natural History Museum
The Awe inspiring building alone is worth the trip there.

The Tower Bridge Exhibition
I was simply expecting a small wall with some documents, sketches and blurry black and white pictures. So when we found the well produced movies at each tower along the self guided tour across the top walkways of the bridge, we were very pleased.

Tower of London
It’s an old castle, so you can talk like the Monty python comedians and nobody even thinks twice. It’s sort of like the middle ages version of Colonial Williamsburg.

Paul Patisserie’s
It’s a chain of deli-like bakeries and the only restaurant in London that I wish we had in Cincinnati as well. Try a "Le Croque", the are very tastey ham and cheese croisants that make a great breakfast.

The Orangery Tea Room
The fancy scenery and building are worth seeing. The fancy food was pretty good too.

Where not to go:

The Orangery Tea Room
You got there expecting a truly fine British experience, and are totally let down. Debby was seconds away from pimp slapping one of the Czech or Romanian servers that didn’t really know how to speak English.

London Dungeon
Apparently you wait 6 hours in line just to go through a haunted house. I was happy with just going through the one at Madame Tussaud’s.

The Science Museum
They actually perfected a method of portraying science to be more boring than even a nerd boy like me can take.

The Geology Museum
See the above Science Museum explanation. We stumbled into this one by accident thinking it was the Natural History Museum. I especially hate this one because it’s a one way trip through this museum and we lost all of our museum time trying to get out of it, and therefore ended up not having time for the really cool looking Natural History Museum.

The Apsley House
A dusty and musty old house with boring antique looking stuff. It was just plain boring.

Hyde Park
It may as well be [insert county park here] back home.

The Medieval Banquet at the Beefeater restaurant
The horribly high price seemed like a pretty good deal because it included unlimited beer and wine until we found out the beer was authentic, non-carbonated, nasty tasting “ale” and the wine was almost literally vinegar. They didn’t really try to make it authentic either, because the wenches were Hispanic and French, and the minstrels played Irish Christmas songs.
That's pretty much all I got for attractions. Tune in next time when I wrap up the American Travelers Guide for London with random nuggets of advice.

Friday, June 22, 2007

London Slideshow

You can find this slideshow with larger pictures by clicking on this link

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Travelers Guide to London: Chapter Three

Welcome back to my blog type travel guide for Americans visiting London. In this week’s installment, we will look at transportation to all of the fun places and historic sites that London has to offer.

The recommended way to get around London according to the London Transportation authority is by the underground train system called The Underground. The first thing you will need to effectively utilize “The Tube” is to familiarize yourself with the simple and easy to read tube maps like the one displayed here.

Access to “The Tube” can best be obtained by first acquiring a London Transport Travel Card. This very versatile card can also be used for access to the red double-decker buses, the short route trams, the river crossing ferry boats, the Heathrow Airport rail system, National railways light rail system, the Docklands light rail system, and passage on pretty much everything just short of the space shuttle. Although if you look close enough at the fine print, you may find that to be included also.

The underground trains are apparently environmentally conscious because by the strong odor emitting from the tunnels, one can easily reason that the engines must burn human urine for fuel instead of oil or coal.

For those of us who would rather kill the earth in order to breathe fresh air, I highly recommend the red double-decker buses. These not only provide you with better scenery while in route to your destination, but also an exciting thrill ride. There is nothing more invigorating about riding with a crazy driver weaving through traffic and dodging crossing pedestrians, than to experience it from 20 feet above the ground. It’s so much fun they could actually charge for it. Oh wait a minute, they do charge for it.

That’s all I got for you concerning transportation. Tune in next week when I reveal all the best and worst attractions in the greater London area.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Traveler's Guide To London: Chapter Two

Welcome back to this weeks guide to travel in Britain. In this installment we will look at British currency.

The base unit of British currency is of course the Pound. Which is also called a Sterling, but can also be called a quid. Which is not short for “quid pro quo” the Latin phrase meaning something for something as any dead Roman might think. It is short for Quidhampton, the place where the British mint their coins.

Apparently, the British like to make Americans feel stupid with their impossible to figure out monetary system. For example, the pound is equal to 100 pennies called pence, and at the same time is also equal to 20 shillings whereby a shilling is equal to 12 pence. This according to my math is 240 pence. Go figure? There are also many coins in the British currency. These coins are the 1 penny, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 pound, 2 pound and the lesser used Half pence, 6 pence, 12 pence, Farthing, Shilling, Bob, Guinea, and Half a Crown. With all these coins and value discrepancies, who can keep up with them? Exactly! So for that reason, the British don’t really count out change. They just simply give you a small handful of coins that looks like a believable amount of change from your transaction. And like any other stupid American, you just let it go because by the time you get an exact count of the change, you’ve forgotten how much change you should have gotten in the first place. Doh!

So take my advice. Use a credit card wherever you go. That way, you only get ripped off from the horrible dollar to pound exchange rate.

Well, that’s all I got for now. Don’t miss the bus next week when I talk about transportation in London.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Travelers Guide To London: Chapter One

Now That I have returned from a trip to London, I would like to write a series of blogs dedicated to making all the future American travelers to Britain a little more informed. In the first part of this series, I would like to focus on the differences between American and British terminology.

Let’s first take a look at food terms so that the average American traveler will know what they are getting when they order in a restaurant. For example, what we call French fries the British call chips. And what we call chips, they call crisps. So obviously what we call crisps, they call French fries. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? It should also be known that what the British call cider we call wine, and what they call wine we call vinegar, and I think that what they call vinegar might actually contain malt liquor, but I’m not sure. At breakfast time you will notice that what we call ham, they call bacon, and what we call bacon, they call a rasher. They will also refer to sausage as a banger, and what we call sausage, for some ungodly reason, they think it should be eaten with blood in a pie form. And just so you know, “spotted dick” is not a crude term in the UK. It’s actually a meat product.

Speaking of spotted dicks, it should also be noted that if you ask for directions to the bathroom, you may have to pee in a bath tub. That’s because in the UK, they don’t have toilets in bathrooms. And what’s even worse is they don’t even have any restrooms! Apparently in the UK you can find a toilet; inside a toilet. I guess that’s so if you are standing there peeing, and you miss the inside toilet, then you got the outside toilet for backup. I am not sure how things would work out if you sit down, but luckily, everywhere we went they had a room called a loo which just has normal American toilets in it. I’d bet money that if they built more of those loo’s, they would have less people peeing in bath tubs.

Speaking of money, it’s necessary for the American traveler to know that what we call a dollar, they call a pound, which is strange because it is a real small coin that doesn’t even come close to weighing a pound. Unless of course their system of weight has a lighter definition of what a pound weighs, which of course means that a normal sized person would weigh like 10,000 pounds! If that’s the case then I can understand why they switched to the metric system of Kilograms. It’s much more flattering to those on a diet.

Well, that’s all I got for this week. Stay tuned next week when I delve farther into the mystery of British currency.

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