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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Traveling On Down The Road

We have been spending a lot of time in the RV this summer with our Cardinal Capers Group, family and friends.  Recently we spent about three days at the Rustic Barn in Keiler, Wisconsin.  This group gets together at least once a month and we have a great time.  One of our games we like to play is the "Falling Towers".  Try to pull out a block and place on top without making the stack of blocks come tumbling down.  Dick took a turn first.  Seems It alway fell when my turn came around.
  
 Phyllis made it through this round, but Ruth wasn't so lucky - below... 

Our next favorite game is bean bag baseball which is also a lot of fun. 

But our favorite pastime is to eat, eat and eat. 

Sometimes a lucky grandchild might get to join us...
As we wind up the day, we sat around a camp fire and enjoy the beautiful sunset.  We left Keiler, Wisconsin after a few days and the group headed to Forest City, Iowa where we all camped for a week plus and enjoyed the Winnebago Grand National Rally.  This year the theme was "Pirates", therefore there were some great decorations throughout the camp grounds and a lot of scary pirates running around.  While there Phyllis met a friend by the name of Bones...

The rally always has an antique car parade.  Very interesting cars of all makes and models.  Our grandson Dakota was with us and he really was impressed with this model.

Time to take our grandson back home, we ventured to Hartford, Iowa where we had a two day camping visit with Phyllis' youngest brother.  We camped above the Des Moines river banks and it was beautiful to sit and look over the valley.  The water tower in the background is the small town  of Runnells where Phyllis grew up and still has family living there.



We finally made it back to Freeport just in time to celebrate our 50th Golden Anniversay.  The summer is going quite fast...

Thank You

We would like to thank everyone for the beautiful 50th Anniversary cards which we have been receiving for a week or so.  There is no better feeling then to go to the mail box and find a card or note from a friend.  We really appreciate all our family and friends who helped us to celebrate our 50th Anniversary.  Our daughters and families came to Illinois and we enjoyed a delicous meal out for the evening, played some silly games, watched some "ancient old" slides and had a great time.  
We have never received so many cards in our married life, about 60 in all.  Like Dick laughingly said, did one of us die, that is when you get so many "cards"....  Thank you all for your thoughtfullness and for being a part of our celebration as it mean't so much.  "In the picture is Grandma and Grandpa with most of the grandchildren" - one couldn't make the outing as he is in New Mexico with his boyscout group. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weather

It is in the sixties tonight and raining.  It has rained all day. What a change.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hedlunds Head North ^ and Avoid the HEAT!



We got an Email from Rosemary Hedlund on July 12th saying they would be passing through Edmonton on their way to Alaska and could we meet them at the campground they would be staying at. I replied that “Of course we would love to meet them.” In the meantime Lorna and I did a week long trip into Washington State to the Grand Coulee area on the GoldWing motorcycle.
On July 20th we got the call so we headed 40 miles to the other side of Edmonton to meet up with them. Rosemary and Bill were along with Rosemary’s sister Connie and brother-in-law Daryl Sullivan in their lovely diesel pusher motorhome. We had great conversation with all and were treated to a lemon bar treat by Connie and a glass of wine. We snapped this picture of the six of us and then Daryl showed us the route he had planned out to the farthest point of Fairbanks. Yes thats me on the left. I forgot to shave . . . for a month! They will hit all the hot spots along the way including Denali Park before getting to Anchorage. Then Bill and Rosemary will fly home in mid August while the Sullivan's continue on their trek for another month. If you care to follow their tour you can go to sullivansrvadventure.blogspot.com    By the way the Sullivan’s are no strangers to Texas as they winter each year at Victoria Palms.
Rosemary asked me to remind all Leisure Worlders that once again we would be having an Fund Raiser Auction this winter. If you were at the auction in February 2011 you know how much fun we all had. And raising 5 grand for our kitchen expansion was great too! So the idea is to bring something unique to Leisure World from your home town or state for this auction. Of course home-made-pies and "Packer" paraphernalia went over great too! 
Lorna and Wally (Grizzly) Bentt

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

a BIG thank you

To all of the Leisure World Residents who contribute to the collection of:
     Toothbrushes & toothpaste
     Combs & brushes
     Little soaps & shampoos
     Lotions of all kinds
    And all the other stuff you hand to me to share.

