Our Anniversary

On November 18, Stephen and I were
married a year! I can't believe it. Time
truly flies by! We decided a while back to spend our anniversary weekend in London. I had never been, and Stephen hadn't spent extensive time there, so it would be fun for both of us. Two weeks before our departure the Eurostar was revealed, so we were able to participate in it's first few runs between Brussels and London. For those of you unfamiliar, the Eurostar is the first high-speed (200+ mph) train connecting London, Paris, and Brussels. It was very nice, although we almost missed it. We decided to leave early Saturday morning, so Stephen had time to unwind from the busy work week. Our train left Brussels (an hour away) at 6:50. It was an early morning for us. We got to the train station 20 minutes before the train left, but we were at the wrong train station. Luckily, the train running between the two stations in Brussels was arriving in minutes, so we caught that and were allowed as the "last" passengers on the Eurostar heading for London. It was hectic, but well worth it! We arrived in London at 8am, and headed to the hotel. Our hotel (in efforts to save some money) was interesting to say the least. We figured why spend the money when we'd barely be in it...we'll never do that again. The sign on the inside of door read "hotel not responsible for luggage left inside room." INSIDE the room...yes, you read that correct! Interesting! We did our best to see the bright side, but that usually meant NOT staying in the room. We then headed for Piccadilly Circus. At 8:30 am on a Saturday, not many people were out. So we were able to capture the fountain with no one sitting on it, which is a feat in and of itself. We soon found our way to the "Original Tour" office and paid for a weekend package of walking tours and bus tours. The nice thing was that you could jump on and off the buses and boats all day long for 48 hours...perfect! While in the store, the manager let us in on the Buckingham Palace "Changing of the Guards" walking tour starting soon...so we jumped in. The tour was great, as it started at the Guards barracks, where most people don't know to start. We got to see them lining up, saw the bands getting ready, and even caught the Horse Guards walking past. We walked with the "mini-parade" to the Palace and got to see the whole shebang. It was awesome! I was like a kid in a candy store. We then spent the rest of the day on the buses. The tour guides gave us all of the historical background as we passed by, and we got to stay warm--PERFECT! It was freezing and rainy all weekend, so the buses were a blessing! We saw Parliament, the London Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, Westminster Abbey, the museums, the London eye-sore, and much more! We made lists of all the places we wanted to visit in more detail while on the bus, and we even were able to enjoy some TGI Friday's for lunch! The real deal! We had dinner reservations at the Savoy Grill, inside the Art Deco-mecca The Savoy Hotel for our anniversary dinner. We made it to the hotel after too many tube changes, and walking in the rain, and enjoyed a nice dinner together. Being one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants (Hell's Kitchen) we were super excited and held high expectations. The dinner was nice, as we were able to sit and have a glass of wine and reflect on our year. The food, however, was very subpar and didn't meet any of our expectations. It was still a nice night! Unfortunately, when we left we realized the tubes had shut down for the night. Our adventure had begun. We tried to find a bus that would run towards our hotel, only to find out we needed change to buy a ticket. Stephen asked a guy running a hot dog stand if he could make change, but the man would only do it if Stephen bought a hot dog. No big deal, except we had just eaten and it cost us 3 POUNDS...that's $6 dollars. We finally bought a ticket, witnessed a fight while on the bus, and then get off the bus too early thinking we were "near our hotel." We began walking, witnessed another fight (this time a girl beating up her boyfriend) and a man getting literally thrown out of a bar, his shoe following in the air, only to realize we are no where near our hotel. We finally found a cab, and made it to our hotel an hour and a half after leaving dinner! Wow! The next morning we thought we were getting up at 8:30 to "seize the day" but actually were were getting up at 7:30 (Belgium time)...so we really seized it! We had a pow wow at Starbuck's and then set out to visit all of our places on the list. We went to the Waldorf, the Ritz, Harrod's (I could have stayed forever) and Parliament. We ended with a dinner at the train station, and headed back to Brussels. We finally arrived home at 11:30 pm, after hopping to the train station we parked at and then driving an hour to Liege. It was a long weekend, but we had the best time! My only regret was not having our cake toppers...but we'll have those at some point. I guess our next trip to Austin :) Sorry this is a novel, but I hope you caught a glimpse of our weekend, and thank you for all of your support during this first year! We are so thankful for all of you...and we look forward to many more years with you in our lives!

For the rest of the pics: http://picasaweb.google.com/katie.dotson/OneYearAnniversaryLondon



Kat said...

Yall are having so many wonderful adventures...sure beats Texas huh?! Love you guys.