Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Say Yes to Adventure!

Hello!  I'm back home after our adventure to London.  I know looking at someone vacation photos can be boring so I'm going to try just hit a few highlights of the trip.  I decided before we even left that I wasn't going to live behind the camera, but really look at what was in front of me.  This trip was not planned out other than a tour booked to Highclere Castle as there was no public entry (if you just showed up).  Other than that, we wrote down about 6 places we would like to see or experience and just worked our way through list once we got there.
First up was Portobello Market.  Three words..."not for me".  WAY too many people and not my kind of antiques.
Once you walk far enough you get to the food section.  This part was fun just to see all the different items.
I bought a loaf of focaccia bread at this stall and it was fantastic for one thrown together late night supper.
Can you say Olives?
Beautiful flowers...
From Portobello we rode the tube into the city to go to the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) which is a decorative arts museum.
We have been there before so this time we took a guided tour of one specific section of the museum.  Nice when the tour is free and the guide is knowledgeable.  My favorite image from this visit was found in a library tucked away in an upstairs room that had a HUGE wall of books (like 12' x 50' of books).
Sunday was Easter so we attended a service at St Paul's Cathedral which was very nice.
Monday the weather was a bit blustery so we decided it was a good day for the National Gallery.  The National Gallery sits at Trafalgar Square so lots and lots of people were hanging out (in the cold).
Many, many beautiful painting in the National Gallery.  I got to see the Vemeer (small and beautiful in person) and a Rembrandt (absolutely stunning), van Gogh's Sunflowers (not a fan).  But I have to say this more contemporary Klimt painting "Portrait of Hermine Gallia" (1904) stole my heart.  The detail of the white dress was beautiful, with just touches of pink on her belt and cheeks.  You can see a much better photo of the painting here to see how detailed the background is.
 A short stop for dinner at an Italian restaurant.
And then we were off to see Beautiful.  My first time seeing this show and I'd see it again.  So many songs you just want to sing along to!
Tuesday was the booked tour that started at 8:00 in the morning. Ouch!  We started in the city of Oxford.  We walked to Christchurch College and paid an entrance fee to wander around.
 This ceiling walking up to the dining hall was a favorite.
 Can you tell the dining hall was used as inspiration for Harry Potter?
Then you get to the Cathedral and you see yet another spectacular ceiling.  This is one I had read about and was really our purpose for paying the entrance fee to the collage.
I've never see one that connects to make "stars". 

Walking back to the bus we passed this shop window.   I mentioned to Jay that for US audiences (especially West Coast) that read Harry Potter, it was different world with very old buildings and great dining halls, old paintings and going to a store to buy school robes.  But the fact is, JK Rowling didn't have to go far to find fodder for her books - apparently just to Oxford.
Back on the bus to the little town of Bampton - the church that was used in Downton Abby.

And then off to Highclere Castle. 
Unfortunately Carson was not at the door to greet me.
Wednesday we visited Westminster Abby, the Churchill War Rooms (much cooler than it sounds) and a quick visit to the National Portrait Gallery to see Russia and the Arts exhibit.  You can see some of the portraits here.  This is a small exhibit but worthwhile - the portraits are wonderful and since I am not planning to travel to Moscow, I thought I better see them here).

Thursday we took the train out to Hampton Court to see Henry VIII's place.  There was so much to see that we ended up staying all day...and we didn't even make it to the maze which I heard was very cool.
 We did stop for a scone for lunch...a must have with jam and cream.
On Friday, we met up with Emma Williams - someone I have worked with and emailed so many times.  Nice to meet such a nice lady in person.  Last year I got to meet the lovely Brenda Brown and this year Emma.  I guess I have to keep going back to London to meet people...but then there's Kath and Rita in Scotland...I better start planning, lol.
We finished the day with a visit to Kensington Palace and another play, Wicked.
Saturday, our last day...at 11pm the night before we decided to get up in the morning and take the high speed train to Canterbury to see the cathedral.  Little secret, I LOVE riding the high speed train!
Canterbury was so picturesque.  You could actually take a boat ride down the canal.  I think that would have been fun!
  The cathedral did not disappoint.
I believe they have 3 guided tours a day.  We were able to take one with only 10 other people.  The cost of the 1 1/2 hour tour? 5 pounds ($7.50 US)  An absolute bargain for a personal guide that was so very knowledgeable about the cathedral.  Definitely the best 5 pounds we spent in all of England.


So I'm ending this post with the hot coco from our last breakfast.  A cute little cafe across the street from our flat.  I wish we had discovered this spot sooner.  The secret...they mix Nutella into the chocolate.
What a great get away!  I feel like I learned so much about history yet we only scratched the surface.
now carry on,
paula

40 comments:

  1. You saw some awesome sights! How fun!

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  2. Wow...you certainly packed a lot into your visit...Rita and I would love you to visit Scotland...better polish up my tour guide hat xxx

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  3. I loved reading this, although all I want in the world right now is a cream tea! How tempted were you to slip some of those books at the V&A into your bag?! ;) Thanks for sharing your lovely english adventure. Toodle-pip. P.S. Add Copenhagen to your list from June. :D

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    1. there were so many that I'm sure they wouldn't even notice! Copenhagen sounds great.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your trip. Looks amazing! Someday I'd love to go the London!!! Someday!

