PDA

View Full Version : London in the spring


RayR
03-10-2005, 09:28 AM
My wife and I are making our first trip to Europe, leaving in <gulp> three weeks. If you haven't seen the news, here's the publicity about my four-city tour...

Scripting Matters European Tour (http://http://www.scriptingmatters.com/news.php?newsid=8)

I get to go on this one because Atlanta is a little closer than Australia. <g>

Marina and I will be spending a long weekend in London before the mad schedule begins, arriving Thursday morning and staying until Tuesday. It is Easter weekend, so some places will be closed Friday and Monday.

Some friends have already offered some advice on things to see, but I would welcome any additional recommendations from the experts here.

Thanks,

Ray Robertson

ktinkel
03-10-2005, 11:11 AM
Marina and I will be spending a long weekend in London before the mad schedule begins, arriving Thursday morning and staying until Tuesday. It is Easter weekend, so some places will be closed Friday and Monday.

Some friends have already offered some advice on things to see, but I would welcome any additional recommendations from the experts here.The obvious places are the British Museum and the Tower of London. Both common tourist places, yet extraordinary. And accessible. If you are real culture vultures, the V&A and the Tate are also worth visiting. And those are just the beginning; you’ll have to save some for another trip.

The St Bride Printing Library might be of interest to you.

But really, London is so darned old that just walking around is a treat. I always like to stop at Falkiner’s Fine Papers (art supplies and books) on Southampton Row. And Foyle’s bookstore on Charing Cross Road. That assumes they are still there — it has been a decade since I’ve been, I just realized.

Try to have afternoon refreshments at Harrod’s (or do I mean Fortnum & Mason?) — the store with the famous tea parlor. Lapsang Souchon tea and smoked salmon go well together, and the place itself is a trip.

Oh, and realize they play fast and loose with street numbers — may go up on one side of the street, down on the other, so although you see a number close to the number of the place you are looking for, the place itself might be blocks away. Fortunately, they also seem to rename streets every few blocks, so it’s not as if you will have to walk for miles.

And since I know you are from Atlanta: If you order a Coke, be sure to ask carefully for ice; otherwise you may get it without.

If you had more time, I would suggest taking the train up to Cambridge and wandering around there. Great pubs and churches (placed so you can easily alternate in your peregrinations!). Lovely river. Very different pace from London, and visibly ancient. It’s only about an hour away.

Richard Hunt
03-10-2005, 02:21 PM
any additional recommendations from the experts here.

Go on the London Eye, the Millenium Wheel. It really is good.

Richard

terrie
03-10-2005, 03:39 PM
Hit Covent Garden over the weekend for the wonderful market--food, art, clothes...oohhhh...wonderful stuff!!!

Near Covent Garden is Neal's Yard--very interesting shops...

British Museum....

Tea with REAL!!! clotted cream...ohhhh...yum!!!

Hope this helps...'-}}

Terrie

PS...London is one of my all time fav cities...

RayR
03-11-2005, 12:54 AM
That assumes they are still there — it has been a decade since I’ve been, I just realized.

Oh, my. How did that happen? Of course, I'm 43 and this is my first trip over the Atlantic period.

Thanks, KT and all, for the recommendations.

Ray

BigJohnD
03-11-2005, 04:03 AM
[my twopence worth]

Try: http://www.sightseeing.co.uk/index.html

My view is that the further away from London you are in the UK, the better. That's Cornwall, Dyfed, Gwynedd, Lake District, Northumbria or Scotland.

1. London is outrageously expensive. The journey from either Heathrow or Gatwick to the West end is allegedly, £/mi, the most expensive journey in the UK if not Europe. Be warned - accommodation, travel, restaurants, pubs, sight-seeing, parking, petrol, theatres/cinemas and anything else is expensive. They'll take any credit card or €€ or ¥¥ or $$… Shop at supermarkets where the locals go.

