Saturday, July 23, 2011


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

Tuesday June 14, 2011

Win some, lose some:

I was going to take a Bus Tour today but I thought I would pick it up later in the day. I decided to start out at Kensington Palace so I got myself a taxi. I told him I want to get as close to Kensington as I can. I know the tours can drop you off blocks away. So he took me to Kensington but tried to get in a side gate. He said "I'm trying to get this lady closer" and the guard looked at me like "who the heck is she" and told him to go to another gate. Then we came up to another closed area, not even a gate that you could see through. A guard came over and opened the gate and he let us through. So he dropped me off at the back of the Palace. There was a small gate, he said the police will open it for you and took off. So I went over to the three policeman and they said they can't open the gate.

I walked over to the small gate and rang the button. A woman came on and I told her that my taxi driver dropped me off here and left. She said did you want to tour the palace, I said yes and she opened the electronic gate and let me in. That's how my day started!

I realize now that somehow that was meant to be because as I started walking towards the palace I heard a helicopter and it landed in a clearing near that gate I came through. It was a royal helicopter. (No I Didn't See Anyone) Many people came over to watch. The police told us no pictures. Then the woman from the gate speaker told him that we can take pictures. So a woman walked up to the helicopter, the pilots got out and put on their suit jackets, they talked for a little while. About 10 minutes later a small car came out and drove right up to helicopter door and whoever it was got on to the helicopter. We could not see the person but is as very exciting. I call this a win.

So I went over and did what was called The Enchanted Tour, something new to Kensington Palace. It really wasn't that great but I thought I would at least be able to walk into some rooms that maybe Princess Diana had walked into. This tour would be cute if you had young children because you have to play a game guessing who stayed in which rooms! Normally you would enter the front gate and go on a tour of some rooms and Princess Diana's dresses. There is scaffolding up and there was a gate in front of the gate. I managed to take some pictures but was a bit disappointed. The Palace is now closed for renovations because William and Kate will be living there soon. I will call this one a lose.

Then I went to find the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. Well let me tell you that I walked for what felt like 10 miles but it was probably just a couple. This walk was in Hyde Park. Well wouldn't you know that the fountain was closed this week for maintenance. Another loss for me! I took some pictures of some flowers around the area. In doing this I also missed the Serpentine Fountain which I really wanted to see :( Walked around a little more then headed over to were I saw some cars and buses and thought I would then get onto The Big Bus Tour and head over to the Tower of London. (this is where I come upon the most beautiful wild flower patch I have ever seen.) Well I wasn't near any of that so I walked hoping to find a stop somewhere. I did see the Royal Albert Hall. After awhile I walked back to an area where I had seen taxi's. It took a very long time but I finally got one.

So I asked him to take me to the Marble Arch because I know that we caught a tour bus there on Sunday. Well he couldn't drop me off right there so I was a few blocks away! I saw a money changer place and needed to exchange some money, needed some cash for the taxi later that evening to a hotel near Heathrow airport. (see earlier in the day I was checked out of the Marriott and I had them hold my luggage and a car was being arranged for me later in the evening) So I went to change some money and it was $1.99 for each pound. That mean my $100 bill became approximately $50. I also tried another one that I saw that was $1.70 American for each pound which was better but still not great but I need the pounds. When I went shopping on Monday at Harrods I spent something like 94 pounds which I thought wasn't that bad for all I bought but really it was $154. US!

So I went over to get the tour, the guy asked me what I wanted to see and I told him the Tower of London. He said because of the distance (across town) and with their stops I wouldn't get there in time for any tours. He suggested I take the underground. I said no but he said it's really easy and he gave me exact directions. Well I did it! OMG you have to walk down a hundred of stairs. (actually one woman counted them and said it was 123) Then I saw people going up on escalators so I thought I would be okay. So I got on, after several stops I was to get off and get on another line. It was a long walk and more stairs, this time up but I did it and made it to Tower Hill. Well the worst thing was that it was stairs up, no escalator. I knew I wouldn't be taking it back. I was totally exhausted from my day and couldn't do that again.

So I got there bought my ticket and saw the Crown Jewels. I didn't do much else because it's all up hill and upstairs. Then I went out and got some pictures of Tower Bridge. I had seen it the other day but with the rain we didn't get to stop and couldn't take any pictures through the wet bus windows. Got myself some quick fish and chips because I was hungry. I had seen some taxi's by Starbucks to I went over and got one. At this point it didn't matter to me the cost. It was 28 pounds to where I was going. Do the math!

There were some wire animals on display that had placed around the area. During 2011 an exhibition was hosted at the Tower with fine wire sculptures by Kendra Haste. I thought they were cool.

Got back to the hotel and had a glass of wine as they got my luggage and waited for the car to the airport hotel. (this was a 45 pound ride)I think I was there by 8pm, took a bath, put my pajamas on and Mark got in around 10pm. We actually got some food and wine from room service.