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  5. come to Italy <3 Yaya and I will take you around Bologna! HUgs xx

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  6. Oh my what a lovely vacation you had the photos are beautiful... thank you for "having us along " ! So wonderful of you to share :)

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    1. thanks Rea' - glad you liked the post!

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  7. What a fabulous trip! I'm really hungry after seeing the yummy food photos :) Thanks for sharing the info and photos.

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  8. Beautiful pics and narrative. Thanks paula

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  9. What fabulous photos! it looks like you had a lovely visit....if you come again, let me know.... there's junk with your name on it! thanks for sharing xx

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    1. I know! I have always wanted to go to a car boot sale!

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  10. It looks like the weather was kind to you too. Great photos - you certainly packed a lot in on your trip! x

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  11. Looks like the trip of a life time and super photos!! If you do come to Scotland, make sure to come to Edinburgh too!!!

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  12. You packed so much into your trip and what a variety of experiences too! So glad you have a real mix of good memories of our home to take back with you. Scotland is awesome and you'd love it - so, so different from the London and 'Home Counties'. Thank you as ever for sharing xx

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    1. that would be a great experience. Now that we have been to London twice we usually choose another country or place to visit.

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  13. Such beautiful pictures! It looks like you had a wonderful visit. Thanks so much for sharing all of your adventures.

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  14. Looks like you had an amazing time Paula and how lucky to visit Downton, definitely on my list of places to see.
    Julie x

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    1. You have to plan that since it is only open a couple weeks in April and part of July and August. I just figured if we don't go now I might not ever have the chance.

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  15. Great photos and sounds like a wonderful trip. I have been to London 4 times but unfortunately each time was just for the day so I have hit the more touristy spots. Over the years I have managed to do the public tour of Buckingham Palace, a tour of The Tower of London, a guided tour of Parliament Building, a Thames boat cruise, The Eye, an open top bus tour, afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason and a wander around Harrods. There is so much more I would love to see and do. I have been other places in England and have gone to Scotland and Wales. I have even had the pleasure of getting together with some crafty friends, including Sue Carrington and Jenny Marples. Needless to say, I am anxious to go back to visit my friends and see more of the country. Your post just tweaked my interest even more.
    Hugs!
    Cec

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    1. thats awesome Cec! Many of the things you listed we did last year (loved riding the London Eye). I have never visited in July or Aug to see inside Buckingham Palace or been on a tour of Parliament - that would be awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I LOVE London, as you probably already know, and I so enjoyed seeing the different places you went, as they were quite different from where we did. Thanks for sharing your trip. That was fun!

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  17. London is one of my favorites and we went to Hampton Court last year - so pretty esp the Royal Scool of Needlework. My favorite place is Windsor for so many reasons and one is the Thames Hospice charity shop. It looks similar to Canterbury. Are you familiar with Jessie Chorleys shop on Columbia. Love her work (shows a lot on IG). And Spitalfields market/area. Glad you had a great time. In England there's a 3 second delay in understanding their accent. In Scotland, it's a full 5 seconds!

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    1. We went to Windsor on our last trip and loved it. I would have loved to had more time to explore the town but that trip was combined with Paris so only 4 days in London. This time we spent 10 so it was easier to see all the things we wanted.

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  18. Wow you really made the most of your visit here, love seeing all your photos and my most favourite gallery the National. Shame about portobello, I haven't been there, and I love the V and A too. Glad you got to see and do so many exciting things xxx

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    1. It really was a great trip Brenda. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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  19. So glad you had such an awesome adventure while visiting England - you must do Edinburgh some time!

    Sally

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  20. Just came back for another look at your wonderful photos, Downton is on my bucket list and so is Canterbury Cathedral now! Scotland is such a beautiful, Edinburgh Castle is so worth a visit and of course, the magnificent lochs. In my experience, Kath, Rita, Astrid and Julie are some of the loveliest people you could ever meet and they would certainly give you a wonderful welcome in Scotland! x

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    1. They are all lovely ladies! From the wife of a golfer - you know Scotland is on the list of places to visit!

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  21. Thanks for letting us tag along! London is on my bucket list. Someday!!!

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  22. Wow, you are one lucky lady. Thanks for sharing Paula!

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  23. Thanks for taking time to share pictures and stories of your adventure. It's a struggle for me to spend time behind the lens or in the moment sometimes too. Interesting to see your approach and that you still captured so many vivid details. Welcome home <3

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  24. A dream of mine is to spend the summer in an English country cottage and visit all the historical places including those you've seen on this trip. The reality is I'll probably never set foot outside the state I'm in so I'm grateful that you've shared your travel experiences here. If you ever change career gears, I do think you would make a most excellent travel expert and guide. BTW, is "Way Out" a destination (I think I've been there ☺).

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  25. Thank you for the splendid pictures - I love the UK and want to go back so bad I could spit. Your pictures were glorious, I only wish there could have been more!!
    Sandy xx

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  26. Thanks for sharing with us your wonderful pictures PAula! You are really lucky!!!! Barbara

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