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Headed to the British Isles
Old 03-26-2014   #1
JayC
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Headed to the British Isles

I just booked a 13 day tour of Ireland, Scotland, and England. It starts in Limerick, goes around the southern coast of Ireland then up to Dublin and up further to Edinburgh. Then down to York and London. It is a high school graduation present for my son.

I had gone back and forth between planning my own route, renting a car, basically flying solo with my son. In the end, we decided on a group tour. It will be more "touristy" than just the two of us in a rental car, but I think it will be a great experience.

For the past several months, I have been trying to figure out which of the many cameras and lens combos I want to keep/sell. I think booking this trip is going to make me finalize with my Leica M9-p with a 35 summicron ASPH, and maybe find a 24 Elmarit ASPH.
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Old 03-26-2014   #2
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Sounds like my dream trip (exchange son for girlfriend :-) ) I think the group tour will give you a chance to meet people which I find to be one of the great things about traveling. Shooting any film?
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Film
Old 03-26-2014   #3
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Film

I forgot to mention I will take an M6ttl Millenium for a 2 lens 2 camera set up.
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Old 03-26-2014   #4
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Let me know when you're going to be in London. Perhaps we could meet up?
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Old 03-27-2014   #5
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Great trip, you will have the chance of getting a wide variety of pictures. Keep in mind that the British/Irish weather can be very changeable so plan for some lightweight rain cover. If you will be visiting castles, country houses, museums etc you should find that many allow indoor photography but nearly always without tripods or flash. When in the big cities especially London be aware of pickpockets (as you would anywhere in the world these days). If you get the chance when in London try the food, these days we have some of the best restaurants in the world.
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Old 03-27-2014   #6
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Hi,

Sounds a great trip.

You'll love York, small enough to walk round and you'll find you're getting through film faster than you can buy it. You'll probably need a 28mm lens for the more famous streets (called "The Shambles" for reasons I won't explain). Having said that, I took the XA2 (35mm) the last time.

London's the same and, if you combine your trip to just the City of London and Westminster, you can walk around both easily. When you're there try a river trip to Kew Gardens.

It sounds like you could start a London RFF met as well.

Regards, David

PS XA2 picture of York here at post No 35 http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...t=66397&page=2

Last edited by David Hughes : 03-27-2014 at 01:29. Reason: Second thoughts
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Old 03-27-2014   #7
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I have a different view. I spent four years from 1958-62 living and working in England, had a few business trips back there afterwards and my wife is from Devon. At one time we were making the trip annually and we always hired a car and drove ourselves. We knew the ropes, we had friends and relatives to visit, and we knew our way around. We also knew what things we liked to see and do and those we didn't particularly care for. For a first time ever trip like you're planning, joining a group tour has a lot of advantages - and one or two disadvantages. For one thing you cannot be as flexible as you might like at times, and the mix of things you see and visit might not be (after consideration) exactly matching your preferences. But it saves a lot of stress and organising. Somebody else is taking care of that. You will undoubtedly "cherry pick" and see the prime tourist attractions but there's nothing wrong with that. And it will give you a very good idea of what you want to do if you get the chance to make a later visit.
As far as cameras go, I understand the attraction of digital for colour but I'm a dyed-in-the-wool B&W film man so i take two cameras. For film work I use a Voigtlander Bessa or my Leica M6 with Ilford Delta 400 or HP5+ (ISO 400) and have found that a 25mm focal length lens is great for confined spaces, alleyways and interiors, a 35mm is good for general photography and maybe as an option a 75-80mm for anything else. Wide is good! I have 21, 28, 50 and 90 mm lenses as well but generally keep weight and bulk down by taking just two. There are plenty of film supply houses you can order from by phone or internet but you do need to plan in advance if you want to use a particular film. You can't count on walking into the nearest chemists/pharmacy and picking up B&W film. That's a long way around to say you will need quite wide lenses, fast film and to have organised the supply. Enjoy!
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Old 03-27-2014   #8
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... the Shambles is something to do with slaughtering animals isn't it? ...

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Originally Posted by Sejanus.Aelianus View Post
You're going to get six or seven hours in each place, from the sound of it. I'm very much afraid that you'll see the tourist traps and not a lot else. My view is that you would have been much better served by your original idea of renting a car.
... yes I'd agree with that
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Old 03-27-2014   #9
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Ah well, he's doing what he's doing. Maybe, if he gets another chance, having seen the tourist sites first time round, a self-planned trip would be a good choice.

Sounds like there might not be much time to meet up with folks, if JayC's being herded round by an earnest chap brandishing an umbrella.

Just as an aside, I had a friend who grew up in Oxford. One of his hobbies as a teenager was to confidently divert groups of tourists and give them totally spurious tours of the city, with plenty of invented detail. There must be a lot of confused Americans and Japanese...
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Old 03-27-2014   #10
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... on the plus side taking a tour means not having to learn to drive on narrow twisty roads and go around roundabouts, and you will get to see all the big stuff, like I tend to do
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Old 03-27-2014   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sejanus.Aelianus View Post
Go on - admit it, you stole that from the "Lewis" episode "And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea".

I'm afraid that I have never seen any episodes of Lewis, on account of not having a TV. I hope they credited Patrick 'Smedley' Hardiman with the idea. I worked with him in the mid-80s, as it happens.
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Old 03-27-2014   #12
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Just as an aside, I had a friend who grew up in Oxford. One of his hobbies as a teenager was to confidently divert groups of tourists and give them totally spurious tours of the city, with plenty of invented detail. There must be a lot of confused Americans and Japanese...
Ah yes, the underground cathedral! I've done it as a party piece once or twice, you need to be good to get away with it though! Oh, and my other half is fond of directing people who ask where the university is up to Headington to Brookes...

As advice to JayC I would say pack a raincoat! The weather here may only rarely try to kill you, but dripping down the back of the neck in a really annoying fashion is a speciality.

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Old 03-27-2014   #13
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Quote:
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... on the plus side taking a tour means not having to learn to drive on narrow twisty roads and go around roundabouts, and you will get to see all the big stuff, like I tend to do
Yes a tour is a good idea ...you will find the roads both congested and chaotic especially in the south.
Parking is limited and also expensive.

As regards film ... if you do run out the national pharmacy chain Boots carry XP2 and HP5 in their city stores.

The cut price chain Poundland have stocks of Agfa Vista 200 ,24 exp for a pound a roll ($1.66).

I hope that you enjoy your holiday.
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Old 03-27-2014   #14
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Typical of us Brits, jumping in to get a good moan in about the weather, tales of winding up tourists and a whinge about our congested and angry driver filled roads All valid stuff mind

Michael's advice re: film stockists is excellent. There are a few Jessops stores left and Snappy Snaps but Boots and Poundland are in pretty much every town in the UK so film supplies shouldn't be too hard to find.

If you find you have a little extra time in London it may be worth popping a message on here as a local may well meet up if only to show you a little more of the city and to say hello.

I've never been a fan of official tours but they are a good start for a first visit wherever you may be going, especially if time is a little limited and it sounds like you've got some of the big choices ticked in terms of cities- tick a few boxes and come back for longer next time if you like it. Your wallet will probably not like it here Though at least you don't have to pay these prices permanently

Have a great time....and do try some of the food, its not as bad as the French make out and there's everything from the poshest restaurants to amazing street food in some of the markets and back streets. For a twist on typical Brit pub type snacks try "Eat My Pies," Thursdays & Fridays at White Cross Market or Saturdays at Broadway Market in Hackney.

Enjoy.
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Old 03-27-2014   #15
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... I thought Chicken Tikka Masala was our national dish? ... the best in Bradford (The Kashmir on Morley Street) ... cheaper than a takeaway burger outside the White Tower
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Old 03-27-2014   #16
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Hi,

Well, JayC, you've heard the worst but don't worry we are a friendly lot really.

Perhaps if you let us know how long you've got in each place...

Trouble is there's basically two sorts of tour, the whistle and umbrella version (Changing of the Guard, Tower of London and I know not what else) or the "today at leisure in London" version. We can help with both and have seen enough to know what they do; I was doing some emergency duties once in the City, meaning awake all night, and at 5:30 am the first coaches rolled up to St Paul's and the sleepy tourists were pushed out. Honest.

OTOH, we are mostly photographers on this forum and carry cameras all the time, so we can help in our own little ways. We can even direct you to famous film locations that are the real thing like "The George" in Borough High St. and so on. (It's not original, btw, the first one was destroyed by fire in 1676 and this is what was rebuilt.)

Regards, David

PS I think Boots &c are expensive for film but there's other places and we can help source film for you at non-tourist prices. Those still working can easily recommend places.

