A day at the movies…The Downton Abbey movie…No spoilers…

In August 2014, we held our breath as we approached Highclare Castle, home of the famed BBC Downton Abbey TV series. No interior photos were allowed.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Wadebridge: “Wadebridge is a popular town in north Cornwall, very well situated for visitors intending to walk the Camel Trail. The most notable historical building in Wadebridge is not a building. It’s the remarkable Old Bridge built by Reverend Thomas Lovibond in 1460. The bridge stretches 320 feet across the Camel, with a total of 17 arches supporting it.”

Image result for the downton abbey movie
The poster for the movie.

With numerous trailers shown online and promoted throughout England, we thought it would be befitting for us to go to the movies to see yesterday’s first release of the classic movie TV show Downton Abbey.

The Towne Centre in Wakebridge.

While living in many countries throughout the world, we’ll find a movie made locally and make a point of downloading and watching it, including those with subtitles.  

It was captured on a walk on the boulevard.

Primarily, our objective is to see authentic scenes of places we may like to visit while there or to get a greater understanding of history and culture. Many well-made movies seem capable of accomplishing this to some degree.

The 89-year-old Regal Cinema in downtown Wakebridgde.

Having watched all 52 episodes of Downton Abbey over six seasons, all of which were since we began traveling the world. An attack would air, and a few days later, we could download it, saving it to our hard drive and watching it at our convenience, always in the evenings after dinner, as a special treat.

The cost for one adult ticket is GBP 7.30, US $9.13, about the same price or slightly less than in the US from what we recall.

The series was so inspiring in 2014, we booked a tour to the filming location for the series, the Highclere Castle, which is shown today as our main photo, which we’d taken on that particular day. Click here to see our post from August 21, 2014.

The concession stand.  There wasn’t anything I could order, as usual.

When we’d heard so much about the movie being released, we thought it would be a treat to see it on its opening day while in England on Friday, September 13, 2019. (The US and other country’s releases are on September 20, 2019, one week later).

Tom purchased a bottle of soda and popcorn, as shown below.

We searched online to see if there was a movie theatre in this part of Cornwall where we could see the movie. The Regal Theatre in Wadebridge, a 30-minute drive which was the most convenient location. 

The 89-year-old movie theatre was a site to see in itself with a bit of its history as follows:
The Regal, situated at the end of The Platt in Wadebridge Cornwall, was built by the Pope family of Padstow and opened its doors for the first time in January 1931. Several local owners operated the cinema under its initial name of the “Cinedrome.”

Our view of the screen from our good seats.
When we arrived an hour earlier than the start of the movie to ensure we’d get tickets and good seats to find the ticket office closed until 1:30 pm, we wandered about the cozy village, packed with tourists and locals.  
As it turned out, we were the first to buy tickets and find great seats, smack dab in the middle several rows back from the screen.  In no time at all, move moviegoers arrived but hardly filled in the good-sized theatre. We’d expected the 2 pm matinee would attract a number of the locals, but it didn’t.
Tom had to order his popcorn in a  bag.  The only freshly popped corn they had was “sweet popcorn,” which he doesn’t like.  The only unsweetened popcorn offered is in a bag, as shown.
Need I say, we loved the movie and giggled over having seen the magnificent castle on the big screen, five years later from our face-to-face viewing. We won’t share any details about the movie.  All we can say is if you liked the TV series, most likely you’ll enjoy the movie as well.
When we left the theatre, we walked past a creek with ducks.
After the movie ended, we walked the short distance to the Co-Op Supermarket to shop for the final upcoming week in St. Teath, Cornwall. We leave here in six days and have loved every moment in this scenic part of the country. Cornwall has genuinely pleased and surprised us.
May your Saturday be as pleasant as ours, on a sunny day in the countryside.

Photo from one year ago today, September 14, 2018:

This a white-crested seedeater.  For more photos, please click here.

Memories come to mind…Readers, thank you for the inspiration!

