A Long Weekend in London

London is America’s gateway drug for European travel, an English-speaking opportunity to poke through 2,000 years’ worth of history, glimpse the future, then sit down with a cocktail to watch the world hurry by.

However, since it’s likely that you don’t have the years it would take to properly see all of its 659 square miles, might I recommend a long weekend to simply see a bit of London for yourselves?

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For the Love of London

It’s an auspicious day for Anglophiles. I’ve just been up half the night watching Prince William and Kate Middleton get married in spectacular fashion, and wow…do I miss London.

Why, you ask? Well let me count (some of) the ways — in pictures.

It's a joy to wander beside the Thames near Temple and the Oxo Tower, and along the side streets near Spitalfields

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Adventures in Layover Land: London

From way, way up in The London Eye

From way, way up in The London Eye

It’s an eternal quandary for travelers: What to do on a long layover (especially when it’s unexpected)?

We once turned a missed Heathrow connection into a mini-weekend in London.

Here’s why, how and what we did.

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Free Trip to Paris + 3 Weeks = Winter Tour of Europe

Cold and happy by the River Seine

Cold and happy by the River Seine, 1/04

In 15 years together and eleventy-hundred journeys, our biggest travel coup (so far) has been:

Winning a trip to Paris.

A few years back, I signed up for a worthy local charity‘s $100 travel raffle. Hoping to boost my luck with the volunteer staff, I doodled cartoons of Parisian monuments all over my fax entry form; after all, who likes to look at stacks of boring white paper all day?

My doodle gamble paid off, and we won:

Free direct-to-Paris airfare on Air France and a stay at the ultra-swank Four Seasons George V…for two nights.

Exciting? Well, sure. Practical to travel 12 hours from Southern California for two nights?  Not so much.

So, we expanded our trip to a winter tour of Europe:

Brussels→Bruges→Amsterdam→London→Paris

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London in Bloom


It’s almost time for London’s Chelsea Flower Show, a horticultural event we’ve long dreamt of attending (and hopefully will, in 2011).  This year, the show’s 147th, it will be held on May 19-23.

This event is officially named The Great Spring Show.  For five days, the finest garden displays, floral designs and sustainable gardening solutions from around the globe will be presented on the extensive grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.  For £43 ($64 US), you can surround yourselves with the most beautiful flowers and plants the Earth has to offer.  All tickets must be purchased in advance.

One May not long ago, we couldn’t get our hands on tickets…but consoled ourselves with gorgeous, vivid blooms in our favorite spot in the city:  The Regent’s Park. [Read more…]