2018 Summer in London

It’s not often that I write about our London adventures, but if I’m going to share any, I should probably write about summer in London.   When we first moved to London, there were a few quintessential British events that we noted we must attend, but the last two summer’s Dan and I have been very fortunate to spend in Asia, therefore missing summer in London.

First up:  Royal Ascot!  I was so excited for this, we organised a group to attend probably about six months in advance 🙂

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And unfortunately, to be completely honest, we had quite the disaster with transport and logistics for the day.  We organised a mini bus to transport Dan and I along with 12 other friends to the racetrack.  Not going into detail, it ended up being a nightmare transport service and caused a lot of headache for the whole group.  Luckily, they at least got us to the event and we were able to enjoy some of the races.

Once inside the venue, it’s quite the scene.  It almost feels like you’ve stepped back in time as many of the men are wearing tails and top hats and the women are decked out in beautiful dresses and the most elaborate hats.  The fashion was by far the best part of the experience.  Despite the chaos with the transport, we had such a memorable day at the track.  Totally worth the headaches and we’ll remember this forever!


The second big event we had to make it to was Wimbledon!

The process of securing tickets for Wimbledon is an event in itself. There are a few different ways you can get tickets.  The first is entering the ballot a year in advance and cross your fingers you get in.  We’ve done this the last 3 years and have not been successful.  The second is to queue in line for hours upon hours the day before/morning of each day.  The third is to enter the daily ballot on Ticketmaster to win 2 tickets for the next day’s matches.  This year, we entered the ballot on Ticketmaster daily for the first 4 days unsuccessfully.  Dan decided it was time to queue to guarantee some tickets!  He went around 5am Friday morning and queued until 10am to get a grounds pass.  Funny enough…I entered the ballot that morning while at work (while Dan was queuing) and I won 2 tickets for centre court on Saturday! Our friends Gina and Charles also won tickets to the Saturday matches!

So Dan went two days in a row and was able to see Rodger Federer and Serina Williams play on Friday, then we both saw Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic play on Saturday.

The Wimbledon set-up is so quintessentially British.  From the queuing system to the strawberries and cream to the champagne to the white outfits, it was all perfectly organised, efficient and exceptionally clean.  It’s such a good day out – even if you don’t like tennis, it’s something if you’re able to try and experience!


Another really cool thing we did this summer was kayak down the Thames with the Phelps and Hitchcocks.  Us girls planned the entire evening a as a surprise to our hubby’s.  The weather ended up being absolutely perfect, and we had the most beautiful 2 hour kayak down the Thames where we ended in Greenwich for a pub dinner.


In July, we had a bittersweet moment in which we had to leave our beloved flat in Pimlico and find a new place to live.  Our landlord decided he wanted to sell the flat we were living in, so we had to be out quickly.  We truly loved our flat and neighborhood in Pimlico, it was so hard to leave.  But we were super fortunate to find a new great flat in a new neighborhood for us.  We landed on Marylebone, which has proven to be a great choice.  It is much more central (I  mean my commute to work is just a 20 min. walk!) and it’s right next to Regent’s Park.  It’s a quirky little flat (jungle garden and a wine cave!?!), but we’ve grown to love it already and are quickly making it our cozy new home.


Now that we live close to Regent’s Park, Dan and I have been trying to play more tennis.  (We were also super inspired by Wimbledon!) We knew a lot of our London friends also like to play tennis, so we decided to put on an Expats Tennis Tournament.  I hired out three courts for a morning and organised a round robin tournament with five other double’s teams.  The weather was perfect and the competition was fierce – with Mary and Nick taking home the championship! This is definitely something we’ll try and repeat next summer!


And last, but certainty not least, Dan and I celebrated our SEVEN YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

Absolutely crazy to believe that seven years ago we vowed our lives together for better or worse.  I can honestly say it has been the best seven years, and I cannot imagine life any other way.

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We decided to stay in England for our anniversary. We found a cool castle that was converted into a luxury hotel over in Cornwall (southwest corner of England), in Dartmoor National Park.  We thought it would be cool to cycle the area, so we took our bikes on the train and headed down south.  After a quick 1.5 hour train ride, we hopped on our bikes and cycled up, up and UP.  Neither of us were prepared for the amount of uphill the 17 mile cycle to the castle entailed!  More than once we (well I) had to stop and walk our bikes up the steep hills.  Hills aside, it was such a beautiful route.  The English countryside is so special.  I love all of the little pubs, churches and villages dotted along the way.