We often encounter unknown flower varieties when we walk in the neighborhood.

When we recall our first foray outside the US on January 3, 2013, when we embarked on the classic old-style Celebrity Century, the first cruise for both of us, the level of anticipation and excitement was indescribable.

At the time I was a little fearful of heading out to sea on such a big ship. The first few nights I lay awake from the creaking and rolling, wondering if something was wrong with the ship. 

By the time the Century made its way through the Panama Canal with the new locks being built beside it, I felt like an old ship’s hand, comfortable and at ease.

The pebbly road we walk in the neighborhood.

After 11 cruises all fear had long since dissipated as I embraced the wild seas, the rocking and rolling and what became familiar ship sounds both during the day and at night. 

When we sailed on our first Atlantic crossing in April 2013 to experience our roughest seas ever, 50 foot (15 meters) waves on the Norwegian Epic, we both wandered about the ship excited and amazed by the rough seas with nary a hint of seasickness while most passengers were tucked away in their cabins on medications and patches for seasickness.

The infirmary was packed with ill passengers while we visited with others like us, who enjoyed the excitement and for whatever reasons, don’t suffer from seasickness. 

Many homes are tucked away in the neighborhood, down long driveways, difficult to see beyond the dense vegetation.

For three days, the same few of us wandered about the ship thoroughly relishing in the unique experience while the remaining staff members who hadn’t become ill helped carry our coffee and beverages to a table. The pools were closed, as were many of the activity areas and some restaurants. 

We all managed to stay busy for the three rough days and nights at sea, watching movies in the rolling theatre, playing cards slipping and sliding on the outdoor tables, and dining in the main dining room as our plates and drinks slid across the table if we didn’t hang onto them. 

When it was finally over, the passengers began to quietly exit their cabins, all a little pale from being unable to eat and drink for three days. Within a day of smooth sailing the flurry of activities including drinking, eating, and socializing was once again in full force.

A wide array of plants and flowers are found in the neighborhood.

We treasure these memories, especially when we can look back at our over 1000 archives not only to refresh our memories in our telling of the stories but in seeing those memories in our photos. What a treasure to have this journey documented to this degree! 

We never stop appreciating our readers for being the catalyst and the inspiration to continue posting day after day. Had it just been a personal travel journal with a collection of photos, we may have made excuses day after day not to write the experiences, both big and small. 

In our old lives, I seldom wrote anything on the back of a photo describing who, what and where the photos were taken. Now, an entire story and multiple photos accompany every memorable experience.

The river winds through the area.

Knowing 1000’s of our readers throughout the world has spurred us on, day after day is life-changing. Those bringing up our site day after day to see what’s happening, at times finding only our mindless drivel or gentle ramblings over a sometimes simple life and at other times, finding an exciting memorable experience. 

No excuses are needed here to avoid posting. The only potential reasons we don’t post are due to a total lack of available WiFi service or during long travel days. Even on those days, we attempt to get something uploaded.  We’ve continued to post on sick days even if only to whine about being under the weather.

Last night, as we watched Episode 3 of Season 6, the final season of Downton Abbey, tears came to my eyes, not over a sad episode but due to the fact that we’d visited Highclere Castle in August 2014, home of the filming of this fine BBC series and its series end upcoming at Episode 9. 

Our photo. We held our breath as we approached Highclare Castle, home of the famed BBC Downton Abbey TV series. No interior photos were allowed.  Please click here for interior photos of the house

With only six more episodes to watch, for us, it’s the end of an era. Having walked the grounds and the familiar rooms of the castle, we became entrenched in its rich history and exceptional design and the very way it fit into the exceptional series.

Please click here for the first of two days of photos and stories from our visit to Highclere Castle, the filming site for Downton Abbey.

Please click here for the second of two day’s photos and story of the village of Bampton.

