McKinney Gypsy Caravan

One part travel blog. One part nerdy history lesson.

Category: UK (page 1 of 4)

Day 23- London Wrap Up

Well, this is it. The last day of our fantasy vacation. 🙂 we didn’t do a lot. We stuck “Baboo” (my mother) with Norah on her birthday…but Norah sang her the cutest Happy Birthday song… and we went to the British Museum.

I was expecting a lot of British things at the Birtish museum….however, it was more of a collection of items from around the world… Which was unexpected. Egyptian mummies, African tribal pieces,  Chinese vases….

They did have some pretty cool items:

 

Inside the building in the Great Hall…I didn’t expect such a modern bright atrium area in that old Greek style building  

  

The Rosetta Stone. It was discovered by a French soldier in Egypt in 1799 when Napoleon invaded Egypt…but the British soon  said, “no, conquering is what WE do…” And forced the French out after the French had defeated the Ottomans…so with victory comes the spoils…and the stone has been on display here in the British Museum since 1802. The stone has basically the same text in three languages- the top is ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, the middle is Demotic (a newer Egyptian, post-hieroglyphic times) and Ancient Greek at the bottom. This was the first piece that helped us translate ancient Egyptian.      

Cupid.  I can’t imagine the stories of how these pieces came to live in Britain. The war and the conquest and pilfering that would have brought these ancient pieces from their original lands here… 🙂      

Roman mosaics that have been uncovered underneath London      

This ship is actually a clock from the 1500s with moving pieces so that the men on the deck would have rowed, the cannons might have moved…It was so intricate, I would have loved to see it in action. 

  

I would kill to get my hands on some of the old books in the library room. Like these old 1700s atlas volumes- hand drawn maps of the world… 

  

After the British Museum, we went for one last British experience- High Afternoon Tea.   

We had a seat by the window overlooking Hyde Park in this fancy little Park and Tea room.  

Kegan was less than impressed but he was a good sport because I was really excited to be all fancy and high class. Lol  (and I walked around London in heels all day so we would be classy enough for tea time…he knew better than to complain even though he was baking in his Sweater haha) – he says it was actually more of a “braise” since it was trapping in all the moisture. Gross. And definitely not classy. Lol        

Mango and pineapple palate cleanser  

We got to select our tea. I picked Ceylon and Kegan picked Assam (although we wouldn’t have known the difference probably haha)

  

We had trays full of pastries, sandwiches and scones    

Fresh gooseberry and rhubarb jams with butter for our scones  

They insisted we take our cake to go when we couldn’t eat any more haha

Our evening was boring as we spent it packing up for our morning flight. 

Our first flight was uneventful other than it was almost empty. We had the whole plane across the pond to ourselves basically and when Norah went to sleep, we just laid her down in her own row! Haha

 

 

Our second flight from Newark to West Palm was delayed an hour- which was awesome because otherwise we would have missed it. We had to go through a line for customs when we got to Newark… Then we had to get our luggage, because international luggage doesn’t transfer. Then we had to get in another line to drop off our customs declaration forms, then another line to recheck our luggage. Then we had to cross to another terminal by air train to get our second flight- and when we got to the new terminal, they were too busy so they closed that particular security screening and redirected us across to the other side of the terminal where we had another 30 minute wait to be allowed to go through security. 

So…yeah….that was awesome. lol.

But, Norah did a 15 hour day of flights like a champ. No major outbursts or meltdowns- just typical “I don’t want to sit down” 2 year old stuff. She was the official airplane greeter. On her 6 trips to the potty she had to stop and say hi every time to every row on the way to and from. Lol luckily she’s cute and I don’t think anyone about killed her :).

So…this basically concludes the blog trip updates. I am so glad so many people followed our trip and enjoyed the updates! I had fun recording it all and getting to share a little nerd history 🙂 

If you are going on a vacation and want to record your own trip and share it, let me know-you can use this blog, too!  I can create an account for you and show you how easy it is to post updates from your phone! 

I’m already scheming on where and when our next trip will be… I think we are settling on Germany/Switzerland/Austria late late summer or early fall. 

I’ll be sure to post again when we have specifics and give you the option to “opt out” of email updates for whatever comes next. 

Thanks again for following! 

Erin

Day 22 – Northern London

We are getting lazier the longer we stay in London 🙂 vacation is winding down…and so are we. Yesterday was a big day of walking so we were slow getting started. Kegan and I trekked the 10 minutes up to the subway station and grabbed coffee/breakfast and then headed for Baker St. A certain famous 221b Baker St. to be precise. 🙂 Home of the Sherlock Holmes Museum. 

