Sunday, March 27, 2011

{Keaton's dreams come true}

All of Keaton's dreams of London came true today!  He had a very short list of MUST-DO things so he was easy to please: 
Hedge Maze at Hampton Court Palace & The Eye of London.  
Actually, everyone has a short list so we're all really happy.

Transportation is still interesting - I think it's due to the weekend at the moment.  There weren't any demonstrators though!

We have experienced the tube, double-decker buses, trains, LOTS of walking (which I love), and even a chartered bus.  The chartered bus was called in to rescue everyone waiting FOREVER for a trip to Hamptom Court Palace.

Thomas sat next to this precious gal on the train.  I think I have better pictures on my real camera but I'm so happy to have iPhone photos for now.  This darling girl was folding paper into tiny paper cranes and flowers.  She even gave us some!  Her family lives in Japan and although they are safe she knows people are still in need.  She was traveling to Hampton today to help raise money to send to Japan for the relief 
efforts . . . the beautiful paper cranes were her gifts for those who donated.  She was just too amazing so we had to donate. Isn't she an angel!  Her Japanese grandmother taught her to make them.

Hampton Court Palace is GORGEOUS.  The inside photos are even more spectacular.  How can a person ever be mean enough OR nice enough to convince so many people to build them this??  (I'm gonna practice being nice to see if it works.)  Technically, Cardinal Wolsey started building the castle but  . . . you know Henry the VIII.  Considering it belonged to King Henry VIII . . . well, maybe I can understand why they said "Yes!" and made it LARGER.

 This breathtaking garden was created for William and Mary years later.  (If I'm REALLY nice, I'd like to have someone help me with such an endeavor in the next life.)

All the grounds were beautiful and the flowers smelled incredible.  Seriously, you could smell them as you strolled along.

Keaton's first dream come true for the day . . . walking  playing in the Hampton Court Palace hedge maze.  There are some things you learn about in homeschool that just grow to be larger than life.  Keaton learned about this couple-of-hundred-year old maze and the London Eye and has been so excited to experience them in person.

The hedge maze was the best!  We found the entrance and exit so many times I lost track but these boys had the time of their lives and we got to cover every inch of this maze.  Super fun day I tell you!

I read the kids a book about the first Ferris Wheel and Keaton's brain started turning.  He researched Ferris Wheels and discovered THE largest Ferris Wheel was in London, England . . . known as The Eye of London.  He decided to ride it some day.  Some day was today!  Thank you Keaton for attracting this experience.  

Big Ben makes a fantastic back drop for these four gorgeous kids!

We had other grand adventures but since it's late in London and I'm going to regret this tomorrow, I'll have to say good-night - hoping my memory will be up to documenting this fabulous holiday a little later.

{our English holiday - continued}

Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey portrays Bath in a beautiful, romantic light.  Persuasion, not so much.  I  think I'll stick with Northanger Abbey. Bath is beautiful!  The people in Bath were so lovely (at times it's more noticeable within).

The biggest question on everyone's mind is . . . has Sir Thomas had need of any English hospital facilities?  Happily, NO!  Being married to such a freak-accident prone man even causes me to wonder about the sanity of our travels.  He is so brave.  I think he really is Superman.  If it weren't for him, I never would have been able to see the world.  I'm not the brave type.  I'm so grateful for him and this opportunity.

We have become accustomed to the English method of driving and even made peace with the roundabouts.  After touring the beautiful countryside, we said good-bye to the people mover we hired and have now experienced the tube and double-deckers buses.

In Bath, we visited the Roman baths . . . original, right?  I loved it!  

The beautiful arched doorway of Bath Abbey . . .

Didn't I mention how lovely the people are?  Rachel found this out through a horrifying first hand experience.  Silly Girl!  She left her beloved camera in the loo after visiting the Roman baths.  This was only discovered AFTER we were out on the street.  We approached a very distinguished looking gentlemen in The Pump Room to inquire about her prized possession.  After offering a VERY detailed description of her camera, it was returned!  See, they are such lovely people and return valuable items that don't belong to them.  We are taking precautions to avoid a repeat occurrence.  :)

I have the MOST wonderful family and they absolutely indulged me!  We got to visit 40 Gay Street, Bath, London!  It's the home of the Jane Austen Centre.  She lived in Bath for a short while and I REALLY wanted to see it. 

Following our visit to the Jane Austen Centre they indulged me again with a quick stop down the street at 25 Gay Street, which was her actual residence.  It is currently owned by some very smart dentist.  They are obviously wonderful people because one of the lovely assistance offered to close the door for us to get a proper picture.  (The door was propped open to allow them to enjoy the beautiful weather.)

My original attempt at this post mysteriously vanished and I've had to start over!  I'm out of time so enjoy the pictures for now and you'll hear more later!

The Royal Crescent in Bath.  (We also stopped by number 7 in The Circus.  It was recently the home of Nicholas Cage.  That is interesting trivia my friends.)

The tunnel under the Thames

The Tower of London

Tower of London

Benjamin Franklin's residence in London

Wait until you hear about this!  Protestors!  We stayed safe. :)

Big Ben

Buckingham Palace

. . . and we're off!