Thursday, January 30, 2014

Granthamania Eurotrip 2014 - Part 1 - London, England

**I'm sure there are so many typos in this post. I'm in such a hurry to get this post up and I'm really pressed for time with two kids these days. So forgive me for the lack of attention to detail.**

I want to document our trip before I forget so many details. So the next few posts will be about the trip that Mark and I took to Europe January 14-21st.

Mark was scheduled to go to Dublin, Ireland and London, England for work in January. Because he would already be over there, we decided to book a ticket for me to meet him after his work was finished. His work was complete on January 14th. I flew out on January 14th on an overnight flight to meet him on Wednesday January 15th. I flew into London, England on Wednesday morning and took the train from the airport to Paddington Station.

view from the Hotel window...a very cute street!

Castle built for Anne Boleyn
The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
i have no idea..just wanted to show the landscape of London
From Paddington, I hopped a taxi to our hotel which was completely unnecessary since our hotel was in walking distance. I didn't know that and the cab driver was unsure of our where our hotel was, too. Live and learn. Mark met me at the hotel...he had to switch hotels when we was finished with his work portion of the trip. 

Aquarium and the London Eye
It was closed while we were in London, so we didn't get to ride.

hideous blue rooster statue that we thought was funny

We stayed at a Days Inn for 49 Pounds a night. It wasn't too bad either. I mean it wasn't the Ritz, but it was clean, warm and had a private bathroom which is the kicker in Europe.
From one of the pub windows. 

The first day in London we just roamed around and tried to see all the big sights. We knew with only two days in each city that we wouldn't have enough time to do a lot. We wanted a taste of each city (London, Paris & Amsterdam).
on the damp streets of London
The second day we took a tour of London on a double-decker, red bus. I had a great time seeing the city and we learned a little, but I think the tour could have given a little more information. It wasn't as thorough as Chicago's river tour. Although to be fair, London has hundreds of years more history to share than Chicago. In that respect, I'm sure those tours are very difficult to put together.

Lock & Co.
oldest hatters in England, responsible for the bowler hat...made them for Charlie Chaplin

Victoria Tower on The Palace of Westminster
This was an amazing site!
Big Ben...I think it was recently renamed Elizabeth Tower.
I'm going to stick with Big Ben.


The highlight of London for me was Big Ben/The Palace of Westminster and the Tower of London. For the record, I do think that seeing the Crown Jewels (which are housed at the Tower of London) is overrated. There was no wait to see them since we went in the off-season. But, if I stood in line for any length of time to see some gold and a few crowns...I would have been a little upset with myself for wasting valuable time. I don't want that to sound disrespectful to any British folks and I'm sure it does. I'm sure there are things they feel the same about here...maybe the Liberty Bell or the Declaration of Independence. I will say that I've never seen jewels as large as the ones on the crown. I'm sure I never will, again. So there is that.

Hard Rock.
I thought it was funny that they made a huge deal that it originated in London; NOT AMERICA.
It was funnier when my mom looked it up and found out it was founded by two AMERICANS in London.

Buckingham palace wasn't too impressive either. (I mean look up Kinsington Palace or Windsor Castle and you can see what I mean). Compared to those places, it looks like a grey box. That being said, I didn't see the inside and I'm sure (like a lot of things in, Notre Dame...more on that later) that it is breathtaking.
Buckingham Palace

Wellington Arch

Wellington Statue
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Thankfully, there isn't much of a language barrier in England. I think the only confusion we had was regarding restrooms. They call them toilets (we never heard anyone call them a "loo") everywhere we went in Europe. I think 'toilet' sounds kind of gross. (I know that's my own hangup and kind of odd).

It was difficult to cross the street. I was continually looking the wrong way, but they do have the direction to look painted on most cross walks so that helped. About the time I got used to looking the correct way for oncoming traffic, we left for Paris. They drive on the same side of the road as the USA so traffic was coming from the way we were accustomed.

The London Eye

The London Eye

Waterloo Station...where we caught the train to Paris

you can see shrapnel markings from the WWII
close up of the shrapnel marks...

I have no idea why I took this, but it looks like a cool place

Tower Bridge...not London Bridge

Tower Bridge

The following pictures are all of the Tower of London. Probably the oldest thing we saw. Parts of it date back to 1078 and William the Conqueror. We tried to take a tour with a Beefeater, but he was a bit obnoxious and we had a hard time understanding him. We left his company and took our own tour. We were able to see the Bloody Tower that housed Anne Boleyn among others. We saw the Crown Jewels. We saw a tree that was used to hang hundreds of "traitors to the crown". We also heard the story of the murder of the two princes. Basically a lot of very dark, fascinating history.
the Tower of London

the obnoxious Beefeater

gates to get into the Tower of London.


  1. I'm so glad y'all had a good time!

  2. I really enjoyed all your pictures. These I probably will never see but I'm so glad you got to go and see far away places and experience history.

  3. Love your pictures. I have always wanted to go to Europe... Maybe Italy though. However your London & Paris shots have swayed me LOL! I am jealous of all the kid-free time too! :) Glad you guys got to enjoy.


Thanks for reading!