Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Valentine's Day in London

Fortnum & Mason Shortbread Biscuits

I know this seems like odd timing, but I will explain. Summer vacation has arrived with no vacation plan in sight for our family. That makes me sad--well, and frustrated. We always do a really fun family vacation, but this year, it seems there just isn't any time (not to mention the price of well, everything). The big problem: I want to do a vacation with all four of us and our kids schedules have become busier than ours. Sammy has baseball, and then basketball camp and then soccer practice. Joey has backpacking trips and art school. I'm sure I will figure something out. To make matters worse, Michael is on a business trip to London and Paris right now. I know--not fair! So, when Michael told me his London hotel is right on the Piccadilly Line of The Tube and he is going to stop in to Fortnum & Mason (great specialty food/home interior store), I wanted to just transport myself there (with floo powder or a portkey or something--in honor of our Oxford Tour where we got to see portions of the campus where Harry Potter was filmed). Michael and I spent Valentine's Day in London this year--it was fantastic. I went back to my pictures and started reminiscing and decided to do a London post. I have never been to Paris, so I won't even discuss my feelings on that one.

I spent the first day in London (Michael was in meetings)
touring London on the Double Decker buses. I did three
different routes. There was a lot of overlap, as it turns out, but
I didn't care because it was the most beautiful day. I sat on
the top (open) and it was sunny and 60 degrees--unbelievable for
London in February. As it turned out, the sun stayed with us
most of the trip, but the warmth did not. As the week progressed,
the temperatures dipped down into the 40's, but not a drop of rain!
You can't go to London without watching the changing
of the guards, right? Interestingly enough, I actually enjoyed
the changing of the guards in Copenhagen a few summers ago a little better.
Possibly because it wasn't frigid cold and we didn't have to walk a mile
trying to keep up with the procession, and then fight a huge crowd,
but it was an interesting experience, none the less.

We absolutely loved the street market at Portobello Road.
It was crowded, but so much fun!

Another thing I fell in love with from the get go, was The London Tube underground train system. I hate driving and traffic and all, so having a public transportation system as fantastic as this one was such a treat. It is easy to maneuver and everything is in English, yay! Our hotel was located in Canary Wharf and we had our own very convenient tube station.

This is the view from our hotel room on a very foggy morning. Most days started out foggy, but it all burned off by noon. Our hotel was a bit remote, but still in a great location.
Marriott Canary Wharf hotel behind me on the right.

We took a great bus tour out of the city. First we stopped at Oxford University. What a wonderful place. So many different buildings, so much history. We really enjoyed it. Michael is standing at the top of one of the staircases used in one of the Harry Potter movies (or all) I can't really remember. Only a handful of scenes were filmed here. Most were filmed at a studio.
We also stopped at Shakespeare's birthplace. This is the house he was born in. The beautiful little town is called Stratford-upon-Avon. We also drove through the Cotswolds (with beautiful old thatched roof houses, maintained and lived in to this day).

Michael in front of one of the Oxford Buildings.

We had such a great time in this beautiful old city. We also saw the plays "Wicked" and "Billy Elliot" in the theatre district and had a delicious Indian Food Valentine's Dinner. We toured Westminster Abbey and saw the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. Well, okay, so I  got that out of my system...

now it is off to work :-(


Anonymous said...

Dear Kari,
Welcome back to Blog land. I've missed it. I understand completely when you say everyone is going their own way. How time flies, but you have had wonderful summer retreats and many more to come. Your London trip sounds lovely. I can picture you up on top of that double decker bus just enjoying the sights. The time with Michael alone away from work is special too. Maybe you can do Paris next Valentine's day. You could do a different European city each Valentine's Day. Hey you could write a book, then you could write it off, just a thought.
Love, Dana

Anonymous said...


I love and miss you very much. London and Paris is a lonely place without you.


Andy said...

Maybe it should be company policy that on business trips, spouses are obligated to attend. I think Paris would be much more entertaining if you and Lindsay were here. Its a great city.

kjlubitz said...

Hmmm, good thinking Andy... I'll have to talk it over with the boss--oh yeah, I am the boss :-)