London Tube strike actions possible – May 2014 and the changing service

From Transport for London (TfL) – potential strike dates have been announced.

If the strikes go ahead, Tube services will be affected from: around 21:00 on Monday 28 April until the morning of Thursday 1 May, as well as approx. 21:00 on Monday 5 May until the morning of Friday 9 May.

Here is a press release laying out the TfL changes anticipated or already in the works to make the system more user friendly for all.


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Roma restau opens in Slovenia

From France 24.

A new coffeehouse featuring Roma (aka “gypsy”) food has opened in Maribor, in northeast Slovenia. Their motto is enticing – “Come hungry and with an open heart”.

Exterior of the Romani Kafenava (Roma coffeeshop) is pictured in Maribor, north-eastern Slovenia, on April 11, 2014 photo by Jure Makovec on Yahoo, so you’ll recognize the place. You should go!

Here’s the menu with pictures but the English link is apparently not up yet. Dober tek! (that’s Slovenian for bon appetit, in case you were wondering).

Side note – I visited Maribor in 2012, when it was named one of that year’s two European Capitals of Culture. Most of the events for that celebration had already come and gone, but it was an interesting introduction to a part of the world most folks, especially in the US, know nothing about. I really should finish up my blog post about Maribor. And now there’s a reason to go back, perhaps as a day out from Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, an energetic college town in the center of the country and one of my favorite Slovenian destinations.

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A hunt for giant Easter eggs in New York

NYC is currently running a city-wide Easter egg hunt. I stumbled on part of it recently when in Manhattan for the Tartan Day parade (still working on this blog post). After the parade, I went to Rockefeller Plaza to people-watch. The promenade walkway between Fifth Avenue and the main Plaza where the Christmas tree lives at holiday time is often spiffed up with art installations and this time, the raised flower beds,

tulips in NY

tulips in NY

bursting with new tulips, were flanked by a row of oversized eggs on either side. Who knew? It reminded me of Cow Parade – a blank shape given to various artists to be decorated however they wished, put on display and then auctioned off for charity. Cow Parade cows have gone grazing all over the globe – I’ve seen them at Keukenhof and I even saw some in Bratislava, Slovakia about ten years ago. This egg thing is turning into the same sort of worldwide art happening. What fun!

Here are a handful of the eggs at Rockefeller Plaza. I apologize for the quality – some of the eggs were inside Plexiglas boxes, making for some irritating reflections. The labels are mine, though the artists did give them titles. I just didn’t bother looking (tsk)…

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I’m just glad I got to see these “Faberge” labeled eggs on a day when the area wasn’t too crowded. The day was gorgeous, breezy and slightly warm (skaters on the still-open ice rink were gliding around without coats).

spring at the ice rink

spring at the ice rink

Bulbs and early flowering plants were just starting to open; a perfect early spring day to be out and about.

chocolate shop window

chocolate shop window








There was even a Delft-style egg inside Grand Central Terminal near the entrance to the Market.

Easter egg inside Grand Central Terminal

Easter egg inside Grand Central Terminal

If you’re going hunting, be aware that there are some 275 eggs on display, mostly in Manhattan, so this smart-phone scavenger hunt could take a while if you want to “collect them all”, as they say (here’s a map to save you time; clicking on a number will bring up an image of that egg).

Having seen an exhibition of real Faberge eggs in London back in 1994 at the Victoria & Albert museum (another trip where I brought Dad along), it seems using that name for this bunch of modern sculptures is slightly cheeky, but maybe that’s just me.

Happy hunting and happy Easter!

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London Tube closures Easter weekend 18-21 April 2014

Here’s is info on the Tube work for this weekend. The “weekend” is an extended one for works issues – Thursday thru Monday, since it’s Easter weekend. How civilized to have a holiday weekend that lasts more than just two and a half or three days!!

I’ve made a personal decision regarding the bike info. I’ll provide a link for the blue bikes, but won’t spell out the disruptions here. I truly believe that cycling in places like London (and New York and most other US cities) is a very dangerous activity, given the lack of safe, necessary infrastructure. If your opinion differs, go to the cycle link for the latest skinny… and WEAR YOUR HELMET!!

