It Would Be Rude Not To
12.30.2010 - 01.18.2011 55 °F
We arrived in London after a quick but lovely jump across the channel. We were a little worried for our flight because of the recent snowy weather but everything had cleared in time for us to leave Paris. We were planning on catching the tube and train to Sam’s place but when we arrived we saw a recognizable bald head peering over the rail as we exited customs. We were graciously greeted by Sam for a personal escort to his home on the local bus. It was a joy to see a close friend after such a long trip of new faces and locations.
Catching up took no time; sharing our travel stories and remembering the time we enjoyed in Tampa together. We stayed with Sam at his parent’s who were running the “Prior Hostel” as we began to call it. With the mass number of people fitting in one home it rightfully deserved such a name; including his parents, brother, sister, Sam, Jana his girlfriend, her two friends from Germany, and us.
Jen and I purchased a weekly train/tube pass at a hefty cost so we made sure to travel into London each and every day. Being New Years Eve the next day the girls needed to do some shopping for the big night and I took the opportunity to spiff up my wardrobe with some new boots, compliments to the ‘rents for the Christmas money. We were given a short tour of some of the sights by our lovely tour guide, Mr. Sam Prior. Visiting the main attractions along the river Thames, we were enlightened by his extreme knowledge of local history and not so local facts. With the New Year peeking around the corner we planned to welcome it in with Power Ballads at one of the local clubs.
- Disclaimer – Please be warned! This video contains flashing lights and some snogging. Anyone not comfortable with that or has a history of seizures, please do not watch.*
The night finally ended around 5:00 a.m. after a long train/taxi ride home. We hope everyone had a great New Years at home! We would love to hear your stories of what you did for the New Year and maybe some resolutions for the year.
The majority of the time spent in London included day trips into the city and evenings in Cheam. Cheam is the cute and quaint town where Sam lived. We visited the obvious big sites including the Eye, London and Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the Stables Market, the Natural History Museum, and the Gherkin.
Eye See You
This Bridge is Not Falling Down
Ben and Jen
If anyone visits London they must see the Tate Modern. We spent an afternoon there and were simply amazed by the artwork. In an old turbine factory, the setting is just amazing.
We also enjoyed another guided tour by Sam, with the help of his dog, of Cheam which included some lovely parks and “the oldest building in…the world”….ha ha, not so sure about that one, but we appreciate Sam’s effort.
It Looks a Bit Wonky
Right Out of a Harry Potter Film
The last day was quite full and included a nice city bus ride around the city which was only dampened by the rainy weather outside and a failed attempt to find platform 9 and ¾. We’re planning on a revisit when we return to London before we leave for home.
After visiting so many countries with different languages and cultures, London felt a little bit like home. I’m not saying it’s the same as the U.S. by no means, but there are lots of similarities. The English still use a whole gambit of different words (cheers, wonky, rubbish, etc.) and eat more pie and pudding than anyone on earth. We’re referring to the kind of pie that’s filled with meat and puddings that don’t have chocolate in them. We definitely enjoyed our share of the local fare including: fish and chips, meat pies, Yorkshire puddings, and bitter beers. We really enjoyed being in the city; another plus to London, most of the museums are free to enter.
With our time in London winding down for now we made plans for our last month of travel. We had extended our trip a month and were deciding on either Scotland or Ireland for the future. After arranging a few more HelpXs our decision was made and we were heading to Ireland in about a week and a half. We headed further west in England to visit my second cousin’s home in Camberley after some long goodbyes at the Prior Hostel.
Whilst (I am practicing my British English) in England we travelled to Camberley to visit Alec’s second cousin, Heather, and her family. Heather prepared a lovely dinner for us and we shared some drinks and conversation until the wee hours of the morning that first night together. The next day, Heather’s husband, Steve, drove us all the way to Windsor so we could check out the castle and the surrounding town. The following day was spent lounging around and also included a trip into Camberley. That evening we took a walk through the woods to a lookout where we could see the skyline of London in the distance.
I'm Here To See the Queen
Heather and Steve were so good to us during our stay and we were happy to get to spend some time with them. Lucky for us we will be staying a couple more days with them at the very end of our trip!
We participated in our second HelpX of the trip in a small town called Frome. It was a funky little town that was a mecca for artists. Lucky for us, Frome was located close to both Bath and Stonehenge so we made a couple of day trips on our weekend off (with the help of “Betty”….no not Alec’s mom, but the local Frome car share ride).
Betty When You Call Me You Can Call Me Al
The time spent working in Frome was divided between odd jobs at our hosts’ house and the old Silk Mill that they were converting into artist studios and a gallery. We enjoyed a lot of good food during our stay including fresh baked bread and homemade jams, fresh eggs (from the hens in the garden), curry, and sticky toffee pudding. Kate, Damon, Dickon, and Francis were absolutely lovely and we enjoyed sharing many interesting conversations. We hope to see them again someday maybe in America this time so that Francis can, and I quote, “stuff his face full of Lucky Charms!”
The Moores....Minus One, Plus One
The Lucky Charms Addict
Attempt #1.....Don't Worry Attempt #2 Worked
So now we are off to Ireland to start wrapping up our trip. Stay tuned!