Sunday, July 17, 2011

VACATION ~ LONDON ~ PART ONE

(Please remember to click on the pictures to make them larger)

Friday June 10th, Saturday June 11th and Sunday June 12th

Day One (which turned into day two after a 10 hour flight)

Los Angeles LAX to LHR London Heathrow

So these are the notes I typed out each night or the next morning. I was going to make changes but then I thought I should leave them as I wrote them and only add things in that I forget or didn't have the information on when I wrote these notes.

We were picked up by a limo at our house to take us to LAX airport. They picked Phil up first and then came and got us. (company uses this service) We had plenty of time when we got to the airport. We were actually very early because Phil had a flight an hour before ours. We all sat down and had a nice meal before our flights. Something I wasn't told in advance, because Mark knew how I would react, and he was right, that we both had center seats and not together! Well it turned out okay, they were able to get us an isle and center together. Sometimes I wonder why it even matters. Mark puts in his headphones and falls asleep, getting angry if I try to talk so I may as well sit alone!

Flight was very good and very long. I could not fall asleep. I got up a lot and walked around. I do of course love the little individual screens with the movies. So arriving in London I was obviously pretty exhausted. Never did the passport things before so I was going a little slower then Mark who is a frequent flyer and has little patience with me. I am use to being dropped off at our Ontario, CA airport, walking through the door and basically dropping off the luggage, landing in Tampa, getting my bag and walking right out the door to my dad who is waiting for me.

Well the walk from the plane to luggage was pretty long and the walk with the luggage was forever in my opinion. Sorry, I am a bit overweight and have COPD. (we learned quickly the next time to get one of those carts!) Now even if I was a perfect weight this would still be very challenging for me! Mark was kinda sort of, in not the nicest way saying to me, you should have known that you couldn't have handled this and stayed home. Yep, that made me feel awesome, NOT! I just figured we were both a little testy and let it go.

Needless to say we are in a new country, don't really know our way around and are a little grumpy from the plane. We were told by Phil, a UK born man who now works in CA with Mark, that he suggests the Express Train to Paddington Station and then maybe a taxi. That's what we did and it turned out okay. Let's just say I was excited, amazed and extremely overwhelmed and wondered how I was going to get around being totally lost in a big city. But I told myself to just push myself. See the hardest thing at that point was the fact that on Tuesday I have to check out of the hotel near Regents Park and get to the airport hotel because Mark will be flying in late that night and the next morning we head to Worcester. I wasn't sure I could do it alone. I didn't over pack but luggage can be heavy for me. So here I am tonight in the hotel not sleeping again.

Pushing myself to the limit, keeping up with Mark pays havoc on my lungs. We decided to go out from the hotel for a walk and grab some dinner. Well with swollen ankles and being up for well over 24 hours it wasn't that easy for me. We walked over to Primrose Park but when I saw it was hilly I just sat for awhile and Mark continued up the hill to look over at Regents park. We ended up at a cute little place called The Primrose and had a meal. Mark had a mushroom soup the was super thick and delicious, then he had olive mashed potatoes with fish. I had a delicious pizza and a lemon crepe for dessert. Then we came back to the hotel and had a glass of wine in the bar area. I took a quick shower and it was late enough that we could fall asleep for the next day. I did that for about 1 hour and here I am typing, praying to God to help me to feel well tomorrow.

Passed a church on our walk and of course the cute mailbox. I am in love with the chimneys. As Mark walked to see the top of the hill I took my first picture of the skies of London. I know that some of you reading this remember the cloth cords from years past. I was surprised to see one on the iron. We were at a Marriott. Didn't get a picture of Mark's dinner or my dessert. I do that often, I get so excited to eat!

I have lungs that are burning, I'm all aching with chills. So I turned the air warmer, put on some socks and snuggled up in bed after taking some medication. Well then after about an hour I was all hot! I feel pretty good right now as I type this. I think it's 1:30am and I need to sleep. We are doing a Bus Tour tomorrow with Phil and a female friend of his named Ali. Okay I'm going to head to dreamland now.......that's the plan! I'm thinking that maybe I just need a good poop!


Day three: Sunday

So I never really got any sleep again. About 3 hours and boy did we have a full day today. Unfortunately it was windy, rainy and cold but we did The Original Bus Tour with Phil and Ali. It was awesome to see all the wonderful landmarks of London. Did a short stop at an art museum.

