Friday, September 25, 2009

Trip to England - Part 1

Well, it looks like I'll (Lily) be responsible for blogging about the trip Mom and I took to England. Before I start, a little word about the picture quality- Mom and I make no pretentions to being good photographers and we felt the absence of our family expert (Dad) and someone who knew how to use all the settings (Dad or Gretel). Maybe next time we should have a lesson before we leave the country... ;-)

We left O'Hare airport on Thurs. evening and were able to get a direct flight to Heathrow. We flew with British Airways and wow! we really like them! :-) If you haven't flown before, don't use British Airways for your first flight. You'll be spoiled for everything else! We didn't sleep on the flight (as anticipated), but we got safely into Heathrow, got our bags, and breezed through Customs. Our flight arrived 1 hour before the rest of the group, so we got a nice caffeinated latte while we waited. :-) We met up with a few of the ladies who had come earlier and got to chat with them. When the rest of the group arrived, we left on our coach (not bus!) tour of London with our friendly and very informable guide Nigel.

This picture was taken as we were heading into London. There were so many quaint houses on the way in. And yes, I realize that there is a giant arrow in the middle, but you get the idea!

Our first stop was the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall.

Then Buckingham Palace.

And then St. Paul's Cathedral.

By the end of the 2 hour tour, several of us were beginning to drag, but thankfully Mom and I felt fine. So after checking in to the hotel and getting a quick bite of lunch, we headed out to the Tower of London.

The Tower of London is actually a conglomeration of over 20 towers! We started out on a Yeoman Warder (or Beefeater) tour which took us around the premises and gave and overview of it's history.

Just inside the second gate, there is this charming half-timbered building.

After the tour, we went to see the Crown Jewels (housed in the building below). While they were very big and shiny, Mom and I found them kind of lacking in prettiness... One hates to turn up one's nose at huge jewels encrusting crowns, etc., but some seemed to be lacking in good taste. And while watching the video of Elizabeth II's coronation, I couldn't help but notice that her coronation robe looked very stiff and unbecoming, and even kind of ugly. Well, it's the same in real life! Oh well, I guess I'll never have to wear it, anyway! ;-)

Here is St. Thomas' Tower. It was an architectural marvel of its time because it has no keystone. Oh, and Traitor's Gate is underneath, but I guess we didn't get a picture of that. Too interested in the keystone-less bridge instead! Above it is the Medieval Palace, which is furnished as it would have been.

And there's Tower Bridge!

The White Tower. The centrally located tower, and home for the medieval kings.

After that, we went back to our hotel, found a nearby grocery store and found some bread and cheese for dinner. (our favorite English dinner!) It's a good thing that Hyacinth Gibson wasn't traveling with us! :-)


  1. Cool pics! They're all very interesting. I'd love to see any of the sites that you and your mother got to see, but the Tower Bridge is particularly to my liking. And, yes, I am jealous.

    I assume that your Hyacinth Gibson reference is connected to "Wives and Daughters." I've not actually read this book. If your cheese comment is indeed from the Gaskell book, could you or somebody from your family explain it to me. Yes, I know that the Riggenbach ladies probably view me as a barbarian slob for having to ask. ;-)

  2. I will not envy, I will not envy, I WILL NOT envy...

    The Tower of London looks SOOO neat!! Can't wait for parts 2, 3, 4, 5... more? (at least enough to make up for all the weeks of C.I.T.B.Y. - all due respect to Mr. R). *winks*

    LOL that is so funny when I read "bread and cheese" I immediately thought of Wives & Daughters! :-)

  3. Thanks for sharing your tour with us, I was wondering if someone would since the main "bloggers" on the trip were left behind! I look forward to the next part of our journey. :)

  4. My favorite things in those photos: the tiny paned leaded windows on some of those buildings- and Lily's hat!

    Thanks so much for sharing the photos with us. I lived in England as a young child, although I really don't remember any of the particulars. I'd love to have a chance to visit again sometime.

  5. What beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.



  6. Jeremy,

    Wow! You definitely get points for guessing that was from Wives and Daughters! When Mrs. Gibson finds out that her husband-to-be prefers quick dinners, usually of bread and cheese, she is shocked and says she finds cheese "vulgar". Of course, it is more amusing in the movie....


  7. >>>Wow! You definitely get points for guessing that was from Wives and Daughters!<<<

    Sadly, Google had much to do with my "guessing" that your Hyacinth Gibson reference was from Wives and Daughters. The name Hyacinth Gibson was familiar to me as a literary character, but I would not have known the book without Google. I'm guessing that I picked up the name Hyacinth Gibson from a college-level English course at some point, but I can't put my finger on which one.

    Do I get points for honesty? ;-) If not, how 'bout if I actually paint my toenails as I joked about doing in response to Part 3 of your trip?

  8. Jeremy,

    You definitely get points for honesty, and maybe even a few thrown in for Google expertise... ;-)