|Subject: England, Scotland and Myanmar|
I have just returned to snowy Toronto after a two-month trip. A few hightlights for me that maybe of interest to Ziners
England - London
One of them was visiting The Queen's Gallery (www.royal.gov.uk) at Buckingham Palace. It was opened to celebrate the Golden Jubilee and the present exhibition is scheduled to close on January 12, 2003, although we were told that it may be kept open longer due to the popularity. I booked over the Internet and received the tickets in 4-days by mail. I'd recommend booking the 10 a.m. time slot - we practically had the place to ourselves at that time but there was a little line up when we left.
The other highlight was Evensong at Westminster Abbey (www.westminster-abbey.org) What a bonus to sit with the choir to hear their glorious voices. No booking necessary - arrive early or you'll be seated in the pews.
I thought the best panoramic view of London was from the Bell Tower at Westminster Cathedral. The ticket says the Tower Lift operates from March to October between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. but it was November when we were there.
Before leaving I purchased a 7-day Travel Voucher for $50 Canadian for Zones 1 and 2 to use on the Underground and buses. We exchanged this at Heathrow for a Travel Card which we used to get into London and just paid the difference between Zone 6 (Heathrow) and Zone 2. We thought this was a good deal and most of all convenient.
Unfortunately for us we arrived on the first day of the Fireman's Strike and certain stations were closed en route to the city requiring changes - with luggage and crowded as it was rush hour - was no joke. It took over two hours to Victoria Station. The strike has not been settled yet - they are sporadic with probably a couple of days warning.
One exhibition that I was longing to see and didn't get time was The Jewels of JAR Paris (JAR being Joal Arthur Rosenthal, an American). This is at The Gilbert Collection in Somerset House (www.somerset-house.org.uk) and is the first time Europe has seen his work, produced in Paris over a 25-year period. It is scheduled to close on January 26th, 2003. The courtyard was delightful with the skating rink and Christmas decorations at the time.
For anyone who would like a quick and reasonable food in the Trafalgar Square area I'd recommend the Cafe-in-the-Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. We found other churches had areas serving good food.
On the only sunny and frosty day I spent time walking around the grounds of Chatsworth House (the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire) (www.chatsworth-house.co.uk) which is about 8 miles north of Matlock. It's a wonderful place any time of year.
Scotland - Edinburgh
There is a lovely Exhibition of Turner's watercolours at the National Gallery. It is only exhibited in January every year as stipulated in the Will of the benefactor, made a hundred years ago.
Holyrood House - I noticed they have added a Queen's Gallery (www.royal.gov.uk) but it wasn't open on Hogmanay.
Myanmar Sue Wright and I spent a marvellous 3-weeks visiting the Land of Golden Temples. For anyone wishing to get off the tourist route this is a beautiful place to visit full of smiling people and, at the moment, reasonable prices.
Barbara Toronto, Canada