Claire Came to Visit!
Claire, my wonderful sister-in-law, came to visit the week after Thanksgiving and we had such a blast introducing her to England! It's been so long since I've seen my siblings or siblings-in-law, and it was so nice to spend a week with Claire. We visited York, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Birmingham, and London.
The little medieval village of York is such a great example of an old English town with little quaint streets, tilting buildings, markets, a beautiful church, and sweet little shops. Yorkshire is in the northern part of the country and so it gives a very different feel from the Midlands where we live, or from London and the south. We spent Claire's first day exploring York and visiting the Christmas Market, listening to carolers in the street, trying mulled wine, and enjoying the village. The surrounding countryside is gorgeous with great walks, so we picked out a hike for the next day and enjoyed a pub dinner in the evening.
The Dales & Upper Wharfedale
Claire and I walked around Birmingham on Monday and visited the Christmas Market - Birmingham's is the largest German Christmas Market outside of Germany. Tuesday morning we took a train to London and spent two days hitting up as many of the big sites as we had time for!
We grabbed lunch at Borough Market the first day, one of my favorite markets in London. It was a bit quiet but still plenty of great food. A highlight of our little trip was visiting the Churchill War Rooms. We both loved it and highly recommend checking it out. You can tour Churchill's WWII headquarters, all underground, and then visit the Churchill Museum. The map room in the war rooms was one of my favorite parts - millions of tiny pinpricks all over maps that wallpaper a series of rooms. Each pin hole represents the position of a convoy at some point during the war. It's incredible that these rooms remain exactly as they were during the war - contents in tact, promptly abandoned on V-Day. At various points you can listen to interviews with men and women who worked in the top-secret war rooms, and their stories are just fantastic. This is a treasure of a museum.
We had dinner at a great little traditional Italian spot in the West End and then literally ran across the street to see Wicked, narrowly avoiding being late. The play was excellent and a perfect way to end a day in London!
The next morning we explored a bit more, hit all the major sites, and even happened upon some sort of equestrian drill practice in Hyde Park. Later, a couple carriages with footmen rolled by! I wonder who was in there and why. Very fancy.
My midweek adventures are nearly always solo while Connor is at work, and this London trip with Claire was infinitely better in every possible way. We had such a blast and covered a lot of ground! If I put up a picture of every single thing we did I'd make all of you jealous, and who wants that ;)
Back in Birmingham on Thursday, we took Claire to our "local:" a British term for your go-to pub, generally the closest pub to your house. Our local is The Plough, just up the hill from our house, and its always 100 degrees inside. Very nice when your house is freezing.
Thanks for visiting Clairesy!! We miss you already!