Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"London Calling"

Friday, July 27, 2012

Nearly 6 1/2 years ago at this time Chris and I had just got married and were on our way to London England for our honeymoon. I had always dreamed about where I would go on my honeymoon but I never imagined it would be somewhere as extravagant as London. I remember before Chris and I got married we would talk about where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do once we got to London. It was so much fun to sit there and plan it out together. We went to Barnes & Noble and got maps and books and all kinds of travel accessories to help us make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Once our wedding day was over it was time for us to leave our honeymoon and it started with a very long plane ride across the Atlantic Ocean. I had flown several times before but never a transatlantic flight so this very special. Once we arrived in London we made our way to the thistle Victoria hotel where we would be staying for the remainder of our time in London. Neither of us had been overseas so this was a real culture shock to us as we approached the busy streets of London. First thing that blew my mind was DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. This was so weird and cool at the same time!

Once we arrived at our hotel we learned that in Europe they did not have one bed... but two separate beds within the actual hotel room. I remember opening the door to our room and saying "what? Are you kidding? I'm on my honeymoon!" I immediately got on the elevator, went down to the front desk and demanded one bed since it was my honeymoon. The kind British lady laughed at me and said "sorry, no can-do ma'am". After a few tears were shed by me, we made our way back up to the hotel room and dealt with the two separate beds by pushing them together. That room was a sight for sore eyes!

We did all kinds of sightseeing while we were in London including Buckingham palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, the London Eye and St. Paul's Cathedral. We really got into the culture by eating "Fish and chips" and other fine dining that you can only find in London. Of course we also had the usual vacation standbys of McDonald's, Subway and Pizza Hut as well; just with a little British flair! It was all very interesting and unforgettable at the same time.

Chris and I outside of Buckingham Palace

I remember standing in front of Buckingham Palace watching the guards not make a single move. We would go up and try to get them to talk to us or move and I swear they didn't even blink. We watched and listened to the guardsmen play in the band. We were there for a changing of the guard ceremony which was a once-in-a-lifetime moment that i will NEVER forget! In fact we were there on a day when the Brazilian state minister was arriving for a visit so it was extra crowded and packed with extra security personnel. But it was really neat to watch someone arrive at the Palace and see their dramatic entrance. It is something I will never forget!

Outside of Parliament

Prior to this trip I had traveled to Washington D.C. and had been in the House of Representatives during a session and had heard their discussions but nothing would have prepared me for the site we saw within the British Parliament. Wow... this was CRAZY! They were sitting in high fashion chairs with chaises and velvet which looked very prestigious yet they were arguing and yelling at each other! This too was very unusual to us and something we will never forget!

Chris and I outside of The Westminster Abbey
Perhaps the BEST VACATION photo of MY LIFE!

Westminster Abbey was the most amazing place I think I have EVER been in my life. It was so  big and glorious. I remember we were even able to listen to a choir singing during a church service. We were able to see the graves and tombstones of Sir Isaac Newton, Joseph Haydn and many other famous people in history as well as royalties. This was a little unsettling at first but within a few minutes I was awe-strucken. "Hands down the Best Abbey I've ever seen" as Joey Tribiani said in Friends. We liked the Westminster Abbey so much we named our first dog "Abbey" after it.

Chris and I on the inside of the "London Eye"

We also were able to take a ride on the "London Eye" which is the large Farris wheel that you see in London. This is the largest Ferris wheel by far that I've ever rode in my life and it took 30 minutes to complete one cycle. It didn't even stop for you to get on, it just moved at a continuous slow-pace and you had to get on without tripping or falling. Each of the carriers held up to 50 people although on that day there were only about 10. This is a luxury for Chris and I since we could move around the carrier and get different views of the city and take different pictures from within the "London Eye". I'm sure most of you have seen recently with the Olympics and all pictures on the news of London, It is a beautiful city.
St. Paul's Cathedral in the background

In front of Big Ben and Parliament

Tower Bridge

We were also able to go to St. Paul's Cathedral, the Shakespeare Globe theater, as well as Oxford University just outside of London. Each of these attractions were very neat and special, especially Oxford because we were able to see such a prestigious university and the life that it students live. We were able to go to the library and bookstore at Oxford and purchased some books just to say that we have some books from Oxford which was neat. We were also able to wonder the streets within Oxford University and see all of the vendors that were selling things. I got a pashmeana and some really fancy earrings and we both got an Oxford University T-shirt as well as mugs, magnets and other items to remember this awesome trip.

In fact we like Oxford University so much that we got our second beagle in October 2008 we decided to name him what else...but Oxford! Again Chris and I are absolutely fascinated with and love London! Clearly huh...since we named both of our dogs after that one trip. We have also invested in some fancy artwork that displays the many attractions in London that we were able to visit and we decorated an entire room in our house in Shawnee as a "London room". Hopefully when we find a house here in Conroe we'll be able to do the same thing!

On our flight home we flew out of Heathrow airport which was an amazing and humorous event. Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the world and having been there I can guarantee this fact. I have flown many times inventing many airports throughout United States but this was an experience I'll never forget. When we first got there was a line just to get into the terminal. We were ahead of schedule by three or four hours but when we looked at the line was probably 500 people deep. Chris knew how busy it was going to be and then said "we've got to get in this line NOW". We stepped in the line right there. British person said "hey man, the que is back there". Chris immediately responded by saying "no hablo engles"! I laughed a little bit under my breath but the British people behind us were very mad. Nevertheless we made it through the line to get to the terminal on time. However at this point we still didn't even know which gate our flight was going to depart from. In fact we didn't find out which gate we were departing from until 20 minutes before boarding! As soon as they call that our flight number and gate number Chris and I hightailed it all the way down to the terminal to the very last gate. It was only about four minutes to spare. It was insane and something I will never forget.

There were many other attractions that we were able to see such as Kensington Palace, are Taddington Sq., Piccadilly Circus and many more. It was an amazing trip that I will never ever forget and I'm so grateful to Chris for allowing me to be able to have such an amazing honeymoon. As we left London in March 2006 we told each other that we would be back in the summer of 2012 for the Olympics. Going to the Olympics is something both of us have always wanted to do and we loved London so much that we told each other no matter what we'll be back there in The summer of 2012. Well God herd us and he had different plans. As I sit here and watch the opening ceremony I get a little sad and yet overrun with pure joy at the same time. As much as I would like to be there right now, i can't help but look at the beautiful gift God has given me instead. I would rather have my precious Luke anyway over a crowded trip to London.

My honeymoon was a trip I will never forget and I am forever grateful to my husband and best friend Chris for taking me there. We WILL be back someday but not this summer!!!

God is good... ALL the time!!

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