Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Just a jaunt across the Pond

“Call it in the air, heads or tails?  Heads will go to London…..Tails we’ll go to Paris…” –Hotspur 
DSC_0811 We couldn’t decide, so we did both!

Rusty and I have been talking and dreaming about traveling in Europe and England ever since we we newlyweds. When my mom called to set up the yearly "private vacation" with the grandkids we started scheming vacation plans. Rusty wanted to throw sleeping bags in the back of the truck and go camping all over Colorado. I wanted to go to Paris. I won. When we discovered we could catch the opening day of Wimbledon, we added London to the the itinerary and Rusty was completely on board.
After reading every guidebook under the sun, we were finally off. We had an 8 hour direct, red-eye flight to Heathrow. 
on our way
When we arrived we were sleep deprived, giddy and anxious to begin our adventure. We raced off the plane and through the airport only to realize we'd left our carry on bags in the overhead bins on the airplane! After only a small headache we were reunited with our bags and on the tube headed to downtown London. We arrived at our hotel and were greeted with the words, "it's not the size of the room that matters, but what's inside. Uh-oh. That didn't sound too promising. Turns out truer words were never spoken. Our room was just big enough to fit the bed, and the shower barely big enough to squeeze inside, but it was fantastic! That tiny shower had 3 different shower heads and a TV right inside the mirror. The bed had massage features as well as buttons to control the lights and the blinds. There was a huge TV, and we were given an iPad to use during our stay. We were impressed!
IMG_0669Now we were off to explore London! We walked all over, stopping to eat at Wagamama's, a popular London chain serving all kinds of yummy noodles. First notable site--Buckingham Palace. I hoped to catch a glimpse of the Queen, but no such luck :)
Then we explored Trafalgar Square, Liecester Square, and Picadilly Circus. London is such a great town and its really easy to find your way around.IMG_0700
(1st dessert in Liecester Square—there were many desserts to follow.  Usually more than one in an evening)
IMG_0702 (Piccadilly Circus—London’s “Times Square.  Not nearly as impressive as NYC, but fun just the same)
A few things surprised us. London is CLEAN! This was a welcome surprise after my beloved but smelly NYC. The other surprising thing was the lack of skyscrapers. There is a section called "the City" that is home to a few, but really not many at all. We were also surprised to not see many children. NYC was full of kids on the subway, strollers, and kids on scooters riding along while their parents walked down the streets. During our entire trip we saw NO kids on the subway, and only a small handful on the streets. Maybe we never visited the family friendly section of London?? Also a welcome surprise, Londoners don't lay on their car horn like New Yorkers. You rarely hear a honk. Speaking of cars--the driving on the wrong side of the road really did throw us a loop. We kept looking in the wrong direction as we crossed the street. There were a few close calls....seems like we weren't the only ones with this problem as there were painted directions at every crosswalk instructing you where to look.
IMG_0738 We went in search of some great fish and chips and found Rock and Sole Plaice. Deliciously battered, deep fried fish and soft, fat chips. All to be dipped in some creamy tartar sauce. I tried the London way of splashing it all with a little vinegar, but this American is going to stick with tartar sauce.
Rock and Sole Plaice Since London is so condensed, it was an easy walk along the Themes to the House of Parliament and Big Ben. It was so surreal to hear those bells ringing as the sun set over London. Nighty night! We were beat.

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