Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Our Vacation Saga-First Stop...London!

I have to preface this by saying that I first visited London, Paris, and Rome nearly 30 years ago, and when I returned to these cities, it was like visiting an old friend.

So we started out our mega tour of Europe by sitting on the runway at JFK Airport in NYC for nearly 3 (no, this is not a typo)hours! There were 60 planes ahead of us for take off, delayed because of bad weather across the country--just not in New York! At least they started the food service! We finally took off enroute for our first destination--London. The flight was 7 hours, smooth going, and we arrived and transferred to our hotel uneventfully.

With the rest of the day to ourselves, we set off on a double decker bus tour of the city. Since we were basically exhaused, we plugged in our headsets for the commentary & just road around "sightseeing". We saw Parliment & Big Ben, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square,St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, & went over the Tower Bridge. The city seemed very crowded & there were some road closures--it rapidly became evident that something was going on--and that was that the Tour de France Bicycle Race for the first time ever was beginning in London. When we got to Buckingham Palace, we actually got to see some of the time trials. The team vans were all parked in an area where you could get pretty close & see the bicycles & mechanics.

The next day, after a morning tour with our group, we set off again to see some of the sites & Tour de France events. We had the most fun watching a parade of Tour sponsors along the route. They threw into the crowd promo stuff-hats, pens, candy, etc. So our suitcases became heavy even before we bought souvenirs!

Soon it was time to return to our hotel for the evening. Unfortunately, we missed our stop beacause it was also the time "someone" decided to create a bomb scare and the area was evacuated. So we road around the city circuit again until we were able to get off in the proper location to catch a city bus back to our hotel.

The next morning, we left to begin our tour at the crack of dawn--which turned out to be a good thing. We took the last road open out of London-all roads out were closed due to credible threats on four major landmarks.

Despite the security threats and road closures we all agreed that we loved London and felt fortunate to have visited on such a momentous occasion as the start of the Tour de France!

Have a wonderful day and watch for our next stop!

By the way, the last photo is my Creative Challenge #62 to be inspired by a garden or nature. We toured lots of gardens on our trip and alway saw beautiful butterflies.
It is available in my etsy shop.


stilettoheights said...

amazing...I have never been to Europe but long to go with every ounce of my person!!!

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