Monday, September 24, 2012

Europe Trip - London - Days 5 - 7

I believe I left off with our visit to the Changing of the Guard and then back on the bus to Trafalgar Square.  Because the Paralympics were going on, there was a huge TV screen set up with the live action from the games on it, with places to sit and what appeared to be some kind of a carnival.  Although there were signs everywhere stating that it was "free" - there were also guards at the entrances.  It was my opinion that the "free" meant for the families of the athletes or some special guests...but it was seriously difficult to tell.  Mom, being the "free" hound that she is was about to go marching all up in there...and they probably wouldn't have stopped her, but we convinced her to just wait for us outside the museum while I ran Bonnie through the National Gallery at warp speed so she could see paintings by Vincent van Gogh in person as well as some paintings by Georges Seurat as well.  Okay, it took asking two people where to find them and a whole lot of stairs...but we finally found the right room.  (It was the one with a ridiculous number of people in it.)

Don't have a clue what I am talking about?  Here are some of the paintings by Seurat.  The small one was in the London gallery.  He painted by using tons of tiny dots.  The whole concept fascinates me.

Bathers at Asnières Print

Here's "Sunflowers" and "Wheatfield with Cypress" by Van Gogh.  In the middle is "Two Crabs" - a painting that was a little bit of a surprise...and one that I really liked seeing in person.

Two CrabsA Wheatfield, with Cypresses

While I honestly can tell you that I did not like museums as a child...much like I'm not a fan of cantatas as an adult...I started loving art when I realized that my best hope of participating in art was in the area of appreciation.  If you have ever seen any of my creations - which are laughable at best - you'll know that I am quite in awe of people who are gifted in this area.

Here are a few photos from London.  I'll try to narrate beneath them and see what comes to mind...

This is the Tower Bridge...the one that had the Olympic rings on it but had the ones from the Paralympics on it while we were there.

A great view of Parliament and Big Ben (the Elizabeth Tower) from the London Eye.

My beautiful Mom in front of Westminster Abbey.  This was the easiest thing we did in London.  Got on a bus in front of the hotel and hopped off a block from the Abbey.  Rock on.

Riding in the top of the London buses.  I think that this was before the mad dash to the restroom that we made at one point in time after realizing that we were going into the business section of London and it would be awhile before we got back around to civilization.  I thought that Waterloo was an appropriate place for us to go.  Literally.

Bonnie with one of the Horseguards.  She had a fascination with all things "horse" while we were there since her daughter is such a fan.

This is me riding along with my "I don't care hair."  Because hair looked pretty awful the entire time I was overseas in spite of decent weather.  I'm sure that riding on the top of buses all day didn't help matters.  That and no hair straightener.

Westminster Abbey.  It was really awesome going through without whining children, rain, or sub-zero temperatures (trip of 2006).  Lovely.

Bonnie and me on the London Eye.  I'd like to say that my face is fat from steroids...but it's 100% natural.  Dang it.

Better.  Sort of.  Still London Eye.  Taken by a nice passenger with us.  Of course, I took it upon myself to photograph everyone in the pod as well because that's how I roll.  This sticking the camera out and taking a shot on the cell phone makes me nuts.  I mean...come on.

Two of the beds in our three bed room at the Luna Simone Hotel.  Seriously, if you want a great place to stay in London.  This is it.

You have to know my mother to know that this is typical.  However, you should also know that this photo was taken in the ladies' room at The Ritz.  I kid you not.

Our tea...see those biscuit looking things?  Apparently, those are "proper scones."  To me, they looked and tasted like canned Pillsbury biscuits.  Which totally did not rock.

Here we are being photographed by the waiter.  The lady across from us was showing serious cleavage and was acting like Ellie Mae Clampett at the tea.  Her daughter, who was very attractive and dressed appropriately (meaning...covered up), appeared to be somewhat mortified.

Bonnie at the tea.

Another photo of the bathroom at the Ritz...because I mean...when are you going to take photos in a restroom?  Except, of course, the year that I took my kids into the ladies' lounge at the church for our Christmas card picture because the furniture in there was nicer than what we had at home.  True story.

Had to photograph this because this was the station by the Ritz.  See all of those numbers and letters?  Well, let's just say that you had to have a decoder ring to figure out what bus you were on.  This was also a reminder of the station where we nearly lost Bonnie.  We hopped on the Tube one time in London...we were to go one stop and get off for our tea.  Well, Bonnie got on and was two steps ahead of us.  Needless to say, the doors shut before we could get on.  I was yelling, "Get off at the next stop!" while holding up on finger.  After a very nervous three minute ride...she was waiting for us at the next stop.  We didn't ride the Tube anymore after that.

Yeah, more of the Ritz.  Excuse me THE Ritz.  Gee.

A photo of Mom and me outside Harrod's.  It was apparently "Burka Night" when we were there.

Just another shot of the building.  Just imagine everything on earth that could possibly ever be for sale in a store...and it was at Harrod's.

This was a lovely cocktail called Pimm's Cup  The recipe can be found here: .  It was a lovely concoction with fresh fruit, cucumbers, mint leaves, something alcoholic (Pimms, maybe?) and ginger ale.  I highly recommend it.  We had it in a pub on a Friday night with Mom's friend, Jill, and her sweet husband.

And here they are.  Jill was an intern with my folks one summer in Highlands, NC when they were operating the newspaper up there.  Other than the fact that she is a Democrat...she was perfectly lovely.  (Kidding!  My entire family of origin votes Democrat.  No, I'm not adopted.)  They were wonderful hosts and we had a terrific time with them.

The next morning, we left for Paris.  More on that to come...


  1. Really loving reading about your adventure!

  2. Thanks, Molly! I have one more post to was a wonderful trip! :)