Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dave and LaDawn on the Road - England

Day 1-2 traveling-Sunday/Monday
We met up with a few others traveling from Cincinnati to London at the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Airport. It's a long and on this occasion a turbulent flight as we are thankful to be safe and sound on the ground in England. How exciting it was to step into the train station, luggage in tow and find our first poster displaying the play, Imagine This, we have all come so far to see at it's opening night celebration. A quick taxi ride from Victoria Station to our hotel finds us a firm mattress and soft pillows to rest our weary bodies upon for a short nap. We are saying at the Courthouse Hotel, which was at one time an actually jail and court house on the Great Marlborough Street in the area of London called Soho and Trafalgar Square.

Soho is renowned for the pleasures of the table, the flesh and the intellect since it was first founded in the late 17th century. Also known for London's most fashionable is continues to be considered the center of entertainment. The area has a wonderful cosmopolitan mix of people including a vast array of bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes and incredible shopping.

After a short nap we head out to explore our surrounds, grab some dinner and begin to take in the city. Regent Street just a 1/2 block from our hotel if delightfully decorated for Christmas with beautiful lights. The store windows are bursting with this season's most impressionable fashions. Window shopping is great.

Directly across from our hotel is Carnaby Street. During the 1960's this street was so much the center of swinging London that the Oxford English Dictionary coined the term meaning "fashionable clothing for young people". It continues to have a reputation for cutting-edge fashion. It too is decorated for the upcoming Christmas Season.

Day 3 Tuesday
After Dave completes his blog post - we are off to take in the city by daylight. Our destination is Westminster Abbey a few miles from our hotel. We will walk the distance and enjoy the fresh yet cool air. The rain of yesterday is beginning to stop and temperature is in the mid to lower 40's.

Westminster Abbey is world famous as the resting place for Britain's monarchs and for the coronation of their royalty. It has the most impressive collection of medieval architecture in London. While 1/2 national church and 1/2 national museum the church is homes to hundreds of tombs. The incredible Lady Chapel which was consecrated in 1512 left Dave and I both breathless at the beautiful vaulted ceiling. The octagonal Chapter House with amazing stained glass windows and incredible tiled floor from the 13th century was also breathtaking to behold. But nothing can truly compare to the beauty and opulence of the Abbey and High Alter area where William the Conqueror held his coronation - get this in 1066! Amazing. Unfortunately, and much to our disappointment, NO photographs were permitted inside the church. This is a must see for any visitor to London.

From Westminster Abbey we were just minutes away from Big Ben. This impressive clock is the largest in Britain and has kept exact time for the nation since it was first set in motion in 1859. This certainly is a symbol of Britain and the chimes ring daily on BBC radio. Then a short walk across the park to the Thames River.

As the days are quite short this time of year we decided to start the few miles back to our hotel. We walked along the Houses of Parliament office buildings with their impressive statutes and incredible architecture. While be both agreed the city is nearly as exciting as Paris - it is an amazing display of history within the buildings, monuments and displays.

Our walk back took us to Trafalgar Square. This area buzzes both day and night with crowds enjoying the restaurants, theatres and night clubs. This is also the home of the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery which we plan to take in another day. The beautiful fountains and statues are truly impressive. We decide to explore this area a little more and soon find ourselves in Chinatown. The streets are filled with restaurants, shops selling oriental produce and strange aroma-filled shops. Zorro is playing at a local theatre so we decide to catch dinner within the area and stay to enjoy the production of Zorro. We finally arrived back to the hotel at 11:30 pm. We are filled with excitement as we truly had a full day of adventure, sightseeing, and flavors of the city. Slightly tired from all the walking, we estimate between 8-10 miles today, we are pleasantly surprised that our hotel has taken a BIG step in changing to a Hilton property, Doubletree to be exact, and we have awaiting in our room 4 chocolate chip cookies. A perfect ending to a wonderful day!! -LaDawn

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