Recently my husband, Colin, and I returned from having celebrated Christmas with his side of the family in London, England. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and their adorable children kindly opened their home to all of us for one and a half weeks. SUPER GENEROUS, I know! Throughout our stay they fed us like kings and queens - including when my sister-in-law made a delicious lasagna on Christmas Eve and a wonderful turkey dinner on Christmas Day! She even included the traditional English side dish, Yorkshire Pudding. Talk about getting spoiled!
This was my first time to Europe and Colin's first trip to England. We were impressed by how much there was to see in London! The second day of our vacation, Colin and I walked through Central London for a few hours with my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and my youngest brother-in-law. As we peacefully sipped our coffee, we came across the famous London Eye!
We also admired Westminster Abbey's impressive architecture from the outside, and vowed to return for a tour sometime later that week.
When we made our way to Buckingham Palace, we were fortunate enough to witness the Changing the Guard ceremony!
During this terrific walk, we came across the Southbank Centre Market which is located in Southbank Centre Square. Being a total foodie, I'm all about exploring different markets when we travel to a new destination. London is of course FULL of fabulous markets! This particular one is known for its emphasis on promoting sustainability. As you can see below, we came across some delicious looking curries and desserts!
Later that night, the whole family went to Kew Gardens to experience a spectacular display of Christmas lights. Kew Gardens, which is located in west London, is London's biggest UNESCO World Heritage site. These pictures represent a small part of the INCREDIBLE Christmas display!
On the third day, there were two major highlights. During the afternoon, I was able to reunite with my British friend, Ceri, who I had not see in 21 years! We had previously traveled together in Mexico when we lived there in our early twenties. It was such a gift to be able to catch up after all these years!
Later that night, the whole family headed out for the evening to enjoy some of London's nightlife. I of course felt compelled to take this picture from the top of a double-decker bus that we were traveling in! So touristy I know! Straight ahead in the distance is St. Paul's Cathedral!
The highlight that night was going to a trendy blues bar with Colin's family called, Oriole. Oriole, which is located off of the quiet East Poultry Avenue, is a must-see if you enjoy listening to talented musicians perform live, trying unique cocktails, and receiving fabulous service! A cocktail that I tried that evening called, Skyefall, is considered by some to be one of London's "weirdest cocktails!" This is probably due to the fact that Skyefall contains clarified octopus milk! Yep. You read that right. To read more about Skyefall and other unique cocktails in London, click here:
In my next blog entry I will post the Part 2 version of our London adventure. In the meantime, I'd love to know in the comment section what some of YOUR favorite traveling experiences have been!