Sunday, August 1, 2010

Honeymoon Part I

Last Sunday was the anniversary of our legal ceremony (we went to a lovely brunch in the morning, fit in a run and saw a play in the evening) and a handy reminder that my recaps are getting stale fast.  I'm going to start these things in earnest, real soon, cross my heart.

But first, I thought I'd share our belated honeymoon-type travels.  For about 2 weeks (06/28-07/10) we roamed around Europe (London, Paris and the French countryside) visiting friends, making new friends and going to another set of friends' wedding (in a chateau!).  We totally didn't mind mini-mini-mooning back in November for our big wedding because we knew this trip was on our horizon.  And we loved spending our 'honeymoon' with friends, since our friends are so far flung it was great to see people we haven't seen in a while.

Part one has us visiting my old friend (and bridesmaid) from architecture school who's making her life out in London.  Our trip also coincided with another architecture school friend's stop over on her way back from South African World Cup madness, so we had a smallish reunion, British style.  The first day consisted mainly of finding food and nice places to take naps throughout London, any park was fair game.  Then we made a quick dinner at her flat and slept as much as we could during the few hours of nighttime (it was light out from about 5 am to 11 pm).

Day two involved the standard tourist's intro to London, because Mr. Moonbeam has never been and there are certain things you just have to see.  We started out down by the London Eye and walked over to Big Ben and Westminster Abby.

Then we made our way over to Trafalgar Square.

On our way to lunch we saw guards on horses somewhere.

Then we found a sandwich shop, picked up some lunch and walked over to a church yard that was filled with Londoners on their lunch break.  After that we walked around St. Paul and headed over to the Tate Modern to walk around in an air-conditioned gallery (we were definitely there during a heat wave).

St. Paul's

Crossing the Thames to get to the Tate

After all that we finished up the day with meat pies and fish and chips at Canteen (sort of a nice dinner chain that uses organic and sustainably raised ingredients).  I think I've had better fish and chips at places that only do fish and chips, but my beef and tomato pie was really, really good.

The next morning, our other friend made her way from South Africa with her boyfriend.  They were all hopped up on vuvuzelas and ready for a crash tour of London.

The four of us headed down to the center of London (grabbed a quick pasty, mmm) and made a day of it.  There was a city-wide architecture exhibition going on so we tried to see some of that.  The Victoria and Albert had 6 installations of architectural work to see.  They were a diverse group of spaces and I loved this one.

It's made from split trees, the ground is bagged mulch and the tops looked like palm fronds to me, but they were another tree product.  The inside had been polished smooth with carved words and the outside had been left natural.  Mr. Moonbeam liked this one, he is the quintessential bookworm, and wants nothing more than a place to hang out surrounded by books.

The V&A is really cool and I definitely recommend it.

After that we took a long time to find 'Brick Lane' (or Indian food heaven).  For those who may try to find it in the future, it's near Spitalfields Market.  We walked into one of the first places we saw and had some yummy food.  I found out later, that locals know how to make the most of it.  The kind of bargaining that happens, is I want to spend 'x' amount, I want to bring in my own wine and that's that.  Apparently if they say no, you just move onto the next place.  They are literally every other establishment on the block.  And with that it was back to our friend's flat to hang out and catch up.

Walking through Spitalfield's

The last day, we had to catch the Eurostar at about 5, so we had a good bit of the day to walk around and get a little bit of exploring done.  So the two of us set out to find Hyde Park and I think we just found Kensington Gardens (a smaller part of the park).

We think someone lives here in the park, lucky.

It was still lovely and that was enough for us, so then we went off in search of a Swedish zombie novel that was out in the U.K. but not in print in the U.S. yet.  I don't think you can truly appreciate the joy on Mr. Moonbeam's face when I found that book behind another book on the store's shelves.  He was filled with about as much love for me in that moment as he was on our wedding day.  (Darn, why didn't I take a picture)

So with that we set out to St. Pancras to catch the Eurostar to Paris.  It's a pretty ride and I recommend it if you have to get between London and Paris, but book your tickets early, Eurostar is like airlines in the way that prices go up the longer you wait.  I thought it was like trains that just have a set price, oh well you live and learn.

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