I knew before I left this would be a good trip just from the fact it would be my longest visit - 15 days. It was even better than I had hoped. Not only making new friends, but I was able to spend more time with some of my dearest friends. That was special.
Since I can't sleep on planes, I always take it easy the first day. I take lots of breaks (almost dozed off in the National Picture Gallery!) - did some of my favorite things - a walk along the South Bank, walks thru the parks and topped off the evening with a pub walk. The next day I had my Royal Day - a visit to the Royal Mews, Queen's Gallery and Buckingham Palace. Quite a view looking out at the crowds from inside the Palace. The State Rooms were impressive. The Throne Room where the Queen knights people had several displays of medals and decorations. That night I saw an interesting play Lifeblood. Ticket was only 7.50 GBP.
It was on to Windsor and Eton the next morning for a private tour from a friend. Saw some of the students running around in their uniforms. Not like any school uniforms that I remember! Also saw Nell Gwynn's Chinese Restaurant. We were saying "I don't think so".
Met up with another friend the next day and we went to Berry Brothers where I bought her a nice bottle of wine. We also got a tour of the cellars from a very helpful young chap. We got to see the family's private stock with some of the bottles dating back to 1834. They've been in business since the 17th Century.
The weekend was spent at the Thames Festival - that was fun. Also took part in the Open House - went up to the Reading Room in the Dome of the Imperial War Museum. They had quite a few photos of the bomb damage from WWII. Also, in 1968, someone opposed to war tossed a firebomb in the Dome that did extensive damage. He served all of 3 years. When the Dome reopened, he was a journalist who requested to come to the rededication. Not surprisingly, he was turned down.
Saturday night we had our party at the Lamb to celebrate Pub's 50th birthday. One of the most enjoyable evenings I've had in London (and there have been a few!). Many thanks to Pub and Sue, Txbella, Septembertraveler and our locals Adam, Laraevans, Mick and Trillian and Mr. Trillian for a memorable night. The following night I went on a pub walk in Chelsea and saw one of the most spectacular sights I've seen in London - Albert Bridge lit up. Just awesome! Especially against the dark sky - a must see in my book.
Geenwich was next for the superb Nelson and Napolean exhibition. I've commented on this on another thread. Well worth it. More walks, a couple more plays - Guys and Dolls (very good) and The Winter's Tale at the Globe. Not the most comfortable seating at the Globe even with the rented cushion. It made appreciate not living in Shakespeare's time.
Adam and his wife Ann were most gracious in taking me up to Grim's Dyke and a walk around some beautiful lakes where the ducks got their money's worth in bread! Also, another friend took me out near Canterbury to visit Howlett's Wild Animal Park. Very nice place. Since I work in a zoo, I visit zoos and game parks wherever I travel. Busman's holiday if you will.
More walks thru Green Park and St.James's parks and some lovely garden squares. Sitting in Green Park having a snack with the wind rustling, people watching and just utterly relaxing with time to reflect on a absolutely fantastic holiday. Have I said how much I miss it? 9th visit, best ever (and all the others were pretty good). Chomping at the bit and planning for the next one!