After a lovely night stay at the castle, the next morning we were off to do some clay pigeon shooting.  We had an awesome guide who taught us some great tips and tricks which had both Dan and I hitting *most* of the targets!

After shooting for a few hours, we hopped back on our bikes for a 15 mile cycle back to the train station.  This cycle journey was much more pleasant as there were some great downhills!  Even though Dan may say I complained quite a bit about the hills, I genuinely loved this trip.  It was so nice to get out of the city and see the beauty England has to offer.  And it was so nice being outside for the majority of the weekend.  Fun to spend a whole weekend with just our cycles and backpacks! It was absolutely perfect for our anniversary!

Lugano/Como/Milan + Many overdue updates!

It’s been quiet on the blog the last 2 months…but it’s been far from quiet in our lives!  Here’s a quick update…

Soon after we returned from Africa, Dan’s parents came to visit us.  They spent a week on a cruise down the Danube then flew over to see us for a week.  Here’s a quick snapshot of our time together with them:

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Dan had a birthday!  Woo hoo!  Dan turned the big two eight.!!! We celebrated with a fantastic steak dinner at Gaucho!  20161005_200621

A week after Mom + Dad Glaser left, we had another set of special guests for a week.  One of my  college friends and her husband came to visit!  Brad + Mara have been one of our closest couple friends for many years now, but we never can seem to live close to each other!  We have one of those special friendships where we can pick up right where we left off last time.  This was their first time to London, and it was so fun showing them around our town!

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Another amazing perk of living in London is being able to use it’s fantastic train system.  A few weeks ago we had an open weekend, so we were able to snag some cheap train tickets up to Edinburgh, Scotland. They were such a good deal – Kent and Erin couldn’t resist either, so they ended up joining us as well!  We spent the weekend just wandering around, eating a lot of good food, hiking and whiskey tasting [well – that was mostly Dan].

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Last update before our most recent trip…Halloween!  This is now our 2nd Halloween here in London.  It’s funny, because the Brit’s celebrate Halloween, they’re just not sure why they do it [or why the Americans do it] and they’re not sure how to do it. And they call costumes “Fancy Dress” which still makes me giggle!   So when a large group of Americans like us dress up and go on a pub crawl…it generates a lot of stares and funny looks!  Especially when you’re dressed as a vikings while riding the tube 🙂

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On to the trip…

My intentions for the post were to have these incredible nature photos from Lake Lugano and Lake Como.  They were going to show all of the beautiful fall colour in the trees, the beautiful landscape of the Alps, the deep, rich blue of the water and the elaborate homes and boats on the lakes.  They were going to be of Dan and I hiking up, down and all around the mountains.  But…it rained.  Not just a little.  A lot!  It rained the WHOLE time we were there.  And the rain brought with it lovely dense fog.  So our weekend hiking/outdoorsy adventure trip turned into something a little different 🙂

We flew in late Friday night and stayed in Milan.  We rented a car first thing Saturday morning and drove up to Lugano, Switzerland.  We wandered around the city, enjoyed some fantastic Swiss chocolate, espresso and pastries, in hopes the rain would let up so we could hike.  This little town is adorable, and I’d love to go back sometime.  It’s very quiet, quaint and charming.  It had a wonderful small town, local feel to it.  Those kinds of towns are my favourite!  As it never stopped raining, we decided on some pizza at a really cool restaurant overlooking the lake.  We hung out there for awhile, again, in hopes for the rain to stop.

After a bit, we decided it was time to start our alternative [non-hiking] adventure.  So we hopped in the car, and did a driving tour of the lake.  Lake Lugano is fantastic!  Much of the lake shore is untouched, so it is very quiet and you can enjoy it’s natural beauty.  The Swiss Alps tower over the edges, creating a majestic skyline.  It was fun for us to try and imagine how it would look in the sun.  The little villages around the lake were quaint and full of character.  We’d LOVE to come back and stay on Lake Lugano, rent a boat and explore the lake…and actually hike 🙂

We made our way over to Lake Como, where we drove from the middle/western point of the lake down to the southern/western point of the lake.  We checked into our hotel, relaxed a bit [got out of our hiking clothes that we didn’t hike in] then went off into the actual town of Como to explore.  We took the water taxi from the area our hotel was in over to Como.  Shockingly, it stopped raining for about 5 minutes while we were on the boat, so we could stand outside and enjoy the views!

