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AJ

London and England

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4 minutes ago, sharkyvilla said:

Camden is a great place for gigs too.

That is absolutely great news. ūüĎć

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1 minute ago, juanpabloingram said:

How many tickets for the games wouldyou be looking for? 1 or 2?

 

For the away games just 1. I have found that Thomas Cook Sport provides packages for Chelsea and Man U, and that there are plenty available. The Chelsea one is a bit pricey, but at least they throw in a night for a hotel, and I get to watch it from the Captain's Bar lounge, if that is actually worth anything. I just want to be there.

For the Leicester game, last night the missus piped up and said she might be interested in going, so maybe 2 for that one. My plan for that was to pounce as soon as tickets became available, go through the official site, and hopefully have them delivered to the hotel in London.

At this stage, nothing is set, until maybe tonight. The GF is asking her boss today if she can go. It should be OK, and once we have the word, it should all happen. Plane tickets, Thomas Cook, accommodation, and then a lot of patience.

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On 14/08/2019 at 11:51, AJ said:

With hotel prices ridiculously expensive and not very good value on the city edge ( Regents Park and St Pancras), I have found a nice place in Camden that is reasonably priced, and quite nice. It is about 400m walk to West Hampstead Station. Its also about halfway between Stamford Bridge and London's city centre, and it is rated 9.2/10 on the booking site. The price on the room works out to be about less than 60 pound a night, and it comes with all the extras.

@villa4europe, good call.

I’ve lived in London for fourteen years so I just want to make sure you’ve not been given incorrect information about the part I’ve made bold. I might have misread it, but Stamford Bridge is in Fulham (fun fact: and not actually the area of Chelsea) which is situated in South West London whereas you’ll be staying in North London. Once you factor in walking, train changes, and waiting at stations it’ll take approximately one hour to get to Stamford Bridge from your hotel. 

West Hampstead has two stations - one on the Jubilee Line and the other that is served by the overground train line (shown on the tube map in orange). The Jubilee line will take you central and is one of the fastest and most efficient lines on the network. The overground will get you down to West Brompton then you can change to the District line for Fulham Broadway which is then a short walk to Stamford Bridge. I find the overground pretty slow, not as regular and unreliable, but it’ll be the route with the least changes to get to SB. 

I spotted you mentioned museums - three of the main ones are the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and V&A - they are all South Kensington way which is West London (about 3km from Stamford Bridge). 

Just some stuff for you to consider. 

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On 16/08/2019 at 23:51, AJ said:

For the away games just 1. I have found that Thomas Cook Sport provides packages for Chelsea and Man U, and that there are plenty available. The Chelsea one is a bit pricey, but at least they throw in a night for a hotel, and I get to watch it from the Captain's Bar lounge, if that is actually worth anything. I just want to be there.

For the Leicester game, last night the missus piped up and said she might be interested in going, so maybe 2 for that one. My plan for that was to pounce as soon as tickets became available, go through the official site, and hopefully have them delivered to the hotel in London.

At this stage, nothing is set, until maybe tonight. The GF is asking her boss today if she can go. It should be OK, and once we have the word, it should all happen. Plane tickets, Thomas Cook, accommodation, and then a lot of patience.

there is the option to print at home if buying from official site...saves hassle of having them delivered to hotel

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Sorry I missed this thread before now @AJ.

as a resident of 20+ years and having hosted numerous antipodean visitors, feel free to drop me a PM if you need any further advice. I’ve not read all the posts in this thread but if you need a hand on your London plans, just give me a shout. 

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15 hours ago, choffer said:

Sorry I missed this thread before now @AJ.

as a resident of 20+ years and having hosted numerous antipodean visitors, feel free to drop me a PM if you need any further advice. I’ve not read all the posts in this thread but if you need a hand on your London plans, just give me a shout. 

@choffer thanks mate, I might take you up on that.

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With recent revelations, it seems I may be in a spot of bother.

