"" Writer's Wanderings: The Eye, The Queen, and a Buckeye Tree!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Eye, The Queen, and a Buckeye Tree!

Our very first trip to England so many years ago was to London on business where we met with the European sales rep for Bob’s company to attend a trade show there. We blame. . .er, credit him with whetting our appetite for travel. It was also our first trip to a foreign country (Canada doesn’t count, does it?) and he made it easy for us to learn our way around the tube (subway) and gave us a good lesson on the “funny money” they use. Add to that the fact that they almost speak the same language and our first foreign travel experience was delightful.

With all of that history and a second trip to England to meet up with the sales rep again, we added an extra day on to our trip to visit with him and his wife. They live near London and since our departure from home was booked from Heathrow, we traveled to the big city to spend our last two days. The trip from Dover was about three hours by bus but again we had pretty views of the countryside and parts of the city that we wouldn’t have seen from a train. Also, luggage is easily stored below the bus instead of having to lug it up and down stairs/escalators and find space for it in a train. (If you go first class, you may have more storage but we found that in Italy, the storage was above our heads.)

Arriving in London in mid-afternoon, we left the bus to find the subway station to get to our destination in Paddington. London reminds me of New York. Lots of people, traffic, and bustle. The Hotel Indigo was very close to the Paddington Station and we walked a short block and found ourselves in a beautiful venue. The hotel was quite modern but the best part was the room—large by European standards with a gorgeous bathroom and, get this, scented toilet paper!

Ah, but I digress. Having only a half day or less in London makes you put on your running shoes and take off. We decided on the “just gotta see again” spots and took off. First on the list was the London Eye. This was a new addition to the area along the Thames known as the Embankment and is opposite the House of Parliament. It’s a lovely tourist area with beautiful walks and buildings and of course great Kodak picture spots. The Eye is a huge ferris wheel with large bubbles that fit about 15 people inside comfortably. The ride is a half hour and you get spectacular views of the city. Unfortunately we rode at the time of day when the sun was parallel with us and it was hard to get good pictures through the glass.

From the Eye, we decided to walk to Buckingham Palace. We were sure the Queen would invite us in for late tea or dinner. On our way, we passed by Downing Street that used to be accessible so that you could actually get close enough to take a picture of #10 but now it is heavily guarded and barricaded.
We moved on and strolled through St. James Park, the garden area in front of the palace. It’s filled with pathways through shade trees and along a water area that is home to all sorts of water birds.

Along the way there were several little flower gardens but what stopped us in our tracks was a tree that looked so very familiar. It was a buckeye tree! The discovery made our little Buckeye hearts beat faster. Surely if the Queen has a buckeye tree in her park, she would certainly extend hospitality to a couple of Buckeyes!

We hastened on and arrived at the circular plaza in front of the palace where the pomp and circumstance take place when the changing of the guard occurs. We approached the huge golden trimmed gate and peered in. The brilliant red coat of the guard stood out sharply against the gray stone of the building. Ah, yes! Red and gray. Buckeye colors!

Try as we did however, we could not get the guard’s attention. Surely if we had, he would have opened the gates and announced us to the Queen. But alas, we gave up and wandered off to find dinner on our own. Next time we’ll have to let her know when we expect to be in town.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...