Saturday, July 8, 2017

Day 8: Windsor Wonderland

The next day we headed out to Windsor to see, of course, Windsor Castle. We met my sister's niece and her little boy at the castle and spent the day with them. This was my favorite day of the trip. It was a lovely place and being with family that lived in England just made it so comforting. It was pretty cold and windy but we were inside a lot so that made it nice. First we toured the castle, which was A-Maz-ing. A fire destroyed a lot of precious parts of this wing of the castle, but the restoration was incredible. You would never know, if you didn't know already. We had a delicious lunch and afterward took a cruise down the Thames. This was so great! I highly recommend it, if you are in Windsor. We sat inside and were the only ones there. There was a huge window to look through and it was magical. We saw boys from Eton college at rowing practice and other boats and birds along the river. After that we went to St. George Chapel, the Queen's church where her family is buried and you know people like Henry the VIII. It was cool. We also saw the changing of the guard there, probably not as grand as the show in front of Buckingham Palace, but we checked it off our list. Also, I had to find the crooked house before we left.
When we got back to London that night we walked around Hyde Park again and over to the Kensington Gardens side as well where Kensington Palace is. Then we walked back through Ambassador Street. I found some roses along the way and enjoyed a nice long sniff of a real English rose.
Windsor Castle's gate

The mote is now a beautiful garden.

The changing of the guard.

Yummy lunch

Windsor Castle seen from the Thames.


That notorious crooked house, I found it!
Kensington Palace

Queen Victoria

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

England Day 7: I Love London!

Sunday morning I awoke feeling... yes, nauseated, but it was the last morning I felt sick and by afternoon I was feeling much better. I was still tired but so was Diana, so we were more evenly matched. We took the train to London and it was so great to see so much of England. We saw the huge white chalk horses on the hills and lots of green rolling hills. When we finally arrived at Paddington Station we had a little trouble trying to find our way out, but eventually we figured it out and made our way to our amazing London hotel, The Royal Park which was a five minute walk to Hyde Park. We spent the afternoon walking through the park just soaking up the sunshine, the people and the beauty of the giant trees, lakes and gardens. The next few days we went over to Hyde Park several times to just explore it. It is immense and fabulous. So many things to discover!
After walking through the park we saw the Albert Memorial on the south side of it. It is humongous! Then we walked to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I asked the lady at the front desk where The David by Michelangelo was? She looked it up on her computer and told me it was in Florence, Italy. I just smiled and laughed to myself and set out to find it. We did eventually, after asking a few more people that actually knew what was in their museum. It is an amazing copy given to Queen Victoria, I believe. I can't believe I don't need to go to Florence anymore to see it. I got to check that one off my bucket list. It's great because there are so many places I want to visit in Italy.
We hurried over to St. Paul's to listen to an amazing organ concert. No photography was allowed so we couldn't get any pictures. The music was sublime. The jewel box ceiling of St. Paul's is breathtaking. And the history of the cathedral is one of my favorites because my ancestors are a part of it. They lived in that very area of London around the 1600's and before St. Paul's was even there.
After not liking the subway there, we decided to take a bus back to our hotel. Too much walking underground. All the buses are double decker and we loved riding on top in the front. Better than a roller coaster. I don't know how they do it, without killing anyone! We had room service for dinner, which was so nice because we were tired.

I feel much better now.

Hyde Park is to the right on the map, we also visited Kensington Gardens the next day.

I had to find this statue of Peter Pan.

The Victoria and Albert museum courtyard.

The man, the myth, the legend. The David is more than I ever could imagine.

Something the Victorians used to cover his privates when the ladies came to see him.

Me looking weird enjoying my cream tea, which is Peppermint tea and a scone.

The tea room at the Victoria and Albert museum.

St. Paul's Cathedral is huge! No bird ladies today. (Mary Poppins)

We loved our crazy bus rides! Birdseye view of Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus.

England Day 6: The Cotswolds Tour and Sleep

By Saturday I was still waking up really nauseated. I decided I needed to stay in bed and give my body a break. Tomorrow we were leaving for London and I was sick of being sick! I knew I needed to rest today. So Diana left for our all day Cotswold Tour by herself. It was a beautiful sunny day and she had fun in the countryside and even made friends with a lady who was from San Francisco who was touring England by herself. I tried some ginger tea for breakfast and then went back to bed for the rest of the day. I slept, read, looked at Facebook, texted my sister in Texas and snacked a little on granola bars. It was exactly what I needed and saved the rest of the trip for me. Luckily I did see a few thatched roof houses and cute villages as we drove through the countryside the last few days, so I didn't feel too bad missing out, but I'd really like to come back someday and see the Cotswolds. That night when Diana came back I was feeling pretty good and we went out for Tapas.

