Sunday, September 14, 2014

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Touring London with Family


Westminster Abbey
Windsor Castle
From the beautiful English countryside, we all trooped to cosmopolitan London. Our first stop was Windsor Castle. Originally designed in the 11th century “to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames”, today it is the longest occupied royal residence in the whole of Europe. Although the outside is imposing and beautiful, it is the lavish state apartments inside that is an “unrivalled sequence of rooms” in the finest expression of Georgian taste. 
white swans on the River Thames by Windsor Castle

St. George's Chapel
The 15th century St. George's Chapel included in the lower ward of Windsor Castle is a “supreme achievement of English Perpendicular Gothic design.” Fifteen kings and queens of the country are buried there together with a host of other prince, princesses, and other royals. The beautiful white swans on the River Thames were a special treat and a Thai dinner just outside the castle capped our day.

Thai dinner in London!
watching Nadal @ Murray Mound
Then Krishna, my first Apo arrived from California to join us. While Bill and I took Yeye, who is a member of the Varsity tennis team in her high school, to Wimbledon, which was fortunately running at the time, Trisha brought Krishna to Trafalgar Square. Bill, Yeye, and I queued for four hours, from 7 am, to gain entrance to the Wimbledon grounds, having not been able to secure tickets prior. It was an experience of a lifetime as we picnicked with 10,000 people eager to get in, watched Raonic on Court 3, watched Nadal on the Murray Mound, and bought many souvenir items from the gift shop. I made Bill promise to take me to the other three major Tennis tournament sites!

the queue, a giant picnic!
the golden Green Park
The following day the whole gang was complete and we took the tube to Green Park to begin our day of getting the best sense of London. The Park itself had exquisite golden and green gates which the girls just loved. Buckingham Palace is right across. Although we missed the changing of the guards, we saw them parade around the Victoria Memorial in front of the Palace grounds. 

Buckingham Palace
the London Eye
After a myriad of photos were taken, we walked to Westminster Abbey, admired the architecture, and stayed for a while because of a light drizzle. Just around the bend from the Abbey we reached Big Ben and could not help ourselves from posing atop a concrete structure on the Westminster Bridge over the River Thames.

Big Ben and the Parliament
Just across was a huge throng admiring the newest attraction, the London Eye. It was interesting to find a special post on Westminster Bridge crossing the River Thames between Big Ben and the London Eye. It carried countless locks, testament to many lovers’ vows to each other. Too bad Bill and I did not know or we would have brought our own. Even then, we made a quiet pledge to each other.

a lot of locks, a lot of  love
lunch @ Garfunkel in Trafalgar Square
Having completed our whirlwind tour of the prime sights of the city, we brought the girls to Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately, some sort of new display was being constructed around it. So, tired from all the running around, we looked for a good place to have lunch and found Garfunkel.  After a good English lunch, we walked more blocks, found some gelato to consume, had more photos taken in front of nice looking tourist spots, and went back to our hotels, happy for having been together in our little London escapade.

Japanese dinner
Before the girls left for Edinburgh, Bill and I brought them to a very enjoyable farewell Japanese dinner. They told us about their trip to Camden Market where they spent a hefty chunk of their shopping dollars. Bill and I were so happy we got to tour Trisha and her girls around London. We just hope we can do it again, somewhere else in the world.

But the other memorable dinner for Bill and me was at Tirage, a fine dining restaurant. It was a birthday gift from my girls, Claudine and April. This separated the two parts of our London experience: London with family and London with friends. The next post will be about the latter.  
our dinner in Tirage, a gift of Claudine and April