The Year of the Island

Charlie and I are traveling in 2018 to 3 different islands as enumerated in my 101 tasks in 1001 days.

Our accommodations in Bath are at The Ayrlington House.

#6 United Kingdom – We have plane tickets and accommodations for 10 days of travel and sightseeing.

Stonehenge

I have also arranged for a special early morning visit to Stonehenge.  Next I’m going to get tickets to Buckingham Palace.  Everything else will have to fit into schedule that remains.

Even though Cuba is very close to the US, our credit and debit cards were not accepted there

#20 Cuba – We visited Cuba in the beginning of February for 5 days. Our adventures on this island just off the coast of Florida are in posts entitled “Trip to Cuba”.

Havana Harbor

#67 Smith Island, Maryland

The town of Ewell on the northern shore of Smith Island.

Finally in the middle of the summer we are heading to Smith Island, the last inhabited offshore island on the Maryland side of the Chesapeake. None of us has ever been there before.

Camp Meeting on Smith Island circa 1910.

Sug, Charlie and I going in part to attend a Methodist “camp meeting” that has been held on the island for the past 132 years.

I have rented a house found on AirBnB which will provide us with bicycles and a canoe and a perch to view beautiful sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay. There are few cars on the island which must be accessed by boat alone.

Great Britain

We’re excited to celebrate the Year of the Island by traveling in state, in hemisphere, and across the pond.

Where are you going?

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Our Digs in London — Finally

I have been putting off and putting off committing to accommodations in London.

We’re staying in Chelsea Mews — former stables.

I wasn’t sure whether Sug would meet us over there or not so I was researching both small and large apartments at the same time. Impossible.

Looks like our bedroom is up a flight of stairs.

Sug has decided, instead, to go on a mission to Central America so I limited my search to accommodations for two, Charlie and Jo.

We’ll be staying the area in the green circle.

I searched two different websites: AirBnB and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and finally settled for an AirBnB one bedroom flat in Chelsea, an area of London north of the river and west of London city center.

We’ll be in walking distance to Earl’s Court underground station.

Because we’re staying for 7 days in the same place we are getting a 10% discount. (While we were visiting Paris we moved once across the city on a Sunday which was a hassle.)

Google maps has a feature that shows an overlay of pubic transportation with a click of the mouse.

One important feature is proximity to the London Underground, especially the Piccadilly Line (dark blue line on the map) which goes directly to Heathrow Airport.

I’m going to try to get tickets to tour Buckingham Palace.

I’m excited to now have all our accommodations pinned down so I can begin to plan the sights and attractions.

Have you tried AirBnB or VRBO yet?

List, 2018: May Plans

We’re finally looking at consistently warm weather this week.  Charlie has been re-configuring and planting his garden.  He enjoys working outside in our yard which is totally beautiful at this time of year.

The dogwood bloom in April.

Exertion

Charlie is planning to finish the grading and seeding of the front yard and the area between the house and his vegetable garden

Really tired of looking at dirt in front of the house.

This is heavy, gruesome job is on-going for Charlie but ultimately he is a careful worker.

Execution

I’m still focusing on making housing arrangements in London.

Our accommodations in Bath are at The Arlyngton House.

We have the added excitement that Sug might join us while we’re there.

Entertaining

We’re planning to meet friends at a favorite restaurant.

Dash likes a cold drink of water and his new car harness.

And we’re taking little Dash out for our coffee excursions.

Entertainment

We have tickets to see a practice flight of the Navy’s Blue Angels.

We’ll be on the grassy hill behind the Severn Inn. A picnic seems in order.

Exterior Outsourcing 

Both the Chapel at The Glade and Sug’s deck in front of the Cottage should be accomplished in May.

We like both the radish and the greens for eating.

Charlie is ready to begin harvesting especially radishes and in a few weeks sugar snap peas.

Exercise

In addition to dog walks I would like to find a someplace where I could try tai chi because I’m fairly good at slooooow movement.

We saw a daily tai chi troupe in this park in Havana.

In Havana, Cuba a group assembled daily in John Lennon Park for tai chi.

Have you ever tried tai chi?

