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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Stop: London

                I was recently lucky enough to take a 10 day trip to Europe.  I had been planning this for over a year and couldn’t wait to visit places I had not been to before and have only read about.  The one thing I did learn is that ten days is not nearly enough time to see everything on my agenda (but I knew that at before I left the States). However, I did accomplish my London goals.
                We arrived on a late Tuesday afternoon and after settling into our room, my husband and I didn’t have much time to explore. At least not like I wished. So we walked around the area where our hotel was located in Chelsea.  I was more comfortable in London but I think it has more to do with understanding the language.  

 Our first meal was in a quaint restaurant and I found I am not a fan of Bangers and Mash. (My husband loved the meal however and ate mine).
 The next day we set off on a bus to hit the highlights. By that, we drove by Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square with Nelson’s column, with only one stop for a photo op at Westminster Abbey.  The one surprise on the drive was how huge the Houses of Parliament were.  I assumed it was big, just not that big.

 The tour ended with the Changing of the Guard and then we were on our own for the afternoon.



               After a quick hop on the subway we ended up at The Tower of London. Some shopping was done and pictures were taken. I would have loved to have gone inside but the line was long and if we would have done this I would not have had a chance to see anything else.  











We then headed back to from where we had come and began the walk through London. Okay, not all of London, but the area I wanted to see above all else.  This included a stop in Hyde Park then into Apsley House. Not only was it cool to be in Wellington’s home but equally cool to be inside a structure similar to what my characters may have lived in. Much of it was closed off and if I understood correctly, the upper rooms are still used by the family at times.  We were able to tour the basement, entry floor and first floor containing the drawing rooms and the State Dining Room. The main level houses a museum with china, weapons and all manner of items from Wellington's life.



                The walk continued down Piccadilly with detours onto St. James and into St. James Square and back out until we were at Piccadilly Circus.
                We did rush this walk because I wanted to make sure we were back in time to meet the rest of the group and it turns out, we had extra time so we visited shops, had a pastry and enjoyed a cup of coffee.  I should have had tea! It was the afternoon but I wasn’t thinking.  Hubby did enjoy a pot of tea, however, and enjoyed it very much.
                Others in our group visited Fleet Street and ate at the restaurant associated with Sweeny Todd. Personally, I am not sure I would have wanted to eat there – lol.  
























That evening we dined on Fish and Chips (I really can’t get enough of that combination) and our visit to London was done.
                
There is so much more that I wanted to see and tour and now that I’ve had a taste, hubby and I will be planning a trip just for the UK to see all it has to offer.

Have you ever been to England? What are some must sees so I can add them to my future itinerary.




24 comments:

  1. I have never been to London (or anywhere outside the U.S.) but would love to go. The history in Europe is amazing and those buildings? To die for.
    I couldn't help but snicker at your Bangers and Mash--am I correct that it's potatoes and sausage? Clearly, I'm a pervert because I got a mule kick out of the name. ;}

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    1. Andris,

      That is exactly what Bangers and Mash is, but it is a great name - lol. I have probably taken 400+ pictures of just buildings. It was awesome.

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  2. Sounds like you had a great time, Jane. I've never been to England, but I definitely want to go. It would be tempting to try to take in all of Europe when you're across the pond, but I agree England should be a trip all its own.

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    1. Samantha,

      I was wonderful! You NEED to get to England one day. I was standing in Hyde Park and men were riding horses on the sand path. In my mind they were regency heroes on Rotten Row :). I am fairly certain the path is still called that. I haven't looked it up and there were no signs. And, even if it isn't, to me it is - lol.

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  3. One of these days, I'm going to get to Europe. :) For now, I'm going to live vicariously through you. I've still never been anywhere outside of North America.

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    1. Catherine,

      You need to get out of this country! Okay, not like leave permanently, but you know what I mean ;. You would have so much fun.

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  4. Okay ladies, based on these three comments I am going to plan a LadyScribes tour of London, Bath and other various areas of interest in the UK. Who is in? Wouldn't that be so much fun!!!

