Hampton Court Palace

In 1494, Giles Daubeney, later Lord Chamberlain, leased and modernized the medieval manor of Hampton Court.  So, 113 years before the founding of Jamestown, Hampton Court Manor was being modernized.  That’s so hard for this American girl to really process. Then in 1515, 500 years ago, having leased the property the year before, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

Strolling Westminster

On Wednesday, after the Changing of the Horse Guard, we took a purposeful walk.  I wanted to see Big Ben from Westminster Bridge.  The iconic view. It was a little crazy, and was the first time here that I thought – this is the perfect place to be pick-pocketed.  I even paused at one point

London Family History

Today, we went in search of a piece of my family history.  The story goes like this… During WWII, my grandfather, Garland Earl, was stationed in London.  When I told that to our Fat Tyre Bike Tour guide, he immediately asked if he was part of the something-or-other corps.  I had never heard of whatever

The Queen’s Life Guard: Horse Guards in London

Updated May 2022: The Queen’s Life Guard Changing of the Horse Guards in London, and other ceremonies daily. All you need to know to go!

Harry Potter Studio Tour

Ok, I admit it, I had real doubts about whether this would be worth taking a whole day out of our time in London.  In fact, several times I took it off our itinerary to make room for other things.  I mean, a whole day??  Especially when we have seen the Wizarding World of Harry

The Tower of London

Visiting the Tower of London has been at the top of my list of things to see since we first talked about this trip.  There is so much history tied up in the buildings.  Famous and infamous residents from the time of William the Conqueror, up through Henry the VIII, to a prisoner during the

London: Fat Tyre Bike Tour

Sunday, our first full day here, I specifically planned to do the Royal London Fat Tyre Bike Tour.  They had been recommended by a friend from her trip to Paris, and are really highly rated on the travel sites, so I thought it was worth a shot.  Then, I also read how it was good

The Coal Hole

After our crypt lunch, we went back to the room to rest for a while.  We didn’t want to really fall asleep, but get enough rest that we could stay up until bedtime.  Then we ran errands for the apartment necessities, and decided to walk Strand in search of somewhere interesting to have dinner. We

London: Cafe in the Crypt

We arrived in London, and after taking the picture-perfect gated lift to our flat (ok, I took it with our bags, that’s all that fit!) settled in to our London ‘home’.    I’ll do an apartment post later – those photos are still on Scott’s laptop, and I can only transfer the photos one at

Dulles to London, and scary birds in between!

Well, this is what we are taking.  These bags, and the four of us headed off on our European Tour.  I’m not even going to attempt the math, but many hours later we arrived at London Heathrow around noon London time.  We were tired to the point of a bit punchy and confused, but we

Travel with Kids: Expectations

I’ve been thinking a lot about managing my expectations over the past few days.  Mostly because I’m so very excited about this trip, and in some ways I have really HIGH hopes for how awesome it’s going to be.  I LOVE travel.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Hubby and I are already booking a trip for June

Reading: Paris

I have less I’m reading for Paris.  Mostly because originally this trip was going to be London, and then Paris came along.  Actually originally this trip was going to be Ireland… it’s complicated.  Anyway, our Paris stay is also a bit shorter than London stay, so I’ve not gone as crazy with the reading.  

Reading: London

Well, I might as well confess right now. I’m a hopeless travel reading, studying, planning nerd.  And when it comes to travel, it’s a sickness. Seriously.  I mean, I own travel books for places we have no plans of visiting.  It just came up in conversation at one point, I got curious what it would

London, Paris, Bruges… Oh my!

A KEY arrived in the mail today!  I just held it and grinned like an idiot, because this key is to an apartment in PARIS!  That’s right, Paris!  Ah, Paris in the springtime… We are finally close enough to this trip to get a KEY in the MAIL!  I’m considering having it surgically attached to


Fernweh.  I stumbled across this word recently, and I LOVE it.  It’s my new favorite word.  Fernweh.  It sounds, to me, vaguely Celtic, and with the soft ending, wistful.  Which is kind of fitting. Fernweh literally means “farsickness” or a “longing for distant places” and I’ve also heard it described as being sad and discontent

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