A few miscellaneous pictures from London.

Five down 16 more days to go!


Holli Taylor said...

Absolutely gorgeous...yep, still jealous.

Kathy ... better known as Nana said...

Again, beautiful pictures ... I love the garden at Kensington!

Who knew that the conversion rates would fluctuate so much.

Thanks for sharing your story and pictures!

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

I am loving looking at your photos. What a trip!

Jen said...

We didn't have a chance to go to the Tower of London and I've always regretted it! Next time :)

I need to go get caught up on parts one and two!

EmptyNester said...

I am so very much enjoying your trip! I almost feel like I was there with you!

Renegades said...

The palace must have been so exciting to see!

Sonya said...

What a frustrating trip to the palace! The exchange rate is crazy! I just kept a log of everything I spent in pounds and counted it double to equal the dollars. I was over there long enough that I set up a bank account at a bank that had a sister bank over there Barclays/Bank of Amer.ica) so I didn't have to worry about the exchange fees.

The Tower of London was neat, but the jewels were probably the best part! I have a cute little purple crown coin purse from my visit. I also wish we had had time to climb Tower Bridge. I think that would have been fun!

Caroline said...

So beautiful , I would love to go there someday !!
Thanx for sharing this so much. :)

Lynn said...

Your descriptions are bring back some lovely memories for me!

nancygrayce said...

Not sure I'll ever get there, but I'm enjoying touring with you! You were very adventurous doing all that by yourself!


Love the memories this is bringing back. Makes me want to go time I want to see Scotland when I go. Too bad you weren't there now to see the Royal Wedding dress.

Deb said...

what a trip of a life time....

That corgi :) said...

I admire your going on your own sightseeing in unfamiliar places and seeming to do pretty well with it too! Good for you for being adventurous to take the underground and getting to see the Crown Jewels plus do the tour over at the Palace. The pictures were great to see!! I'm sure you will always remember this trip and the will talk about it for a long time in the years ahead!


Sarita Boyette said...

This must have been an amazing trip! I loved the gardens & the bridge. That's too bad that some of the places on your list were unavailable. I noticed the Diana/Dody memorial in Harrods.
Thank you for sharing with us!
I am very thankful to God that your tests turned out OK - love you
& want you around for a long time!

Sarita Boyette said...

This must have been an amazing trip! I loved the gardens & the bridge. That's too bad that some of the places on your list were unavailable. I noticed the Diana/Dody memorial in Harrods.
Thank you for sharing with us!
I am very thankful to God that your tests turned out OK - love you
& want you around for a long time!

Garden of Egan said...

Someone on the helicopter famous....totally a win!

Sounds like you were a bit spoiled, room service wine! Good for you.

I want to see pictures of some of the goods that you scored!

Michelle said...

You had a marvelous trip!
I am wore out with all the walking :)

secret agent woman said...

Oh, I LOVED London when I visited. Walked all over the place.

Shell said...

Wow, what a trip!

Cherie said...

Good for you for taking the underground - it is fun but a little scary!

I love the Tower of London - it is soooo interesting. I am glad you made it over there!

blueviolet said...

It's disappointing that you had to encounter so much renovation.

Did you like the Crown Jewels? You didn't say.

Kerri said...

awesome pics! so exciting about the helicopter!

Tonja said...

I can feel your pain. All those steps! O, my goodness. Glad you found your way! What a great adventure!

Joyce said...

Sounds like you did great on your own managing everything. It can all be a little overwhelming but you do feel proud when you figure it all out, don't you?

Kristin - The Goat said...

It's hard sometimes to be traveling alone in a big city - it might be because if you do get lost or turned around, you don't have anyone to blame LOL

It sounds that even though you didn't get to see and do everything you wanted to this day, you still saw and did some pretty great stuff!

No matter how many times I see photos of them, I just love the English Phone booths. I hope to get there someday and see them with my own eyes though!

Kristie said...

You sure saw a lot for 1 day! That's awesome! And you did it on your own...I don't think I could do a big city on my own, let alone a big city in another country. Looks like it was a beautiful day too! :-)

Alexis AKA MOM said...

What a bummer it was under construction :(. Really I'm so impressed with all your amazing photos!

Wowzer all those rides and cost could kill a person!

Ok the colored ppl rock!!

Laura said...

LOVING the pictures but so bummed about all the renovations and stuff and all the craziness with the cabs and $$$!!! I love that you got home in time for room service together though. That sounds like the perfect way to end the day! <3

Kristin - The Goat said...

I's say getting in the side entrance to Kensington Palace was indeed a win. What a disappointment that the Diana Memorial Fountain was closed. After such a long walk, too! I just can't do too many stairs - you were a real trooper to keep going. I totally would have caught a taxi on the way back, too!

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