After starting our post retirement travels 8 years and 10 months ago we have finally arrived in England, our 25th country. We are ecstatic to be here, and what a time to be here! One of the things I love about travelling is you never know what exact moment in history you may be seeing or experiencing. We were able to witness the first post pandemic Notting Hill Carnival, the largest carnival in Europe, the observance of the 25th anniversary of Princess Dianas death, to have that all eclipsed by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The longest ruling monarch in history and one of the greatest leaders in history, it is a sobering time and we are honoured to be here to witness a nation in mourning.

We have only been here two weeks, however it has been a busy time. We are heading to our third housesit today and are booked solid for the next several weeks with more sits. Being able to casually wander around London has been a joy.

While catching up with some cousins they informed us that the Notting Hill Carnival was taking place the weekend we arrived. Wow, what a show. The street food was delicious and plentiful.
You know it is quite an event when you see businesses and residences boarding up the fronts of their properties in preparation. I liked the use of colourful graffiti to reduce the war zone appearance that this created.
The crowds were incredible, and went on for blocks and blocks in every direction.
We were there for the quieter of the two days. Just loud music, paint flying everywhere, and the true Carnival atmosphere was abundant. We missed the multiple stabbings and one murder on the next day. Good times.
As we left the carnival area we were immediately humbled as we walked around the corner and were confronted with the Grenfell Tower and Memorial. Such a vivid reminder of the extremes of human experience.

On a much lighter note, we have committed to exploring as many pubs and their wares as is reasonable. So far I have found my two favourites to be London Pride and Guinness.

While we were sitting on the outdoor section of The Swan after the Carnival I looked over and was struck by the juxtaposition of the bricks of the old Hammersmith Station (1868) and the surrounding modern buildings The sun breaking through at just the right time certainly helped.
While we were wandering around Kensington Gardens we were treated to this antique Rolls Royce going for a drive. The driver was good enough to stop and wait for me to get my photo once he saw I had my camera out.
The other end of the car scale was at the St. Pancras Hotel. The McClaren parked out front was a good indicator I wouldn’t ever be staying there.

The sheer number of high end cars here is almost breathtaking. Where Toyotas are common at home, BMW’s seem to fill that gap here. Rolls Royces, Maseratis, Porsche, Bentleys, Teslas, and Lamborghinis abound in central London.

We managed to get last minute tickets to a performance at the Royal Albert Hall. An absolutely incredible building with wonderful acoustics, a pleasure to experience. Unfortunately Karen and I found found the music that particular night not at all to our tastes, but that did not detract from the overall experience.
We also took in the Natural History Museum. Well worth the time. The variety of exhibits is fantastic. The dinosaur exhibits are very well done, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that The Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta may have them edged out for overall quality.
What was truly jaw dropping was the skeleton of the blue whale in the main hall. The fact that a building built in 1881 could have a hall that dwarfed the size of a Blue Whale was very impressive.
The other treat we had was stopping in at the British Library. This was just a random decision simply to get us out for a walk. What we found was very cool. They have a Treasure’s Exhibit Room on the main floor with original documents from the breadth of written history. The item that topped it off for me was walking through a door and coming across two of the four remaining Magna Cartas. For some of us geeks this made my day.

With months to go here we are pumped to see what other gems the UK has to share with us. As well, we look forward to watching and sharing in some of the mourning and healing that will be taking place in the coming weeks.

God Save the King.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

3 comments on “London, England

  1. So interesting and for sure good timing.
    Take care

  2. Wonderful

  3. Ricki Douglas

    Hi Peter and Karen! I met you in Vanuatu diving and have been a dogsitter in Europe since then! I am living in London and would love to meet up with you! Please email me.

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