01 September 2014

London Taxi Tour

LondonTaxiTour

My friend, Robyn suffers from fibromyalgia, so tromping through the streets of London was not an option for her.  I ended up pushing her a bit in the end (I felt horrible), she was a trooper!

As I mentioned in my previous post, we both had originally considered a bus tour.  Years ago Jerry and I took a bus tour and loved it.  Once I discovered that taxi tours existed, Robyn was all kinds of excited!!  

I contact 2 different taxi tour guides and David from Love London Taxi Tours worked out with our time schedule.  


I'm so glad he did, he was incredible!! His Trip Advisor reviews support that with nothing but excellent ratings!  Accommodating, fun, informative and I felt like we were fast friends in the end!

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The London taxi driver test, known as "The Knowledge," initiated in 1865 has changed little since.  It is amongst one of the most difficult tests in the world.  Cabbie wanna-bes need to know no fewer than 320 routes, 25,000 streets and approximately 20,000 places of interest.  It can take a few years to prepare just to take the test.  Even further testing must be done to become a taxi tour guide and a certificate is awarded upon completion.  It's like a London Intersect in your brain (any Chuck fans out there?).
  
We met up right before the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.  David dropped us off for a few minutes to bump our way through the crowd to catch a glimpse of the ceremonies.  It's a crazy place to be!

Look at those crowds!!

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Robyn wanted a close up of a Queen's Guard.  David took us just around the corner to St James Palace and we happened upon a changing of the guard.

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I giggled a bit when seeing the guy on the left (below).  I can't imagine he could see very well!

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 Just around the corner is Pickering Place.

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This courtyard, said to be the tiniest in Britain, is packed full of history.  Once home of the Republic of Texas' embassy and the last duel was fought here!!

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We took a 3 hour tour, stopping to get photos.  Such a great way to see a lot in a short time.

LondonCollage

LondonMonuments

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A dragon boundary marker near The Tower of London.

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The dragons mark the boundary of the City of London, where gates to the City once stood.  Did you know there is London, or Greater London and then the City of London, or the "City" or also known as the "Square Mile" which is a county of London and houses a large trade & financial district.

We ended our tour at Covent Garden.

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If you're interested in a tour of London with David, you can choose from a wide variety of tours.  From a Harry Potter to a Secret Tour, from an all day tour to a day trip to Stonehenge/Windsor or Hampton Court.  I don't think you will be disappointed!

This was my first time in a London taxi.  What about you?  Have you ridden in one of London's great taxis or want to come do just that??

28 August 2014

A Friendly Visit

Robyn was my roommate right before I got married.  We left college at the same time, headed to the big "D," (Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex), rented an apartment together and ended up working at the same place.

Since moving to the other side of the world we've only seen each other a few times, so it was a real treat to have her stay with us for a week!

We did lots of late night chats and catching up.  We did a fair share of sightseeing too.


You can't come to this part of England and not see the white cliffs.

Seven Sisters & Beachy Head

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Robyn's family have been tracing their roots and been able to link their family to an English Manor in Lancashire County called "The Holme."  Unfortunately the hall is in ruins from arson 10 years ago.  Hopefully one day it will get the love it needs and be restored.


Lancashire has some beautiful countryside!!

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On our way home from Lancashire we took a detour to have dinner in Bath with a quick walk around town.

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Such a beautiful place!

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Robyn suffers from fibromyalgia which makes it difficult for her to do long stints of walking.  We knew we needed to be creative in a day trip to London.  We originally thought the hop on hop off buses would be a good option.  In doing some research I learned of private taxi tours that can be hired with various tour options.  She was excited about riding around London in a taxi and it turned out to be a blast!!  I'll tell you more about that in another post.

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Robyn loves gardens, so we took her to our local lovely garden, Nymans.

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On her last full day we headed to Stonehenge.

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We just missed the grand opening of the neolithic houses.  They are so neat!  I can't wait to get back and see more!

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We had such a great time with Robyn and miss her already!

I'll be back to share the full details of our London taxi tour next time.  Stay tuned!!


22 August 2014

Highlights of Summer 2014

Tap, tap!  Is this thing on?!

Hi ya!!

Did you miss me?  Did you think I wasn't coming back??  It has been awhile!!

Life has been busy.  Birthday parties,



a friend's visit,



an early anniversary trip to Portugal,


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and the end of school and trying to keep 3 kids entertained through these weeks of Summer.




 In all honesty, I lost my blogging mojo there for awhile too.  In time, it always seems to return.  So, here I am!

This is just a highlight.  I'll be back soon to share more!

Have a happy weekend!

22 May 2014

London Bloggers Tea

This past Saturday I made my way into London to join up with 20-something bloggers to enjoy an afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel.

It was nice to see some familiar faces, like Sunny in London.


I've been following Dannielle at ChicaDeeDee for awhile now, this was the first time we got to meet.


I got to chat with a few others, but I didn't take many pictures.

I did manage to get a few of the food.



I love scones, clotted cream and jam!



Now for the hard part.  Oh how I hate to give a bad review, but I have to be honest, it was not my favorite.

The London Tube had some station closures delaying people's arrival, but we were served almost an hour after our start time.

The bland sandwiches were no longer chilled, the scones were hard and crumbly and the desserts were just ok.

Typically their afternoon tea has an array of teas to choose from.  I guess when you book a private party room, you don't get the choices.  We only had the option of English Breakfast or Earl Grey.  Fine by me, but others mentioned they would have liked to try some of the other flavors. 

The company was great, but the tea was a bit disappointing.  Here's to next time! Have a great weekend!!


20 May 2014

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

My friends and I had a gorgeous day at Leeds Castle last week!

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Known as the "The Loveliest Castle in the World," Leeds is definitely an impressive place with it's extensive grounds, waterfalls, it's own golf course and beautiful interior.  Steeped in a rich history spanning over 900 years.

From the parking area you take a lovely walk (or mobility bus) through the grounds.

WaterfallsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

GroundsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

GroundsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

There is so much to look at, as you can see, even before you get to the castle!  Then these beautiful structures come into view!

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

As you step inside, there is even more to "oooh" and "aaah" over!

LeedsHalls, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

BedroomsLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

LivingRoomsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

QueensBath, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

RoomsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

GreatHallLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

A piano player and fresh flowers throughout the castle sure do add to the atmosphere!

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

After perusing through the castle we made our way beyond the castle where there is an impressive maze and grotto.

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

You can even take a segway tour!

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

The price to get into the castle may seem steep at £21, however, your ticket is good for a year.  A friend graciously let me borrow her tickets for my friends and I.

Do you like exploring castles?

Linking up with Bonnie, Kaelene, Van & Sammy for Travel Tuesday

Travel Tuesday