Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mom and Dad Visit the UK!

I just got back from a lovely 2 week trip touring various highlights of England and Scotland with my parents. We have not seen each other in 6 months which made the reunion all the more memorable. We are exhausted from running all over the countryside and took many pictures to remember the occasion (1,500+ to be more precise). Of course, I will just share a few with you below.

STRATFORD UPON AVON: During my parents visit, the weather miraculously turned to sunshine. I attributed this change to my folks bringing a piece of California with them to England. I informed my parents immediately that England is not normally so hot (Yes, it was HOT!) and to enjoy it while it lasted.

Day 1: I whisked my parents around Stratford-upon-Avon the moment they arrived in town. Before jet lag could set in, we visited the Shakespeare Institute and my flat on Birmingham Road. Then we had dinner at the Old Thatched Tavern and saw Richard III at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Day 2: We visited the closeted of the 5 Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Houses (Hall's Croft, Nash's House/New Place, Birthplace) along with Holy Trinity Church to pay homage to William Shakespeare. We then had a delightful, but hot, afternoon at the Butterfly Farm, exploring the gardens and walking along the river. We ended the evening with a meal at the Garrik Inn and King John at the RSC.

Day 3: We spend the morning at Kenilworth Castle and the afternoon at Warwick Castle.

Day 4: We walked to Ann Hathaway's Cottage and traveled by train to Mary Arden's Farm.

Below is a picture of the Shakespeare Institute Gardens, my parents at Nash's House / New Place,  Anne Hathaway's Cottage, and the entire family at Warwick Castle.

Day 5: We took on our biggest adventure yet! - We rented a car!!! Dad was a really good driver, despite all the help he got from the passenger seats. We drove to Bath and spent the day exploring the city.

Day 6: We began at the Cathedral in Salisbury, then on to Stonehenge and Avebury.

Day 7: Cambridge was sunny and delightful - Too bad the universities were unexpectedly closed for exams. We managed to sneak a peek at King's College Chapel and took a punting tour on the Cams.

SCOTLAND: We spent 3 nights in Edinburgh. Although the main event was a trip to the countryside. As you can see, Scotland showed us true UK weather.

Day 8: We traveled to Scotland by plane. Exhaustion finally hit us, so we spent the evening talking over dinner and relaxing at the hotel.

Day 9: We went to Edinburgh Castle!

Day 10: We went on a bus tour with Rabbies to Birnam forest, Pitlochry, the Queen's View and the splendour of Loch Tay, followed by a whiskey tasting at Dewars. Yum!

Day 11: Back in Stratford, we pack up up our belongings and had dinner with our new friend Barbara.

LONDON: London was all abuzz with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We didn't plan to attend the party, but we sure did! We walked our feet off and ate enough meat pie and mash to sink a ship. Below are the highlights: Covent Garden, Albert's Memorial, and my parents on the Thames.

Day 12: We took a train to London and wandered around Kensington Palace.

Day 13: The British Museum had a lot to offer. We also made a trip to Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar square to check out the Jubilee.

Day 14: The Tower of London kept us occupied for most of the day. Then we were off to the Globe for a tour!

Day 15: More walking around the city, trying to stay clear of the Jubilee crowd. Covent Garden turned out to be a nice place to have lunch and see some live entertainment. Mom finally got to shop!

Day 16: We parted ways at Paddington Station. My parents flew safely home to California and I stayed behind to finish my dissertation. It has always been my dream to share London with my parents, and despite all the craziness caused by the Jubilee, my dream finally came true.

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