Monday, June 27, 2011

England Travels

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." ~St. Augustine

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover." ~Mark Twain

I love to travel.  I have a long bucket list of places I would love to see, and I continue to add to it.  I adopted the above Mark Twain quote as a kind of mantra when I first started teaching and creating a theme for my classroom.  My mom was a huge help in making the "leader-ship" theme become a reality in my classroom.  Each student's name tag bore a picture of a ship.  My hope was, and continues to be, to inspire my students to be leaders as they explore, dream, and discover new things on their journey through 5th grade with me.

Darren and I had the wonderful opportunity of traveling abroad earlier this month.  It was Darren's first time out of the country, so we chose to go to a place with which I was familiar and where we could both understand the language (most of the time) ...


We left on May 28th, the day after my school year ended.  In an effort to save money, we booked a flight/hotel package on Travelocity.  We had two layovers and a very long day of traveling, but when we arrived at the London Gatwick Airport on the morning of May 29th (London time) we were so excited to be there!  Our journey had been relatively SO easy.  We had no delayed flights nor lost luggage.  In fact, our suitcase was one of the first bags off the plane in London.

We took the Gatwick Express into Victoria Station without a hitch and then the tube to our hotel just a few minutes outside of the city center.  Once we had dropped our things off at the hotel, I took Darren on a highlight tour of some of London's most famous landmarks:

Darren did a great job of capturing some of London's most iconic images in this picture: the double-decker bus, London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament, and the corner of Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey

We decided to walk through St. James's Park toward Buckingham Palace.  Along the way Darren loved looking at the English architecture.

We happened to arrive at Buckingham Palace just in time to catch the Changing of the Guards.  As Darren's tour guide through London I would have loved to take credit for the timing of this experience, but alas, I could not.  It was pure luck.  Here is the new set of guards getting ready to march to Buckingham Palace.

Guards marching to Buckingham Palace

We then ventured to Hyde Park.  We were so exhausted from our previous day of traveling that we hoped to relax and perhaps even take a little nap on the grass.  It got too cold for us, however, and we decided to return to our hotel where we vowed to rest no longer than an hour.  SIX hours later I awoke to the startling realization that I had just broken the cardinal rule of traveling and jet lag--never sleep before nightfall in your new city.

We decided that we were too awake to sleep the rest of the night, so we went back out into the city for dinner.  We ate dinner in Piccadilly Circus and then wandered around that area for awhile enjoying the shops and lively atmosphere that existed there despite the late hour.  We discovered about a half hour too late, however, that the tubes closed around 11:20 p.m.  Not wanting to pay for a taxi, we tried to figure out the bus route back to our hotel.  Long story short, we did get closer to our hotel by bus but ended up having to take a taxi anyway since we were still a fair distance from our hotel when we got off.  My confidence in being a tour guide had taken a hit, but Darren seemed undaunted.  It was the end of a wonderful first day in England and we had several more to come.

Stay tuned for more England adventures!


  1. I LOVE that you are doing this blog! this post makes me want to hop on a plane! it was so good to see you when we were in utah. bosom friends!

  2. this is exactly what i was hoping for, kate...and i assure you, your worthy tour guide status has been beautifully restored with this posting (bravo, darren, for enjoying your guide!). thank you so much for sharing! -xok.


Design by Deluxe Designs