Europe, Asia · 11 Days · 28 Moments · October 2017

Hannah's adventure in England, United Kingdom

24 October 2017

Currently sitting on our last plane completely overwhelmed by the goodness & faithfulness of God on this trip. It's no secret I was nervous about going away. I could not get peace about it at all. Anxiety & I'm sure the devil were both whispering doubt in my ear all the time that made me so consumed with worry & convinced me that I would not be ok. Here I am. I proved them wrong. It has not been easy. It's required a lot of prayer & trust in God. However, I've found a beautiful sense of reliance upon Him through this. Our devotion, Nothing To Prove, was God-given as it was current​ & relevant for us both, but it also very challenging. One challenge was that "trust = rest." When I felt out of control of myself in my circumstances, which was quite regular, I had to choose to trust. Sometimes there was no other option. Choose to let go. Choose to let God. I'm thankful for this powerful lesson & hope I can continue it at home as this is how I want to live. In reliance upon Him.
22nd: - Kensington - London Tower - Trafalgar Square - Picadilly Circus - Afternoon Tea - Hamleys - The Play That Goes Wrong - Room Service

23 October 2017

We got up first thing this morning to do a little last minute gift shopping.

22 October 2017

We then took the train to Tower Hill & had a quick lunch at KFC before going to do the Yeoman Warder tour at London Tower. The Yeoman Warder (or Beefeater as they're commonly referred to), is a person who has served her Majesty's military for over 22 years & has other distintions. They get to live inside London Tower with the agreement of protecting the Crown Jewels & giving tours etc. Our guy was great. Had a good sense of humour in the midst of telling many gory stories. Cromwell's name popped up in​ there briefly. We found as the group was so large we struggled to hear so after a while we went & did our own thing which included seeing the Crown Jewels. Here we saw the red guys with the big black hats where there was a changing of guards of sorts. Quite interesting & fun to see. There was a lot of stamping of the feet πŸ˜‚πŸ’‚ The crowns in particular we're pretty stunning!! Wow.
Kensington Palace started the day - a few minutes walk from our hotel. My goodness it was lovely! There were 4 exhibitions: Queen Victoria & Alfred, the Queen's Apartment, the fashion of Diana & the King's apartment. From the movie The Young Victoria, I knew quite a bit about the Queen's story & so I was truly inspired by being there where she lived & such history happened. We fell in love with the story of Victoria & Albert. There was a room purely dedicated to their was so beautiful. I felt like I was floating through it - their words to each other so poetic! The 2 apartment's we're very elaborate, we were blown away by the beauty. Velvet wallpapers & grand paintings everywhere. So elegant & extravagant. Lastly, Diana's dresses. WOW! How beautiful 😍 each different & unique & truly fashionable. She was such a classy lady. We read that she never wore hats to hospitals as you can't hug kids wearing them. She truly was full of grace! ❀

21 October 2017

First stop was Notting Hill to walk along Portobello Road & find the blue door from the movie. I was feeling quite rotten at this point with my asthma having cleared but my chest still very sorry & so it was a lot of effort at this point of the day. It was dark when we got off the train but thankfully the rain had stopped as we walked about 10 minutes & found the door!! Next stop was Baker Street. 221B Baker Street to be precise πŸ•΅πŸ•΅ It felt like another big trek hopping on & off trains & walking, but we made it!! We decided that room service was on the menu for our late dinner & so put in a big effort to get home. Fair to say I was pretty miserable at this point, my chest very sorry and poor Eb was exhausted too! A Chinese restaurant is attached to the hotel so I had Beef & Black Bean Sauce for dinner. Hit the spot perfectly right before bed πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ
From there we took the train back out to London Tower to complete our loop on the hop on/off bus. It took ages on the bus as there was heaps of police out. We reckon it was possibly a protest as I'd never seen so many. 50+ at least. We hoped off right before Parliament & Big Ben & proceeded to walk across the bridge, taking many photos in the wind along the way. We passed Westminster (so very beautiful) & made our way to say hi to the Queen at Buckingham Palace. This all still felt very surreal..!! We caught a taxi from there to Kensington Palace where we'd planned to do the tour, however literally saw the doors close when we were not even 10metres away. We decided to make the most of the time however & so continued our travels for a few other stops.
It gets harder each day to get moving, that's for sure. We slept in this morning & didn't leave the room until way after 11. The reason we left was to meet Owen & Lisa at King's Cross. A complete last minute crossover when I realised they were coming back into London to pick up their car. We met them & didn't think we'd have much time, however ended up having lunch together. We shared plenty​ of travel stories & tips with each other. It was great fun. A lovely & surreal time!! I'm so thankful we had the opportunity. How crazy to just meet you for lunch together in London πŸ˜‚πŸ˜
We had a slower morning & then headed to Leicester Square so we could pick up our London Pass. While there we also bought tickets for The Lion King that night. It took forever to figure out where to find our hop on/off bus - it wasn't as clearly indicated as the others. We finally got on however it took ages as there was a major accident earlier in the day where a pedestrian got killed which built up the traffic. We eventually got moving & had an Italian lunch with a pretty view out over the river Thames.

