Sunday, December 31, 2017

Walk into a base camp in Viet Nam.................

I hear a helicopter landing and an announcement from the watch tower

Visitors to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum outside of Charleston, South Carolina, come to explore the battleships, aircraft on site and interactive displays that can keep you busy for hours.

The USS Yorktown is a massive aircraft carrier that draws large crowds but my visit was to experience the recently opened Viet Nam exhibit.

As most of the crowd rushed across the bridge to see a war ship, I took the small path to the left towards a blue wall.     As you get closer you recognize the display.   There are dog tags representing all the men from South Carolina who gave everything during the war.

The exhibit is an up close opportunity to see and often touch the aircraft and equipment as well as the sounds that soldiers in the field experienced every day.

           A large quonset hut houses displays, a time line of the war and a theater showing video                                                          interviews from  men and women who served.

   Once you exit the 'hut' you are in a recreation of the "US Navy Advanced Tactical Support Base and a US Marine Corps Artillery Firebase during the Tet Offensive, 1968".1

A patrol boat that patrolled the rivers in Viet Nam

A look into a PX

The medical tent was a sober view of the immediate care prior to a patient evacuated to a hospital 

The exhibit is not a Disney production but the audio as you walk through the tunnel or listen to the sounds of a huey landing in the camp, projects you into the real life experience.

The watch towner announce 'incoming'
You can climb aboard a med-evac helicopter 

                     The interior was a somber reminder of the pain and death that was part of every day.

The mess tent

Volunteer tour guides and docents are available at scheuduled times.    In addition to the Yorktown the USS Laffey, Submarien USS Clamagore are docked here.  Visitors can visit the Medal of Honor Museum, Apollo 8 mission exhibit and the Cold War submarine memorial.

Contact Information:
40 Patriots Point Road
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
843 884 2727

1.  Park brochure

On Extended Trips, Look for Shared Office Space

Thought I would share this:
What good suggestions for any traveler who needs to work

Shared Work Space for Long Term Travelers!

What a great idea........

The Points Guy posted a great list of NYC properties that offer shared office space and so much more.
Story by David Slotnick k

Read the full story here as posted by The Points Guy

Blender Workspace





Thank you Mr. Slotnick and the Points Guy.

Shall keep searching for places to work on long distance trips.

Monday, July 24, 2017

HF Holidays walking tour to visit the Isle of Wight, for a solo traveler

Freshwater Bay house, photo from HF Holidays web site

View from the Freshwater Bay country house with HF Holidays

Isle of Wight, UK
On my third attempt to visit this island, only a 40 minute ferry ride from Lymington or a faster hydrofoil from Southampton, I was determined to spend a few days here with the HF Holidays group at one of their country houses.  A secondary benefit was visiting Lymington and attending the weekly market.

I would be staying at Freshwater Bay house as an 'independent walker', not part of the organized walks offered daily.  Although I thought I was a walker, I quickly found out that I would be outpaced by 80+ year old's who could go 6hr on a daily hike!  Later in this post you will see the 'simple walk to Yarmouth" that proved that daily walks around a city was not sufficient training for this adventure.

I had several goals for my visit to the Isle of Wight:
1.   to finally visit Osbourn House see photos of exterior here
2.   to visit the town of Yarmouth and villages that are linked by a handy 'island bus system'
3.   to experience a full board stay in a hotel.

With so many topics I have divided this post into segments so you can skip topics of no interest to you.

The Freshwater Bay House:

HF Holiday arranged a taxi/van service to pick up the ferry passengers joining the week long walks.   There was also a weekend festival in Yarmouth and made the transfer a little hectic!

After a quick check in at FBH we were served  afternoon tea.    This was my first opportunity to see who might be traveling solo on this 'vacation'.    There seemed to be a large number of couples and some groups all traveling together.   Many of the guests had stayed with HFH before and knew the routine.

The views from the hotel are wonderful.  There is a path along the caulk cliffs that are only a few feet from a bone shattering fall to the beach so we were told to pay attention on an 'introductory' walk before dinner.   Only 4 attendees so I was not hopeful to find many solo travelers. 

The house has several large lounges and sitting areas for any guests to use:   cards, board games, reading or chatting with other guests.  There is also a full bar

The dining room:   Large round tables are more inviting for guest to meet other travelers.
There was a couple traveling on a bed and breakfast plan and had their own table.

As a solo traveler eating with strangers is not easy for me but if you sit next to someone and say hello you just hope they don't tell you "You cant sit here, I am saving it'.     HFH  had a great policy that as you enter there is an employee who will happily seat you at a table. 

The bedrooms have been updated and feature new baths.   There is excellent wifi service in the rooms and I read that some rooms have ocean view.   Above if a double room and very spacious.

