August 30, 2007

Copenhagen - Canal Tour and Rosenborg Slot

This year, Jan and Tom joined us on the Princess Cruise to Northern Europe. Our itinerary included Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg (2 days), Helsinki (rough weather prevented ship from docking), Tallinn, Gdansk/Gdynia and Oslo. Kris and I flew in one day earlier so we could have dinner with our friends Terri and Barry who live in Copenhagen. We stayed at the Airport Hilton which was pleasant and practical.

Jan and Tom found us eating breakfast at our hotel. We quickly checked out and left our belongings with the concierge. We took the train into town and even though it was raining, took the Canal Tour from Nyhavn.

We saw the Opera House (donated by Maersk), Little Mermaid, Black Diamond / Royal Library, Christianborg Slot (Frederick VII on horseback statue), Marble Church, Church of Our Savior with external stairs, Canalside sculptures, and many VERY low bridges. We ate a quick lunch but I did have time to take a picture of a pug looking out a shop window.

We took a tour of Rosenborg Slot and Treasury with Richard Karpen who is highly recommended by Rick Steves. We picked up our belongings and took a taxi to our ship.

August 08, 2007

AWC Beaconsfield Hike

A group of us decided to go on an impromptu 12.2 hike starting and ending in Beaconsfield (pronounced "beckonsfield").
At noon, we had a wonderful lunch in the White Hart Pub in the village of Chalfont St Giles, home of (John) Milton's Cottage. We walked through a beamed archway and took a group photo in front of the parish church lychgate. This parish church is a Norman church originally built in 1150-1180.

We eventually reached Jordans where William Penn, his two wives, and 10 of his 16 children are buried. We also saw the "Mayflower Barn" which is purported to have been built from scrap lumber when the Mayflower was dismantled in Rotherhithe.

August 05, 2007

Anusha in Kew

My friend's daughter is working this summer in London and came to visit me in Kew. Because Anusha is an avid runner and can walk forever, we covered areas in Kew Gardens I don't normally see, including a Bonsai room and an exhibit of plant uses. In place of some formal gardens were vegetables! While wating for Anusha to finish touring Kew Palace, I met some "abolitionists" who explained that an act had just passed to end slave trading, but unfortunately not the end of the institution of slavery. We had quite a discussion about the Americas!

August 03, 2007

Richmond Park and Wimbledon

My friend Cindy demonstrated the value of having a car because there is no way we could have done all that we did in one day by public transportation!

We first drove to Pembroke Lodge (childhood home of Bertrand Russell) in Richmond Part to join a tour organised by the Richmond Arts Link. Max, a Richmond Park guide, led us to a variety of sites within the park. We walked past an excellent example of a home with a thatched roof. We viewed St. Paul's Cathedral from King Henry VIII's Mound (which, contrary to popular legend, is NOT where he viewed a flare set off when Anne Boleyn was beheaded). No one guessed that the curious cement cylinder was protecting a historic cistern. We walked over remains of the South African Military Hospital built in 1916 for WWI veterans. We saw trees that pre-date the park walls built in 1637. And we enjoyed fabulous views.

We then drove to Wimbledon to Cannizaro House and Garden for a fabulous lunch. Then Cindy drove to the nearby Buddhapadipa Thai temple she had discovered one day while househunting.

We finished this great day by enjoying some well-deserved dessert (polenta lemon cake, a strawberry jam shortbread cookie) at the Orange Pekoe in Barnes.