Tuesday, August 7, 2012

London Calling

Since we moved here the BBC has been playing commercials for "London's Calling."  Well after almost 5 months of hearing the commercials I answered the call and took a trip to London.  Brent had to stay behind and work, so this was going to be a solo trip for me.  I was both nervous and excited to be traveling by myself.  The timing of my trip ended up being perfect.  A family friend who I have known since I was a little girl, Amanda Smock, was competing in the triple jump in the Olympics the Friday that I would be in London!  So I made plans to meet up with Beth and Josh(her brother) while I was there.   
I decided to take the train instead of flying, it was a little bit more time but saved a lot of money!  I know what you are thinking, the UK is surrounded by water, how on earth did you take a train there?  Well its called the chunnel.  The Channel Tunnel "chunnel" is an underseas tunnel that goes the 31 miles between Great Britain and northern France.  It takes roughly 21 minutes to get from one side to the other.  My ears popped quite a few times and the 20 minutes under water went by pretty quick.

5:45 wake up call requires a big coffee for my 7:00 am train ride

Right out of the train station greeted with many Olympic signs.  The atmosphere in the city was amazing.  Volunteers were EVERYWHERE!  Handing out free water and free directions to anyone who needed it. 

Once I was settled in my hotel it was time for my first pint(and lunch of course!)

The Serpentine in Hyde Park near my hotel.  This is where the swimming portion of the Triathlon took place. 

Walking down Knightsbridge street(lots of high end shops)

 Harrods of London

Wellington Arch
While I was walking to Buckingham Palace I started a conversation with some other Americans who were walking the same path as I was.  They all turned out to be in the Synchronized Swimming community in the USA.  Two of them were on the Gold winning team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  Since I am a former Synchro Swimmer I thought this was pretty cool and they were pretty excited to meet someone who shared an appreciation for their sport(their words).  They even offered me tickets to watch the competition on Sunday! Unfortunately, that was the day that I was headed back to Holland.  They were very nice and posed for a picture with me in front of the palace.

Karen and Sarah Olympic Gold medalists

Queen Victoria statue right outside the palace

The walkway from Buckingham Palace to James Park(side note can you believe it has been 15 years since Princess Diana died?) 

 Left over from the Queen's Jubilee celebration in early June

The London Eye from the park 

 Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

 Side shot of Westminster Abbey.  That place is HUGE!!

Ballerina sculpture outside the Abbey 

Another view of Westminster, I couldn't get a single shot with the whole church 

House of Guards

 The countdown clock outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square

I loved that the horse even had a crown

Meeting up with Beth and Josh
It was so great to see some Melrose faces!  I had a great time catching up with these two, Thanks for meeting up with me!

Representing "Team Smock!" 

Day one was amazing! I stayed up late that night trying to get tickets for Amanda's jump the next day.  But of course with it being the first day of the Athletics there were not any tickets released!

I will recap the rest of the trip later on in the week

Hope everyone had a good weekend!


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