Kyna arranged a special farewell on the Thursday night before we left. We shared some Seaview sparkling with our friends while we had a late dinner after compelting our packing.
We arrived tired to get a message from Kyna that her finger had swelled up and she had been to the hospital. They gave poor service but things seemed to have settled down.
The weather has been glorious. Warm during the day and no clouds in the sky. Our hotel is only about 100 metres from the BART station so and easy walk dragging our cases. The first day we went to Fishermanís Wharf using the cable car over the hill. There was a queue to get on and about half way, in a particularly steep part, the cable car got stuck and called on the services of a special pusher truck to get going again. When we got there we had a late lunch in the Boudinís Bakery restaurant washed down with a glass of reasonable chardonnay. We did a bit of a reconnoiter and then waited three quarters of an hour to get the cable car back. We had a pleasant earlish dinner at an Indian restuarant just across from our hotel. After that the tiredness hit and we crashed.
The next day we got up at a reasonable hour had a pretty discusting breakfast in Union Square. We then set out trying other modes of transport. We caught the street car (Tram) to opposite pier 23 near the bottom of Telegraph Hill and proceeded to climb many stairs. Although not fully appreciated at the time by one of the climbers, the exercise did us a power of good. At the top of the hill we went up Coit tower and enjoyed some fabulous 360 degree views. We thne wandered down though Little Italy and China and past the Transamerica Pyramid. We the caught the street car to Fisherman's Wharf where we took a guided boat trip around the Golden Gate part of the Bay. After lunch we took in Pier 39 and wended our way back to our hotel. Dinner was Italian in the hotel's boisterous resturant.
Next morning we set out on the BART for Berkeley and the university of California campus. That morning we walked and saw lots After lunch we went back to San Francisco and Robyn did some shopping and I climed over the hills again to the Cable Car Museum. For dinner we went to China town where we went to a so called Malay/Indonesian resturant and had some nice roti, a rather thin green curry and a stirfried "Rendang" (more like a satay beef).
We then hopped of a plane to Salt Lake City. We picked up our hire car and headed south towards Moab. Quite a long drive but with some great scenery. The roads in and around Salt Lake are impressive. In a number of places the rock formations were like Crusader castles or walled towns. We got to Moab to find we had booked the wrong day. There were no hassles and we were able to change to the right date. Next morning we surfaced a little late and headed to the Arches National Park after breakfast. We spent only about three hours in the park but were greatly impressed with the rock formations arches walls escarpments.
We then headed back to Salt Lake City. The drive back along the I70 particularly was impressive (again). Miles of canyons, cliffs and other rocks. The next day I spent in the Family History Library where I found a few interesting tid bits. Robyn wandered around seeing the University and the cauldron from the 2002 Winter Olympics. She also visited the Temple Square complex and the Convention Centre.
We were up very early next morning to get our flight to Denver. The alarm was set for five am but Kyna's SMS arrived at four am. There were problems with Transact and our ISP, and she could not get on the Internet. We had a bit of a conversation trying to sort out things and catching up on what she had been doing.
We arrived around 9 am at Denver International Airport a very big and fairly new airport picked up our hire car and headed for our friends house on the other side of Denver. After about three quarters of an hour on some big roads we arrived at their place. In the afternoon they took us to the Red Rock stadium. This is amphitheatre in the hills overlooking Denver taking advantage of the natural rock formations. Quite an interesting place where anyone who is anyone in pop-rock has played. We were very tired from our early start and were pretty slow company that evening.
Next moring refreshed after a good nights sleep we headed to the Rocky Mountain National Park. The drive there involved skirting around Denver through Boulder to Estes Park. The last leg into Estes Park has some great mountain scenery. Once in the park we did the circuit from Estes Park to Grand Lake. The road takes you to 13000 feet above sea level. There are many wide panaromas of the mountains and valleys. We would have liked to have more time but enjoyed all that we saw. We came back through some of the ski areas the runs looked daunting even without snow.
That evening Bill and Patty took us to a great steak house where we over indulged in food and wine to celebrate Bill's birthday. We were up early for our next flight to Washington DC.
We arrived late afternoon in Washington and enjoyed dinner at the very nice flat that our friends have in Connnecticut Avenue. The next day we headed up to Annapolis the capital of Maryland. It is quite a historical site with lots of colonial buildings and the US Navy College. We had a cruise on the bay to the bridge. The next day we wandered around the mall for a little. We also had lunch at the Hay Adams Hotel just opposite the White House with our friend from London, Dan. Early the next day we headed for New York.
We arrived from Washington at JFK and caught the Skytrain to the Metro. We got off at 42nd Street a few blocks from our Hotel. All very easy. Once at our hotel we found that Jim and Celine had been there earlier looking for us. When we were about to leave for lunch they appeared in the Lobby. After catching up for a short while we headed down town to the Straten Island ferry. We caught this across and back getting good views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the skyline of Manhatten. We headed back to the theatre district had dinner and then went to Mamma Mia. It was a most enjoyable show done very professionally.
