Bath, England

This morning we got up early at 6:00am. We both felt so well rested having finally slept in a bed. A firm bed to be exact. We got showered, dressed, got ready, and went to the hotel breakfast. When we were seated, they asked if we wanted coffee. They poured our coffee for us, then we could get up and go to the breakfast buffet. Contrary to popular belief, I am a simple gal when it comes to breakfast. I am not much of a breakfast person either. I did see they had croissants and I love croissants. I put one on my plate, then I went to the hot foods area. I noticed they had scrambled eggs, but it was the runny sunny side up scrambled eggs, and the bacon was whole bacon, and probably delicious, but I like simple thin bacon not used to seeing bacon like that, baked beans; I only eat those at cook out if that, black pudding; some kind of food that was shaped in black circles with pork in it I passed on that, but I did see someone making an omelette. Omelette? yes please! I asked for an all vegetable omelette the guy said, give him “5 mins.” Okay, so I made my way over to the table with my croissant. I nibbled on my croissant and waited until Drew came back with his plate, which was full, before going to check on my omelette.

When I approached the omelette station, he handed me my plate. The omelette looked so good. I sat down at the table across from Drew and we ate breakfast, and planned our day. I had so much I wanted to in Bath and I was so well rested! I couldn’t wait to see Bath!
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When we finished breakfast, we went up to the room and got ready to leave. We grabbed our book bags, then went downstairs, out of the hotel, and into the madness that is the metro station. We approached the information desk, and waited to see what platform the train for Bath was departing on. This was where everyone else was standing around.  (I forgot to add, after we got showered last night we went down to the station and bought our tickets for the train to Bath.)

When they finally announced the platform, everyone ran to their assigned platforms to board the train. It was a mad dash to the platforms. I almost got lost in the crowd, but being short I was able to navigate my way successfully. Drew is so tall and I can pick him out of a crowd anywhere. I always have been able to. 🙂
When we boarded the train, it was an hour and 26 minutes, until we arrived in Bath.
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We had no clue where to go, once we got off the train, but we saw this sign so we knew we were in the right area. Bath is the cute historic town. Everything looks like it is from another time, so well preserved. bath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is me walking, quaint shops, narrow streets, no pavement, but cement blocks. It is so cute and peaceful, very relaxing. Our first stop was the roman baths. I didn’t care too much for the history. It is a bit too far back for me to imagine, but Drew really enjoyed it. They had statues of Julius Caesar and various baths that were in this Spa and what they were used for. There is still a working Spa where you can go for wellness and massages, but we didn’t have the time or money for all that.

 

We did get to put our hands in some really old water, that roman’s used to bathe in.

After we did this, we saw the sign that says, “Do not touch the water, drink it, or bathe in it. k the water, or bathe in it.” hehe oops!

 

We did get to drink actual Thermal water, just like Kiera Knightly did in the movie the Duchess, but I didn’t get to wear a pretty dress, while drinking it. The water tastes like mineral water. It is warm, and has a sulfur taste to it. It isn’t too bad. I had a couple cups of it.

After the spa, we had tea in the Pump Room:

 

 

The best way to describe this experience is like having a tea party with the love of your life. I have always had tea parties as a little girl, but having one like this with the love your life, in this gorgeous Georgian style room was a dream come true.
We had a tray full of goodies, scones, sandwiches, macrons, etc. We could not finish it all, but we were so relaxed.

After Tea in the Pump Room, we went to go explore more of Bath. I stumbled upon Jane Austen, in her novels, Persuasion and North hanger Abbey both take place in Bath.

“Oh, who can ever be tired of Bath”-Jane Austen
I am not really a huge Jane Austen fan, but it as great to stumble upon her and take a picture with her. I do like the time period of her novels, and the characters, but something about the style of her writing, but I don’t have beef with her. We did not have time to go into the Jane Austen center.

