Saturday, October 13, 2018

Summer Travels #2: London, England

Summer 2018 Travels #2: 

London, England




      We headed from Scotland for England with daughter Erin and son-in-law Sean. We stayed in the newly renovated Principal Hotel in downtown London. It was beautiful! London was so much fun, seeing the historical sights and enjoying a variety of restaurants. We walked miles and miles, and rode the red hop-on-hop-off bus for hours. Erin and Sean were such fun to travel with, as were their friends from the U.S. who stayed at the same hotel. 
     The thing I loved most about London was not as much the city itself but the people in it.  I stopped in a diner to get a cold root beer to go, and when I tried to sort out my Euros for payment the handsome young man behind the counter refused to let me pay saying, "You're so nice." I was so taken aback it brought tears to my eyes. Such unexpected kindness can do that.      And I'll never forget my conversations with the beautiful girls in the indy pop-up shops, like the one where college-age girls stamped handmade paper goods, or the one where I purchased a hand stamped tote bag. Or most especially the one where a young woman and her sister had moved from Turkey to London to attend "Uni".  She studied bookeeping while her sister studied clothing design, and they impulsively opened a shop filled with the most wonderful clothes they had made from colorful Turkish towels. We talked for the longest time about random things. She was surprised to know that I know how to make Bakalava (she wished she did.) I asked how she had acquired such excellent English, which was by watching American TV shows while growing up in her hometown of Istanbul.  She asked if I thought she sounded more British or American in her accent. "Oh, very American," I replied, to which she was delighted! 
     At the end of our stay Erin and Sean traveled on with their friends to see the more of the English countryside.  (A couple of weeks after that Erin and Sean, having completed his year of studies at the University of Edinburgh, packed up and moved back home to Denver.) We wished we had time to go with them to visit more of England, but had already made arrangements to go on to Paris, which I will show you next time.
     Thanks for stopping in for a visit--I hope these little journal notes are of interest to you!
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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Autumn Ladies Luncheon

     In celebration of the onset of Autumn and of Janine's birthday I hosted a little neighbor ladies' party this week. Six of us were able to attend; Janine, Trude, Diane, Joy, myself, and a delightful new neighbor, Kathy. I enjoyed setting the table with fall colors and little squash pumpkins as guest gifts. 
     I forgot to photo the food I prepared which was Roasted Cauliflower-Cabbage Soup, a Chilled Asparagus-Tomato Salad, Chicken Londoff, and rounds of Toasted Garlic-Cheese Baguette. I made homemade Lemonade-Sparkling Rose' wine spritzers for merriment!
     After lunch the party moved to the outdoor porch--the weather was absolutely perfect! 
     The grand finale' was Joy's gorgeous Persimmon Cake, made from her home grown persimmons and topped with the sunniest yellow flowers (plus ice cream, of course!) We sang happy birthday to Janine and let her know how much we value her dear friendship. She and her sister-in-law Trude took off the next day on a trip to New York City while the rest of us are home soaking up the wonderful new autumn weather.
     I hope you are able to enjoy a special occasion on the advent of this most delightful season. Maybe a trip to hunt pumpkins, or an outdoor campfire, or just a few precious hours with friends or family. It's so worth it to pause and enjoy the moment.

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Stirling Castle, Scotland Trip

Our August 2018 Trip to Edinburgh and St. Andrews, Scotland

     Sweetface and I took a trip to see our daughter Erin and her husband Sean. They have been living in St. Andrews for the past year while Sean studied church history at St. Andrews University.  (They have since then returned home to the USA.) We wanted to visit them before they had to leave. We both loved Scotland!  Here was our first glimpse of Scotland at the airport--a gentleman in his kilt! We saw many more while we were there.

     We first spent a night and day in Edinburgh, where as luck would have it, they were having their annual "Fringe"event, with street performers of all types and kinds, foods, music, and entertainment everywhere.  We were fortunate, indeed, to experience such festivities with Erin and Sean. We enjoyed touring Edinburgh Castle as well as the Queen's castle, "Hollyrood".

     Then we went to their charming home in St. Andrews. For the past year they didn't even need a car, as you can walk the whole town in a few minutes. The college, the shops, the people, and the history are all wonderful. This is the lovely apartment where they lived in the most charming village, followed by scenes from the town and St. Andrews University and the surrounding sights.


     We even had the rare opportunity to play golf , just a block away from their home, at the renowned St. Andrews Golf Course, where golf was first invented! (Does "putt-putt" count?)

And the seacoast is just a few minutes walk away, where we found pretty pieces of sea glass.

     Our last day in Scotland we took an hour's drive to visit Stirling Castle, where my ancestor Mary Stewart was born in the mid 1400's, the daughter of King James IV. It was an eerie feeling experiencing being in a place that I know my very DNA came from, and hearing the local Scots speaking in their regional, unfamiliar dialects which were impossible to understand. It all tugged strongly on my heart in a mysterious way which I cannot describe Sometimes I fought the tears, knowing  a bit about the tragedies and struggles that were born there. The beauty of the place was breathtaking. 

     And who knew that the official animal of Scotland is the Unicorn! You see them everywhere--even while sitting in the Royal Thrones. Do you think Mary Stewart saw me sitting there?

Stirling Castle is famous for it's collection of The Stirling Tapestries, including 
this heartbreaker from the series, "The Hunt of the Unicorn."

I even brought one home as a souvenir.

Rosie likes it. 

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