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June 9, 2012

York

We found cheap tickets on Ryan Air so decided to take those over to England. I had wanted to go by train/chunnel but it was almost the same price for one person to do that as it was for 5 of us to fly. Ryan Air does not give seat assignments unless you pay extra and you have to walk out to the plane after being herded into a waiting area. It’s a bit pushy but overall a good flight. We landed in Stanstead to rain and were a bit frustrated at having to be taken by minibus to our rental car about 3 miles away.

Again I had wanted to use trains but the car was really much cheaper for us all. They gave us a big upgrade from the medium (hmm compact really) I had ordered and we ended up with a snazzy Volvo SUV. Since it had been 20 years since I have driving on the left side and this is a right hand drive car, the added bulk and safety was appreciated. It was a little stressful but we took motorway most of the way up to York and the tip actually did take 4 hours just as google maps and the GPS stated. I say this because trips in the UK used to often be very variable and a 4 hour drive to Scarborough could take 8 if there were road works or unknown variables!

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June 12, 2012

Scarborough

We drove and parked nearer to the main shopping area and then set off up the hill to visit the castle. I’ve spent various times there but when living in Scarborough you tend to pick warm and dry days unlike this trip. It did stop raining when we got into the main part of the castle thankfully and we had about an hour of dryness but it was quite windy and cool. Still the views from there are amazing and it is easy to see why this has been a castle/military post from early bronze age to Romans, Vikings, Saxons and even WWI. They found a bronze age sword there a few years ago but only the replica is in Scarborough with the main one in the British Museum so we decided to look it up when we were there a couple of days later. The Viking history was neat to read about and the children were able to make links to York from it.

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Scarborough Images

My childhood home on Valley Road in Scarborough.

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Grand Hotel down along the beach

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June 13, 2012

Off to London

Woke to overcast but dry weather and it stayed dry all day until we had to walk in London! But it did make the 5 hour drive down nicer. I like the large places to stop on the M-11 now as it’s not only gas stations and McDonalds but they also have French patisseries and M & S stores with all that good food. We were able to load up again on sandwiches like duck breast and hoisin sauce – certainly more creative than ham and cheese. Then we dropped the car off after searching for the offsite place near Stanstead for about 45 minutes. Do we warned that Budget and Thrifty are miles away while Europcar is on site. Then our car and driver was waiting to take us into London. That cost 76 pounds but was worth it because the bus to London from that airport is about 15 pounds per person and the train even more. I’m finding so often that for our group of 5, a private car is often cheaper.


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June 14, 2012

London Day 1

Set off early to the British Museum – raining of course but that meant it was a good day to be inside. The museum was full but not crowded so enjoyable. Mostly a few British school trips and Americans (same as at the Louvre). Max was excited and really enjoyed the Egyptian wings – he was the main reason we went there. They got their full share of mummies and we all enjoyed the Rosetta Stone.

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We searched for the sword from Scarborough but no luck although we did get to handle some sharpening stones and axe pieces from thousands of years ago in a great hands-on presentation. An enjoyable few hours and it amazes me that entry is still free. Cannot go into cathedrals without paying exorbitant fees now but museums are free (church versus state).

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June 15, 2012

London Day 2

Well guess what – it’s raining again. Actually it’s rained so much that they are doing emergency rescues of people in Wales and they say flooding is possible all over the south. What fun. We ended up taking a taxi to the Tower of London as it was somewhat within walking distance for us but the rain and tired out children was not fun. No lines to go in plus I’d bought tickets online earlier and only had to pick them up using my credit card that I’d paid with (I was worried as it stated you needed to print out the email but you didn’t -- just the credit card). We saved a little money buying online but it was still pricey and yet worth it.

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