20 October 2017

We took the train home from Covent Garden. A place we later discovered is full of markets & quite a lovely atmosphere at night - wish we'd found it earlier! We quickly became masters of the underground in London. It is quite clearly signed & laid out thankfully but with all the directions we were traveling every day, we really found our way around using it fast. Each station tends to have an least a couple sets of stairs down, if not an escalator. However Covent Gardens was different. Going down there were heaps of lifts that people were lined up for. We kept walking cos there were big lines & didn't want to wait. Little did we know that it was the equivalent of 15 stores of stairs!! My goodness, it just kept going down & down & down. All I could think about then was them being used as bomb shelters during the war. I could just picture people walking down with their belongings, scared, tired, not sure what would happen. It was quite moving.
We found a burger place called Byron for a quick dinner & then went onto THE LION KING!! 🦁🦁 AMAZING! A dream come true! The puppets & how they were used was simply incredible. The mix between actor & puppet was so very clever too. It was just so full of creativity & culture. The way that they did the stampede scene for example had different levels & sizes of buffalo puppets rotating on bars which were all different sizes to create the effect of perspective. Loved it. All the main lions wore headdresses. So the actors acted directly to each other but the headpieces we're also directed towards each other. However, Simba & Nala, who were played by kids, didn't have these & acted towards the lion head as opposed to the actor. So clever. I loved the new music. I know the instrumental soundtrack very well & noticed they'd put new lyrics to some of the orchestral pieces. Everything they added gave depth to the story & wasn't unnecessary which was great! I could go on forever... ❀❀
From there we walked over to The Shard. The views were seriously incredible. 360 degrees of London. WOW. We spent time on the different levels, watched a bit of the sunset & sat down & just took in the view for quite some time. It truly was stunning!
The Globe itself is building #3. The first one burnt down, as the cannon they had in the roof for sound effects sparked & caught the thatched roof on fire. The second was closed by government along with all other theatres at the time. So #3 is a recreation & is fully used today as an operating theatre in Summer (because if the open roof). It was just as I'd imagined it to be. Probably from the movie Shakespeare in Love. On the ground alone they had at least 1500, people packed in. Pretty incredible as it's such a small area - particularly considering today they can only have 750. It wasn't a pleasant thing to be down there. The ground itself consisted of ash & nut shell. The people were smelly (as the Thames wasn't clean & the only way to wash), ate garlic & used it as a toilet (no way to get out of a 3 hour play). The best seat in the house was almost behind the stage as it was considered that you went to "hear" a play instead of "see" one like we do today.
We then went to Shakespeare's Globe. It began with a walk through a short exhibition that included lots of history of the place & time. As well as costumes, props, sets, music and so on. We then had a tour which took us into the actual Globe Theatre. Our guide had a great sense of humour which made the experience really fun. We began outside with lots of history of the area. Theatre was not an acceptable thing during his time, it went with gambling & bear trapping (trap a bear, fight it against dogs), which all were famous along that side of the Thames river. At the time, this side was not considered as "London."
Other things included: - A dark arts exhibition where people dressed as death eaters came out onto Hogwarts Bridge & battled with passers by who were each given their own wands. - A demonstration about the goo, snot & unicorn blood in the movie. The unicorn blood was particularly interesting - they use a mirror with watered down slime on it & then CGF effects for the rest of it. Clever! - Walking through Hogwarts Express where each carriage was set up as it was in the different movies for Harry. We then did an interaction with a green screen where it looked like we were going to Hogwarts ourselves! Overall, we were blown away at the detail & effort that went into EVERYTHING. It was truly incredible! Half way through the tour I got a call from the doctors with my blood test results. Turns out I have a viral lung infection as well. Fun. 😷 It took us forever​ to get back by train to the hotel -we then caught a taxi from the station. We had some salads we bough for a late dinner
The Making of Harry Potter was AMAZING!! SOOO many incredible sets & props & costumes! We saw the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, Privet Drive, Hogwarts Bridge, the Knightbus, Hogwarts Express, Forbidden Forest, Dumbledore's Office, Gryffindor Dorm & so much more​ was the best! There were many interactive displays & presentations along the way that made it such a great experience! Walking through the Forbidden Forest for example was like being in the woods - fog, thunder, breeze & massive spider webs. One of the exhibitor's told many stories of Alan Rickman, including his complementing the set designer's work on the lake house where he dies, that it helped him incredibly to get into character & the scene. It was great to see the costumes too. Snape's in that very scene was different to what we see. His white shirt finished at his belly, cuffs were sewed into the sleeves, similar with his neck so​ he only wore a single cotton layer instead of a thick coat plus everything else.
My asthma was still playing up terribly at this point & the Prednisolone Steroids weren't helping. So I got up early & walked to nearby a doctor, who weren't able to help. I bought muffins & juice for breakfast from a hotel cafe & managed to make an appt at another doc close by. We walked over & waited for ages. The doc was really thorough & encouraging - even gave me her number in case I needed it! I had some blood tests & we then walked back towards our hotel via a chemist, a lunch place & Marks & Spencer’s. We ate lunch in our room, relaxed for a while & made plans for the following few days. We had our Harry Potter Tour in the late arvo so we got ready, caught a taxi to the train station & the train to Watford junction.

