England Part 1

How do I even begin to explain everything I saw, tasted and experienced on my European honeymoon?  It was a dream trip.

Because it was a tour, it was quite strenuous and by the last few days of the trip I was quite done.  I couldn’t process any more history, plus I had my period and I was cramping and bitchy.  Can’t help the female hormones.

So where to start off?  Why England of course!

I loved London, England.  Why?

1.  I got to see my cousin Gina and finally meet her hubby Rob, who are just fun to be with.
2.  They speak English so I didn’t feel quite so out of my element just yet.

London is a vibrant city and very beautiful.  Modern, compared to the other cities I visited after.  And seeing the images I’ve seen on t.v., film and pictures in front of my very own eyes was like I was transported to another world or planet…I was ecstatic!

And the accent is lots of fun πŸ˜‰  It took me awhile to understand that “queue” meant “line”…I felt like a twit.  And that the “tube” is the “subway”.  Or Rob’s one, a “fag” is a “cigarette”.  But I think I giggled the first time I used “queue” in a sentence!  “Chips” of course are the thick “french fries”.  I’ll talk about French Fries again later on…and a “life” is the elevator!

We reached London on Saturday, September 3rd…we flew out Friday but with the time difference we lost a whole day (I envy people that live on the east coast and can get to Europe much easier, you all are SO lucky!).  Immigration and customs were a breeze…there was no line!  We met our Globus driver and another woman being picked up (Australian…just to let you know, they were everywhere on this tour!) and were off to the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel to check in and meet with my cousin and her hubby.

The hotel is FABULOUS…and why?  Because it’s next to the London Eye and the Thames.  Across the bridge is Parliament and the Abbey, it’s so central we lucked out big time.  I highly recommend this as a place to stay.  The price, I’m not too sure of, because like I said, our tour company booked it for us, but what a way to relax after a long day of flying.  I’m definitely going back to the Park Plaza.

the inviting large tub

i love nice hotel bathrooms

on the last night here, i did have a soak πŸ™‚

shower, tiny but nice

the beds

The whole hotel itself is lovely from the decor and ambience and I believe my cousin said it was newly built, which explains why it’s fabulous still.

I met my cousin and her hubby in the lobby and mind you I haven’t seen her since I was like 7 years old but family is family, we got along just fine.  Josh and I were absolutely tired but to get our inner time clock on track we stayed awake and went exploring with my cousins.  We left the hotel and decided to see if the line or “queue” for the London Eye was decent…it was indecent.  lol…so we skipped it and kept walking alone the Thames.  The infamous Thames is brown and dirty and a little smelly..but that’s not the point, it’s the scene and vibrancy and people along the Thames that make it worth while!

Skate park

One thing that surprised me about my first impression of London.  I was HOT…where was the overcast, dreary, cold day I was expecting?  The sun was out and the Thames was packed with people.  I don’t blame them for being outside πŸ™‚

Me and cousin Gina

Us with cousin Rob

We made it to London, thank you God!

A beautiful day along the Thames

Look…they made their own beach!  

After walking along the Thames we decided to go to the Tate Modern Museum since it was along the way.  The walk was long but after sitting so long on a plane, it was much needed.  The building itself of the Tate is quite interesting because it used to be a power station and how do I know this?  We were trying to find the Tate as we walked along the Thames and some random older woman who was American and overheard my own American English started talking to me about it as I looked at a map and talked to Josh.  She told me it should be close by and it was an old power station…huh…45 minutes later, I saw the same woman walking around the Tate looking at the paintings…I guess she was looking for the Tate too!

Tate Modern
the guys

inside the Tate

Millenium Bridge joining the Thames to St. Paul’s Cathedral

View of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

Hungerford Bridge

London Eye

Sun going down over the Thames…lovely

Another one

After our walking adventure, we found an Italian place to eat.  I know, I know, where’s the Fish and Chips?  Thing is London has SOOOOOO many restaurants of every kind of food there is, the options are endless and fantastic.  I love that about London.  So we ate pasta, Josh had pizza, of course…this is where I noticed, they charge you for a bottle of water…”still water” is the non bubbly kind…and by bottle I mean a large glass bottle shared among everyone.  We needed two because Josh drinks a lot of water.  More often than not, while in Europe most people drink wine or beer and Coca-Cola (my crack) is EVERYWHERE…and served in a bottle πŸ˜‰  So cute!

After our nice hot meal, Rob wanted to buy us beer before we parted ways so left and wondered where the nearest bar was….and since we didn’t know, Rob asked a bobby (a cop)…I just loved hearing the exchange as he asked them where the nearest bar was…hehehehe…they had some pretty good suggestions, including one bar that had about 130 different kinds of beer, but we wanted to stay near Waterloo Station since that’s where my cousins had to take the tube back home.

We turned a corner and ended up at The Slug and Lettuce…lol…which is a restaurant/bar kind of joint but I’ve got to say, i LOVE the names of restaurants in London.  One was called Eat.  That’s it just “eat.” How cool is that?  So I had my first pint of Guinness that I pretty much wasted because a few sips was all I could drink, I was so tired and full (full you say?  YES because on international flights is when airlines FEED you a full meal for FREE, why can’t they do that on domestic 9 hour flights?  beats me!).

Then the time had come to part ways and I was sad because we had such a fun time!  We had enjoyed ourselves a lot with my cousins.  But now that I know I have relatives in London, you know I’m coming back!!

And so we fell asleep on the soft bed at Park Plaza, and check out the carpet, THAT even is poetic…First day in England over.  Another adventure awaited us the next few days for sure!

Carpet in the hotel room.
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