But, when we got there, the line was down the block to get in…. Now, I may be weird…but I rarely queue up for anything. I think I find it insulting to my sensibilities or something…but I basically refuse. Lol so… After watching the line to see if it moved quickly at all…and seeing it not move at all in 5 minutes- we decided that it wasn’t that important 🙂

   

     

It was a really nice day…so we decided to hop on over to Warwick Ave. to see “Little Venice”. Beautiful little area.

   

      

Next, we were headed north into the northern suburbs to Highgate to see the grave of my favorite author, Douglas Adams. I’m calling it the ultimate nerd pilgrimage. Mostly because I had to take 2 subway trains, 1 overground train, walk uphill for a mile or so and then navigate to the right part of the cemetary to pay respects to a tombstone the size of a notebook. Lol I love that everyone leaves pens as tribute. Also, someone had left a towel, which in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, his most famous book, he states:

A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

So, I was happy to get to see the grave of a great author and “nerd out” a little 🙂

Randomly…we found out Karl Marx is buried here as well. 

   

              

We trekked on back home, went to an underground mall at our subway station and had a pretty boring night doing puzzles with Norah and doing some laundry 🙂

Tomorrow is our last full day! We have reservations for high tea at 2pm… I’m very excited to get dressed up and be fancy 🙂 

Day 21 -Downtown London and Westminster

Today was our downtown sightseeing day. 

We took the subway downtown. Norah was so excited to “ride the train”. She was making friends with everyone.

  

   

Mind the gap.   

 

View from the middle of London Bridge. 

      

   Memorial to the Great Fire of London. The majority of medieval London burned to the ground in 1666 and this marks where they believe the fire started- a bakery on old Pudding Lane

  

  

Big Ben    

  

  

  

Westminster Abbey  

 

The Abbey bell tower   

 

No idea what this building is…but the stone carvings were amazing.  

   

Randomly…there is a statue of Abraham Lincoln here. I didn’t expect that. In my googling, it seems that we sent this over to England in the 1910’s to mark “a hundred years of peace” between our countries… (Wonder if taxpayers paid for that… Haha)

 

Getting close to the queen… 

   St James Park 

 We went to the Churchill War Rooms. This is where Churchill directed most of the war from underground as bombs were hitting the city   

  

  They have used photographs to try and put everything back exactly as it was at the time of its use.

The War Cabinet meeting room 

They had a sign underground to let them know what the weather above ground was like 🙂    

They hid a transatlantic telecom room from most everyone in the underground bunker by putting a bathroom lock on it that read “engaged”. People just assumed it was a special toilet reserved for Churchill!   

This was actually what was on the other side of the door. Churchill spoke to FDR and Truman from here many times.    

The prime minister’s dining room

Chief of Staff map room with the original maps on the walls.     

Zoomed in as far as I could on a little Hitler graffiti. This is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night. Who drew this?? Lol      

Churchill’s personal room , complete with cigar by bedside

  

A map that hung at the foot of his bed with strategic places bombs may be dropped by the Germans.

A casualty count and log of all the bombs falling on Great Britain.  

  

  

A vintage poster I thought was cool.

  

Many people don’t know that all the “Keep Calm” posters actually originate from the air raids of WW2.   

After the war rooms was a Churchill museum.    

Churchill, after the war, was given honorary US citizen status. He was too sick to come and accept it…but his son did.  

The original door from 10 Downing St

 

  

Chasing pigeons. I don’t think she’s ever had more fun. Haha

  

  

  

  

  Buckingham Palace

  

  

  

   

Wellington Arch at Buckinghan Palace. George the IV had this commissioned to commemorate Britain’s victory in the Napoleonic wars and it was supposed to be the gateway to Buckingham Palace.

  

      

We had a lazy evening. Walked back to the subway station and had some noodles at a place called Wagamama. 

 

  

  

Day 20 – Peppa Pig World, Beachy Head and London

Norah finally got a day of her own today 🙂 I don’t think she truly grasped the fact that we were literally going to Peppa Pig’s house until she got there and physically saw a lifesized Peppa haha

Oh, the people. Lol 

We didn’t even get back to Peppa World before Norah needed to ride a carousel.   

  

Now we’re getting it!  

So excited to meet Peppa!   

