Sunday, November 22, 2015

Day 2: Keep the dream alive

After our first night in London, and with the 8 hour time difference, it's no wonder that I had trouble adjusting to the time change. Whenever I travel to the East Coast (which is a 3-hour difference from the West Coast), I always have to get aid from a non-habit forming sleep medication. I usually take it 2 hours prior to my target sleep time, and that's how I get my good night's rest. I had to do the same last night. I took the meds around midnight, wrote my blog, and finally fell asleep around 2am. Our target wake-up time was 7am.


7:00 am --> alarm #1 went off --> snooze
8:00 am --> alarm #2 went off --> snooze
9:00 am --> alarm #3 went off --> reluctantly got up, and went back to bed for 10 more minutes.

I nudged Nancy. You see, this was our get-out-of-London day. We had plans to meet with her college friend, Yen, Donna, and their son, Austin. Our meeting time was at 10am. So we all got up, showered, got ready. While waiting for Nancy, I thought of getting coffee from a nearby coffee shop, aka Starbucks. Well, I just didn't have any more time to go to Starbucks. So I looked inside our room and saw this espresso maker. It wasn't a Keurig. It was a Nespresso machine. I was actually intimidated. Yes, I admit, I didn't want to mess with it. Thank God there was a how-to-use it booklet. Well, I figured it out hahahaha! I enjoyed 2 cups of coffee, just enough to kickstart my day.

Yen, Donna and family arrived shortly after 10am, and we all rode in their car. I remember meeting them a year ago during a mini-classmates reunion that Nancy had over at our house. The drive to Windsor Castle was about 1.5 hours. It gave us an opportunity to catch up and talk about our lives. They knew that we'd be staying in Central London for most of our vacation and had the right idea of getting us out of London. 

I sat in the front seat and for the first time, I, as a passenger, sat on the left side (and not the right side). It took some getting used to - watching how cars rode on the opposite lane. The left and right turns appeared difficult, but I'm sure that's how they felt when they came to the States. We didn't get on the freeway, instead we got on the motorway. There were no toll booths, and I noticed there were lots of roundabouts, and you have to be really keen as to which lane you need to be on in order to take the right exit.


We got to Windsor slightly after 12 noon. They took us to Nando's for lunch. We all built a pretty good appetite by then. Nando's is famous for their Portuguese flame-broiled chicken. We coupled that with rice, creamy mash, and coleslaw - it was a hearty lunch for all of us. Nando's was located right across from the castle so within minutes we made it to the front entrance of the castle.




Nancy and I toured the castle, while Yen and family hung around town, hopped from shop to shop. It was already 2pm when we entered the castle. After paying for our ticket, we were given a headset, and a handheld device with a screen and buttons. We used this to help us understand the exhibit.


Taking of photos was not allowed inside the castle, this allowed me to actually appreciate the castle and its enormity. There was a room for just about every royal function. From the doll house, to the bedrooms, to the closet, and dining room.....it was unreal to actually be in this huge building where royalties and dignitaries lived, dined, and entertained. The details, the tapestries, the molding, and all the history. I was in awe with how much they've kept it in shape. It was a wonderful experience.






Our Royal Family Portrait











We all decided to meet at Starbucks, yes, there's a Starbucks right outside the castle. We met around 4pm. As we were getting ready to leave, Donna suggested that we spend a few more minutes and walk towards Eton. Growing up, I've read and have heard of Eton - Prince William and Prince Harry attended school here. It was a quaint little town with lots of boutique-style shops. We had to walk on a bridge which was right over the Thames River.

By 4:20pm, we made our way out of Windsor and started to make our way back in to Central London. We truly want to say many thanks to Yen, Donna, and Austin for graciously taking us to the countryside. We had a wonderful time, and we hope to see them again in the near future.










We made it back to our hotel a little past 6pm. We met Sheena at the lobby. We all planned on attending a church service in Battersea. We had an option to take a bus, but instead, Sheena used her 1st Uber booking and got us an Uber ride (for free with her 1st booking). Yay!!! Thanks, Sheena!!!

After the service, Sheena took us to Shepherd's Bush for dinner. We ate at Aroma - it was a feast of oriental food. It was a great way to unwind after a long day. We didn't want to rush, instead, we took our time and savored every dish that we had our eyes on. I stuck with the basics and truly enjoyed my fresh shrimp with leek, onions, and garlic which I had requested to be cooked Teppanyaki-style! Thank you, Sheena!


My 7-day Travelcard which includes a 2-for-1 discount to many local attractions

The Choob aka "The Tube"
That was our Day 2, spent mostly outside Central London, spent quality time with old friends, and then capped off our evening with a tasty dinner. We got back to our hotel room after 11pm, and decided to end our day drinking a warm cup of tea. In the meantime, here are some more pics from the other night that I forgot to add. Thanks for following our journey....good night!











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