Thursday, September 29, 2011

England/France - Day 4 -Cambridge and Arrival at Charingworth Manor

The next morning we borrowed our friends car, braved driving on the Left side of the road (well, Wes did) and drove to Cambridge.  We stopped at Carluccio's for a treat - it took all my self control to not buy everything in the store!
Wes bought a raspberry meringue that became "the never-ending meringue."  He threw what was left of it away the day before we left to come home.
Cambridge is a lovely town!
We ran across an outdoor market.  We bought a scarf for Addie.  James bought some dates and figs!

King's Chapel at King's College.  Started in 1446 by Henry VI, it took over a century to build.  This may sound familiar because of the famous broadcast from this cathedral every Christmas Eve.

We spotted the missionaries!  Doesn't that lady looked thrilled about hearing the good news of the gospel?  Oh dear.  We waited around to speak to the missionaries and to make the typical Mormon network connections - but they were too engrossed in their discussion.
And besides...we had an appointment with Martin to go punting on the river Cam!

James, Becca, Poppy and Martin in the background.
Bridge over the rive Cam = "Cambridge"

We stopped for a tour of the inside of King's Chapel.  Extraordinary!
King's college in the background.  These buildings function as student housing, administration offices, dinner halls and meeting halls.
King's Chapel in the background.

We were losing daylight fast so we hopped in the car and started off towards the Cotswolds where we were to stay the night.  We stopped quickly for a peek at Warwick Castle.  We also drove through Stratford on Avon to see Anne Hathaway's house (Shakespeare's wife).  Unfortunately it was dark by then.
It was completely dark by the time we arrived at our destination - Charingworth Manor.  We could see the Manor in the distance - all lit up with twinkly lights as we drove the long and winding road.  But we really had no idea what to expect - "B&H" had made the arrangements for us.  The house was very old with stone floors and old timbers.  We were led up narrow staircases to two rooms at the very top of the house.  They both had pitched ceilings with exposed beams.  We could tell this place was cool!  Even though it was close to 9:00 pm - they sat us down in their restaurant where we had an incredible 3 course meal that was absolutely divine!  We slept very well that night.  We couldn't wait to see the Manor and the surrounding area when we woke in the morning!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

England/France - Day 3

We woke up the next morning to a beautiful blue sky!
This guard was falling asleep.  He eventually turned around and marched away.
Streets of London.
These traditional red phone booths were everywhere!
Westminster Abbey - site of the coronation of kings and queens since William the Conqueror in 1066 all the way to the current Queen Elizabeth; resting place of Elizabeth I, Edward the Confessor and many other royal men and women and also where Princess Diana's funeral was held.  We were able to see the coronation chair (which is behind glass under restoration) that has been used since King Edward I in 1300.  Up until 1996 the Stone of Scone (legend has it that Jacob/Israel rested his head on this stone) rested underneath the chair.

We then walked the Mall towards Buckingham Palace.  Here are the guards preparing for the Changing of the Guards.  They are standing in front of the Guards' Museum.
We could not believe the crowds in front of the Palace!  We couldn't really get close enough to see anything.
The Changing of the Guards starts with a parade of sorts.  First comes the band.
And then the guards come marching with their machine guns and bayonets.

Then came the horse guards.  We couldn't actually see any of the ceremony so we wandered through the park on our way to river Thames.
We saw some very interesting birds.
Wes and Big Ben.  We learned that Big Ben is the name of the bell - not the clock.
We took a river cruise to see the sites.
Poppy just being her cute self.
A peek at St. Paul's cathedral.

We picked up some shawarmas and falafel at LebanEats.
On the steps of St. Paul's - the cathedral where the royal weddings take place (and "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins).
Self-disinfecting public toilets - I actually never used them.

What would we have done without James, Wes and google maps?!
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the British Museum.

We spent most of our time in the exhibits from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.  This cuneiform tablet dates back to 1700 BC and describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world.  Hmmm.
This Egyptian man dates back to 3400 BC.  Yep - you read that correctly - 3400 BC!  And we thought the buildings we were seeing in London dating back to the 1200s were old!  His amazing preservation is due to the harsh desert climate of that region.
This Egyptian woman was mummified around 600 BC.

Mummified cats.
Many of the sarcophagi have been left unopened.  But CAT scans have revealed human remains inside.
This trinket made of pure gold is about the size of a quarter.
After the museum we went back to Covent Garden for a yummy Italian dinner.  Wes and I hurried to the Haymarket Theater for the evening performance of The Tempest with none other than...Ralph Fiennes!  Oh my - it was brilliant!
Another wonderful day in London!