* http://www.pubs.com/main_site/pub_details.php?pub_id=92
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Old 03-27-2014   #17
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Quote:
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... I thought Chicken Tikka Masala was our national dish? ... the best in Bradford (The Kashmir on Morley Street) ... cheaper than a takeaway burger outside the White Tower
My first car was probably cheaper than anything sold outside William's old pied-à-terre.
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Old 03-27-2014   #18
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How long do you have in Edinburgh ?

I don't think I've ever seen anyone shooting a Leica in Edinburgh !

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Old 03-27-2014   #19
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Thanks for all the offers for meetups and insider help.
2 nights in Limerick
1 in Killarney
2 in Dublin
1 in Belfast
2 in Edinburgh
1 in Leeds
1 in Bath
2 in London
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Old 03-27-2014   #20
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If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, eh?
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Old 03-27-2014   #21
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Quote:
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How long do you have in Edinburgh ?

I don't think I've ever seen anyone shooting a Leica in Edinburgh !

Ronnie
I don't have one but have seen a few in and around the old town in Edinburgh.
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Old 03-27-2014   #22
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Ooooh, Bath - one of my favorite places to visit!
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Old 03-27-2014   #23
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Remeber the british waether, it can bite, my son was 14 before he found out that kagools could be unzipped and taken off
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Old 03-27-2014   #24
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Hi,

Leeds, eh; obviously a cricket fan. It's a nice part of the world but I didn't expect it on the list. But I should have done. just up the road from me is Washington's family home and I've seen very few tourists around hereabouts. I guess the Americans haven't heard of him...

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Old 03-27-2014   #25
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Do not go into a Weatherspoons pub. The food is awful and the clientele is there just for the cheap alcohol. Do not expect a decent salad in the UK. Do try to be impressed by the history of it all. There is the City of Leeds and there is Leeds Castle: they are nowhere near each other. York has a Cathedral which is known as the "Minster". (Not the "Minister") There is moorland, bleak and majestic in Scotland and the north of England. The south is softer and great for dairy cattle. In the main parts of London you may be approached by Romanian beggars: they are organized professionals. Develop an appetite for Indian food. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-27-2014   #26
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If you have spare time away from the group tour in London, I would suggest spending an afternoon and evening on the east side of London:

Catch a play at the Globe Theatre (reconstruction of Shakespeare's theatre)

See St Paul's cathedral

Visit the Tate Modern art gallery (and walk along the south bank of the Thames if time and weather permit)

visit the John Soane Museum in Lincoln's Inn - architect of the Bank of England and eccentric collector of everything.

These places are not too far apart but book ahead for tickets and definitely take light wet weather clothing.

Decent restaurants are available in most parts of London. Check Time Out magazine or website for events going on during your visit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JayC View Post
Thanks for all the offers for meetups and insider help.
2 nights in Limerick
1 in Killarney
2 in Dublin
1 in Belfast
2 in Edinburgh
1 in Leeds
1 in Bath
2 in London
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Old 03-27-2014   #27
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Quote:
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Thanks for all the offers for meetups and insider help.
2 nights in Limerick
1 in Killarney
2 in Dublin
1 in Belfast
2 in Edinburgh
1 in Leeds
1 in Bath
2 in London
Shame you can't replace Leeds with York. Not a bad list.
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Old 03-27-2014   #28
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They might be staying in Leeds and visiting York.
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Old 03-28-2014   #29
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Just an after thought, if your son is over 18 then you'll have no problems with pubs as this is the legal age limit for alcohol. Even if he isn't he can still accompany you but soft drinks only.
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Old 03-28-2014   #30
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Hi,

The English have a guilt complex about the rain; Wales, Ireland and Scotland get far more rain.

I sometimes think the rumour about the Romanian beggars is a plot by the Tories as it attacks foreigners and suggest none of the British are that poor...

Anyway, back to the plot, most of the cities being visited are great to wander around in, especially if you think of London as a group of linked villages (the original one is called the City and is around St Paul's and the Tower with London Bridge the only original crossing point).

All of them have fixed routes for the poor tourists and these routes are lined with traps for tourists and their money. But all of these cities have large populations of day time workers and they manage to eat and so on at normal prices. (Look down the side streets for sandwich and coffee bars and small parks and flower gardens to eat and rest in.)

Sir John S's house would be high on my list, ditto the Wallace collection and Johnson's house off Fleet St. And his pub the "Cheshire Cheese". It's a pity they ruined the view of St Paul's from Fleet St. Luckily I retired in 1991 and so never had to look at it daily but it was a shock when I first saw it.

