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May 2012 - Fiji, Denarau Island & Blue Lagoon Cruise

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on June 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

As most of you will already know, we had booked & paid to sail around the world on the 2012 Princess Cruises World Cruise. We were really looking forward to this 104-day holiday onboard the Sun Princess, however in mid March 2012 Gary’s father was diagnosed with end stage Liver & Gall Bladder cancer. This was the first indication that Doug had any form of cancer. As the prognosis for Doug was very bleak & with an estimated 3 to 6 months survival time we decided to advise Princess Cruises Australia of the issue & request the hold onto the almost $60,000 we had paid them & move us to the 2013 World Cruise. Princess elected to not do this & for the privilege of having a father dying unexpectedly they penalized us with a $42,000 cancellation fee! Fortunately, Lynette is anal when it comes to insurance & paperwork etc. & we had purchased Travel Insurance when we originally made our booking almost 12 months earlier. We are extremely grateful to Chartis Insurance (via Defence Health Travel Insurance) who paid our claim within 10 days of submitting it. We can definitely recommend Defence Health Travel, as we had paid them $1100 in premium & they paid out without ANY issues or queries with compassion & swift action.

Unfortunately, on 6th May 2012 Douglas Clarence Landy passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his wife, 3 children & their spouses. Given the devastation we felt, Gary & I decided to take a quick break away.

Fiji was our destination! We managed to secure a great deal which gave us our flights to Nadi, 6 nights at the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, a 3 day Blue Lagoon cruise followed by a further night at the Westin. The package we took included golf each day (with cart) for us both at the Denarau Gold & Racquet Club, buffet breakfast each day & all our meals whilst onboard for the Blue Lagoon Cruise. Early Sunday 20th May we headed to the airport, having dropped Sapphire at the cattery where she normally resides when we travel, to board our flight to Nadi. As we alighted from the car Gary asked if I had picked up his wallet, glasses & phone from the drawer they reside in, before leaving home, as he had failed to do so. Now thank god we were flying International & he didn’t need any other form of ID other than his passport. He knew I had our passports as I hold all our travel documents when travelling overseas. I explained to Gary that this was going to prove to be an interesting holiday for me, as he was going to have to be even more attentive to me if he wanted to eat, read using me spare glasses or wish to purchase anything at all. A wonderfully amusing position for me to be in!

Our intention for this break away was to simply relax & this is all we did. We contemplated Skydiving, white water rafting & taking a helicopter scenic tour but did none of this. The Spa complex that was incorporated within the resort benefitted from our repeated custom…. well, Lynette’s anyway. A couple’s massage, a facial some waxing all saw Lynette returning to be pampered by Tepola, the therapist. Bula hour, each day saw us indulge in 2 or 3 cocktails each evening before heading off to dinner. The balance of our time at the Westin was spent lying around the pool, relaxing on our balcony reading (really easy now that we BOTH have a iPad) & a couple of games of golf for Gary.

So now to some of the amusing things that occurred during our 10 days in Fiji… we had only been at the Westin a day when Lynette realized that donning the swimwear was going to require a ‘tidy up’, so off to the spa she went for a bikini wax. This was the first time she met the lady who became her beauty therapist for all treatments whilst in Fiji, Tepola. Explaining what needed to be done was an interesting conversation to say the least. It appears few to no ‘bikini’ waxes are done now – it’s all ‘Brazilian style waxing’…. Well not for this 52 year old lady! Attempting to convince Tepola that “No, my husband wouldn’t like the area all soft & smooth” was quite a feat. In a very amusing way it became a battle of wills – Lynette for a simple ‘bikini’ & Tepola championing the Brazilian. The bikini was decided upon & Lynette thought she had successfully argued her point until arriving back to our room where she discovered the briefest bikini wax she had ever had done. I don’t know who was more surprised Lynette or Gary with the outcome! Lesson learned…. arrange these things before leaving home then you get exactly what you want.

We found we couldn’t be even slightly annoyed with Tepola as she was such a delightful lady, as it appears all Fijians are. They are so happy, calm & relaxed with life we should probably all take a leaf out of their book. Even after losing their home & it’s contents in the floods which stuck Nadi in March & April 2012, Tepola held such a positive view on life it was so refreshing. Not an attitude that we ‘Westerners’ are used to hearing or experiencing.

