July 31, 2014

London Day 4

At breakfast we decided to do the Lodge Challenge, and try the Marmite. Unfamiliar with this particular treat, I stuck my finger in the small heart shaped container and bravely put said finger in my mouth.
Yeah. Never doing THAT again! It tastes what I think rotten soy sauce would taste like.  Apparently, Marmite is the British version of Vegamite. Either way? This girl is NOT a fan.
We completed some morning program, involving the Dove Free Being Me Campaign (check it out here) and popped outside for a group photo before heading out for the day.
Today's adventures started with a ride on the tube. Here is my sweet Doodle and I.

First stop? Kensington Gardens. Which is HUGE.
We ate lunch on the lawn. Which went on for miles, and miles and miles. As we were heading out, I found a champagne cork in the grass. Of course, like any good crafter would, I snatched it up and brought it home with me. Even though I didn't get to drink the champagne myself (damnit) I knew it would be a fun momento of my trip.
We walked by the museum that held the Queen's clothing over the years, and along the backside of Kensington Palace, where Prince William, Kate and Baby George live. There was a helicopter that went over us, and we all wondered what member of the royal family was inside.
Monkey and I in front of the statue of the Queen. 
As we walked around the gardens, there were these chairs. Just sitting in the fields. I wondered to myself what they were all about. They struck me as old fashioned..... and then I saw the sign. You could "rent" the chairs to sit in and just enjoy the view. How quaint.

We continued on until I ran across the circle in the path:

For SURE one of the things I most wanted to visit while in London.

Almost there.........

Across the gates from the fountain was this pond and these HUGE swans were hanging out in it.
We are HERE! Princess Diana's Memorial Fountain!!
The fountain was in the shape of an oval, and had water running through it. It also had her dates of birth and death carved in the stone. It was surrounded by lush green grass and a sense of quiet.

I have always thought Princess Di was one of the classiest ladies that I "knew". In a very small group of 3 classy women in my life.
My momma
Princess Di
Kathy Goertzen (local tv anchor)
These women are what I consider to be strong, independent, good role models. And some pretty snappy dressers too.
I took my shoes off and put my feet against the cold stone. Remembering where I was the moment I found out she had died.
I was at my mom's house. Lil C was a baby. We all rushed in to Pops bedroom (the tv was loud enough to hear throughout the house) and watched the live footage of the crash aftermath. For a couple of hours.
It was so sad.
Compared to the other monuments and memorials, this one paled in comparison to other "royalty" and while I logically understand this, emotionally it is a slap in the face to Di and her two boys. I have never been on the Prince Charles bandwagon, even when they were married.
We gathered our stuff and headed out to explore the rest of the gardens.

We saw Prince Albert's memorial. Talk about grandiose. This thing is MASSIVE. His wife, the Queen,  REALLY loved him when he died.
Across the street is the Royal Albert Hall.

This was the portion of the day where we split up the 60 people in to 3 separate groups. You had to decide what museum you wanted to go to. Your choices were:
Museum of Natural History
Museum of Science
Victoria and Albert Museum
Since I could see both history and science AT HOME, I opted for the V&I. Doodle also chose that. And man am I glad I did!
It was a museum of mostly fashion, throughout the ages. There was some cool tapestry and furniture pieces, as well as some stone sculptures.
But I loved seeing the fashion!

As Doodle and I were preparing to meet our group back at the entrance, I spotted THIS. Uhm, holy hell Batman. A real live Chihuly sculpture!

It was MAGNIFICENT! Did you all know that Chihuly has a studio as well as a museum in Seattle? I have been to both. This was SO COOL. The pictures honestly do it NO justice.
After walking ALL DAMN DAY, we hauled our creaky feet to the tube, and prepared to head back to the Lodge.
Our home station for the week we are here........

Another long, exhausting, filled but exciting day entered in the books.

July 30, 2014

London Day 3 (part 2)

After our morning jaunt around Hampstead Heath, and lunch, we returned to the Lodge. Our program was starting!
We got to know the other girls who were also staying at the Lodge that week. There was a group from California, a group from Montreal and a group from Quebec. As well as the lodge staff: which were from all over the globe: New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Korea.
Our evening outing? None other than the London Eye. Besides the plane ride, this was one of the two things left on my list I was nervous about. I am INCREDIBLY afraid of heights. I have NEVER even been on a Ferris Wheel. How the hell did I think I was going to get on the London Eye? With the help of my buddy Xanax of course!
I popped my pills about an hour before we were to get on the Eye. And then we arrived there.

And I kept looking up, and Up AND UP. My neck starting to hurt from craning to see the top. And I started to panic. My heart was racing. My palms were clammy. I knew I couldn't do it. I was NOT calm enough.
So I stood on the ground, like an idiot, while the other 59 people in my group went up.
See the orange car? That's my girls in there.

I walked to the base of the Eye and took pics of Parliament and Big Ben. It had just stopped raining and the sun was trying to peek out of the clouds.

Here is the orange car on its way down.
Even the monkey got to go along for the ride.

After the ride was over, and everyone shuffled out, we went in to the center and watched a 4D movie. It follows a seagull through the 4 seasons at the Eye. It was really cool!
We got back on the charter bus and wove through town on the way back to the Lodge. The whole time I was weighed down with regret that I could not go up in the Eye. Next time I will take more Xanax.
Something to add to my list to go back and do right? God damn anxiety.

July 28, 2014

London Day 3 (part 1)

So pretty much from here on out? Most days are so jam packed full, I will have to split them up, or you could be scrolling through pictures for EVAH. You've been warned.
Its now Sunday morning. We had most of the day to ourselves, before our "program" with the Lodge was to start at 3pm.
The Lodge

Our gaggle of girls, minus one. Always seems to be one in the bathroom!
We explored Hampstead Grove. Found some really cool old buildings.

Too bad they weren't open yet.........

I just loved this sign. Turns out it was the gate to someone's front door........

Completely cliche photo but you know I had to take it!
ERMUHGAWD my first cup of Starbucks coffee! Tastes the same as it does at home.

More exploring.

So turns out this is the Admiral's house from the movie Mary Poppins. You know the one with the cannon on the roof?
Some random letter on the side of a brick wall. Of course Doodle and I posed for this!

As we were exploring, we met a nice lady who lived in this house. She asked where we were from and what we were taking photos of and then invited us on to her patio.

Pond at the Hampstead Heath. In the middle of a busy intersection. It was totally serene too.

Almost every door I saw for a private residence had the doorknob in the middle. Love it!

There is brick EVERYWHERE.

 Does anyone know what kind of flower this is? I have never seen it before......
We stumbled upon a street fair, and the girls got a chance to wander around. It was really fun!

 Most every 4th of July we make Paella. We use a paella pan on the bbq, and CHB has described to me how BIG these pans are when done right. When I saw these I was shocked at how big they truly were. If I had somewhere to store this I would totally get this set up.
Beautiful old church.
How quaint!

We opted to not eat at the street fair and instead ducked in to the closest pub we could find. Turns out this place has an interesting history. Check it out:
This brought us up to about 2pm. Stay tuned for London Day 3 (part 2)!