London Bridges

12 May
Tail cam showing our landing into Heathrow airport.

Tail cam showing our landing into Heathrow airport.

Up next in our travels is Spain (blog to follow).  We found you can’t fly directly there from Thailand.  We had to fly through London which conjures up all kinds of mental images for me: my ancestry, Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, Westminster Abbey and fish and chips.  Hmmm…Since we have to fly here anyway, why not visit some of my favorite places and see some news ones too?  All I had to do was promise Ron a visit to the Tower of London and it was all set!

First, since we didn’t plan a visit here, we weren’t prepared for the cold weather we found.  Luckily I bought a scarf for me and my good friend at a market in Phuket that I could wear.  We only had 2 days in London and many things to see, so no rest for the weary.  We were off and running after our 14 hour flight from Phuket at 6:00am.

IMG_3864Since we love the movie Notting Hill, we decided to take the tube over there and check out the market and Portobello Road.  It’s a great “artsy” neighborhood with lots of antique shops and street vendors.  What was once an undesirable suburb of London, it’s now a bustling section of town that’s fun to explore.  Of course we had to find the famous “blue door” from the movie that Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant starred in.


Tower of London

Many people may not know that the Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror in 1078.  The castle was used as a prison from around 1100 but was also used as a royal residence.  After Anne Boleyn was charged with treason, adultery and incest by King Henry VIII, she was beheaded here in 1536.  What the castle is know most commonly for is its housing of the Crown Jewels.  As a matter of fact, when London hosted the summer Olympics in 2012, they stored all of the medals in the Tower since it’s the safest place in London.

Image 1

Westminster Abbey

I have been lucky enough to have seen many cathedrals in Spain and Italy but one of my top three is Westminster Abbey in London.  From the amazing Gothic architecture to the centuries old history it encompasses.  Since 1066, when William the Conqueror was crowned, the coronations of British monarchs have been held here.  King Edward’ Chair, the throne on which every monarch since 1308 has had their coronation is housed here.  Most recently Prince William married Catherine Middletown in the same place his grandmother was coronated and his mother’s funeral service was held.  Many famous royalty, artisans and scientists are buried here including Geoffry Chaucer and Isaac Newton.

Professor Dumbledore's office

Professor Dumbledore’s office

And if you’re a Harry Potter fan (I am!!), London has a host of things for you to experience.

A 20 minute train ride outside London is Warner Bros. Studio Tour which is the actual studio where the wildly popular series was filmed.  The tour allows you to walk through real sets and see props and costumes used in the movies.

Great Hall at Hogwarts

Great Hall at Hogwarts

For a fan, being able to walk in the actual Great Hall and explore Dumbledore’s office is an amazing experience.  Outside is the house on Privit Drive where Harry lived with his aunt and uncle.  You get to walk onto the triple-decker bus that flys through the streets of London in the movies.  And here, you get to see Dobby again which was a highlight for me!  If you do visit, go


Dobby to pre-buy your tickets.  They control crowds well by not allowing you to buy tickets at the door.  You must pre-buy them.

Since I hadn’t had  my “Harry” fill, we took the tube over to King’s Cross Station.  There you will find a brick wall with a replica luggage cart and owl cage like the one Harry used to head off to Hogwarts school on platform 9 3/4.

Platform 9 3/4

Platform 9 3/4

You are allowed to don a scarf from the school of your choice and have your picture taken, for free!

McDonalds wallpaper

McDonalds wallpaper

On the morning we were departing London, we stopped at McDonald’s for a quick breakfast and were surprised by what we found.  Apparently McDonald’s in London and Spain have adopted a healthier list of ingredients and tout that on the wallpaper inside to let everyone know.  They claim to use only free range eggs, ground beef  from Ireland without any additives besides pepper, fresh harvested lettuce, etc.  IMG_3870We feel that’s awesome that McDonalds is taking such strides in providing healthier foods they serve, but our big question  is why aren’t they doing the same in the USA???  I guess that’s for another blog…


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