Saturday, July 11, 2009

Springtime in London

Finally!! We had some nice weather and long-awaited sun this spring. After our trip to California and Las Vegas, we were very sad to return and leave our friends and family so planned many fun adventures to keep our minds off being homesick and missing everyone. Although we have many wonderful pictures and memories from our trip -- especially the Vegas wedding --we will not be posting them here since this blog is supposed to be about our experience abroad. So, forgive me and let me go straight into our recent antics in London...

Sundays have been all about exploring the many amazing parks in London, the Regent's Park Zoo and many sights of London. In May, Brenna stopped through for a few days on her way to Ibiza again and showed me what the nightlife in London is all about. Then a pregnant Rosella, Carlo and Satya came for a visit from Rome.

Carlo and Rossella at Buckingham Palace

Rome on enjoying storytime on "Grandma's Bed" at the Tate Modern's Festival (right before he threw up all over me)

Rome and Satya checking out ther boats on the Thames with Brenna and Carlo
Globe Theatre with Rossella

Rome and SatyaRome with Brenna - St. Pauls' in the background
a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon in Regent's Park

St. Patrick's Day Parade

There's no better place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than in Dublin. So we took a one-hour flight to see for ourselves what goes on during their four day celebration. We played at the fun fair in Merrion Square, toured & tasted at the Guiness Factory, went sightseeing to see the highlights of Dublin, had dinner at Bono's hotel, and met with some friends who live there who have two small kids for Rome to play with.

It was a very fun and educational visit and we learned the history of Trinity College and the book of Kells, that Guiness beer tastes much better with blackcurrant juice and that they do not, in fact, dye the river green on St. Patty's Day. The weekend does culminate in a crazy and colorful parade that we got to see right before we took off to go home (and took lots of pics to share with you). We later learned that that is when the real party started, which explains why our flights were so cheap ...


at the Dublin Castle
going into Trinity College to see the book of Kells

playing at the fun fair in Merrion Square

on the ferris wheel -- no fear of heights at all!!

in a sea of green watching the parade

in front of St. Patrick's cathedral before the parade...

the parade begins...

floats with DJs playing techno beats

posing with Molly Malone

Friday, July 10, 2009

2009 update

Rome in the abbey at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland - Dec. 30th, 2008

Well, it has been way too long since I've written and, as usual, so much has happened I don't know where to begin -- apart from where we left off..... New Years Eve in Edinburgh!!

Suffice it to say we had a great time celebrating the first part of the three day new years party, Hogmanay, which claims to be the biggest new years celebration in Europe. Although it was very cold, that didn't stop the outdoor festivities. We didn't stay for the big grand finale - an all night dance party in the center of town- but participated in the family events that were held prior. Here are a few pics of the Torchlight Procession. We were really fortunate to be at the beginning of the procession, following hundreds of bagpipe players through the streets up to the top of the hill where there was a giant bonfire complete with a burning dragon, highlander-clad warriors and a stunning fireworks display. The sounds of the Scottish music mixed with the sights of the city and the thousands of torches lit all around us made this a truly remarkable and heady experience. I wish we could share the video but it won't load on here so here are a few pics...

holding a torch on Castle Hill a unicorn releif at the Castle (you've gotta love a royal emblem with unicorns..)

the big dragon bonfire

The first few months of the year were pretty uneventful, apart from a visit from our friend Annie who came for her birthday, and a huge snowstorm that dumped several feet of snow on our doorstep in 48 hours. London was the most beautiful I've ever seen, all covered in snow. We made a snowman and then Daniel had a snowball fight with Rome.... guess who won??

Rome with Annie in Spitalfield's Market our back yard after the snowstorm Rome making with our snowman in the yard

It was a cold, wet winter and we stayed quietly indoors for the most part, awaiting Spring and the arrival of more friends, family and blooming flowers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thanksgiving & Holidays

Although it seems like old news by now, we're finally catching up from the holidays and the new year. Although the Brits don't celebrate Thanksgiving, we made a turkey and all the trimmings and had a few American & British friends over to celebrate--and a family member too to follow tradition. My dad arrived the week before to celebrate his birthday and visit us, so we were really lucky and felt a little less homesick at the beginning of the holiday season.
sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner
grandpa carving the turkey

London during the holidays is so festive and gorgeous. There's always lots to see and do. Here we are feeding the birds at Hyde Park after seeing a debutante exhibit at Kensington Palace. We found out that British swans are quite brave and bold when you have good bread....

but Rome had them eating out of the palm of his hand-- literally.
We went on a ride up in the London Eye and were lucky to time it right in-between rain storms to capture sweeping views and clear blue skies...
and went to see the holiday displays on Carnaby Street
and the stunning window displays of Fortnum & Mason.

Unfortunately, grandpa couldn't stay for Christmas but we made the most of it with a pre-Christmas gastropub dinner and lots of present opening on Christmas morning after a visit from Santa

Rome couldn't wait to play with his toys and started composing music on his keyboard and recording it on his mini ipod
Then we went to Christmas dinner at our friends Sid, Louise & baby Ashwin's house.

Rome had fun playing with the other children

and wore the crown from the Christmas cracker. The day after Christmas, Boxing Day is also a holiday here in the UK and so we headed up to Edinburgh, Scotland for "Hogmanay" the largest new years celebration in Europe! Stay tuned for more photos and videos soon !!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fall colors

Southern California in the Fall -- sunny. brown. hot. I had never seen such brilliant Fall colors until this past weekend. Rome, Daniel and I went to the Cotswolds, about 90 minutes west of London, for a quiet, romantic weekend. Athough I took about 100 pictures, I wish I had taken more.... most of the villages in "the wolds"were built in the 14th century and grew very wealthy from wool trading. Many of the original buildings still remain and the sheep are still in abundance, as well as pheasants, churches, cobblestone roads and green fields. I'll put as many pics as I can fit in here for you to see how gorgeous and charming the countryside and all the little villages in between are.

As for Halloween, if you're wondering what people in England do, scroll down to see pics from our night. Although there were a few trick-or-treaters and events last year, we decided to go and seek out some fun and ended up at a family resort down on the cliffs of Dover. They had a big party with entertainment and a costume parade. Rome won a lollipop in his monkey costume and we all had a very cheesy, bizzare but very entertaining night (mainly just from watching Rome dancing with all the kids in his monkeysuit). The next day we visited the famous white cliffs and Dover Castle and then a wild-animal park that was created by one of the landed gentry who started to do captivated breeding of endangered animals -- now there are tigers, elephants, lemurs, buffalo, gorillas and lots & lots of monkeys roaming around on the 600 acre estate. Rome had the best weekend ever!!!!
driving from village to village in the countryside
the bridge at Bibury

Arlington Row in Bibury
sheep in the meadow
tea and Rome's snacks at an old Inn

Broadway village

telephone booths in Broadway

Daniel & rome at a 400 year old Inn

Sunday traffic in Broadway

the Horse and Hound
Rome with the sheep

and cows

residential window displays

and shops

Chipping Campden

houses along the main road on Chipping Campden

stately mansions
town square

(notice everything is made from the same stone)

a cottage in Bibury

old stone walls that run throughout the Cotswolds
with the ducks at Moreton in Marsh