The following day Gary decided he needed some time to himself as he was experiencing a sad day, so off he set for a game of golf. The one thing he did remember to pack was 8 golf balls – these he lost during his first 18 holes on Denarau. It should be noted though that this game of golf was the first game he had had in 12 months. A couple of days later we decided that we would both have a game – Lynette’s first ever. Given the number of balls last 2 days earlier & Lynette having never played before we decided to purchase 9 balls with the view that if we hit all of those into the water (that’s the way the first 8 were lost) before we have completed the 18 holes then we’d just give up. Well, Gary played extremely well – I was expecting to be in fits of laughter for the first few holes at least. After all he said he played like an ‘old mole’ during his earlier round. We did in fact get a lot of laughs during this round of golf but more at Lynette’s expense than Gary’s, it was something that ended up being very good for both of us – exercise, lots of laughs & a few cuddles in the bushes!

This brings us to the Blue Lagoon Cruise, which departed from Lautoka, about 45 minutes from Denarau Island. The boat we were on the ‘Fiji Princess’ is a catamaran that carries about 80 passengers plus crew. There were only about 30 passengers on our cruise, which made the trip very comfortable indeed. We had no needing to get to meals early to ensure you ate enough, as there was always plenty of food drink for all. The Fijian crew not only maintained the boat but also was the entertainment. They did a wonderful job of both responsibilities. Nothing was too much trouble & all & was done with a smile on their faces. As surprising note was the friendliness of all the passengers, everyone seemed lovely, hence we had a really enjoyable time. We could talk for a long time about different people but for both Gary & I, one gorgeous lady stuck out. Her name was Gretchen & she was travelling with a girlfriend, Lisa, after winning their airfares at a trade show in LA. Gretchen is the founder 7 operator of Simply Africa, a company that devises small tour groups – about 8 people, her specialty area being the African continent. We’ve asked her to look at a trip to Machu Picchu & South America. Gretchen lives in LA (as does Lisa) & we spent many hours chatting with her about all manner of things & places.

We hear people constantly complain about Americans being loud, brash & arrogant especially when travelling. I’d have to say that the people we have been fortunate to meet during trips we’ve taken over the past 9 years haven’t been anything other than delightful. In fact, along with Gretchen & Lisa we have become great friends with another American couple we met almost 4 years ago on a European Cruise – Marty & Miriam. Whilst on the European cruise we dined with 4 American ladies also from LA, two of which we remain in contact with.

It’s looking more & more likely that one of our next couple of holidays will be in the USA given we have developed some wonderful friendships. Catching up with some or all of these people would be fantastic.

Now to researching & booking our next holiday......

19th February to 3rd March 2077 - Miami & New Orleans, USA

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 25, 2012 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Before heading to the UK to participate in the house exchange with John & Jean, which incorporated our white Christmas in Germany, we decided that we would catch up with some very dear friends in the USA.

We had hoped to visit them in their home in Chicago but given the time of year they were going to be escaping the Chicago winter by heading to Miami.  This meant for us a gentle rise in temperature, from a northern hemisphere winter before we arrived back home in Melbourne at the end of the summer.

We only had 5 days in Miami & spent the entire time catching up with Marty & Miriam.  Our white Christmas in Germany was awesome but to be able to re-connect with M & M again was the highlight of our 3+ months away.  We originally met M & M on the Royal Princess during a cruise that began in Stockholm & went to Russia, Estonia, Portugal, UK, Paris, Nice amongst others & ended in Italy in July 2008.  We were stateroom neighbours.  Despite the age difference between the four of us we 'just clicked' & had many, many funny times on the cruise.  Hence our desire to meet up with them, regardless of location. 

It was difficult to leave M & M in Miami & head to New Orleans but we know we will again catch up with them.  Maybe they will find it opportune to visit us in Melbourne or us visit them in Chicago during their spring or summer.  Who knows what the future holds.....

Well New Orleans was an experience like nothing we have experienced before.  Unknown to us, when making our bookings for New Orleans, it was the 1st week of Mardi Gras.  What a fantastic time to be there.  We had so much fun & laughed so much it was a wonderful way to end our time away. 