We had tickets to see the Fashion Museum, which was going to be held in the Bath Assembly Rooms. I was so excited. The Bath Assembly rooms was one of the locations where they filmed my absolute favorite movie, “The Duchess.”
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When we walked into the Bath Assembly rooms, we told them we were here for the fashion museum, we showed the receptionist our tickets, and she told us that the museum is downstairs, and she told us what room to go, but we were free to look around. They were having an event going on in the Tea Room. We couldn’t enter, it as the Bath Festival so there was a group of speakers there, but the Tea room is where they filmed this scene in the movie, where the Duchess Duchess is presented to the admiring crowd and is titled, “the empress of fashion.” I was a little bummed, that I couldn’t see this room.

Straight ahead was the Great Octagon room this the room where in the movie The Duchess,” Georgiana is confronted by the Duke in Bath. He gives her an ultimatum give Grey up. If she does not return to London with him, then her dreams of changed world and Grey’s dreams of becoming Prime minister will be “dead as ash” and she will never see her Children again. We were able to step inside the Great Octagon room. Although there was a book fair going on, I was still able to see the room where they filmed the scene.

 

 

 

 

 

After the Great Octagon room, we went downstairs to the Fashion Museum. The exhibit was titled 100 Years of Fashion. had on display, all sorts of dresses, and outfits from the different time periods leading up to modern day fashion. It was so cool to see. We even got to try on period costumes.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we finished at the Fashion Museum, we had one more stop to make. I couldn’t wait to get there, #1 Royal Crescent:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The royal crescent is another location where they filmed a scene from the movie The Duchess: Image result for the duchess royal crescent

 

We also went inside #1 Royal Crescent: “Henry Sandford was the first resident of No. 1 Royal Crescent. He lived at the house from 1776 until his death in Bath in 1796. Recent research has greatly improved our understanding of who Henry Sandford was and how he might have lived in No.1  Royal Crescent and the interpretation of the museum has used these details to bring the house to life.”-http://no1royalcrescent.org.uk/history/

There were so many gorgeous rooms in this house, and they all reflected the time period, but this room in particular gave me a certain feeling.

This is the lady’s parlor. Where the women would retire and have tea, and play the harpsichord. I snuck a picture of the harpsicord. The woman said it is on loan and there for we cannot take pictures.
However, in this room, there is a painting on the wall above the fire place. The woman looked so familiar. I thought it might be the Duchess of Devonshire. I inquired about the painting. The guide said, “It was an unknown woman of the time.” I didn’t believe her and the look of disbelief was written all over my face. The guide asked me, “Who I thought it might be?” I said, “It looks like the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Spenser Cavendish.” She said, “That is really observant of you, but it is not her. She typically wore those big hats, and feathers.” I smiled, but she didn’t always have them on. Then, I thought how sad to be marked as an unknown woman of the time. I looked at her and she looked back at me, it felt as though she and I connected it is weird, I know. The guide handed me the binder, that explains all the artifacts in the room, the paintings, and the origin. She let me flip through it. I read the blurb about the painting, “an unknown woman.” I read it and felt so sad and so haunted.

After we left the Royal Crescent, we made a stop at a pub for a drink. 
Then we checked out Bath Abbey, before heading on the train back to the madness that is Paddington, London.

Once we got back to the hotel, we showered and got ready to go dinner. We wanted to go to the most traditional English Pub we could find. We went to The Pride of Paddington, where I had my first English beer titled, “The Proper Job” and fish and chips!
That night, I went to bed so thankful. That night  was our last night in Paddington. Let me say, if you are thinking of traveling to England. Do yourself a favor do not stay in Paddington, unless you don’t mind the crazy amount of people. If you are low key and border line between bougie and hipster like I am, then stay away from Paddington. Stay in Westminster, which I will tell you about later! 🙂 The next day, we traveled to Paris. 🙂

