Hampton Court Day!!!!

Ah, Hampton Court. A must-see for any Tudor enthusiast. Maddie and I have been looking forward to this for ages.

And you know what? It didn’t disappoint. In fact, it surpassed all of my expectations. It was magical.  It is sad, though, that William and Mary spent time ripping down and rebuilding the palace to “update” it.  The newer Georgian section is wonderful in its own way, but I wish we could see it exactly as it was during Henry VIII’s time.

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It did, however, have a lovely and authentic smell today, as there was a big fire going in th great kitchen, filling the air with a lovely woodsmoke.image

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After an incredible time at the Palace (with beautiful, sunny, and mild weather), we hopped on a bus and met my old friend Jenn for lunch. We haven’t seen each other since high school (and I’m NOT admitting how long ago that was!). Even worse, she lived just outside Richmond for quite a few years and we never got together despite being less than an hour apart. Now she lives in London with her family. And so arranged to meet us at a pub today in -fittingly – Richmond, UK.

I am so grateful I got the chance to see her and spend time with her here. I can’t think of a better way to top off a brilliant day.

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England in a Day Tour

Yes, we took one of those hideous bus tours.

We had wanted to see The Cotswolds and Stonehenge, and I wasn’t too keen on renting a car and finding our way on our own. But honestly? In a way I wish we had. There were some great advantages to the bus tour: I didn’t have to drive, and our guide pointed out many interesting things all along the way.

Like: The Top Gear test track!! We drove right by it!

BUT.

We spent far more time warming our bus seats than anything else, and very little time able to see what we wanted to see.  We started in Stratford Upon Avon, which was absolutely lovely, but had a mere hour for touring the Shakespeare birth house and the village.  The drive through the Cotswolds was, of course, heavenly (so many sheep!!!!), but we got to Bath after two pm and had roughly an hour to both eat lunch and explore.  And let me tell you: when there are hundreds and hundreds of people getting off tour buses at the same time as you?

Yeah.

We did manage a bite at a small take-away selling meat pies and sandwiches. On our way to find the Abbey we happened upon a little yarn shop, and when we popped in: YES!  They were selling Junioer Moon Farm yarn!!! We had a nice chat with the ladies there, bought some locally-sourced Sheltand yarn, and ran for our bus.

Another hour later, we were at Stonehenge. The wonderful thing is, they’ve torn down the visitors’ center that was just next to it and moved it out of the landscape. It’s sad they no longer allow people to wander through the stones, but it was still impressive and mystical nonetheless. We did our best to be still and in the moment as much as possible.  I really, really loved it.

Back in London, we were dropped off on the West End by Earl’s Court. This worked out very, very well for one reason: there’s a TARDIS right outside of the Earl’s Court Underground stop.

We found a light dinner and went down for our train, only to find that the entire loop servicing our station was closed for the weekend. Fortunately, the young men working there put us on the correct detour (and also, I cannot tell you how much better the London Underground is in every possible way than NYC Subway. It’s clean. It’s brightly-lit. It’s easy to navigate. So we weren’t off-put by having to go around a bit), and we got back to our hotel just as it was getting dark.

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imageThe Cotswolds, through the bus window.

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Bath

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I was thinking of my dear friend, Tanya, the entire time I was there.  I knew she’d love it.image

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Our temporary hone home base in London welcomed us back with this view.

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Cant no even tell you how much I love it here.