FAO: All Alaskans! We getting excited!
I've received confirmation of the flighs &c. for our Alaskan Cruise in 6 weeks time!
We fly out of Heathrow (yuk) for Vancouver on Sunday 18th June to join the MS Volendam on Tuesday 20th for a week's cruising up the coastline Juneau and Skagway via the Inside (not Back!) Passage.
We're looking at a few excursions, and we're wondering if they're good value or not. https://book.hollandamerica.com/shorex/viewFrontEndTourBrochureAction. do?task=getPDF (Slow loading)
We know from the Cruise Ships coming into Liverpool it's actually better value to get off the ship and walk/go by taxi to the key places, which in general have free admission, except for a few which always have to be booked in advance, e.g. John Lennon's boyhood home in Woolton, Liverpool FC Trophy Room. A trip on the Mersey ferry boat is walk-on for about £2.50, the Albert Dock and Liverpool One are big free areas, all within 15 minutes walking from the Cruise Liner Terminal, which is almost outside the Liver Building.
After the cruise, we've hired a car from Vancouver to go right up into the Rockies on a one way hire to Jasper whence we board the train for Toronto. While in the Rockies, I'm going to see Kicking Horse Pass (always wanted to since being a boy) and the vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. Then we have a day trip to Niagara, and fly home via Eefro (yuk), arriving 10th July. (Sadly BA and Air Canada don't seem to have suitable flights to other major UK airports.
Heathrow Queues: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/9236517/Heathrows-Termina l-5-a-bleak-welcome-to-Britain.html
At least we have UK passports, so won't be in the non-EU channel, but it's still a major failing and embarrassment in Olympic and The Queen's Diamond Jubilee year.
Have a great trip John!! Don't know Kicking Horse Pass, but Jasper is beautiful. The cruise will be gorgeous -- wish I had advice for you re excursions and which are worth it. The towns are small so you'll be able to walk about and take them in on your own if you like. Our mailman left for England a week ago for the Diamond Jubilee. He said, "I wouldn't miss it!" My parents will be on a tour with Yale University from Edinburgh to London while you're in North America. Their group will stop in Liverpool for just one day.
All the best.
We've had a great weekend.
We started with the Olympic Torch crossing the Mersey on the Ferry Boat, and then we drove south to London.
On Saturday we went to Epsom to the Derby, and had a great view of The Queen as she arrived in her Bentley. (Don't ask about the betting…)
On Sunday we went into Blackfriars in Central London to watch the River Pageant, which was excellent.
We watch the Diamond Jubilee Concert on telly, as we didn't fance being in the huge crowds and the 12 miles journey back to where we were staying late at night.lso watched the Service of Thanksgiving from St Pauls on the telly, though a lot of the streets looked empty.
The Queen was clearly genuinely touched by the huge crowds and their warmth trowards her, and in turn we were quite moved by the lovely message of thanks she gave.
In her televised address, one of only a handful she has made outside her traditional Christmas message, she said: “The events that I have attended to mark my Diamond Jubilee have been a humbling experience.
“It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere.”
She said she and the Duke of Edinburgh wanted to pass on their “special thanks” to the organisers of the events, which had been a “massive challenge”.
She said: “I hope that memories of all this year’s happy events will brighten our lives for many years to come. I will continue to treasure and draw inspiration from the countless kindnesses shown to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth. Thank you all.”
We'll be concentrating on our holiday to Alaska and Canada very soon, but for the moment, it's God save the Queen!
Roger Benedict wrote:
My parents will be on a tour with Yale University from Edinburgh to London while you're in North America. Their group will stop in Liverpool for just one day.
Just tell them, the further away from London they go, the better it gets!
The Waterfront and Liverpool One are once again terrific. ISTR recall it was a giant construction site when you were here, but it's finished.
It's hard to say what to see in Liverpool if they're there just for the day . No doubt a tour will focus on Maritime Heritage, the Waterfront, the Albert Dock, the two giant cathedrals and The Beatles. If they have to find their own lunch, then I'd recommend The Monro which is a short walk from Liverpool One shops/John Lewis/Paradise Street. (It's not even worth taking a black cab as it'll go all over the place because of the one way streets.) The food is excellent, and they accommodate veggies and vegans. And have no fear about choosing any of the cask ales - they're all different but great.
The weather right now is dreadful - there's warning of up to 30mm of rain tonight and the temperature is struggling to get above 15°C. June/July is usually beautiful, with long warm evenings. I hope it's better in a couple of weeks time. :-)
The foul weather has ceased. We've had an immense amount of rain and very high winds. Fortunately we were protected by the mountains of Wales, where the west coast has been really battered and suffered severe flooding. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-18381040
We leave for the airport tomorrow, so lots of bag packing and tidying up going on.
Hopefully we have everything, and I've correctly worked out my INR (anti-coagulation) regieme for all the time changes.
Next time I post, there should photos of Alaska included.
Great to hear,John. I have a new Dell laptop on the way to update my worn four year old Toshiba. I should have it up and running and be able to connect it to my HDTV while you get it ready.
I notice Liverpool is roughly the same latitude (53 vs 55 N) as Ketchikan and getting rain as well.
I notice Liverpool is roughly the same latitude (53 vs 55 N) as Ketchikan and getting rain as well.
The weather's very different here, despite similar latitudes.
The prevailing weather comes in from the south-west, from warm latitudes. We're protected mostly from the worst by Ireland and the mountains of Wales. And then there is the Gulf Stream, warm water originating from the east of the Caribbean. Yes, it rains, but the clouds usually pass over within a couple of hours.
