Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Trip to England (Part 2)

If you missed the first part of my trip, you can read all about it here. This post includes my continuing adventures in England and France.

Day 3:

You know you're in London when right across from your hotel is a church like this. Having lived in Savannah, Georgia for four years I became enamored with beautiful churches. This one was magnificent and just nestled in between a row of houses on the block.



We walked by it every time we went to lunch or walked to catch the tube to our next destination. On this day, we wanted to finish up our tour of London and still had one day left on our Hop On, Hop Off tour. The sun was out and shining but this ended up being one of the most bitter cold days of our trip. We started out on the top of the bus, but with the slight breeze and the freezing, cold temperatures we soon ended up inside the bus.


On this day we got to see the following sites:

Street Artists


How can you not be inspired by this city? Although we didn't stop, you could find these prints hanging from the Hyde Park gate. I know Katelyn will appreciate this when we take her and James back to visit some day. As an artist herself, she will be amazed by the art she discovers.

The London Eye and the Dungeon


Being deathly afraid of heights, I was not about to stand in a glass capsule that takes an half hour to complete one revolution. But while it is modern in nature, it's a beautiful juxtaposition next to the building housing the London Dungeon (see photo above). If you want to get a view of London, you'll want to check this out on a clear day.

Big Ben (Again)


This photo gives you a good view of how the double-decker buses give you a good view of the area. It really isn't the same if you don't look up while in London. The buildings are so tall, so massive, and so beautiful you need to take it all in from the top of a larger vehicle.

London Bridge


There are many bridges spanning the Thames (pronounced "tems") River. You can walk on many of them. There are also those that provide transportation. Standing in the middle of the bridge is a great view of the city.

St. Paul's Cathedral

 


As we came around a bend in the road, this was the view that I saw. Having known nothing previously about this cathedral, I was not prepared for the way that seeing it moved me. As we drove up to the building, I looked up and up and up. It was larger than anything I felt I had seen before (whether that was true or not, it felt large in my mind). There's something very special about this place. This is where Diana and Prince Charles were married. While we didn't have time to explore it on this day, I knew that I wanted to go back and do so later on our trip.

The Shard


There are many modern buildings in London. While I can appreciate their architecture, I am more drawn to those with history. But seeing them nestled within the older buildings is a sight not to be missed!

The London Fire


This statue is meant to stand as a monument to the London fire which destroyed thousands upon thousands of buildings and history. It's meant to resemble a candle, which started the fire. If laid out upon the ground, it will point to the very place where the fire began.

Tower Bridge



One of my "Top 5 Places to Visit While in London" was the Tower Bridge. When I think of London bridges, this is the one that seems the most iconic to me. I didn't realize the bridge is painted with the happiest of blue colors and both lowers and raises for larger ships passing underneath. All these things only add to the charm and beauty of this amazing bridge. We planned to walk across it later in our trip. For now, we simply wanted to continue soaking up the general history of the city.

River Cruise




By this time were good and properly frozen and a bit exhausted as our travels began to catch up with us so we used our additional boat tour ticket to take a ride along the Thames. This beautiful boat included an upper deck, which I did not force upon Brett, as well as, a heated sitting area with covered benches and chairs. This was one of my favorite activities, and Brett's opportunity to catch a nap and drink some hot cocoa.

Meeting up with Friends


My lovely friend Alison Beehan flew all the way over from Ireland so that we could have dinner together. I can't tell you how touched I was to be able to spend the evening with her. She made us laugh and laugh over our children, our lives, and our memories. Ali's been a friend of mine for several years now.  I think we need to plan a visit to see her next time.

Day 4:

I wasn't feeling well on this day. I think all the stress and preparation finally hit me. We were supposed to have breakfast with Ali before she returned home, but I just wasn't up for it. Instead we stayed in the hotel and talked until she had to leave. I felt so bad, but it took me several hours to feel myself again.

Later in the afternoon we ventured out while I was feeling better and saw the following sites:

The National Gallery


Admission is free. I love Impressionism, and as I stood just a foot away from Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" and several of Picaso's, Manet's, and Monet's work, all my art history came rushing back. It's one thing to look at a photo of these works of art. It is an entirely other experience to see the brush strokes or to see the grits of sand embedded in a painting of Monet's from when he painted on the beach during his vacation. I can't quite describe how moving it is to see these pieces up close. (This photo was taken a day earlier, but it gives you a great view of the building.)

Trafalgar Square




Unfortunately the fountain was turned off today, but we didn't mind. We took a few photos and then got some lunch. Brett could not get over that we were having lunch in Trafalgar Square in London. Every experience we had was like that, however--just amazing! 

London at Night






Because it got dark around 4:30 p.m. every evening we got to see a lot of London at night. It is just as beautiful at night as it is in the day time.

Day 5:

This was the start of our really get out and explore things part of the vacation. Now that we knew where everything was located, we felt comfortable enough riding the Underground to each destination. Here is what we explored today:

Buckingham Palace






We thought we'd see this first today. When we arrived, there were several people mulling about facing the street as if in anticipation of what was to come. Not knowing what was about to happen I found a place right near the front. A very kind policeman came over to chat with some tourists next to us. We realized we were about to see the changing of the guard. Talk about timing. It was spectacular! It was also fun as the Queen was home that day as you can see from her flag flying above the top of the palace. Brett felt quite put out that he was loitering on her lawn as was not invited in. Boys!

Telephone Booth


Of course I had to get this popular photo while in London. Why can't every modern convenience look as attractive as these phone booths do?



Westminster Abbey



This was probably Brett's favorite activity. He had been wanting to see this for a while. We were not allowed to take photos inside the church, but just seeing the tombs of kings and queens, poets, scientists and more from history was amazing. The beauty inside this church is indescribable. We took the walking tour of it and soaked up as much as we could about the church.

Meeting Up with More Friends


I was super excited to meet up with Shimelle Laine during our trip. We've met in person before, but was years ago. It was so nice to chat with a fellow co-worker and friend. I so appreciated having these lovely women take the time out of their lives to spend the day with me. It really made the trip feel more like coming home rather than being on a tour.

I will share more of my trip in another follow-up post coming soon!
 

6 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, you took soo many wonderful pictures! You are very lucky to go on such an adventure!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. looks like ya had a blast.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amazing trip/photos! I hope to take my girls there one day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful! I'm loving living vicariously through you;-)! Thanks so much for sharing! I can't wait to see more!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looking forward to part 3

    ReplyDelete
  6. You two crammed a lot in before coming up to join us as Mary said looking forward to part 3

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Site Design by Designer Blogs