The big family holiday … in England …

So … the holiday weeks had certainly passed by so quickly. Yesterday morning, we were still enjoying breakfast together, and today I am all alone at home … sob … sob. It doesn’t help that the weather has started to turn cold again, which makes the flat feels even chillier without the many bodies to warm it!!

I didn’t sleep at all the night before we flew to London to meet up with my family. Not because of the excitement of meeting my family, but because we were still trying to get our home ready. Since some of the furniture we bought were only collected  the day before we were to fly to London, we were therefore kept busy assembling these furniture till late that night. For once, I did my packing an hour before we were to leave home. Since we had to catch the first train to Geneva which leaves at 4.48am, I thought it was best that I did not sleep so that we would not miss the flight. Somehow despite all the mad rush, we managed to arrive early at the train station (before it was even opened!) and also at the airport.

From Gatwick airport, we took the Easyjet bus to London City, for a mere 50p per person. Unbelievable, right? Well, the hubby could not believe it either … at how cheap the bus fare cost, considering that the bus journey took about an hour. But we were lucky to have been able to book the bus trip while they were having a promotion and since we arrived early in the morning, we were able to book the cheapest fare offered. Taking the shuttle train to London City would have cost us more than £15 per person! A huge difference … for only a half hour more of travelling time.

We spent 2.5 days in London with the hubby acting as a guide on the first and last days. As a side trip we took a private bus tour to Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge on the second day. Since I have already been to Windsor during my first trip to Europe many years ago, I was not as fazed by the castle as compared to my first trip there. As a  UNESCO World Heritage Site, I found Bath a lovely city to visit. The beautiful Roman architecture and uniform colour of the buildings in the city was simply amazing.

But for me, the highlight of my short England trip was the visit to Stonehenge since I have always wanted to visit it. It was fortunate that we took a private bus tour as the driver cum guide decided to make Stonehenge the first stop in our itinerary so that we could arrive early and avoid huge crowds which is usually the case in the afternoon. I have seen similar stones on a much smaller scale, not far from where the in-laws are staying near the French-Swiss border, as well as a little village by the lake not far from Lausanne. But Stonehenge is the REAL thing, as far as I am concerned. And I was very glad to have been able to finally see it. The hubby was just as excited to be back at Stonehenge, after so many years.

Although our stay in England was really brief, it was really enjoyable to be able to do it with my siblings. And although I would have love to share more photos, but I think these are all I have the patience to upload!!

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Sisters united!! The only one missing is our eldest sis.

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As the unofficial guide, the hubby came prepared with a map of London and for the tube. And since we were quite a big group, we were able to take advantage of the group discount. For a full day ride on the tube, we only paid £3.70 per person, while the children travelled free.

Both shots (the two above) were taken in front of Buckingham palace. We had taken my sisters there the morning after we arrived, with the intention of watching the changing of the guards … but we missed it as we arrived at the palace late! But all was not lost as we ended up having an ice cream picnic at the park not far from the palace … yummy … yummy … 😀

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Came across a demonstration for the Palestinian cause while walking towards Big Ben to meet up with my brother and his family.

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Later in the evening, while my sisters chose to return to the hotel to rest, the hubby and I took my brother and his family to see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

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By then, I was already starting to feel the effect of not sleeping for more than 30 hours. I hit the bed as soon as we reached our hotel room, which unfortunately due to some problem with the check-in, was not until after 10pm.

Early the next morning, we head for Stonehenge.

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The mystical stones of Stonehenge …

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… seen from two different sides.

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And of course … the obligatory family shot in front of it! 🙂 If we had followed the usual group tour and visited Stonehenge in the afternoon as per the standard itinerary, this would not have been possible, I think …

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The beautiful city of Bath, as we were approaching it.

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There were several sweet shops in Bath with interesting displays of various types of sweets. Noticed how the sweets are stored in glass jars?

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Caramel apples … looked tempting but a little too sweet for my taste, though!!

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 I simply love the colourfulness of this display board.

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Royal grounds of Windsor Castle.

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Very impressive.

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Once back in London City, the hubby took the family to visit Trafalgar Square and Harrods. The following morning, we made a short visit to the London bridge before checking out to board our Eurostar train to Paris.

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