Remember a few weeks ago I told y’all that Jamie and I had been together for 10 years? I did, scroll back a little. Well, we thought we’d do something extra special to commemorate, like a trip.
A once in a lifetime trip.
Neither of us has ever been out of our hemisphere – so we flipped a coin and landed on London. It’s not too far, not too exotic, and best of all…they speak English.
(Maybe not exactly the English we learned in the Texas school system, but some form of it)
The 8 hour flight on Virgin wasn’t really that bad. Our little veal-feeding pens included a travel pouch with some toiletries, a sleep mask and my favorite part, clean socks. Because we took an overnight flight, we were given “sleepsuits” which is a pretty silly name for what turned out to be “Jim-Jamz”. (and after all, who isn’t much more comfortable in head to toe polyester?) And, of course, our seats folded down into little, well, let’s just call them “beds”.
I’ve actually been unknowingly prepping for this trip my whole life. I’ve watched every season of Keeping Up Appearances, Fawlty Towers, Coupling, The Young Ones, Man About the House, Absolutely Fabulous, Footballer’s Wives, Are You Being Served, and a few episodes of Spaced.
I knew the words; “loo” = bathroom, “lift” = elevator, “mobile” = cell phone, “coach” = bus, “flat” = apartment, and “nappy” = diaper.
I was ready……. Luckily, we didn’t need that last word.
Here’s a small taste of our London adventures that we thought we’d share with you kind folks.
Our first order of tourism, was the Hop-on-Hop-off bus ride around the city on a red double-decker bus.
We “hopped off” at Buckingham Palace to check on the Queen…
If the Queen is in residence, and she wasn’t this time around, they fly the Royal Standard flag over the palace. If not, they fly the Union Jack. Pretty interesting, right? We never knew that.
Turns out that the Tower of London isn’t really a tower after all, it’s a castle, and it’s also where the Crown Jewels are kept.
On busy days, the line to see the Crown Jewels zig-zags endlessly in front of this building. But to speed things up, on the inside (photo taking is prohibited) there’s a moving sidewalk/conveyor belt in front of the display cases. That way, everyone gets to look at the jewels the exact same amount of time. Just Brilliant.
We waddled our way through Kensington Park to Kensington Palace on the east side.
Our hotel was only a block from Trafalgar Square…
and the National Gallery. (BTW, all the museums in London are free, they simply ask a suggested 5 pound donation….Suckers)
We were surprised by how many uniformed school children were in the National Gallery.
I was promptly scolded by one of the docents to not photograph the kids. I felt compelled to tell her, “I’m sorry, but I’m American and I’ve never seen children learning in a museum before.” I just had to document it to show the rest of my countrymen. And I just know that y’all would never believe it without this photographic proof. Like UFOs, or Sasquatch.
Jamie even discovered a new iced tea. I watched the bartender brew a cup, shake it with ice and a splash of milk, then strain it into a glass filled (*by European standards) with Sonic ice. Earl Grey is now his new favorite……it used to be Lipton.
A mere 2 hours outside the city is Stonehenge. It’s a big stone clock/calendar thingy most likely built by the Druids. Nobody really knows…..it’s all just speculation. The funny thing about Stonehenge, and trust me, there aren’t many funny things about possible Druid monuments, is that it’s so much smaller than you expect it to be. Still pretty impressive.
Until 1977, you could just walk right up to it. But for fear of some clumsy tourist knocking it over, it’s now protected by a thin barrier of shin-high black string.
Our tour group had an odd assortment of tourists and naturally we nicknamed a few of them. There was; Indiana Jones Hat, How Old is her Baby?, Hollister Sweatpants, Vampyria, Captain Cardigan and his mistress – Side Pony Tail. The last 2 sat directly in front of us on the bus and they kept licking each other’s faces like they were cheating on their real spouses. Of course, they were Greek. Which explains her “going out to the club after this” makeup and his thumb ringS.
That’s right. RingS. Plural.
After Stonehenge, our tour bus drove through Cotswold, to Bath (Highly recommend this city if you can) Bath is the home of a natural hot spring, and was once a luxurious Roman city renown for their spas. The spas are still there, but the Romans left centuries ago.
We ended the day in Stratford, the childhood home of one William Shakespeare. That’s his house right behind us.
I’m sure Mr Shakespeare would be thrilled to know that his childhood home is only 4 doors down from a Subway sandwich shop.
We ended our week with a champagne toast on the London Eye.
It looks like a ferris wheel, but don’t say that to a Brit. At a speed of .06 miles per hour, one revolution takes about 30 minutes, and takes the pods up 443 feet in the air. The view of the entire city is just spectacular.
Shout out to our dear friend Kylie for setting us up on all our tours and excursions. She works for AAA Travel.
Such a great trip. We learned so much about Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, J K Rowling, Henry the Eighth, Elizabeth the Second, Diana, Benedict Cumberbatch, and for some reason, William Wallace. Honestly, William Wallace came up more than anyone else. My guess is that they want everyone to remember what happens to you when you defy the crown. (He was drawn and quartered)
And on that note, by the end of the week we were tired of touristing and ready to head back to Texas, and Harley Davidson, and our house with 2 almost functioning bathrooms.
Here’s a rare moment. In a city of almost 9 million people, most of which were pressed up against us the entire week, somehow we were almost completely alone on the street the morning we left.
But not before finding the perfect little memento…..to cram onto the Christmas tree…
Maybe now we can go back to pronouncing tomato like Americans again.
And stop using the adjectives “brilliant” and “lovely”.
And spelling color with a “U”.
After all, we’re Texans……and Texas don’t do stuff like that.
Hey James & Jamie I remember my trip to London @ 5yrs old! When my mom and I checked into
the hotel the desk clerk said ” Hello love what time would you like me to knock you up”
My Mom said ” come around here love let me have a good look at you” to this day I am not really
sure if she knew he meant wake her up or not! Looks like ya all had a great time! great pictures!
Dottie, that seriously had me laughing out loud!!!!We had an amazing time. Thank you
My very favorite city!!! Glad you had a “lovely” visit!!
“Quite”!!! I had to tone down the Texas accent the first day. Everyone talks all proper and stuff there. We sound like “hill people” when we open our mouths. Can’t wait to go back.
Very interesting! Did you have passports already, or did you get them for this trip? No one remarked on your accents while you were there? And finally, congratulations on your new Big Ben glass ornament! I love the travel souvenir! 😉
Yupp, got passports for the cruise we took a few years ago. (But we both have Global Entry/TSA Pre status now too) My accent is a little less apparent than Jamie’s, but trust me, NO need to tell anyone that were were indeed American (the NY hat did the trick just fine). I really wanted that ornament pic with Big Ben in the background……Tried the same thing in NY with an Empire State Building ornament, but we could never get the shot right.
You had a great travel agent! You saw a lot of things in a short time? Where did you get that Japanese Tiger baseball jacket. I always wanted one as a kid, now I might have to buy a vintage one! Finish the bathroom.
Great travel agent, indeed. She squeezed it all in for us. AND since I work/shop in the same store for 50-60 hours a week, it should be no surprize that my tiger souvenir jacket is Polo. I love it too. And don’t worry…..bathroom is next.
Wow! Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. Looks like you guys had a wonderful time. Take care!😊💕
It was awesome Kim, thanks, glad we could share!
Thx for the tag-along dream trip to England! Love the pics!
Thanks Patti!!! It still feels like a dream. Don’t know how we’ll top it.
Teavana Earl Grey Creme. Love in a cup! You really did fit in a lot in a short time. I have fallen in love with the TV series, Escape to the Country. The British version of House Hunters and a much better show. Now I am with Ann W……get back to work. 😀
Christine!!!1 I think we watched it! TV there is so random. but there was a show where they show a couple couples house they can kinda afford. Looked like House Hunters to us, only the agents kept changing. You just know we’d find the one DIY show in the whole Kingdom to watch. That, and Will & Grace. OOOOOhh and a show called Big Heads, Google it, it’s insane!!!
we did everything you did and had a wonderful time. So glad you went. By the way, they speak English everywhere. Love, Aunt Pat
Hi Aunt Pat! Yepp, we’ve heard that most everyone speaks English, Ha! It was a great trip, and we’re already talking about the next one!
Loved every moment of your story! I always like to hear when people enjoy London like me! What a great adventure to share! You should try Paris next! I could go on and on and on…
Awesome city, Erik, Just awesome. Don’t worry, we’ll go to Paris soon enough, Rome too!!!
Museums are free as the English want people to actually visit them. I thought your picture of the children was fine as none of their faces showed but people are so paranoid now. I can remember going to galleries as a child with my school but funding for that type of thing is so tight now. It’s too bad. Canadians also spell colour with a “u”.
We used the Canadian Embasy as a landmark. Every time we turned a corner, it was there. Even found a pub called the “Maple Leaf”.
I left part of my heart in London. I love it SO much… But also…. Bathroom reveal, bathroom reveal, bathroom reveal!!!!!!
Love that city! Don’t tell anyone, but the plumber comes next week. We are so excited around here!
What a fun post! I really enjoyed reading about London and I love that glass ornament you picked up.
The bathroom looks like it’s shaping up nicely. The turquoise tile is just beautiful and I love that Ikea sink … can’t wait to see it finished.
My spousal unit and I went to Paris for 11 days in April and it was just as fabulous as I’d hoped it would be. We took a river cruise up the Seine first, accompanied by some dear friends (former Californians) from Wisconsin. We had a great time touring during the day in Paris & then various others spots in France, and then hanging out in the lounge in the evenings … playing cards, drinking beers & calvados, and competing in trivia games. Ended with a few extra days in “The City of Light” … rode that very similar gigantic ferris wheel, Paris was just glorious. When I think about it I grin.
We reluctantly returned home, dragging our tired selves thru customs etc. in San Francisco. Then I turned by phone on and got some truly dreadful news from home. A very close relative (like married to our daughter close) was the first victim in a multiple shooting episode in Fresno, that lasted all of 2 1/2 minutes but claimed three lives. In the midst of all the resulting grief and other stuff I love to sneak in thoughts of that vacation. It briefly lifts my spirits and soothes my broken heart. Viva la France.
Here’s to travel. May we have more trips in our future. And less really mean stuff. This world needs more kindness, light and love.