England: 8/13 – 8/19

Hove >>> London [One week housesit with Neala]

8/13 – Travel back to London and meet our next housesit
8/14 – Start our one week London Housesit
8/15 – Rest and Planning Day in London
8/16 – Meet up with Trek America Friends!
8/17 – Visit with Liz’s English Cousins at Tower of London
8/18 – Tour to visit Bath and Stonehenge
8/19 – Afternoon Tea, Harry Potter, and Baker Street

Travel back to London and meet our next housesit
+ Sadly, today we had to leave our housesit and say goodbye to Alfie. Even sadder, when it came time to leave, he was out on one of his adventures and nowhere to be found.
+ We spent our last few hours packing everything up (we’d managed to completely spread out over the 2 bedroom, 2 story house) and eating a bunch of leftovers we had for lunch. After cleaning everything to leave it all as immaculate as we found it, we strapped on our heavy bags again and set out for the train station.
+ Unfortunately we left just a tad too late for the 15 minute walk there and ended up missing it but a couple of minutes. So we had to wait around for another 35 minutes until the next train and were worried we’d miss our connection in Brighton to go to London. Luckily, we did make it in time and settled in for our hour long journey north.
+ After arriving back at the Victoria Station in London we made our way to Queen’s Park for our one night Air Bnb stay. We checked in quickly and then took the metro to Shepherd’s Bush to meet the pet owners for our next housesit here in London
+ After meeting Charlotte, Jack, and their cat Neala we chatted for a while and then made our way back to Queen’s Park to call it a night.
+ We stopped for dinner at “Mr. Fish” and got some delicious, authentic English fish and chips!
+ Crashed at our Air Bnb ready to start our next housesit the next day.

Start our one week London Housesit
+ Late morning we checked out of the Air BnB and got back on the tube with our bags to move into the flat at Shepherd’s Bush. Shepherd’s Bush was a great area only about 20 minutes from the London attractions with tons of shopping and lots of convenient tube, rail, and overground stations very close. The flat was small and the kitchen was so tiny it didn’t even have a kettle! (We had definitely been spoiled by the house in Hove) Regardless, it was going to be a great base for our stay here in London!
+ Neala was being skittish and shy at first so we got ourselves settled and made our trip to the grocery store for supplies.

Rest and Planning Day in London
+ Spent most of the day planning out the rest of our UK itinerary while watching the Olympics at the apartment.
+ For dinner, Corey had found a groupon for the nearby Touro Brazilian Steakhouse. It was delicious! The waiter was Portuguese and seemed impressed when we said Obrigado for his service.

Meet Up with Trek America Friends!
+ We watched more Olympics, cuddled with Neala, and planned more for the rest of August.
+ In the evening we met up with Moneeba and Bejal, two friends from one of Corey’s 2010 Trek America trips! It was great reunion and we all had a lot of fun at a bar named “Bounce”. This bar was supposedly built on the birthplace of ping pong! Groups could rent out ping pong tables by the half hour and enjoy a few games over drinks and food. Alcohol + ping pong could sound like a dangerous combination but everyone seem to be having a great time despite the ping pong balls flying everywhere all night long!
+ After we finished our game we split some pizzas and Corey reminisced about good times with their tour group.

Visit with Liz’s English Cousins at Tower of London
+ We were looking forward to seeing Liz’s 2nd cousins while we were over here in the UK! After some messaging back and forth we all planned to meet at the Tower of London. Steph, Patria, and James caught the train down from Nottingham and met us at the Tower of London. It was great to see them again! They come over to Florida every 2 years or so to do the attractions so it was really nice to see them on their home turf!
+ We all enjoyed the historic Tower of London and especially the tours led by the Yeomen Warders. These Yeomen, or Beefeaters, are the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London and each have served at least 22 years in the military! They lead daily tours of tourists around the tower and safeguard the crown jewels housed there.
+ After the Tower, we hopped on the tube toward the London Eye. Unforntunately the lines were long and Steph and Tria were worried they would miss their train home. Instead of paying for the Eye, we opted to wander through London up to Leicester Square. We found a delicious looking Mexican restuarant and another cousin, Imogen, met us there. We had a nice dinner swapping stories and getting excited for Steph’s baby due in January.
+ After dinner we all said goodbyes. We thanked all the cousins for coming in to London to see us. It was a great day with family we just don’t get to see often enough!

Tour to visit Bath and Stonehenge
+ In his hunt for London groupons, Corey came across a halfprice tour to visit both Bath and Stonehenge. Normally we stay away from tours as they are rarely a good value for what you can usually organize yourself. However, this one was a delightful surprise! The transportation alone was well worth the price and the tour leader gave us lots of information on the bus ride out to Bath and then also on the ride out to Stonehenge. He even checked to make sure the air conditioner was the right temperature for us!
+ Bath was a lovely town with lots of shopping, tea houses, and restaurants. We only had 3 hours to visit but we saw the main sights like the Royal Crescent (buildings built in an arch around a nice green park), Bath Abbey (where the first king of England was crowned in 973) and of course the Roman Baths which date back to around 70 AD!
+ After we all piled back into the bus, we rode the hour or so on to Stonehenge. Stonehenge was as we expected it, full of tourists but still neat to see such an iconic monument.
+ The tour bus dropped us back off in London around 630pm. That was about a 10 hour tour and a great value!

Afternoon Tea, Harry Potter, and Baker Street
+ We enjoyed afternoon tea at the Park Grand London Kensington hotel. It was a decent tea service but not the most traditional. Corey doesn’t like tea so Liz got to enjoy both pots! We both enjoyed the sandwiches, scones, and little desserts. Unfortunately as we were finishing up, the fire alarm went off in the hotel and we all had to evacuate. Not the most peaceful ending to our outing. Since we were ready to go we just headed on toward our next destination.
+ We strolled through the Kensington Gardens on our way to the British Musuem. The British Museum was all about human culture from all around the world. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon.
+ Since we were on that side of London, we hopped on the tube to visit Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Train Station, home of the famous Harry Potter pass-through to the Wizard World (away from those pesky Muggles!). We waited in the small line (even at 10pm) and took our pictures wearing a Hogwarts scarf. Liz’s eyes almost got stuck in a permanent eye roll.
+ We hopped back on the tube and took the Metro over to Baker Street. Corey was excited to visit the famous home of Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street. Because it was later at night, the little museum on the sight was closed but we took some pictures anyway.
+ We ate dinner nearby at Burgista Brothers. It was surprisingly delicious burgers and a fantastic dark chocolate milkshake!

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