S: Across the Pond in London, England 2010
FC: Across the Pond | London, England 2010
1: London, UK 3/12/2010 - 3/19/2010 | It started at Christmas. Katreena mentioned that she was going on sabbatical to London England for several months in the new year and said, "It would be great if you guys could come and visit while I'm there." Monica turned to me and asked if I was in. After some conferencing with husbands we were decided - London or bust for the March Break. Shelley, the accomplished world traveler, would fly from Ireland and meet us there too. The gang would be together across the pond! We packed as much as we could into our week away. I have many fond memories of our trip and loved the opportunity to be with good friends and see another corner of the world. It even made me appreciate my life at home all the more. Thanks for the invite Katreena! Where shall we go next? | FRIDAY Monica & Tanya fly from Toronto Airport SATURDAY Walk-about with Katreena, Buy Shelley's bed, Shelley arrives, Costa's yummy dinner, Sleep SUNDAY Walk via Buckingham Palace and St. James park to the Tower of London and the London Bridge MONDAY Bus trip to Bath, Stone Henge and Lacock TUESDAY Westminster Abbey, London Eye, Walk via Trafalgar Square to shopping in Covent Gardens WEDNESDAY St. Patrick's Day! Natural History Museum, , Wicked at the Apollo Theatre, Drinks in pub. THURSDAY Shopping on Oxford and Regent streets at Debenhams, Harrods, Hamleys and more, Walk through Hyde Park, Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4, Dinner at Indian Restaurant in Soho FRIDAY Up early, Say goodbye to mice, Fly home, Thanks Katreena!
3: 37 Hugh Street London, UK | We were so fortunate that Katreena was able to provide us with a home base. We were able to chip in for groceries and pack lunches for our sightseeing trips. Katreena, Shelley and the kids occupied the basement level, Kaitlin and cousin slept in the loft on the 5th floor while Monica and I were lucky to share Sophie's room on the same floor as Sam. Bernard, Katreena's host stopped in to stay in his master suite on the 4th flour. The mice stayed where they liked. It was such an ideal location - within walking distance to Sainsburys and so many other things and right up the street from the Victoria Station. | Home Away From Home
4: We met up with "Dickie", our Beefeater tour guide, who entertained us with tales of treachery and torture. We learned about garderobes, false fireplaces and dungeons. We saw the Crown Jewels and had tea and biscuits with clotted cream! | Tower of London
6: BATH Our bus drove around the circular Circus and down High St. to see the limestone buildings. Although many have been cleaned up, there were still some darkened with soot from coal burning days. We also saw gouged buildings from the bombings in World War II. The Roman Baths were amazing and we could easily have spent most of a day exploring, but alas, we had less than an hour before we were back on the bus and crossing the Avon river. We did have just enough time to taste the famous curative waters . . . they had a strong mineral taste which we unanimously agreed would not be our first choice for a beverage.
8: Stone Henge | The only thing I really hoped to do on my holiday was to visit Stone Henge. I was so thrilled to be able to walk among the stones.
11: At the end of our bus trip we tucked into a lovely meal at the George Inn in the village of Lacock. The buildings in this quaint village all sported thatched roofs and often serve as background in movie productions. The Lacock Abbey was featured in Harry Potter and the Other Boleyn Girl while Pride and Prejudice and Cranford were also filmed in the village. The George Inn has a dogwheel - a spit turned by a specially bred dog called a Turnspit.
12: 443 ft tall 32 glass capsules 25 people / capsule 30 minute flight 1 scared Tanya Amazing views!
13: The London Eye
14: Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
15: Tower Bridge
16: I was once again astounded at Katreena's ability to navigate subterranean travel routes. She somehow managed to keep all of us together in the frenetic and busy underground. She had us top up our oyster cards and led us up and down escalators and under roadways in order to change lines and find the quickest route to our destination - often amid line closures due to construction. All this and with a stroller or suitcases in tow! I found out very quickly that one must stand to the right on the escalator or risk the wrath of an angry Londoner! Mind the Gap! | The Tube
17: Platform 9 3/4, King's Cross Station | It took some doing but we found it! Kat found it easier to get through - the rest of us really had to push!
18: Natural History Museum | London's Natural History Museums was amazing and free! We did a whirlwind tour with Adrian and Sophia seeing everything from rocks and minerals to dinosaurs to the inside structure of a leaf. In the Darwin Centre you could load information onto cards to take home and look up on the computer. I'm not sure you could see everything if you had a whole month to explore!
19: "May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night." ~Irish Blessing | After the museum on St. Patrick's day we went to see Wicked at the Apollo Theatre. We went to the pub afterwards but found out that St. Patrick's day is a bigger deal at home than here - they closed around 11:00 pm. The next day we went shopping on Oxford and Regent Streets. Being in Harrod's was like being in a different world. The food prices seemed reasonable but everything else was extremely pricey! We saw a dog for 2000 pounds. We went to Debenhams - a more realistic department store and bought some souvenirs. We stopped at Hamley's Toy Store - floors and floors of fun and found some more authentic types of Harry Potter Wands! We had tea in the National Geographic store and eventually stopped for dinner at an Indian restaurant in Soho. It's probably a good thing we left our shopping until the last day!
20: Victoria Monument Buckingham Palace | Buckingham Palace | A Kiss beneath Big Ben! | Double Decker Transport | Westminster Abbey | Parliament Buildings | Around the Town
21: On the bus . . . anyone for eggs? | Suspension Bridge | Doin' the pigeon! Hyde Park | Katreena and Sophia | Monica - "fairly fun to travel with" | Hello? I'd like to make a long-distance call.