Royalty Tours USA

Friday, February 12, 2016

Royalty schedule w/o 2/15

Here's the game plan:

Monday February 15th Red Wings at Islanders 1PM                            

Wednesday February 17th DePaul Blue Demons at St. John's Red Storm 8PM
                    
Thursday February 18th Capitals at Islanders 7PM

Friday February 19th Knicks at Nets 7:30PM

Saturday February 20th Going to Lancaster, PA to visit my parents

Sunday February 21st Lafayette Leopards at Lehigh Mountain Hawks 12 Noon

                                      Hornets at Nets 6PM                           
              
Check back to see how it played out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

A royal farewell to London, England!

Back on October 9th, I woke up & I got ready to check out of the Grantly Hotel where I spent six nights while I was in London. Before I turned in my key, I ate breakfast there. When I got done, I went back to my room to get my bags. I then proceeded to say my goodbyes to the wonderful people who made my journey there so memorable. They helped me out all week long. They answered my questions & they treated me like royalty. If I'm fortunate to return some day, I know exactly where I'm going to stay.

Me sitting "down" on the bus
Hammersmith Broadway
Hammersmith Station
Underground Entrance
Here's my train to Heathrow Airport
I walked out & I went around the block where I caught a bus that took me to the Underground so I could get back to Heathrow Airport  in West London to catch my flight back home. I gave myself plenty of time to do so. I got to the Hammersmith train station at 10:15AM. I got on the train shortly thereafter on the Piccadilly line. I arrived at the airport without having to huff & puff. I was in a down mood knowing my fun away was coming to a rapid close.

Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 Station
Time to say goodbye to London
American Airlines Flight Home to NYC
 I gathered myself & I said to myself all good things have to come to an end. I proceeded to get checked in & I headed to the gate to catch my flight on American Airlines back home to JFK Airport in NYC. Due to the time difference, I gained the five hours I lost on the way out. I left there at 12:50PM & I got back to JFK around 4PM our time that Friday afternoon. I proceeded to go through customs as they welcomed me home. It did feel good to be back in familiar surroundings. It was raining lightly at the time. Thankfully the Mets weren't playing that night. As a result, I was able to go home, unpack & relax. 

If you've read what I previously wrote, you know for sure I had a blast. If any of you plan to go to London and/or Paris in the future, please feel free to contact me. I'll gladly help you make your journey as memorable as possible. 

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Royalty sees a basketball game in London!

After I got dropped off in Central London following the Classic Rock tour I took, I walked over to the Underground. I got on at the Bond Street station on the Central line around 6:15PM. I proceeded to go out to East London. I got off at the Stratford station about a half hour later. By doing so, I was within walking distance of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where the Olympic Stadium that hosted some of the Rugby World Cup matches was located. In addition, that's where the Copper Box Arena was as well. That's the home of the London Lions who play in the BBL aka the British Basketball League.

Welcome to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Welcome to Cooper Box Arena
Thanks to my pal Rob Campion, I was able to squeeze in a basketball game into my busy schedule that week I was in London. When the schedule was released in July, he wrote me & said you can see a game on Thursday, October 8th. He said the game was starting at 7:30PM. It turned out to be a perfect fit for me. After I walked over to the arena, I wound up getting a voucher from a lady outside. She told me I had to go to the box office to get an actual ticket with it for 5 pounds. I was planning to pay 17 pounds based on the prices I saw on their website. I proceeded to go downstairs to the box office & I got myself a ticket. I went back upstairs to the gate where people were entering the building. I proceeded to go in. Since it was getting close to game time, I decided I'll eat something after the game instead of settling for a hot dog there. The food selection at the concession stand didn't look that enticing. I remember passing a shopping mall when I got off the train. 

London Lions Video Board
That night the London Lions were hosting the Bristol Flyers. Unlike the NBA here in the States, they play four ten minute quarters instead of four twelve minute ones. When I got myself situated, I decided to ‎sit right at center court in the back of the first level. The arena holds 7,000 people. I estimated about a few thousand showed up that night. What was so unique about the venue were the multi colored seats they had throughout the seating bowl which consisted of the two levels. It was very colorful to say the least. 

Opening Tip
Free Throw attempt during game
As for the game I saw, the London Lions got off to a fast start. They lead, 20-10 after the first quarter. They slipped up a little in the second quarter as the Flyers cut the lead down to five at halftime, 37-32. In the third quarter, the Flyers continued their comeback as they exploded. They outscored the Lions, 28-15 to take a 60-52 lead. In the fourth quarter, they managed to maintain their lead as they went on to win the game, 76-64. It was their first win of the season after they lost their first four fixtures.  
  
