More Flashbacks: London with my parents

August 28th, 2010 by carolyn

We have also been lucky to have my parents visit several times during our time in London.  But it seems we never got a chance to properly document all these trips.  So here are a few flashbacks to the adventures we have had on their visits.

My mom first came over in April 2008 and we had a girls weekend in London.  Shopping at Harrods, Liberty and street markets, enjoying high tea at Browns and the Kensington Orangery, taking in a show at the Victoria Palace and partaking in some culture at the V&A and the Royal Academy of the Arts.

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browns.jpg  orangery.jpg
Both my parents next visited in February/March 2009 for a ski trip in Zermatt, previously mentioned here, and some more time in London.  This time around we experienced the amazing train journey the Glacier Express in Switzerland (well until a mini-avalanche cut the journey a bit short).


This trip was when we finally made it to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London with my parents.  We also explored some new places including the re-opened Monument and the London Eye, saw an Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, enjoyed a few pubs and visited Dina and Adrian in Brighton.  My mom and dad also kept themselves busy without us visiting other friends, museums and taking long walks on the Thames.
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My parents returned to London with a side trip to Scotland in October 2009.  We weren’t able to join them in Scotland but we kept pretty busy in London taking a narrow boat ride on regent’s canal, visiting Winchester Cathedral, taking a Halloween walk in Hampstead and visiting Somerset House.  And as usual we fit in some good pubs, food and tea.

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halloween.jpg  routemaster.jpg
The last time my parents were here was at Christmas time last year when we met up in Madrid, Spain to celebrate.  It was great fun to go back to the city again and remember my semester studying there in 1998.  That trip was previously documented on the blog here and here =).  We didn’t mention the fact that we took a day trip to Avila, a beautiful walled city, and to Segovia, which was where I had my orientation for my semester in Madrid, while we were in Spain.  It was great to go back with Matt and my parents and see the city decorated for Christmas.

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Most of these photos are courtesy of my dad so he is strangely missing from the recap.  I promise he was there.  Thanks for joining us on some great adventures!

Flashback to more London Exploring

August 21st, 2010 by carolyn

Back in June, Marsha and Judy came to London on a 2 week tour of the UK and Paris.  We were excited to see them and to have an excuse to show them around London and do some more exploring ourselves.  We didn’t take nearly enough photos during their visit so maybe they can share some of theirs to add to this post.  Each time we have had visitors in London we have eagerly asked them “Would you like to visit the Tower of London?” thinking we should save visiting the Tower until we had visitors to share it with.  And each time our visitors said “Nah, that’s okay.”  So we were thrilled when Marsha and Judy said yes.  So we finally had a chance to visit the Tower during the day (see previous entry re: the nighttime Key Ceremony) and see the Crown Jewels which are suitably impressive.

We also took the chance to finally visit St. Paul’s Cathedral and visit the crypt and climb the steps to the dome to enjoy the views of the city.
We spent an afternoon wandering Borough Market enjoying the sights and smells.  Judy and I particularly enjoyed the mushroom pate.  If you haven’t tried – go now!  We snapped some photos of bacon.


We spent sometime at old favourites like the British Museum, Vietnamese restaurants in Shoreditch, enjoying prawns on toast at the Nobody Inn and sampling pub food around London.  I didn’t manage to get any photos of these spots.

While the weather was mostly grey and cool during Judy and Marsha’s visit, we did get one day where the sun tried to poke out and we took advantage by heading over to Primrose hill to enjoy the view, try out a new pub – The Princess of Wales – and wander through the rose garden in Regent’s Park.  Marsha has all the photos but we hit the garden in prime rose blooming season.  It was beautiful!

Exploring London

August 9th, 2010 by carolyn

So I have officially hit “tick that off the list” mode which essentially means that I am trying to take advantage of as much as I can in London before our upcoming move back to the US.  I am trying not to be too obsessed with it but on the other hand there is still so much to see.  I would be impossible to see everything London has to offer even if you lived here your whole life but I am doing my best with the time I have.  Here is a little round-up of some of the spots I/we have been over the past few weeks.

I think one of the best ways to explore London is by foot.  One of Matt’s friends gave him a great gift when he moved to London – City Walks 50 Adventures on Foot.  Basically it contains 50 cards with different neighborhood walks around London and at this point we figure we have done all but about 3 or 4 of them.  Recently we covered a few more cards when we visited a former colleague of mine in Chiswick, walked around Chelsea, and did a pseudo-pub crawl around Clapham Common.

In Chelsea, we visited the Physic Garden founded in 1673 as a training garden for apothecaries.
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Next we walked through the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home for British soldiers /pensioners and spotted one of the remaining elephants from the London Parade of Elephants.
rch.JPG  elephant.jpg
In Clapham, we visited the Common (Note what the amazing sunny, rain free summer we have been having has done to the grass!) and some pubs.

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My second favorite way of walking around London is taking a guided tour with London Walks.  We have taken quite a few walks in Greenwich, Hampstead, Canterbury and East London.  After work last week I decided to join a tour around Westminster because I haven’t really spent much time in that area.  We got the general history of the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) and Westminster Abbey and also got to wander the streets in the neighborhood.  The most interesting part of the tour was seeing these signs for WWII bomb shelters on a very posh intact street just behind the Abbey.

This past weekend, I visited another London Park – Gunnersbuy Park in Acton Town to join in the London Mela Festival, an annual South Asian festival featuring music, food and fun fair rides.  Sorry no photos.
I have also been trying to fit in a few of the smaller museums around London. We thoroughly enjoyed the Wellcome Trust, a personal collection of medical oddities, and the Wallace Collection, a personal collection of master artwork in an amazing home full of furniture from the time of the French Revolution.  The Dickens Museum was worth a stop to see the place where Oliver Twist was written.  We also returned to one of my favorite London spots, the British Library, to see an amazing exhibition of maps from all over the world and all through history.  Here is a photo of the outside of the British Library where you can find the original manuscript of Alice in Wonderland, the Magna Carta and supposed notes written in Shakespeare’s own hand among other original works.


I’ve got a few more weeks and plan to continue exploring this amazing city.  If anyone has any suggestions or wants to join me let me know!