Last night’s episode showed several scenes in the village. The sleepy town of Bampton, England was used in the filming of the series including the interior of the church and a few other buildings. Having been inside that church, in that village, the memories brought huge smiles across our faces and for me, tears to my eyes, tears of joy for having had the experience.

This is the altar inside the church where the Mary and Matthew of Downton Abbey were married. To be able to visit this village, take this and other photos inside of this church and village, shown many times on the series, including last night’s episode (spoiler alert), was a memory we’ll always treasure, among others in our journey.

The long time span between series seasons was due to the show’s producers wanting to give the owners of the castle and the villagers time to recover from the last disruption of filming which sends their lives into total upheaval. 

The notoriety of this series has brought new revenue streams to both the villagers and castle owners along with the commotion which they seem to have appreciated and enjoyed.

Now, as we countdown to departing Fiji in five days with more upcoming memorable treasures behind us and more awaiting us, we’ve kept the TV tuned to a combination of BBC news and Fiji’s own channel 18 for Nat Geo Wild with one episode after another of places we’ve been, the wildlife we’ve seen up close and personal and of course, places we’ve yet to visit.

The river is lined with houses many with docks and boats, able to head out to sea from this waterway.

All we have is the moment in which to live.  In another moment, it becomes but a memory. It’s those moments and memories we treasure whether it’s a face-to-face encounter with a crocodile, a visit to a world-renowned castle, or a warm and unspoken wide grin to one another… it’s all worthy of a memory!

We carry on, hopefully with humility, grace, and ease…May you continue to do so along with us.

Photo from one year ago today, December 30, 2014:

From left to right; Sarah, TJ, me, Tom, (front) Vincent, Jayden, Nik, Tracy, and Tammy, a photo we took yesterday of our remaining family members.  Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent remained in Pahoa for four more days while the others had headed home. For more details, please click here.

Thanks to many heartfelt responses from our readers via comments and email…

Parasitic plants growing on trees are a fascinating way nature provides for a plant that must “borrow” nutrients from thriving trees of many varieties.

What a pleasing response we had yesterday after our post concerning some negative comments from a reader.  We hope the many responses we received in the past 24 hours indicate a general consensus among our readers.

This is where we park the little red rental car.  The door to enter our property is slight to the right of the red car. Since we’re on ground level we have a full wall of windows overlooking the Coral Sea and the beauty of Trinity beach. Andy and Sylvie have two cars, one of which is their sports car shown here.  The open stairway to the right is access to their property above us.  (For security purposes I edited the photo removing the license plates).

If you’d like to read some of those comments, please check the end of yesterday’s post by scrolling down this page, bearing in mind that many readers prefer to remain more anonymous, preferring to send an email.  Either method of communicating with us is appreciated. 

Each day more and more of the leaves on these leaves turns orange. Although it’s winter now, the weather in Queensland is never cold enough for a feeling of a full fall season.

If at any time, you’d like to express an opinion or comment and prefer to do so privately, our email links are listed above the feature photo of the two of us at right top of the page. You can count on a response within 12 hours with the exception of our travel days.

In the US, we had houseplants of this type called Pothos, which were hearty plants that did well without much sunlight and only occasional watering.

Speaking of travel days, a few more are rapidly approaching. In a mere 17 days, we’ll be departing our comfy cocoon here in Trinity Beach to head for an overnight in Sydney, although we’ll be arriving in and out in the dark at 8 or 9 pm and flying out at 6 am with no time to revel in the beautiful city as we did when we arrived on June 11th.  Click here to see our photos of Sydney.

We aren’t disappointed to be unable to spend time in Sydney this time since, over the next 20 months, we’ll be back in Sydney seven more times! Surely, we’ll be able to see the city in more detail during a few of those between-cruises-overnight visits. Sydney is quite an exciting city and although we aren’t big city enthusiasts for the long term, it’s fun to see a big city in shorter stops.

Another tree similar to a houseplant growing on the trunk of a large tree, although the tree itself is of a different variety.

