Look right! Look left! Welcome to England.

When we recently returned from a ten-day trip to England, I discovered that I took approximately 560 photos while on vacation. Because, you know, it was absolutely essential that I really capture that church door in the best light possible. And that requires approximately fifteen photos per door. Obviously. What the camera did not capture is how I almost got run over by the British drivers, who insisted on driving on the wrong side of the road. For bright tourists like myself, the kind people of England wrote signs in huge letters that told me which way to look. Upon arriving at an intersection, I promptly proceeded to ignore these signs while trying to figure out which of the beautiful buildings before me is Westminster Abbey.

But that came later. First, the bf (from now on known as D) and I took a subway, a bus, a plane, another plane, another subway, and a train in order to get to Harrogate, UK. Harrogate was one of the four cities that we visited in England. Actually, it's not really a city, but a town. See, in order to be considered a city in the UK, you have to have a cathedral. Anyway, we ended up in Harrogate for our friends' wedding. Which was so beyond awesome that it included fireworks.

Harrogate itself was beautiful. The town is very cute, walkable, and incredibly green. And imagine our happy surprise when we discovered that Harrogate seems to be the design capital of England. Seriously, every other store had something to do with design, interior decorating, or antiques. I was in heaven.

The fancy hotel we did not stay in.
Next, D and I traveled to Bath. Mostly, we just wanted to try the thermal spa, and the spa was really amazing. With the 40 C water in the pools, it felt like we were swimming in a giant bath tub. Which, I guess, was the point. The open rooftop pool was particularly fun, at least until we had to resurface into the chilly England air.

Apparently, it is a requirement in Bath that all buildings must be build from limestone. So the entire city pretty much seems to be the same color. Not sure who decided that it was a good idea, but clearly they never read Apartment Therapy.

After Bath, we made a quick stop at Stratford-upon-Avon to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company perform King Lear. It was one of the most amazing performances I've ever seen. The new RSC building had just opened a few weeks prior to our arrival, and all performances seemed to sell out real quick. The entire town revolves around Shakespeare (and tourism). Stratford was the place where Shakespeare was allegedly born and raised. Which, perhaps, might explain the curious spelling on this parking sign:

D took this photo after I promised to make it my Facebook profile picture.
Having seen all of Stratford's six blocks, we moved on to London. And immediately got lost while trying to get to our hotel. Eventually, however, we figured it out, and realized in the process that we were staying in a pretty cool neighborhood. Our hotel was in Bayswater, which is between Kensington and Notting Hill. Very quickly, we discovered that London was extremely diverse. Perhaps that should have become obvious during our bus ride into London, when we spotted a Glatt Kosher Chinese restaurant. Seriously.

The following morning, we took the tube to the touristy area of London (where I did not get run over by a car while trying to locate Westminster Abbey). While we were trying to orient ourselves upon exiting the station, some cops on motorcycles arrived at the intersection and stopped all traffic. As we stood there, pondering this development, a motorcade drove up the street and the Queen of England waved at us. And that is pretty much the story of our trip to England that I tell everyone. The end.

Well, not really the end. Because of course we had to see the gorgeous architecture that surrounded us at every step of the way in London. And I had to take the mandatory fifteen photo minimum of each beautiful building. Like the Big Ben at the House of Parliament.

And the Buckingham Palace.

And a bunch of other popular destinations, like the Westminster Abbey (which we finally found), St. James's Park, the London Eye, Millennium bridge, Tower bridge, and Trafalgar square. In our four days in London, we squeezed in all that, plus a quick trip to Greenwich. Because I thought it would be beyond cool to stand on either side of the meridian line AT THE SAME TIME!

The meridian line.
So I have to say, our trip to England was pretty awesome. Even if everything was insanely expensive. To my surprise, Harrogate was my favorite city of the four that we visited. It was the least touristy and the most serene. The sunny weather helped, too.


  1. I like Bath very much, but as you weren't too far, next time you should visit Devon and Cornwall. Great holiday resorts away from the bustle of big cities. Give it a go!


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