Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's the circle, the circle of travel

"There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done."

---Circle of Life, lyrics by the amazing Tim Rice

Our second morning in London found us not as chipper as we'd been the previous morning. I think the jet lag and fatigue from running around like crazy folk the day before were starting to take a toll. Oliver, smart guy that he is, must have foreseen the dramatic decrease in energy that we would experience because he'd scheduled a more laid back trip for that day. In the morning, we toured Blenheim Palace which was my favorite of all the palaces we saw in England. Blenheim is where Winston Churchill was born, and they had bits and pieces of ephemera from his life tucked throughout the interior. The palace also had a stunning library that reminded me of the one in Beauty and the Beast. I do love my books, so any room devoted to their storage is high on my list of favorites. However, nothing inside could rival the beauty of the grounds. Everything was so breathtakingly gorgeous outside. Drew and I took a long walk around the palace through the arboretum and past the rose garden. The lawn was so expansive and green that I wanted to just lay down on it and take a nap. I think the Duke of Marlborough would frown upon that though.

Once we were through with Blenheim--and by through I mean once Andy was able to pry me away and quiet my assertions that I belonged there--we headed to Hampton Court Palace which was Henry VIII's favorite abode. The Tudors are a fascinating study in human behavior, so it was interesting to see where they felt most comfortable residing. The visitor set up of this castle was more relaxed than the other palaces that we toured--you basically just walked around in whatever pattern you wanted where as the other palaces had a laid out traffic flow that moved you from room to room in a very efficient manner. The other difference with this palace was that areas were staged to invoke the look and feel the building possessed in the time of Henry. For instance, you could tour the kitchens where there were fake cuts of meat sitting on the tables and plastic pigs roasting over open spits. It had a very school field trip vibe. The building itself however was Andy's favorite. I think this is because it was the most cleanly lined building whereas the others we saw were very heavy handed with the ornate gilding of every available surface. Hampton Court is also Oliver's favorite, so much so that he proposed to his wife there. Not sure I'd choose Henry VIII's castle as the place that I promised forever to my future wife, but I bet it looked really pretty in the pictures.

By the end of our tour of Tudordom, we were pooped. We both fell asleep during the car ride home: I can attest that Jags are not lacking in the comfort department. We were so exhausted that we decided not to go see the Lion King that night. We went to the matinee the next day instead. I enjoyed the show very much. The puppeteering was phenomenal, and the actors that played Rafiki and Scar were both engaging. Oh, and during the intermission, Andy bought me a bag of Cadbury Shots. Heaven. on. Earth. Have you noticed that a lot of the more detailed memories of my trip revolve around sweet treats?

After the show, we went shopping. Harrods is an Egyptian style mall that is similar to paradise encompassing 1 million square feet of retail bliss. Or in other words: completely overwhelming. I will do all of my shopping at Harrods when I move to London even though I know that it will be credit suicide for sure. It was so cathartic to wander around all of the shiny new toys and sparkly jewelry. The best part had to be eating my grilled cheese at Mo's Dinner while watching women shop for shoes right next to me. They looked like they were having such a good time that I decided that I too was in desperate need of new shoes. So, as soon as I was done munching on my fries, I slid on over and bought myself a new pair of ballet flats--in wide width! They had a quite large selection of shoes that came in wide width, and the saleslady didn't even flinch when I asked for them. If it weren't clear enough already, let me just say again: I belong in England.

After shopping, we headed back to the hotel to pack for our early departure the next morning.

Our trip ended on a great note in the Virgin Upper Class Lounge. There I got a yummy waffle breakfast, a delicious skim latte, and a Hello! Magazine to read in the retro egg/bubble/hanging chair thing. I could totally live like this everyday. Now, if I can just get the Queen to acknowledge my rightful place in the succession...

And then before I knew it, we were home again to a hyper Chase and an Amaya who could climb the staircase. Imagine the crescendo and staccoto: The. Circle. of. Travel.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:10 PM

    Who is that dapper gentleman with the umberalla posing in front of the castle? Nice pictures of England. love g-ma