18 October 2017

We eventually got to London about 4, but went to the wrong hotel initially, so got some directions & headed to where we needed to be. We dropped the car off & very easily caught a taxi back to our hotel. It was a proper British taxi! Was a bit exciting really! 😁 The hotel was a busy, happening place. We checked in & went to our room. We discovered wifi and chromecast in our room. We were both exhausted, so lay down on our beds for 3 hours or so. Eventually we realised it was 9pm, but neither of us were up to going out, so we spoiled ourselves & got room service. When our food arrived, the server said it was going on our room fee. We ate (it was good & filling) & curled up in bed to watch β€˜My Name is Doris’ (which was super cute). But we got a call from room service saying we needed to pay now. We called reception to organise it, but they said they couldn’t take it, so room service sent up a machine and we sorted it. The movie finished & we fell asleep.
We were exhausted from the rest of the trip, that getting up was hard work. We did it though..packed up everything, had breakfast, wrote in the guest book & said goodbye. We then drove to Bath to go to the Jane Austen museum. My goodness Bath was BEAUTIFUL! We fell in love with it! It was stunning! The buildings & the fog were magical together! The museum was lovely & filled with pretty old things and great info, but life outside the building our favourite! It was stunning. I felt like I was in a Jane Austen novel!! We ran out of time, so we did a drive by photographing of most of the city & then got on the road. We drove to London, but of course, traffic wasn't kind. So we called the car place to let them know we were running late (they said they shut at 3 and the gps said we wouldn't be there till after3...). Fortunately they had a 24 hour drop off place as we were an hour late!

