London! Part 4 (the end)

Monday: Considering the “See London in Two Days” itinerary told us to “get our walking boots ready” for today, we should have guessed how much we would be walking, but it turned out to be sooooo much more than I imagined. We walked up and down both sides of the Thames and by the end of the day we all thought our feet were going to fall off!

–         We started at the Temple Church which was built in the 12th and 13th centuries for the Knights Templar (yep, think the Da Vinci Code). It was pretty interesting to look around and the stained glass in there was beautiful.

–         We walked up Fleet Street to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We walked all around the nave, checking out all the beautiful mosaics on the ceiling and then headed up to the Whispering Gallery (here if you sit on opposite sides of the dome you can whisper and the person on the other side can hear you!) and then up to the Golden Gallery (for a total of 1,161 steps (per the brochure). It was pretty windy up top but we had a great view of the city!  Then we headed down to the crypt where we saw the tombs of Wellington, Christopher Wren (the architect of the church), and Nelson.

–         Next we headed to the Tower of London (built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century) to check out the White Tower (where Morgan and Stephen got to check out swords and suits of armor), the Jewel House (where the crown jewels are), Beauchamp Tower, and the Tower Green (where the aristocratic prisoners were beheaded- including a few of Henry VIII’s wives).

–         From there we walked across the Tower Bridge (from here you can see City Hall and the HMS Belfast) and prepared to walk aaallllll the way back down the other side of the bank to the London Eye.

–         While walking down the far side of the river we passed the Globe Theater (think Shakespeare) and the Tate Modern. We had hoped to stop by the Tate, but we were trying to make it to the London Eye as quickly as possible so we’d have time to ride it before we had to get ready for dinner and a show that night. I think it took about 2.5 hours of walking (pretty quickly) to get from the Tower Bridge down to the London Eye. By the time we got there it was about 4:30 and we needed to be back to the hotel by 5:30 to get ready for dinner. So, sadly the line was too long for us to wait for the ride and have time to make it to dinner before the show (and we weren’t willing to pay an extra $10 on top of the $40 it already cost for a regular ticket). So we decided to head on back so we could have a relaxing dinner and enjoy the show (about this time it started to rain on us, but thankfully .

–         We ate dinner at an “American” themed restaurant that had drink and meal specials on Monday nights.. so Morgan got to have a nice big steak (that is really hard to find here in Germany for a decent price).  Then we walked on up to The Ambassador where Stomp was playing. We all really enjoyed the show! It was funny, entertaining, and wasn’t crazy expensive. They played one set on metal kitchen sinks that I really liked and Morgan’s favorite was one where they played a song with lighters (I know, I can’t describe it very well, but it was a great show!).  

Tuesday we grabbed breakfast at a place between our hotel and Kings Cross Station called 06 St. Chad’s Place – and it was amazing! I would definitely recommend it! Then we started the long trip home (Kings Cross to Heathrow, Heathrow to Amsterdam, and then Amsterdam to several different stops in the Netherlands and Germany to get home by train).  But we did get to pick up some American and Dutch goodies before leaving Amsterdam so now we have some Mac and cheese and Hershey’s syrup to enjoy!


London! Part 3


We met Stephen and Athena at Trafalgar Square around 10 to get our two days of our walking tour started (I’m not sure how they did it; they had flown in from Ireland that morning and had been up since like 4 am).  So we grabbed some breakfast (including big cups of coffee) and then started the tour which included:

–         Trafalgar Square (including Nelson’s Column)

–         National Gallery – to fit everything into one day, we had to pick between the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery and I think we made a great choice. The brochure they give you highlights the most famous/important pieces so we used that as a guide to see paintings by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and (my favorites) – Turner, Monet, Degas. We picked up two prints from the gift shop (The Fighting Temeraire by Turner (Morgan’s favorite) and The Skiff by Renoir (for me)) and even ended up framing the bag they came in (one side was A Wheatfield, with Cypresses by Van Gogh) and it turned out pretty great! We are so excited to have three new pieces of art for only £10!

–         Next we headed down Whitehall to Parliament Square. On the way we passed the road where the cabinet war rooms are and Downing Street (where the Prime Minister lives). We were lucky that when we made it to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben we got to see some blue sky.

–         Next we walked around the outside of Wesminster Abbey a little, but sadly we couldn’t go in because it is closed to visitors/tours on Sundays. We hoped to fit it in on Monday but ended up running out of time.. we’ll just add it to the list of things to do next time!

–         From there we headed through St. James’s Park up to Buckingham Palace. I guess the Queen was still hanging out at Windsor because they were flying the British flag over the Palace rather than her standard.

–         We walked up Constitution Hill towards the Wellington Arch (where we were almost run over by a heard of roller-bladers) and then towards Knightsbridge and over to Brompton road where we go to look around in Harrods. We did get to walk through the accessories section, but then we went to the food halls and picked up some chocolates and coffee.

