Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part VI

On the day of the Irish Pub and beautiful weather, Becky and I had the town to ourselves. We had no tour guide (Chris and Erika were not there on that day), so we were our own tour guides. We had the London Pass and the Oyster Card to travel the Underground. So let me stop here. Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? Come on...if you've read this far you already know the answer to that.

So armed with our 'stuff' we got to travel from place to place using the underground railway system. Erika assured us we could do it. Becky was braver than I, but I pulled up my big-girl britches and was ready to go. First stop? Again, I don't know! But we made it--wherever our destination lead us. 

But what I do remember (again vividly--because this is connected with my heart) was the breathtaking site of the palace. It stopped me short. (We didn't realize, however, that we weren't able to tour the palace--that happens in summer--but we saw so many people standing around looking at the palace. I figured this must be customary for tourists to do that. And maybe it is. But, in my heart I knew that there was a reason everyone was standing around. After a bit of gently nudging Becky, we decided to stay for an hour. 

We approached a police officer walking among the crowd, and we asked him what they were all waiting for. The reason? We were going to see the Changing of the Guard!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part V

Why is it I remember the inconsequential things? I don't know...I should be talking about the beautiful architecture, the wonderful shops, the palace (wait, I WILL talk about that...just not right now), right? But knowing who I am, I have embraced that part of me. It took years for me to understand why so many people labeled me as sensitive. I used to take that as an insult, but I know now, through all my life experiences, that my sensitivity has made me into a strong and loving person. I wouldn't change that for the world.

So, why do I remember that London has no bathrooms (unless you go into a restaurant?) WHAT? I'm sure they do, but my sister and I couldn't seem to find any on our day trip together on a beautiful day in London. As a tourist, I'm sure I just didn't have a guide to help me in that department; had I, I wouldn't be sharing this funny story right least to me.

We found a pub that was basically empty because it was between lunch and dinner, but I knew they would have to have a bathroom. So here's the dilemma: I'm gluten free, and this is an Irish pub that basically has no gluten-free options for me. But at this point I couldn't hold it any longer! So, we ordered 'chips'' (deliciously wicked French fries) and pops. I felt incredibly embarrassed by having to to do this just to use the bathroom, but the lovely gentlemen (who were old enough to be my sons) made the stop so worthwhile. They absolutely enjoyed our company as we did theirs, and I got to use the bathroom. Twice.

Monday, May 23, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part IV

I completely underestimated London's weather. I didn't pack the right amount of clothes or the type. I was openly frustrated trying to figure out what to wear. The rain was insane. Hyperbole? Not even a little bit. Sight-seeing in horizontally-pelting rain is an adventure...not a fun one...but an adventure nonetheless. Don't plan on experiencing that again, either, mind you. Oh, and to top it all off, my beautiful polka-dot umbrella met its demise in London. Now that was bittersweet.

Our trek from Cambridge to London is lost on me. Again, I'm sure I became so overwhelmed with the travel, I shut down. If my sister ever wants to chime in with a comment to correct any of my errors, I'd be grateful. Have at it, Becky! But here's what I do remember vividly: The conversation with one of our taxi drivers en route to someplace. Can't remember where. But here is my caveat: I will not participate in political banter here or on any other social media outlet, so if my prose leaves a lot to the imagination, then great!

He, our taxi driver, was more than happy to share his opinion of the political climate in the states (which I found out later in our trip, was consistent among a few Londoners who were brave enough to share their opinions). His biggest fear? WWIII. ! ! ! ! !

This sure made this seemingly huge world (in my perspective) very, very small. Here were people openly sharing their views and doing it with as much gusto as any American. What I did do was listen. And listen. And listen. I rarely make my political opinion known publicly, and I won't now. But my eyes were utterly blown wide open....

Friday, May 20, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part III

What I remember vividly is checking into our first hotel in Cambridge, England. My brother and his wife live there, so I knew we were going to get crème de la crème tour guides. OK, I lie, I don't remember the hotel name, but I do remember trying to figure out why my adapter that I bought for Europe wouldn't fit in the hotel's outlet. My sister, Becky, had bought this amazing adapter and was going to try it. After all, it cost upwards of $30 and was supposedly the best. To test it out, she plugged in her hairdryer and the strip adapter sparked and seemed to explode. Yikes! So much for money "well spent". We contacted the front desk and a nice man brought up a few UK adapters, (not European!) and explained that US hairdryers and UK outlets don't mix. Ours were obviously way too powerful. Thank goodness they had a hairdryer there. Our first logistical lesson. 

Cambridge is a beautifully quaint city. The architecture is nothing like here in America. My pictures of Cambridge are skewed, so I won't post the buildings per se, but here are a few that told about the famous pub, The Eagle, the site of take a look: 

Wow DNA discovered in a pub in Cambridge...well not in the pub, mind you, but you get the idea. 

The other place that I just loved was a quaint shop called Nomad. The owner, Fin, is a Deadhead and we had a lot to talk about. He even threw in an extra bundle of incense, because, that's just what Deadheads do. More to come!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part II

As we flew into Heathrow Airport, London, I saw a most magnificent city! The London Eye was unmistakably awesome! Taking all this in on the airplane was much easier for me than I knew it would be on the ground. Here it was safe and not so terribly overwhelming. I'm not sure how many times I grabbed my sister's hand and said, "I can't believe we're here!" My sister is one of a kind. She takes it all in, and adds a snarky comment occasionally to keep me guessing. She is not one to pour her feelings takes quite a bit for her to choose to do that...she's told me it doesn't come naturally to her. I, on the other hand, will gush...sometimes ad nauseum. My sister is much more reserved on that front. But I digress...

I cannot remember the next couple of hours after landing. When I get overwhelmed, I shut down. The first overwhelming aspect of our trip was DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! OK, I know that in England this is the way they do things, but actually doing it...well, it's quite an experience. OK, public service announcement here: I cannot for the life of me remember hotel names, restaurants, minor excursions, brain doesn't work that way. I know that taking the time to write things down or save memorabilia would be helpful, but that's not my way either. I'm an in-the-moment kind of gal when it comes to vacations or day excursions. I may take lots of pictures, but then may have no idea what they are of; thank God for the location device on my iPhone. It takes care of that for me. So basically, if you are looking for a "tour" of my trip, you won't get one. This is a journey into my mind, heart, soul, and all the other parts of me that make up who I am. So if this is not for you, you may stop reading. I won't mind. Hell, I won't even know who reads my stuff other than the comments I receive on Facebook.

So all that said, I hope you are enjoying your neck of the woods this weekend--cold and wet where I'm at--but I hope no matter the weather, you are all shining inside or appreciating your moment. More to come. Namaste.