Sunday, 22 June 2014

Bus Cavalcade

Today, in Regent Street, was the special Bus Cavalcade to celebrate the Year of the Bus.  Even if the family hadn't wanted to come, we would have gone.  As it was, we arranged to meet at the first bus, down at the Piccadilly Circus end, at about 2:30.

So this morning first of all, I was preaching, and then we decided to have lunch en route.  Actually, it was more brunch - we went to the Duck Egg Café, one of the many local restaurants.  I had a Full English breakfast (huge), and the Swan Whisperer, who was being rather silly about eating today (this was, I warned him several times, going to be our main meal), had an Egg and Bacon muffin, which he found rather dry.  My Full English was lush, only too much toast, so the SW ate one of my slices.  I drank coffee and he had a San Pellegrino.

Then it was time to leave and we got the Tube to Piccadilly Circus, changing at Green Park.  The Boy, when we met him and his mother, said they had come on the Bakerloo Line from Oxford Circus.

The Cavalcade was boy heaven!  And us heaven, too, if I am honest.  It started with a horse-bus, and ended with a Boris Bus, and all points in between!  Rather excitingly, the horse bus had, in its lifetime, followed the route of the present-day 35, right past the front door! 

I don't see how to put the photos side-by side.  Sigh.  Anyway, we were on a 37 earlier today going into Brixton, and it didn't look like this one!  The route was much the same, though.
As the buses grew more modern, we were increasingly able to board them, and some of them even allowed you to sit in the drivers' seat, which our menfolk took great advantage of:

About 3/4 way up Regent Street was a children's theatre company performing "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus", one of The Boy's favourite books.  I took advantage of a row of seats in the middle of the street to rest my legs for a bit, so although I could see what was happening, I couldn't hear.  Not that it mattered - it was very interactive.  Not sure how much The Boy enjoyed it, but he certainly loved all the buses.  When we got up to Oxford Circus, after a look round a Boris Bus, which neither he nor his mother had been on before (we have, and don't think much of them) we discovered they are now running on the no 10 to King's Cross, so the boys (Boy Too had been quietly in the sling all afternoon, although he was getting bored of it now) and their mother went off to catch one, while we headed home down the Tube and home for a much-needed cup of tea! 

Blissful, and highly recommended if they ever do it again!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

And.... home!

We left Verdun by just after 09:00 - it was a case of having to, really, as the paid-for parking in the street outside the hotel kicked in then!   We bought a sandwich and some chouquettes from the patisserie across the road for our lunch, having had breakfast at the hotel. 

As we had plenty of time, we decided to do the first part of the journey cross-country, rather than going on the autoroute, and asked the SatNav to take us to Cambrai, which it duly did.  Very cross-country, but it was a lovely drive; for much of the time we were the only car on the road, and the scenery was delightful.  We arrived in Cambrai at lunchtime, and ate our sandwiches, but unfortunately it was raining so we decided not to go for a walk, but to do our shopping.  There was a Cora on the outskirts of town, so we went there and stocked up, although they didn't have any of the lovely poppy-seed bread mix I really like. 

By the time we had finished and had an ice in the cafeteria, it was time to set off, so we went straight towards Calais on the motorway.  We decided to pop into Auchan to see if they had any poppy-seed bread mix (they didn't) and one other thing, and then, as it was now less than two hours before our scheduled crossing, headed straight for the terminal.

Sadly, we didn't get home early!  There was an ominous comment that "All services were suspended" due to a train stuck in a tunnel, and the automatic check-in (I do like the way the check-ins at the French terminal recognise your car number-plate and you don't have to find your booking number) gave us a number which I think corresponded with our original booking.  So we sadly went into the terminal and sat down with the free Wi-Fi, but as we went in, the log-jam broke and people started to return to their cars who had been held up on earlier crossings.  Our crossing, N, was subsequently advertised as an hour later than we'd booked, but we noticed they called N cars along with M cars for the previous ones, and rushed off  (we were already sitting in the car reading at that stage) and got on a crossing only half an hour later.  And the Shuttle wasn't full, which we thought a bit bad as there had been such delays.  Still, the crossing was uneventful and we got home at a reasonable hour. 