When our ship arrived in the Sydney Harbour early that morning of our arrival, we couldn’t get outside quickly enough. It was a breathtaking experience and most certainly, we won’t be able to resist posting more photos each of these upcoming seven times, the exception being this extra short eighth visit in a few weeks.

We weren’t able to get a direct flight to Vanua Levu, Fiji without waiting for many hours at a tiny airport on the mainland of Fiji.  Instead, we chose the overnight, albeit short, stay in a hotel in Sydney, located at the airport. We’ve found it less stressful and exhausting to try to sleep for a few hours in a hotel than try to sleep in a chair at the airport.

We spotted these red plants in Hawaii on all four islands called Ti Plants. From our loyal reader, Annie: “Cordyline fruticosa probably was native originally to SE Asia and Papua New Guinea, but was carried throughout much of the Pacific by early Polynesians who used the starchy rhizomes for food. Today ti occurs in eastern Australia and on many of the larger islands in the tropical Pacific, including the Hawaiian Islands. They seem to thrive in tropical climates.”  Thanks, Annie for the update!

We recall our intentions in our travels:  ease, joy, and simplicity, a part of our logo which should have included “low stress.” With all the most organized of plans, events may occur beyond our control. If the areas over which we have control are seamless, the unforeseen event will be more manageable. 

With upcoming plans to live in Bali beginning on April 30, 2016, we’ve stayed apprised of the numerous issues regarding canceled flights to and from Bali as a result of the continually erupting volcano, Mount Raung. These frequent eruptions have grounded all flights on countless occasions. 

We don’t recognize this plant with leaves green on one side, burgundy on the back of the leaf.

Should this occur when we travel to Bali, rather than spending days waiting at the airport, we’d prefer to get a hotel room wherever we may be and wait it out enjoying our time until we can board a flight avoiding feelings of stress and worry. 

That’s a luxury we’ve afforded, not due to willingness to spend the money but, more of a desire for stress avoidance which for us becomes a vital aspect of our health and well-being. Sure, there’s a price to pay for that option but we’ve budgeted for such occasions and don’t flinch when the necessity arises.

These sparse trees will be in full bloom once winter is over.

As we continue the remaining time in Trinity Beach, we’ve decided we prefer to continue to visit local sites as opposed to expensive boat trips or overnight mountain excursions. To date, we’ve seen quite a bit of the general area and would like to save a few activities for the future return to Cairns by cruise, hopefully planning an outing with other cruisers we meet aboard the ship or on cruisecritic.com.

It’s Friday here, Thursday for many parts of the world. Whatever day it is for you, may it be an excellent day that finds you well and content.

Photo from one year ago today, August 21, 2014:
Seeing this favorite photo again this morning made us smile when one year ago we visited Highclere Castle, the subject of the well-loved British TV series, Downton Abbey. Although no interior photos of the exterior were allowed with the owners still in occupancy, we took many photos of the gardens and exterior which can be found here. Tomorrow, in our one-year-ago photo, we’ll be sharing a photo and link of the quaint Bampton, the village where the in-town footage was filmed. Charming!

Part 2…The village of Bampton, where many scenes from Downton Abbey are filmed…Tomorrow…Part 3, Oxford…

This is St. Mary’s church in Bampton, known as Church of St. Michael of All Angels, as shown on the series, Downton Abbey, where Mary married Matthew, Edith was jilted at the alter and eventually Matthew was buried.
The front entrance to the church in Bampton where many scenes for Downton Abbey have been filmed.

After posting yesterday, we were anxious to post the remaining photos of the tour to Bampton, the village of the series Downton Abbey where many church and outdoor scenes are filmed.

Cemetery at the “real” church in Bampton, St. Mary’s.

Having completed the Highclere Castle portion of the tour in Thursday’s post, today we review the visit to the charming village of Bampton with its own story to tell.

