Yep, we’ve arrived in Europe.
Ok, we give up when it comes to luggage. More precisely, Lori gives up. It seems her bags have targets painted on their sides: “DESTROY ME, PLEASE”, the caption must read. We blogged a while back about our new luggage strategy and on our first transatlantic flight with spiffy new hard side bags, one of Lori’s wheels was RIPPED OFF.
Ok, these weren’t exactly titanium-reinforced bags, but how does an entire wheel get shorn from a bag?
I’d like to point out, however, that my bag was completely unscathed.
This latest episode of luggage carnage (we have a long history of suitcase destruction) occurred on one of our favorite airlines, Virgin Atlantic. One can only hope that the wheel got caught in some piece of equipment, but more likely an overzealous baggage handler threw, pitched, or jammed the bag at such an angle that the wheel was toast. However the wheel ravaging occurred, Virgin Atlantic replaced Lori’s bag without complaint. Her old bag, after all, was rendered pretty useless. She moved her stuff from one bag to the next, left her old bag in the cemetery of other dead luggage (it’s common enough that Virgin keeps free bags to give away and that there is actually a graveyard of destroyed bags at Heathrow), and Lori now sports a new hard side wheelie bag; it doesn’t expand, but it’s larger than her old bag and the wheels are large so it is a highly effective rolling bag. The freebie replacement bag is on its way to becoming one of our favorite bags ever.
But that’s not what you want to hear about, is it? You want to read about castles, don’t you? Well, it’s not exactly a secret that the United Kingdom is full of castles. You can hardly turn around without running into or tripping over another one, be they lived in by the Queen or be they ruins. After we landed in London we spent a day doing nothing but resting and getting over jet lag. We don’t advocate the idea of “the only way to get over jet lag is exercise and activity”. Instead, we’ve found the best way to get over jet lag is to take it easy for a day. Give your body what it wants, namely rest. Drink lots of fluids. Then, the next day you can do whatever your heart desires.
For us that meant attending the European Swing Dance Championships. Check out our YouTube channel for a video of the Master’s Lindy Hop Couples Finals. Now that’s how you get over jet lag.
Top 2, Windsor Castle; Bottom, St George’s Chapel
One day, though, we managed to sneak off to see Windsor Castle. We’ve spent a good bit of time in London, but we’ve never seen this royal residence on the western outskirts of London. Parts of the castle date from the 11th century, and it is still used today. Sadly, photos aren’t allowed inside the buildings, but trust us that the state apartments are amazing to behold.
On the grounds of the castle you’ll also find Saint George’s Chapel. It’s as grand as most English cathedrals and acts as the monarch’s private church when visiting the castle, which makes it a “Royal Peculiar”: a Church of England church reserved for the monarch. Fortunately for us, it and all of Windsor Castle is opened to the public for tours (the nearly £20 per-person fees for which are certainly needed for its upkeep). Saint George’s Chapel is also home to the Order of the Garter, the highest order of chivalry in the United Kingdom, also known as the Knights Who Say Nee. Actually, the Order of the Garter is like a who’s-who of modern British nobility and military command.
Lori, Photo-Bombed By A Royal Palace Guard