THANK YOU on behalf of the Women's Shelter in Weslaco.
Dave and I delivered the whole batch to them yesterday. And they are very grateful for what you do.

The collection will start over again as soon as you come back with more donations from your travels.

Thanks for sharing.  Carol Slater


Hot

Many times winter Texan friends ask how we live in the heat in South Texas in the summer time.  I have been in Missouri for three weeks now.  I have kept track and every day but one has been hotter here than in the valley.  It has been running close to 100 every day.  105 was the highest.  I think summer is just hot unless you get a lot further north than Iowa where my daughter says it hot also.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Daniel Hernandez Returns to Work!

We are very pleased to be able to advise that the doctor has given Daniel clearance to return to work (light duty) on the maintenance staff at Leisure World tomorrow. Daniel is recovering from a broken ankle. We will be very glad to see him back.
Daniel has also expressed his pleasure on being able to return to work. He wants to thank all of the residents for their generosity and support during his enforced time off! The care, concern and contributions of his fellow workers, the owners and managers, and the residents of Leisure World have touched him and his family beyond words.  Thank you.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Posting requested by Bob Clark

Guess what the subject of the day was at "Social Hour" Friday the 13th!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

JULY 4TH.....

Well, I'm late at  posting as always, but there is one thing to be said for that....I don't get paid, I won't get fired, so I'm not the least bit worried.......Now.......... "Thy Will Be Done". We had a great time as always. I didn't include all my pictures, I take way to many...We had a Potatoe Bar, the potatoe was (one lb.each) The dinner was put on by Al and Linda , They tell me Darlene H. helped put together a side dish (Don't ask me what it was), my memory is not that long... The potatoes were huge and the trimmings were delicious. I took half of mine home and had it for breakfast the next morning, A few of the toppings.... cheese, sourcream, chili, brisket, onion....Jo Anne read a short reading......40 people present.....Great fun was had by all....Look at the beautiful table top.....
                                                              The lovely centerpiece
                                                            Patriotic people of all colors            
                 All the really patriotic..Red, white and blues, I was too, but I had to take the picture
                                          Awesome cake that Lucy brought...She made it
                                                                  Awesome LUCY.....
                                                                  Aw....... there I am
                                                      Telma and Bob, burgandy patriotic
                                                    Llyod and Mary, waiting in line
                                       Dave and Carol, waiting in line....The lines were long.....
                                                                    Love this one.....
                                                                   The long lines
                                                         Ray, What's on the mind?
                                            I even found a  pair of patriotic shoes on Joyce
                        And I couldn't get the servers from the front, so I had to do the behind!!!!!
And last, but not least, I almost forgot this picture.....

Sunshine Report

7/10/2012    Gary Davis a new resident at # 167 has had a quadruple by-pass surgery.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kansas Meets Alberta


John and Laverne Soetebier (lot 322) from Americus, Kansas detoured west and north to escape the heat. Their first stop was to Laverne's sisters place in Hamilton, MT. They traveled from there to Sherwood Park, Alberta on July 4th in rain and cool to visit Wally and Lorna Bentt (lot 320). Yes we are neighbors in Leisure World! Well we didn't want them to feel too, too cool so we cranked up the heat just for them!