    

Norah was entranced watching Rebecca Rabbit try to throw a ball into the bucket  

Grandpa Pig’s boat ride

Peppa’ House  

 

  She could have stayed here all day. Unfortunately there was a huge line so she got about 30 seconds haha

  They had a little penguin show thing and they had the Penguins out for the morning

  

  

  

  

  

Last, we drove the car like Mommy Pig 🙂

  

  

  

Finished up with some ice cream. I went to buy her some milk or juice and she said “how ’bout some ice cream?” Haha ok… We are at a theme park lol

 

Overall, way too crowded, we had to wait about 15-20 minutes for each ride and Wayyyy too overpriced since you had to buy the whole theme park ticket just to go to the toddler Peppa thing- but…she loved it and we were here…so I’m glad we did it 🙂

We saw one last place on our way to London. It’s basically the start of the White Cliffs of Dover, called Beachy Head. It’s actually the highest chalk sea cliffs in the UK.

   

    

World War 2 Royal Air Force Bombers usually flew out from this southern point headed towards enemy territory. They had a radio communications station here and during the Cold War they used an underground bunker here for radar.   

Finally, we were headed to our final spot for the trip: London. We’re actually gonna spend 3 nights in the same spot! What?? Lol

We got Norah and Mom all settled in to our disgustingly dirty little rental… Seriously, this place is gross. But, it’s livable…so we got a taxi ride through downtown London over to Trafalgar Square. 

   

             

We then grabbed dinner at a restaurant called Inamo.  

 

It was really cool, the table was interactive. You ordered your food and drinks through a touchscreen on the table.   

  

It then projects what the food will look like on your plate. Ha    

You can even change your “tablecloth”     

There we go…a little more festive lol       

We continued walking to Piccadilly Circus, which is basically the Broadway and Times Square of London

   

    

      

 

     

We decided an hour was enough of that! 🙂 we wanted to take the “Tube” back to our place. (Subway) so we bought our prepaid Oyster cards that let you just swipe to ride instead of buying each ride every time. 

 

  

  

 Should have been easy! Piccadilly line- to Jubilee line-to house….

   But the Jubille line was closed for the Easter weekend! So….we got to play Subway detectives real fast! We figured out to go back one station on Picadilly, transfer to Victoria line, then to the Northern Line and then a 10 minute walk home. I love riding the subway though…so I had fun. Kegan… Not so much lol

  

Tomorrow we’ll do all the touristy stuff we’re supposed to in London. 🙂 

Day 19 – Cheddar Gorge, Bath and Stonehenge

Today was an easy short day full of tourist traps 🙂 (You’d think I wasn’t a tourist!) most of our morning was spent driving out of Cornwall back towards the rest of England basically backtracking through what we did yesterday. 

The first new place we saw was Cheddar Gorge- which basically turned out to be the Pigeon Forge of the UK. lol That being said… The gorge was WAY bigger than I expected and I definitely didn’t expect the town to be built INTO the rock walls. Had we been able to find a parking spot within a mile of the little town center we would have spent some time there…but it was crazy busy… I’m guessing because it’s Easter weekend. 

   

               

We then headed to Bath. They have a old Roman bath. But something they don’t have: parking. So…we decided that the pictures online were just as good, especially since it was $20 a person to walk in and see the bath that really isn’t even that old. The only thing Roman that is left is the actual basin of water,  all the structure and tile and everything was built in the last 150 years. 

One oddity- all of Bath seems to have been built out of the same color stone. 

 

  

  

  

  

  

   

So… On to Stonehenge! They’ve put up this huge center and exhibit and cafe and gift shop. Lol it’s ridiculous.  

So many people…  

The rocks           

We paid $60 to take a bus back to a fence to see the stones only to leave and drive RIGHT by them from the road on the other side through a fence just a little further away. Haha 

 We were all like, Ahhh man! Haha but oh well, most of the things we’ve done have been free or very cheap…and I’m sure it goes to keeping up the site. 

I am constantly surprised by just how rural the majority of England is outside of the cities…it’s not like the US where we have tons of little towns scattered all around, if you get outside of the major cities…you may find a tiny cluster… But it’s just countryside.

  

We got to the hotel early and we’re totally eating at the Pizza Hut beside the hotel because this is a total tourist zone and American restaurants are all they have here. 

The don’t have breadsticks here, they only have garlic bread. Also they put corn on their pizza. 

   

 

Tomorrow morning is Norah’s day…we are going to Peppa Pig World! (Thanks to my friend Kelly for letting me know that it existed!)

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