2. Apart from the classic sites, e.g. Tower of London, Buck House, Houses of Parliament, the other major cities offer equally good experiences. Edinburgh, Oxford, Bath, York…

3. Liverpool has not been awarded European City of Culture status without good cause. Only London has more Grade 1 listed buildings. The two Liverpool cathedrals are unique - The Metropolitan is a circular design with a crown of windows illuminating the interior with warm colours, and the Anglican is by far the largest in the UK - it is enormous. St George's Hall is the finest example of neo-classical architecture in Europe. The three graces on the riverfront are a World Heritage site. The Albert Dock is the largest Grade 1 listed building in Britain. Then there's art galleries and museums and theatre, the secret bunker which controlled the WW2 Altantic convoys, and of course, the UK's most successful football team with all their European Trophies. The city is friendly, and far less expensive than London. Beer is still less than £2/pint. Much the same can be said about Newcastle-upon-Tyne, or Glasgow, or Manchester…

4. The streets of London are not paved with gold but litter. And they're crowded, as is the underground. The levels of crime are the highest in the UK, almost all petty stuff, so look after your personal items carefully. The US Embassy has big queues of people who have had their passport and other documents 'alf-inched. Guns are very rare in the UK, and fortunately people are arrested for possession of any offensive weapon.

5. Hotel service is average to poor, the staff being mostly poorly paid young foreign people, not local people. For many English is not their first language.

6. Shopping. What ever you want you can get in London. You can also get it outside London for less, in places which are equally good or better, like Chester, Manchester or Leeds. The Bullring in the Centre of Birmingham is exciting and much cleaner than London.

7. Paris will host the 2012 Olympics. London will not be able to cope, and it has record of not delivering on time.

8. And finally if you arrive at Heathrow, please don't be put off by the high profile presence of (young and spotty) policemen and women carrying automatic guns. It frghtened the life out of me. Other UK airports (e.g. Manchester Ringway) are far more civilised and discreet.

[/my twopence worth]

Dave Saunders
03-11-2005, 04:38 AM
1. Get one of those transport tickets that let you use the trains and buses over a wide area.

2. Take the light railway to Greenwich and visit the observatory at the prime meridian and then take a 188 bus back to Waterloo station and walk from there to the Eye.

Or you could just go here and see the pictures I took last summer when I did those very things: http://www.wanamassa.us/familyphotos/album.php?alb=01EnglandTrip&pick=10

While the tube is fun and fast, the view is less than ideal -- take buses everywhere and travel upstairs.

Oh, the bird pictures I took in St. James's Park start here: http://www.wanamassa.us/birds2004/album.php?alb=12EnglishBirds&pick=5

Have fun!

Dave

BigJohnD
03-11-2005, 04:49 AM
Hi, Dave,

Love your photos!

What a marvelous dog! These guys had no trouble marching in step. That's the advantage of marching to music.
http://www.wanamassa.us/familyphotos/albums/01EnglandTrip/images/P7124681.jpg

Ah! That's an Irish Wolfhound, mascot of the Irish Guards.

You can tell they're Irish Guards as the buttons on their tunics are grouped in 4s.
http://www.changing-the-guard.com/guards.htm

Dave Saunders
03-11-2005, 06:01 AM
Aha, Pam knew that. Maybe I should encourage her to complete the captions (I ran out of steam).

BTW, suddenly the Saints seem to have new life. Let's hope they can pull another miracle escape from relegation.

Dave

BigJohnD
03-11-2005, 06:11 AM
Aha, Pam knew that.
Ah! She has perfect credentials then!


BTW, suddenly the Saints seem to have new life. Let's hope they can pull another miracle escape from relegation.
Agreed. And I shall most certainly be cheering for them tomorrow.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/fa_cup/4327823.stm

'Arry has a knack of out-playing Fergie, going back a long way, starting with his days at Bournemouth, then at West 'Am and Pawtsmuff, so there's a very good chance. And then there's the classic final from 1976.

Richard Hunt
03-11-2005, 08:17 AM
Not a fan of our capital city then? <g> It is outrageously expensive, £3.20 for a beer if you please, and dirty: the best view is as the train leaves for York on the way home, in general. Crime really is a poblem and there are areas where you just do not feel safe.

Richlard

Richard Hunt
03-11-2005, 09:07 AM
Where are you staying?
Check out http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/ to see bus and underground info.
There is a fantastic view from Alexandra Palace, right over much of the city.91 bus from Trafalgar Square to Crouch Eng and then W3 bus to the Alexandra Palace. Crouch End by thle way is full of good edating places especially at the Hornsey end.

