The Tower of London, Visiting with Jo, and The Mouse Trap

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Yesterday was quite a busy day for us. We woke up early and made our way to the Tower of London via the Tower Bridge. Chris was quite impressed with the bridge although was surprised that parts of it were painted powder blue. We had a beautiful morning for our walk and touring of the tower. I’d purchased tickets online so we picked those up and headed straight for the Crown Jewels as I’d read that exhibit would get quite crowded as the day went on. We faced no line whatsoever. The exhibits were extremely well done. We couldn’t take any pictures but here’s one from Google:


As an American, it was a different experience since we don’t really have royalty in the states. Watching the queen’s coronation, both Chris and I thought it was a lot of pomp and circumstance. Very honorable and historic for sure, but a lot of what is historic is not relevant to the world we live in today. I was also struck by how unhappy she looked during the coronation. The jewels themselves were stunning. Absolutely true works of art. Maybe the queen looked unhappy because she was nervous to have to hold, handle, and wear such expensive and important pieces of history.

After the jewels, we went to the armory. Chris and I love to look at weaponry of all kinds. Again, as a former museum worker, I was struck by how well done the exhibit was. There were hands on activities were you could touch certain weapons and audio would tell you how they were used and the impact they would have on your foe. One of the highlights of the exhibit was this guy made from weaponry and shields:

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After the jewels and the armory, we were historied out. We decided to head to Oxford Street to do some souvenir shopping. We then experienced some typical English weather. Since I was wearing jeans, I ended up soaked to my knees! Once we found the Primark, the shopping was good and well priced. We scurried out of there though in order to meet up with my friend and former flat mate Jo, and her daughter Grace and Faith. We had a wonderful time catching up. The girls were so sweet and well behaved. A highlight of this trip has been seeing my friends. It’s like no time has passed. A real treat!

After our visit, we headed back to the flat to rest up and get ready for our show that evening. I had prepurchased tickets to see the worlds longest running play, The Mouse Trap by Agatha Christie. It plays in the St. Martin’s Theater. The theater itself will be 100 years old in 2016 and is still owned and operated by the original family that opened it. Impressive!

Chris and I loved the who dunnit play! My grandmother talked and talked about seeing this play years and years ago. I’m so glad I finally got the chance to see it. Oh, I wish she were still here so I could talk to her about it. Chris said he felt like he was in another time when we stepped out of the theater and saw all of the Black Cabs lined up to whisk the theater goers back to their lodgings.

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Today, we are in Edinburough. We haven’t done much as of yet because we had the 4 hour train ride from hell. I will write more on today’s adventures in the next post.

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Stonehenge, Harrods, and an Amazing Meal

Last night we took the train to Salisbury so we could wake up and make our 7:30am date with Stonehenge. Before we set out, we had time to see the London Eye, Big Ben, and parliment.

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The train ride was about an hour and forty five minutes and we arrived in Salisbury at 9:45pm. Chris was unimpressed with his first hostel experience. We had bunk beds and the room was stiflingly hot. It met my criteria in that it was cheap and clean!

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The inner circle tour was a truly surreal experience. Standing next to those huge stones and knowing people moved them 5,000 years ago with none of the tools we have today was mind boggling. If someone came up to me and said, “Hey, let’s go move these heavy ass stones miles and miles.” I’d probably have them committed. From the photos, you can see that the weather took a turn for the worse, but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. We both really enjoyed our time among the stones.

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After Stonehenge, we went to the cathedral in Salisbury. It was breathtaking in its beauty. It has the highest spire in the country and the oldest working medical clock, which is operated by some type of weight and pully system and looks nothing like a clock!

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Also, this happened… in the cathedral:


Chris had bought a bottle of mead at Stonehnge. He committed holy alcohol abuse when he dropped it on the stone floor. The man he got to clean it up was so nice. We were absolutely mortified. There’s nothing like the smell of alcohol in church.

After the cathedral, we made our way back to London on the train. We went to Harrods. It was a zoo! We wandered around for about an hour and a half and then headed back to the flat. We were exhausted! After an epic nap, we walked to a place very near the flat for dinner. Hands down our best meal yet. Chris had the lamb, to die for, and I had the chicken which was equally as impressive.

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Tomorrw we’ll visit the Tower of London. We can’t wait to see the Crown Jewels!

Goodnight from London!!





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Borough Market & Visiting with dear Friends

Well, we arrived successfully yesterday. We got into Heathrow about 10 minutes later than expected, made it through customs in about an hour, bought our Oyster Cards for the tube, road to the London Bridge station, and then walked the 10 minutes to our flat.

Our flat is amazing! See  for yourself:


We have a tremendous view. We can actually see the tip top of the London Eye! We are so pleased with the location of the flat. It’s convenient to everything. Our greeter from the rental company had gotten us flowers and chocolates to help celebrate our anniversary. That was such a sweet touch.

Once we got settled and freshened up, we went to explore Borough Market.


It reminded us a lot of Pike’s Place in Seattle. We bought some super tasty cheese made in Bath. It was a lot like Gouda and paired nicely with the bread and fruit we picked up.

This morning we woke up and made breakfast with some market fresh eggs and the Gouda-like cheese mentioned above. We wrote some post cards and then ventured out to do some grocery shopping at Marks & Spencer before Teri and Alice arrived. We had the most lovely visit with Teri, Alice, and little Albie. At only 5 weeks, he is already beyond charming with his little smiles and sweet disposition. It felt so good to see them after 11 years and I loved catching up. We will definitely visit again before another 10 years passes!

Shortly, we will leave for Waterloo station to catch a train to Salisbury. In the morning we’ll be off to see Stonehenge!

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IAD to JFK to LHR!!!


Today is the day! Chris and I have been planning and saving for this trip for well over a year. By this time tomorrow, we will be making our way through the streets of London to find the flat we’ve rented for 5 days.

We finished up our packing efforts last night. Both bags weigh in around 25lbs a piece. Not too shabby if you ask me! Chris and I worked really hard to make sure all of our clothing can be worn interchangeably, and we are carrying a drastically reduced shoe collection. The whole minimal shoe thing is hard on a girl! I console myself though because there are fabulous shoes to be found in London, and I definitely see some shopping in my future.

Leclair has graciously agreed to drive us down to the airport. People give us a hard time about being our age and having a roommate, but it sure is handy at times. We take him to the airport, and do little favors here and there, and he does the same for us. It might be a weird little family unit, but I love it and wouldn’t trade it. When we return from the trip, we’ve arranged to have dinner with Paul and Angela. Yay! They’ve also graciously offered to pick us up from the airport, which will make life just a little bit easier. We’ll leave the Altima at Chris’ work, which is close to a metro station, so getting home will be relatively convenient.

Anxiety is finally giving way to rampant excitement. I’m going to have to rely heavily on my BFF Ambien to get to sleep on that plane tonight I think. Chris on the other hand will probably be out about 3 seconds after his butt hits his seat cushion. As long as I’m with him, that man can sleep anywhere, and through anything. It is a very enviable skill.

Well, I’m signing off for now. I’m excited to get to the flat and get settled in. Hopefully all goes to plan and I’ll have a great post about our first day in the UK for you tomorrow.

Happy Travels!


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Let the freak out commence.

Freak Out Cat

Anyone that knows me, knows I am an anal retentive, Type A, planner. Well, that part of me has completely taken over my brain, along with the worrying and anxiety that comes along with it. I had to start making a list at work because I thought steam was going to come out of my ears thinking about all of the last minute things I still need to do. The husband for his part, thinks he only needs to pack and then we’re all ready. Riiiiiiiiight. I’m glad he has tomorrow off to take care of any truly last minute issues.

I completely packed my bag last night except for my make-up and hair straightener. I’m proud to say that it weighed in at 25lbs! That is a huge accomplishment. All of my clothes fit in a large packing cube. I tell you, if you don’t use packing cubes, you should start. Now. They are great! They keep all of your crap neatly organized and it makes unpacking a cinch. I am definitely a convert. You can pick them up at Marshalls for next to nothing most of the time. Chris has to put all of his stuff into packing cubes and then pack them into his bag tonight. I hope his bag weighs about the same as mine, but we’ll see.

I think from this point forward, I’m going to feel anxious until we’re at the airport and safely to our gate. That’s generally the way it rolls for me. Still, I am really excited! I can’t believe we’re going to wake up on Saturday morning and be in London! All of the planning that’s gone into this, and I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that it’s finally time for it to happen.

Roll on vacation, roll on!!

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Our Upcoming Trip

England and Scotland here we come! Today is Wednesday and I am at work, supposed to be working. However, I think the meme I’ve chosen for this post’s photo is perfect.

Productivity eCard

My productivity is at an all-time low because I have the worst vacation fever of my life! I can’t really concentrate on anything else. I’m sure at some point today, I’ll get it together and knock out what needs done before I leave for two weeks, but right now, it seems like the impossible challenge.

Chris and I leave on Friday. We’re flying out of Dulles to JFK to Heatherow. We’ll arrive in London on Saturday morning around 11am. We’ve been planning this trip for well over a year. It’s in celebration of our 10 year wedding anniversary and a very, very belated honeymoon.

When we land in London, there will be no collecting of bags as we are firm followers of the Rick Steves “Travel Light” movement. For two weeks, we’ll only be taking carry-on bags. When I studied abroad in college, I learned the importance of packing only what you could reasonably carry, and by reasonably carry, I mean what you can full out sprint with in order to catch a moving train! Europe is notorious for their cobble stone streets, lack of lifts (aka elevators), uneven floors, etc… To counteract my klutziness, and to make life easier in general, we’ve purchased the Rick Steves Convertible Carry-On bag. This is the best luggage I’ve ever had. I am rough on bags and this one has taken a beating. It doesn’t have so much as a sticky zipper!

Tonight, we’ll be finishing up the packing. At some point, I may post pictures of my wardrobe. I’m quite proud of it. It’s hard for a woman to pack for two weeks in only a carry-on! Wish me luck, as I’m definitely going to need it.

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“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
Who soar to high heights.”

~ Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

This Dr. Seuss story has always resonated with me. As one of my mom’s friends so eloquently put it once, “That girl has gas in her ass!” which not taken literally means, I have travel fever and don’t stay in one place for very long. Lucky for me, I married a man that not only supports my wanderlust, he’s got a bit of his own. Together Chris and I have lived in GA, WA, WV, and MD. We’ve crisscrossed the US twice (northern and southern routes), have cruised to Jamaica and Mexico, adventured all over Washington state, including one memorable trip up Mt. Saint Helens (not for the faint of heart), and just generally tried to experience as much as we could, of whatever given place we were in. I’m starting this blog, although it will be for the both of us, to document our upcoming trip to Europe. I hope you’ll join the adventure!

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