The sea moderates the temperature, generally by 2°C, so it's not until the weather man says -2°C do we need to worry about frost. There have been a couple of very cold winters - it was down to around -15°C a couple of years ago when the beach was frozen for around two weeks, but usually any overnight ice melts in the morning sunlight - only to re-freeze overnight! Snow is quite rare.
It's the opposite in the summer - generally 2°C cooler than the weather man gives for the region.
I''ll run a couple of hundred photo through Adobe Bridge - have a look: www.bigjohnd.org.uk/Canada2012/
The size of the glaciers is immense! Like here.
Hope they're OK, I wasn't too sure about the picture size or the on-line quality.
I just went through them twice. You and Cathy had the trip of a lifetime,John. Those are some amazing pictures of Alaska,the Rockies,Toronto,and Niagra Falls. Nice accomodations as well! About the only places I have been in Canada was Vancouver and Victoria where I was lucky enough to stay at the Empress. Also nice checking the food and wine along the way.
When I was attending grade school,it seemed Geography was a bore,all the places to remember with little idea of what they meant. Now that I've gone a few places some of those lessons come alive. The Rockies are no longer a name on the map or something barely seen from the jet on the way to the west coast."
I couldn't be there,but your photos showed me just what I've been missing.
Not many shots between the Rockies and Toronto. I guess the Prairies and the Canadian Shield are not as exciting,unless you count the stopover in Winnipeg.
Thanks for posting them.
The wife's from Yorkshire, so we were pleasantly surprised to see Yorkshire tea so prominently displayed (in Winnipeg). It's blended by one of the UK's oldest tea importers, Taylors of Harrogate.
You're right about the geography at school. While you can understand why teachers want you to know about, there's no way you fully appreciate it with experiencing it. As school we had Henry VIII and the Tudors drummed into us, but it wasn't until I actually spent a week living in Hampton Court, that I got to grips with some of Henry's thinking. One of his traits was partying, so he built the best dance hall going ("The Great Hall") complete with a gallery for the band, lots of space for dancing and tables for eating and drinking - there was simple lift for the beer and wine which was stored in the cellar below, and the kitchens were right next door. He had all his mates round, and they had a good time! Then he got into woman trouble… (That's not how they sold it to us at school though.)
As for the forests and prairies, they do seem to go on for ever, and I could have taken scores of photos - but they would have all looked the same! It was odd going to bed at night, then waking up some 7 or 8 hours later, maybe 4 or 5 hundred miles further on, and the view was the same!
I had a look,John. It seems directed at British expats. The comments are amusing,but YouTube comments are always amusing in a kneejerk sort of way. I guess the Little Urn is back in the UK promoting the Yorkshire brand. Anyhow I tried Twinings,and Typhoo as well plus the numerous brands on sale here. I guess folks overseas connect us with Starbucks,but we have a respectable number of tea drinkers.
Yes,Henry was one of the key British monarchs taught in our school history classes. Mostly it skimmed over his wives,beheadings and the Church of England. The usual.
There is a phrase that comes off as snotty,"flyover country." I suppose outside of National Parks and monuments,a lot of the desert and plains are more for farming and ranching with oil production thrown in. It's true,as vast as Canada and the US is,not every part is for tourism.
Btw,did you have a chance to hook up with Kami in Winnipeg?
Hope that the trip went well, and that you enjoyed every moment of it.
Yes, North America IS vast. In the American Southwest, we often interact with various Euro/UK tourists, and the one comment that we hear is "This is vast!" We, as US citizens, are proud, and also happy that our visitors have had a great experience.
OTOH, when in London, we often comment, "This is historical," as it (whatever IT is) IS historical to us from the US. I mean every mews in Mayfair is 3x as old as anything that we know in the US. We grew up in New Orleans, and its environs, and thought that we knew old, that we knew historic. Well, not so much.
Recently in Rome, we dined at a tiny restaurant. Their wine cellar went down, and down. Each step was about 75 years in history. At one point, there was a Roman well, from about 500 BC. When we reached the lowest level, we were at about 2000 BC. There were at least three levels below that! Archeologists speculated that below, there was a Jewish synagogue, from about 3000 BC. That was beyond our "US" comprehension.
OK, I thought that 300 years was a "big deal," but then, I am but a "daft Yank."
The "historical" nature of London is something Brits take for granted. Personally I find it crowded, filthy, far too expensive and it's hard to find any indigenous Londoners. As my sister put it, the river (Thames) is very small - because it has bridges over it (The Mersey here doesn't have bridges in Liverpool - it's ferries and 2½ mile tunnels.)
Chester, down the road from here, still has half the Raoman amphithreatre, the hypocaust, city walls, &c built by the Romans 2,000 years ago, which - well - have always been there. I took a US citizen to Chester once, who wanted to know why the "Newgate" was 1,000 years old. He had trouble grasping it was built to replace the original, which had been built a thousand years previously.
And there's Stonehenge and the ancient settlements on the Western Isles and Orkney, which quite amazing.
Welcome to Theme Park UK…
The "historical" nature of London is something Brits take for granted. Personally I find it crowded, filthy, far too expensive and it's hard to find any indigenous Londoners.
I see much of what you state. I think that I still look beyond some of that "stuff," and can still marvel at the historic. You are, however, correct. If I hear English being spoken on the streets of London, I know that my wife has joined me... When I do find a Londoner, I just sit and talk to them, as long as they will stay. I am sure that they walk away mumbling something like "daft Yank... "
Though we're in London at least twice per year, our schedules, both before and after the meetings, have been so tight, that we have almost never made it out of the city. Hope to rectify that in Dec., when we do the third trip in 2012.
You are not the first to recommend Chester, as a great destination. Our coordinator in London, also has a home in Bath, and has invited us for a visit. Time to "get out of town" a bit!
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