We took them golfing to our Broadmoor course just a few blocks from home on Thursday. Nobody's scores were pretty but we had fun! 
John and Laverne at The Broadmoor
A Big Swing from Laverne
On Friday we took them on a two day tour, through Edmonton and then up to Jasper National Park. We did Meitte Hot Springs, but decided not to go in for a swim because the pool was crowded and because Laverne wasn't sure if her swim suit wouldn't disintegrate from being disused. Then we took them up to Maligne Lake and Maligne Canyon, then Pyramid and Patricia lakes before an Italian supper in the town of Jasper. We returned to our motel in Hinton. 
At Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park
On Saturday on our way back to Jasper we had the thrill of having a huge buck deer dart across the highway with only a few feet to spare after Wally slammed on the brakes. Our first stop was the beautiful Mount Edith Cavell. John was thrilled looking at the Victoria Glacier. Then we were off to Athabasca and Sunwapta falls and the Columbia Icefields. This Glacier has melted and retreated almost a mile in the past 100 years supposedly from global warming. We had a huge hill to climb to get up to the toe of the glacier so John decided to stay back and guard the truck while the three of us did the climb. It is amazing to see how much this has receded since I was a kid. Oh I guess that was a long time ago!
We Four at Mt Edith Cavell
Athabasca Falls

John's Doing Duty with the Tree 
John and Laverne Meet New Friends
Flat-Lander Laverne Climbing to the Glacier


John is Guarding the Truck in the Parking Lot Below





Laverne with Columbia Icefield Behind
Peyto Lake


We travelled a few miles down the road to Parker Ridge to watch crazy skiers hiking up the hill just so they could ski down again. A few more miles down the road we have a bag lunch along the N Saskatchewan River. Our last major stop of the day was the incredible Peyto Lake. The scenery today along the Banff/Jasper highway 93 is just fabulous because the sky is blue with great temperatures and no winds. 







One of Thousands of Great Scenes Along Highway 93


And wildlife was prevalent as well with several Elk, Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep and even a couple of Bears. We could not have asked for better weather. We arrive home before 7pm for BBQed burgers and beverages on the deck and mid 80s temps. 

Big Horn Sheep Lamb Lying in the Middle of the Highway
Bull Elk in the Velvet Antler Stage
Whiskey Jack
Black Bear Dining on Grasses
Sunday had Wally heading off to a GoldWing club ride, so Lorna would entertain those Kansans today. Yes they went to the world's biggest West Edmonton Mall. Wally got home around six and treated them to Bruschetta Parmesan Chicken burgers. The recipe is simple. grill your burgers until they get to 155F. Spoon a couple teaspoons of Parmesan cheese onto each burger with a dip in the middle. Spoon a couple of teaspoons of Bruschetta into the dip and grill until the cheese melts. This combo is so flavorful that you only need lettuce and mayonnaise on a bun to complete your meal.

We said goodbye to our Leisure World neighbors as they would be leaving early in the morning hauling their 5th wheel to Cochrane near Calgary for a Cedar Creek rally. They will then continue east along the Trans Canada Highway and visit Pete & Janet Doerksen and Ray and Denise Burnell in Manitoba before heading back to the really warm weather in Kansas!


Wally and Lorna Bentt

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sunshine Report

7/06/2012   James Woods passed away this morning.

Sunshine report

7/06/2012   Maida Larsen a former long time resident of Leisure World passed away this past Wednesday.

The Iowa/Texas Connection


IOWA TEXAS LEISURE WORLD REUNION

Wednesday, August 8, 2012
9:30 ----- 3:00
Trinity Lutheran Church
1011 South Street
Marshalltown, IA

Come To The County Fair


Swiss Steak Mashed Potatoes—gravy
Green Beans Roll Dessert
Coffee Iced Tea
Please bring an item you might enter in a County Fair ---- crafts, wooden item, vegetables, fruit, flowers, painting, ears of corn, canning, etc. Have any PHOTOS of things you once took? Bring!!

