Budapeste, Chris Crutcher, Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII, Schloss Schronbrunn, Vienna

Please Mind the Gap…

or in this case, please don’t mind the gap between this post and the last post. My last post mentioned the coughing, blowing, energy-sapping flu I had been fighting for over two weeks before our trip to Europe and was still hanging on as we enjoyed our river cruise. Guess what? It’s still hanging on, and I have so little energy, even writing this post takes great effort. But I do feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m feeling a little better each day. I have over 200 unread emails in my box and don’t know how I’m ever going to catch up! I also have a request for a re-write for one of my stories from Stories for Children that has to be done very soon. But, I feel like my first need is to post to you. To my blogging friends, I apologize. I have put reading blogs on hold until I catch up, so hang on. I’ll get to them and you will see comments.
Ed & Margie at Schloss Schonbrunn
The rest of our trip was really quite nice, in spite of not feeling very well. If you missed the post about the first part of our trip and would like to read it, click HERE. After we left Melk, we went on to Vienna. I have to say, if there was one disappointment, it was Vienna. It was just a big city with little to recommend it. We toured Schloss Schonbrunn, home of Marie Teresa of the Hapsburg dynasty, and even that was a disappointment. It was much like many other palaces we’d seen. If you like cities and shopping, Vienna is probably fine. Nothing really sets it apart. But Budapeste – oh, my. What a beautiful, beautiful city. The architecture was amazing – spectacularly beautiful buildings, wonderful views, no disappointments. As lousy as I was feeling, I enjoyed every minute there.
Budapeste at Night
Parliament Building in Budapeste
We got up very early our last day, parting ways with our traveling companions, Tudy, Jake, Ed, and Margie, and headed to London. Our first day there we did plenty of nothing, which was just what we needed. We found a nice pub and ate well, then slept for twelve hours. We both woke up with brand new colds!! Yikes! In spite of that, we had a couple of important things on our agenda. First we wanted to see Hampton Court Palace. When we were last in London, we had been able to see the gardens, but the palace was closed for renovations. It was well worth the wait. We took the tube into London, then a train to the palace. I will say this – they sure know how to do public transportation in London. We love the tube. It’s comfortable and very efficient. I am a little baffled, though, by how they can build such a great system and never can get the trains and platforms to match up. Hence the dulcet tones of some sweet British woman over the loudspeakers saying, “Please mind the gap between the car and the platform” at every stop. It cracks me up.
Hampton Court Palace
We had spectacular weather and the palace, which sits on lovely grounds overlooking the Thames, was an easy walk from the train. Let me say this – if you can tour only one palace in your lifetime, tour Hampton Court Palace. It is the best palace tour we’ve ever taken, and we have toured plenty of palaces. It’s not the most beautiful or spectacular, but it is the best done. First, included in admission is an audio tour done by the historians who work there. When the people in the visitor center noticed my cane (yes, I was still hobbling), they fixed me up with headphones so I would have my hands free, then directed me to contact a guide at the end of each tour (there are six different tours) so I wouldn’t have to go up and down stairs at the end of each tour. Most rooms had places to sit and listen and enjoy the space, where most palace tours are nonstop walking. My knees and I appreciated that.
Part of Henry VIII’s Kitchens
Every bit of this tour was fascinating and full of interesting historical facts. My favorite tour was of the kitchens of Henry VIII, although the rest was outstanding. There were separate tours for the first twenty years of Henry VIII’s years on the throne and another for his apartments. There were also three tours of the apartments of William III and Mary II and the Georgian apartments. We ended up spending about four hours in the palace and loved every minute. Fascinating stuff. The British royals give a whole new dimension to the term dysfunctional.
Our last day across the pond, we spent with my niece Gigi and her husband Bill. We met them at Heathrow and rode with them to Avebury, a most interesting and extensive area of standing stones. Bill was positively masterful driving around on the “wrong” side of the road. None of the stones in Avebury were as large as Stonehenge, but there are many, many more and the structures are amazing.
We couldn’t wait to get home and were so grateful to have our daughter Maggie pick us up after the long flight. We barely had time to get our internal clocks reset when we left six days later for a very pleasant week visiting with relatives in Minnesota. It would have been better, however, if I weren’t still coughing and blowing. Traveling is an awful lot of fun, but so much better when you’re well. C’mon health!! Next post will have an interview with Chris Crutcher, author extraordinaire, so watch for that in a few days. And please, if you are reading this in your email, don’t forget to click on the headline to go to my blog. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do. And please leave a comment. I love to hear from you.

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