ENGLISH SMILES

England has been a wonderful country to visit. So much history and the people have been incredibly friendly and fun.

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Cambridge was delightful. Walked the enchanting streets at night that were alive and vibrant. The following day we explored by daylight. I have fallen in love with Cambridge. The cobbled streets, bustling with students and locals alike. Cyclists ruled the roads. Music filled the streets with buskers everywhere or church bells ringing. A bell can weigh up to 2700 lbs. 13 bells are pulled by ropes 2 stories below. The local Bell Ringers continue to practise this century old talent. The ringing takes you back in history. It was sad to say goodbye to Cambridge and our friends who live there. Our thoughts are always with you.

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Upon arrival in London, after the great mystery of train tickets, we found ourselves slightly disoriented when leaving the train station. Took us a while and much help from two locals before we could figure out which bus to catch. Don’t feel too bad though, as the locals keep commenting on how confusing the transit system is even for them. After a few days we are now able to navigate this complex but efficient system. Just before it is time to move on!

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London was not as I expected. So much new in amongst the old architecture. This makes for a beautiful contrast in most cases. The streets are packed with tourists. So happy we are here in the off season. Londoners are friendly and efficient. 11 baristas at a counter the size of Tim Hortons. They moved lines of people through incredibly fast, with a smile and the coffee is much better.

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The Tower of London, home for the Monarchy for 500 years, was impressive. The Line of Kings is an attractive show of King’s armour and horses from centuries ago. Amazing works of art. The Tower also holds the Crown’s Jewels. Quite astonishing the wealth that they have managed to possess through the centuries. They are still taking from the masses as it was no small fee to enter the Tower.

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The Natural History Museum is amazing but one needs at least a week to actually see it all. The building itself is an actual work of art.

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LUCY in the real
LUCY in the real

Took the river boat to Greenwich. Was lovely to see London from this perspective. Fast and efficient. The Thames River is brown and murky. Any marine life would probably have an extra eye. The boat traffic is just a busy as London’s roads.

Checked out Buckingham Palace early the next morning. Boys knocked on the gates, but the Queen never answered.

 

 

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Anna took us on a walking tour of London. She is delightful and a great historian. Her enthusiasm for this beautiful city is contagious. She engaged the kids just like Hagrid does with Potter and his friends. She fed us an incredible meal in her lovely flat. Tacos or taacos, depending if you are English or not.

THANK YOU ANNA. We so appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness.

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A trip to Harry Potter World. Exciting, fun and inspiring. Worth the small fortune.

 

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This missile could travel 12 miles

The Imperial War Museum. Moving and very educational. The Holocost exhibit was heartbreaking and disturbing. They have honored this time of terror in such a way that it shakes your very essence. A piece of history that must never be forgotten. If ever in London be sure to visit the Imperial War Museum. It is a must see.

 

It was an odd change of emotions but then we were off to see the theatre performance of Matilda. WOW! All 4 of us loved this. The actors and actresses were phenomenal. The children on stage were amazing. The singing, dancing, set, lights and audience interaction was a wonderful way to spend our last evening in London. The boys sat on the edge of their seat the entire time.

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London has been well worth the visit, but we are all feeling the effects of a city that never sleeps. The stimulus is constant. This gets the adrenaline flowing. I fell like I am vibrating.

The morning commute on the tube I felt like a sperm fighting amoungst a million others all trying to get to a single egg. One woman’s face was flat against the tube’s door window when they arrived at the platform. Might as well pickle us before we board.

The air is heavy with pollution. Each breath actually takes effort. In the underground it is suffocating. All of us feel like there is an elephant sitting on our chest. Lets hope this is the closest I ever get to heart pain. It is strange to be able to “feel” the air. A city of more than 8 million will have a haze forever over it. Sad that pollution will kill more people this year world wide than anything else.

Soaking up the best parts of a country in a short time. Yep, it can be done. But it is exhausting and so much goes unseen. Would have loved to spend more time, but we would have to win the lottery first. England is very proficient at depleting your pocket book. There is no way one can see everything, so best to appreciate what you can manage in the time that you have. The days are short as well, adding another challenge. This can provide down time in the evening for the kids though.

The boys are proving to be very resilient. Very little time for sitting back and relaxing. Been busy everyday with early mornings and packing in as much as we can. Trying to fit in the schoolwork when on trains or around the dinner table. Apparently Shea seems his parents are not the best teachers he has ever had. They are gaining so much by just observing and doing. With purchases, navigating, and just people watching. The diversity here is wonderful. I have counted as many as 6 different dialects on the bus.

It is now time to move on. Paris is our next stop. We will be getting there by the Eurostar. Travelling at speeds of up to 300km/per hour through the Chunnel. Drop into the underground in London and pop up in Paris. Another adventure awaits us.

 

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