Embankment partial closure continues through early November and changes to Covent Garden thru mid-November. See below.

Bakerloo line – Sunday only - Willesden Junction to Harrow and Wealdstone.

District line - closure begins late on Thursday (8.30 or 9 pm) and runs thru Monday - Turnham Green to Ealing Broadway. Note that Piccadilly trains will stop at Turnham Green during this time.

Piccadilly line – closure begins late on Thursday (8.30 or 9 pm) and runs thru Monday - Acton Town to Uxbridge. Trains will stop at Turnham Green this weekend.

Jubilee line – Friday thru Monday - Waterloo to Finchley Road

DLR - Bow Church to Stratford is shut for the week from Friday the 18th thru the 25th.

London Overground - Friday thru Monday - Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction; Sunday only - Queen’s Park to Watford Junction.

Long term change concerning Embankment station - Bakerloo and Northern line trains not stopping from Wednesday 8 January until early November 2014 due to replacement of four escalators.

Long term change for Covent Garden station (this will confuse the tourists!) - Exit only until mid-November. Also, on Saturdays and Sundays, westbound trains not stopping.
This is to replace two lifts (elevators).

Bus diversionFrom 22:00 on Saturday until 06:00 on Sunday, buses will be on diversion while Fleet Street is temporarily closed between Chancery Lane and Fetter Lane, due to a religious celebration in the area.

Roadway bottlenecks
Central London – From 22:00 on Saturday until 06:00 on Sunday, Fleet Street will be temporarily closed between Chancery Lane and Fetter Lane, due to a religious celebration in the area. Moorgate – From 07:00 on Saturday until 18:00 on Thursday 24 April, Moorgate (A501) will be closed southbound at the junction of South Place and London Wall. This is to allow for gas mains work on behalf of the National Grid. Twickenham – On Saturday, from 13:00 until 18:00, Chertsey Road (A316) and all roads around, and leading to, Twickenham Stadium, are expected to be busy due to an event. West London – From 23:00 on Saturday until 10:00 on Sunday, Westway (A40) will be closed between Wood Lane and Marylebone flyover due to road maintenance work. South London area – On Sunday, from 08:00 until 12:00, an abnormal load will travel under police escort from the M23, via the A23 and the A205 South Circular Road to the Herne Hill area. During this time roads in the vicinity may be busy.

Roads in the Haymarket area will be a headache until Feb 2015 due to a revolving circus of road improvements.


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Major art exhibit planned for Prague Castle in 2015

From Prague Post.

A major art exhibition of Titian’s works is being planned for Prague Castle. It’s more than a year away, but if Prague is on your list, keep this event in mind, maybe even do as I do – build a trip around the event and look for other special stuff to fill the other days!

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Get on your bike and visit Vikings in England – spring 2014

A collection of interesting exhibitions and other activities in and around London now that winter is finally gone…

From France 24 – A British museum exhibit on Vikings through late June.

From Oxford Mail.

A bike route between Oxford and Cambridge. Holy subfusc, Batman!

And another route to be added from Oxford to Worcester by paralleling the rail line.



Posted in Archaeology in Europe, England, European museums, General magpie travel, London travel, News from Britain, UK news | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A cozy harborside restaurant in Reykjavik

When I’m traveling, most of my meals (aside from breakfast which is usually included in the cost of the room) consist of sandwiches and snacks either in my room or on the go. At least once per trip, I splurge on a proper dinner out. When I was in Reykjavik in January, this treat took the form of a lovely fish dinner at Hofnin, a small restaurant in the harbor area and only a five minute walk from my hotel.

A big pot of mussels (wild caught) for starters, delicate Arctic char (possibly farmed) as an entree with some lovely white wine and some of the best potatoes I’ve ever had – all crusty and slightly salty and not too starchy. Chocolate mousse and a bit of cake for dessert and espresso to finish. A memorable meal in the coziest of settings.

Hofnin restau, Reykjavik

Hofnin restau, Reykjavik


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