Thursday, October 4, 2012

European Adventure Part 1: England

I am sad to say that my time in Europe is swiftly coming to a close. I have now more than doubled the number of countries I have visited (the tally is up to 5). To prevent information overload, I will break up my pre-Tanzania time by location. First up, England! 

We arrived around 9 am Thursday morning. I went through customs for the first time in my life and felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I walked away with my first stamp in my passport. Our time in England was pretty booked. We located the Underground and made our way to our hotel, me carting two suitcases behind me (filled with 14 pounds of baking soda, Ghirardelli chocolate chips, and various other goods for my siblings). We then immediately went to Westminster Abbey, which was incredible. There was so much to see there, and we were so tired, that I'm afraid most of that experience is a blur. I remember a lot of tombs and shrines, some very old and some very regal. The architecture was breath-taking and detailed to the point that I couldn't even take it all in.

This was our hotel room the first night. I am literally squeezed into the far corner of the room. The door is "the tiny loo."

Westminster Abbey

As wonderful as Westminster was, we barely made it through before the jet lag started to take its toll. We went back to the hotel for a couple of hours to nap before heading off to the Her Majesty's Theater to see Phantom of the Opera. It was a very good production, and I really enjoyed it, but was struggling to stay awake near the end. We managed to stumble our way back to our hotel and crashed...until about 4 in the morning when I woke up and laid in bed for an hour and a half, wide awake. We still managed to get up and out before nine the next morning. We had a train to catch to the Harry Potter Studios. The tour of the studios was really fun. I definitely enjoyed the books and the movies, but my friend Arianne is a big fan. Now it was her turn to be a kid on Christmas morning. 

Hogwarts- they used this model for shots of the castle in the movies.

After the tour we took a train out to Coventry to visit my brother, John, and his family. We happened to arrive on his birthday, so we helped him celebrate by eating a delicious chocolate cake. My friends had tickets to tour Buckingham Palace the next day, so they only spent the night in Coventry. I stayed behind to spend the day with my family. I went with Dakin and the kids to Kenilworth Castle and then to Abbey Fields. Kenilworth was really a beautiful little town, comprised of castle ruins, old brick building, and thatch-roofed cottages. After Kenilworth, we picked up John and went to Charlecote Park, an old manor house near Stratford that backed on the River Avon. We then made a quick trip over to Stratford-upon-Avon, where I snapped a few quick pictures of Shakespeare's birthplace, ate some fish and chips, and then rushed back to Coventry to catch my bus to London.

Elizabeth, me, Zach, and Luke at Kenilworth Castle.
Abbey Park
Zach, Me, Luke, Rebecca, Dakin, and Elizabeth outside of Charelcote Park.
The next morning we only had a few hours left in London, so we took the Underground over to Harrods, which was unfortunately closed. So we walked up to Hyde Park, walked around, did some classic tourist shopping on Camden High Street, and then caught the chunnel at King's Cross, and were on our way to Paris!! 

The canal behind our hotel in Camden Locks.
We were sad to leave England. There was so much we wanted to see and tried to get it as much in as we could. It was so fun to spend time with my brother and his family, and I wish I had more time to spend with them exploring the area where they live. I loved the English countryside, and wanted to see so much more of it. I guess that just means I will have to come back someday....


Dakin said...

Yes Katy, Please come back soon and we'll explore the English countryside--Jane Austin style! xo-Dakin

Stoves said...

I love England! I'm glad you got to see one of my favorite places and were able to visit John and Dakin and the kiddies.
Thanks for the post.