Archive for April, 2008

April 18th, 2008

Visited London, going again

It has been a busy week, and I haven’t been able to update my both readers here in the blog.

Anyhow, we got back from London refreshed — the trip was surprisingly easy considering that it was the first trip outside Finland to Niilo. He slept most of the time, including flights, train rides, tube, shopping and Legoland.

I run some business errands, and then we had also some time off — flight ticket pricing system makes these cumbersome stayovers that sometimes can be used in the advantage of the family.

One of the high points of the trip was full-day visit to Legoland in Windsor. The theme park is really worth a visit; especially if you have children or are otherwise interested in Legos. Both the rides and the Miniland were really nice and suitable for a wide variety of age groups.

I shot about two hundred photos on the site, mostly in Miniland or then having Aapo riding something with Sanna. For some reason I was not that photogenic and Sanna didn’t bother taking too many pictures of me and Aapo.

My only disappointment was that there were no individual Technic parts on sale. We ended up buying three boxes; one Technic and two basic Lego sets — Aapo is swiftly moving out from Duplo range, and maybe Niilo will inherit them in a year.

We managed to visit also Hamleys and Aapo spent a good deal of time admiring various Thomas the Tank Engine toys. We lured him out by promising him a hamburger in a nearby fast food joint.

I finally found an adequate summer jacket — I’ve been searching for it a few weeks and raided a number of shops in my first visit on last Sunday. Now, Sanna was with me to approve the style.

After two days of returning from London, I was already planning a new trip — once again in business. I’ll be there next week’s Friday. And a new trip has already raised its head, so it looks like that I’ll commute to the UK quite a lot.

Minisuites

Park Plaza County Hall is a bit hidden gem near London Waterloo station. The newly opened hotel has only suites, and thus is a very good choice for longer accommodation or travelling with children. The location is surprisingly good, as there are several tube lines to central London and the local area has enough restaurants and grocery stores to keep you supplied.

Park Plaza County Hall seen from London Eye

We spent a few nights on a studio suite that had a separate bedroom and living area. The floor plan was quite nice; the bedroom was right after the door, then a walk-through kitchenette and bathroom, and finally the living room with views to Waterloo station.

The bed was nice and firm, good duvets and pillows. The living room had a sofabed that could sleep two children nicely and two adults in a pinch. There is also an ample working space.

The hotel has a wifi connection that costs a few pounds per night, but the signal strength was not that great in our room and Internet access was a tad sluggish.

www.parkplaza.com, 1 Addington Street, London, United Kingdom, +44 20 7021 1800

Fun for everyone

If you have children or you fancy theme parks for some other reasons, consider visiting Legoland in Windsor. Located conveniently near London (one hour with train, departing every half an hour from Paddington and Waterloo stations), the park provides fun for the whole family for at least a day. Take a taxi or bus from the Windsor stations, see more information on Legoland’s pages.

There are three main attractions, at least for me, in the park. The Lego Miniland is of course one of the biggest perks. A huge amount of Lego bricks has been used to recreate famous sites around the globe. You can see river Thames and famous buildings in London in the picture, and there are many many more.

The second attraction is the theme park itself; there are a lot of different rides to please all age groups. Most of the attractions are free, some have extra charges. There are surprisingly many rides that will get you wet, so prepare with proper clothing. And thirdly, Legoland has the biggest Lego store in the UK.

The park is a bit pricey, and the food is not that good — I felt like being in a cheap American mall when eating bad and expensive pizza. As park is located in the UK and people there like to toughen themselves with the elements, most of the restaurants have either doors open or all tables outside. In colder or wetter season, remember to bring warm enough clothes.

www.legoland.co.uk, Winkfield Road, Windsor, United Kingdom, +44 871 2222 001

April 5th, 2008

London calling twice a week

I’ll fly to London tomorrow to conduct some business over there. The trip is quite short one, as I’ll return on Monday evening — in fact, it is already Tuesday when I hit home.

Then, two days of work and going again to London. This time for four days, combining both work and pleasure — Sanna and the boys fly with me. We’ll meet a few friends during the weekend and generally have good time.

When the next week is over, I’m probably full of London for a while — at least for a week or two.

If everything goes as planned, there will be a couple of other visits to the city during the spring.

Pirate store

826 Valencia is San Francisco’s only pirate supply store, selling items every pirate needs. Such as glass eyes, eye patches, message bottles, treasure coins and flags. The items are also spread around the store in all kinds of cupboards, chests and other furniture, so finding stuff is part of the adventure.

Pirate store at 826 Valencia, San Francisco, CA, USA

The store has a noble cause, all the money goes to 826 Valencia writing project that dedicates its efforts to help students ages 6-18 with their writing skills.

Pirate Store, 826 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA, USA

Mostly French experience

La Boulange de Hayes is a cozy French styled boulangerie (café and bakery) on Hayes street. It offers excellent breakfast with quite ok European atmosphere. The price quality ratio is excellent.

La Boulange de Hayes in San Francisco, CA, USA

Compared to real French boulangeries, the baked goods are bigger and do not taste as good as in French. This might be a matter of taste, as American bakeries produce too sweet and artificial tasting goods for my taste. They are still good, but definitely not French.

The service is efficient, but not that friendly as you would expect in San Francisco — maybe this is also due to French influence, as service sucks in general in that country.

www.baybread.com, 500 Hayes Street, San Francisco, USA, +1 415 863 3376