18th February - Last days at Newchurch

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 18, 2011 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

We begin this ‘blog’ by thanking a couple of people for the, totally unexpected, anniversary wishes that we received upon waking yesterday morning – Dot (my Mum) and Marty & Miriam (our good friends from Chicago) with whom we are looking forward to meeting up with in Miami for 5 days on Sunday. We appreciated very much your good wishes; it gave a great start to what was a lovely day. From the time of Gary’s proposal 5 years ago whilst we were staying at Paganetti’s in Daylesford we have attempted to return there to celebrate not only our nuptials but also our anniversaries. This year obviously that was not possible but I’m sure we will manage a long weekend away there soon, at this beautiful place which holds so many wonderful memories for us.  :)

 

Last night we decided to use the opportunity to avail ourselves of the wonderful food & hospitality of our ‘local’ restaurant – Newchurch House. As we have in the past, we experienced an absolutely delightful meal. I can’t decide which is better – the food or the service! It is disappointing that we not only won’t get to savoir the food at Newchurch House again but we won’t experience the hospitality of Michelle – co-owner & wife of the chef.

 

Yesterday was a little sad for me, particularly as we were saying goodbye to our wonderful Vanessa – the godsend who had been coming in weekly to clean this house. Even though we haven’t always been here when Vanessa came into clean, on those we were, we got to know a lovely woman. We did tell her that we had just the excuse to return in April - to attend her wedding! I don’t think she realised we were joking at first.

 

Our ‘blogs’ since returning from Ireland have been non-existent due to the fact that we have been getting organised to leave Newchurch to begin our journey home. It’s hard to believe that our 15½ weeks (108 nights) away is almost at an end. We did work out that of the 96 nights we have had occupancy of Brook House here in Newchurch we have only slept here on 62 of those nights. We have certainly done a number of things and seen a multitude of places & things and the experiences we have had together have made the trip worthwhile in every sense. To have experienced a very ‘White Christmas” in Bavaria, Germany; lunched in Liechtenstein; Dinner in the Eiffel Tower; attended a Moulin Rouge show; spent a day at the Louvre; attended a West End theatre production of Phantom of the Opera; rode on the London Eye; visited that pile of rocks - Stonehenge; experienced temperatures during the day of -8C in Prague; kissed the Blarney stone at Blarney Castle; left our hearts in Tipperary; spent most of the kids inheritance at the Waterford Crystal factory; Gary managing to get to 5 English football (soccer) games & I accompanied him to one, which he enjoyed immensely; to name just a few.  :)

 

One activity we did manage to accomplish a couple of days ago was to visit the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park only about 10 minutes from here. We are unsure if you recently saw the u-tube footage on the news (we expect it would have been broadcast world-wide) about a Silverback Gorilla named Am Bam who walks upright, on his two legs just like human beings. He was raised as an infant by a woman after being orphaned, hence his ability (self-taught) to walk upright. He has been doing this for approximately 20 years now, but due to the advent of u-tube Am Bam has become a world-wide hit. We weren’t fortunate enough to see him actually walk, but we did see Am Bam stand & pose for photos, which was very amusing.  :D

 

So, today will be spent packing our bags and organising Brook House before we are driven up to the Sofitel at Heathrow Airport tomorrow lunchtime where we will spend the night before we fly out to Miami on Sunday morning. As we are meeting with friends in Miami for the 5 days, we are not expecting too much time being available for posting our blogs. That will just need to wait until we return home.

12th February - Dublin; Guinness Storehouse & beyond

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 12, 2011 at 4:11 PM Comments comments (0)

Whoever said that the Irish don’t see sunshine is stretching the truth as this morning we woke to the sun streaming in through our windows at the Park Plaza Tyrrelstown just a tad outside Dublin city centre….strange name but a lovely hotel, nonetheless.  :)

 

Given that is was Saturday and we had a car we had a multitude of options for what we could do. What we decided however that despite Dublin Castle and Dublin Cathedral was being mentioned in all the tourist information as ‘must see’ we would make our way to the Guinness Storehouse Visitor Centre. Having visited so many Cathedrals, Churches and Castles in England, Germany, Prague and Ireland we felt that not visiting those in Dublin would not hinder our cultural or spiritual education at this point in our lives.