Next morning we met Jim and Cleine at Grand Central Station where they came in from where they were staying in upstate NY and walked down to the UN where we went on one of their tours. After lunch we went to the Museum of Modern Art. They had an interesting temporary exhibition on Cezanne and Pissarro. Some of the other works were less appealing but nevertheless a great gallery. After an early dinner in a typical US diner, all formica and too big servings, we shared a bottle of good wine with Jim and Celine at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central.
The following morning we walked down to Macys a large and somewhat tired department store near Penn Station had a bit of a look round before walking back up 5th Avenue back to our hotel to finish packing. We left via Newark Airport which was easy to get to by train from Penn Station which connects with the Sky monorail that runs between the terminals. We said good bye to the US and headed to Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is a beautiful city with many interesting sites. Our hotel was in the red light district near the central station. The room was basically OK but the bathroom was very small. Everything in Copenhage is expensive. We were very tired after ashort night spent on the plane with essentially no sleep. We were lucky that we were able to get into our hotel room when we arrived at 9am. We left our bags and started exploring using our Copenhagen cards which cover all transport and most museums, castles etc. The first day we saw parts of Christenborg and caught the ferry to the little mermaid. On the way back from the little mermaid we visited the new opera house. Quite a spetacular building next to the harbour. That evening we had an early dinner at a Thai resturant which was very good and very reasonably priced for Copenhagen.
The next day started with a 45 minute train trip to Frederickberg castle. This a beautiful castle on the edge of a small lake. After spending some time there we headed back to town getting off the train near the universiy. We had lunch mexican lunch after which we went to the top of the round tower. This is the tower of a church and has an unusual spiralramp that takes you almost to the top where you get wonderful views over Copenhagen. We then visited the Postal Museum and took a tour of the state appartments in the main palace. We then visited the National Museum which ahs a good collection of Viking and earlier Danish artifacts. The evening was completed with a good Pacastani dinner.
The next morning we were up early to get our plane to France.
Wev had a wonderful time first catching up with Christine and Marc, and their new(ish) son Alexi. We then visited a few exqusite chateaus in the Loire valley. Apart from getting a bit of food poisioning from a off prawn we ate supurbly and had a wonderful time. Driving on French motorways was sometimes exciting but we got where we needed to be in the minimum of time.
After staying reasonably close to Charles de Galle Airport we wended our way to the right terminal without too much sweat on our brows. We arrived at Heathrow and picked up our hire car and headed to Bristol to catch up with Richard and Sally. Their hospitality was good to the extreme. We celebrated my birthday twice, saw Exeter and two great castles in Wales. When heading back to London to put Robyn on the plane home we stopped at Avebury and its wonderful stone circles [Stonehenge writ large] and had a good lunch in Malborough before saying our good-byes to Richard and Sally. They have a busy life running around with three children 10 to 18 and very involved jobs. While they yearn for another visit to Australia, they have immediate commitments to visit their eldest daughter in India early next year.
The research phase of my trip started. I visited the National Archive, the British Library mainly the India Office area and the Society of Genealogists. These have provided some good results but not for my families. Nevertheless it is great to be here. Unfortunately my computer decided that it had had enough and died on the Friday. After some running arround trying to solve the problem I headed off to Ireland.
I picked up a hire car at the airport and headed to Limerick. I booked into my hotel and headed to Kilmallock and Charleville. that evening (Starurday) I had a pleasant dinner with Paddy and Tony where we discussed families and history. Paddy paid. Sunday morning I did some more driving around Limerick County. What impressed me was the apparent boyancy of the local economy evidenced by the large numbers of large new houses being built all over the place. I also visited Tulla and Kilkisken in county clare wher my REDDAN ancestors came from. On Sunday night starting at 11pm I had an almost two hour chat on air with Tony about family and local history.
Tuesday morning I headed for Dublin. After three traffic jams and a number of wasted hours I got the car back to the hire company and headed into Dublin. At the National Archives I tidyed up some loose ends. At the National Library I had a real finds the Vestry Book of St Peter and St Paul Kilmallock which was signed a number of times by my 4 times great grandfather Edward Abraham CROKER between 1784 and 1793. At the Valuations Office I tracked down another of my Irish families, the BARRETTs from county Galway. I was able to find good approximate death dates for both my 3 times great grand parents. The mother lived until 1900. Armed with this information I obtained their death certificates from the General Register Office.
On the Saturday I was leaving to return home, I chased up some REDDAN entries in the Tulla Parish records and visited the Customs House where my great great great grandfather Thomas Swan CROKER worked from 1794 until about 1835. The visitors' centre is good and had a book I bought giving the history of the building.
The trip home started well but soon deterioated when I arrived in Copenhagen. In short my flight from Copenhage to Bangkok was cancelled and a spent a night in Copenhagen before setting out on a new itinerary which took me through Frankfurt and Singapore. While the flight fromFrankfurt to Singapore on Singapre Areelines was good the last leg from Singapore to Sydney was on Gulf Air and less enjoyable than it aught have been. Nevertheless, I arrived safely in Sydney and got to Canberra for work on Tuesday morning after enjoying the hospitality on Monday night of our friend Jackie in Sydney.