The sequence of our 13 hour day was as follows with considerable driving in between:
10:45 -12:45 Village of Oxford
2:30 – 4:30   Highclere Castle, home of Downton Abbey TV series
5:30 – 6:30  The village of Bampton, of the Downton Abbey TV series

Tom, at the side entrance to the church,

Due to several traffic delays, the events of the tour changed when Highclere Castle was to be our last stop. As a result, when we finally arrived in Bampton, many of the sites we were scheduled to see were closed for the day.

The alter inside the church where Mary and Matthew were married.

Leave it to tour guide Paul (pronounced “pool”) he called the vicar of the church and the shop owner to ensure we’d gain access to both. They both happily obliged. Of course, all 60 of us were thrilled (as much as one can be thrilled in a group of 60).

There was a carved bird of prey on the podium in the church.

Paul and Martin, our drivers, both stated several times that such delays were unusual. With diligent planning they made every effort, successfully, to get us to each venue for the time specified in the tour itinerary, although overall the day was longer than planned.

A stained glass window in the church.

We were baffled by the number of detours, roadblocks, and accidents, resulting in hours of sitting on the bus in traffic, especially surprising in the countryside.

This is the Crawley house on the series where Matthew and Isobel (Matthew’s mother) lived here after the announcement that as to the real heir to the Earl of Grantham’s estate after the death of Patrick Crowley on the Titanic.

With the amount of traffic we noticed in London, we both thought these delays may not have been unusual after all. There’s an ordinance in London called the Congestion Free for a vehicle entering certain boundaries of the city of London during weekdays of 11.60 pounds per day, (US $19.24).

The actual library in Bampton is used as a hospital in the series which now houses a gift shop. The owner was notified we were in town and she rushed to open the shop for us.

A sophisticated digital system is in place that ensures no vehicle avoids paying these daily, weekday only, fees, or serious penalties are imposed. The traffic coupled with the Congestion Free is enough motivation for Londoners to avoid purchasing a car and use the comprehensive public transportation.

A sign outside the shop, which appears as a hospital on the series.

Paul explained that he’s never driven a car in his life which apparently is not unusual in London. People walk a lot here in London. We’ve heard on the local news that rising prices for public transportation are creating upheaval and a public discord.

Several houses in Bampton have these thatched roofs some of which have been shown on
the series.

Originally, when we booked the upcoming cruise for Harwich, UK, leaving next Sunday, we’d hope to spend time in the UK, perhaps renting a house in the country for a few months. After weeks of frustration, we gave up the search when prices for even a modest country home were far beyond our budgetary guidelines. The 15 days stay in a hotel was the only alternative.

The photo on display at the gift shop of Edith’s wedding which never took place.

After all, was said and done, we had a great day having learned more about this country, its people, its history, and its modern day lifestyle, in many ways not unlike the lives of citizens from all over the world.

Mr. Charles Carson, head butler at Downton Abbey, and Dr. Richard Clarkson, the family physician in this photo at the gift shop.

Last night, we dined in another French bistro to disappointing meals for both of us. Spending over US $72, 43 pounds (without beverages!) for a mushy burger and a bowl of soup for Tom and, a small chicken breast, a few greasy green beans, and a side salad for me, we were sorely disappointed.

Photo of Mary at her wedding to Matthew, again on display in the gift shop.

Tightening our belts after three weeks of dining out, we’ve lost interest in dining out and will hit the more affordable spots where we won’t spend over US $60, 36 pounds, for dinner without drinks. 

Dame Maggie Smith plays Lord Grantham’s mother, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley.

Tom purchased a liter bottle of cognac for US $30, 18 pounds, and will have a drink in our room if he wants one as opposed to spending US $17, 10 pounds for a single cocktail in a restaurant.

Today, we’re off to find a self-service laundry which we’ll visit again a week from today, boarding the ship with clean clothes.  The hotel’s cost of laundering one pair of jeans is more than we’ll spend on two full loads at the self serve.

Photo in the gift shop of camera crew actress from series.  We couldn’t tell who it was.

