The Royal Iris Ferry

No trip is complete without a trip across the Mersey River on the ferry, as “Ferry on the Mersey” plays on the speakers.

This Royal Iris is not the famous one because it is decaying in the Thames River.

The MV Royal Iris sits in a dilapidated state whilst moored on the south side of the River Thames near to the Thames Barrier.To use the royal on a boat, pubs, hotels and any other thing you can thing of can only be used if there has been someone royal in or on the place.  The Royal Iris had hosted the Queen and Prince Phillip on Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

The Queen and Prince Philip aboard the Royal Iris on the Mersey in 1977.

So I think the new one just stole the royal from the original ferry because it was previously the Mountwood.  I feel that this is like stealing some war heroes medals because Iris was awarded the Royal.

Enough of my ranting and back to our ride across the Mersey River.  Before catching the ferry we went and looked at the World War I submarine and some old buoys. I got some photos of Liverpool from Birkenhead.

 

We then went and got our tickets.  We walked down the walkway which I think is so cool because it goes up and down with the tide.  The tide was out when we went because the walkway was going downward.  Got some great shots of Liverpool while crossing the Mersey.

 

If you every get to visit Liverpool or the Wirral it is well worth the ride.  They also have special cruises that are always fun.

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The Wirral

I wanted David to see the little village I lived in and meet my very close friends Anna and William Stead, so off we went to Bebington.DSC_0288

After they picked us up at Bebington train station we headed to their house for a nice drink.

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The boys went to William’s allotment and got some fresh strawberries.  After the drinks we moved to some beer.

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We had a wonderful meal and then off to bed.

The next day we were going to show David the Wirral.  I wanted to show him Port Sunlight. In 1887, Lever Brothers began looking for a new site on which to expand its soap-making business, which was at that time based in Warrington. The company bought 56 acres (23 ha) of flat unused marshy land in Cheshire, south of the River Mersey. It was large enough to allow space for expansion, and had a prime location between the river and a railway line. The site became Port Sunlight, where William Lever built his works and a model village to house his employees. William Lever personally supervised planning the village, and employed nearly thirty different architects. Between 1899 and 1914, 800 houses were built to house a population of 3,500. The garden village had allotments and public buildings including the Lady Lever Art Gallery, a cottage hospital, schools, a concert hall, open air swimming pool, church, and a temperance hotel. Lever introduced welfare schemes, and provided for the education and entertainment of his workforce, encouraging recreation and organizations which promoted art, literature, science or music. It was raining, this was not a surprise because we were in England, while we were there.  We stopped for a little bit but then moved on and planned to come back which we didn’t do.

Not sure why the posts there had crocheted covers. I guess it was to protect you in case you fall after a pint.

 

Then was the whirlwind trip around the Wirral.
Wirral (/ˈwɪrəl/), also known as The Wirral, is a peninsula in northwest England. It is bounded to the west by the River Dee, forming a boundary with Wales, to the east by the River Mersey, and to the north by the Irish Sea.
The roughly rectangular peninsula is about 15 miles (24 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide. Historically, Wirral was wholly within Cheshire; in the Domesday Book, its border with the rest of the county was placed at “two arrow falls from Chester city walls.” However, since the passing of the Local Government Act 1972, only the southern third has been in Cheshire, with the rest in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in the modern county of Merseyside.

 

We ate lunch at Remember When. It was a very nice tea room and food was good.

 

We headed back to Anna and William’s house.  We walked to the allotment where we pulled weeds and picked currents.

 

When we returned Anna made us a wonderful meal.  David got to eat pheasant for the first time.  We then had an ice cream that Anna topped with the strawberries and currents that we had picked.  We had a nice couple of bottles of wine and had some good laughs.  Anna told us how when she was at the university they had to stand with different sandwich boards to make money.  She actually still had one.

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The next day we had to leave our dear friends to head back to London.  I am so glad that they had a few days to spend with us because they have been running around like a chicken with its head chopped off and its wings flapping. They have been going to Wales, Ansty and Bebington trying to take care of 3 houses.  Luckily, they just got the one in Wales sold.  Now all the work will begin on their one in Antsy which is an old thatched roof house. Thanks again Anna and William for showing us a good time.

 

 

 

Chester

Chester is one of my favorite cities with its city walls, roman remains, medieval buildings and Victorian restorations.  Chester was originally a Roman fort on the River Dee and close to Wales. I could not wait to show the town to David.

We got to Euston station to catch the train to Chester .  We were actually heading to the Wirral where I had lived before with my late husband.  I wanted to introduce David to my dear friends  Anna and William Stead, who we were staying with.

We grabbed some breakfast before we left in the train station where we were joined by a pigeon.

 

We arrived in Chester ready to go do the tourist thing, but wait there was a brewery near by.  Off we went to find it hoping that it was there.  I had in my hand the address and directions.  We headed out and were not sure what we were on because the United Kingdom likes to hide the street signs on the buildings if there even is one.  David saw a taxi stand and headed over there to get directions.  When he came out he said throw those directions away because they are totally wrong.  The Brewhouse & Kitchen was just around the corner.