And look what was waiting for us on the window-sill:
 I haven't known that particular cactus to bloom at any time, never mind in June!  The other one is very much an Old Faithful and I only keep it because it blooms so regularly in December....

And so, back to the grindstone.  This blog will be updated when I do anything interesting, either out and about in London or on a short break. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Slow journey

We started the day with a picnic breakfast in our room - no way were we going to pay €16 each for what the Mercure offered. Then we went shopping, as I wanted bread mix that was different from Lidl's offerings, and a loaf of bread to take home and/or eat for lunch tomorrow. Also a toy for my Boy.
We set off quite late - about 11:00 or so, and promptly ran into trouble on the motorway. There had been an accident and we were badly held up. The satnav said it knew a quicker way, so we said yes please, but in fact the accident was earlier than it thought it was so we should have stayed on. However, we had a lovely drive through the Rhine valley, culminating in a dam where we saw the gates closing on a tourist boat.

 Another stop to get rid of used coffee and full up with petrol, and then a final one for lunch at the entry to the Tunnel St Die. We had flammküchen, yum. Mine had snails and the SWs had mushrooms. And I had a beer and he had cola, which did not stop him feeling sleepy later. So we stopped yet again for him to have coffee and a nap, and I had an ice.
We arrived in Verdun eventually, though. The hotel room is tiny, but will do for one night. Wifi is unreliable, though. The proprietor gave us a tourist map of the town and showed us the suggested walk, which we have been on, and now we are in the restaurant next door, which is a baked potato place.

And so the homeward journey starts

So we packed up the apartment, going through the frustrating stage where it got worse before it got better, ate breakfast, made sandwiches for lunch, and finally set off about 09:45, getting lost on the way to the hotel to check out - the hotel and the apartments are at opposite ends of Oberstdorf.

All finally sorted and paid for, we had a lovely drive along the Deutschen Alpenstrasse towards the Bodensee, or Lake Constance as it is sometimes called. We stopped for lunch in a rest area which had a restaurant/café/stall and bought some strawberries which are lovely. Then a very, very slow drive along the shores of the Bodensee, traffic nose to tail and it took ages.  We stopped again at Titisee for the SW to stretch his legs, and finally arrived here in Freiburg at about 5:00 pm.

After a cup of tea, we went for a stroll around the old town,
and had supper in a restaurant near the Munster, about 2 minutes' walk from the hotel. The SW went out again later to find a supermarket for the morning and to see if he could get in to a concert he had heard advertised, but he couldn't, as it was full.

Now we are about to have a picnic breakfast and get some more bread to make another packed lunch on what is the last full day of the holidays. But there is all of today and most of tomorrow....

Sunday, 1 June 2014

All good things

Come to an end, and this is as true of the ISU Adult competition as of anything else.

Yesterday started very early, and we were at the rink by 06:00 for our official practice, after which we came back to the apartment to have breakfast and another couple of hours' sleep before getting ready for the competition which started at 11:15. We were the first to skate, and buggered up the lift, which we never do!  Grrr. However, our spin was given the benefit of the doubt, so we did get some technical marks, although not many. But still. 

The rest of the day was taken up with increasingly better dances, wonderful male skaters, synchro teams and, finally, elite ladies' artistic. We did pop out for lunch briefly, but that was about it.  Then the podium, although not all of our class attended, and then another quick change of clothes and make-up and it was off to the Oberstdorf Haus for the final banquet. We left fairly soon after the meal, as it was very noisy,, and with the SW not dancing, you couldn't hear what anybody was saying, and  the band wasn't that good!

Ah well, Oberstdorf may be over, but we still have three more days of holiday to go!