Monday is our next full day of sightseeing when we’ll see the highlights of London including the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and a boat ride of the Thames River. (At this point, we have little interest in the interior of yet another palace).

For now, we’re experiencing a little of life in London, barring many of the comforts of our usual homes of the past. We’ve decided living in a hotel in no way meets our criteria of living life in the world with simplicity and ease. However, we’ll never regret visiting Paris and London.

                                                Photo from one year ago today, August 22, 2013: 

No photos or story was posted on this date when the Internet was totally down in Boveglio, Italy. At this point, we’d begun assessing and sorting our belonging to lighten the upcoming long flight to Kenya in only nine days.

Part 1…Downton Abbey Tour, Secret Garden, exquisite grounds…More tomorrow…

We held our breath as we approached Highclare Castle, home of the famed BBC Downton Abbey TV series. No interior photos were allowed. Please click here for interior photos of the house

When we planned the 10-hour tour which included a trip to the castle where the popular BBC TV series, Downton Abbey is filmed, we discovered the “real” name of the castle is actually Highclere Castle, which long before the show was a popular tourist attraction.

Please click here to enjoy the beautiful music from Downton Abbey while perusing today’s photos.

With the production and popularity of the show, Downton Abbey, the increased tourism to the castle has been instrumental in its owners and occupants of the house, Earl and Lady Carnarvon to commence extensive much-needed renovation.

The exquisite grounds were as equally appealing as the castle.

Earl and Lady Carnarvon stay out of sight during tours, often away at their summer home, although at times they have made an appearance during the 60 to 70 days a year the castle is open to the public. 

For the details and history of Highclere Castle, please click here

Tom was looking at the exterior condition of Highclere Castle as we wandered about the grounds.

Rather than retell the history and general facts regarding the castle with considerable information already online, we’ll share our photos and experiences of the 13-hour outing, over a period of two days in Parts 1 and 2.

There’s hardly a totally clear day in the UK including during our time at the castle.

Tomorrow, we’ll share photos of the village of Bampton, Oxfordshire, where most of the village filming transpires. 

Standing at the back of the castle, this is the view of the carriage house.

For devotees of the popular British TV series produced by the profoundly talented Julian Fellows and his creative staff, today’s post may offer some appeal. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, we can only suggest giving it a try for a delightful escape to another time and place, historically accurate, and robustly produced.

The back view of Highclere Castle.

We’ve watched the series since its first episode began on September 21, 2010, now rolling into its fifth season.  Our lively and knowledgeable tour guide Paul explained that a week ago, he’d seen the show in production at the village of Bamptonshire. (“Shire” is included at the end of the names of villages and towns to indicate a division of land).

There is a huge field of wildflowers on the grounds of Highclere Castle. We can only imagine how beautiful this would be in the spring in full bloom.

We had few expectations of yesterday’s lengthy outing beginning at 7:30 am when we walked across the street to the Kensington Hotel to be picked up in a luxury coach for the two-hour drive to Oxford which was the first leg of the tour. We didn’t actually arrive at Highclere Castle until 2:30 pm with a full two hours to explore on our own.

View of the castle as we walked along the path to the gardens.

We’re sharing the separate areas we visited out of sequence, wrapping up the balance tomorrow. We felt many of our readers were anxious to read about Downton Abbey first when we’d mentioned it several times over the last week.

I recall seeing this bench under a tree in a scene in the series.

With 60 passengers in tow on the luxury coach where we spent several hours on the road, we all held our breath as we approached the Highclere Castle.

The vast array of color in the gardens was exquisite.
We were delighted to find many flowers blooming in the Secret Garden at Highclere Castle.

As is the case in many of these tours, one must prepare themselves for a letdown, when the anticipation has lingered for days or weeks. But, disappointed? We were not! It was all we expected and more. 

Appears to be an above-ground radish?

The only disappointment was the fact that no photos are allowed anywhere inside the castle with respect for the privacy of Earl and Lady Carnaron since this is their personal home.