Richard

annc
03-11-2005, 09:23 AM
Great photos, Dave.

It seems to me that July 12th in London last year was quite a bit colder than July 12th down here in the middle of winter!

I don't own a coat of any sort. Well, only a Claybourn (http://www.mulders.com.au/clothing.html)...

Tell me, what camera are you using these days? I've still got my CX2100, but am using an E20 for the horse photos.

Dave Saunders
03-11-2005, 09:38 AM
I'm still using the same Olympus 2100. I've now added a CrystalVue 8x scope to the armament, but it would work better on a camera with less zoom and a smaller lens. Until the cashflow situation improves, I don't see me getting a new camera any time soon. The longer I wait, though, the better the opportunities for improvement (unless the dollar really falls through the floor).

One thing to expect in London, Ray, is that meals in restaurants will cost about double what you pay here. And don't expect free refills for your soft drinks, either.

Dave

lurkalot
03-11-2005, 09:42 AM
Lovely Photos Dave, some good bird pics there. ;)

Richard Hunt
03-11-2005, 11:35 AM
don't own a coat of any sort. Well, only a Claybourn (http://www.mulders.com.au/clothing.html)...

Those prices look good.. they're just down the road from my brother in Mount Waverly; I will have to get him to visit and buy me an Akruba (yes, you can buy them here but they are eyewateringly expensive, about £85, that's over $A 200.

Richard

annc
03-11-2005, 11:47 AM
Those prices look good.. they're just down the road from my brother in Mount Waverly; I will have to get him to visit and buy me an Akruba (yes, you can buy them here but they are eyewateringly expensive, about £85, that's over $A 200.

RichardAsk him to get you a Claybourn while he's there. The company is still family-owned, I think; it certainly was in the early eighties when I worked with one of the family members.

Akubra hats are pretty well indestructible. My current one is 20 years old, and still in perfect condition.

Richard Hunt
03-11-2005, 11:59 AM
Ask him to get you a Claybourn while he's there. The company is still family-owned, I think; it certainly was in the early eighties when I worked with one of the family members.

Akubra hats are pretty well indestructible. My current one is 20 years old, and still in perfect condition.

Right. I can trust him to do that, no worries - and he is good at haggling, and spotting good quality items. Speaking personally, I'd rather pay that bit more and buy something that lasts than buy cheap stuff that is fit for the rag collection in six months.

Richard

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-11-2005, 12:17 PM
I would arrange to go on a half-day guided tour of London. This will, like a sampler box of chocolates, give you an idea of what to go back to see. If it includes going inside the Tower of London it may give you priority access to things like the Crown Jewels when there is a long queue.

I did this when living in England when a friend came over and I saw and learned things that I had no idea about. In that case we did it on the first afternoon after resting in the hotel after the overnight flight.

Your hotel should be able to recommend or fix it for you.

Franca
03-11-2005, 01:05 PM
Yes - the half-day guided tour is a great idea. We had a great guide on our ferry trip to Greenwich - many interesting sites to be seen along the river. Also second Richard's recommendation of the London Eye. We had a great "guide" there as well and the view is spectacular! If there are long lines, do not be put off - they move very quickly.

For "window"* shopping, like Terrie, I love the whole Covent Garden area, and while you're in Covent Garden check out Belgo - fun restaurant. Specialties are mussels, frites, and Belgian ales (huge selection) but they have other food and drink as well. (And don't forget to visit the "loo" - never seen one quite like it here!)

*Not all of the shops have windows. ;-) I try not to buy too many things, but some deals can be found. I've bought most of my favorite vests ("waistcoats" for you Brits) in Covent Garden at a tiny shop called "Mosaic". Very inexpensive compared to what I've paid for vests here.

Shane Stanley
03-11-2005, 01:14 PM
Take the light railway to Greenwich and visit the observatory

I found the clock collection at Greenwich is just amazing...

