November 2014

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - The Sign of the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Chuck Sun, 2014-11-30 07:30
The Sign of the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Somewhere along the line, we've set the goal of visiting each of the 10 pubs on this list , perhaps after our first experience with trying a pub on the list was so much fun. Admittedly, it's a less saintly objective of visiting each of England's cathedrals. Our November week in London allowed us to get to two more of these great pubs, including the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese at 145 Fleet Street. The Cellar Bar at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Upon arrival at the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, you discover that it was "rebuilt" in 1667. That's because the original...

How The Victorians Defined Our Modern Christmas, Part 2

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Christmas Tree in Covent Garden, London
Chuck Sat, 2014-11-29 07:30
Christmas Tree in Covent Garden, London We pick up where we left off yesterday with... Christmas Cards The First Christmas Card (click to enlarge) Perhaps no Christmas tradition simply popped into existence more suddenly and has changed practically none since doing so than the Christmas card. In 1843, Sir Henry Cole, an English civil servant and inventor, commissioned artist John Callcott Horsley to create an illustration to replace his former practice of writing personal letters to all of his friends bestowing holiday wishes. In true industrial revolution style, his idea was that he could...

How The Victorians Defined Our Modern Christmas, Part 1

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Christmas Display at Harrods in London
Chuck Fri, 2014-11-28 07:30
Christmas Display at Harrods in London Happy Black Friday, everyone! May your deals be plentiful and sweet, and may your checkout lines move quickly! We must admit, London was the perfect stopover to put us in the Christmas mood. We stepped off the train at Saint Pancras Station and right into the holiday spirit, from the gigantic Christmas tree at the station to the decorations everywhere we went the next week. There's probably no better place, except perhaps home, to experience the holiday season than London, and that's unfailingly because this was the epicenter of the Victorian Christmas...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Chuck Thu, 2014-11-27 07:30
For quite some time, Thanksgiving has been our favorite holiday. Whether because of the tasty feast of Chuck's smoked turkey breast, Lori's famous cornbread dressing, all the wonderful pies, and the first opportunity to slice into our favorite monk-baked fruitcakes, or whether it's because of all the family and the excitement of the start of the holidays, we're not sure, and we're not sure it really matters. Despite being separated from our family by a few thousand miles, we're celebrating Thanksgiving over here in the English Lake District in our own, unique nomadic travel couple way. Our...

Old Spitalfields vs. Petticoat Lane Markets, London

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Old Spitalfields Market, London's East End
Chuck Wed, 2014-11-26 07:30
Old Spitalfields Market, London's East End If shopping is on your to-do list when visiting London, you can either spend your pounds the conventional way by visiting the shops in Soho, hitting the nifty shopping centers like Covent Garden, or by hitting the megalith stores like Harrod's. You could, in fact, spend a couple of days wandering around and dining in Harrod's, just be sure to pick up a map so you don't get lost. For another shopping experience, you can visit any one of London's dozens of markets. Some pop-up on certain weekdays, others are open every day; some are craft and artisan...

Dinosaurs and Architecture at London's Natural History Museum

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - London's Natural History Museum
Chuck Tue, 2014-11-25 07:30
London's Natural History Museum (and Ice Skating Rink) I confess I wasn't particularly looking forward to visiting the Natural History Museum in London. While I love the natural sciences and dinosaurs in particular (like any male), I've seen plenty of stuffed, extinct animal displays in my day ( even on this trip ). I guess I've sadly developed a seen-one-seen-them-all sort of attitude. Fortunately, there's plenty enough variety and uniqueness at the massive Natural History Museum in London to engage even the most jaded visitor for a few hours. And besides: like all public museums in Britain...

London's Sherlock Holmes Museum

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - 221b Baker Street, London
Chuck Mon, 2014-11-24 07:30
221B Baker Street, London One summer when I was a kid, I picked up a copy of "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was one of those thick, hardback books that you'd sometimes find in the bargain bin at K-Mart for three bucks (we didn't have a Barnes and Noble back then, and we certainly didn't have Kindles). I took that heavy tome with me the two weeks that summer I stayed with my grandmother near Opp, Alabama, and I consumed it from cover to cover. Never before had I been so preoccupied with a single author's body of work, and I wouldn't be so preoccupied again until I...

A Sunday Visit to Westminster Abbey

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Westminster Abbey
Chuck Sun, 2014-11-23 07:30
Westminster Abbey If you weren't aware, many of the more popular Church of England cathedrals charge an entrance fee. We have no problem with the practice: these magnificent buildings, after all, require huge sums to maintain. Some of those funds come from a heritage fund from the British government, and a much smaller portion comes from the parishioners and churchgoers. The balance (hopefully) comes from visitors fees and photography permits. The curious thing is that the churches "close" to visitors on Sundays. We had decided that we'd attend services at Westminster Abbey the Sunday we were...

'Tis The Season...In London

Chuck Sat, 2014-11-22 07:30
Christmas Tree, Covent Garden You might notice our blogs taking on a decidedly "holiday" theme for the next few weeks, from an examination on how the Victorian English practically invented our modern notions of celebrating Christmas to another installment of our "Famous Travelers" series, this time focusing on Charles Dickens. London was the perfect stopover to put this empty nest travel blogging couple in a holiday mood. Stay tuned. Ice Skaters at the Natural History Museum, London Christmas Tree and Shoppers at Harrod's Covent Garden Christmas Decorations London's Oxford Street Reindeer at...

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...In London

Chuck Fri, 2014-11-21 07:30
Christmas Tree, Saint Pancras Train Station Should you need any help getting into the Christmas spirit as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday week, we thought we'd simply share a few images of the Christmas season in full swing in London. Teddy Bears (and a little fella) At Harrod's Chocolate Santas at Harrod's Window Display at Harrod's Window Display at Harrod's Santa at Harrod's

Life On This Side of the Pond, Part 4: Cool Stuff

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Steampunk Pendants
Chuck Thu, 2014-11-20 07:30
Steampunk Pendants So now for our European-inspired wishlist, the things we've seen, used, enjoyed while in Europe that we would like to put in our home when we get home. Assuming we stay there long enough to A) install them, and B) enjoy them. Recycle Bins It's an odd thing to put on our "wishlist", we know. In the UK in particular, trash and recycle sorting is done by the home owner. Bins--or their lids--are either color-coded: non-glass recycleable materials (cardboard, paper, plastic) goes in the green bin; trash and rubbish goes in the black bin; compostable materials goes in the brown...

Life On This Side of the Pond, Part 3: Driving

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Morris Minor
Chuck Wed, 2014-11-19 07:30
Between June 15 when we left on this trip and on December 22 when we step off the Queen Mary in New York, there will be 190 days. Of those 190 days, we've had about 22 "driving days", or days where either of us operated an automobile for any distance. Had we stayed home instead of going on this trip, we would have very likely had 190 driving days out of 190. And we're pretty normal. We Americans just can't stay out of our cars. It's not entirely our fault. Europeans have a much more complete public transportation infrastructure. Even in the rural "confines" of where we stayed in...