A simple white flowers amongst many.

In an odd way, once we entered the interior of the house, I was fine not focusing on taking photos, instead being able to pay attention to minute details, as we moved along the house’s many rooms.  Please click here for interior photos of the house.

Beautiful blooms!

Standing in the familiar rooms was exciting while our minds perused various episodes of the series. My favorite was the familiar dining room and Tom’s was the library. An on-site guide explained that there are approximately 200 rooms in the enormous castle with an estimated 120,000 square feet, 11,148 square meters.

A manicured path we followed in the Secret Garden.

Fortunately, we were allowed to take exterior photos which kept us busy during the second hour as we toured the extensive gardens. It wasn’t crowded as shown in our photos many of which we were able to take with tourists in view. The fact that we’d arrived in the afternoon appeared to have been a factor in the lessened crowds.

With the rose blooming season behind us, we enjoyed seeing this pink rose.

At 4:30, we again boarded the bus for the quaint village of Brampton where many of the village scenes are filmed. Apparently, the townspeople are opposed to their new found notoriety due to the series with increased business in their few shops and one pub in town. 

Bess and butterflies were everywhere partaking of the sweet nectar of many varieties of clowers.

When filming commences, autos, TV antennae, power lines, and trash bins must be removed.  In addition, the production crew fills the streets with dirt and gravel over the tarred roads to create an appearance of a time long ago.

Another butterfly alights a pretty white flower.

At the end of each season’s production, the company holds a party for the entire village as well as providing donations to the city, making all the hoopla worthwhile to its citizens. 

We sat on a bench contemplating these unusual trimmings.

At the beginning of the tour, I’d considered that Tom had tagged along for my benefit. However, as the day worn on, he was engaged and interested, particularly in the historical aspects of the castle and village.

Tom under a uniquely trimmed arch.

Having seen Highclere Castle, we’ll have an entirely new perspective when the new fifth season of Downton Abbey begins in January.

Although the greenhouse doors were locked, we took this shot through a tiny opening.

As the long day ended, the bus dropped us at the Kensington Station, a mere 15-minute walk back to our hotel.  Anxious to stop for dinner, we found a casual Italian restaurant on the way with good food which included a few items suitable for me.

The red in this flower close to the greenhouse stood out among many.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with our visit to Bampton where the village shots for Downton Abbey are filmed and, also the historic village of Oxford, reeking of history dating back to 912 AD. What an experience that was as well! One could easily book a hotel in the fascinating town, staying for weeks to experience its many treasures.

Me, at the main entrance to the castle.

No, we don’t love touring on a bus with 60 other tourists. However, this was the most affordable tours we could find at US $370, 223 pounds for both of us. It’s wise to book in advance if possible. 

One last peek before we departed Hghclere Castle, home of the Downton Abbey TV series.

We’ll be tomorrow with Part 2 and many more photos!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 21, 2013:

Little did we know how many geckos we’d find in houses while in Africa, at this point a year ago with only 10 days until we’d depart Italy for Kenya. For details from that date. please click here

Living in the moment when thinking of the future is unavoidable…Photos from walks in South Kensington…

We walked past Christie’s location, the world-famous auction house, that occupies almost the entire block.

Living in the moment is a vital aspect of the depth of our appreciation in traveling the world. Anticipating the future with diligent planning leaves our minds free to revel in the moment.

One can’t live in a perpetual state of anticipation with an occasional thought of the time and place of the moment. We’ve found that the opposite is true. Live in the moment with an occasional thought and warm fuzzy about the future.

Once in the heart of the area, the streets were jammed with cars and people.

At the moment, as much as we’re finding London to be enriching and interesting we must admit, we’re anticipating our upcoming two cruises, one on August 31st and the second on September 23rd with a flutter of excitement. 

An old church stands out among the crisp white buildings.