Shane

annc
03-11-2005, 02:33 PM
Right. I can trust him to do that, no worries - and he is good at haggling, and spotting good quality items. Speaking personally, I'd rather pay that bit more and buy something that lasts than buy cheap stuff that is fit for the rag collection in six months.Me too. It's almost always a false economy.

terrie
03-11-2005, 02:47 PM
One more thing...not sure if you've decided on where you will be staying but the last time I was in London (long while, now that I think about it) there was a very nice hotel right near the British Museum...it was a Trust House Forte hotel...on the corner of Great Russell Street and Bloomsbury...

Terrie

ktinkel
03-11-2005, 04:31 PM
One more thing...not sure if you've decided on where you will be staying but the last time I was in London (long while, now that I think about it) there was a very nice hotel right near the British Museum...it was a Trust House Forte hotel...on the corner of Great Russell Street and Bloomsbury...Could it have been the Kingsbury (or something like that)? If so, we have stayed there several times. Very near the Brit, and in the midst of Bloomsbury.

And only a short walk from Charlotte Street and lots of eating adventures.

ktinkel
03-11-2005, 04:41 PM
Oh, my. How did that happen? Of course, I'm 43 and this is my first trip over the Atlantic period.Jack and I had our first trip to Europe when we were 35. His parents offered to treat us, and Jack really had a passion to visit Scotland, Ireland (he is a fairly serious Joycean person), and the British isles.

Then his work intervened, and they said they would pay for a week of his time if he would visit a business collaborator in France.

At that time, everyone in the U.S. believed the French were obnoxious and hateful, especially toward Americans.

But we bravely shouldered our obligation; flew to London, from thence to Paris, where we spent a day and a half; and then went to see his business connections in Grenoble (by train). Well, that day-plus in Paris (and the wonderful people we met in Grenoble) made us fans for life.

Our next European trip (two years later) was to France. And to this day, we love France and the French.

Whatever you discover in your trip will make you happy, I am sure of that!

Maybe you should drift over to Paris in your trip.<g>

Shane Stanley
03-11-2005, 07:29 PM
Maybe you should drift over to Paris in your trip.<g>

He is. And Hamburg, and Stockholm...

Shane

RayR
03-12-2005, 01:54 AM
Where are you staying?

We are staying at the Kensington Close...

http://www.kensingtonclosehotel.com/

We thought being in the Kensington area would be nice. My seminar is actually in Uxbridge, but that doesn't matter since it is the last day only.

We have to fly into Gatwick, though, since there are no non-stop flights from Atlanta to Heathrow. We are looking at all the ground transportation options now.

Ray

RayR
03-12-2005, 01:57 AM
Thanks, Hugh and Franca. A half-day tour sounds like a really good idea, as well as a ferry up to Greenwich.

Franca--interesting to see that you live in one of my favorite areas in the U.S. As usual, Shane and I will be there in May.

Ray

RayR
03-12-2005, 02:07 AM
not sure if you've decided on where you will be staying...

We have a place, reasonably affordable. But the Bush dollar is making the personal part of this trip pretty expensive, unfortunately.

Ray

djb
03-12-2005, 07:41 AM
If you can find it, the Maple Leaf Pub is a little taste of Canada near Trafalgar. Of course, there won't be any hockey on the TVs...

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-12-2005, 12:58 PM
The rail service from Gatwick to Victoria is very good and it would be easy to get a taxi at Victoria to take you to your hotel.

I just came across the following link to a Gatwick to hotel shuttle:

https://secure.fast.net.uk/hotelink/gatwick.html

I don't know anything about them however.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-12-2005, 01:01 PM
When you return please let us know about the hotel and how you liked it. I know exactly where it is although it's a long time since I was in London.

I'd be interested to know how much they charge for parking since when we are over we will have a car and want to be outside the "Congestion" area.

terrie
03-12-2005, 01:06 PM
>>kt: Could it have been the Kingsbury (or something like that)? If so, we have stayed there several times. Very near the Brit, and in the midst of Bloomsbury.

Might have been...I just can't remember the name for the life of me...the interesting thing is that the first time I was in London (1980), I stayed at this place but it was pretty run down...then a number of years later, I was back in London--staying someplace else--and stumbled across it and it had been newly renovated and taken over by Trust House Forte.

