Tuesday, February 11, 2014

London So Far

After two days of travel my dad and I arrived in London ready for a good night's sleep. Peter picked us up from the airport and when we got home Melissa had a shepherd's pie ready for dinner. The kids stayed up to meet us and were so excited when we arrived! We felt right at home and after dinner settled down to go to sleep.

Monday morning Melissa showed us around the neighborhood a bit and then my dad and I took the bus down to visit the Queen. We didn't have much of a plan but started at Buckingham Palace then walked down the mall and through St. James's Park to see Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. After taking shelter from a random torrential downpour, we slowly wandered back to the bus and made our way home.

Tuesday my dad went up to Stoke visit a company that he sometimes works with. The visit was good for his company and I got some time at home to get settled in and unpacked. I was still recovering from jet lag and was thankful for an easy day at home. We ended the day with my first take away curry and I quickly decided I'm now a fan of Indian food!

Wednesday we went to nearby Hampstead to see some of the shops and have a coffee with Melissa's parents. Afterwards, my dad and I went back into the city. We wandered through the West End down to Picadilly Circus and, of course, had to visit a few stores on Regent Street. From there we went to the National Gallery to take in some art and get our culture on. We made it home in time for dinner and an early bed time.

Thursday was my dad's last full day in London. We started the day on Parliament Hill then went into town to St. Paul's Cathedral. The cathedral was beautiful and we spent a good couple of hours wandering around inside and even climbed over 500 steps all the way to the top. The view from the top of St. Paul's was stunning! After St. Paul's we walked to China Town for dinner, then caught a showing of Jersey Boys, which was phenomenal and well worth all the hype.

We squeezed quite a bit into the few days my dad was here with me and I enjoyed having someone to help me get around the city. Friday morning I said goodbye to my dad and spent the rest of the day catching up on work and otherwise trying to keep myself preoccupied. Despite the weather getting horrible by Wednesday, my first week in London was really nice!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


A few updates are in order since my last post. As you can see, I gave my blog a much needed facelift and I'm very happy with it! I bought a new template and made some edits with a LOT of help from Sarah to give it a more personalized look. It was definitely time for something new. It's been a few days since my Meemaw passed away and I still feel a bit up and down each day. I still find the whole thing incredibly hard to believe. I've received many kind, uplifting words and appreciate every single one.

For my last update: it's time to share my quick stay in Istanbul! My dad and I chose to fly Turkish Airlines to London since it was the cheapest option. We could have chosen a three hour layover and been in and out of Turkey but that just wasn't adventurous enough for us. Instead, we opted for the 30 hour layover that gave us enough time to stay in Istanbul overnight and see a bit of the city.

Our flight to Istanbul was amazing. We flew "comfort class" instead of economy and it was well worth the upgrade. Extra leg room, our seats reclined more and had foot rests and the food was delicious. My first transatlantic flight went swimmingly.

There was quite a line at customs but we trucked through pretty quickly. After about 40 minutes we were finally on our way to the hotel in the old city. We stayed right across the street from the Hagia Sophia in the Hagia Sophia Hotel, which was really nice and had an excellent shower (really, it must be mentioned).

The hotel was in the perfect location, right by all the action. We easily walked to the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and around a lot of the old city, which is where all the history is. We saw some obelisks that had been in place since around 300 AD, as well as the start of the Roman Road.

Istanbul was incredible and I could have happily spent a few more days in Turkey exploring even more of the country. My one request before we left was to see the Blue Mosque by daylight. The mosque was stunning and well worth our early wakeup call on Sunday. It was also worth getting up to see some more of the city by daylight.

We arrived to the airport on Sunday a little sad to be leaving, but excited for the next adventure ahead. I hope to make it back to Istanbul eventually for a more extended stay, but I'm incredibly glad for the short time I had there!