Me & Mathias Seilund after the game
‎I only recognized one player who played in that game‎. His name was Mathias Seilund who was from Denmark, a Great Dane indeed. I had a feeling that I saw him play in a college basketball game in either LIU in Brooklyn or St. Francis in Brooklyn in the past. Ironically I did find out I was right to a point after the game. I saw him talking to a young lady in the stands down by the court. I got to say hello to him & I asked him where he went to college. He said he went to FDU which is Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, New Jersey. I told him I thought I saw you play in the States. Your name rang a bell. He finished that game with 13 points & he grabbed 8 rebounds in 33 minutes for the Bristol Flyers. It's his second season in the BBL I was told. He wound up getting a four year scholarship to play basketball at FDU. He was kind enough to take a picture with me. That made my night. When I returned home, I checked to see if I did indeed see him play while he was at FDU. With that being said, back on January 17, 2013, I sure did. I saw him score 9 points in 20 minutes of play as the FDU Knights fell to the LIU Blackbirds, 79-75 in overtime. Ironically a guy I know named Bert Shoobs is the public address announcer at FDU. Unfortunately I haven't seen him since to let him know. In addition, on January 16, 2014 I saw him play again this time in Brooklyn against LIU. That night he scored his career high 20 points in 26 minutes making nine out of eleven shots as FDU won, 89-67. 

I love seeing live sports on different levels. You never know when you can say you remember seeing a guy play back in the day. This game was a perfect example. What a way to cap off my amazing day.

After I left the arena, I walked back to the shopping mall which is known as Westfield Stratford City. They had a number of restaurants there. I even saw a Shake Shack. Since it was around 10PM, most of them were closed or they were done serving food at that time. I was starving. After numerous attempts, I finally went into TGI Fridays which thankfully was still open. While I was eating, I was able to charge up my phone at a charging station in the mall. They gave you the first 30 minutes for free. You locked your phone up in a box & you took the key. That worked out well for me. Unfortunately I couldn't take a picture of the great meal I wound up eating. It consisted of salmon that was chargrilled in Jack Daniel's glaze that came with creamy mashed potatoes & broccoli. I also got a bottle of coke to go with it. It was really good. It hit the spot. It was my farewell dinner there. Glad I passed up eating something at the game. It just proves that some things are worth waiting for in life. Patience is a virtue.

Stratford Station
Central Line Train arrives
After I finished eating, I went & I unlocked the box. I got my phone & I headed to the Underground to catch the train back to the Grantly Hotel to call it a night. The train came just after 11PM which enabled me to have some time to pack up & relax before I went to sleep.  

Stay tuned for one last post that will wrap up my week long journey to England.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Royalty is going to get a Rocky Mountain High at the end of February!

Here's the game plan:

The King & I are flying to Denver, Colorado on Delta Airlines. We leave New York LaGuardia Airport on Friday, February 26th at 8:10AM Eastern Time, we arrive in the Mile High City at 11:03AM Mountain Time.

Upon arrival, I'm renting a car from Payless Car Rental for the weekend.

We'll be meeting up with a special lady named Meg Minard who lives in the Denver area. We met her in August when we went to Seattle for the Ballpark Chaser Meet Up. I told her we were planning to come to visit her in late February. True to my word, we are. We're looking forward to seeing her again. 

We fly back home on the red eye early Tuesday morning, March 1st. Our flight departs Denver at 12:20AM Mountain Time. After a brief layover in Atlanta, we're scheduled to land at 8:14AM Eastern Time at LaGuardia Airport if all goes well.    

Friday February 26th Alaska Aces at Colorado Eagles 7:30PM Mountain Time
                              
Saturday February 27th Red Wings at Avalanche at Coors Field 6PM Mountain Time Stadium Series
                     
Sunday February 28th Arizona State Sun Devils at Colorado Buffaloes 2:30PM Mountain Time

Monday February 29th Grizzlies at Nuggets 7PM Mountain Time

If you're interested in going on this exclusive getaway royalty style just let me know so I can arrange to have you join us.