The Brewhouse & Kitchen is a bit different from your traditional pub. They  brew their own, unique craft beers on-site in there brew-tiful microbrewery! As well as matching every dish on their menu to a style of beer they also love cooking with beer, be sure to keep an eye out for recipes that make use of the beers they brew.  We had a nice meal there also.

 

 

I guess the brewery was more important than the tour of Chester.  We checked the time and noticed we had only a short time before we had to catch the train to Bebington.  We walked a little ways down main street to check out Chester.

 

 

We walked across the Dee to the railway station to catch Mersey Rail to Bebington.

 

The Search for Breweries

I wanted to go visit my friend, Ian Mcinnes, in Hampstead.  I once again did a search for breweries and Gary, David and I set off.  We took the underground at Earl’s Court to King’s Cross where we walked to Euston.  I picked up my tickets for our trip to Chester the next day.

 

 

 

 

After our visit we were off on the search for the greatest beer.  We used our Oyster card to hop on a couple of buses.  We got off and started down the road.  We then noticed that the numbers were getting smaller, then turning around we started back up the road.  We found the address just where we had gotten off the bus.  As we all stood there looking dumbfounded at the empty building, we wondered if there was another building 100.  We had now gone completely around the building looking for a brewery.  Gary saw a security guard in the building, so he knocked, asking is this 100 and told yes.  Is there a brewery here?  No, this building is empty and has been closed for many years.

Ok no big deal we have another one to find.  We  got directions, so off we went.  We found the address with no problem.  Only problem was it is now Tesco Express.  Once again Gary went in to see what he could find out.  No one knew anything, until a gentleman came out and told us that the brewery has been gone for many years.

Once again it was rush hours, so we decided to go to the Ye Old Swiss Cottage to eat dinner.  We walked in and David noticed all the taps were Samuel Smith beers.  I guess I should mention that the one thing he wanted to do while we were here was going to Samuel Smith brewery which is in Tadcaster.  I tried to get us there but it was just going to be a pain, so we decided to skip it. David was in heaven.

The Swiss Tavern was built in 1804 in the style of a Swiss chalet on the site of a former toll gate keeper’s cottage, and later renamed Swiss Inn and in the early 20th century Swiss Cottage.

Swiss Cottage is a district of the London Borough of Camden in England. It is part of Hampstead and is centered on the junction of Avenue Road and Finchley Road, at the tripoint of the postcodes of Hampstead NW3, Kilburn/West Hampstead NW6 and St Johns Wood NW8. Swiss Cottage is 3.25 miles (5.23 km) north-northwest of Charing Cross. It is the location of Swiss Cottage tube station.

 

After some great beers, nice meal and rush hour was over we headed back to Gary’s flat.

 

 

 

London

We landed at Gatwick and then caught the train to West Brompton where we walked 2 blocks to my brother-in-law Gary’s flat.  We didn’t do much except go get some dinner and a couple of groceries from the Co-Op the first day.

The next day we took off to go brewery searching.  I got online to start looking for some close by ones.  I found two that we went to find after we finally got moving.

After riding the underground and buses we finally found Four Thieves.  It is what they call a brew pub here, which means it has the brewery in the pub.  The brewery is very small but impressive.  The brewer brews about every three weeks and also brews at several other brew pubs.  They have what we think is about a five barrel system.  We were given a tour that we enjoyed. The beers we tried were very nice but they don’t bottle, so none to bring home.

 

After that we headed out to find another brewery. After several buses and walking in circles we finally came to the Sam Brook’s brewery at 6:03.  We walked in to go up to the bar and no one was around.  I wandered around and took some photos.  David found a bell that said push for help.  We then found out that it closed at 6:00.  Whoever heard of a bar closing at 6.

 

We then walked by the clock that runs backwards. That is called World’s End Clock.

World’s End is a district of Chelsea, London, lying at the western end of the Kings Road. Once a Victorian slum area, council housing was built here in the 20th century, including the brutalist World’s End estate. The area takes its name from the public house The World’s End, which dates back to at least the 17th century.

In the King’s Road, near Milman Street, is an inn styled “The World’s End.” The old tavern was a noted house of entertainment in the reign of Charles II. The tea-gardens and grounds were extensive, and elegantly fitted up for the reception of company. The house was probably called “The World’s End” on account of its then considerable distance from London, and the bad and dangerous state of the roads and pathways leading to it

It is mentioned in Congreve’s Restoration comedy Love for Love (1695) as a place of questionable reputation to the west of London:
MRS. FORE. I suppose you would not go alone to the World’s End.
MRS. FRAIL. The World’s End! What, do you mean to banter me?
MRS. FORE. Poor innocent! You don’t know that there’s a place called the World’s End? (Act II, Scene IX)

 

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We then decided to go get something to eat to avoid the rush hours.  I say hours because it is not an hour but hours in London.

