our holiday weekend

Well you all in the "States" (as they call the US here)have had a long weekend! I hope everyone's was great and you got to enjoy the hot weather. We checked the Indy Star to see who won the race and saw how hot it is there! We're jealous! London currently is having the rainiest season they've had since 1773!!! Go figure when we're here! Anyways...sorry we missed some of you that were in town this weekend...hope you had a blast!

It's actually a holiday weekend here too. They had a Bank Holiday today so the city slightly emptied out and it seems tourists came in because the touristy spots are packed up everything else is closed or empty. Saturday was extremely rainy! It hadn't yet started in the morning so we headed to Portbello Road just around the corner from us. This is the antique market and just market in general that is packed on Saturdays. The street was lined with shops and vendors, food and people. It was fun to browse and do a bit of shopping. But then the skies opened up and poured on us. We still took in the scene and after my jeans weighed about 100 pounds from how wet they were we headed back to the flat to drop of our shopping bags. We then headed to the Design Museum, which involved us walking across the Tower Bridge. Normally this would be a great scene but it was so foggy and rainy we just tried to get inside the Design Museum quickly. The Design Museum was Pat's haven. The special exhibition was the Guerilliza and the designer who has done all of those 3D characters, etc. After that we tried to head to the Tower of London but we would only have an hour there so we decided to come back the next day. We headed to the West End area and bought theater tickets for the nights to the Producers. Literally right after we bought the tickets, the rain stopped and the sun came out! We were laughing! Oh well the show was worth and was a good laugh! We would have loved to see Nathan Lang and Matthew Broderick in this...wow!

Sunday was started early with a trip out to Abbey Road. Most of you know I love the Beatles so I really wanted to see this famous picture spot. It really is just a cross walk but the Abbey Studios is right there but you can't go in. People have written all kinds of messages all over the walls to the Beatles. The day was much more nice so we headed to the Tower of London. We walked through ourselves but jumped into the crowd to hear the Yeoman tour guides every once and awhile. Talk about history at this place and some pretty gruesome stuff too...like Bloody Tour.

We then walked on the Tower Bridge again in the sunshine, well kind of sunshine, but we weren't complaining. We took some pictures and then walked through St. Katherine's Docks where there was a sailboat being dedicated. We then headed to Vinopolis which is known as the "City of Wine." Someone told me this place was really neat, and it was cool but not that great. We did some wine tasting but it was so packed that we kind of went through it quick. We then headed to the London Eye and once we got close we realized it wasn't going to be an option to get on it that day. The lines were out of control! So instead we headed to The Globe for dinner and to our show.

The Globe...WOW! We debated on whether standing or not but decided to sit because we'd been walking all day. The show was AMAZING! I'm a huge Shakespeare buff though so I was worried Pat wasn't going to like it. But he was laughing, saying "Oh that was so cool," and running around taking 40-50 pictures of the place! The show started in the light of day and ended under the stars! It could not have been more perfect. I wish you could've taken pictures during the show, but of course we couldn't. I literally had chills throughout the show from how neat of an experience it was. Granted the real Globe burnt down a long time ago, but still the feel of the place was just great. After the show we decided to walk along the river on the Thames Path at night to see all the sights "lit up." This path is alive at night! With lights in the trees, bands playing, restaurants open late, etc. My mom let Pat borrow a small tripod so he was able to get some great night shots of St. Paul's, the Tate and of course Parliament. We were standing under Big Ben all lit up at 11:30pm as the bells tolled for the clock. We finally retired for the night.

And then today...the Bank Holiday here. I had signed us up for a tour today since I knew it was a Bank Holiday and some things might be closed. We were on a bus with a bunch of other tourists and our tour guide was the cutest little British lady who knew so much. As we drove through areas she told us the history and also gave her comments on everything from politics, to cars to "rubbish." Pat and I kept laughing!

Our first stop was Windsor Castle. The rain was coming down again!!! But once we got up to the castle the clouds seemed to part and it cleared up. The castle was HUGE! We walked around it and went into the State Apartments. Pat and I decided it would be so weird to grow up in the Castle and be running through the castle playing hide and seek or walking around in your pajamas. The "Queenie," as they call her here, stays here mostly on weekends but she was gone on holiday like everyone else. We also walked through St. George's Cathedral where all kinds of royalty are buried. And finally we got to see a changing of the guard. I think seeing this at Windsor Castle was a much better experience than seeing it at Buckingham Palace!

Back onto the bus to a stop at a pub in Thuxton called the White Horse. It was a cute little old place with a thatched roof. The food was traditional English with roast beef, roasted chicken, veggies and yorkshire pudding (which was yummy). Pat and I shared apple pie the English way (with sweet cheese on it). We decided we much preferred the Midwest apple pie with ice cream!

Onto Stonehenge for our next stop. This is so weird to see! It really is out in the middle of nowhere, except modern society has put a roadway right next to it so that slightly ruins the feel. But we did see they have plans to make the roadway a tunnel with grass on top so that'll help. It's a massive plain so it was really windy but again, cool to see. While Pat waited for the bathroom I wondered off to look at the sheep on the other side of the road and the burial grounds from the Stonehenge age, which are small hills in a meadow. I didn't walk all the way to the hills but made my way into the meadow. WOW! This might seem weird but I felt like God made that little moment just for me. There were blooming yellow and white flowers everywhere and you could see for what seemed like miles. The sky was blue with huge white clouds in it and just a few people and kids were off to the distance running around in the meadow. Beautiful! I took some pictures and absolutely love them.

After Stonehenge we headed for our last destination, the City of Bath. Just the drive there was fun to see all these English villages here and there. We had free time when we arrived so Pat and I did some shopping and got some goodies for people back home. We then had a private tour (I say private it was with about 100 people from the tour company we were with but it was after the baths had closed). The torches were lit and the rain came down again and stopped just time for us to view the Roman baths. Steam was pouring off of them and I was so tempted to reach down and dip my finger in them but knowing my skill level, I'd end up in it! Both Pat and I tripped over the Roman pathways because we weren't paying attention! It was a really amazing place to see and to see where they uncovered the Roman baths and where they built up the place in the 1800's for a museum feel.

Was that enough writing for you? Sorry!!! We can't believe our trip is almost over! We miss our dog so much and know he'd love it here with all the parks and ponds! And of course we miss you all too! I don't think we miss work though! Ha! Oh well still a couple more days here!

*Sorry for anything spelled wrong, etc. on all of these posts! I'm just typing so fast! :)