–         After eating our yummy chocolates we walked up towards the Natural History/ V&A/ and the Science Museums. We only had time for one, so we looked around the Natural History Museum.  We mainly checked out the dinosaurs and mammal exhibits before heading out to try to make it to our last stop of the day.

–         We left the Natural History Museum around 4:45 and practically ran to Kensington Palace because they cut off allowing people in at 5pm. We were literally the last people in the door! Here again, we sadly didn’t run into Prince William or Kate (they are moving in to part of the Palace later this summer). But we did get to check out the King and Queens apartments, including some clothes that Kings and Queens have worn over the years.

–         Once we finished up at Kensington we made our way back to Stephen and Athena’s hotel so they could drop off their bags and then we went to dinner at All Bar One (which turned out to be a chain because we passed 5 the next day while walking around town). It had a really good atmosphere and had really good food.. plus the manager let Morgan take home the Meantime beer glass he was drinking out of (this is probably the best souvenir Morgan could get)!

London! Part 2


            Today we went straight to Kings Cross/St. Pancras station (which is really pretty itself) to get on a train to Paddington. From there we got on a train to go to Windsor. This was one day we were really, really happy to have bought the London Pass, the line at Windsor Castle was extremely long (a girl that worked there said it was as busy as a day in July, but in July they have twice as many staff) but our pass allowed us to cut straight to the front of the line.

-We checked out St. George’s Chapel first (thankfully Morgan noticed it was going to be closing early that day) we took lots of pictures of the outside but sadly they don’t allow pictures inside. St. George’s is the church on the grounds at Windsor Castle and is the chapel of the Order of the Garter. While in line to get into the church, the family in front of us (from Arizona but currently living in London) pointed out that the Queen was in the castle that day because her standard (flag) was flying over the castle. Sadly we didn’t run into her!

-Next we toured the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world (and the Queens favorite weekend home) Windsor Castle – it was just as beautiful as I remembered! Here again, no pictures inside, but I snagged some off the internet.

– Once we finished touring around the castle we headed across the street to the Horse & Groom for some fish and chips. This is the same place I ate with my mom and sister 7 years earlier when we visited Windsor!  When we finished lunch we walked around the town a little before hoping back on the train.

-When we got back to London we decided to head down to the Westminster pier and catch the Thames River Cruise up to the Tower pier. It was kinda chilly and windy, but it was so worth it! It was great seeing the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Tate Modern, the London Eye, Parliament and Big Ben (and lots of other stuff) from the water.  When we made it to the Tower pier we only had 45 minutes until the last boat was leaving so we hung out at Starbucks to warm up and borrow the internet.

-After the cruise we headed back towards our hotel and decided to see Iron Man 3 (while we were in a country where they were showing it in English).  Turns out movies in London are kinda expensive!  It was £30 for two movie tickets and we had to laugh when we got into the theater because it was probably the smallest movie theater screen we had ever seen.  But, the movie was really funny so it was nice to just sit for a few hours and relax after two days of running around.

London! Part 1

We visited London from May 9th to the 14th and had the best time!  We took the train from Osnabrück to Amsterdam Thursday afternoon and then flew from Amsterdam to London. Once we got checked into our hotel (the Tune Hotel – Kings Cross), we hunted for a Barclay’s ATM (since we can get money out of our Deutsche Bank account without any fees), and then went back towards our hotel to The Lucas Arms for dinner. It was a typical English pub – I had some pretty yummy mac and cheese with bacon pieces in it.

Side note about our hotel – I tried to find the cheapest place I could – without being a hostel or looking creepy/unclean/in a bad part of town- so we thought we try out a Tune hotel (most of their hotels are in the Asia Pacific but they do have 5 hotels in the UK). You get a very basic, tiny but clean room and pay extra for things they consider amenities (towels, hairdryer, in room safe, TV usage, WiFi, etc). AND from you picture, you can tell we decided to try out a basement room – meaning no windows, but this took off about £100 from the cost of our stay. Kings cross has a major underground station (6 lines run through there) so it is really easy to get just about anywhere from here (our hotel was only a 5 min walk from the station) – so it was a great location- and we only paid €322 for 5 nights.  I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried what we would find when we checked in given it was so cheap, but we were pleasantly surprised. The staff were all nice and helpful, we couldn’t hear trains going past our heads (since we were underground), the room was clean, Morgan even enjoyed not having a window since it allowed him to sleep in later! We would definitely stay in one again!


We headed to the Victoria & Albert Museum Friday morning and ate breakfast near the South Kensington Station first at Muriel’s Kitchen (it was delicious and really cute inside!). Across the street from Muriel’s was the Lamborghini dealership, so Morgan got to stare at the pretty manly cars during breakfast.

-The Victoria and Albert is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design and is divided up into 5 themes: Asia, Materials & Techniques, Europe, Modern, and Exhibitions (there was a huge one for David Bowie – that we weren’t interested in at all – and one called “Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars” that looked really cool, but we had hardly enough time to see the regular museum so we decided to pass on the exhibitions). The V&A has 4.5 million objects, covers 12.5 acres, and its collection spans 5,000 years of art. Also, the building itself is beautiful. We enjoyed this museum just as much as the British Museum and may have liked it even more. Below we’ll include some pictures of some of the favorite things we saw (well at least things we were allowed to take pictures of, most of the Asian galleries didn’t allow pictures)!