Directions: From N—Follow 3rd Ave south to South Street—Turn Right to driveway

From E, S, W ----Follow Hwy 14 north to South Street, turn Right on South Street 2 ½ blocks – turn Left into parking lot

Please send a check for $15.00 per person by August 1 to

Ronald or Jo Elyn Hersom

905 Henry Drive phone 641-752-6528

Marshalltown, Iowa 50158     

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Part 2 of Wally and Lorna's European Trip


Montjuic Cemetery

As promised we will continue with part two of our wonderful European cruise. On May 29th we caught an early flight out of London, Heathrow to Barcelona. We arrived to very warm sunny weather. After getting to our hotel we catch a city bus downtown. We pass by a terraced hillside covered with gravestones and glassed-in crypts. This is  the Montjuic Cemetery which contains over a million burials and cremation ashes in a 150,000 plots. Once downtown we walk around the port area which is a huge shopping and entertainment district. The centre piece is the Port Cable Car which travels up to the Parc del Miramar on Montjuic Mountain.

Narrow Streets in Old Barcelona

Port Authority Building


Sagrada Familia
The next morning we take the the bus downtown again and take the HoHo. Barcelona is a fabulous city with a mix of old and new and many architectural marvels. This city is home to the famous architect Gaudi and he has left a huge foot print here. Two of his most famous buildings are he Casa Mila and the Sagrada Familia the later of which was unfinished upon his death in 1926. They have been working on it ever since and it still has a ways to go to completion. It is a totally unbelievable structure. Barcelona also has many art galleries and theaters. We checked out several of the narrow streets in the old city and then dined on the famed Las Ramblas. This is a busy very long ‘walking only’ street loaded with restaurants and bars. There are fantastic mime characters and artists everywhere.
May 31st is our departure date on the Royal Caribbean ship the Grandeur of the Seas. This is her first cruise since a total refurbishment. We board about 1pm and spend the rest of the day checking out the ship and viewing Barcelona from the waterfront. We dine in the Great Gatsby Dining room and meet two other Canadian couples, Soren and Janice from Abbotsford, BC, and Jack and Debbie from Calgary. Our waiter and assistant waiter were Ronald from the Philippines and Kendra from the West Indies. We would dine every night with this group and it was a total blast with jokes and laughter every evening. A couple of days later we would invite Rhonda from Australia to join our table. She was at a table of German people who basically ignored her.
We arrive in Marseilles early on June 1st but we have been super busy for the past couple of weeks so decide to skip this stop and stay aboard the ship. We book three excursions on this day and get settled in to the shipboard routine.

Fortress Villefranche-sur-Mar 
On June 2nd our stop is Villefranche just to east of Nice France. This will be our first excursion. The ship is at anchor so we are tendered to shore. We walk from the tender into an old fort called Villefranche-sur-Mar where our bus is located. Our first stop is the Flower Market in Nice, then a walk along he famed Cote d’ Azur. It is overcast today so there are not many beach goers. Then the bus takes us on a mountain road through many tunnels to Monaco. There are many beautiful villas and hotels and cliff sides. The Grand Prix of Monaco was just over on the weekend so they are still removing the temporary grandstands. We go see where Princess Grace was married and where she lived. We are amazed at the skill of our bus driver. Many roads and streets are extremely narrow but he handles it with aplomb.  Our return to the ship is via a coastal road. 
Some of Thousand Bouquets in Nice Flower Market
Castle where Princess Grace Lived



Monaco with Grandstands Still Standing


Leaning Tower of Pisa
Our next stop is Livorno, Italy and our next excursion will take us to Pisa and Florence. The leaning tower of Pisa is pretty incredible. It is actually a bell tower for the Cathedral of Pisa. It has a lean of 4 degrees. The lean is caused by poor soil conditions. The Baptistry which is behind the Cathedral also has a slight lean. From Pisa we continued on to Florence. This is a marvelous old city with statues galore and several piazzas or plazas. The Florence Cathedral is stunning in design and is one of the largest in Italy. And interesting place to visit is the Ponte Vecchio which is the only Florence bridge across the Arno river to survive WWII bombing. It now is a thriving 4 level shopping area with hi-end jewelry and souvenir shops. 
Pisa Cathedral
Florence's Cathedral
Yes 'David' Lives in Florence