Yes that first picture is from the window of the tour bus. We obviously couldn't sit on top. The weather did clear a little bit for some pictures. That was The National Gallery we went to but we mainly went in to see the Sunflowers by Van Gogh. I always look when I go into a museum for the signs about the use of a camera. I didn't see any so I took the picture and then I got my hand slapped by a museum person :) The living wall is something that you see around London in different areas. This was outside of the museum. That ship in a bottle was outside the museum too. The giant horse head was over near the Marble Arch in London and it's awesome. As I went around this area a few times on the bus and with a taxi driver I did see a statue of a giant hand holding a VW. I was never able to get a picture of it.

Being such a miserable day, we were cold and wet, we didn't get off the bus very often. Hope to do the tour again so I can get off and see a few other things up close and personal like I saw Buckingham Palace. It was surreal, I loved it. The day we were there was the day after the queens birthday celebration. It would have been fun to see that. Also since we left the palace is now open for tours since she is on vacation. Also Kate's wedding dress is now on display to. I did have some fun shopping in the gift shop.

We went to a pub, had some beers and I had my very first London fish & chips. I also fell in love with that vinegar and salt stuff you sprinkle on it. Yummy. You can see a picture of what is called London Eye which I would have loved to have gone on , The Jelly Baby statue, the Marble Arch at Hyde Park and St. Paul's Cathedral where Princess Diana was married. I never did have a chance to go back there. So now I have something to see the next time!!

We started out with breakfast at the hotel, had that afternoon snack and ended with a great dinner at a small quaint place where I had salmon. The hotel gave us a map with several places listed on the back. We grabbed a taxi and went to the first place we decided on and it was closed. We grabbed another taxi and went to the next place which was also closed.

Third times a charm. We went to the next place called La Collina which was so charming. We sat right by a fireplace in what you would think was the living room of a home years ago. Only had about six tables and I had the feeling that they hadn't been open long. Their description said "Italian restaurant that offers a brilliant menu, charming service, a garden and a kitchen you can watch in action from the table downstairs." We never went downstairs but there was a spiral staircase going down where they brought the food up from. Even though it was a cold/rainy day it was also a wonderful day.


Okay, only 18 more days to go!



35 comments:

EmptyNester said...

Great job on pushing yourself to get out there and do things! I am not good at doing that in strange places when I am alone. Not at all.

Interesting that you mention Ontario, CA. I just heard of it the other day---a friend of Hubs who lives in CA has a friend who lives in Ontario. The Ontario friend recently inherited a car and is giving Birdie his Honda for Texas. Unfortunately, that means Hubs has to fly to Ontario and drive the car back to Texas---only 23 hours--and then drive back home to SC---another 17 hours. I'm staying home. LOL

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

Loved the pictures....they reminded me of my trip to London. It was a cool walk down memory lane. I can tell you had a great time and can't wait to hear the rest.

Renegades said...

Thanks for sharing your photos. Looks like an amazing trip.

Tonja said...

Oh, how fun! Love to be in a foreign country and exploring! 'Sunflowers' is one of my favorites. So understand that pulling luggage and walking forever. Any my DH thinks I should be able to do everything he does even with my limitations. The tours sound nice...loved the horse head! Looking forward to hearing more!

secret agent woman said...

Wow! I just took some time to read through the last few posts. Cool travelogue so far!

Sonya said...

Their pizza was always good! We went to a place where we stayed in Lancaster that was called Pizza Margherita. It was tasty! Can't beat the fish 'n' chips either. Just wish they didn't come with peas! Ick!

I liked the tour bus too! We figured out our tickets were good for 24 hours so we used it the next day too!

We went into St. Paul's but didn't go up into the chapel. Then when we got back someone told me we should have because it has an amazing view of the city! I'm so sad that we didn't tour it when we actually had the time to do it!

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

Thank you so much for sharing with us Debby. I love your photos and stories.
Maybe one day I could go to London. Looks like a wonderful place to go.

Sarah said...

I love it!!! It sounds like so much fun! I can't wait to read about the rest of the days!

Laura said...

Love it and I'm so glad that you kept that journal as you went so you wouldn't forget anything!!! I also love how you put all the pictures together like a collage~ I know you've done it before but I've never commented on it. What a great way to get a lot of pictures in! Looking forward to hearing more!
Hugs-
L

gigi said...

I hate that you were sick those first few days but these were great picture to get us started!

Cherie said...

You are a trooper! I can never sleep on the plane either and when we land I always have to sleep before I can go anywhere else. The Jet Lag hits me hard.
Last time we went we had to drive a little while before we got to our hotel. We checked in and were supposed to go to dinner but I was so tired I felt like I would throw up so I just had to go to bed.
I don't know how you did it!
Good job.

And all your pictures are wonderful!