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  5. I'm so glad you had a good time! I loved Apsley House for all of the history it contained as well as the chance to visit Wellington's townhome. Stratfield Saye is also wonderful--in one parlor the side tables are dispatch boxes from the Peninsular War! Swoon.

    I'm in for that trip! I've been dying to get back to England.

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  6. Deb,

    We will add Stratfield Saye to our itinerary :). It was a wonderful trip, but not nearly enough time in London.

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  7. Jane, I'm so glad you finally got a taste of London!! I spent 10 days there a few years ago (6 years ago, to be exact) and it wasn't enough! All the spots you drove by, we spent extensive amounts of time touring. One of the things we LOVED in London were the walks. Londonwalks.com has a TON of walks to choose from -- we did the DaVinci Code walk, which took us through the Inns of Court, the Harry Potter tour, the Marylebone tour (which was more Regency-focused) and the Parliament tour at night. Our schedule for the full ten days was to get up at 7am, sight see ALL day until dinner time, and then set off on pub crawls in the evening. The great thing about London is that the pubs have to close at 11pm, so we had a forced curfew/bedtime.

    I'm so glad you had such a good time on your short trip. I can't wait for our group trip -- we're going to have a blast!!! :)

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    1. Jerrica,

      I would love to do some of the "walks". I have a few books of suggested walks that I wanted to take but didn't have the time. I will have to compare it to Londonwalks.com so nothing is missed next time :).

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    2. The thing about the walks are the people they hire to lead them! Amazing personalities with SO much knowledge and stories that you won't hear anywhere else!!

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  8. Wow Jane! It's beautiful! I've barely even started to travel in the US over the last couple of years but this is definitely on the wish list. Until then I'll have to live vicariously through you gals. I love the pics!I'm so glad you had a such a good time! Perhaps someday I'll get there, too. Great blog!

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  9. Many years ago my husband and I visited England and one of our favorite stops was in Winchester. It was a cool, sunny Spring day but we were two of only a handful of tourists there that day.

    As we entered the Cathedral we were the only ones there and as the door shut behind us the organ began to play! Come to find out the organist was practicing for an upcoming event and we were able to sit and be the only ones in the audience! It was a moment in time we'll never forget!

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    1. Jeanne,

      Wow, that must have been so cool.

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  10. When my family and I lived in Paris, we had the opportunity to go to London a couple of times, as well as Bristol and Bath. Mostly, these were for meetings so time on our own was limited. However, we did manage to get in some sight seeing and we loved it. As we took our son with us to Bristol, we decided to visit their magnificent zoo. It was such a super fun place. Our dinner meeting was held at the Harvey Bristol Cream museum which is a definite must-see.

    I remember also having wonderful cooked English breakfasts, delicious cups of tea, yummy fish and chips and a pint of really dark beer in a pub by a roaring fire. So many memories.

    I’m so envious that you are getting to do this. I would love to return to the UK one day. It’s a fabulous place!

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    1. Connie,

      The food was great! Well, except the bangers but I have never been a sausage fan. Paris was our next stop on the trip and one of my favorite places to visit.

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  11. Oh Jane...I'm more jealous than you ever know!!! This is my dream trip! I've always longed to go to the land I always write about in books but only create through research and my imagination! If you could do it again, what would you like to see more of?

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    1. Christi,

      The list is almost endless of what I want to see. I would like to actually go inside places like Westminster, St. Pauls, among other places. And, I would like to visit Fleet Street and the Inns of Court. If I sat here and thought about all the places I wanted to spend time in this response would go on forever.

      You will have to join us with LadyScribes take the UK by storm :)

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  12. I've never been, Jane, but I'm dying to go! It looks like you had a fabulous time!!! I'm so jealous!

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    1. Julie,

      You will get there! I decided the LadyScribes are going to London and of course you will be there :).

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  13. SO jealous!! I hope I can make it out there again soon. One of these days, my hubby's and my schedule will match up :-/

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