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It's an Exciting World

The life and times of David Geisert

London 2022, Part 2

After getting back from Bath, Steph and I grabbed our luggage from the excess luggage counter with 80 seconds to spare before the 48 hours had elapsed and we would be charged for a third day.  We grabbed a taxi into the heart of London, mainly because I wanted to ride in a Taxi while in London at some point, and it can be a pain to move around the Underground with large luggage.  We got to the Rathbone and it was a lovely hotel in a fantastic spot.  They had our rooms ready despite checking in around 10am, and we took some time to settle in.  We then walked around central London, and saw all the major sights.  We had tea at The Library and had a evening of work.

The next few days I worked while Steph went to some of the other museums during the day.

On Friday we had a day in the British Museum.  We hit the highlights of the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles, Egypt, and the Ancient Wonders.  We also stopped by the clock room as that is one of my favorites.  I see the old clocks as one of the best examples of historical machinery and many of the clocks that are put on display have some kind of automation to the striking or ticking.  The clocks were next to the Sutton Hoo exhibit, which Steph and I had seen a documentary on.  Steph was impressed at the intricate detail in the gold work for the jewelry, which was much smaller than it appeared on the show.

We did a wizard themed afternoon tea, which was unique but not really targeted for us.

Saturday we made our way out to Hampton Court Palace and spent the day taking a tour of the palace and a walk through the gardens there.  Steph enjoyed seeing the palace and watched videos on it for the next few days.  We got to see a lot of art that was displayed there as well, although not the pieces Steph was most looking forward to.  We also got to experience a proper hedge maze, which was a lovely and singular experience.  We didn’t get caught in any wrong turns, and made it trough without any issue.  Our biggest disappointment with the palace was that the kitchen display was only two pieces of roasting meat.

Sunday’s plans for Blenheim Palace got interrupted by the tour company cancelling.  We were looking forward to seeing a proper joust there, but it seems that they didn’t have enough interest to run the trip.  We instead went back to the British Museum and saw much of the rest of it, although still not all.

The next morning we were on our way to the airport with no real issues or delays.  It was nice to be back home with the kitties.

Afternoon Teas in England

The Langham

This afternoon tea was probably the best food of the teas, and the environment was very nice.  The only downside was it was in the center of the building, thus didn’t have any views or much natural light.  I was amused as it drifted towards evening that they brought in some faux candles to light the tables, even though the light that we had was already coming from the electricity instead of the outside.  They had some really amazing sandwiches, which Steph got a second helping of.  There was some excellent live music on piano, that was playing covers of pop music.  The tea selection was also one of the best, and I really enjoyed the whole experience.

The Pump Room, Bath

The Pump Room is in the building that houses the old Roman baths in Bath.  This room is used in many period pieces as a meeting room, as it is picturesque and immediately recognizable.  The food was very good, and the second best of the trip.  The tea was also good, but nothing special.  We enjoyed touring the baths afterwards and the live music.

The Library

The Library was a place we expected to be a good spot for a quiet afternoon tea.  The young child that was at the table next to us made that not the case for the first half of our experience.  The food was decent and the tea was the best of the trip.  I also think the atmosphere, minus the child, and view was the most to my liking of all the places we had afternoon tea.  The view out over the River Thames to see Big Ben was unique, and a highlight of the experience.  I was amused by the haphazard placement of old books around the shelves that surround you.  There were some encyclopedias next to medical journals that then had some Shakespear and accounting books on the same shelf.  It felt like they had purchased old books in bulk, and mixed them up for some variety on the shelves.

The Woseley

Steph went to this while I was stuck at work one day.  She said it was excellent, hold for another young child that was being loud.  She noted that the father was the one taking care of it instead of the mother, who got to enjoy her afternoon tea.  Steph thought the environment and food was top notch.

The Wizard Experience

This experience, that was in no way connected with Harry Potter, despite being just around the corner from the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child theater was interesting, but not really worth it.  It was clear that much of the setup was for either superfans of Harry Potter or younger children.  They had some well done mechanisms and triggers, but the overall experience was a little lacking.  I still enjoyed it, but it was at the bottom of the list for afternoon teas by a large margin.

Bath, UK

Steph and I grabbed a morning train to Bath from Paddington Station. We had a lovely train ride and got to view the countryside. There were rolling green hills and lots of sheep and cows. Little row houses broke up the landscape as well. We got to Bath and were able to check into the Airbnb immediately.

The Airbnb was fantastic. We were staying on a boat just below the weir. It was such a nice location and a lot of space in a unique room. We spent a good bit of time just relaxing on the deck of the ship.

We had a few food plans in Bath and they all turned out really well. The food here was just fantastic. The only disappointment was the Bath Bun, it was too sweet and the sugar crystals were not my favorite. On the other hand the Sally Lunn Bun was delicious and it was one of my favorite dinners in the UK. We also had afternoon tea in the Pump Room at the Roman Baths.