-Next grabbed lunch and then picked up our London Pass tickets. Next we walked up towards the British Museum, but stopped first by Museum Street to look in the shops.

-I had been to the British Museum before, but Morgan hadn’t soooo I think we saw every single room in there (though some we walked through pretty quickly towards the end because our feet were killing us). The Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece and Rome rooms were amazing and Morgan also really enjoyed the Clock and Watches room. Oh, and the jewelry room was pretty amazing (too bad they don’t let you take pictures in there! Some of tiaras were just as beautiful as those you see in the crown jewel display at the Tower of London.

– By the time we left the British Museum we were completely exhausted from being on our feet all day so we ate a quick dinner at a fast food Mexican place (think Moe’s) and then got to bed early.


VfL game and Meeting Mia

On Saturday we went to the VfL game since it was so nice outside. The stadium is just a couple of blocks from our apartment (which we were a little worried about when we first looked at our place), but we are on the far side of it (not between the stadium and downtown) so the traffic on our side really isn’t bad at all. This was our second game- we even broke down and bought a scarf to fit in with everyone else. When VfL scores everyone swirls them around in the air over their heads so their is purple everywhere. Thankfully VfL won this game 2-1 (the last game we went to they tied), so maybe we aren’t bad luck!

On Sunday we skyped with the Philo’s to catch up before baby girl Philo arrived (this was her due date). Little Mia Maria Philo was born on May 6th and we got to see her a couple of days later once they were home via skype. For the trip home from the hospital she even wore a onesie that was from Kelly, Morgan and me!  We can’t wait to meet our future God-daughter in person! 🙂

Also, last week we tried out Spargel (the white asparagus that is very popular in our part of Germany). Thankfully our German teacher told us that you have to peel it and that when you boil it you need to add some sugar to the water to help with the bitterness… we wouldn’t have known to do either since you don’t do that with green asaparagus!  We just put a little butter on ours and thought it was ok (I still prefer green asaparagus), but we’ve been told it is much better with Hollandaise sauce on it, so we’ll try that next time.

Tomorrow we head to London for a few days and we are so excited, time to finish packing!


Meeting Isa/ Painting the Wohnzimmer/ May Day

Our new niece  Isabella Marie Siqueira Dawson was born on the the 23rd (she has the same birthday as her uncle Andrew!). We were sad we couldn’t be there in person like we were when Celo and Abbie were born, but we did get to see her two days later via Google Chat. Morgan was in China, I was in Germany, Vironica and Isa were still in the hospital (getting ready to be discharged), and Marcel was getting Celo ready at the house to go to pre-school for a little while – isn’t technology amazing? We can’t wait to see her in person at the end of June!

Morgan got back from China on Sunday and had a few days off to relax at home… so what do we do Monday? – Paint the living room! We had to go buy the paint and a few other things, so we didn’t get started until 2:30 and several times I wanted to call it quits and finish the next day but, Morgan wanted to press on so we finished the entire room around 9:30 that night. It was a bright blue and now it is Seidiges Beige. One of our walls is slanted because of how the roof-line comes down in the front of our building so you can’t really hang paintings on it (without rigging something up special) sooo I’m thinking about painting some stripes on it (like the picture below)- just subtle stripes, using a color that is just a shade or two lighter/darker than the one already on the wall. For now we’re going to leave it… but it may end up with some stripes in the future!  In addition to painting, we worked on getting the paint off the glass in the pocket doors. We couldn’t scrape it off because of the etching on the window, but thankfully paint thinner did the trick and now they look a lot better.

May 1st is called May Day here in Germany and is a holiday sooo we went on a bike ride with a few other couples to Knollmeyer (a bier garden that also has a high ropes course, putt-putt, etc). Morgan described this trip to me (before hand) as a short ride to a bier garden in Osnabrück (I assumed he meant in the city limits, turned out it was about 6km away!- so technically it is within Osnabrück, but within the county not the city).  Needless to say I thought I was going to die. For someone who hadn’t ridden a bike in about 4 years, a 9 mile bike ride is pretty tough.. especially when you are with a bunch of Germans (who have been riding bikes long distances regularly since they were 3) and your husband who is a mountain biker! When we did get to our destination we were surprised how many young people were there.. there were probably 500 16-20 year olds hanging out in the lawn in front of the bier garden drinking. They all had wagons they had pulled on their walks there full of beer and liquor. It looked just like a tailgate that had gotten really sloppy (haha). Other than one guy who was being taken away in an ambulance, it seemed like they were all having a good time. We had some drinks and brats with french fries and then some ice cream before starting the ride home.  The ropes course and putt-putt looked like a lot of fun, so hopefully we can take some of our visitors there later this year!