Posts Tagged ‘UK’

20
Dec

Stonehenge!

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

20 December 2015

Stonehenge with Bird in Flight

Kyle and the Babes. Day Four.

One word understood the world over:  Stonehenge!

It was not in our original plan to visit Stonehenge on this trip.  But, about three weeks ago, trip plans were being bantered about one night at faire, and Roxy said she really wanted to see Stonehenge.  Nobody should come all the way across the ocean and not get to do something that’s at the top of their list of important. And, really — who needs much of an excuse to visit a World Heritage site that many lists include as a Wonder of the World?

We started our day with a wonderful full English breakfast at our hotel.  Then, we did our best to second guess the weather we’d encounter on the Salisbury Plain, and set off to fulfill Roxy’s wish.  Unfortunately, Mandi didn’t feel well this morning and felt it might be best if she opted to stay in and rest. We missed her, but since her hunch turned into a full-blown migraine– and she was feeling better by late this afternoon– she obviously made the right decision.

So Kyle and Roxy and MaritaBeth made our way to one of the most famous places in the world–and we had a blast!  We took loads of photos, got a little bit silly, and even got caught in a quintessential British rainstorm! We enjoyed souvenir shopping, and perusing the exhibit at the Visitor’s Center.  One fun highlight in particular:  the current special exhibit entitled “Wish You Were Here.”  As early as 1836 Stonehenge was a popular tourist site complete with a guidebook. And this exhibit artfully presents that side of this famous place. Postcards from decades of visitors, souvenirs ranging from clothing to china to decks of cards, examples of Stonehenge as pop art in comics and record albums, all help to show that not only is Stonehenge important geologically and historically, but that it continues to be important sociologically.  And it continues to be a fun, amazing place to visit.

Salisbury Plain Goof That’s my guy!

From Salisbury Plain we headed further afield with an eye on Avebury.  Specifically, we wanted to have a late lunch at The Red Lion–the only pub in the world located within a neolithic stone circle.  The food was exceptionally good and as the sun was setting we managed to get out into one of the fields of stones to touch them and take photographs.

After driving back home, we discovered Mandi had fully recovered and gone into town for food, so this time Roxy bowed out and Kyle and MaritaBeth went to the High Street to experience a couple more of the cute pubs this lovely little city of Winchester has to offer.

It was a full day of wonder! Earlier to bed tonight, and tomorrow we drive north and prepare to celebrate the Solstice.

~MB

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17
Dec

Good Times in London

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Kyle at The Globe pub - Day One

Kyle and the Babes 2015.  Day One.

Day One is done! In what seems like the longest day ever (but was actually two days), we left Texas, came to the United Kingdom and spent a wonderful evening walking around the Marylebone area of London.

The time change and a long layover can really mess with your sense of time.  It seriously feels like we just left home this morning and it’s been a really long day, but the calendar is doing its best to dissuade me of that idea. On Wednesday morning we boarded an airplane at DFW, and took the short hop to Houston International where we had a multiple-hour layover in one of the most boring airports I’ve ever experienced.  Seriously, we had only one restaurant to choose from (a mediocre burger joint) and only two bars.  I believe there was a Starbucks for the non-alcohol-drinking set, and I specifically noticed a Hershey “store” that seemed to have bags of Reece’s Piecs as it’s only offering. The most elegant beer available to us anywhere was Goose Island IPA. We had to hunt pretty hard for electrical outlets and Flight Notification boards.  The facility felt new and modern, and there were signs indicating other things are coming, but right now it sure needs a lot of work.

We flew British Airways from Houston to London–an eight-hour exercise in discomfort.  I know, I know!  We’re spoiled by our years of flight benefits with American Airlines and our good fortune to fly first class so often.  After this trip I understand better why people who can, spend the big bucks to do that.  But, all the leg cramping and neck stiffening in the world cannot squelch our excitement about this trip!

We landed at Heathrow right around noon, and had a very simple customs and baggage claim experience.  From there, we caught a bus to our hotel nearby, settled in a little bit, and took the crucial nap that cures the jet lag.  About two hours later, even before the alarm we’d set went off, we were awake with enthusiasm and prepared for our London date night.  We caught a free city bus the short distance back to the airport where we bought Oyster passes for the Underground and boarded the tube on the Picadilly Line. And, I’m pretty sure it was the party-bound train, judging by the number of Santa hats and ugly sweaters that boarded it!  About forty-five minutes, one line change, and two stops later, we were walking up Baker Street toward our destination.  We had hoped for some pub grub for dinner, but it being Christmas Party week, every pub we encountered was full to overflowing, many with private parties. So, we opted for a healthy meal at a Pret a Manger instead.  The weather is beautiful — cool but not cold; a little bit misty — and there are of course, holiday lights everywhere. We even happened on a game store and gave it a pretty good looking over!  Our wonderful walk led us at last to the spot where we had a reservation at half past eight o’clock.  We were a tad early, so we grabbed a pint in the pub just across the street until it was time for us to take our booked table at Purl London.  This amazing little cocktail bar is a place we’d been wanting to visit since our last trip, I think!  On their wonderful menu it says: “The aim of the bar was to bring classic cocktails back to the forefront of London’s drinking scene, whilst adding new flare and creativity to forgotten libations from the prohibition era.”  Does that sound like our kind of place, or what?! Kyle had tried to contact them about reservations to no avail, and just the day before we left home, Terrill (who has also been there and loved it) heard us talking about it, got online, and made the booking on the spot for us! We are grateful for his magic, for we watched other folks with no prior booking be turned away. It’s a hot little spot!

We drank drink with names like Mr. Hyde, Il Ferroviario, Loggerhead N2, and Rock ‘N’ Cream (which, incidentally, was a concoction involving a white tequila infused with clay, Suze & Amaro Averna and their in-house-made tonic water, and was served with my own small vial of juniper scented handcream!) Another drink we saw served came with a ginger-filled balloon which was popped by flame at the time of serving to add flair.  Each and every beautiful cocktail came with a story– a theatrical presentation, if you will–and everything we tasted was unique and delightful.

Two on the Tube

 

One more pub stop on the way back to the Baker Street station, a ride on a much more empty train that it had been earlier in the festive evening, and a short bus ride and we were once again at our hotel.  As I sit here writing my first Daily Krumb post in way too long, I am practically vibrating with excitement about the coming days, despite the extreme lack of sleep.  It’s gonna be epic!

~MB

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