They offered a special called "welcome break" with a reduced rate if you stayed over a saturday night. I switched hotels and stayed there...very nice and of course it's in Bloomsbury which is my fav part of London...

It's just down the street (heading towards the British Museum) from the Y...

Terrie

terrie
03-12-2005, 01:10 PM
>>rayr: We are staying at the Kensington Close...

I don't care for the Kensingtion area...found it very noisy when I stayed in a hotel there and ended up moving to a hotel in the Bloomsbury area...hope you find it more pleasant than I did...

Terrie

terrie
03-12-2005, 01:16 PM
>>rayr: We have to fly into Gatwick, though, since there are no non-stop flights from Atlanta to Heathrow. We are looking at all the ground transportation options now.

Ohhhhh...ohhhh!!! If you have time, there is *the* coolest hotel near Gatwick!! Gravetye Manor (near East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 4LJ, phone: Sharpthorne (STD 0342) 810567 ---this is copied from a notepad I have from the place).

It has (had??) a 5 star restaurant...it was a fab place...the gardens are wonderful--very wild looking...developed by someone whose name I can't remember who was into wild gardens (vs. formal gardens)...ummm...Robinson???

Anyway...it's quite near Gatwick and I was only able to stay overnight (wish I could have stayed another few days) and they will provide a car to take you to Gatwick--it was a lovely chauffeured upscale car...

Definitely recommended...perhaps on your last night rather than coming from London to Gatwick...

Terrie

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-12-2005, 01:35 PM
Gravetye Manor is in a listing "World's Best Hotel Values" in Travel & Leisure March 2005 as "Worth the Splurge" and the price ...... $405 per night!

I never stayed there but I'm sure it was a tiny fraction of that 10 years ago.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-12-2005, 01:47 PM
Sounds like the Kenilworth which is now Radisson:

http://www.radisson.com/londonuk_kenilworth

and is on Great Russell St which is the one from the Y towards the BM. But I see they also have a Marlborough which is across the street on Bloomsbury Street that runs down towards Covent Garden:

http://www.radissonedwardian.com/londonuk_marlborough

Franca
03-12-2005, 07:34 PM
I should try to visit you guys if I'm around! Keep me posted on when/where. Yes, I love this area. Sometimes my husband and I think of moving somewhere a bit less crowded but we can't think of anywhere else we'd rather live year-round. Other places we enjoy visiting have winters that are too long and too cold, or summers that are too hot and humid, or no coastline, or ... well, you get the idea. <BG>

ktinkel
03-13-2005, 07:39 AM
Sounds like the Kenilworth The place we stayed in (more than once) was just down the block from the High Holborne underground station (pretty sure that’s the one). It was about three blocks (two up, one over) from the British Museum.

But my memory could be hazy.

BigJohnD
03-13-2005, 12:50 PM
Not a fan of our capital city then? <g> It is outrageously expensive, £3.20 for a beer if you please, and dirty: No, not a fan. I'm off there tomorrow afternoon, to The Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, as we've won an award at work - http://www.lgcnet.com/Awards2005/index.htm (under Education) They want £29.50 for a very ordinary if not boring Zinfandel-Shiraz by Fetzer of California, USA which would be under a fiver in Tescos. NV Moet & Chandon starts at £60. It's ridiculous - so guess who won't be drinking. They didn't even offer us a room to stay overnight even at full price £200pp/pn min - I'm staying at the Strand Palace in The Strand for about £80 for B&B. the best view is as the train leaves for York on the way home, in general. Funny, I always thought it was out of Euston heading for Crewe!

BigJohnD
03-13-2005, 01:01 PM
I'd be interested to know how much they charge for parking since when we are over we will have a car and want to be outside the "Congestion" area.http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/congestion/

And then there's parking. The last I looked at parking charges in the inner zone, they started at about £4/hour. Hotels probably charge for overnight parking too - check the hotel's small print carefully. All on-street parking is heavily controlled, and may well need a residents' parking permit. I can't remember the last time I went to London by car. It's a waste of time and costs far too much. Remember fuel in London will be at least 85p/litre for unleaded and 90p/litre for diesel.

