Tuesday, September 15, 2015

OT: Europe Trip--Day 14--Abbey Road, Hendon and Poole.

The night before in Stevenage, I had expressed our disappointment in not being able to go see everything we had wanted to see to the desk clerk at the hotel. I told him about our being stuck in Paris and that we'd hoped we'd get to London a day earlier. Something had to give in our schedule and that "Something" was Abbey Road home recording studios, where the Beatles had recorded all their hits.
We told him that we were going straight to Hendon to the RAF Museum.

"You can still do both, they're only 4 miles apart," he replied. "I used to work in London, down in that area actually. You'll have to fight London traffic either way, so why not? Here, I'll map it out for you."

We were astonished at our good fortune. We are both huge Beatle fans and to go to see the studio they recorded in, to walk across the crosswalk made famous on their album cover, it was like going to Macca, er Mecca.

The gentlemen even came to our door that night and delivered us Mapquest print-outs for the route and suggested which way we go. Turns out he was a Beatle fan too, which I found out when I saw a picture of the band hanging behind him on the wall at the top of the stairs.

We got up the next morning and headed out. "It Won't Be Long" until we hit London traffic and slowed to a crawl. Oh well, he warned us. We just creeped along until we came up to the point where we needed to make the turn onto Abbey Road proper and then Zoom! I could tell Sky was excited too, we were both grinning like idiots. We drove down the street, past the studio, looking for a place to park. The streets were packed! Not looking good. We went around the block and circled back. Those dang English, driving on the wrong side of the road, made it very difficult to find ourselves.

We squeezed in between two cars about four blocks down from the studio and walked up to the crosswalk. There were about fifteen fans there at any point in time, milling around, taking pictures, walking across the street. I don't know how the drivers stand it! We respected the studios wishes and stayed out of the car park, taking our pictures out in front of and thru the gate.

The place has tremendous aura around it.

Sky in front of the Studio.

Don in front of the studio.

Sky makes the famous walk across the crosswalk.

We both did the crosswalk, I almost got run over by a double-decker bus! This is not the crosswalk they used, the city moved it a while ago down the street but it's still close enough.

Satisfied, we headed back to our car. Sky fired up the GPS and we headed out for Hendon. It took us about 30 minutes to get to Hendon, which we both felt wasn't bad. We went inside and looked around this great airplane museum. If you go to London and like airplanes, Hendon is a must see! I walked into the Battle of Britain hangar, went down around a corner and bumped into this....

A Fairey Battle--a real Fairey Battle!

turned around and saw this...

Boulton-Paul Defiant

Ultra-rare 2-seat FW-190!

Hawker Tempest

Junkers JU87 Stuka!


The Big room: ME-110, JU-88, HE-111. Spitfire and Hurrican to the right.
(Not in picture.)

Me-110 Nightfighter.

American B-24 Liberator

ME-262 Schwalbe

Sky in front of a HE-162 Volksjager.

The Museum just blew us away with its awesome collection. It a must-see for any WWII aviation buff. We spent four hours there just marveling at the entire collection.

Grabbing a bite to eat, we went out to our car to find a parking ticket! I'd made it a point to put enough coins into the slot, it wasn't yet expired when I returned to put more coins into it. I read the ticket and was shocked--it was from Abbey Road. Dang it! Hadn't had a parking ticket in years and I get one four blocks from Abbey Road. I put the ticket into my carry bag, mumbling that I hadn't seen any signs and went back to see the WW I collection with Skyler.

Deciding it was time to hit the road, we got on the motorway and the gps promptly got me lost. We ended up driving around the north side of London instead of out to the west. The trip, with our unintended detour and London Traffic, took us four hours instead of two. 

We were headed down to city of Poole on the southern coast of England for our stay at the  Royal National Lifeguard Institute (RNLI). The reason we selected to stay in Poole was that it was the closest city to the town of Bovington, our destination, with available hotel rooms. Bovington is home to the Bovington Tank Museum and they were holding "Tank Fest" over the weekend. We had tickets for Saturday and this was the one 'Must-see" as far as Sky was concerned.  

We found the RNLI right on the edge of town, as advertised and parked the car. We checked in, threw our bags on the floor and table and headed down to get dinner as it was now 8 PM. It had been a great day (ticket notwithstanding) and we decided to splurge and ordered steaks. I had a big beer and Sky had a Coke.

Heading back up to our room, I downloaded the days photos to our travel tablet while he got his clothes ready for the next day and surfed the web. (This hotel had pretty good internet service.)

Tomorrow was to be an exciting day for us.

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