I acquired my Man Utd tickets and a nights accommodation through Thomas Cook. I checked through their website, and it appears that I am not ATOL protected. It seems I am now down about 270 pound, and back to square one. This also leaves a hole in my plans, as I have booked accommodation in London up to the Friday, and returning to the London hotel on Monday after spending the weekend in Manchester. The hotel in Camden and the Sunday night in Manchester, thankfully, is not through Thomas Cook, so those bookings are still solid. I will have to check with the hotel in Manchester and the Old Trafford ticket office to see if my purchases are still honoured, but it doesn't seem likely.

I still want to go to the game, so I will have to now pay close attention to the AVFC OS for tickets. If I do manage to wrangle some tickets, at least now I don't have to impersonate a Manure fan in doing so, and I get to hang out with Villa fans instead.

On a positive side, I managed to book a table with the GF at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Chelsea on the following Thursday, and I am quite excited about that. It is a 3 Michelin star rated restaurant, so I am hoping it is a great night. This is something I wonder... England has many highly acclaimed chefs, but food in in England doesn't have a very good reputation, is that really warranted?

I am flying over with Korean Air, and one thing I have learnt is that because my flight is an overnighter in Seoul, the airline provides me with a night's accommodation and food vouchers, which I am very happy about. I have never been to Korea before, so it gives me a chance to also check out Seoul, even if it is just for one night.

Anyway, despite the Thomas Cook hiccup, I am still very excited and looking forward to coming over. Villa Park is the bucket listed main reason, but also to experience England in all its glory and all¬†it has to offer, and that should make it a great holiday as well.¬†Anything to get me away from this boring southern hemisphere sunshine! ūüėõ

Edited by AJ

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6 hours ago, AJ said:

 This is something I wonder... England has many highly acclaimed chefs, but food in in England doesn't have a very good reputation, is that really warranted?

absolutely not, its an old post war thing based on poor ingredients and usually stodgy fatty foods, those things still exist and you can find a lot of bad food* but what people don't tend to do is throw in the empire when discussing English foods, we have a great range of influences 

*we have a food industry that is driven by mass production and driving down price, if you buy 10 donuts for £1 you aren't allowed to complain about the price! in the same way a lot of our traditional pub food places will do 2 for £10 or buy one get one free etc if you can get 2 steaks for £10 you cant expect them to be good cuts of meat, a guide to chain restaurants might make an interesting thread in OT and there is a good pub guide

Thomas cook - did you use your credit card to pay? or just have general travel insurance? try a claim through either of them, my mom has had a holiday cancelled and was advised to wait but fortunately her credit card company will sort it for her

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3 minutes ago, villa4europe said:

absolutely not, its an old post war thing based on poor ingredients and usually stodgy fatty foods, those things still exist and you can find a lot of bad food* but what people don't tend to do is throw in the empire when discussing English foods, we have a great range of influences 

*we have a food industry that is driven by mass production and driving down price, if you buy 10 donuts for £1 you aren't allowed to complain about the price! in the same way a lot of our traditional pub food places will do 2 for £10 or buy one get one free etc if you can get 2 steaks for £10 you cant expect them to be good cuts of meat, a guide to chain restaurants might make an interesting thread in OT and there is a good pub guide

Thomas cook - did you use your credit card to pay? or just have general travel insurance? try a claim through either of them, my mom has had a holiday cancelled and was advised to wait but fortunately her credit card company will sort it for her

Thanks @villa4europe, I thought that was the case regarding food in England. It is a cliché, but one that doesn't really make sense. There will be times when we will take the quick and easy option, and by taking up that option, as long as it is edible or doesn't keep us confined in the loo, that should be fine.

As for Thomas Cook, I have already started going through my travel insurance, and they have forwarded me a claim form. I will try again tomorrow to see if I can retrieve my money through my credit card, that way I don't have to pay an excess. At the moment, I am currently trying to Skype the hotel in Manchester to see in the unlikely case that my booking actually went through. I don't hold much hope for the Man United tickets though, which is a bummer.

