Still Exploring the Lands...

Well, everyone, here goes the second part of London Trip 2011. Better late than never, right?!
I apologize now for not being detailed with this post. I am certain details have dissolved, and I won't be able to remember every name, place, or activity involved in the pictures. But, you can gaze at the pretty images.

Venture with me as I test my memory --

I believe I left the last post with Sunday's walking tour around Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben. This brings me to Monday.

We started the morning at a local place called Tom's Kitchen. Let me just preface this picture saying I had never had Eggs Benedict prior to this trip. This was my second time eating this, and I enjoyed every bite.

Okay, that's not entirely true. After cutting into the egg, I may have been a little apprehensive to eat an egg with orange yolk.

Call me an American, but it took me a few bites with my eyes closed before I could accept this egg. Not only did it look different, but eggs really do taste different in England. But, I decided I really do like Eggs Benedict!

This day was one of my favorites. It may have been my favorite part of the trip. After a few days in the fast-pace city, we were headed out of town to the country. We had a Tea waiting for us at Down Hall in Hatfield Heath.

Isn't this site breath-taking??

I loved it from the moment we crept up the gravel drive. Enjoy these few pictures of the beautiful flowers.

Ah, the scenery!

After getting our rooms, we had a Tea waiting for us.

But that was just the half of it! My favorite part was the games that followed. First we sat watching Margaret and Cristen play life size Chess (I would have played... but I never learned how), while the nice hotel men set up our game of Croquet.

We had a friend join us.

After our first round of BORING.. Cristen and I decided to make it interesting. Now, I don't have any pictures of the going-through-the-bushes shots or other challenges we created, but this under-the-table shot generated quite the frustrations. :)

The second under-the-table shot.

This was all for show. We had to entertain ourselves somehow.

After our few games, we played life-size Connect Four before heading out to dinner.

Not knowing the area, we asked the taxi cab driver if he had a recommendation. He took us to Thatcher's Free House (which, if I remember correctly, is another name for "Pub".[I forget all the details]).

After dinner it was back to Down Hall where we ended our night with cappuccinos.

Tuesday was our journey through Cambridge. We traveled the river surrounding The University of Cambridge. Before I go on, let me just admit, I listened the best I could on this next event, but without having pen and paper I could not tell you what all these places were.
We went Punting along <insert river name here> around the different dormitories, buildings and colleges. Here are a few pictures to prove I was there, lacking the verbal memories to tell.

We sat in these boats while a guide stood on the flat surface in the front holding a pole. They dropped the pole straight down into the water and pushed off the bottom of the river. It maybe had a rock bottom? (See, the details!! Where did they go?!)

Again, I'm sorry I don't remember what each of these buildings are, but maybe this will persuade you to explore! :) Yeah, that's it. That was my plan all along -- tease you with pictures so that you desire to see and find out for yourself.

We grabbed food and shopped in the market outside of the college. For additional proof of visiting, I bought Kevin a shirt and a hoodie for me.

Our day continued with dinner at an Indian restaurant Cristen suggested and then to Phantom of the Opera! Loved seeing this in London. The set was amazing, and the singing was phenomenal. (The following week I was going with my mom, Miss Kim, and Aunt Debi to see Phantom in New York City. Fun to compare!)

With two days left, I only have about two more pictures to share. Sorry I did not take more, but I will fill you in with the events that drew our trip to a close.

Wednesday was a long awaited day. We had a trip through Buckingham Palace. It was here that I decided I wanted to become rich and be able to decorate the floors, walls, ceilings, and corners of my future houses with delicate details in every inch of space. We were not allowed to take pictures while inside, but I was able to capture a few (not so good) pictures of the back porch!

Look at that perfect mowing job!!

It was so nice of the family to go away for a bit and let us come over and house-sit for a couple hours.

I was so excited to get to the gift shop to buy a special "Luxury Hand Wash" from Buckingham Palace. My mom has this soap in her guest bathroom, and I have loved the scent from the first sniff. Sadly, they have decided to discontinue that particular scent, and they were out of the lotion. But! I was able to get a couple bottles of soap, one for me and a refill for my mom.  (Later, I received a couple candles from Santa!)
After Buckingham Palace, we had lunch at Pizza Express then headed to Parliament Square to shop around. Here are a few other notes I jotted down in my planner for this day:

-National Gallery for Cream Tea
-Covet Garden (shops)
-Cantina Loredo

SO many activities and only one brain to remember! I guess this means I need to go back and "refresh my memory!"

Well, Thursday was the last day or exploration for this crew, and how we ended was like this:

Jak's for breakfast. The V&A Museum. Harrod's for Afternoon Tea. Cocomala's. Dinner at Coopers Arms.

That brings our trip to an end. Fun-filled and action-packed, this trip was one to remember. So many sites to see and historical buildings to learn. Just when you think you've seen enough, another beautiful place presents itself. God's creativity makes this world so enticing to explore.

No matter where we're from, we always have something in common...