Finally with my people.

Day 3 and we said goodbye to London, yet the prospect of finally getting to the land of my people in Scotland had me antsy in my train seat. Onward and upward!

What I Saw

All the things. First off, Kings Cross, and yes—I was absolutely thinking of the scene from the Deathly Hallows. Fortunately, I’m not the only one.

Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross

I wonder what it must feel like as an author to know you thought up an idea that was then brought to life at a major travel thoroughfare in one of the world’s most popular cities.

What I Ate

Not enough, apparently. As we walked up and down the full length of The Royal Mile in Edinburgh, we scoped out just about every pub and dining establishment along the way but didn’t stop until I had a certifiable Snickers-diva moment. Thankfully my husband darted us into a Turkish café where we enjoyed hot croissants with bacon and cheese. #crisis averted

What I Learned

We followed my Google map app to the hotel, which directed us to take one way designated as a “Cl.” Came to find out that stands for “Close,” which is a type of very narrow alleyway. This has swiftly turned into our favorite method for finding places off the beaten path. For instance, we came upon the Writers Museum and this array of quotes which puts Hollywood star pavement to shame.

Writers Museum stones in Edinburgh

I’m off to post more pictures on my Pinterest board, so take a gander if you so desire. I have a feeling I’ll need my spare battery charger for sheer shutter needs.

Quickly, London.

Day Two of our We’re 40! adventure in the UK was our only full day in London on this particular trip. It went by far too quickly!

What I Saw

For lunch, my husband had arranged for us to eat at a pub about 10 minutes from our hotel. In what became our trademark style, we made about two wrong turns before arriving at the Anglesea Arms. We chose a patio seat for our lunch, from where we could enjoy the mild weather and street views.

Former residence of Charles Dickens

A placard on the stone patio wall directed us to the residence across the street. Apparently Charles Dickens resided at No. 11!

What I Ate

I realized with this post I need to follow the ways of the foodie and take more pictures of meals, if for no other reason than to prove I’m not relying solely upon liquor to sustain me through my travels.

A tasty breakfast in bed: grapes & smoked cheddar

We’ve been using local grocers and our room’s mini-fridge to plan our breakfasts. This morning I enjoyed grapes and smoked cheese, as well as some tastes of cured meats. When combined with the coffee, it was a delightful repast.

What I Learned

Big Ben at Westminster Abbey

Londoners walk fast. We made our way to Westminster before 9am and thus were in the very midst of a weekday morning commute. I discovered the feeling other shoppers at American malls must have when I zoom around them as they saunter when I wish to sprint. As we walked the paths and ways around Parliament and the Abbey (which, as it turned out, was not conducting tours today), my main goal was to enjoy the sights while staying out of the way of the residents zooming quickly by.

More to come, as we continue our travels north to Edinburgh. If you’d like to see more pictures, visit my Instagram profile.

We made it to London!

Today was our first day of our We’re 40! trip. First thing we did was buy matching bags, special Ultralight backpack for our backs so we could make it to all the trip, it was amazing ! First comprised of traveling by air to Gatwick by way of Reykjavik, then to the hotel by way of train and “the tube” (Underground).

What I Saw

As we explored South Kensington on foot, we came upon a set of museums: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. We opted for the last; being on a thrifty budget for this epic trip, we like finding local attractions which don’t break the wallet (okay, who doesn’t?).

What a lovely choice! We walked through several sections which highlighted centuries of portraits, furniture, and even rooms which had been moved from their original palatial site to be housed within the museum. What most struck our senses was the gallery exhibiting the works of Raphael.

Rafael works at the Victoria and Albert Museum | Rachel, Really Social

This room was striking not just for its contents, but I learned that is was designed to be a choral room to accentuate vocal performances. Naturally I wished I could be in there for five minutes with a small orchestra at the ready.

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This was my personal favorite, which was featured at one end of the gallery and entranced me with the detail and descriptive story of St. George as well as the life of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

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What I Ate

Once we completed our multi-stage trek to our hotel, our stomachs were battling our jet lag and won out. We went across the street to the Hoop and Toy, a small pub which serves a small variety of beers, whiskies, and even ciders (yay!). I enjoyed a strawberry-lime Rekorderlig, while my husband imbibed his Guinness. And, to fulfill a craving I’d had for the week leading up to this day, I ordered fish and chips. #YUM

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What I Learned

To combat jet lag, our plan was to stay awake until 10pm. Part of our strategy was to bike ride through Hyde Park (a short distance from the Ampersand Hotel). After walking through traffic and witnessing how motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians interacted in harrowing ways, I almost backed out. But we rented our bicycles and rode up the street to go through Hyde and Kensington parks.

I learned that, as much as I sometimes find cycling in and around Denver to be a pulse-quickening experience at times, cycling in London is vastly more thrilling. Pedestrians, whether tourist or resident, are on all sides of the lanes and sidewalks, so at times cycling on the road with the cars was less stressful.

My husband, the seasoned city cyclist, shook his head at both my anxiety and my avid desire to take pictures at almost every turn.

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I’ll continue updating on our UK trip and the chaos we cause along the way. Look for my reviews on Tripadvisor.com.