Here's details of the cost of a black cab: http://www.taxi-first.co.uk/taxi_tariff.htm Always use a proper hackney, even if they seem a bit expensive. Most of them take credit cards.

Here's the cost from Heathrow/Gatwick etc. to central London by cab: http://www.londontaxicabs.net/airport.htm

For train timetables in England, Wales and Scotland, for some stupid reason the site is called: www.thetrainline.com/ (http://www.thetrainline.com/)

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-13-2005, 01:16 PM
Thanks -- my query was specific to the hotel that Ray may be using. Their website refers just to "additional charges"

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-13-2005, 01:20 PM
Since my time but there's one in Kingsway in a conversion from what used to be office buildings in there backing onto Lincolns Inn Fields or perhaps it was the Drury Lane Moat House.

terrie
03-13-2005, 01:20 PM
>>hugh: Gravetye Manor is in a listing "World's Best Hotel Values" in Travel & Leisure March 2005 as "Worth the Splurge" and the price ...... $405 per night!

Whoa mama!!! I know I didn't pay that much...I'm wondering if that's for their very high-end rooms...if I'm remembering correctly, there was a range of room pricing...

It's nice to know they are still around...as it is a lovely place...

Terrie

terrie
03-13-2005, 01:30 PM
>>hugh: Sounds like the Kenilworth which is now Radisson:

http://www.radisson.com/londonuk_kenilworth

That's it!!! Thank you...it's been driving me absolutely batty that I couldn't remember the name...and yes...there is another hotel across the street...it wasn't renovated when I was last in London so it's nice to see that that's been done...

Terrie

BigJohnD
03-13-2005, 01:45 PM
http://www.bhrconline.com/bhrc_home.asp is the agnecy we use when booking a room in London. I assume it's international.

Richard Hunt
03-14-2005, 12:41 AM
Funny, I always thought it was out of Euston heading for Crewe!

Going well away from London, always a good move.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-14-2005, 07:07 AM
It's always been highly spoken of but ..... not for me now.

OTH I'm horrified when I read prices these days with the exchange rate as it is, and with VAT/TVA levels of 17 - 22%

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-14-2005, 07:08 AM
I only ever stayed there once and I won't tell you how long ago it was but it and the Russell were still very Victorian!

terrie
03-14-2005, 01:56 PM
>>hugh: I only ever stayed there once and I won't tell you how long ago it was but it and the Russell were still very Victorian!

I had told KT that I'd stayed at the Kenilworth my first time in London but it was actually the Russell...it was a bit seedy (this was in 1980) but clean...my memory of the Kenilworth at that same time was about the same...

Terrie

ktinkel
03-14-2005, 04:20 PM
… it was actually the Russell...it was a bit seedy (this was in 1980) but clean...my memory of the Kenilworth at that same time was about the same...Seedy but clean is sort of ideal, in my view of hotels when traveling.

After all, you need a bed and a bath in a convenient location; all the rest is sheer luxury, paid for by money better spent in restaurants and shops.

BigJohnD
03-15-2005, 06:40 AM
I'm horrified when I read prices these days with the exchange rate as it is, and with VAT/TVA levels of 17 - 22%Yup, it's expensive. The rip-off Bureau de Changes were selling UK£ for 2US$, and buying them back for about 1.82US$. I expect the reputable banks give a better rate.

The UK VAT is 17.5%. It's not on food from the shop but it is added on in restaurants.

I've just got back this afternoon from a flying visit to t'smoke. It wasn't as dirty as I expected, but was as expensive. I took a cab from where I was staying to The Great Room of the Grosvenor House Hotel (http://marriott.co.uk/Channels/globalSites/phototour.mi?country=UK&marshaCode=longh&pageID=HWPEM&imageID=4) in Park Lane. The meter went from £2.00 to £2.20 to £2.40 before the cab had even moved because the traffic was that congested in The Strand by Charing Cross Station/Traflagar Square.

And for once, Virgin's Pendolinos (http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/travelling_with_us/our_trains/pendolino_gallery/default.aspx) were on time.

Richard Hunt
03-15-2005, 07:03 AM
Yup, it's expensive. The rip-off Bureau de Changes were selling UK£ for 2US$, and buying them back for about 1.82US$. I expect the reputable banks give a better rate.

Marginally better. I use my credit card when abroad fo buying goods - if possible - as the conversion is done at the bank wholesale rate.

[QUOTE}The UK VAT is 17.5%. It's not on food from the shop but it is added on in restaurants.[/QUOTE]

Up to a point - some things are zero-rated and others are not (a Mars bar is taxed, a banana is not - but the banana if chopped and served in a dish, is) Prices in consumer places are quoted including VAT.

Richard

BigJohnD
03-15-2005, 07:13 AM
Yup.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-15-2005, 08:19 AM
<< It's not on food from the shop but it is added on in restaurants. >>
Yes and the restaurants add 10% serevice bringing the uplift to 25-30%

I remember in Italy once asking the waiter if service was included -- being used to French "Service Compris" and getting the reply "Yes, Sir, but not the tip" .....

BigJohnD
03-15-2005, 09:24 AM
<< It's not on food from the shop but it is added on in restaurants. >>
Yes and the restaurants add 10% serevice bringing the uplift to 25-30%
Not quite. The price on the menu will include VAT. As you say, tipping is extra - but at the discretion of the diner.

Here's a typical menu (http://www.estestest.co.uk/main_menu.html) from a chain of Italian restaurants called "Est Est Est".

Stephen Owades
03-15-2005, 10:33 AM
Marginally better. I use my credit card when abroad fo buying goods - if possible - as the conversion is done at the bank wholesale rate.



Up to a point - some things are zero-rated and others are not (a Mars bar is taxed, a banana is not - but the banana if chopped and served in a dish, is) Prices in consumer places are quoted including VAT.

Richard
Many American credit-card issuers are starting to add points onto the conversion rate they charge for purchases in foreign currencies, reducing the advantage of using the card. I suspect the rates are still better than buying currency, but it might be worth your while to check the latest agreement paperwork from your credit-card issuers to see if one is offering a better conversion than another.

ktinkel
03-15-2005, 11:15 AM
Many American credit-card issuers are starting to add points onto the conversion rate they charge for purchases in foreign currencies, reducing the advantage of using the card. I suspect the rates are still better than buying currency, but it might be worth your while to check the latest agreement paperwork from your credit-card issuers to see if one is offering a better conversion than another.On our last trip to Europe we used ATMs a lot, and then spent cash.

I wonder if the ATM conversion rate follows the same upcharge as credit cards. If not, ATMs are very convenient.

annc
03-15-2005, 11:20 AM
On our last trip to Europe we used ATMs a lot, and then spent cash.

I wonder if the ATM conversion rate follows the same upcharge as credit cards. If not, ATMs are very convenient.This doesn't affect Americans, but for us, when we are overseas and use our credit cards, the currency conversion is always to USD and then to AUD, so we get caught twice.

This, I believe, is because all the credit card companies are American.

Richard Hunt
03-15-2005, 11:40 AM
On our last trip to Europe we used ATMs a lot, and then spent cash.

I wonder if the ATM conversion rate follows the same upcharge as credit cards. If not, ATMs are very convenient.

Most of the UK banks add a "service charge" of about 2.5% when you use your debit card (Australians call it an EFTPOS card - the card where the money comes directly from your current (checking) account) for a transaction not in British Pounds. This goes for both shops and withdrawals from ATMs. Usually, these card are branded Maestro or Visa Delta. Tip: a lot of retail places will, when you pay using a debit card, allow you to withdraw cash from the cash register up to fifty pounds, which is great if you are nervous of using an outside ATM. Look for a casback sticker by the card reader.

Richard

Michael Rowley
03-15-2005, 12:51 PM
Ann:

‘all the credit card companies are American’

They are, as far as I know, but my Deutsche Bank card (Master Card) converts to euros at the interbank rate (good!) but charges a set overhead for purchases in sterling, US dollars, etc. The British banks issue Visa or Master Card, but convert all charges to sterling; only American Express converts first to US dollars. I'm afraid Australian dollars are not yet an international currency.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-15-2005, 06:18 PM
I meant "bringing the uplift" compared with what we are used to in the USA where all prices are net and sales tax is in the 7 - 8% range.