We took a tour of the Roman Baths after the afternoon tea. Before that we also walked around Bath and saw the Circus, the Royal Crescent, and the botanical gardens. That was a nice walk, but the walks that I enjoyed most were the ones up into the orchard and along the canals. The canals are high up and have lots of narrow boats along them. They have great views and are themselves lovely. I would love to do a month long trip on a narrow boat along the canals, as long as I could ensure I had internet for work in the evenings.

We also went to the Thermae Spa. It was a decently nice spa with a lot of hot rooms and an ice room that I used a lot between the hot rooms. There weren’t any hot tubs, but the warm pool at the bottom was plenty nice to spend time in. There were a lot of hen parties there, but since it wasn’t drinking time yet they were fine. In the evenings while walking around some of the hen and stag parties were a little obnoxious. There was also a rugby game nearby one evening that had a lot of rugby enthusiasts drinking into the night.

We got up early and grabbed the train back to London without any issues. I really enjoyed my time in Bath, but two days was just about right to see everything that we would want to see.

Getting to London

Steph and I were on separate flights to Europe. She was flying United and I was flying British Airways in Business Class as that was what the company wanted me to fly. Steph always likes to fly United. I was able to sleep the whole way in the lie flat seats, which were very nice. We managed to meet up in the airport despite me not really having a connection. I met Steph at the train to Paddington Station. We quickly made our way to the airbnb in Notting Hill.

We were staying in what must have been the servants quarters below street level. The place was pretty cozy still, and I really enjoyed the location. We were able to walk through Hyde park and Kensington Gardens. We walked by the Round Pond and the Kensington Palace, then up to Holland Park. We also had our first of five afternoon teas. The first one was at The Langham. This was probably the best food of any of the afternoon teas. The atmosphere was nice, but it was deep inside the building, so I think the ones with the views of London were slightly better locations.

We were able to do our work from the room in the evenings, which left the days open for going around to parks and museums.

Terrariums!

Steph set up a terrarium making class through Airbnb experiences. It was a ton of fun and the guy who taught it was very knowledgeable. He was nice enough to let me use my own in addition to the one he provided. His special touch are the lights, which make it really special.

Cookout at Brians and Livermore Tiny House

Brian and Brittany had us over and we got to meet Ethan for the first time. We had a great time at their house hanging out in their beautiful backyard. The weather was also just perfect and it was great to catch up with them and Bo.

Before the cookout we decided to do the Mount Diablo hike. It was a great set of views, and I swear I could smell a ton of candy cap mushrooms, but we couldn’t find them.

After the cookout we stayed in a tiny house in Livermore. It was adorable. We stayed there through Monday as well and did a short hike nearby. We also hung out in their tiny hot tub, which was lovely with great views.

More Foraging

Steph and I took another class from Kevin for poke poling. It was a great class with tons of crabs and a few fish. We also got a good number of mussels, which were my favorite to eat. We had some success with fish on subsequent trips with Michelle and Michael, Riley and Rong, and Yutong and Paul.

Pickleball and Watercraft

I met up with some people from work at Leo J. Ryan Park to play pickleball. I really enjoyed the game, but was bad at not stepping in the area close to the net. I think it will just take some time to get used to that part. We played 3 games. 2 games were the work people playing 2v2 and the last game was with some random people where Rohin and I lost, but had a good showing.

After that I pulled out my watercraft and we went out on the little lake. It was very calm, so there wasn’t any real concern of falling in. We had the inflatable stand up paddle board and the folding kayak. Rohin didn’t want to get on the SUP, which is understandable. It was a gorgeous day and and I might have stayed longer had I brought something to drink.

Diving and Mushrooms

Steph and I had a nice weekend in Mendocino. We left early, early on Saturday and got to Casper Cove around 9am. We did a one hour dive where Steph was smashing the purple urchin and I was watching all the chiton, crabs, and fish. The crabs and fish were following her around as they were eating up all the urchin she was smashing. There were some truly massive urchins, and Steph totaled over 300 urchin kills. There were still tons of them around, but I was getting cold so we had to turn around and head back in.

We then went hiking along the Point Mendocino Trail. The caves and blowholes there were amazing to see, and the ocean was just perfect. Looking out there water was a sapphire blue, and the waves were reflecting the sun to make it sparkle. We also got lunch at a pizza place, that happened to have a candy cap ice cream. Candy caps are a type of mushroom that we had gathered before, and they have a strong maple scent. We got that ice cream mixed with coffee and it was delicious.

We checked into the inn and relaxed until dinner. Dinner was at Trillium, and they had us in a nice garden. The dinner was pretty nice, with my only complaint being the crispy duck wasn’t crispy.

The next day we joined Dr. Kev in the Jackson State Demonstration Forest for some mushroom foraging. We were going for black trumpets, and we got a really good haul of them. We got over 100 mushrooms, totaling over 2 lbs in weight after cleaning. It was a long drive home, so we passed on stopping for some mussels, and just went straight back.

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