Pilsen, Czech Republic – a European Capital of Culture 2015

From Prague Post. A roundup of events in 2015 to celebrate this European Capital of Culture. Early May will see a celebration of the liberation of Pilsen (Plzeň) 70 years ago. The city’s festival website shows what’s going on and when.

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Euro news from Prague Post – drink more cava

Not only did Prague Post publish photos of their tree lighting in Old Town Square – making me pine for the trip I took to see their Xmas markets a couple of years ago (see Facebook page) – they also reviewed three of my favorite Spanish cavas! Delicious, loads of teensy bubbles and at a supremely affordable price point.

As a matter of recommendation, though, my current favorite (not on the list in the link) is the Brut Nature produced by Juve y Camps. On my visit to Freixenet in 2010, I was introduced to this drier-than-brut designation. Hard to find in the US until recently, Natures are becoming more popular. If you are a fan of brut, you should seek out this no-added-dosage stuff, also labeled as brut zero. Another benefit – no dosage means sugar free (well, technically up to 3 grams per liter is allowed, as opposed to 6g/l for regular brut) and no nasty chemical sweeteners in sight!

Happy Holidays!

 

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London Tube updates – holiday season 2014-15

The Christmas holidays usually mean reduced services; click on the link here and hover your mouse over the colored blocks to see the Planned Works for Christmas week/end. Everything is running normally now (yahoo) until Christmas Day when the whole system is shut. After that, all lines are back up again except for a week of limited service on the Circle, District and Jubilee lines.

The Winter Wonderland Christmas market in Hyde Park means roads are closed inside the park through Sunday, 4 January.

Lane closures in Vauxhall area (Clapham Park Rd) until 22 December for gas mains work. Also on Victoria Embankment between Northumberland Av and Horse Guards Ave thru 20 December. Stay well away!

Road closures and disruptions listed here.  Snag spots include Tottenham (Saturday), Barnet High Street (Sunday), Wandsworth (Sat and Sun), a march on Saturday afternoon around Whitehall and Downing St and rally. Elizabeth St will be shut all day Sunday for its annual Christmas market.

Reminders -

Bond Street - Jubilee line is serving this station again; work finished ahead of schedule!

Gloucester Road – Piccadilly line trains not stopping until mid-December 2014 (?)

 

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London Tube updates – 29-30 November 2014 and possible strike on Monday

Here’s the link with information on this weekend’s Tube closures. Not much going on with the exception of a possible one day strike on Monday, 1 December on the Northern line.

Central line – Woodford to Epping shut both days

Bakerloo line – Piccadilly Circus to Elephant & Castle – late opening from 11.00 am – on Sunday only

District line – Aldgate East to Bromley-by-Bow closure on Sunday only

Hammersmith/City line – Moorgate to West Ham also only down on Sunday

London Overground – Sunday closures – Sydenham to Crystal Palace and Gospel Oak to Stratford.  Clapham Junction to Kensington (Olympia) is out all weekend.

Areas where various events will likely create bottlenecks and traffic snarls include something all day Sunday around Wimbledon Broadway,  Twickenham on Saturday (England v Australia rugby match), Holloway Rd northbound closed all day Sunday.

The closure I’d want to investigate is Princes St near Moorgate between 8am Saturday and 8am Sunday “for filming”. Hmmm…

The Dartford tunnel closed overnight Saturday and traffic diverted and other issues at the QEII bridge and Junction 31 on the M25. (Isn’t the M25 always a mess? Will anyone notice if things are a bit worse?)

The Winter Wonderland Christmas market in Hyde Park means roads are closed inside the park through Sunday, 4 January.

Lane closures in Vauxhall area (Clapham Park Rd) until 22 December for gas mains work. Also on Victoria Embankment between Northumberland Av and Horse Guards Ave thru 20 December. Stay well away!

Road closures and disruptions listed here.

Reminders -

Bond Street - Jubilee line trains will not stop here until early December 2014.

Gloucester Road – Piccadilly line trains not stopping until mid-December 2014

 

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Rolling along with London’s Bond exhibit

I came to the James Bond films a little late in life. Much as I loved Roger Moore as The Saint back in the 60s, I didn’t really latch onto Bond until Pierce Brosnan took over.

That said, I sought out a fascinating exhibition in London called Bond in Motion this past summer. It has a wide variety of vehicles of all kinds as well as models, storyboards and loads of other props used in the James Bond flicks, all presented with relevant video clips showing the various cars, boats, alligators, cycles, etc. in action. The audio program is worthwhile for adding factual tidbits – such as just which and how many super-expensive cars were actually destroyed in various movies or the fact that 3D printers created scale-model Aston Martins for Skyfall so they wouldn’t have to blow up any real ones that time.

The exhibition runs at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden through March 2015.

Here are a couple of the flashiest stars – I’ve always had a soft spot for Rollers.

Cubby Broccoli's Rolls used in A View to a Kill

Cubby Broccoli’s 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud used in A View to a Kill

==

Goldfinger's 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom

Goldfinger’s 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom

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London Tube updates – 22-23 November 2014

Here’s the link with information on this weekend’s Tube closures. Not much going on…

Metropolitan line – Aldgate to Northbridge and Uxbridge shut both days

Jubilee line – Waterloo to Wembley outage – Saturday only; Waterloo to Stanmore is down on Sunday only

London Overground – Sunday late openings – Clapham Junction to Wandsworth Road northbound opens at 8.15, South Tottenham to Barking opens at 11.00.  Stratford to Gospel Oak is out all weekend.

Areas where various events will likely create bottlenecks and traffic snarls include Twickenham on Saturday (England v Samoa rugby match),

The Hammersmith flyover will be closed overnight between Wed and Thurs, 26-27 November.

The Winter Wonderland Christmas market in Hyde Park means roads are closed inside the park through Sunday, 4 January.

Lane closures in Vauxhall area from Monday until 22 December for gas mains work. Also on Victoria Embankment between Northumberland Av and Horse Guards Ave thru 20 December. Stay well away!

Road closures and disruptions listed here.

Reminders -

Bond Street - Jubilee line trains will not stop here until early December 2014.

Gloucester Road – Piccadilly line trains not stopping until mid-December 2014

 

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Foyles spiffy new London bookshop

I went looking for a book that Waterstone’s didn’t have on my last trip to London. Traipsed up Charing X Rd to Foyles – the first time I’d been there since 1990 with Mom. The old location had a giant sign in the window to the effect that their new location was a couple of doors down on the same street. I’d been so deep in thought I’d walked clean past it. About face to the new digs and, if you’ve ever been to the old Foyles, you won’t recognize the place!

The bad news – didn’t find the book I wanted. The good news – Foyles feels much less intimidating than it did on that first visit and I expect I’ll stop in again. I remember feeling back then that finding any particular book was as much a matter of luck as diligence. At the new shop, I commented on the amazing transformation to one of the clerks and asked if this meant that it would be easier to find the books. He thought for a moment before replying, “Probably not”. Ha!

Atrium at Foyles new bookshop

Atrium at Foyles new bookshop

 

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