17 October 2017

On our way home we drove past Tintagel (where we were supposed to be staying the night before) & then started the 2 1/2 hour journey home. Little did we know the journey ahead... we got stuck in terrible traffic & the journey home ended up taking closer to 5 hours, rather than 2 1/2. Bristol/English roads have not been kind to us! We were SO glad we'd cancelled dinner, because part way home we realised it was not going to happen anyway!!! We tried our first proper Cornish Pastie! We organised with Ben to pick up dinner on the way home & were gonna pick up a thank you present for them, but it got so late & when we got to the pizza shop, it was shut for an event. So we ended up trying a different pizza shop (the waiter had little English and it was a long wait) & sadly weren't able to get them a thank you present. We got back to Ben's just after 9, ate dinner and watched Die Hard - a favourite of Ben's, though he & I both fell asleep - & then collapsed in bed! It was a HUGE day!
I was excited for Port Isaac as it's where they film Doc Martin. However it also turned out to be absolutely beautiful! We tried to drive to the Doc Martin house, but the roads were some of the narrowest we've driven down (& unlike most others, were lined with buildings, rather than bushes). We crossed paths with some vans wanting to come up the other way, so we had to reverse nearly the whole way back up, through people. That was a fun driving experience for me!! We survived & went to find somewhere to park. We then walked down through all the pretty roads & took in the views & saw some stuff connected to the show. Poor Eb cut her finger so we went into a cafe to wash & stop the bleeding & also had some fruit tea while there. Ben had arranged to take us to a Michelin Star Restaurant that night, but we realised we were both exhausted and feeling under the weather & that it wouldn't happen. We emailed him & apologised about having to change plans.
The fresh air at the beach was helpful however by the end I was feeling pretty awful. So Ebony drove the next section. We went to Newquay, where the sights were different, but just as stunning! We got out & went for a little walk but then went for a drive around the town (so many one way roads it drove us crazy trying to actually get anywhere!) & found somewhere to park to get a different view of the bay & to grab some lunch. We ate some horrible chips in the car next (which left me feeling quite sick)..they were barely cooked & had no flavour! I drove us next again as we headed to Port Isaac.
As a result of the ex-hurricane storm the day before we decided to just do a day trip to Cornwall instead of staying overnight. We left the house bright & early at 7am 🌞🌞 We made plans along the way...first stop was Perranporth but it wasn't anything special. So we drove to Chapel Porth beach nearby & it was amazing!! The view as we pulled up was stunning, so we got out & went for a walk We walked up & down the beach for ages, takinng photos & investigating. I was moved to tears by the beauty & magnificence of standing at the bottom of these towering cliffs.. beautiful!! Along this part of the trip we accidentally went down a super narrow road which resulted in me having to reverse out painfully slowly. Kinda embarrassing as it was partly a walkway & lots of people were watching πŸ˜‚πŸ˜’

16 October 2017

Explored Bristol with Ben who took us around despite being busy with work. We first went to the SS Great Britain, a very old ship that had been set up to look at with props & history. Amazing! There was bad weather from the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia. There was a red sun, the sky was a dull yellowy shade for a while & the air thick, humid & full of something that made my asthma HORRIBLE. It became very overwhelming. We then had lunch across the river at a lovely restaurant and had a bit of a driving your which included going over their massively high suspension bridge. We went to Mark's & Spencers on the way home which is an upperclass supermarket, full of preprepared food & meals that are restaurant quality. It also sells lots of other bits & pieces including clothes, homewares & more. It was huge! Thankfully a quiet night at home, we had naps before a late dinner & then curled up & watched Downton for ages. Really lovely!

15 October 2017

What a day!! 🚘🚘🚘 Road trip from Lakes District to Bristol... 🚘🚘🚘 We had grand plans for site seeing & also stopping over at Cotswold on our way to stay with Ben Wilkinson BUT the traffic was TERRIBLE. There was road closures & delays & detours & what was supposed to be a 4 1/2 hour trip took 8 hours!!!!! We went from tired, to laughing hysterically to going slightly crazy... πŸ˜‚πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΄πŸ˜πŸ˜±πŸ˜­πŸ€” We didn't see much as we were mostly on main roads but we got from point A to point B which was the main thing. What a crazy adventure! Even our attempts at our own detours didn't work... We did enjoy some Disney though & had a little sing along! We also read a couple chapters of our Bible Study book which was really lovely 😁 We couldn't have been more thankful to have arrived at Ben's. Tired & hungry, we were so grateful to be welcomed in so hospitibaly.

14 October 2017

We had a late lunch at The Flying Pig & then headed back to our hotel very tired & weary. After looking at all the goodies we got & quickly ducking out to get some postcards, I had a quick nap. We watched a Downton before then heading downstairs to the attached pub for dinner. We sat around for a while downloading more episodes to watch & then headed back up & got ready for bed. A lovely evening curled up in bed watching Downton ❀❀
This morning we got up to have breakfast in our hotel, however confusingly no one was there & it wasn't properly​ set up so we decided to head into town. We drove around for ages trying to find a car park & eventually, after getting out cash, we found a cute place for breakfast. I had eggs benedict. We then went to Beatrix Potter World where we got to walk through a life size exhibition of the characters & stories. So lovely!! 😍 We spent time walking up & down main street next, exploring the most beautiful little shops. So much fun!! We bought matching Pandora rings here as a symbol of our trip & 10 year anniversary ❀❀

13 October 2017

Love our car 😍 I had so much fun driving! I've missed it. Thankfully UK roads aren't that much different either..! So many fun gadgets & buttons! 🚘🚘🚘 It's hybrid too, so every time we start up again I feel almost like the car is rolling in neutral & I've stalled it until the engine kicks in πŸ˜‚ Went through a bit of an ordeal in hiring the car & trying to understand what they mentioned & then only realising tonight that they'd overcharged me fun!!