Ponte Vecchio

St Peters Cathedral in the Vatican
Day 5 puts us into Civitacecchia which is the cruise terminal for Rome. This will be our last excursion. It is an hour and half bus ride into Rome. We are dropped at the Vatican but after seeing the huge lineups to get into the Vatican we opt out of that idea. We take the HoHo. This is the sixth and by far the worst HoHo that we have used. The messages on the audio system are very poorly done, missing many wonderful sights as we pass by. At one point the bus stopped for 25 minutes. We wondered what was going on and so went down the the lower level to find both the driver and guide gone from their posts with no explanation. Our crew finally arrives and we take this bus back to the Vatican and get on a second HoHo. We get off at the Coliseum and walk around there for an hour. We are very disappointed with Rome. Locals refuse to or can’t speak English and are very arrogant and unhelpful. It is an over-crowded, polluted city. Scooters, stinky diesel cars and people everywhere and huge traffic jams. We are glad to get back on the bus and head for the ship.
Arch of Constantino


The Coleseum
Castel St. Angelo


Il Vittoriano
Mt. Vesuvius
 Our next stop is at Napoli or Naples. We decide to hire a cab and tour around this way instead of taking excursions. Generali is our driver and we are astounded that we know more Italian that he knows English. We finally persuade him to take us for 5 hours over to Sorrento for 150 €s. He is driving like crazy doing 120 and 130 kph in a 60 zone all the while yattering in Italian and playing Dean Martin songs on the stereo very loudly. Pompeii is on the way to Sorrento so we ask him to pull in there. He almost refuses and then says this will cost us 50 € more. As we approach downtown he finds a cab supervisor who speaks English and explains the situation. He says he wants 50 € more and we tell him we have him for 5 hours no matter where we go. Again he is stubborn. I tell the super that we will pay him 50 € and he can take us back to the ship. He doesn’t like that idea and so agrees to our terms. We spend an hour at the Pompeii viewing the ruins from the outside. The fees to go in for an hour are exorbitant.

Pompeii Ruins



WW One War Memorial in Sorrento

Then we find him and continue on to Sorrento. Again he is driving like crazy through some of the mile or longer 2 lane tunnels. Sorrento is a very pretty city. We have two hours here before he will pick us up again. We have lunch and take a HoHo train this time. Generali is still in a hurry on the way back and arrives 5 minutes over the 5 hours. At the cruise terminal, Audrey needed some medication for cold sores. They stopped at a pharmacy, but couldn’t believe that the Pharmacist couldn’t speak a word of English. They couldn’t even get him to understand sign language. Who does he think comes off on cruise ships? Unbelievable! Our overall experiences in Italy have definitely knocked a return there to the bottom of our bucket list. Onto Athens, Greece tomorrow.

At the Parthenon
Herodes Theatre
Our port is about 10 miles from downtown and we had heard that they had a train going from the cruise terminal. We walk up the hill and are greeted by a cabbie named Demitri. He says he will take us to all the highlights for 160 € and he even speaks good English. This is a good deal so we take him up on this. He first takes us via several back roads to the Acropolis and the Parthenon explaining that taking the main roads takes much longer because of heavy traffic. Once there he explains that if you buy an 8 € ticket there it is good for all of the main attractions in Athens. Such a deal! The Acropolis sits atop a mountain in the middle of the city of 4 million. The scene from up here is absolutely incredible. The columns of the Parthenon and the Herodes Theatre below are marvelous to witness. This has stood here for more than 3,000 years. Through the years they have been several attempts to maintain the status quo with these structures. These have failed because they have used steel rods and fasteners to hold everything together. They are currently into another retrofit and this time are using titanium instead of steel. The columns are very interesting. They look like a solid piece of marble but each column is actually composed of several smaller pieces connected together. 