Chelsea Stadium

Chelsea Stadium

This is the part where I am playing the role of the supportive wife. I do not know anything about European football, but Drew does. I wanted to make this a good experience for him and I didn’t want to take away from the fun he was going to have checking out this stadium, so I tried to just suck it up for him, but all I wanted was a shower.
When we arrived in Chelsea, there were signs up on the lamp posts that lined the streets of Chelsea players in action, kicking a ball, or posing. I knew we were close. We found the stadium, and had to have our bags checked for security. Then we made our way to the team store first. We had some time to kill. I checked out all the merchandise. It would be cool, if I was into the sport. Drew ended up buying a shirt. I was happy he got what he wanted. Then we made our way to the field.
When you first walk in there is a guest services counter, we checked and said, “We are actually here for the 11am tour.” he said, “not a problem we can fit you into the 10am tour if you like.” We both said, “Yes, of course that would be awesome.” The tour guide  made us all sit down on these stadium seats that were in the lobby. In front of us was the FA cup. Chelsea won this cup the weekend before we arrived. I thought that was cool. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the cup, but I secretively snapped one with my phone.

Then the tour guide, took us around the field, into the dressing rooms, and the room where the players get worked on if they are injured. It was pretty cool to hear about the team. then I saw this:

Image may contain: Danielle Hornyak, standingI never knew Beckham played for Chelsea. Okay, I am interested now! After the tour, we checked out the museum. There was this room, that was closed in, on the wall were signs with various points on it. There was a soccer ball in the room, so Drew and I kicked around the ball and tried to see who could score the most points. I was trying so hard to be the supportive wife.

After the museum, we were supposed to have lunch  that we bought with our tickets to the tour at this one diner, but it was closed. However, they partnered with this swanky upscale looking restaurant outside of the stadium. I forget the name of it. We were able to order off their menu and it would be included.

When we sat down at the table, I was so tired. I needed to shower and that is all that I could think about. I am sure Drew felt the same way, but he channeled it differently, as always. I am the overly dramatic one. The waitress came over to take our order and I was in the middle of powdering my face. I felt so gross. I said, ‘You have to excuse me. I am not myself right now. We just had an 8 hour flight, our hotel room isn’t ready yet, I haven’t had a shower yet, and I am a mess.” She laughed and said “no worries, I understand. I have had that happen to me before too.”  I was craving a burger. We both ordered a burger, fries, and a coke. They serve lemon with the coke! What a fabulous idea! I never thought to ask for that before.
After lunch, we made our way back to the hotel where our room was ready! When we arrived back to our hotel, we checked in, and they gave us our keys. The front desk woman looked like she about had it with us. I couldn’t wait to shower.
Once we got to our room, we showered, and I got comfy clothes on and laid down in the bed. While I was waiting for Drew to get out of the shower, I flipped through the channels on the television and tried to find something interesting to watch. I found this show called Gogglebox. It is the funniest show ever! British families hanging out watching television and commenting on various shows. This camera, or camera crew is set up in their living room, taping their reactions and the things they say. It was hilarious.
When Drew got out of the shower, and got into bed with me we watched the rest of the show. We laughed so hard at their comments regarding the Royal Wedding. A woman was crying and her husband told her, that she wasn’t being very British and she needed to have a stiff upper lip. She said, “No, Harry wants us to cry.” He did this whole thing on mental health and he doesn’t want us to hold our emotions in anymore.” Drew and I both laughed. There so many other funny statements in that show and reactions to various shows, such as the BBC show about Jeremy Thrope, which was so scandalous. The other show, they commented on was Jamie Oliver’s 5 ingredient cooking show. Where you can make these recipes with just 5 ingredients. The one guy said, “Where I am going to get clams in a landlocked county?” Drew and I laughed so hard. At one point, we turned off the television to go to bed. We have a busy day tomorrow.

Landed in Heathrow, England

Once we landed in Heathrow we got off the plane, had to go through border security. One the plane, we filled out our landing sheets. The flight attendant said, we could use one, since we had the same last name. No need to fill out two landing sheets. Okay, then the border patrol said, “Who told you that? You need to fill out one for yourself too.” I said, “We have the same last name.” He said, “It doesn’t matter.” I was so frustrated, but I took the time to fill it out. I didn’t want to get nasty with the border police. I was holding back my emotions, and said to myself, “Girl you are in England.”
After we passed the border police and got the stamp of approval on our passports we got our baggage at the baggage claim and then made our way to the Heathrow express.

