Plans vs Reality: a rare but perfect day

I don’t have class on Fridays and Grant gets done with his by noon, so I’ve been dying to plan some fun outings for our Friday afternoons off together.

This morning, Grant skipped out the door on the way to his last marketing class ever (!) and I got up to straighten up a bit and plan our day. I had decided on going to Greenwich to explore and discover the National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Old Royal Naval College, Royal Observatory and see the famous Cutty Sark. The highlight of the Greenwich trip: The Prime Meridian.

We’d make our way back by waterboat on the Thames, but not before attending evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral. We’d finish up with dinner afterwards at a favorite little Italian place near Embankment and catch the Jubilee line home.

That is not what happened.

Instead, we were both so hungry when Grant got home that we decided to try out a little Italian place close to our flat in Hampstead, then head out to Greenwich. Luigi’s was amazing and had unusually large portions (we had spaghetti and lasagna). Before we’d even paid the check, a food coma came over us–the perfect comfortably-full-but-not-stuffed feeling that demands sleep.

What could we do?

As we headed home to lay in bed, snuggle up with two hot water bottles at our feet, and watch movies all afternoon together, I didn’t regret tossing our plans aside. It turned out to be a rare but perfect day after all.

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Portugal: Catch Up in Pictures

Last weekend we went to Portugal with some friends from Grant’s program at Hult. 
Here’s the weekend review in pics. 
View from our hotel
Ericeira
Have you ever seen such colors?
Ericeira
Beach
Ericeira
View from Francisco’s beach house
Ericeira
Ericeira
Roadtrip to Sintra
Beach – Cliffs
Ericeira to Sintra
Beach – Cliffs
Ericeira to Sintra
Beach – Cliffs
Ericeira to Sintra

New vs. Old
Ericeira to Sintra
Sweet little man who helped us find parking in the city center
Sintra
{He spoke a bit of Portuguese, Spanish, and French as he gave directions. 
It took 5 of us to understand but we were very thankful for his help!}
Palace of Sintra
Sintra
Sintra
Lisbon
Lisbon
25 April Bridge (1974: Portugal’s Carnation Revolution) {looks like Golden Gate}
Cristo-Rei “Christ the King” {looks like the Jesus in Rio but smaller}
Fishermen
Lisbon
Fishermen
Lisbon
Lisbon
Praca do Comercio
Lisbon
King Jose I
Praca do Comercio
Augusta Street Arch
Praca do Comercio
Rua Augusta
Lisbon
Cafe
Rua Augusta – Lisbon
Found Augusta all the way in Portugal
Lisbon
Don Pedro IV Square
aka “Praca Rossio”
National Theatre
Don Pedro IV Square

aka “Praca Rossio”
Central do Rossio
Lisbon
Eden Hotel
Praca dos Restauradores
Flame-thrower in the street
Lisbon
Street performers
Lisbon
Dinner @ Tromba Rija
Lisbon
Lisbon @ night
Lunch Sunday
Lisbon
{note the Jeronimos Monastery in the background… right of the wine bottle}
Lunch – Belem
Lisbon
Lunch – Belem
{next to the Praca do Imperio and Jeronimos Monastery}
Lisbon

Paris in Pictures

We arrived at Gare du Nord station
Found a McDo and some freedom fries 😉
Walked over to Montmatre and Sacre Coeur
Stayed near la Tour Eiffel 
{and took a lift to the top!}
Le Metro

Toured the City of Lights at night on bike – amazing!
Best way to see the city

Look them up: Fat Tire Bike Tours
Academie francaise {home of the immortals}

Blurry, but the Eiffel Tower from the Boat Cruise we took. On the hour, la Tour Eiffel sparkles {magical}

Street Art – River Seine
lovely

The Pantheon

Jardins Luxembourg

Saint Sulpice

les cafes, un pain au chocolat, et un eclair

Notre Dame de Paris
We went to the vespers {a sung service… like evensong} on Sunday.
One of the most incredible and moving experiences – to understand so little of the language, but understand so much with the heart.
It’s beginning to {feel} a lot like Christmas
Saint Nick!
Departing for jolly ol’ England.

A Treat for You

Just for those of you who read and follow my blog. Here’s a shot of the Lady Chapel {aka: Albert Memorial Chapel} of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor. Stunning, isn’t it?

And a few Guards just walking around on duty in the Lower Ward of the palace.

And finally, we have had a guest in our backgarden today. I was sitting in bed reading this morning, when something outside caught my eye… a fox! I’m pretty sure it was just perusing the garden for things to snack on, but still….

I have limited iPhone evidence. After I show it to Grant, I’ll see if he confirms or denies my claim that a fox is what I saw. {I wish you could have seen me trying to record this darting, quick little creature outside the french doors of our bedroom…. He was a good distance away, I was perched on the edge of the end of our bed, trying to get a shot that worked, all the while battling the curtains to stay open without dropping the phone… that could’ve been a noteworthy sight in and of itself, had you been here this morning…!}

One Month

It’s officially one month today: we’ve lived in London, dealt with the transition of moving, found a flat we call home, mastered survived public transport, and seen some pretty awesome sights.

London is amazing and intoxicating and the energy here is vibrant.

There is this beautiful combination of Old World and New World here where you can plan an outing to the largest occupied castle in the world {more on that later!} or just wander around randomly and have an equally intriguing encounter with this great city and its surroundings. We love it.

Today, we went to Windsor.

Private apartments of the Queen

Back Gardens and State Rooms

We got a deal on tickets and got to be a part of history, too! They just reopened The Round Tower for the first time in 30 years – it’s a trial run for August and September only – and we got to be in one of the groups.

Loved it. The view was unparalleled!

You can see all of the surrounding royal grounds, gardens, and park, as well as the Thames River Valley and London skyline. We took the train out there, packed a picnic lunch (yum!), and toured the castle – tower, state rooms, upper and lower wards, St. George’s and Lady Chapel {aka: Albert Memorial Chapel}. Followed it up with a quick jaunt through Great Park – The Long Walk to George III’s statue – and a look around the charming and picturesque town. I know why it’s the Queen’s favoured residence.

My Favourite Part: The Norman Gate