 

The Guinness Storehouse Visitor Centre is an amazing site to spend time.  :D Gary had previously been to the shop and walked around the exterior but had not participated in the tour so on this visit a tour was definitely a must especially, given we had plenty of time. It’s quite interesting to think that back in 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 (yes, that’s nine thousand) year lease for the current site (St. James’s Gate Brewery) for an annual rent of £45. Imagine only paying that amount of money in rent today for a 4 acre site so close to a capital city! The tour proved very interesting and even managed to provide Gary with information about the beer (no, Guinness is no classed as a ‘Stout’;) that he was not aware of. Included with the tour entry price is a pint of Guinness each, which you will see from our photos Lynette tried - but did not like at all.  :(  Gary however was not disappointed with this as it meant he got to drink both pints!  :D

 

Before making our way to the Guinness Storehouse we went for a wander around the streets of Dublin City Centre as we needed to find another carry-on suitcase in which to transport our purchases made whilst in Ireland.  As we had chosen to fly on Ryanair we are restricted to only having cabin luggage (we already had our 1 check-in bag totally full and at maximum weight), so we needed another bag in which my handbag & camera would fit together with our purchases, all whilst remaining within the airline limits. Talk about a farcical situation!  :D  I hope to God they don’t think of putting either of our carry-on bags on the scales as we are so far above the 10kgs allowed it is laughable.

 

Prior to our leaving Melbourne last November, it seems so long ago now, Gary made a decision that when he visited a city that had a Harley Davidson store he would do all things possible to visit said store & purchase a t-shirt with the local insignia printed on it.  Another reason I am so pleased I presented him with his Harley Davidson Motorcycle for his 60th birthday in 2009. :D  So after our tour of the Guinness Storehouse we went in search of the Dublin Harley Davidson store. Surprisingly, it was not all that far from our hotel & this enable Gary to fulfil his wish.

 

We have found having access to a car in Dublin and in particular Ireland has meant that we have seen some fantastic sights and been able to visit places which may have been difficult or more time consuming had we not hired the car. Our 5 days travelling throughout the Republic of Ireland has been a wonderful experience and as we have mentioned previously meeting Rae and catching up with Reg Condon would have to have been the highlight.   :D

 

Tomorrow morning sees us return to the UK and our home away from home in Newchurch for our final 6 days there before we begin our journey home. Don’t get too excited though, we have our 5 days in Miami with good friends Marty & Miriam  :D  first then our time in New Orleans before we arrive back in Melbourne.

11th February - Tipperary - it's a long way...........

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 11, 2011 at 6:03 PM Comments comments (0)

Today we had a relatively early start as it’s a long way to Tipperary….and that’s where we headed for lunch. Sadly we had to leave but my (our) heart’s still there…..:(

 

Our lunch & brief exploration of Tipperary was fantastic – a real quaint little village, as our photos will bear (eventually).

 

We are fortunate that we have a hire car as we are getting to see a reasonable amount of the Irish countryside as we travel from one county to the next; albeit on the motorway. At least we can divert off when we see a signpost that takes our fancy and go explore, if time permits.

  :)

After leaving our hearts in Tipperary we headed for our pre-booked accommodation on the outskirts of Dublin – the Park Plaza (we have had such good service there, why stay elsewhere) & finally arrived quite late this afternoon. Given that we are 11klms outside Dublin city centre we will wait until tomorrow to explore what this, no doubt fine City has to offer.

10th February - Kissing the Blarney Stone

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 11, 2011 at 5:37 PM Comments comments (0)

After a fabulous & generous dinner last night with the Condon’s we had a later than anticipated start this morning. We headed to Blarney in order to see the imposing Blarney Castle & to kiss the Blarney stone.

Contrary to popular belief kissing the Blarney stone is not supposed to give you luck. In ancient times the well to do would go to Blarney & perform this ritual in order to gain the virtue of eloquence! So, now both Gary & Lynette supposedly have eloquence after having climbed the steps of the castle and then to complete the kiss you must get on to your back and be lowered, upside down, to where the stone is located at the very top of the castle.

 

Blarney Castle is so very old and is privately owned and still in the same family 900 years later. Even though we were seeing the gardens during winter, they were fabulous & we could only imagine what they would be like during the spring and summertime. We have discovered one particular benefit to travelling during wintertime – no queues hence no waiting to see and do things. This can be particularly attractive when going to visit the highly popular site such as the Blarney Castle the lines to kiss the Blarney Stone over the summertime can be up to 3+ hours long. We were able to walk straight into the castle, up the stairs (Lynette albeit with very shaky legs & Gary not liking the heights) be held upside down & kiss the Blarney stone – no wait; no delay.  :)

 

We chose to spend the night in Blarney at a little B & B, and had a lovely night there and surprisingly an excellent Chinese Dinner.