Love Of Quilts said...

I can understand why you couldn't get any sleep...I would not have been any better at it... in new places...great pictures and I like them set up in a collage. Trish

xinex said...

Thanks for giving us this very detailed note about your trip, Debby. I enjoyed reading about your adventures. I know it gets tiring sometimes but being in a new city makes it exciting too. When we were there, it was always raining too so we never got to sit on top of the tour bus either. We stayed at a Marriott's also but in Grosvenor and it was close to the shops downtown so we walked a lot. I would like to go back....Christine

Joanne said...

So cool! I really admire the way you don't let anything get in your way...no one's moods or even your COPD. I love your positive atitude!
Have fun!
Blessings, Joanne

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I haven't seen a cloth cord in ages!
Your pictures are great.
In St Augustine there's a very authentic English pub and John got the fish & chips there...the fish was ENORMOUS, I've never seen anything like it! I hope you tell us all about the food everywhere, I love that part!

countrynmore said...

Great job with the pictures and the details of the first part of your trip. I look forward to reading more about your trip overseas.

Sarita Boyette said...

I love these pics! I'm so glad you had this opportunity and persevered through your lung problems and having to walk a lot. This is a place I have always wanted to visit - glad I can through your eyes. The cloth cord - I DO remember them. And your fish & chips looked awesome. I read a lot of English & Scottish mysteries & the characters are always eating something with "chips." You sneak - glad you took a pic of Sunflowers!

Kathy said...

How great that you took notes so you would remember it all! I don't sleep well when in strange places, so I can sympathize...Usually about the time we come home, I'm adjusting.

Great photos!

Michelle said...

Exciting journey!
Thanks for sharing it with us.
I wish the rain would have held off for you.

Kristie said...

Sounds like it was really neat so far! With the exception of not feeling well...I understand the jet lag part-no fun!

Being able to see London is awesome though, isn't it!? I was there for a senior trip in high school and saw some of the same sites. The Italian restaurant sounds similar to one I ate at there...couldn't remember the name of it now though.

Excited to read about the rest of the trip!! :-)

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

What a wonderful trip and wonderful photos to share with us!

Garden of Egan said...

So amazing! Great way to remember the trip....writing each night.

Sounds like you filled each day to the max!

A multi-dimensional life said...

Debbie, it looks like you had such a rich experience. I love your comments and your photos! Thanks for sharing this. It brings back some fun memories for me also. You really made the best use of every moment!

Together We Save said...

Wonderful pictures!! Sounds like a great trip!!

Kerri said...

love the pics! the pizza sounds aoo good! glad u pushed urself to do things! i would of been nervous!

Katherines Corner said...

I know it's tough to do things when you don't feel well. But, wow! Great job on the photos. Big Hugs!

Katherines Corner said...

I know it's tough to do things when you don't feel well. But, wow! Great job on the photos. Big Hugs!

LynnMarie said...

I remember having fish and chips back in the 70's in England. They served them on newspaper! That's right just tore some newspaper out and put the fish and chips on it, rolled it up and gave it to you-- how funny was that! Yes vinegar was great! Glad you had a good day even though you had to push yourself a bit.

blueviolet said...

Seeing these photos of places I've dreamed about and knowing you were actually there...oooo, I'm so jealous. And you got to taste the most wonderful things! How exciting!

Nichol said...

Phew I am tired just from reading! London is wonderful been a few times. I am so glad you are sharing this and we get to read about everything. I need to get back there with the family some day!

ModernMom said...

Oh it can be so hard to get out when you are not feeling 100% and the weather was icky too! Still so happy to see those pics and know that you had a great time.

nancygrayce said...

What a great start to your trip.....well, besides the rain and pulling your suitcase! Can't wait to see more more more!

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Oh Debby how I love this post and that you wrote each night to keep the memories alive.

I'm sorry he was a turd for some of the beginning of the trip. I hope it got better. Rick and I traveling together is cause for bickering and not fun times.

I love all the pictures and that you were so close to all things from the royal wedding!

I keep looking at your postcards they are on my fridge!

Mary said...

It sounds wonderful so far! I'd love to go to London!

Kristin - The Goat said...

It's nearly the end of the year! It seems like every time I've tried to come something has happened. The phone didn't have a good connection, the internet went out, my husband needed me --- I decided to start at the beginning again and leave comments as I go.

Traveling overseas is exhausting and I have never met anyone who was happy after that long flight. I cannot even imagine traveling from California.

Those buses are wonderful for getting a person oriented around the city. I would have stayed on the bus on a rainy day, too.

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