Last week I visited my dear friend, Rachel, in London. It was a little spur of the moment - I bought the tickets less than three weeks before I left.
I discovered while I was there that St. Patrick's Day isn't a big deal to the British. We had to search to find a bar even remotely decorated in green. We settled in to a local pub near where Rachel lives and had a pint of Guinness ... and a burger! Apparently, Rachel said that Americans always order burgers - even when there is great local cuisine available. She let my burger slide that night since I'd had fish and chips the night before :-)
Rachel was a great tour guide. She taught me the bus routes and how to use their subway system, the Tube. Public transportation is fantastic over there. You really don't need to own a car. She took me on a tour of London ... we saw Big Ben, St. Paul's, and Harrods, among other sites. Harrods was amazing! I've never seen so many different types of products in one store. From designer gowns to Louboutons to gourmet chocolate and cheese to china to furniture ... It was truly breathtaking.
We also went to Kensington Palace and had lunch and tea at The Orangery. It's this great little restaurant overlooking the gardens. It looks like it used to be part of the palace grounds and the architecture is spectacular. And English tea and scones are heavenly. I'm scouring the internet for a good scone recipe.
Some of Rachel's friends invited us for an authentic Indian dinner on Friday night. Oh my goodness, it was amazing! I've never had Indian food that flavorful before. And we also had Indian desserts, which were really tasty.
My final day there we spent in Oxford. It was so beautiful! We climbed to the top of a local cathedral to get a view of the city, which was fantastic. We walked around the Oxford campus and along the river. We found a great antique jewelry shop where I bought the earrings I wear at my wedding.
On the way home, I was able to upgrade my coach ticket to business class for a substantial discount. So I flew business class for the first time in my life - it was awesome! The seats recline all the way into a bed and you get your own TV with on demand movies. Oh, and the food is actually good!
For more pictures, check out facebook.