“Mind the Gap” is written everywhere in England. They always say, “Mind the Gap.” Drew and I said to each other all the time over there. It as funny. We took the Heathrow express to Paddington, London where our hotel was. We were hoping our hotel would be ready for check in. It was around 10am when we arrived at our hotel.

As soon as we got off the heathrow express, and dragged our luggage off the train, we were at this super busy metro station. People coming and going. Everyone had agendas, and plans for the day business men, business women, tourists who have been here a few times, older people, college age people all coming and going. We walked over to the information desk. We told them were are staying at the Hilton, and asked how do we get there from here? They said, there is a lift (elevator) that will take you to the second floor of the metro station. Make a left and you will see Starbucks on your right and straight ahead of you is the entrance to your hotel. So we found the lift, and pushed the button to go to the second floor. We got off of the elevator, dragged our suitcases past the Starbucks, and into the entrance of the hotel. We made our way to the reservation desk. The lobby had an art-deco design to it. It kind of reminded me of the Great Gatsby.

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The front of the hotel is so beautiful. It supposedly was a Victorian castle that they transformed into a hotel.

At the front desk, we gave them our name and told them that we had a reservation for two nights. They pulled up our reservation, and said that our room isn’t ready yet, and asked us to come back in a couple hours, and hopefully it will be ready then.

However, we are able to leave our luggage with the concierge and he will take it up to our room, when it is ready. I sighed. All I wanted to do was brush my teeth, shower, and get ready to head to Chelsea. We had plans to tour the stadium, museum, and eat lunch close by. I did not want to go like this.  I was beginning to think I had no choice. We handed our luggage over to the concierge and then he told us how we are going to need an Oyster card, while we are here. I said, “a what?” He said, “An Oyster card.” He said, “Come with me, I will show you.” We walked across the street with him and then to the metro station. Then I realized, an Oyster card is like our Pitt ID back home, except this is for the metro. I said, “oh okay.” He said, “here I will help you.” He showed us how to work the machine. We both got cards and loaded 30 pounds on our oyster cards. We didn’t rent car, so it was either walk, metro, train, or hop on and off bus. I guess these would come in and handy.

We went back to the hotel, and still the room wasn’t ready yet, so we stopped for at a coffee shop called Acosta. I looked at the menu and I ordered a small Americano, which is espresso and water. Drew ordered the same. It was the closest to a red eye (Coffee with espresso). We sat down and drank our coffee. We both were so tired, but knew that we were going to have to leave for Chelsea soon, even if our room wasn’t ready yet. When we got back to the hotel, still no room available so we got on the metro and made our way to Chelsea.

1-Hour to Go

This morning, we arrived in Oakland and stopped at Starbucks. I got my usual, iced caramel macchiato with quad espresso. Drew got his usual, a red-eye (iced coffee with espresso). When we left Starbucks, we kissed and wished each other a good day. He is going to pick me up at 11am, then we are going to head home, grab our suitcases, load up my dad’s car, and then my dad is going to drive us to the airport. I am so excited. I took the David Lawrence bridge to my building. I called my mom and we talked, while I was on my way to my office. I told her I had a meltdown last night because I couldn’t find my black Coach sunglasses. I love those sunglasses. I bought them back in 2013 at Costco! They were probably last season, but that is okay. 🙂 Well, I found them in my book bag, just laying there. I screamed when I found them.  I was so happy! After I got off the phone with my mom, I got online and tried to pass the time. I am over it. I am ready to go! I can’t wait for Drew to pick me up so we can head to the airport.

At one point, Nancy went into the kitchen around 10:30am, to heat up her pierogi casserole, that she made for the staff picnic today. I actually forgot about it, but I have a plane to catch! I was in the kitchen chatting with her, then Drew texted me and told me that he was outside on Bouquet street. I was so excited! I hung up a little sign on my door, that said, “On vacation until June 1st, if you need to reach Dan please send him an e-mail” (Dan is the Professor, I share office space with, well the entrance into his office, is through my office.) I said, goodbye to Nancy and I was out the door. I was ready to go!