There are other activities for guests when you are not out on a hike.  The property has a large heated pool, some lawn games and extensive gardens.

The property is also a short walk to what I was told the only or last thatched roof church.  The next morning after breakfast, I set off to explore.   I would have enjoyed visiting during the wedding they had earlier in the day.
How lucky that the church was open and visitors were welcome to look around

Add caption

I have seen individual seat cushions in many churches in the UK.
Do the church members each needle point a cushion based on a specific pattern?

         From here I proceeded to the smallest book store and best cake/tea café on the same road.

It was very fortunate that there was ONE map of the Freshwater Bay area to purchase here or I would have wasted all day looking for the foot path!

Next my short hike to Yarmouth that took me ALL day and visiting Osbourn house!

Please return next week for the rest of the story.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Some places in London shared by a Local

Christine's Corner   

While the weather was good, the views were stunning and we walked around the entire cove

While on the Isle of Wight for a HF Holiday country house walk, I met a lovely woman
at the breakfast table one morning.   Most of the guests were British (I was the only American) and
I chatted with Christine about suggestions for places to visit in London that are not featured in most travel books.    
Below are a few of her suggestions.   As a London resident I hope she will continue to share unique places to add to my yearly visit to London.

Bunhill Fields Cemetery - burial place of Daniel Defoe, William Blake and others.
Abney Park Cemetery - burial place of William Booth. Lots of community activities take place here. Near to Stoke Newington Church Street - lots of nice shops and restaurants.

Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath - stately home bequeathed to the country, managed by English Heritage. Art gallery includes works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, among many others. Very nice cafe, beautiful vista from the house and, of course, walks on the Heath.

Wilton's Music Hall - rescued from dereliction- is now a theatre with bars and a cafe (not an actual music hall though!). Near to 'Battle of Cable Street' mural depicting locals taking on Oswald Mosley's  Union of Fascists in the 1930s. Also near to Jack the Ripper museum - a bit grim but very moving biographical information on the victims.

All Hallows by the Tower - very interesting crypt. Also quite near to the above.

St Olave's Church - very close to above. Samuel Pepys worshipped here. Both churches near to the Tower of London.
Where to Eat
Turkish Restaurants Green Lanes Harringay - lovely cheap fresh food, many restaurants to choose from. Nearest tube Manor House, Piccadilly Line.

Zedel - very reasonably priced, beautiful, art deco restaurant with street cafe, cabaret and American Bar. Bang in the middle of Piccadilly.

Thank you Christine, I look forward to many more posts
More on the HF Holiday stay soon.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tea House Japanese Style

On the grounds of a large park south of Kyoto 
(a short trip on the train) there is a 
traditional tea house.

On earlier business trips to Japan I had attended a 'tea ceremony' for tourists.  But this was a building in a garden without signage.
this would be a new experience and I was the ONLY non Japanese patron.

Peeking through the doorway I questioned if this tea house was open to the public

I was greeted pleasantly by an attendant and show an 'English' version of the offerings.
You pay before entering for the type of tea (hot or cold) you wish to order.

Many of the visitors to the park on this Sunday wore their traditional kimonos.
I left my shoes at the entrance in a cubical supplied for guests.

The building was much larger than I expected from the entrance.  

The perfect garden is on display from the glassed in room where we all were seated

                There were many tatami rooms in this tea house and the largest overlooked the garden.

The tea room was large and open.  A platform covered most of the room and was covered with a thick tatami mat.   There was NO seating so a westerner not accustomed to sitting on their knees for a long period of time might have a problem.

I had never tried cold, green tea so I selected this and one of the bean sweets offered.  It was delivered with a glass of water on a tray for each visitor.

As I sipped the smooth, cold tea and sampled the bean sweet, a light rain started.
The sound was very tranquil and soothing.    I could easily see why someone would visit a tea house instead of the local fast food dispenser.

I must mention some other observations:    I expected this to be a very quiet event.  This was not the case.  There were only 6 or 8 other clients.  There were no other solo visitors.   The two women seen in the photo above sat and chatted with each other and took photos of each other.*  This is something I witnessed in the park.   EVERYONE took photos of themselves or each other.
The group of four however, were very boisterous and spoke in loud voices.  This surprised me.  But again this was a totally Japanese experience and perhaps it was more authentic than other tourist stops.

Finally I will admit that within a few minutes my muscles were screaming 'where is a chair?".  Even leaning against a wall did not eliminate all the pain.     Sitting in front of a computer for months before the trip did not prepare me for the Japanese way.

* photos of the back of your head:  I have read that the nape of the neck is an area of beauty and certainly many of the hair styles worn with a kimono highlights the back of your head.

I do not remember the cost of tea but it was not over $20.00 per person.