What a fabulous vacation! I got back from London yesterday. I'm pretty sure that my last trip there was in September 2003 but it's possible that I went again in 2003 or early 2004. Either way, it's been too long. I really love London but after a week I do miss having some space! It's a very crowded city with a great subway system. I cannot imagine what they city will be like during the Olympics next year. They are working hard to get the city ready and people are really excited about it.
I was busy all day, every day. I wanted to make sure I could see and do everything that I possibly could. I'll list at the end of the post everything but first want to share the 2 big highlights.
On Monday I went to Bath and met up with Angela. You might remember that Angela is the person responsible for me finishing that stupid cat cross stitch. She has a treasure trove of her Mom's unfinished cross stitch projects. She was working on a very large lion project and I used that as the motivation to finish my own UFO. She even brought her tiger project for me to see and it was beautiful! She also brought me some fabulous British gifts including a great cross stitch heart shaped British flag.
She toured me all around the beautiful city of Bath, including a few hours in the Roman baths and a tour of the Jane Austen museum. YOu can see by the photo that we are pretty windblown! We were getting the remnants of the Katia hurricane but that didn't damper our fun.
Two days later I had the pleasure of meeting up with Karol-Ann and Kate. I had the pleasure of meeting Kate last year when she was visiting family in the US and it was great to see her again. I had never met Karol-Ann before so I was thrilled when she offered to come to London to visit.
We decided to meet in my favorite museum, the V&A. We didn't actually see much in the museum, we preferred to relax in the courtyard and, later, in a local cafe and chat. Anne we chatted....for hours! But to prove that we were in the museum, we selected the sculpture gallery for a group photo!
I've said it before and I'll say it again. You really can get to know people well through blogging. Meeting them was like meeting up with old friends and it marked 2 great days of my vacation.
(You'll notice how crappy my hair looks in both of these photos. I decided a few months ago to let my hair grow out. It's at that hideous awkward stage at the moment. If I can tolerate getting there, I think I will like it longer.)
I didn't take a lot of photos because there are som may great photos on the web of historical places that I didn't feel I could do any better. But I took a few and will share them over the next few weeks in my Saturday posts. But here's one that I took in the V&A. It's a jacket that was in the shop for 350 pounds. That's about $550 US. I REALLY want to make a coat like this. I think I will do some sort of small project to work up a technique and see how it goes before I jump into a large project.
Here's close up of the appliqued circles. What do you think?
It reminds me of the "slow cloth" that I see periodically around the web.
To wrap up my vacation post, here's the list of the things I saw and did during my fabulous vacation:
Saturday, Sept. 10
- Of course, I had to start with a trip to buy groceries because I still have allergies even on vacation! We stayed in flats in the city a block from Lloyd's of London
- Covent Garden, where we bought some great metal stamps and I found 2 sterling silver rings
- Walked to Tottenham Court and Oxford Street
- Liberty of London, where Anne bought fabric and trim
- dinner at the flat and drinks at a sky bar at a nearby hotel (with Wi-Fi access so I could check on the Virginia Tech game from my Droid)
Sunday, Sept 11
- Buckingham Palace tour where we saw Kate's dress and saw a video on some of the construction used in the dress - wonderful!
- Walk around Kensington and window shopping on Sloan Street
- More shopping in Covent Garden
- After dinner visit to an American Sports bar to watch some NFL football
Monday, Sept 12
- Visit Bath to meet Angela where we toured the Roman Baths, Jane Austen Museum and visited Sally Lunn House, Royal Crescent, Putney Bridge and relaxed in the Parade Gardens.
Tuesday, Sept 13
- Visted mt friend Laura at her home in Southend-on-Sea in Essex. We visited her SIL, father and drove all around the area.
Wedesnday, Sept 14
- Went to the V&A to meet Kate and Karol-Ann. I got there a little early and checked out the glass, pottery and architecture galleries before I met up with Karol-Ann. After Kate arrived we went through the Power of Making exhibit and then spent the rest of the day talking.
- I had to go to a grocery store almost every day (because I can't eat in restuarants). After we split up I found the one Whole Foods in all of London and was thrilled to finally find almond butter!
Thursday, Sept. 15
- St. Pauls Cathedral - I had never visited St Paul's on any of my previous visits. It's spectacular and very moving. I even took the 250+ steps up to the Whispering Gallery. The walk up wasn't a problem at all but I couldn't handle the height and turned around and came back down almost immediately. I can't imagine walking up to the next 2 levels.
- From St. Paul's I walked over to the Tate Modern to see if I still had not "matured" enought to appreciate modern art. I liked a few pieces but, mostly, I still do not get it.
- Walked along the river back to toward the Tower and crossed London Bridge to head back to the City. That evening I met up with some former co-workers for drinks.
Friday, Sept. 16
- British Library - If you every visit London, please take some time to visit the British Library in King's Cross. This is where you will find an amazing collection of historical documents. I went there because I happened to be readying a booka bout fonts and it mentioned that one of the original prints of the Guttenberg Bible is in the British Library. I changed my plans just to go see that one document. I not only saw that, but I also saw the original documents of the Magna Carta, a Jane Austen original manuscript, the Codex Sinaiticus and many other early biblical texts, illuminated religious texts from many different religions and the original score of the Messiah (Handel). It was amazing to see 1500 year old documents written on papyrus and so many other important documents. While in the area I checked out the beautiful St. Pancras terminal and the St. Pancras hotel.
- In the afternoon Anne and I visited the British Museum. We've both been there many times before so we dicided to check out some of the less popular exhibits and found lots of interesting thigns in the clocks/watches exhibit and in the jade exhibit.
Saturday, Sept. 17
- The day started at Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill. After a few hours buying treasures there we headed back to the City and the nearby sky bar for afternoon drinks.
- We started teh evening at The Old Vic for opening night of Playboy of the Western World. We had great seats, the acting was very good and so was the set. The story wasn't one of our favorites but it was enjoyable.
- We ended the evening and our trip with one last visit to the local American sports bar to watch some college football.
The trip home Saturday was, happily, uneventful! I think my 2-hour nap this afternoon took care of my jet lag. Tomorrow I get back to my normal programming.