Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baker Street and Abbey Road..

Today was supposed to be a relaxing, non-eventful day. We had crossed most of the things off our list and were going to spend most of the day in our fabulous hotel.

Got up early and and went for a run.

Ran by all the major sites and even found some new ones that I hadn't seen yet. It was very cool to run around and see so many historical sites. I ran on pavement, I ran on grass, I ran on gravel, I ran on cobblestone streets, I ran in front of places, I ran by castles, I ran along narrow streets that normal cars couldn't drive down and across some of the most famous bridges in the world. It was the most cultured 6 miles I've ever run.

After getting back to the hotel and taking a shower, I decided there were 2 more things that I wanted to see. I told Jeannie she could stay and relax, but she elected to go with me. She would regret that later in the day.

The first place we went to was easy to find. It was 221b Baker Street.



The home to Sherlock Holmes.






The Tube station had all kinds of Holmes decorations in it.


It was fun to see them pick up the theme and run with it.



There were also all kinds of signs pointing the way.



We went into the store and it was very cool.












Afterward, we went and had a nice English lunch. Jeannie got the Englishman's Breakfast. An egg, roasted tomato, mushrooms sausage, back bacon, toast, beans and a hashbrown.



We then set out to find Abbey Road. Abbey Road is, of course, home to Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded their albums and the site of one of their most famous album covers.

I looked it up ahead of time and everyone said it was tricky to find. We walked down Circus Road, but couldn't find the Abbey Crossroad anywhere.

I looked on my map, but couldn't figure out why I couldn't find it. With no gps or internet, we were really having a tough time. A woman came up and asked us what we were looking for and to our relief, gave us directions.

Unfortunately, she sent us in the complete wrong direction.

Finally, I found a wi-fi signal and google maps showed me where to go.

However, it was also wrong.

Frustrated, we trudged along. We had found the Abbey Road, we just couldn't find the studio or the crosswalk. Making it worse was the fact that London went into daylights savings time last night. By 5pm, it was completely dark.

Finally, after searching for it for 90 minutes we found it.









Look at the photo below. It kind of looks like the ghost of George Harrison is about to pass by me.


We took the obligatory crossing the crosswalk photos and headed back to the tube so we could finally get back to our hotel.

As we walked back I saw what the problem had been. In a couple different spots, Abbey Road becomes Grove End Road and/or West End Lane and/or Quex Road.

What was supposed to have been a quick trip to see 2 fun sites turned into an all day affair.

Glad we did it though.

Before going to the hotel we stopped to get some snacks. I love British candy bars. They have great names.









Sometimes they just want to keep it simple.


It's a snack!

Sometimes your candy bar is so fun, it's an all out picnic.



This one probably tastes like whisky, dusty shoes and urine.



Love it.

Tomorrow, we fly back to Chicago. We'll be home late tomorrow night.

It's been an awesome trip.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We went to Paris on Saturday. It was gifted to us by Becca Lulinski, Sara and Nick Hale, Jaclyn DiLauro, Jen Shepherd and alarrance Fingerhut, Melissa Griggs, Jeni Yantis and Craig and Leigh Uhlir.

We had to be up early for our trip. We woke up at 4:45am so that the shuttle could take us to the St. Pancreas Station to catch the Eurostar.



We were a part of a tour and our tourguide was a french girl named Charlotte.



Imagine the most stereotypical French accent and voice that you can think of. That's how Charlotte spoke. Jeannie was obsessed.

The train from London to Paris took just under 2 hours and 14 minutes. We arrived at the Gar du Nord station and was immediately driven on a tour of Paris.














After the bus tour, we took a boat tour down the River Seine.









It was really fantastic. Look, there's Notre Dame.


After the river tour, Charlotte whisked us past the extremely long lines waiting to get into the Eiffel Tour and immediately took us to the first observation level.



I really don't like going on any type of sightseeing trips with a tourgroup, but this is one of those times when a tourgroup and tourguide just can't be beat. We were able to go to the front of every line at every place we went.



Charlotte swept us into the restaurant on the 1st observation level and we sat down and had a nice lunch on the Eiffel Tower. We even had a window seat all to ourselves.



You just can't beat that.

After lunch we walked the stairs up to the second level. It was much higher and had some spectacular views of Paris.








We spent about 3 hours eating, walking around and playing on the Tower.












We spent another hour on the ground underneath the Tower as well.






From there we went to the Louvre.



We had the option of going in the museum or walking around on our for a couple of hours. We took the time to go out on our own to explore.

I know it sounds crazy that we didn't go into the Louvre, but we only had 2 hours and it seemed crazy to try to see everything in that gigantic museum in such a short amount of time.

With our free time, we walked around and tried to experience part of the city.






We stopped at one of the cafe's and sat down for some coffee and dessert.


Jeannie had an assortment of macaroons and I had crepes.









Jeannie felt very cosmopolitan.



After our sit down at the cafe, we stopped in at a couple of shops before heading back to meet up with our group. We then took the short train ride back to London. Here's the thing about Jeannie, we've been getting up early and running around so much that anytime Jeannie sits down for longer than 5 minutes, she nods off. She nodded off a couple times on the bus and the train.


It was an exciting, fabulous day. It was surreal eating lunch on the Eiffel Tower.

I don't know that I ever thought I would see it in person, let alone spend 3 hours walking around and eating and having fun on it.












The whole day seems pretty unbelievable.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad