Hello, this is Lynette. So here we are just over one more week on this trip of a lifetime. Amazing.
We hadn't planned on going to Switzerland but we are so glad we decided to. It turned out to be one of the most picturesque and beautiful places we have visited. The mountains were stunning - especially with the snowfall on them. Switzerland really was like a winter wonderland. We took a 35 minute cable car ride to the top of Mt. Pilatus and the views were breathtaking. There is just something about Mountains. I could stare at them all day. I feel the same way about the ocean. The best is when they are combined and you can see water and mountains together. Those are some of my favorite places. Somehow it just feels special, like they are blessing you with their presence. I always feel so lucky after seeing sights like these because they are natural. Man didn't build the mountains or the ocean - it is that beautiful all on its own.
This shot is great because you really get a sense of how high we were because you can see the buildings of the town below in the lower left corner.
The Sofie Star in Switzerland:
A few more shots of Lucerne, Switzerland before we left for England:
Now we are in London and London is not a winter wonderland in fact it has been unseasonably warm here. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining as we have really lucked out with some great weather in a place that is known for the exact opposite. We have even seen the sun shine and in 6 days it has only sprinkled on us twice! I know I have said this before but one of the great things about being in Europe during the off season is less people and lower prices. We went to Westminster Abbey a couple of days ago and didn't have to fight the crowds that are usually there - it was great. Same thing goes for Windsor Castle - less tourists - less lines. Yippeee!
Some photos from London:
I can not lie, it has been absolutely fabulous being in a country where English is the primary language. Although, we have to keep reminding ourselves of that fact since it has not been the case since Australia back in Feburary and we keep on forgetting. It has been nice because a couple of times since being here we have been asked some questions by some stangers and we are actually able to understand them and give them an answer instead of looking confused and saying "English." London is a huge spread out city and you really have to use the transport system here to get around. We bought something called an Oyster Card which allows us unlimited trips on London's mass transit system including the underground (subway system but they call it "the tube"). I read in the guide book that London's subway system is the oldest and most derelict in the world and I believe it. There are delays constantly but we eventually get where we are going.
We have been busy seeing all the famous London sites including Big Ben, The Parliament Building, Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus, Notting Hill, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, the National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, where Margaret Thatcher lives, the British Library, King's Cross Station - Platform 9 and 3/4 (if you don't know why this is famous then you'll just have to figure it out on your own. Here's a clue - it is magical!).... We have one more day in London and plan to see the Tower of London, Millennium Bridge, the big football-shaped glass building and St. Paul's cathedral (where Princess Di got married). Hopefully we will get up earlier than we have been so we can see all these things before it gets dark.
Yesterday we took a day trip to see Windsor Castle which is where Queen Elizabeth spends most of her time when she is in the London area. It was cool. We also saw Stonehenge. Apparently we visited on one of the 2 most important days for Stonehedge - Winter solstice. We didn't feel any special energy or anything but we did see a bunch of campers and a tepee for people that had woken up early to see the sun rise and see if the aliens who built stonehenge returned. Well, they were disappointed once again, better luck next year. We almost didn't get to see Stonehenge because our bus wouldn't start after the lunch break. They eventually did get it started and we made it through the rest of the trip, thankfully. The driver never turned off the bus again though. He just kept it running while we were visiting the attractions.
Our day ended in the town of Bath. This town is used a lot when they film those period dramas like "Pride and Prejudice" because it has retained its achitecture. We visited the roman baths in Bath. The romans when they ruled England built a huge temple and bath complex around the natural hot water spring found here. Much of the complex is in ruins but there also was a lot that survived. They found quite a lot of interesting artifacts like curses people carved on some metal substance and threw into the spring hoping that the goddess Minerva would help them out. The curses were pretty funny because they said things like "curse thee whoever stole my gloves may their eyes fall out." Ok, that is not a direct quote just giving you a rough idea what they were like.
At the Roman baths:
We have also enjoyed watching British television. Wahoo - it is in English! One cool thing that we ran into while walking around the city the other day was a CNN reporter doing a spot in front of the Zimbabwe Embassy. There was a bunch of people singing and dancing with signs. They have been gathering there once a week since 2002 and will continue to do so until Zimbabwe has a free election. Anyway, we saw the reporter do the report and watched him for awhile and took a picture. The cool thing is the next day while watching CNN we actually saw the report.
Our next and last stop is Edinburgh, Scotland. We fly there on the 24th to celebrate Christmas and New Years. It should be a fun end to our trip.