Britain and Ireland Highlights

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
 I spent the first two week's of June touring Britain and Ireland.  I've shared more pictures on Instagram, but I had to give the trip one blog post, though I could never do it justice in photos or words.  I went to Ireland and Scotland three years ago and loved it so much I wanted to go back, but this time I wanted to see more of England's country side.  We started and ended our trip in London.  This was my second stay in London, and this time I wanted to see some of the famous neighborhoods.
 One of my favorite was Notting Hill.  The colors of the buildings, the doors, and the shops were right up my alley.  All the flowers were in bloom, and it just made the walk worth the trip over.
 I told my Mom for my (upcoming) birthday, I really wanted to find an afternoon tea somewhere in the city.  I don't like tea, but I like all the things that come with the tea.  We booked the Savoy, I beautiful hotel in London with a piano player entertaining us throughout the whole tea, and the most incredible tasting scones I've ever had.  I like scones, but these scones....make me love scones.
 We also headed through some great cities in England, Stratford Upon Avon, and Shakespeare's birth home (above), York, and we took a cruise on Windermere (below) in the Lake District, which was gorgeous from start to finish.  The roses climbed the buildings, and gardens were exactly like a Jane Austin scene.
 After a few days in England, we headed to Edinburgh.  The Royal Mile that leads to the castle is one of most interesting streets I've ever walked (and shopped) b/c it climbs towards the castle with colorful and varied store fronts.
 We then went on to Dublin, and the Highlight there was a side trip to Glendalough.  It was the stunning ruins of a monastery that has stood here for almost 1000 years.  It never ceases to amaze me the proximity we are given to ruins to climb about and explore.  In the US, if it's 100 years old it's roped off and protected, but these stones have somehow stood for centuries.
 I also got to tour the Irish National Stud farm, and really, baby ponies, need I say more?  Sure there were race horses that have one millions of pounds, ponies....
 We went to Waterford and see the expert crystal designers at work, which exceeded my expectations.
 And I toured a small piece of Wales for the first time, including the most stunning vineyard where we had dinner prepared by the family.  It was my favorite meal the entire trip (Glyndwr) and even more beautiful that the vineyard was the garden that surrounded the house.
 Another fun stop was Stone Henge.  It poured down rain during this stop, but beyond the mystery of the location, just to say I've stood was definitely on the list of places to see.
 After a whirlwind 10 days, I found myself back in London.  I headed to Covent Garden this time and we enjoyed Sunday Roast at Hawksmoor.
 We also went to the Churchill War Rooms to see where the English govt operated during WW2.
 I walked away, having seen so many things, I'm still processing, but I hope it'll be one of many trips across the pond.