We haven’t been on a cruise ship since we toured the Mediterranean Sea cruise, ending in Venice, Italy on June 16, 2013. It seems so long ago. Now, as we mentally make every effort to free ourselves from those thoughts in order to embrace London while we’re here, it’s still hard to believe we’ll be on a cruise ship in 12 days.

There are several routes we’ve taken when walking the area, some less busy than others.

With only four months until we see our family in Hawaii, it’s tough not to let our minds wander to the joy of seeing all of them once again.

Look at this gorgeous display in this bakery. Yes, my food voyeur tendencies are in the full-on mode, in London. Tom scoffs at these yummy looking desserts, preferring a boring plain cake donut or a Bismarck topped with chocolate frosting with custard inside. Dull! (Not the guy. Just his taste buds).
We got a kick out of the name of this store, Odd Bins.

Yesterday, we took off on foot toward the three museums in the area, able to enter only one of three with the lines of thousands of waiting visitors. We’ll share our museum experience in tomorrow’s post which we’ll upload early in the morning.

The walkways and roads are beautifully maintained, making walking especially enjoyable.

Tomorrow, we have a 10-hour tour of Downton Abbey and Oxford University, leaving at 7:45 am from the hotel across the street. We’ll upload the post before we leave so we won’t miss a beat in our absence ad be back on Thursday with photos of the all-day tour.

There was an auto showroom along the busy street, open by appointment only, displaying this yellow Lamborghini.

As avid fans of the entertaining British TV show since its onset, it will be fascinating to see the grounds and the castle that has become firmly entrenched in our minds after never missing an episode over several seasons

There was one bakery after another in the busy area.

Today, as yesterday, we’ll walk around the beautiful South Kensington area trying another route. We couldn’t be more thrilled that we ended up in this superb location in this 4-star hotel, The Regency Hotel Queen’s Gate.

The entrance to Piccadilly line South Kensington was located in a small indoor mall.

We’ve worked out the kinks we encountered upon checking in including our blown plugins left us no alternative but to borrow the singular device they had available, suitable for US plugs which will only charge one computer at a time. 

A pub we entered to read the menu had meat for sale and also to serve to dining patrons. 

As for charging our phones and cameras, we have no option but to charge them via USB into the computer, one at a time, when one of our computers is plugged in. Timing this is cumbersome.

The historic building stands out in a lovely area.

As a result, we spend time in the morning in the lobby running off batteries, writing rather than sitting on the bed in the room. Once we’ve uploaded the daily post, we head back to the room and charge one computer while we go out and about. 

Another church steeple in South Kensington.

Later, when we return to shower and dress for dinner we’ll leave the other computer charging while away.  We repeat this process over and over. It’s annoying, to say the least. Also, paying US $13.31, 8 pounds per day for Wifi is ridiculous when there have been no such charges at any other hotels in which we’ve stayed. This wasn’t clear when we booked online months ago.

Architecturally interesting white buildings line many of the streets in South Kensington.

Otherwise, this hotel is lovely with excellent service, reasonable amenities, gorgeous décor, and a perfect location. Tonight, in an effort for an early evening, we’ll dine in the hotel’s beautiful restaurant. The inviting ambiance and comparable pricing to other dining establishments in the area make it a logical choice when we have an early start tomorrow morning.

We often take photos of nearby restaurants, later looking up reviews on TripAdvisor, such as in this case it rates #1572 of 17,134, making it in the top 9%, perhaps worthy of a visit. To see the review click here.

As indicated above, we’ll be posting tomorrow morning with photos of our visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum and then Thursday with the results of our 10-hour day tour on a bus with a bunch of “oldies” like us, all attempting to “live in the moment.”

                                              Photo from one year ago today, August 19, 2013:

While living in Boveglio, we order the upcoming year of prescriptions. When they arrived almost 60 days after ordering, we were worried when one box was missing. We had to reorder and have it sent to our mailing service who was sending us a package while we’d be living in Kenya. For details, please click here.