When we arrived back to our house, my dad was in the parking lot waiting for us to get home. I knew he would be early. I wondered for a minute how long he had been sitting there, waiting. We greeted him and we all went inside the house, and we packed the last minute stuff. Drew got a call from Parliament. They needed to push back our tour to a different time, due to some issue. He explained that he also booked the noon tea. He said, that they could push that back to 3:45pm if we agreed to this new time. We agreed. I knew something was off that day, but I can’t remember what. I knew that we had tickets to see something else that day, and it closed really early. I have been struggling to keep up with the itinerary for this trip, so much to back in within 8 days! I am up for the challenge.
When we got the car loaded up, we drove to the airport. My dad was so excited for us and jealous that we were going to Europe. I bet he wishes he could go. When he dropped us off at curbside, we tried checking our luggage in and they said, “Oh well since it is an international flight, you have to go inside and get your boarding passes and your passports scanned.” I said, “Okay.” We wheeled our suitcases inside and up to the American Airlines counter. We scanned our passports, got our boarding passes, and, checked in our luggage. Then we were on our way to airside. We had plans to see Dylan. He is a waiter at Penn Brewery. We were going to have lunch there before our plane takes off. They are supposed to feed us on the plane, but not sure what time, or if it will be any good.
When we arrived at Penn Brewery, I saw the back of Dylan’s head and yelled, “Dylan Murtha!” He turned around and laughed. He said, “Hey girl!” He sat us at a booth. He took our drink orders. He recommended a beer for me. I am a miller lite girl. I forget the name of the beer I had, but I had two. I couldn’t finish the second one. I asked him what I should get to eat? I gave him the options “Steak salad, or chicken sandwich.” He said, “Steak salad.” I said, “Wait is it real ranch or that nasty ranch?” He laughs because he knew exactly what I was talking about. Nothing is worse than mayo type ranch. I like real ranch, when restaurants make it themselves, or hidden valley.
After we ate Dylan took a picture of me and Drew. We goodbye to Dylan and then went to our gate where our flight was boarding. We had a flight to Philly, then an hour layover before another flight to England! The flight to Philly was short and sweet. The flight attendant made it so peaceful. When we were about to take off she said, “Sit back, close your eyes, and think of someone you love.” I did just that, I sat back and looked over at Drew and we smiled at each other. He held my hand as we went into the air. I do love him. He is the someone that I love. 🙂
When we arrived in Philly, we went to our gate first, and then to get coffee at Dunkin. Philly airport is a madhouse. People everywhere. We were also on the international side of the Airport. So many different languages and cultures. I have never been on this side of an airport before. I took a selfie, out of boredom anxiousness.

When we boarded the plane, I had to pee from all the iced coffee. After we got situated and in the air, I used the bathroom on the plane. Ugh, that is an experience all in its own. When I got back to my seat, I tried to find something to watch on the monitor in front of me.  All the guy next to me wanted to do was complain about how his leg rest won’t go back and he won’t be comfortable on the flight. I put my headphones on, and so did Drew. Drew watched  Black Panther. I struggled to find something to watch. I am so picky. I found this series called the Miniaturist.  If you are into period dramas, then you will love this show. Only three episodes were uploaded into the monitor, but I was so hooked.
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At one point dinner arrived, It was either a chicken dish or a tomato pasta with feta cheese. I picked the tomato pasta with feta cheese. I wasn’t sure about airline chicken. I did try the vegetarian thing there for a while, and I had to eat meat at Maci’s birthday party. It as either eat meat or don’t eat. The tomato pasta was so good, and they served dinner rolls, and then there was a little dessert with it. I had two vodka and tonics. They were so yummy. This is my new favorite drink.

After I finished two episodes of the miniaturist. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t get comfy. The seats really don’t go back that far, and my neck was so stiff. I knew I wasn’t going to well rest, but the adrenaline would kick in and I would be fine.

At one point, I turned on the GPS where it shows the flight map. I watched the flight path, and it was amazing that we flew over the Atlantic. I thought about the Titanic. I thought about how scary it is to be just flying over open water, so crazy. I looked over to the left side of the plane, and you could see total darkness, but if you look at the east side of the plane, you could see the sun starting to come up, we = would be landing in England soon and it was about to be a new day.