Athens is in a Huge Bowl
Demitri then takes us to see Hadrian’s arch and Library and he temple of Zeus. The Romans over-run Athens in the second century and so the arch was built. From here we see the Panatghenaic Stadium. It is in a natural bowl and seats 60,000 people. It is from here that the Olympic Flame is taken to all of the participating countries each Olympics. Then we go to the Greek Parliament to witness the changing of the guard. This quite a unique undertaking which happens hourly. The guards are all selected for their height. They have a kilt like uniform and have unusual leather clog shoes with black pompoms at the toes. Then we go to a hugh archeological dig area called the Agoranomeion. Much of this dig is 20 to 40 feet below street level. From here we go to for a late lunch and cold beers at a sidewalk cafe. It is very hot but we are cooled by fans with water mists blown at us. This is a very pleasant lunch. Then we take pictures at Afrides or the Tower of the Winds. Then Demitri takes us back to the ship. What a pleasant change from Italy. Helpful people speaking good English and venues at reasonable prices.

Panatghenaic Stadium



Agoranomeion




































Day 8 we have arrived at Mykonis for a shortened day. What a scene. It is hot and sunny. All the houses and businesses are whitewashed and extend up the hillside. Everything here is super clean. There are several of the famous windmills here. They were used for grind grain but are no longer used so do not have the blades installed. We first spent an hour walking almost to the top of the hill. Going down was much nicer. The shopping area down by the port has very narrow cobblestone streets. There is a lot of unique shops pedaling such things as hats, dresses, shirts, olive wood carvings and jewelry. The harbor has many nice yachts and a couple of tall ships at anchor. The water is crystal clear. We must return to the ship by 4pm as our next stop will be Katacolan on the west side of the Peloponnese.


Mykonis



Columns at Olympus 
Katacolan looks nothing like Mykonis. It is a small town with most of the buildings along the shoreline. We walked about town for a while and then wanted to rent scooters but there are none left that have trunks. So instead we rent a Fiat Panda for 40€ for the day. This is much cheaper than taking the ship sponsored tours. We drove to Olympia home of the first Olympic site about 40 km's away. This ruins is very large with English signage and is loaded with huge trees which is good because it is very hot today. So we walked from photo-op to photo-op and caught as much shade as possible. There is a natural bowl arena with seating for 40,000 plus on the grassy slopes. At one location their was a large circular gazebo that was made up of 8 columns. This site had been pilfered of stones and columns and three of these columns had been taken to The Berlin Museum. The German government returned these to the site and restored 3 of the columns. We returned to Katacolan along a beach road. Beach front houses were varied with some nice and some not so nice. But all yards had lots of flowering bushes, mostly Bougainvillea. We stopped in at a small sidewalk cafe for lunch and met this very nice couple and their daughter. They talked extensively about the area, which added to our liking of the area. We then took a short drive to the north and seen a goat ranch. We returned the car and headed back to the ship.



Entrance to the First Stadium

Sidewalk Cafe in Katacolan

Greece is just so opposite of Italy. People are very helpful and most speak very good English and are willing to do so. The other thing we noticed is that most venues we much cheaper than Italy and everything was very clean. 

We have a relaxing day at sea and then arrive Venice early in the morning. We take a considerable detour and walk around trying to find a cheap way to the hotel and finally settle on sharing a cab that was heading to the airport. We crossed the only bridge to the mainland and ended up on the wrong side of the road to get to our hotel. We struggled up a 50 foot stairway to a pedestrian bridge with all our luggage. Our rooms aren't ready yet so we stored our luggage and headed back to Venice on the city bus. It took 50 minutes to go the 5 or 6 km because the bridge was down to one lane because of construction. Good thing we didn't walk into town though as we walked our butts off in Venice. The bus terminal at the bridge end is the last place for wheeled vehicles. You either walk or take water taxis everywhere. We used the water taxi at 5€ each riding for an hour. This got us to St. Mark's Piazza (plaza) which is the shopping and cultural centre of town. The church was almost completed a refurbishment. The columns were of different marble colors. It is beautiful. We walked around the commercial area which is loaded with many high-end exclusive shops. We stopped for expensive beers then we took the mandatory Gondola ride. It was 80€ for the 4 of us for 30 minutes. This goes up to 100€ in the evening. It is a must do on your bucket list but not really worth the money. Then we boarded the water taxi back to the bus terminal. We were all very tired and enjoyed the brief respite riding the bus back to the hotel. 

