Thursday, April 28, 2011

A visit from my parents!

Two weeks ago, my parents hopped across the pond (as they say) to visit Todd and I in our new country. We started out in London where we rented a perfect little apartment in the city near the Tower of London and saw all the sights.

We toured Westminster Abbey (where the Royal Wedding will be tomorrow), featuring the tombs of many past kings, nobility, poets, and scientists. We also saw the Tower of London (along with the carvings of some of those imprisoned there).

This particular picture shows a carving of the name “Jane” for “Jane Grey”. It was most likely carved by a supporter of hers imprisoned at the Tower during the reign of Bloody Mary.

We rode across town on the upper level (in the front seats) of a double-decker bus,

took a boat tour on the Thames,

and at the Imperial War Museum we saw all the actual planes, tanks, and rockets used in combat.

The gardens at Buckingham palace were in full bloom and people were getting the sight prepared for the Royal Wedding!

Of course, we saw Parliament (with Big Ben) and Downing Street. We ate 99 Flakes (ice cream) and I even got my Dad to try a noodle bar called Wagamama’s where he ate his entire dish WITH CHOPSTICKS (a first)!

We covered a lot of London ground in 3 days!

We next ventured to the Lake District where we saw sheep, sheep everywhere! There are many lambs right now so it was a fun time to see the beautiful landscapes including baby sheep!

We rented a boat on Lake Windermere and motored around the lake for four hours.

We saw mountains, castles and beautiful mansions on the lake. While on the boat we were visited a few times by some low flying British war planes. It was a leisurely way to view the lake and they even let me drive the boat for a bit!

Next we took a day trip up the east coast starting with Alnwick Castle where the 12th Duke of Northumberland and his family still live and much of the history of the castle has been preserved. We toured the family’s home and learned what the daily life of the Duke and Duchess entails. Parts of the first few Harry Potter films were recorded outside this beautiful castle, so it makes it a big tourist attraction.

Further up the east coast, we crossed a causeway that disappears with high tide and reappears with low tide. It is essential to check the tides tables when heading to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) or you could be stuck there!

But what a gorgeous place to be stuck!

Lindisfarne is a cute little town with a few pubs and small shops. It has a castle and the ruins of an old priory and is, at least for a few hours a day, in the North Sea.

We were told it was a good place for bird watching, but it was cold when we were there and all we saw (with binoculars) was a layer of seals lying on the beach of the next island over. Maybe next time we’ll do some hiking and bird watching.

We packed so much into the two week visit that it flew by. And even though Dad was sick through most of it and Mom got sick near the end, I think we all had a pretty good time and saw some incredible things!

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