London -4/21 – 4/24

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We took the train from Cambridge to London on the 21st and checked into the Hilton for our last 3 nights of the trip. Brooke joined us for two nights before she had to return to work. While Brooke was with us we visited Abby Road, made famous by the Beatles and did our version of THE WALK!

During the two days with Brooke we became somewhat proficient on using “The Tube” transportation system, which came in handy during our last day in London without our tour guide (Brooke). Two highlights of our stay in London were our visit to the Tower of London and going to the theater to see the play Wicked. We embellished our last three days by our continued consumption of British food and drink!

On the morning of the 24th we left our hotel and arrived at Heathrow to begin our 9+ hour journey back home. Larry & Vicki flew to Houston and Randy & Kathy made the trip back to Wichita. In addition to our visit to some of the great cities of Europe we were in better physical shape as a result of Brooke’s walking leadership!!!

London, Cambridge and Newmarket

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Our flight arrived at Heathrow early in the evening on the 17th. Brooke wanted to join us at the St. Pancras Renaissance hotel, but the would not add her to the reservation as it was not booked directly with Marriott.

Traffic from the airport to the hotel was very bad resulting in approximately 1 1/2 hours before we were able to check-in. By the time we checked-in, the hotel was 100% booked and the great Marriott staff had to upgrade both Lanie families to extremely nice rooms. Vicki and I were upgraded to THE ROYAL SUITE and Randy & Kathy were given a very upscale MINI SUITE. THE ROYAL SUITE normally cost $2,300/night!! Check out our SMugMug website for photos of the trip including the hotel rooms:

Brooke joined us after work on the afternoon of the 18th and we boarded another train for Cambridge and then a short car ride to her home in Newmarket. After a good night of sleep we are ready to visit Cambridge on the 19th and spend the weekend in Newmarket before heading to London on the 21st.

While in Newmarket we spent one day touring Cambridge and the highlight of the visit was High Tea at the rooftop restaurant/bar of the Varsity Club. We did not have time to experience “Punting” due to the massive holiday weekend crowds.

The last full day in Newmarket was spent in Bury St Edmonds, the town that Brooke & Aaron first called home when they were in England. The town has a large section of ruins that date to at least the 9th Century and its history includes critical support of the Magna Carta by the leaders (“Lords”) of the region.

On Easter Sunday we headed to London via train to spend until Wednesday before flying back to the U.S. We have dinner reservations at “Burger & Lobster”, a unique London establishment.

Vienna & Budapest

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We boarded a train on the 8th for the trip rot Vienna with our tour leader, Brooke! We checked into a very nice Marriott that was located in a central location in the city. We had purchased a Vienna Pass, so we spent the two full days seeing the various sights including palaces, museums and historical places. Included in our activities was a lot of consumption of the local food and beverages.

On the 11th we left Vienna on the train and headed to Budapest and Brooke caught a flight to London as she had to go back to work on Monday. The train was very old and their PA system did not work in the car we were on! As a result we got off the train at the first Budapest station, which was in the country, requiring a long/expensive cab ride!

Consistent with the previous cities we visited, Budapest was a beautiful city. While in Budapest we heard about the fire at Notre Dame, which we had visited the previous week in Paris-What a shame.

One of the lessons we learned in Budapest was to do some research on hop-on-hop-off bus/cart companies. We booked on a cart to see a Castle with a company that only had 2 carts and as a result wasted a lot of time waiting for the next cart. We had to redo the trip the next day to see the site!

On Sunday, April 14th, our Budapest visit concluded as we boarded a Plane for London.


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The San Antonio Lanie’s arrived in London on the 4th and the Okie-Lanie’s arrived the next day. Brooke joined us on the 4th. On the 5th we ventured to see Buckingham Palace before boarding the train to Paris at 5:01 PM.

The 2 1/2 hour train ride to Paris was easy and comfortable (we booked 1st Class). We did not know what to expect in Paris and were pleasantly surprised to find a vibrant, clean city with minimal evidence of the impact of the infusion of immigrants in the city.

We spent three nights in Paris at a small hotel located in the Montmartre area, which was filled with quaint shops and artistic locals. While in Paris we took in the typical sites including the Louvre, Eiffel tower and great Parisian restrauants. We tracked our walking while in Paris and we ranged between 5-9 miles each day!

On the 8th, we checked our of our hotel and boarded an Air France flight to Prague. Our hotel was located close to Old Town, so we spent a lot of time wakling again to the various historical sites including the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle.

On the 2nd day we rented a car with a driver and went to the small Czech town of Hodemysle, which was the town where our grandparents were born. The Old Cemetary used by the villages was quite a site with many names of those in our family tree.

When we have a resonable internet connection we will update the photo website with photos of the first week of our trip. We are on the train to Vienna where we will continue our European journey!

Houston & Wichita to London/Paris

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Our trip with Randy and Kathy is scheduled to begin from Houston for the San Antonio Lanie’s and Wichita for the Oklahoma Lanie’s.  The flight from Houston was on the 3rd of April and arrived in London on the 4th and the Wichita flight was one day later.

The San Antonio Lanie’s will stay in London on the evening of the 4th and will be joined by Brooke Lanie Moreno that evening and then with the Okie Lanie’s the next day.  We will board a train to London late afternoon on the 5th going under the English Channel to Paris!  Our schedule is to spend 3 nights in Paris, Prague, Vienna, Budapest and return to London on the 17th (Brooke will fly back to London from Vienna on the 13th).  We will then join Brooke and go to NewMarket where she lives and then venture to visit Cambridge before returning to London on the 21st for three nights.  We return to the U.S. on the 24th.

