The Quinquagenarian Traveler: Five Must-Do Items in London

London abounds with choices, from museums to cruises to spots for tea. Here are five must-do items to make your next trip more pleasurable.

  • Tea at Claridge’s. This venerable hotel offers an incredibly gracious tea, including Champagne, finger sandwiches and – if you attend during Wimbledon – pastries shaped like tennis balls.Tennis Ball Pastry
  • The Wallace Collection. Armor and swords mingle with paintings and furniture in an elegant three-story building.
  • Churchill War Rooms. See not only the space where World War II strategy was hatched but learn about arguably the greatest historical figure of the 20th
  • CityCruises. Relax while a witty tour guide shows you buildings both historic and modern along the Thames River
  • Uber. Not as nice as London’s spacious cabs but much cheaper.

The Quinquagenarian Traveler: A Whirlwind L.A. Sports Marathon

Thirty-six hours. Two NHL games. A college football rivalry battle. Two boys dressed in   shorts. One convertible.

Thanksgiving weekend was a sports feast for the males in our family (excluding the dogs). The three of us flew in from Chicago to watch the Blackhawks prevail in Anaheim before falling by a goal in Los Angeles. In between, my alma mater USC and stalwart Adoree’ Jackson dismantled Notre Dame before our eyes.

Standout memories include:

— Watching the Blackhawks pre-game practice from the second row in the Honda Center, surrounded by hundreds of like-minded fans. Ducks backers were as hard to spot as the team’s retired jerseys (grand total: one).

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Blackhawks fans (two fresh out of a convertible) swarmed the plexiglass at Honda Center.

— Sitting not only in a section but a row that actually won a prize announced at a major sports event (chocolate popcorn at the Staples Center).

— Why it’s important to be prepared for potentially bad weather (see: ignore L.A. rain forecasts for events at the uncovered Coliseum at your peril).

When the sun shone, we splashed around the pentagon-shaped pool filled to the brim at the Marina Del Rey Hotel. The three-story white structure, renovated to perfection a year ago, featured patios connecting to artificial grass where the boys played shinny. At the restaurant Salt, kid-friendly menus included awesome hamburgers for dinner, and sitting outside let us watch sailboats rock nearby while the stars danced above. .

On the flight home, live NFL games appeared on our Virgin America TV. We didn’t need the NFL in L.A. (and the NFL didn’t need L.A. for decades), but it was the perfect way to end a whirlwind sports marathon.