It's going to be a blast so why not come for a "royal" ride.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Monday, February 8, 2016

Royalty schedule w/o 2/8

Here's the game plan:

Monday February 8th Nuggets at Nets 7:30PM                            

Wednesday February 10th Grizzlies at Nets 7:30PM
                    
Thursday February 11th Kings at Islanders 7PM

Friday February 12th Niagara Purple Eagles at St. Peter's Peacocks 7PM

Saturday February 13th Hartford Wolfpack at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 7PM

Sunday February 14th New Hampshire Wildcats at Stony Brook Seawolves 2PM                           
              
Check back to see how it turned out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

To all the sweethearts out there, I want to wish you all a very Happy Valentine's Day.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Friday, February 5, 2016

Royalty takes a tour of Classic Rock & Beatle sites in London, England!‏

Once again thanks to my pal Brad Bultman who strongly suggested that I take a music tour while I was in London. He did the tour on one of his many visits there. He even e-mailed the company, London Rock Tours & he arranged to book me on the tour back on Thursday afternoon, October 7th from 2-530PM‎. He sent me the confirmation. He said I just needed to come to the Original Tour Visitors Centre in Trafalgar Square at 1:30PM. I wound up there after I finished my own tour of London that morning. 

Upon arrival, I saw a guy named Bob who was in charge of their tour reservations. I gave him my name & I paid him for the tour. Brad told me that would be the case. He said to take a seat & relax. He said we plan to leave here at 2PM. He also said ‎that depending on traffic we should get back around 5:30-6PM. He wound up being our tour guide. He was entertaining & very knowledgeable throughout the tour.

Once he rounded everybody up we proceeded to all get into the "magic bus." He proceeded to take us on a magical mystery tour. Along the way, we got to see many historic landmarks & neighbourhoods from the legendary British invasion just before my time in the early 1960's. We also got to see places from people who changed the music world in the 70's & 80's as well.

Back of the "Magic" Bus
Side view of the "Magic" Bus
Tail end of the "Magic" Bus
We made numerous stops in the process as we passed through Chelsea, Kensington, Holland Park, Notting Hill Gate, St. John's Wood, Marylebone & the West End. We got to see different recording studios, pubs, clubs & boutiques as Bob shared many stories with us.

Bill Wyman's Sticky Fingers Restaurant
We got to take a half hour break when we stopped off at Bill Wyman's Sticky Fingers Restaurant. We got to see the former Rolling Stones bassist guitar among other amazing memorabilia that was hanging on the walls all around the restaurant. If we had more time, I would have sat down & ate a good meal.

Jimmy Page's Mansion
When we got back on the bus, we continued our magic carpet ride. We passed by the houses that legends once lived in or still live in. We saw Brian Epstein, the Beatles' first manager‎'s flat, Ringo Starr's King Road apartment, John & Yoko's first home & Paul McCartney's current London home. We also passed the site where Jimi Hendrix died. In addition, we passed by the mansion that belonged to Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. It was truly a ride down memory lane especially for those people like myself who appreciate the music from that era & in particular the Fab Four. They changed the way music was played & they made memories for future generations to come. We got to go to a gift shop that sold Beatles souvenirs & nostalgia. They were priceless commodities. Furthermore, we got to hear some of their legendary music that added a special touch especially since I was in the area where it all began way back in the day. When we got back on the bus we wound up riding down Abbey Road where the Beatles crossed the street. We then stopped & we were able to get out & walk across the famous street like the Fab Four did. That was such a moving experience. We also saw the Abbey Road Studios which were formerly called EMI Studios.

Abbey Road
Me walking across Abbey Road
Abbey Road Studios
As the tour was winding down & we were making our way back towards the drop off point, we got to ride down Baker Street. Bob the tour guide appropriately played Gerry Rafferty's legendary hit song, Baker Street for us. It was a lasting memory to a great afternoon of musical remembrance. I'm so happy I listened to Brad. Being a music fan, I knew it would be worth my while & it sure was.

As for the end of the ride, Bob was able to accommodate my special request to get dropped off near an Underground station. He let me out & he directed exactly where to go. I wound up taking a short walk to get to it. 

Stay tuned for another special post that will go into detail how I spent that evening.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Royalty sees more sights in London!

