Monday, September 29, 2014


I love to travel, and that is an understatement! I long to see things I've never seen before, immerse myself in another culture, live another way of life. I love the excitement of experiencing something new every day, the promise of a discovery around every corner.

But I do I find it hard to come home, to get back into the familiar routine of my life. It's not that I'm not grateful for all that I have and that I don't miss my family while I'm gone, because I am and I do. It's more that, with new eyes, the old life seems too predictable, so ordinary, like going from color to black and white.

I've been in London for nearly three weeks, living a big city life, very different from the small town, quiet life I live in Minnesota. Now I'm home, picking apples, potatoes, grapes, and raspberries. Raking leaves. Mowing the lawn. Ho hum.

Me, traveling

Me, back home in Minnesota

What's the remedy? Reflection, reading, time, putting one foot ahead of the other and carrying on, I think.

And, as everyone knows . . .




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Goodbye to London

Several of you had the correct answer to yesterday's question, you smarties you. It is indeed a home for insects and it was in the walkway area outside of St Dunstan in the East in Stepney.


Well, all good things must come to an end,

and tomorrow I fly away home.

It's been a wonderful trip.






I made some nice new friends. .









and now it's time to wave goodbye to London.


"Travel is the only thing you buy that

makes you richer."


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bait and Switch

I know I said yesterday I would show you photos of the inside of Kensington Palace, and I will. Just not tonight -- there are too many to sort out and I'm tired.

So, raise your hand if you know what this is! I'll tell you tomorrow who guessed right and where it can be found.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Stroll Through Kensington Gardens

My name is Cynthia, apparently a confusing name because it gets spelled many creative ways. Today was no exception, and I think this is my favorite variation ever! Santia, or Santla, I'm not sure which.


Anyhoo, it was off to Kensington Gardens and Palace to see if I could get a peek at Kate, newly pregnant with the spare heir. I'm sure I saw her in one if those many windows, looking out at the riffraff hanging about in her front garden!


Off we go, down the Broadwalk with all the dogs running happy and free, chasing the squirrels and pigeons, and dodging the people getting lessons in bike riding.


Who knew there was such a career as a cycling instructor?


Past the Elfin Oak, a 900- year old tree stump carved with elves and animals cavorting in and around it.











And there's Kensington Palace. And Queen Victoria, who was born here, sculpted by her daughter Louise. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, and is now the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Also William and Mary, Queen Anne, George I, George II, Diana and Charles, and a whole lot of lesser royals.

Gorgeous gardens, fit for a king!

And this is the Gold Gate, made famous by the photos of the tributes to Diana placed here upon her death and shown all over the world.
















To Be Continued. You do want to see the inside, right?








Monday, September 22, 2014

The Absolutely Most Perfect Day Ever in London, Weather-Wise and More

Blue skies, no wind, ideal temps -- the travel gods have certainly smiled on me this year. It was a day at the Tate Modern with my friend from Edinburgh, Catrina. We have been friends for about 35 years!

We looked at art all morning but then this view beckoned us back outside to enjoy this perfect autumn day.

We bought a cup of coffee and sat, enjoying the street entertainers on the Queen's Walk -- the motionless Gold Man, a grim reaper that appeared suspended in the air, a young man who would create a story for you right there on his old-fashioned typewriter, another who rolled glass balls up, down, and around his body.

Then, we crossed the Millenium Bridge, a pedestrian bridge suspended over the Thames, toward St. Paul's Cathedral.

Lovers' locks are appearing, copying those on a bridge on the Seine in Paris. There were so many of them, in spite of the fact that they were regularly cut off by the authorities, they caused part of the French bridge to collapse.

Just because I love owls . . . .

I didn't notice these last summer. Table tennis games have popped up everywhere. These are in Paternoster Square, with one of the originsl gates to London preserved behind.

A sculpture made of old books on the wall inside a modern office building intrigued me. I asked if I could take a photo and the woman at the desk said, "Yes, one photo and then you must leave right away!" Okay then!

I am so lucky to be in London!


Friday, September 19, 2014

'Meeting Place'

Overlooking the Eurostar trains as they come into St. Pancras Station from Paris is this enormous 30-foot statue titled "The Meeting Place."


The artist, Paul Day, says he created it to show the meeting of the two cultures, French and English, brought together by the new high speed trains.








I found the bronze frieze around the base even more interesting. It is in the same style of his Battle of Britain memorial on the Embankment that I like so much.




I'll let you look at some of the scenes and interpret them yourself.




My favorite. I don't think she is quite as into him as he thinks!










Thursday, September 18, 2014

Historic Day in the UK

This was the headline on the paper everyone was reading on the London Underground this morning.

The outcome is pretty much up in the air -- predictions are that it will be very, very close. My Scottish friend will be here with me this weekend and I'm interested to hear her perspective, as opposed to the Londeners' I've talked to this week.















I spent most of today at the Imperial War Museum. I toured the new World War I (called the Great War here) exhibit. Such crowds, and a bit claustrophobic for me. I missed a lot because I couldn't get near it, but I did learn a lot as well, and of course, it's all intended to be very moving and it is.

I headed back to the house earlier than usual to put my feet up, read a book, and regroup a bit. A day of war and crowds has me feeling a bit world-weary. No worries, tomorrow is a new day!

Outside the house where I am staying in South Ealing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A London Moment

Between the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum in London today,

Sherlock entertained the children.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Postcard from Borough Market

Borough Market in London has existed at least since 1014 "and probably much earlier than that" near the southern end of London Bridge.

The morning started out foggy, but then what is London without a bit of fog? By lunchtime the sun had come out on another beautiful, warm day. The market was busy with shoppers and lunchtime diners and I'm sure no one went away disappointed with the great variety of food on offer.

Obviously I still need some work on my selfie technique, but you can sort of see that I enjoyed my wild mushroom and asparagus in wine sauce pie.


Doesn't it look like these workers from another time were looking at the shoppers today and wondering what in the world was going on?


Monday, September 15, 2014

Poppy Fields at the Tower of London


To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, a scarlet sea of ceramic poppies cascades from the wall into the moat at the Tower of London. The crowds were quiet and contemplative today as they lingered over the fence, taking in the impact of all that red.



The installation by artist Paul Cummins is called Blood-Swept Lands and Seas of Red. Poppies are added every week until Armistice Day in November when there will be a total of 888,246 poppies, one for every soldier from the UK, Australia, and the Commonwealth killed during the Great War.



Poppies have become a symbol of that war since soldiers recalled the poppies growing in the fields in Flanders, and they are commemorated in the poem, "In Flanders' Fields".

The poppies are for sale, available when the installation is taken down. The money will go to charities that support Britain's war veterans.














Although I have seen photos in the news, it was quite moving to be in sunny London today and see this beautiful sight in person.

Joining today with Our World Tuesday.