Monday, June 30, 2008

Planes, Trains, Automobiles (and bikes), oh my!

Hello, to all our faithful bloggers!

We are alive, and fresh off a ninety mile bike ride in 72 hours. To most that might not seem like a lot, but throw in numerous steep hills and a whole lot of pub stops and it sure is! We are off to Dublin right now, but will blog soon about our Wimbeldon, Cotswold and other various adventures soon!


Nan and Laura

Friday, June 27, 2008

London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down....

Laura and Nan at Trafalgar Square

Nan using the cool soap, water, and hand dryer machine!

Big Ben and the House of Parliament

Coonie Corn in Front of a Coonie Corn

The London Bridge

Hello, All! Well, here we are on our last full day in London. It has been a whirlwind of a trip so far, and we have 'quite' enjoyed ourselves. Thank you for reading our blog! Let's see....where did we leave off?

Yesterday was a pretty full day for both of us. So much so, that by 8 o'clock, we 'sat down for a second' and didn't wake up until 7 this morning! We started our morning off with an adventure to Knotting Hill to see all those pretty houses and gardens. Then, took a walk through Kensington Park and saw Kensington Palace, but opted not to take a tour as our day was already 99% tours. We had a wonderful breakfast on one of the main drags, and were able to watch all the hustle and bustle of the city.

We then hurried back to the hotel (Laura forgot the tickets!) and headed out for the Tower of London. What an awesome deal! It was easy to imagine ourselves in early days. The Bloody Tower was interesting and eery, and the Crown Jewels were absolutely stunning! Nan wants to know what kind of fur they use on the bottom part of the crown. Anyone know? She said, 'They're so gaudy they're almost pretty!'

After the Tower of London, we took a stroll of the London Bridge (where Laura kept singing London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.) We walked over to the London Eye and had an amazing time. In a very brief nutshell, that was our day!

The day before, we took a bus to Stonehenge and Bath....both very beautiful places. Stonehenge was very mysterious and amazing, and we both almost purposely missed the bus in Bath because we were having such a great time! Not only were the Roman Baths neat to see, but the city itself was a sight to behold.

As mentioned earlier, it is our last day here, and we are headed to Westminster this morning before a full day of Wimbledon. Curious to know who's playing on Centre Court?! Well, we will get to see:

1 Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Roger Federer (SUI) v. Marc Gicquel (FRA)

2 Ladies' Singles - 3rd Rnd.

Amelie Mauresmo (FRA)[29] v. Serena Williams (USA)[6]

3 Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Mario Ancic (CRO) v. David Ferrer (ESP)[5]

We are very, very lucky girls!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Country Mice in the City

Picadilly Circus

'Birthday Cakes' and Cocktails

Outside Her Majesty's Theatre at the Phantom of the Opera

Hello! Yesterday (Tuesday/Laura's Golden Birthday) was a blast - we had a good time running around London. After breakfast we headed to Leicester Square and bought tickets for the 7:30 p.m. Phantom of the Opera Show. Then we found TopShop... weak dollar be damned, we don't care! This shop had excellent cheap clothes (by London standards) so it was like regular shopping in the States. Laura is wearing her pretty new shirt today. Then we stumbled upon Trafalgar Square and saw all kinds of neat historical things. There were giant lion statues that Nan tried to ride on, but she didn't have proper foot gear to climb up on the lion, so she petted it instead.

Then we hit Chinatown and SoHo. Soho was an experience. Now we can say we've seen it. We were deliriously hungry by dinner time (LOTS of walking) and found a cute little restaurant in Covent Garden. Nan keeps trying to call it Covenant Garden. Looks like her Catholicism is paying off.

Nan accused Laura of 'becoming British' when Laura told her to "stop lolligagging in the streets. You're going to get hit." Who says lolligagging?

After dinner we headed to Phantom of the Opera. We had front row seats, it was awesome! Laura was fortunate enough not to get beamed by the flying chandelier. We could peer over the edge and see the orchestra in the pit below us. It was a wonderful performance.

Afterwards, we headed to a little bar and had drinks. Unfortunately, the place was no longer serving 'afters' (desserts). Nan was hell-bent on getting Laura some type of birthday dessert. She found a little Italian place that wrapped up some desserts to go. Nan returned to the bar with the afters and we sat outside at a picnic table and enjoyed them. Some nice Austalians crashed our birthday party. They sang happy birthday to Laura, and called us 'Bloody Yanks.'

Next up: today Stonehenge and Bath!!

Things to note:

Weather: Awesome and sunny so far! Possible rain showers are forecast for Friday, our day we have tickets to Wimbledon!! So say a little prayer that we have good weather and are able to watch Venus and Roger play.

The Tube: We've mastered it! We feel like locals. Almost. No eye contact with anyone, and stick to the right on the escalator unless you're in a hurry so people can pass on the left. And everyone in London is in a hurry. We figure we spend 23% of each day in the Underground system. Everytime we surface from the Tube we high-five for making another successful journey, but then immediately get lost on the streets above ground.

Jet Lag: This is worth noting! We're proud of the fact that we adapted right away to the local time, and didn't waste anytime suffering from the dreaded jet-lag. Laura even got up 4 times during our first night and was raring to go. Nan made her go back to bed.

Tea: the tea at our hotel is really good! But we have yet to experience afternoon, or high, tea.

Off to Stonehenge and Bath!


Laura and Nan

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We Made IT!

oH MAN..... this British keyboard is tricky and \nan is having a hard time getting oriented with the keys. It's definitely different. Anyways... we made it! After a long journey through the night we arrived yesterday and successfully navigated The Tube. With suitcases. And found our hotel, with time to get a bite to eat at a pub and check out Buckingham Palace, or "the Buck House" (that's what Laura says They call it).

Laura and Mort in Seattle Airport, drinking a mojito and reading the Ireland guide book. For those of you who don't know who Mort is, please wait for a later blog when we'll explain who he is. There's a good story there.

Buckingham Palace in the evening. The guards were fascinating.


This morning, our first full day here, is also Laura's golden birthday. Yay! That's a fake cupcake candle Nan bought for her in Seattle. It'll have to do for now... will go on a mission later for a real cake.

We're off... to explore, try to get tickets to the Phantom of the Opera, and brave the Tube again, sans luggage. "Damn Tube," Laura says....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Maps and Trip Overview

We will begin our journey in London, where we will spend 5 days. In order to work off all the strawberries and cream and champagne we will more than likely consume, we will bike through the Cotswold area. We have reserved some bicycles and plan on touring the British countryside for 3 days. Then, off to Ireland! During this portion of the journey we plan on "flying by the seats of our pants." With only one night reserved at this point, who knows where we'll end up! After a few days of debauchery (will it be enough?) we will head back to Liverpool where Nan's friend, Tim, has graciously allowed us to stay with him. He's even thrown in a Duran Duran concert to seal the deal! So....buckle up and get ready!