I’ve been putting off writing this blog post for a week and a half. Not because I don’t want to tell you about all of the wonderful things we saw in London, but because with that trip also came heartache. By now all of my readers should know that we received some devastating news not 24 hours into our England trip. While I still pushed to enjoy our time there and tried my best to smile and laugh, my heart was breaking at the thought of coming home to an empty house… no more pitter patter feet across our hardwood floors, no more hidden dog bones under covers, no more sounds of excitement when I walk through the door.
It has been just over two weeks since my sweet Presley was called home, and I have yet to start feeling a sense of peace. When something is a constant in your life for so long, it’s hard to not dwell. I find myself tuning people out as they talk, because my mind is wandering to him. I’ll pick up my phone to respond to a message and instead click on my photo albums to see him. I’m just not ready to accept the reality of it. Presley was the epitome of this quote ” My dog does this amazing thing where he just exists and makes my whole life better because of it.” For now I guess I’ll be waiting on time to heal the wounds.
Aside from the black cloud of his passing hanging over us, we experienced some really great things in England… and a lot of rain! London was the top destination on Bobby’s list of places to see while we are residing in Italy; mine being Paris (side note: hoping for a trip during the Thanksgiving holiday!) Once we landed and made the trek into the city of London our first stop was none other than… a PUB! We all know I am not one for beer, and I have taken a liking to the beverages of choice here in Italy so while Bobby was enjoying his first pint of authentic English Ale, I found myself sipping on a Spritz Aperol. It seemed that every pub we went in, Bobby of course ordered something English while I ordered something Italian (including Prosecco!) Our first day we became aquatinted with the East End neighborhood we’d be staying in, and still managed to do a little tourist sightseeing as well. We saw the Tower Bridge, and Tower of London..and talk about great timing. Ceramic artist Paul Cummins has created 888,246 ceramic poppies that will progressively fill the Tower’s moat throughout this summer, ending on November 11. This piece of work is titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,” marking 100 years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in WWI. Seeing these poppies cascade from the side of the tower, and throughout the moat, was the most beautiful sight. The poppies are also for sale, with funds going to 6 different service charities. Even though the intentions of this was to represent the British fatalities during the war, I found myself having another reason for wanting a poppy of my own. The poppy is a symbol of sleep, peace and death… Well, we were at the Tower on Presley’s last day on earth- so I have purchased a “Poppy for Presley” and will receive it when the installation is complete in November.
Day one ended with dinner of Bobby’s choice… bet you’ll never guess what we had… CHIPOTLE! Poor guy has been excited about having a burrito since before we even booked the trip! I think he needs some stateside time.
We started our second day bright and early with London’s East End 4 hour walking food tour. I highly recommend this tour if you ever find yourself in London. Not only was our guide Hanna very knowledgeable, she was also theatrical and made the entire tour entertaining. We were able to experience some of London’s acclaimed best kept secrets, with 8 authentic tastings. This included the most amazing (and I mean it, we went back for seconds 3 days later) Old Spot Bacon Sandwich, Fish and Chips, a variety of English cheeses, Bread pudding, Ale and Cider at a local pub, a salted beef bagel, 3 different curries, traditional English tea and a salted caramel tart. My mouth is watering just thinking about it all! Did you know that some of the Nation’s finest Curry restaurants are in London, England? We surely didn’t, but now we know why! We spent the second half of our day enjoying the sights at Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street, Oxford Street, Covent Garden.
Day three started with a quick pit stop at Krispy Kreme, unfortunately it was only a kiosk so we didn’t get the real deal “melt in your mouth” donuts, but it was still delicious! We were able to see St. Paul’s cathedral, House of Parliament, Big Ben, and Wesminster Abbey before the sky fell out and we had to run for cover. Later in the day we enjoyed one of London’s newer attractions called “The London Dungeon.” This attraction is a walkthrough experience with a cast of theatrical actors and actresses set throughout several stages, scenes and rides. Each interactive show tells stories of the history of London, including Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper. At the end, you buckle in for the Drop Ride to Doom…we won’t talk about my dress flying up when they snapped the picture of us dropping down!
Day four was long, and exhausting but well worth it! We Started the morning with a tour of the Queen’s “favorite” home (or so we were told) Windsor Castle. While it was beautiful, I was mostly entertained by one of the guards. He was very obviously getting annoyed by several tourists that were huddling up against him to take photographs. Needless to say by his reactions, Bobby and I chose to snap a picture from afar! After Windsor Castle we took a 2 hour bus ride to the city of Bath, where we had a panoramic view of the hot springs and Roman Baths. We only had a short time allotted for our trip to Bath; although I’d love to go back- the town was absolutely stunning. Our trip ended with yet another 2 hour drive to Wiltshire England, where the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge is located. This monument was believed to be built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC , and consists of a ring of these massive standing stones set within the earths surface. This monument is literally out in the middle of no where, and to this day it cannot be explained as to how or why the stones were set there. One of our favorite meals was on our fourth night. We stopped at a local pub for Bangers and Mash, and Cottage Pie… for everyone that says English food in bland, you were just eating at the wrong places!
Our last full day in London also happened to be my birthday… Last one in my twenties..sigh! The day started off a bit rocky, as I got my brand new maxi skirt caught in the tube station’s escalator.. yep, I managed to do that! I’m still mad about ruining that skirt! Once we got past that hurdle we made our way over to the world’s famous department store, Harrods! I’ll just say it now, I could live in there!! The store takes over a 5 acre piece of land and is over one million square feet! It has over 300 departments and consists of 5 stories! The price tags where hefty (Bobby picked up a scarf for over 300 pounds) but the store was magnificent. They had a steakhouse, Asian restaurant, and Oyster bar among other eateries inside. You went from room to room filled with truffles, fruits, sandwiches..oh the list goes on. I was more in awe of the “grocery” area than anything. But don’t go into Harrods looking like a hot mess, you can and will be turned away! Bobby said he had to get me out of there before I lost all control! After experiencing my very own Heaven on Earth, we made a pit stop for a little Birthday Lunch…how does Champagne and Gourmet Hot dogs sound? Oh yes, it is possible! Welcome to Bubbledogs “A champagne bar that does not serve Caviar” instead…HOT DOGS! I had the Philly Cheez which consisted of sauteed onions, mushrooms, and peppers with a layer of cheese sauce- Bobby had the New Yorker, grilled sauerkraut and caramelized onions, he also added chili. I could not have asked for a better Birthday lunch!
Once our bellies were full, we made our way to the infamous London Eye. Now, if you know Bobby- he hates heights (and flying… ironic for someone in the Air Force!) I asked him several times before booking our tickets if he was sure he wanted to do it and each time he told me yes…. However, he had a different story when we physically got IN the London Eye! Thank goodness for the bench in the middle..where he sat for a good 27 minutes out of the 30 we were in there!! I myself enjoyed the 4D experience and 360* panoramic views. We also toured Buckingham Palace and went to the mall (what, you don’t go all the way to London and not go for a little mall shopping??!!!)
Overall it was a nice trip. We did have to invest in umbrellas half way through because we were tired of getting soaked..but it was well worth it. Next up, we will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary in Croatia- followed by my Mother and Grandmother coming to visit!!! We have Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice and Austria on our “to do” list, among other things.
Click here to see all of our London photos: