This was my first trip outside the US with the exception of Canada, and Canada hardly counts. Needless to say, I was excited to go!
Once we arrived at Heathrow airport, Jeremy picked us up and we spent the first few days visiting Andrea and Jeremy in Windsor. They live in a little cottage that is so old it doesn't have a number, but is referred by its name instead. Their postal address is Ilex Cottage followed by the road and the town.
Andrea took us to see Windsor castle and high street (downtown) Windsor.
The Queen's garden used to be a moat in medieval times. Now it is filled with flowers.
It is a HUGE structure. We toured the inside as well, but unfortunately weren't permitted to take pictures. Inside we saw the banquet halls, reception rooms, more intimate receiving rooms where distinguished guest are entertained, galleries, armories, knighthood halls, and on and on. Each room had so much history. Here Napoleon and his wife stayed, there a treaty was signed, another gallery was devoted entirely to royal artwork from hundreds of years ago to Prince Charles's paintings. The Queen's massive doll"castle" and toys were also on display. The replica castle had working lights, plumbing, real miniature books and paintings. Gwedolyn was at preschool during our trip, but Andrea said that in the past Gwendolyn has become very frustrated that she can't play with the dollhouse and toys. I can understand why!
After staying with Andrea, Jeremy and little Gwendolyn for a few days, we hopped over to London to see the sites. The aerial shots are taken from the London Eye.
Double deckers! No we didn't use the bus system but I had to get a picture of London's iconic buses. We traveled solely by underground.
This is a map of the underground:
In contrast, this is Austin's train service:
Here I am with a Beefeater. They provide a colorful tour and are more than happy to answer questions. We really enjoyed the stories and history during the walking tour. Definitely recommend.
Gwendolyn has been to Cadbury before and knew the drill. She was looking for the chocolate before we'd even reached the building.
The National Gallery is free and open to the public. However we decided to purchase headsets to listen to more information on the paintings. We spent several hours pursing the artwork and I only saw a portion of it.
After the gallery, I met Andrea for high tea for two. She'd purchase it earlier as a birthday present. Thanks Andrea! We had miniature finger sandwiches, camomile and peppermint herbal tea, pastries, and sweet breads all elegantly served. I'm all in favor of importing the concept of afternoon tea. On the other hand, I am not in favor of adapting the English concept of breakfast. Their idea of bacon is sliced Canadian ham and a full English breakfast includes a hearty helping of pinto beans. ???