Back on October 8th, I got up & I ate breakfast at the Grantly Hotel where I stayed while I was in Central London. After I ate, I walked over to the Underground at Shepherd's Bush. I took the Central Line train from there to Oxford Circus then I changed to the Piccadilly Line & I got off the first stop which was Piccadilly Circus. I went outside & I looked around the area which was a busy public space in the heart of London. It reminded me of Times Square here in NYC. There were theaters, shops & other forms of entertainment there. After getting a taste of the vicinity, I continued walking. In the process, I passed by Leicester Square which is known as the West End. They also have places of entertainment there as well. After I passed through that, I came to the Covent Garden which is another district on the eastern fringes of the West End. It's also where the Royal Opera House is located. I came across it as I was wandering around the nearby streets. I then proceeded to walk across the Waterloo Bridge which goes over the River Thames. The view was amazing & breathtaking as I looked around in all different directions. I was in the midst of the Jubilee Walkway which is an official walking route of London. I kept walking across the bridge with my mouth & eyes wide open. I then saw a sign that directed me towards the London Eye. I followed the signs & I got to the pier. There were plenty of people around waiting to take a ride on the big ferris wheel. Unfortunately I didn't have time to do so. I took in the beautiful view of it though. After relaxing for a short time & I walked until I got to the Westminster Bridge which I walked across. By doing so, I saw Big Ben in the distance.

Piccadilly Circus Underground Station
Piccadilly Circus
Leicester Square
Covent Garden
Me Outside Royal Opera House
Map of Jubilee Walkway
London Eye Pier
London Eye
Big Ben
After I crossed the bridge, I was in Parliament Square in the City of Westminster. I passed by Westminster Abbey. I was in awe of the incredible architecture as I walked through the area. There were a number of ancient buildings there. ‎I had seen some of them on the Free Royal Tour of London I had taken that Monday. This time it wasn't raining so it made it more scenic & enjoyable. After I took a look, I walked until I got to Trafalgar Square. While I was there I got to see the National Gallery which is a museum filled with paintings & artwork. It was another impressive looking site to see.‎ 

Parliament Square
Welcome to Westminster
Welcome to Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
Telephone Booth
Westminster Underground Station
Trafalgar Square
National Gallery
Stay tuned for another special post that will go into detail on how I spent the rest of that afternoon.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Monday, February 1, 2016

Royalty schedule w/o 2/1

Here's the game plan:

Monday February 1st Pistons at Nets 7:30PM                            

Tuesday February 2nd Wild at Islanders 7PM
                    
Wednesday February 3rd Pacers at Nets 7:30PM

Friday February 5th Grizzlies at Knicks 7:30PM

Saturday February 6th  Kennesaw State Owls at NJIT Highlanders 4PM

                                       Georgetown Hoyas at Seton Hall Pirates 9PM 

Sunday February 7th Oilers at Islanders 2:30PM                                            

Check back to see how it played out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Royalty visits Paris, France!‏

Back on October 7th, I decided to follow through on a brilliant idea my pal Brad Bultman told me about. A few weeks before I left to go to London, he said that I should consider taking a train ride to Paris, France for a day while I was already out there. In fact, he did some research for me. He told me I could take a train early in the morning then come back that same night. Since I already had a hotel room booked for the time I was going to be in London, that made perfect sense. Brad is a well experienced world traveler. I respect his knowledge. I knew he was giving me some sound advice. 

After giving what he said some thought, I decided to alter my original plan of possibly going to see another Rugby World Cup match in London between the United States & South Africa. I knew that a ticket for that match wasn't going to be easy to‎ get & it was going to be pricey. With that being said, I decided to pursue Brad's idea further. I did some research on my own. I was able to get myself a round trip train ticket on Eurostar which is the bullet train that runs from London to Paris via the Channel Tunnel. I booked the early train that left St. Pancras International railway station at 5:40AM & it was scheduled to arrive in Paris Gare du Nord station at 9:17AM. I needed to take into account the time difference since Paris is an hour ahead of London. With that being said, I gained the hour back when I returned. I wound up taking a train that left Paris at 8:13PM that night.

Me on bus at 4:05AM in London
St. Pancras Station
Eurostar
Upon returning to the Grantly Hotel where I was staying for the time I was in London at 12:30AM, I asked for a 3:30AM wake up call. The person at the desk wound up knocking on my door. I got up & took a shower. I got dressed & I proceeded to take a few buses to St. Pancras International train station so I could catch my train to Paris. I had it planned out perfectly as I arrived at the train station an hour before my departure. ‎I was told to do so a few days prior when I asked people at the Eurostar counter. Since that train station was one of the few places I was able to get WiFi, I was able to find out that the Yankees lost their Wild Card game to the Houston Astros. Dead tired & all, I was jumping for joy. What a way to start my day.

