Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Our Trip to England and France

British Airways plane
Our plane before leaving for England

Six years ago, my husband and I went on a trip-of-a-lifetime when we spent three weeks in England and France in August 2008. It was something I had wanted to do for most of my life. I’m a big fan of everything from British royalty to Shakespeare, to Sherlock Holmes, Poirot and Miss Marple, to afternoon tea, to Upstairs/Downstairs and Coronation Street.

One afternoon, I jokingly told my husband that I wanted to go to England for my upcoming birthday. He didn’t say no, kind of thought about it, and said that we might be able to manage it in a few years. That was all the encouragement I needed to start the process! I spent the next three years planning our vacation, with Michael working lots of overtime away from home (and in some cases out of country) to help pay for our trip.

I pre-planned just about everything I could by making good use of a variety of websites to learn about flights, hotels, cities, tourist attractions, timetables, maps, and more. We booked our hotels (mostly Holiday Inn), our flights (British Airways) and trains (Eurostar). I also bought online entrance tickets to sights that I was particularly looking forward to seeing ahead of time (like Buckingham Palace) in order to avoid crowds and line-ups.

I organized a pretty ambitious itinerary, with daily sights in London, overnight trips to Windsor and King’s Lynn, and three days in Paris. In England, we toured Buckingham Palace, including the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery, as well as Clarence House, Kensington Palace, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tower of London, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the National Portrait Gallery, and the British Museum. We also saw the Changing of the Guard, rode on the London Eye, toured the city on one of those hop on-hop off buses, did some shopping, and did so much walking that I got shin splints. We spent a few days at Windsor and at the Queen’s private estate at Sandringham near King’s Lynn. We travelled to Paris by Eurostar on what an amazingly quiet and smooth ride. There we saw the Eiffel Tower, the Rodin Museum, Les Invalides and the Louvre.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Palace of Westminster with Big Ben
Palace of Westminster with 'Big Ben'

The Thinker by Rodin
The Thinker, Musée Rodin, Paris

The Louvre
Selfie at the Louvre Palace, Paris

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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