Subject to the availability of a decent internet connection we will update our travels as we can.



Baltic Cruise 2017 Plans

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This is the first Blog about our planned. Baltic Cruise during the summer of 2017. Traveling with us on the Cruise are:

  • Randy & Cathy Lanie from Manchester, Oklahoma
  • Johnny & Cathy Francis from Anthony, Kansas
  • Jack & Debbie Crissup from Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Larry & Dianna Coker from San Antonio, Texas
  • David and Ellen buck from San Antonio, Texas

We are excited about our 11 day cruise on the Regal Princess that begins and ends in Copenhagen.  We will visit Berlin, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm in addition to Copenhagen.

With a group of 12 we were able to schedule several Excursions as Private Tours, so we should have a very educational and eventful trip.  Larry is looking forward to see how much Russian he still remembers from his Russian language classes from 55 years ago!  While on board the ship, the gals will likely be fulfilling their responsibilities as the Social Directors and the guys expect to focus on robust discussions related to farming, football, the economy and politics!!!

After the Cruise, Vicki and Larry will stay over in England to spend some time with Brooke and her husband Aaron, who live in Cambridge where Arron is stationed at an Air Force base.  Aaron’s parents are expected to join us for some while we are in England.

During the trip we would expect to have a lot of photo opportunities.  And, in anticipation of the this I have set up my SmugMug photo website so that the photo’s can be uploaded to be viewed and downloaded should you want prints.  The link to the website is as follows: If you go to the website you will notice that we have one photo in the Copenhagen gallery of Larry Coker contemplating the trip!!



Back Home — Amsterdam to San Antonio & Wichita, August 6, 2015

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The group, excluding the Bucks, left Amsterdam on an 8:45 flight through Atlanta and we all arrived at our respective destinations between 4:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon on the 6th. We all agreed that the trip was fun and we are sold on the River Cruise as an excellent way to spend a vacation/trip.

All of the photos from the trip taken by LJL have been uploaded to the SmugMug website: and the video’s will be uploaded when I have a some spare time to convert them to a file format for SmugMug.

We look forward to our next adventure with friends and family!

Amsterdam, August 4 & 5, 2015

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The group finally got together on the 4th, minus David who had to fly back to San Antonio. Vicki, Ellen and Larry met the rest of the group at their hotel for an afternoon of shopping in Amsterdam. The shopping was followed by a tram ride to David & Ellen’s Apartment and then dinner at David & Ellen’s favorite Italian Restaurant.
On the 5th, Ellen took a break to get some personal business taken care of and the rest of the group met up at 12:30 at the hotel. Earlier in the day the Hotel Group, Randy & Kathy and Johnny & Kathy visited a Museum.
The first order of the day was to visit the Red Light District (the “District”)! The District was located just a short 5 minutes walk from the hotel. The District was interesting, but I think all of us would describe it as rather “Seedy” and not an areas that we were comfortable visiting. But, to be in Amsterdam and not see the District, would have left a void in our trip! No photos will be found of the District Doors or it’s women as this is strictly prohibited.
After the short visit to the District we spent the next 2 hours in various shops on the walk back to the hotel. By 5:00 PM all of us agreed that it was time to call it a day as our flight the next morning required us to be at the airport very early in the morning. Vicki and Larry returned to Ellen’s and the rest of the group stayed at their hotel for the evening. Ellen made a cab reservation for Larry & Vicki for 6:00 AM!
Check out the photo’s on the SmugMug Website:

Amsterdam – August 3, 2015

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The group, exclusive of David & Ellen who got off the boat the night before, departed the boat at 10:30 on Monday, August 3. Randy & Kathy and Johnny & Kathy checked into their hotel (the Park Plaza Victoria), which was about a 10 minute cab ride from the boat and located across from the Central Rail Station. Larry & Vicki proceeded to David & Ellen’s home in Amsterdam.
Everyone that heard we were going to Amsterdam told us that two things we had to experience were the Coffee shops that sold Marijuana and the Red Light District. So, in the next two days we did our observations of these two Amsterdam traditions. Our cab driver informed us that Cafe’s were eating establishments were places that one could get food and coffee and Coffee Shops were places that sold the marijuana! More to come on this subject.
The first order of the day was a trip on the bicycle by Ellen & Vicki to the grocery store to get supplies. Check the photo of the two on bikes on the SmugMug website:
We arranged to get together later to tour Amsterdam and planned on getting together later. Larry & Randy discussed communicating via Text Message and never hooked up! Larry, Vicki & Ellen (David had to work) then decided to get a hamburger at George’s, a local cafe that is a favorite of Ellens. On the way to George’s, we heard someone yelling our names and looked up to see Randy, Kathy, Johnny and Kathy waiving as they were trying to find Ellen’s apartment. Think of the odds of this happening in a city of 800,000+ population!
After an excellent lunch at George’s, we ventured out on the tram to explore the local area. Our event for the day was a tour of the Heineken brewery, which took about 1 1/2 hours. On the way to the brewery we walked past the Bull Dog Coffee Shop, which is a local establishment that specializes in the sale of Marijuana. From the smell and the looks in the eyes of the patron’s of this establishment it was quite clear what was being consumed. Unbelievable was our reaction to what we saw!
The brewery tour was interesting as Heineken is a local beer and an Amsterdam headquartered company. The tour was informative and the beer was excellent.
After the tour we split up with the intent to get together for dinner at an Italian restaurant by the name of Spagioni’s, a local favorite of David and Ellen’s. We were unable to hook up with the other 4 members of our group, so it was only a partial success. However, you know it is going to be excellent when your host, David, is known by all of the staff of the restaurant. It was as advertised!