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Old 03-28-2014   #31
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Quote:
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Just an after thought, if your son is over 18 then you'll have no problems with pubs as this is the legal age limit for alcohol. Even if he isn't he can still accompany you but soft drinks only.
Hi,

Can't they drink with a meal once 16 but only a restricted range of drinks? I could be wrong, I left 16 behind a long, long time ago.

Regards, David
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Old 03-28-2014   #32
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When are doing the Trip?
Spring/Summer I hope?

Make sure you have plenty of Plastic bags to put your gear in when it Rains.

If you are here in the Summer, specifically during the Parliaments Summer recess try & do the tour.

One of the best & most informative things I have done in London.
I think we were the only English people in the whole place when we did it.
You will see plenty of your fellow countrymen in there.
Mostly asking about why we dont have a constitution!

And of couse, try & get this Guy to do your tour at the Tower!

Irreverant, but very funny.
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Old 03-28-2014   #33
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... for the Leeds bit if time permits

Kirkstall Abbey

Leeds Town Hall and Art Gallery

US portions (and salads) are available whatever the other chap said

And a Pub ... a bit restored now but not bad

... a bit farther out but more interesting

Saltaire Village, Mill and David Hockney's gallery

Photography Museum
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Old 03-28-2014   #34
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Hi,

Can't they drink with a meal once 16 but only a restricted range of drinks? I could be wrong, I left 16 behind a long, long time ago.

Regards, David
Yes, that's correct, I forgot that part.
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Old 03-28-2014   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark.EE View Post
When are doing the Trip?
Spring/Summer I hope?

Make sure you have plenty of Plastic bags to put your gear in when it Rains.

If you are here in the Summer, specifically during the Parliaments Summer recess try & do the tour.

One of the best & most informative things I have done in London.
I think we were the only English people in the whole place when we did it.
You will see plenty of your fellow countrymen in there.
Mostly asking about why we dont have a constitution!

And of couse, try & get this Guy to do your tour at the Tower!

Irreverant, but very funny.
Hi,

We don't have a constitution because our Govt. can be trusted, not very far of course; some say as far as you can spit into the wind...

Besides, who could afford to take the Govt. to court and get our rights?

Regards, David

PS Not sure if they do it these days (part of the world wide war on tourism) but ask the copper at the gate at Buckingham Palace if you can sign the visitors book. If they say yes, take your family in and leave the rest of the group with their mouths open... I used to do this years ago with visitors to our office from overseas. It was an easy way to add a bit of spice to the routine tour.
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Old 03-28-2014   #36
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Quote:
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Hi,

We don't have a constitution because our Govt. can be trusted, not very far of course; some say as far as you can spit into the wind...

Besides, who could afford to take the Govt. to court and get our rights?

Regards, David

PS Not sure if they do it these days (part of the world wide war on tourism) but ask the copper at the gate at Buckingham Palace if you can sign the visitors book. If they say yes, take your family in and leave the rest of the group with their mouths open... I used to do this years ago with visitors to our office from overseas. It was an easy way to add a bit of spice to the routine tour.

We do have a constitution.
Its just not written down.
Apparently.............
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Old 03-28-2014   #37
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We do have a constitution.
Its just not written down.
Apparently.............
We've had a Bill of Rights for over 300 years ... last amendment was in the mid 1990's
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Old 03-28-2014   #38
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our Govt. can be trusted, not very far of course; some say as far as you can spit into the wind...
No... not even as far as that...
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Old 03-28-2014   #39
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Hi JayC, I have read lots of the above comments about MY city, London has always
been and remains one of the great cities of the world, its heritage and history are second to
none, its an all weather city with plenty to visit any time of the year night and day.
London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world with a huge choice for food and entertainment
for all ages and budgets, and of course photographically stunning.
I have personally travelled and stayed in over forty countries with my wife and London still remains up there with
all the great world cities . I have been a Licence London Taxi Driver for forty five years
and have been told by our tourist and business travellers of there continued repeat visits to our great city.
You can expect a great time in my city (your son will love it).
Regards Chris
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Old 03-28-2014   #40
JayC
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
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This is tons of useful info for me. Thanks. I will be compiling it all into a mini RFF tour pamphlet to take with me.
My son turns 18 just prior to our trip which is mid July.
Yes, we will be seeing York, I just put the cities we are over-nighting in.
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