9th February - Waterford & meeting the Condon's

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 11, 2011 at 2:08 PM Comments comments (0)

Thankfully we decided not to book an early flight for Dublin today, so we were able to have a relatively unrushed start to our 5 day visit to Ireland, which we had both been looking forward to since arriving in the UK back in November.   :)

 

We decided to try Ryanair for our flights to & from Dublin and what an interesting choice this has been. The cost of the flights is amazingly low, as long as you can source them on the internet; secure internet check-in and only have carry-on bags. There is condition that your ONE carry-on piece, per person, includes your handbag; camera et al, in other words – everything and it must all weigh no more than 10kgs. To take a suitcase, as we needed to do as we were travelling for 5 days around Ireland was an additional €25 each way (approx. A$45) for 20kgs. The conditions that apply to the Ryanair tickets are quite amazing when you read them & I suppose they apply to all discount airlines but the difference we did notice when comparing Ryanair to Jet Star in Australia is they actually depart and arrive as scheduled in excess of 90% of the time. However the attitude of the ground staff and flight attendants left so very much to be desired - but that is a story for another time. Thankfully though it wasn’t Gary nor I who were the recipients of what could only be described as ‘not my issue’, ‘I don’t care’ type attitude that we witnessed.  :(

 

Our arrival in the beautiful city of Dublin was met with steady rain from the time we collected our hire car from Thrifty until we arrived at our B & B for the night in Kilkenny – 1½ hours south from Dublin. The Country House where we had pre-booked to in Kilkenny was absolutely delightful; however we did feel very sorry for the young couple (with a 4y.o. son) who owned and ran it as they purchased the property at the height of the property boom in Ireland for around €850,000 and now due to the global financial crisis and the issues facing the banks in Ireland, property prices have plummeted to such a degree that their property is now only worth in the vicinity of €150,000. What a substantial loss to have suffered in only 4 years! If such a thing, caused by the banks, should ever occur in Australia there would be such an outcry, but I suppose it doesn’t help people who, like Australians believe that putting your money into bricks & mortar is safe and secure. It really brings home how very lucky we are in Australia to not have these types of things happen in our Country. 

 

Kilkenny looked to be such a pretty place but as we had some very special people to visit in Waterford we only had a very brief glimpse of what it had to offer early the next morning. Thankfully, we weren’t far from Waterford at all now that the new Motorway has opened and we were there quite quickly. Once in Waterford, a laundry was the first item to be crossed off our agenda….we were fast running out of clean clothes. After that chore was taken care of, we visited the tourist information centre to see what else Waterford had to offer, apart from the Crystal showroom. We had previously arranged to contact our gorgeous Laura Condon’s parent’s mid-afternoon and head out to their home for coffee. We were privileged to have already met her Dad (Reg) when he visited Australia last May and we were really looking forward to meeting Laura’s Mum (Rae) and seeing Reg again.  :) Last May when we met Reg we caught a glimpse of Laura’s upbringing but upon spending a short amount of time with both Rae and Reg we now can see where she gets her delightful caring and giving nature from. We had so many laughs while sipping tea & eating the best apple pie (home-made of course) we have ever eaten during the course of the afternoon – all whilst the four of us avoided the conversation topics we had been told to avoid!  :D

 

A quick trip back to our B & B to change for dinner then back to the Condon’s where we were given a gift of a beautiful Waterford crystal vase. Very, very naughty of them, however we are very appreciative of their generosity. It was then off to a wonderful Irish pub, The Munster where we also re-acquainted ourselves with another member Laura’s family, who we had met last May when he travelled to Australia with Reg, John – Laura’s uncle (Reg’s brother in-law). The 5 of us had such a fun night even to the point that Rae didn’t realise Laura had sent 5 text messages to her mobile phone; I missed a message sent to me which read – “hi are you both having nice time. I keep texting mum to see if you guys at the house so I can call but no reply. She obviously havin too much of a good time to even check her phone!”. I happened to see this message 2 hours after Laura had sent it, read it out to everyone at the table after which we all burst out laughing. Whilst Rae checked her phone, I rang Laura so we could all say a big “HI”, unfortunately all she could hear I think was laughing and fun times being had by all. Hopefully she has forgiven us by now. It is really difficult to think of people back home when we are enjoying ourselves, especially when in the company of wonderful people like the Condon’s.  You have to love the Irish if they are all like the Condon's.....:D

