07 November 2011

London With a Friend

I've been caught up in the whirlwind of traveling and visiting in London (and Windsor) for the first time. And all of that with a long-time friend.  What a grand time we've had. Even though I've lived in Italy for 2 1/2 years and traveled a good deal around Europe, somehow I've not been to London up to now. That's changed as of this last week. The chance to travel here with my husband and meet up with my dear friend, Mary, was too good to pass up.

It started in Windsor in a hotel directly across the street from Windsor Castle. We looked at it from our room. So day one I toured this magnificent place.

The weather was clear and fine and gave me the opportunity to get some great photos of Windsor Castle, which serves as the weekend home to the Queen or her family members, and houses priceless treasures.

The grounds are lush and beautifully kept but my favorite display (no photos allowed inside) was Queen Mary's Doll House. To see all the castle rooms reproduced in such miniature but accurate detail was delightful. I enjoy doll houses anyway so I spent a long time there just amazed at the workmanship.

London was next on my itinerary and we stayed in a hotel by Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace, past home of Princess Margaret and Princess Diana and future home of her son, Prince William and his new bride, Kate Middleton.

The huge park and gardens were lovely and contained this magnificent tree that I named the tree of life.

Kensington Palace is in the process of a transformation but had an exibit in the meanwhile entitled "Enchanted Palace" consisting of a clever hunt through the shadowy world of the enchanted palace for the names of the seven princesses who have lived at the palace. It included an interactive visitor experience, fanciful pieces of information and displays for each of the princesses, a booklet to write their names, guides galore to give more details about their lives and a prize at the end if you got them all right. Made for a fun afternoon followed by an elegant high tea at the Orangery.

The excitement of a great city of London at night with Christmas coming was everywhere evident. I got some Christmas shopping for the grands done and loved every minute. I can't wait to see their faces when they open their special treats.

Of course, I did some old fashioned sight seeing. How could I not after hearing about and seeing in pictures these iconographic images. I'll just include a couple of night images that I thought came out well.

London theaters had so many choices for shows but not all were both available and affordable. One that was both, was the award winning "Jersey Boys". You have to see this show if you were an adolescent in the 60's. You'll sing along to every song- I sure did. Fabulous songs and a great true-life story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons makes for a incredible musical.

The National Gallery had a photography exhibit on modern actresses and influential women that was stunning but certainly one of the most endearing aspects of this trip was the time with my friend since 1989, Mary. We had time to talk and be together, time to catch up and tell our current stories, time to share and just enjoy each other again. She's a gem and reminded me of the song we sang in Girl Scouts: "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold". You're pure gold, Mary. I'm so fortunate to call you friend.


  1. This post is great in every way. I love that you were able to connect with your old, as in long time, friend in London!

    I have been to both Windsor and London and love both places. I'd really like to go again.

  2. I love London. It's one of my favorite cities. There is so much to see and do.

    I've seen several plays there, including Chorus Line, which was interesting with a British accent. My favorite was Mousetrap, though. Such a classic.

    I saw Jersey Boys in NY, and you are right, I sang along with every song. Had an interesting experience that day. We had lunch before going to the matinee, and at the next table on the banquette, there was a handsome young man. Imagine my surprise to see him up on the stage as one of the Jersey Boys. Very cool.

  3. Hi Marry loveeeely post,i hope you enjoyed very well.

  4. I've just returned from a week-long visit in London (last week) with my sister, who was on her first visit to Europe and we had a great time,too! Amazingly the weather was beautiful ... My sister opted for seeing 'Billy Elliott' another great show! I've yet to visit Windsor, but it's definitely on my list! I wonder if our paths crossed ...

  5. Your pictures are all good, but the last one is my favorite! Two happy pals having a great time in an amazing city! :-)

  6. I spent 2 weeks solo in London in 1969--a very long time ago. Would love to go back with hubby. And, yes, your friend is lovely!

  7. New friends are nice to find - but old friends are GREAT to keep.

    And I, too, love London. I saw "Wicked", "We Will Rock You", "Sound of Music", and "Lord of the Rings" all in a week. I loved every minute of each of those shows.

  8. Sally, I'm eager to go again as well. I can't imagine why it has taken to now.

    Patti, The play line up is great and that whole theatre area is so alive.

    Sunny, I did enjoy it very much.

    TB, Maybe… I had seen Billy Elliott in the states and loved it.

    DJan, We sure did and just reveled in each other's company.

    Gigi, Mary is lovely inside and out. Yes, time to go again. It's a vibrant city.

    Lou, Now that was a week! What a great array of shows to see. I so agree about old friends.

  9. Great Photos! It looks like you had a wonderful time.

    Take care and have a nice day :-)

    And thanks for your recent comment on My Blog

  10. Ron, I had a splendid, do the soul good time!

  11. Another wonderful trip....
    Your photos are all great!!
    I would love to see Jersey Boys...
    I saw Buddy and Wicked in London! I love London!

  12. Beautiful that you had this time with Mary, Mary. London is fantastic, and I wish I lived closer. I've spent weeks there over a few summers with students. The National Gallery is brilliant! And the plays, the plays! (I love the half-price ticket place. :-) The photos are great! And I wondered where you were.

  13. Nanny, London was amazing and I had wanted to see Jersey Boys for a while now so it was great to have the chance.

    Ruth, The National Gallery was about to open an exhibition of DaVinci that was already being raved about but we missed it by three days. The photography exhibit had paintings woven in of great contemporary women and was indeed brilliant. They had a photo of Germaine Greer as a young woman that had me transfixed. The strength in her face was palpable.
    p.s. Thanks for missing me.

  14. I have tried for two days to leave a comment......me and the computers are wrestling!!!(and I keep losing)
    I love you London photos.....
    Such a great city

  15. I've never been to London. You made me feel as though I were there!

  16. Nanny, I'm glad you finally won. I agree about London, however late I am to the realization.

    Rosaria, Sonno contento che ti sia piaciuto. Potete visitare Londra quando si arriva in Italia.

  17. Living nearby, it's so easy to take London for granted. Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am!


  18. Keith, Welcome and thanks for stopping by. It was my first time and I found London remarkable, dynamic and rich in all sorts of things I like to do. Yes, you're lucky.

  19. saw your blog thru Magpie... the header pic is beautiful... nice post here... and i saw the Jersey boys here too last year with a friend.

    have fun ma'am!


  20. Yay! For great weeks in London :) Sorry our paths didn't quite cross. I saw 'Wicked', it is amazing.

  21. JJ, Welcome through anyway you came. Jersey Boys was a total blast.

    Nan, We'll catch up with each other soon enough. My heart is eager. Couldn't get tickets for Wicked but hopefully next time.

  22. How wonderful! One of my favorite places on earth! After Tuscany, of course.....

  23. p.s. to JJ, I finally got my Magpie Tales response up!

    Lauren, How would one ever choose? So diverse, so delicious, so delightful to have both.


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