5:40AM to Paris
Time to get on board the train
Once I got my emotions under control, I went over to the gate in preparation to board the train. After I went through customs, I went on the train. I was hoping to get some sleep on the two & a half hour train ride. However I rested my eyes but I don't think I was able to sleep. I was too excited. Another country was awaiting me. When I finally arrived in Paris, I was wide eyed LOL. ‎

Welcome to Paris France
Paris Transit Map
Gare Du Nord Metro Station
Here comes the train
Me on the train
Saint Germain Des-Pres Metro Station
Neo Cafe
Breakfast Menu
My Breakfast
I proceeded to go to the Metro, which is their subway system. I went to the ticket window & I bought myself a one day pass so I could get around the city while I was there. I wound up taking the 4 line from Gare du Nord to Saint-Germain-Des-Pres station. I decided to get off the train there because I was trying to find a restaurant I had researched before I went away. However I couldn't find it. With that being said, I wound up coming across a place that was serving breakfast called the Neo Cafe. I looked over their menu ‎& I decided to go in. I ended up having a complete meal that consisted of bacon, eggs, toast, a croissant, fruit salad, tea & orange juice. Bon appetit! I did, it was good & filling.

Musee Du Louvre
Pavillion Richelieu
Me by Louvre Pyramid
Palais Royal Musee du Louvre Metro station
After I finished eating, I walked until I found the Musee De Louvre which is one of the largest museums in the world. It's also a historic monument in Paris. In addition, that's where the painting of Mona Lisa is located. If you like artwork, this is a must see for you. Plan properly & pack your patience before you go. Unfortunately for me, the line to get in as I was warned was out of control. Since I booked a tour of the Eiffel Tower for 2PM, I didn't have time to waste waiting around. So I walked around the area & I took in the amazing scenery & architecture. It was breath taking. Even though I was on the tired side, it helped keep my eyes open. When I finished, I proceeded to find a nearby Metro station which was Palais Royal. I got on & I headed to the Eiffel ‎Tower. I got off the 6 line train at Bir-Hakeim & I walked around the surrounding area since I had some time before my tour started. I walked down so I could take a selfie with me & the Tower behind me. After numerous tries, I finally took a good one. I then walked back to the entrance. I wound up going up all the way up to the top. It was an amazing aerial & panoramic view of Paris. I'm so happy I decided to do this. It was a very memorable experience.

Bir-Hakeim Metro Station
Tour Eiffel Sign
Me with Eiffel Tower in distance
Welcome to the Eiffel Tower
Me making my way up the Eiffel Tower
Sign to the Top
Aerial view from top of Eiffel Tower
Panoramic view from top of Eiffel Tower
After spending a few hours there, I walked back to the Metro. I decided to take 6 line train around to see more of the city. It was a bit of a struggle trying to figure out where I was going exactly. I wound up asking some people but most didn't speak or understand English. French is the dominant language there. I know Spanish from taking it in school back in the day. As for French, I know very little. Thankfully when I decided to get off the train I came across a young lady who was very helpful at the La Motte-Picquet-Grenelle Metro station. She did her best to guide me along. She told me to take the 8 line train from there to Filles du Calvaire. By doing so, she said I'll see many restaurants & bars in the area. When I got out onto the street, I started walking. I noticed that the next Metro stop was going in the direction I wanted to go so I kept walking along. While doing so, I took in the scenery as I tried to find a restaurant I could have dinner at. For the most part, the menus I saw were in French so it was difficult to decide where to eat. In the process, I passed by Place de la Bastille. After walking a little further, I came across a French restaurant called ‎Le Relais Bastille. I finally decided to go & eat. I wound up having a hot dog along with a grilled chicken sandwich that I got with lettuce & french fries along with a can of Coke. It turned out to be a good choice. I even got to watch the Rugby World Cup match between the United States & South Africa that I was originally planning to attend while I was there. I got to see most of the first half. Our rugby team was trailing 14-0 at the time. They wound up losing 64-0.

Filles du Calvaire Metro Station
Place de la Bastille

Le Relais Bastille
After I got done eating, I walked back to the Metro station that was nearby. Thankfully I found my way back to the Eurostar train. I had some time to spare so I wound up charging up my dead phone while I waited. I then proceeded to catch my train back to London.

20:13PM Train back to London, England
Welcome to London
Stay tuned for another post that will go into detail how I spent my Thursday there.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman‎