Inside the Stone Circle

We’re planning to visit Stonehenge while we’re in England later this year.  The price for entry into Stonehenge is £17.50 ($24.50) per person. The price of the ticket during the public hours from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. does not allow one to actually walk among the stones.

Most people have to stay on the walkway.

I applied to English Heritage  to allow us to come in the early morning before the public opening to allow us to get an up close-and-personal look at the stones.

I’d like to be this close.

We were contacted by email that our application had been conditionally accepted if we made payment by phone within 7 days.  I called immediately.

Obviously we won’t get a bird’s eye view but we will be in the circle.

Rebecca told me in a lovely British accent that their computers were down and could I call the next day.

Stonehenge — 5,000 years old.

I called the next day bright and early our time — afternoon their time. I gave all my information and paid £77 for the two of us to spend one hour in the stone circle up close and personal. We must arrive 15 minutes before our scheduled entry at 6:45 a.m. We might be sharing the circle with up to 30 people. Our entry also gets us into the gift shop, museum, and perimeter of the stones but not until the actual opening at 9:30 a.m.

Hoping our early morning appointment will eliminate traffic.

We have an early adventure ahead of us.

What adventure have you enjoyed?

London Plans Not Coming Together

A month ago I purchased 2 tickets to London for this fall. I’ve been trying to set up a schedule so I will know where to book accommodations.

We’ re heading to London in the fall of 2018.

I’ve changed the plans around a number of times to try and organize an itinerary that keeps us in town for about 7 of our 10 days there.  That is our usual modus operandi on a 10-day trip abroad.

We’re planning to rent a car to give Charlie the experience of driving on the other side of the road in a car with the steering wheel on the right.

I decided to take the trip out-of-town at the beginning of the trip so we could benefit from a weekly rental in London which usually comes with a discount over the daily rate.

We will not be purchasing the London Pass.

I tried to make the plans by just making notes on a list of the days but that wasn’t working because it was too complicated.  At first I thought we might purchase a “London Pass” for each of us but decided that it would not be cost effective in the long run and might restrict our spontaneity.

I’m moving the cards around to work out a reasonable and flexible plan.

Instead I have a very large whiteboard calendar on the dining room table.  I have made cards for any and all sights we’d like see.  I have markered-in the details that are etched in stone  and move the cards around until a reasonable plan emerges.

Bath is a city with Georgian architecture and Roman baths.

We’re planning to head west to Bath straight from Heathrow Airport upon our arrival.  The next day we wanted to see Stonehenge but I found out that the price of the ticket during the public hours from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. does not allow one to actually walk among the stones.

Stonehenge — 5,000 years old.

I have applied to English Heritage  to allow us to come in the early morning before the public opening to allow us to get an up close-and-personal look at the stones — to even touch them. That would change our plans for the second day because the only availability is on Day 3 of our trip.

I’d like to be this close.

Now I am in waiting mode until we find out the verdict.

Is there one thing in the world you’d like to see?

Update on Global Access

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

Global Entry program.

The online questionnaire took about 10 minutes which included a $100 online fee for a 5-year card.  I was accepted on a conditional basis until an in-person interview at our local airport.

My fingerprints have been digitally recorded.

The Customs official who interviewed me about a week later also took my fingerprints on a digital fingerprint machine. I had to present my passport. At that time I was told my application had passed and I would be receiving my card in the mail in 5-7 days which is what happened.

This card is about the size of a credit card and comes with its own tamper-proof case.

The Global Entry card includes TSA Pre-check. I’m eager to use my new re-entry to the US document on our next international trip.  Charlie also needs to apply.

Where is your next destination?

Artistic London Advice

I have been putting off committing to searching for accommodations in London.  I just didn’t know enough about the city.

That’s me walking on the lawn in the watercolor.

Then I remembered that the artist who did the watercolor I received as a gift had done a series of paintings during a trip to Bath in England.

We are planning a side trip to Bath.

I asked what advice she might have about a trip to the UK. Her response above was right in line with our habits.  We love staying at B and Bs.

I’m not sure what the is being suggested here but now I have a start.

She also told us of some favorite excursions in London.  If I can find these accommodations and they are available I feel I have a solid referral.  This is a second recommendation for visiting the Prime Meridian.

Do you have a favorite island visit?