England - Kendal, London, Warwick Castle, Stratford upon Avon / plus photos from around Germany
Gabi's family visited in September for three weeks. After much discussion they decided to spend a week in each of the following countries: England, Germany and France. Three weeks seems like a long time, but there truly is so much to see, I think they will be back next year. The visitors included Gabi's mom & dad, brother and aunt. Also know as: Susan, A.C., Gus and Juanita. We all met at London's Gatwick airport early (7:00 am) one morning and immediately left London by train to Kendal. Our destination in particular was Sizergh Castle. Sizergh is home to the original Strickland family (Gabi's maiden name) and is currently run by The National Trust. The family stills lives in the castle but some of the rooms are open to tourists. We arrived in Kendal in time to check into our hotel/tavern and leave right away for the castle. Notice in the pictures below some pretty tired Stricklands.
We spent a day and a half in London and familiarized ourselves with the city by taking a Red bus tour. You can hop on and off at different stops. We saw Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, took a boat ride down the Thames and much much more. There were so many things we wanted to do and see but just ran out of time. We all had our favorite sites, but I think I can speak for us all that Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey are a must when visiting London. We were very lucky in that the timing of our trip was right after the Queen's Golden Jubilee and the State Rooms and Treasures of Buckingham Palace were open to the public. The State Rooms were beautiful, but unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos. There was one room completely filled with the many gifts received by the Royal family from foreign dignitaries. Unbelievable is all I can say. . .
Westminster Abbey was much more than I expected. It is over 900 years old and more than three thousand people are either buried or memorialized there. These include kings and queens and some of the greatest names from history. Such as Edward the Confessor, Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Winston Churchill, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, William Shakespeare and the Unknown Warrior. Every monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066 has been Coronated at Westminster except Edward V and Edward VIII.
I think London is on our list for next year. Possibly a play or musical and more day trips from the city. Speaking of day trips, we would recommend going to Warwick Castle and Stratford upon Avon. Warwick Castle and Stratford upon Avon are close together and can easily be seen in one day. Warwick Castle is one of the most well preserved medieval castles in England and is situated on the banks of the Avon River. One of the most memorable sites was the torture chamber with explanations of how each piece was used. Very gruesome! Stratford, of course, was the home of William Shakespeare. It is a quaint little town with lots of shops and restaurants to enjoy.
Week two in Germany was a little more low key. A.C. and Gus came down with a cold on their first day here so we let them take it easy for a couple of days. We did manage to see the Altstadt (old city), Dom (Cathedral), and have dinner at the Haxenhaus in Cologne. During our Rhine Cruise, Bacharach, St. Goar, and Koblenz were visited. Another day, one of Mike's co-workers (Markus) arranged a wonderful afternoon for us. We had traditional Kafee and Kuchen, a tour of the Altenberger Dom, and then a fantastic dinner prepared by Markus' father, Harold. Our host and fantastic tour guide of the Altenberger Dom was Ingrid, what a great family Markus has. Although not technically a "Dom" (Bishop seat), the people of the area love this beautiful Abbey and church. After all this it was off to France . . .
The family at Sizergh Castle in Kendal England:
Gus and A.C. look a little tired (back fo Sizergh Castle):
A side view od Sizergh Castle and the gardens - can you find Susan?:
Traveling light with the Stricklands:
Susan, A.C. & Juanita in front of Buckingham Palace:
Crusing around London on one of the "Red Busses":
Posing in front of Shakespeare's house in Stratford upon Avon:
Enjoying a lovely dinner with Marcus' family in Germany:
Susan, A.C. and Juanita in Bacharach, Germany before our Rhine cruise:
Gus, Susan, A.C. & Juanita posing in front of Kaiser Wilhelm's statue in Koblenz, Germany:
Susan & A.C. in front of the Dom in Cologne:
Overlooking Cologne and the Rhine from atop the Dom (525 stairs to the top) :
Enjoying dinner and a "Meter" of beer at the Haxenhaus in Cologne:
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