St. Marks Basilica in Venice
Venice Water Front
Riding the Gondol
The plan was to go back into Venice the next morning as our planned flight time was 4:45 pm back to London, Gatwick. But at our hotel breakfast it started pouring rain, really the first rain we had on the entire trip. Between the threatening weather, 45 minute ride over the bridge and the fact that there were open seats on earlier flights we opted to go to the airport. Our ride would be with EasyJet a discount airline out of Marco Polo airport. I selected this airline because it was almost $400 a seat cheaper than flying BA back to Heathrow. Well "You gets what you pay for." First we paid 30€ each to switch flights to a 12:15 am. Then we stand in a huge lineup for an hour and a half to check our bags at a single kiosk. We are frustrated and afraid we will miss the flight. When we finally reach the counter the gal said we didn't preorder baggage. This will cost us a further 37€ each. We pay it then rush to security. The plane is shown as 'boarding'. This Airport is poorly designed and is much like Edmonton International was 35 years ago. We have to climb stairs to security then go down stairs to the boarding lounge. When we get there there are several people already on a bus to take us out to the plane which had rolling steps out on the tarmac. Then we wait. We wait! We wait! They push departure back an hour with no explanation. People are removed from the bus. Then departure is pushed back another hour again without a reason. Then we are told that a bird had hit the nose cone when the plane landed and had damaged some sensitive equipment. We would go instead on a 55 minute flight to Milan for a further inspection where we would get onto another plane. The question was "why not just go to Gatwick for the inspection?" We finally get airborne at 3:45. In Milan we park 50 yards away from the other plane but we are further delayed because regulations say we must descend the air stair and get on a bus. Ridiculous! We arrive Gatwick around 5pm which is almost the time we paid the 30€ to avoid. Very frustrating indeed. I don't recommend EasyJet or RyanAir, and if you can it would be much better to start your cruise in Venice than finish it there because of the poor airport facilities.
We take the train from Gatwick to London’s Victoria Station. Our hotel is close enough to the station that we can walk. We have basically one and a half more days in London since our flight home doesn’t leave until 4:45pm. We decide to take in Hyde Park and again do a lot of walking this day. Our first stop was the Westminster Cathedral. It has a bell tower with an elevator so we take that to the top 273 feet up. The views from here are incredible. At Hyde Park they are setting up for the Olympics Triathlon. The swim portion will be done on Serpentine Lake which has thousands of waterfowl. There will be a huge cleanup for this event. Once more we walk our butts off. We see the Princess Dianna Memorial Fountain which children are enjoying immensely. Our return and have a very nice supper at St. George’s Tavern. The pubs over here have the best food and drink.
The Wellington Arch

Westminster Cathedral Bell Tower
Princess Dianna's Fountain

A Swan on Serpentine Lake Hyde Park
 Our last day we pack up our suitcases and store them at the hotel. We take the tube up to the British Museum. This is a fantastic place but should have been named the World Museum. There are artifacts from all around the world some dating back many centuries. We found the Egypt collection to be very interesting with lots of mummies, statues and other artifacts. The highlight item is the Rosetta Stone that is the key to how scientists were able to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphic language.


The British Museum

Egyptian Mummies
We have a nice final lunch at the Museum Pub, head back to the hotel, pick up our bags and ride the tube out to Heathrow. Our flight home was uneventful but it took us 5 or 6 days to get over the jet lag.
This was a fabulous trip with great friends. It was kind of whirlwind but we seen and did lots and it gave us a great taste of another world!

Thanks for Reading

Wally Bentt