5th - 7th February - 3 more days in London

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 10, 2011 at 12:50 PM Comments comments (0)

As we have indicated previously, we decided to spend a few more days in London as let’s face it why come all this way from Melbourne & not see all that London has to offer when it is only an hour or so away, by train. So after driving to Ham Street railway station where we have secured free parking for the next 8 days (a considerable saving let me tell you) we again caught the train to London. It’s amazing that there is not one train fare applicable from say Ashford to London, and let’s forget the fast train. It depends on who you get at the ticket office & in this instance which rail operator you purchase your ticket from. Gary has travelled to London on at least 5 occasions (all after 10:30am & returned after 6pm the same day on either a Saturday or Sunday for the football) and on this our last trip up to London we find out that he has been overcharged each & every time. Discounts apply when travelling after 10am each & every day let alone on the weekend……thanks South Eastern Rail Network, we’ll be sure to remember that & pass on your consideration to fellow travellers.

 

Our previous stay at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge being so good, the complimentary upgrade to a studio suite didn’t hurt either, we decided that we would again utilize the services of this hotel for these additional 3 days in this vibrant city. We were delighted to once again be upgraded to a studio suite, so lucky us!   :)

 

Gary began his time in London by attending his final football match for this trip. So whilst he went out to White Hart Lane to watch Spurs beat Bolton, I relaxed at the hotel for the afternoon. Sunday saw us head to Hyde Park for a walk, a stunning place in the winter & we can only imagine how beautiful it must look during the spring & summertime. It was then time for us to investigate Harrods & all it has to offer – oh what it would have been like to spend a few hours in this store without Gary holding both our American Express cards…..I can only dream! We managed to find a fabulous little Italian restaurant quite near our hotel, where we dined Sunday evening.

 

Monday we had previously decided was to be our ‘big’ day – Westminster Abbey; Westminster Cathedral & Parliament buildings. So an early breakfast, well early for us (8:30am) then out we went. We had been lucky with the weather this time, whilst it was mainly cloudy and very windy, it wasn’t raining. Anyone who has been to London and has not been to Westminster Abbey has really done themselves an injustice as with so many of the major historical sites in and around London they offer so very much which is fascinating to view and read. We ended up spending around 4 hours just ambling through the Abbey, at time overawed with the history and relics and tombs that were viewable. Gary was convinced that Royal marriages weren’t conducted at the Abbey but at Westminster Cathedral so that was our next port of call. Upon exiting the Abbey we were told – “it’s a 5 minute walk straight down that road then turn left at McDonald’s”. Well it was the longest 5 minute walk either of us has ever walked…..we walked, and walked and walked. Finally we arrived at McDonald’s, turned left and saw Westminster Cathedral. A rather unimposing site one could say from the outside – certainly not what you expect for Royal weddings. So, inside we went. This is definitely NOT where Royal weddings are held. Westminster Cathedral is just a church – no more, no less. Despite our disappointment with the Cathedral it was a nice, but long & windy, walk through the streets of London. Our way back to the Parliament buildings saw us stop off briefly for a bite of lunch before joining the lines to sit in the public gallery at the Houses of Parliament.

 

We stayed long enough to hear the beginning of a speech being made by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron before heading over to the House of Lords – the public gallery here is called the strangers gallery! After our time at the Houses of Parliament we decided to walk back across Westminster Bridge – me for some much needed rest and Gary for some much needed time in the hotel gym; before heading out for a late dinner.

4th February - RYE

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 4, 2011 at 11:07 AM Comments comments (2)

We were pleased on Wednesday to be finally able to collect the precious Mercedes from the mechanics after it needed to be towed there last week (see previous blogs). :)  We left here together in the RAV to travel the 30+ minutes to near Canterbury & decided to use the opportunity (as this was costing us in fuel & time, yet again) to explore a little more of Canterbury & have a spot of lunch. As we have stated previously, the best purchase we have made (apart from Lynette’s coat) has been the GPS as it has no doubt saved us numerous pounds in fuel costs when traversing these country roads and lanes on Romney Marsh especially. Those of you praying for the repair of the car – thank you; it finally seems to work as it should. What a pity we have missed out on visiting the Cotswolds & other places…….:(

 

Now that we are semi-confident (constantly keeping our fingers, toes & legs crossed) that the car will continue to perform as it should, we decided to discover what Rye had to offer on Thursday. So after phoning home to speak with our eldest grand-daughter, Tylah, as she was to begin school the following day & we wanted to capture some of her excitement (it is really difficult being so far away when something so monumental happens in the lives of people you love so dearly). To speak with her & Mike was wonderful.  :D  We are both eagerly awaiting our conversation with Tylah & to speak with Ang and Mike as to how the first day actually went….hopefully those other 2 little cherubs may want to talk to grandma & grandma (for those who don’t know – Saraya & Yasmin refer to Gary as grandma also – but then maybe they know something we all don’t….) this time.