The Cotswolds

More slate roof homes than thatched.

Some estate they stopped at.

Our last evening in Bath.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

England Day 5: Back to Bath

On Friday morning we drove back to Bath. This time we stayed closer to the center of town and the walking was on nice flat surfaces. It was lovely. I was still feeling quite sick this day and we walked a lot around town, but I hung in there. We visited the Fashion Museum, The Assembly Rooms, The Circus and The Royal Crescent and No. 1 House (Georgian era home). They were all so interesting and well done. We ate lunch at a French Bistro and the chef made me some plain mashed potatoes and chicken. It was so good! Usually by afternoon I could eat a little lunch and dinner, although not much. I slept really good that night.

The Royal Crescent, beautiful Georgian architecture.

Diana looking cool crossing the street in the Circus, which is a circle of Georgian Era townhouses.

Bath is known for it's beautiful flowers.

A Doll House exhibit next to No. 1 House. The museum was full of them but photography was prohibited. We didn't realize that until after we took this picture.

The Assembly Rooms, where all the best balls were held.

Can I just say this dress was really heavy and uncomfortable!

Diana didn't care for hers either. We were actually laughing hysterically!
I don't even want to imagine what this was like.

My middle son's name is William, so we thought this was cute.

The Bowling Green next to our Bed and Breakfast, The Arlington.

Friday, January 6, 2017

England Day 4: Stonehenge and Thornbury Castle

Thursday was the hardest day of this trip for me. I started feeling sick the day before but chalked it up to jet lag. By Wednesday night it was clear that I had the stomach flu. I kept hoping it would just go away and luckily I came prepared with some Imodium. But the acute nausea became so bad this morning I thought I was going to die. Looking back I realize I probably should have gone to the doctor, but I was determined to be brave and go on our tour to Stonehenge that morning. It was prepaid and I didn't want to let my sister down. She was the one who convinced me to prebook this tour. I thought Stonehenge was overrated. Boy was I wrong. Stonehenge is A-Maz-ing! As soon as I boarded our bus I started feeling better. Our tour guide was great and we drove through the villages and saw lots of thatched cottages and countryside on our way. Stonehenge is in the middle of nowhere with nothing surrounding it. The museum is small but very informative. There is much more excavating to do in the area and hopefully they will uncover more of the mysteries of this ancient site.

We had a blast running around Stonehenge! We had to run just to keep warm. It was rainy, windy and cold.
After returning to our hotel to get our luggage, we took a car that we had hired to Thornbury Castle. When we arrived, we were blown away. It was really a 16th century castle! In fact, Henry VIII had stayed here on his honeymoon with Anne Boleyn. We had an incredible room, but the bathroom was to die for with a giant clawfoot tub and waterfall shower. And a real Crapper! Sorry I can't find a picture of it but it was the toilet invented by a guy named Crapper. The first toilets, I believe. Anyway the bathroom was bigger than the bedroom. This was the worst night of the trip, but I did sleep through the night without getting up. While my sister dined on an eight course gourmet dinner, I gingerly tried some chicken soup. Even that was hard to get down. In the morning I had room service and Diana had a fabulous breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs in the dining room. Sad face!

Outside of the castle.

Inside Thornbury Castle.

The entrance to the hotel in the castle.

Our rad bathroom!

Me trying not to look sick.

The library where we had our drinks (Ginger Ale, I believe) before they took us into the dining room for dinner.

I survived the worst night of my life! Beautiful courtyard and gardens.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

England Day 3: The Roman Baths and The Pump Room

We walked to town that morning and went straight to the Roman Baths. It was my favorite thing we did while in Bath. The museum is incredible because it is the Roman Baths themselves, which are the most amazing ruin restored I've ever seen. After our self guided audio tour we ate lunch at the Pump Room which is a must while in Bath. The Georgian time period is well preserved and you can almost feel yourself thrusted back in time or into a Jane Austen novel.

Next we toured the Abbey and saw the stained glass window of my ancestor Edgar I "the peaceable" King of England who was crowned in that very church.

Then we went over to Pultney Park and walked around. After that I dropped Diana off at the spa and I took my first ever taxi by myself back to the Bed and Breakfast and napped a little with the windows open and the birds chirpping softly, it was blissful. This day we had the best weather of the whole trip. We couldn't believe how sunny and warm it was and the Brits kept warning us to enjoy it while it lasted.
Later I met Diana for dinner at Tilley's. It was a pleasant meal.