I remember Est Est Est but more especially the Italian wine with that name and how it got it <g>

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-15-2005, 06:20 PM
I was delighted when doing some searching in that area of London on my MS Autorute (= Streets & Trips) to find Mon Plaisir in Monmouth St shown.

Looked it up and although it's grown since I first ate there in the 1950's it sounds very much the same and well worth a visit from anyone in London and liking French food.

Anyone been there recently?

BigJohnD
03-16-2005, 01:22 PM
Mon Plaisir in Monmouth St "The famous bar that came from a Lyonnais brothel" (http://www.monplaisir.co.uk/nowthen.htm) He he he!!!

terrie
03-16-2005, 01:56 PM
>>kt: Seedy but clean is sort of ideal, in my view of hotels when traveling.

Yeah...me too...

Terrie

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-16-2005, 03:00 PM
The food is good too! <g>

Stephen Owades
03-16-2005, 04:35 PM
On our last trip to Europe we used ATMs a lot, and then spent cash.

I wonder if the ATM conversion rate follows the same upcharge as credit cards. If not, ATMs are very convenient.
The same notice that a friend showed me, announcing the points tacked onto exchange rates for foreign-currency purchases, also spoke of an extra charge--and a rather high minimum to that charge--for cash withdrawals from foreign ATMs. So it's worth checking out carefully before you travel or buy overseas.

Susie
03-17-2005, 03:40 PM
[QUOTE=I remember Est Est Est but more especially the Italian wine with that name and how it got it <g>[/QUOTE]

We used to be able to get Est Est Est here, but have been unable to for over 10 years. I would love to get my hands on another bottle.

Susie

Susie
03-17-2005, 03:42 PM
Uh, how do I quote from another message without having the [QUOTE] appear? I pressed "Quote" and and figured the [QUOTE] part would disappear when I posted!

Susie

BigJohnD
03-17-2005, 03:54 PM
Susie,

The code is:
The text you wish to have quoted which appears as:
The text you wish to have quoted

ktinkel
03-17-2005, 05:02 PM
Uh, how do I quote from another message without having the =QUOTE= appear? I pressed "Quote" and and figured the =QUOTE= part would disappear when I posted!The “quote” part would have disappeared if the reference had been complete, but somehow the code was not finished.

That is, your message says: “[QUOTE=I remember Est Est Est …” etc.

It should have said: “[QUOTE=Hugh Wynn Griffith]I remember Est Est Est …” etc.

If you just click on the Quote option and don’t mess with the text, you should get the result you desire.

If you want to edit the text (I usually do), just be sure to leave the name and closing bracket (]) in place, and you’ll be all right.

The key is to realize that the =QUOTE= or =QUOTE=name= (I have subbed = for the [ and ] because otherwise the software tries to interpret it!) has to precede the quoted text; and =/QUOTE= must finish it. (Not case-sensitive; quote works as well as QUOTE).

(Boy, that was hard to type — the square bracket is all-powerful in this editor!)

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-17-2005, 05:46 PM
Try Google?

http://www.coopersoak.com/octnewsletter.htm

http://www.winebow.com/wine_basicinfo.asp?ID=148&producer=22

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-17-2005, 05:47 PM
<< [QUOTE=Hugh Wynn Griffith] >>

Not if you want to stay friends! One "n" please <g>

ktinkel
03-17-2005, 07:26 PM
<< [QUOTE=Hugh Wynn Griffith] >>

Not if you want to stay friends! One "n" please <g>Oh, no!!!!

Mea culpa — mea maxima culpa!

Mike
03-18-2005, 06:54 AM
I remember Est Est Est but more especially the Italian wine with that name and how it got it <g>

Me too.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-18-2005, 01:19 PM
You are of course immediately forgiven!

Hugh Wyn Griffith
03-18-2005, 01:20 PM
Dominus vobiscum .....

Susie
03-18-2005, 05:13 PM
Thanks, Kathleen!

Susie

ktinkel
03-18-2005, 05:50 PM
You are of course immediately forgiven!Oh, good. That is so much better than the long penances of my youth! <g>