Week 2 of My Fabulous Fifties Farewell Tour

Re-enacting the Abbey Road album cover

Cheerio from sunny England. We arrived early Friday morning and have been having a capital time! We’ve managed to squeeze a lot into the last three days and I will share our adventures with you in just a minute. But first let’s review what I accomplished prior to departure.

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU goes out to Shayna for sending me the dill and thyme plants I was looking for to complete my herb garden. That was very kind and very appreciated! I also managed to complete the Grand Canyon workouts which totaled 15 in all and am excited to choose my next Nordic Track destination work-out. The final few work-outs proved challenging with a 15% grade! Full transparency: I had to back the grade down a bit towards the end.

I finished Poldark book #10 and as well as “Everything We Ever Wanted” and am now reading “Howard’s End.” (It’s a long plane ride!) And now… on to London!

Thanks Shayna!

We arrived early Friday morning and were very lucky that our hotel room was ready for us. We are staying at the J.W. Marriott Grosvenor House, London. We have a spacious corner room with a nice view. We are in a central location, right across from Hyde Park. The staff have been fabulous and I would highly recommend this hotel if you are considering a trip to London.

After a brief nap, we headed out to Abbey Road. Surprisingly, Abbey road is a fully working street, it’s not blocked off in any way and traffic competes with tourists attempting to recreate their own Abbey Road photo. It’s a bit of a circus, but you do tend to bond with the other crazy pedestrians as you dodge traffic trying to get that elusive photo. After several failed attempts and many pauses for traffic and a honk or two, we finally captured a satisfactory photo, just don’t compare it to the original. Many thanks to my husband, Mike, and his Photoshop magic. We ducked into the Abbey road shop for a minute and peered through the wrought iron gates at the Abbey Road studio which, unfortunately, is not open to the public.

Our room at the Marriott
Mike in front of our hotel
Abbey Road Studios

After Abbey road, we headed back to the hotel for high tea. Park Place at our hotel does an excellent job. The menu included tea cakes, finger sandwiches, pastries, scones, clotted cream and an assortment of specialty jams and teas with a champagne option. A piano player provided the finishing touch for a relaxing tea, inviting us to linger rather than rush off.

Palate cleanser topped surprisingly with cotton candy
Looking into Park Room where high tea is in progress
Lovely tea service

After tea, we decided to walk to Picadilly Square, which has a vibrant evening scene. Mike and I stopped for a cocktail at Caffe Concerto. Despite the fact that this appears to be a chain, it is quite elegant. We chose to sit outside and I ordered a Savignon Blanc, still on the hunt for my next favorite wine. It was ok, fruity with a soft finish, but still not quite what I was hoping for. I am going to be trying a lot of different wines during this trip, so I hope to find my new favorite before week’s end.

Saturday found us up early for breakfast at our hotel, which was a buffet, but actually quite good. Then we headed to the London Eye to make out 10:30 reservation. We ubered there and were simply amazed. I recommend going early and doing Fast-track tickets which allow you to skip the queue. This was amazing! London from above, with a great view of the eclectic skyline! It took about a half an hour to make the circuit. Final Verdict: worth it!

London Eye
From the opposite bank of the Thames
View from our pod
Westminster Abbey from the London Eye
Churchill War Rooms
The clock completely obscured by scaffolding is Big Ben.

We strolled past Westminster Abbey but the lines to enter were incredibly long and we decided to enjoy the beauty from the outside instead. We then made our way to the Churchill War Rooms. This is another must-see for anyone interested in WWII. It was fascinating as the basement level of this building was completely repurposed during the war and became Churchill’s command central. These rooms were closed off and were reopened as they were, right down to the sugar cubes a certain officer usually kept at his desk, and if anything was missing, it was reproduced exactly as it would have been. It has certainly made me curious about this fascinating man and I am sure I will be reading more about him in the future. Rather than give you a detailed itinerary of our day, I will post a few more photos and allow them to tell the story.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster from a different angle
I loved this building. I believe it was in Trafalgar Square. There was a large common area with a fountain in front, a lively place with a lot of people mingling around.
Buckingham Palace lies at the end of this street!
Bucket list item: Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, when the Queen is in residence, which is all but a couple of months, the interior is not open to the public. Not quite the castle that I’d imagined, but still pretty amazing.
The grounds of Buckingham Palace, quite lovely.
Of course, you can’t visit London without a proper fish and chips dinner, so we headed to the Mayfair Chippy. Very yummy. I also tried another wine, Casa do Arrabalde Alvarinho blend, 2013 , from Potugal, described as a “real crowd-pleaser.” It was good, but not at the “Favorite Wine” level for me. So you know what that means: more opportunities to try new wines!
A proper fish and chips dinner. Mike had spiced salmon cakes. He preferred my dinner to his though, which was fine because there was plenty to share.
Sunday found us at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Then we strolled along the Thames past Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
A bit of street art near the theatre.
We strolled over to London Bridge, which is actually a fairly non-descript little bridge.
This is the Tower Bridge, which I’ve always thought was the London Bridge. It is a fascinating piece of engineering. It is actually a draw-bridge and we were able to see it in action. It was a beautiful day and the bridge area was full of families picnicking and young people hangin out. This was a highlight of the trip as you are able to go up into the top walkway of the bridge and the floor has a section made of glass so you can see the traffic below.
Looking down.
Mirrored above so you can see yourself with the glass floor below you. Pretty cool!
Next stop was the Tower of London. We saw the weapons, armor and Crown Jewels. We also met a nice young British couple who were vey helpful to us in navigating the tube for our ride home.
Did you even visit London if you didn’t see a British Royal Guard? He never cracked a smile, but he did wobble a bit.
We made our way back to the hotel to change via the tube and then headed out for our anniversary dinner (37 years, but who’s counting?) at Clos Maggiore, selected as the Most Romantic Restaurant in the World, by Architectural Digest in 2016. It was wonderful, indeed romantic and delicious. I tried 2 more wines, one German Reisling that was entirely too sweet to be my favorite, but lovely as a dessert wine (Markus Moliter from Mosel Germany) and another white, a Gewurztraminer Beblenheim Domaine Trapet 2016 from Alsace France which was good, but again, not my favorite.

We’ve only been here 3 full days and we’ve managed to do so much! While much of this was not on my bucket list, I did manage to check off re-enacting the Abbey Road album cover and seeing Buckingham Palace. I still have at least one more item to check off this week. Thanks for tagging along and hope to see you next week when I’ll post more photos of this really wonderful trip. In the meantime, here are a few more random photos of the beautiful streets of London!

3 thoughts on “Week 2 of My Fabulous Fifties Farewell Tour

  1. Amazing! Looks like a huge sucess! Congrats again to both of on your anniversary! In the end we have our memories….these look like amazing ones!

    Like

  2. Awe, Happy herbing! 😘
    Looks like a fabulous trip! Memories to have forever! Cheers to finding your favorite wine! I think Napa needs to be in your bucket list. I know I found my favorite wine there. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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