Como was cute.  It’s definitely very touristy, but we were in non-busy season and it was raining, so it was pretty quiet.  We found a little wine cellar in which we did some wine tasting [AMAZING wine] and ate loads of charcuitterie and formaggio!  After a bit more exploring, we decided it was time for some pasta, as we were in Italy!  After a quick Yelp search, we found an amazing little local restaurant and had some AMAZING pasta.  [If you can’t tell from the photo, Dan really liked his dish ;)].

We had high hopes for Sunday – we thought it would be our hiking day as there is no way it could rain that hard 2 days in a row.  But nope…it was raining even harder!  So we packed up, and went on another driving tour.  We drove up the eastern side of the lake and stopped in Bellaggio for some espresso.  We walked the cute little streets and again tried to imagine how pretty it would be in the sun.

As we flew in and out of Milan, we decided to drive down and spend the rest of our town in the city.  The rain wasn’t supposed to be as bad, and it put us a bit closer to the airport.  We spend the afternoon wandering around the city and shopping before heading back to the airport late that evening.

So, instead of an intense hiking/outdoor-sy weekend, we indulged in  pizza, espresso, pasta, chocolate and of course gelato.  We were able to come away with some of my favourite coffee, some great Italian sweaters for Dan, and an amazing wool coat for me.  It wasn’t anything like the weekend we had planned…but it ended up being so perfect for us.  We have both had a few stressful weeks at work, and it was so wonderful not having any agenda and just wandering.  It’s so fun to explore all over the world with my best friend, and no matter what the weather is, or how different our plans end up…we’re doing it together and we have so much fun.

Next weekend we’re off to Vienna and Budapest!

 

 

Lions and Unicorns and Sharks – OH MY!

We kicked the weekend off with a date on Friday night to the theatre to see the new James Bond movie.  We quickly learned that the Bond movies are a HUGE deal over here.  Everyone raves about them!  The theatre we went to was where they held the world premiere just a few days before.  It was the most beautiful movie theatre I’ve ever been to.  We felt like we were going to the opera!  The seats were lush leopard print and the carpet was a beautiful deep purple.  And the screen was huge and the sound was amazing.  It was such a fabulous theatre experience! (Which we were very glad – because tickets were £20/person!)

Saturday was Halloween!  We were invited to a pub crawl with Dan’s group at work.  We received the invite a few weeks ago and the invite read “Fancy dress pub crawl – fancy dress required”.  So Dan and I pondered what we were going to wear – rent a tux and gown? Go cocktail style and wear something we already own? Did we bring anything over that is fancy?

Well…come to find out (luckily early enough) fancy dress = COSTUMES!  Phew!  So much less pressure!  It was so much fun! We even had people stop me and Dan on the streets for photos with us! Here are some pictures from our fun afternoon/evening out as a UNICORN & a SHARK:

Sunday was NFL day in London!  One of the first things we did when we found out that we were moving over here, was buy tickets to the LIONS IN LONDON! So we have been waiting for this for a long time!   American football is not very popular over here, but they get really excited for these few weekends a year in which some of the teams hop the pond for a game.  Pop-up NFL memorabilia shops turn up, American flags are flying and hot dogs are actually easy to find 🙂

Well – you all know how the actual game turned out.  The Lions sucked, I mean it was awful.  Embarrassing.  Well – not so embarrassing.  90% of the people at the game were only there to watch American Football.  They had NO idea of which team to cheer for.  They had NO idea what the rules were.  They were just there to enjoy the show.  (And it was quite the show!) Everyone cheered for any and all plays, with no loyalty to either team.  So even though we were sad – it was totally worth going to.  The atmosphere was phenomenal and I mean WE WATCHED THE LIONS IN LONDON!  How cool is that?!

It was such a great weekend – but exhausting!  We’re resting up this week as we have another BIG adventure ahead of us…

…MOM & DAD GLASER ARE COMING TO VISIT!!! We have loads planed for them and are kicking off their visit with a big road trip through the Cotswolds!  Stay tuned for the next post! 🙂

Cheers!