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Monday, July 15, 2013

Girls Trip to England

I know I was going to post an outrageous story about my first girlfriend's weekend to London, but I must admit it wasn't too 'Girls Gone Wild'. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time, but I broke my first rule: Proper Planning Prevents Future F-ups (also known as the "Pettys Method" after my dear friend, Karl).

We knew we were going to London, but that's where the planning stopped. I told her to let me know what she really wanted to see and do on her trip here and her answer was 'everything'. We couldn't decide what to do first, so in a frenzy of excitement- we ended up just walking and walking and walking. I'm not complaining. I got to see a ton of London that I had never seen before. At one point her 'Fitbit' pedometer started smoking. That may have been the 86 degree temperatures or all the miles we clocked, but all I know for sure is we walked a lot.

We stayed at the fabulous Twickingham Mariott, which is prone to cause arousal if you are into rugby. Here is me at the bronze statue in front of the complex:

Yea, these folks like some rugby. There are rooms in this complex that have a birds eye view of the arena from your hotel room. Our room afforded us a fantastic view of Twickingham and the rooftop terrace over the porte cochere. The room was lovingly paid for with redeemed points from Becky's hubs.  I should have taken a picture of the view, but exhaustion does not begin to explain the level of tired we were when we got to our accommodations that evening.

I would like to take the opportunity to mention that 86 degrees is HOT for London. There was more pasty, white flesh than should be legally permissible. And that was just my legs. The warm weather brought out locals and tourists alike. One of my favorite sports is people watching. The rumor is that fashion trends start in the UK and trickle over to the states. I hate to report that one trend this year is to cut off your jean shorts so short that your cheeks are exposed. Not a big fan of this look. I just don't think you should be allowed in public with your cheeks hanging out- and some of those cheeks were hanging out. I kept humming 'do your ears (cheeks) hang low'. I may be an old fashioned girl, but I believe your shorts should be longer than your fanny...and yes, I mean that fanny. (For you first time readers, here, a 'fanny' is not your bottom. It is not a hands-free, waist-storage pack used by travelers. It is slang for 'girl parts'.)

One cool thing to happen while we were in London was tennis player Andy Murray ended a 77 year wait for England to win the Wimbledon Men's title. The last time a Brit (male) won the trophy was in 1936. We were on the River Cruise. Here is Andy Murray on the jumbo-tron as we sailed past:

If you spot the yellow tent on the right side of the picture, you will see a chap in a white hat and shirt. That would be Andy Murray during the final match. When he scored the final match point, the crowd erupted and so did the whole of England. It was pretty darn cool to be there for such a historical moment in British history, even if he is a Scotsman. They'll take it!

The London Cruise was awesome. The tour guide was funny and pointed out several highlights along the Thames River. Plus there was seating and a constant breeze.

Here is the actual London Bridge. We arrived just in time to see the bridge open up to let a boat pass through. That was neat-o.

We skipped going up in the London Eye. Quite frankly, it was too hot to be crammed into a pod with 40+ people. I am not a big fan of crowds and small spaces freak me out, so we were content to snap a few shots as we cruised by. Here is the London Eye:

Here is me at Ben Ben:

Sunday we had much better luck. We went to the fabulous Camden Markets in North London. That was a sight to behold. Way too many people for my comfort level, most with out the knowledge of deodorant, but I persevered. I bought a fantastic new handbag, so it was worth the stench. We use USD on base and GBP on the economy, so I needed a bag that had easily accessible pockets for both.  I also like the hands-free bonus of a messenger bag style for looking through clothes racks and Bean wrangling.

We walked, much to my poor feet's dismay, to the Tower of London and The Globe before we decided to call it a day and head back to King's Cross station to catch the train back to our little village. However, we stopped and had a few pints which ultimately made our trek back to the tube station much more bearable.

These are the sculpture lions guarding the poor sots who were waiting to be executed following their brief stay at The Tower of London. These were pretty cool. The lions were fashioned out of mesh fence and the detail was astonishing.

I am amazed at all the history London encompasses. I find it baffling that the locals walk around seemingly oblivious to the plethora of history surrounding them. Especially since the good ol' US of A just celebrated her 237th birthday. It is very humbling to sit in a pub that has been serving cask-drawl ale for centuries and walk the same cobblestone streets as kings and queens once trod.

There is so much to see and so much I still haven't seen, that, I hope, when my friend makes her second trip to visit, with the family in tow, that I will be able to guide them around Rick Steves style.

Now I have to go bake brownies for the Bean's teaching staff. This Friday is his last day of school for the term. I am looking forward to having seven weeks off with my little dude. I am sure we will find some mischief to get into. I see some swim lessons and weekend camping trips in my future.

Next post? Cambridge!


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