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7 hours ago, AJ said:

at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Chelsea

I've been there  .. food for me is anything that can be chucked between 2 slices of bread but i was really impressed with the whole experience at this place , even though they knew I was a  heathen , I wasn't made to feel like one and i really enjoyed eating food that you wouldn't ordinarily have seen me go near , they do all these little canapés / amuse-bouche between courses  that were superb  .... and they don't pull faces if you'd rather have a beer than wine with your meal 

I was impressed , be interesting to see what you think of it

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On 24/09/2019 at 12:33, tonyh29 said:

I've been there  .. food for me is anything that can be chucked between 2 slices of bread but i was really impressed with the whole experience at this place , even though they knew I was a  heathen , I wasn't made to feel like one and i really enjoyed eating food that you wouldn't ordinarily have seen me go near , they do all these little canapés / amuse-bouche between courses  that were superb  .... and they don't pull faces if you'd rather have a beer than wine with your meal 

I was impressed , be interesting to see what you think of it

Most gordon ramsey/Jamie Oliver restaurants in London I have been have been shite.  Not a fan of either chain

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13 minutes ago, Demitri_C said:

Most gordon ramsey/Jamie Oliver restaurants in London I have been have been shite.  Not a fan of either chain

to my knowledge Ramsey only has this one in the UK  other than the plane food thingy at the airport  ..the Fulham one is all posh food , not like a Jamies

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15 hours ago, tonyh29 said:

to my knowledge Ramsey only has this one in the UK  other than the plane food thingy at the airport  ..the Fulham one is all posh food , not like a Jamies

ramsey's got about 6 in the UK and then a lot around the world I think, various places called something kitchen which do Italian food and then he's got the maze grill but they're all individual rather than a chain, maze grill for example had Jason Atherton as head chef and its own Michelin star (ramsey currently holds 7 and did previously hold 16)

if you want to know the difference between ramsey and oliver then watch their youtube videos on how to scramble an egg and watch Gordon explain the science behind it

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Just an update on how things are going.

I have opted to go through my insurance to try and get my money back from the Thomas Cook affair. Not the best option, but my bank wants something in writing from the UK FAA that I can receive a chargeback. The FAA are not too forthcoming, as it is fully understandable that their focus is getting stranded Britons back home. My problem is first world compared to those who are stuck so far away from home.

As for tickets, I am checking out a site called Sports Events 365. Same deal though, unfortunately, they put us with the Man U supporters. So it would be another exercise in joyful misery or miserable joy, depending on whether we are winning or losing. Through that website, I can also get tickets to the Villa/ Leicester game as well. Manchester itself looks like an interesting city. There seems to be a lot to see and do there. We are there for two nights, and we are staying in the city centre.

Another thing that is a pain is the exchange rate. I would have thought with all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the exchange rate would be a bit more favourable, but it seems the Australian economy has dropped the ball there.

I am starting to get that tingly excited buzz now. I tend to get that feeling whenever I am going somewhere new and exciting, and it doesn't seem like it wont be long. ( End of next month).

Anyhoo, that's it so far. Thank you everyone for your help, and UTV.

Edited by AJ
Cant spell UTV
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I reckon the game v Leicester will be much better than the one v Utd.  Old Trafford isn't that great a ground plus Utd are shit but will still beat us!

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2 hours ago, sharkyvilla said:

I reckon the game v Leicester will be much better than the one v Utd.  Old Trafford isn't that great a ground plus Utd are shit but will still beat us!

Oh definitely.

I chose this time because Villa had 3 games scheduled that week. I passed on the Chelsea game because it was ridiculously overpriced, it was the one most likely to be rescheduled, and if it does happen, I might just enjoy watching it at a pub.

The Man U game is a doable bonus. The main attraction for this trip is the Leicester game at Villa Park.

It is going to be so cool watching the games when I get home, and thinking " I have been there."

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