 

Now onto Rye; what a quaint little town, so full of history…..another must see if you ever find yourself in this part of England. We had been recommended to visit St. Mary’s church & if possible to climb the bell tower as the views are to die for. So as Gary & I always do as suggested, we found St. Mary’s – a 12th century church! What a wonderful find it was – we decided (despite Gary’s reluctance for heights) to pay to climb the tower. On payment we were advised that it was only 84 steps – easy, I hear you say! Well, no-one told us the 84 steps were made up of – quite high stone steps; skinny low ceilinged wooden steps and probably the most daunting of all – ladders!!! As we made our way to the top of the bell tower we passed through the area which houses the 8 bells. A point should be made that we began our climb of the bell tower at about 11:50am and given the various methods used to rise to the top we ambled. When we reached the “bell room”, I suggested to Gary that we move our backsides as it was now 11:58am & we could still see at least one more ladder to climb before we reached the turrets outside. The last place we needed to be was inside the tower bell room at midday! Gary scoffed at the idea that the bells would ring; “they won’t ring the bells, they know we are up here” he said to me….well they had news for us didn’t they. Thankfully, we did in fact move our butts & made it out onto the turret with seconds to spare before the bells struck 12. Once we opened the final door & made our way outside we weren’t disappointed – the views were magnificent (I have posted some of the photos) and definitely worth the wobbly legs I certainly experienced during the climb.

 

There are so many other fascinating buildings & things to do in Rye that if we took the time to blog about them all we’d be here all day. We were lucky with the weather for our visit to Rye – sunny and about 8C; in other words – a beautiful winters day.  :)

 

Friday (today) will see us doing domestic tasks – well me anyway. Gary will be busy booking some of our accommodation for our time in Ireland. Saturday morning we are catching the train back up to London for 3 days before our 5 day trip to Ireland.

1st February - The RAV 4 actually gets us home from Heathrow

Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on February 1, 2011 at 11:17 AM Comments comments (0)

Surprisingly, the RAV was not only at Heathrow long term car park when we arrived back from our 3 days in Prague but it started…:D.you have no idea the relief that coursed straight through our bodies when the engine kicked over. Once we had accomplished this task we set out for the 90 minute drive back to Newchurch for the next 3½ days. That’s right, 3½ days only before our next sojourn, as on Saturday morning we catch the train back up to London. Gary has his last ticket to see his beloved Spurs play at White Hart Lane, on this trip anyway. They are playing Bolton, so fingers crossed it’s a win for Spurs this Saturday. We have decided to take the opportunity to re-visit London to complete what we were unable to do on our last visit….i.e. Harrods; Westminster Abbey & Cathedral; St. Pauls; etc. As our stay at the Park Plaza – Westminster Bridge exceeded our expectations we have again booked to stay there. So whilst Gary is at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon, I’ll either explore on my own or relax back in our hotel (mmm…. perhaps a massage or spa treatment may be the go).  :)

 

Apart from the absolutely freezing temperatures that we experienced in Prague – it never managed to get above – 5C (that’s MINUS 5) all day, any day that we were there; it is a beautiful city in which to spend a few days. We will return to see Prague in the summertime one day, hopefully in the not too distant future. We had a number of Cities to choose from for these 3 days away but it was only on the insistence of Rosemary & Rodney that we decided to actually visit there, and we certainly weren’t disappointed in any way. So, thank you R & R for your wonderful recommendation….we owe you.  :)

 

As I said earlier we are only back here in Newchurch until early Saturday morning, really just to get the washing & ironing done. Not much time for anything else. Apart from having to go & collect the Mercedes from the mechanics tomorrow, fingers crossed everyone that it has been repaired and we have no further issues with this damn car.  :mad:

 

As you will no doubt notice Lynette has returned to the prose for our blog – Gary’s turn at writing our blog whilst in Prague has come to an end.  :)


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