Don and Donna visit - The Cotswold
2010 Tapis de Fleurs - Flower Carpet of Brussels

Don and Donna visit - London

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 Don and Donna, my very special mother and father-in-law, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in March, but the real celebration was in July.......  in London!

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D&D arrived in Brussels and the four of us took the train to London through the Chunnel (31.4 mile undersea rail tunnel linking France to the UK).  Tammy, Allen, Trenton, and Jason joined us and we all stayed in a beautiful penthouse apartment, you have to visit their site and check this place out!  We had the top three floors.

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 Our first night was Allen's b-day so the party group took a bus to a local pub to celebrate with a beer!  I went along as team photographer   :   ). 

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Trenton was excited when he found out the drinking age in England is 16.  Here he is enjoying a beer with his dad and his Uncle D.  Grandpap was at the bar paying the bill!

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The next day D and I ventured out to a flower market and funky neighborhood, Columbia Road, that I had read about.  D was quite amused with the candy store, Suck and Chew.  Note the little bag of candy in his hand.

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I had read about a very cool vintage altered art  store, Jessie Chorley and Buddug - the shop.  The store was fabulous as well as the neighborhood.  Independently owned artsy stores.  Most were only open on Saturdays and Sundays.

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To see more photos on this store, visit my art blog Ma Vie Trouvee.


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 That afternoon Allen's sister Sherri, her husband Nick, and sweet daughter Eleanor came by for a visit.  They live two hours outside of London.  We had a very enjoyable afternoon chatting.  Other visitors were our Euro buddies D & A.  The family finally got to meet them in person.  Not sure why....but I did not take photos of either event :  (

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Even with eight people all wanting to go in different directions we had a GREAT visit and spent most days together!  Here are the highlights of our adventures.

The London Eye

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Originally called the Millennium Wheel, built to celebrate the year 2000, it is the most visited site in London with over 3.5 million visitors a year.  There are 32 capsules and each carries 25 people.

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Tammy took some great panoramic photos from the capsule of Parliament and Big Ben......of course I could not go up due to my many idiosyncrasies :  ). 

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Don and D stayed on the ground to keep me company.  We had fun people watching. 

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Big Ben


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Did you know that the real name of this structure is the clock tower and that only the bell is called Big Ben. 

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Big Ben just celebrated it's 150th birthday.


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Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official residence.  The current structure was built in 1703.  The men are not just ceremonial guards, they are active soldiers.


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On another day, we watched the Horse Guards daily change.  I found this to be much more interesting than the change at Buckingham Palace because it was more intimate.

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Time for a break.  Our favorite Pub drink for the summer was a pitcher of Pimms!  It is a light fruity alcoholic drink mixed with lemonade.  Ahhhhh so refreshing.

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As you can see here, Allen was in need of his afternoon Pimms!

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Westminster Abbey

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An Abbey was first built on this site in 1050 AD. 




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Tammy and I had toured it on earlier visits so we relaxed on the lawn and got caught up on things.  Please note:  the ice cream cone is in Tammy's hand.  I did not have one as I was on a diet that hour  :  )


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Don, Donna, D and I did the Hop on Hop off bus tour.  Originally I just went along for the ride.....but this ended up being my favorite event.  We went one afternoon and then again the next morning.  I have been to London 5 or 6 time but this is the first time I did a tour. 

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Tower of London

The Tower of London is Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress and was built in 1066.  The tower has played a prominent role in England's history, but today is only used as a museum and houses the Crown Jewels.  Many of which date back to 1200.

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It was the home to kings and queens of England up until 1837.   Buckingham Palace is now the official residence.   

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The Tower is still guarded by Yeoman Wardens or Beef-eaters, so called because they use to have to taste the Kings food to make sure it was  not poisoned.  They also give the tours of the castle and are quite humorous.

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It has many interesting events in its history including the execution spot for two of King Henry's wives - Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.  Sir Walter Raleigh was also imprisoned there for 13 years.  


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 Tower Bridge

Tammy captured this lovely shot of the Bridge.  It is an iconic symbol of London. officially opened in 1894.  It is often mistaken as the London Bridge.

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One day we all ventured into China town for lunch. 

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And enjoyed a street performer...

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He was so good he was able to make Jason smile!   

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Allen too!

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My attempt at a "we" shot - the girls enjoying an ice cream.

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I was disappointed as we never got a group shot...This is as close as we got....the team waiting for a bus.

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The funniest story of the trip was when we were all dining on the famous British Fish and Chips.  Don was working the bottle of ketchup to get out the last drop.  D and I were both getting ready to tell him to calm down......when it exploded from too much pressure.....

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And it shot all over Donna's WHITE shirt!  Donald started to wiped it off as you can see at the top....Donna did not flinch.  She just kept eating her fish and chips.

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Maybe Donna did not think this was the funniest story of the trip  :  )

The last day we broke into two groups.  D, Donna and I opted for lunch at a Polish restaurant and some shopping.  

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The other group did the Winston Churchill War Museum and the Globe Theater.  And Tammy got to walk across the Millennium Bridge!

For a few more fun photos - check out the album in the upper right hand corner at the top of this page.

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A very Happy Anniversary indeed!




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What a sweet vacation. Im very happy to the both of you guys.

Bill & Francis Greene

What a great way to celebrate the 50th (even if off a few months). Having the entire family in London together certainly had to be a memorable occasion suitable to the event. Fortunately for all, there was someone along great with a camera.

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