Ole Flat Hippies Do Italy

The Church Palace was a lot of fun. The food was good and the drink was better. We rode a lion and took a selfie in front of artwork called selfie.  The bed was nice too.

 

These people that brought us along with them are really cool.  They took us everywhere.  We got to go to the Vatican Museum.

We had some great pasta for dinner.

We went to the forum which was very old.  We met a seagull with her two babies. We checked out a well too.

We hung out with the Ron

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Then we headed to the colosseum.  They said many animals, slaves and Christians were killed there.  I wonder what would happen to flat people like us.

 

We met some new friends when our carrying friends stopped for lunch.

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We went to a concert at a Refuge camp.

 

We got to go out to lunch the next day.

Then we got to go to St Peter’s Basilica with the choir.

 

We next stayed in Montecatini and got to eat breakfast out in the garden.

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There was even a huge lemon tree.

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We then visited with John for a little bit.

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We found a really cool phone.

The drinks all through Italy were great.  We tried many different things.

 

We had tons of different pastas.

 

We had a lot of white meat but we did have some fish that was very good.

 

The dessert were out of this world.

 

We rode on a gondola, saw many rivers, were put in prison, the bridges were cool and sang many times with the chorus.

 

Italy was really fun.  We met many new friends and saw many new things.  The people  who took us with them were great.  They never left us behind or stuck us in a bag where we could not see.  They fed us good food and drink.  I am glad they have decided to take us with them everywhere.

Take Care,

The Flat Ole Hippies

 

 

Leaving Italy

We all got back to our hotel.  We decided to not to catch the bus with the rest of the group due to the fact they were leaving at 5:30am.  We were told that it would be cheap to get to the airport.  All we had to do was take a taxi for about 5 euros to the train station  close to the hotel where we could catch a bus  to the airport for 10 euros.  We thought that was great, so we stayed and left when it was closer to our time to get to the airport.  The hotel called us a taxi which arrived in no time.  I told the driver to go to the train station to catch the bus to the airport.  He asked me what airport and I replied Malpensa.  At this time I realized he could not speak English very well.  He loaded the suitcases in the car and off we went.  David and I started  thinking well this was a little longer than where we should be going.  Then we started to see signs for the airport and started thinking this was not right.  We said something the taxi driver who then stopped in the lane to talk to us.  Due to the language barrier he was taking us to the airport.  He then told us that it would be 95 euros to take us to the airport.  David said that’s too much.  The taxi driver then said it would cost 25 euros to go back to the bus station, but he would take us to the airport for 80 euros.  Not sure if he did it on purpose or not.  We decided to just go with the 80 euro deal.  I asked if he would take card and he said yes, because we just had enough cash to pay for the other trip plan.  We then handed him a card for our Credit Union 1 which was declined.  After trying our other 3 cards for that account, all declined,  we found that luckily, there was money in our Wells Fargo account, so we did finally pay him.  I had contacted our banks and told them where we were traveling.  I contacted the Credit Union 1 and was informed that there was no declines on the cards.  I guess that bank was not big enough to work on his machine or they just got lost in the cloud somewhere. So we made our Easy Jet flight and headed off for London

Great Hotel Bristol

We had our final lunch together at the Great Hotel Bristol.  It was just an amazing place.
The Grand Hotel Bristol enjoys a magnificent location on the lakeshore of Stresa, a true pearl of Lake Maggiore, famous all over the world for the extraordinary way the beautiful landscape merges with the sumptuous dwellings scattered throughout it. Hotel guests can enjoy a privileged view of Isola Bella and the Borromeo Gulf. The prestigious building that is now the Grand Hotel in Stresa was originally a noble residence, and careful renovation work has allowed it to retain its elegance while enhancing it with modern conveniences. The Zacchera family’s traditional dedication to hospitality at the highest level completes the features that make the Grand Hotel Bristol an ideal place for relaxing and discovering the beauty of Lake Maggiore.

We had the most amazing meal.

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The meal was served by finely dressed waiters and waitresses.  Of course, this was the best meal we had the whole trip.  We were all very impressed. There was wine and water on the table.

 

 

After the meal was served and eaten we were served champagne.  Grant toasted and thanked everyone.  Sean and Roland stood up and said something. We then drank our champagne.  Our table noticed that there was open bottles of champagne that the waiters were seeming to take away.  We all told them we will drink that so you don’t have to through it away.  So we made the sacrifice and drank some of the open bottles for them.

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We then all thanked our guides Liz and Luigi.  Classical Movements furnished our dessert.  This cake was carried out by two waiters and about 4 feet in diameter. It was really fabulous.

 

After enjoying our dessert we walked back to our bus to head back to Milan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boat Ride to Pescatori Island

Our last trip the day before we left Italy we went to Stresa where we caught a private boat on Lake Maggiore to Pescatori Island. We got free time to explore the most picturesque island on Lake Maggoire. Pescatori is one of the oldest fishing villages. It is also celebrated for its well-preserved architecture and old-fashioned charm.