by Nina Sabin - Travel
In our last blog we left off as we were finishing our tour along the East Coast of the US. We started in Florida, then Virginia, and finished in Washington DC. Being expats it helps us feel closer to our roots, as US citizens, when we visit the capitol of our country.
I have to say visiting the capitol of other countries around the world makes us appreciate when we come back to the US. There are no words that can describe when you are in your homeland. I value the opportunity to see all the diversity around the world. I believe no matter where you may live or travel to; you will always have an attachment to your home country.
With that being said, we finished our time exploring Washington DC, and then made our way back south to Georgia where John’s parents live. After a three-day visit with the in-laws we were off to South Florida to finish up seeing friends and family before heading back across the world to London. This will be the last stop on repat number five – Around the World in a Month.
The fight from Miami to London was less than nine hours. It always amazes us that in a short amount of time we can be across the world.
This was John and mine second visit to London. Our first visit was our first real trip overseas in 1995 when I was just pregnant with our first child.
We found it challenging to drive on the left side of the road (or for us American’s the opposite side of the road). If you have never driven on a side of the road you are not used to, it can be an unusual experience. For me the challenge was spatial awareness. I had a hard time having my passenger side on the left of the car.
On that first visit to London, it was a business trip for John so we had to cover 6,000 miles in 7 days. With the uniqueness of driving on the opposite side of the road; we lost a hubcap, a mirror, and eventually totaled the car. The hubcap popped off as I went around a round-a-bout. To this day, I don’t remember hitting the curb. I do remember the mirror though. The streets around Warwick are very narrow, and I clipped the mirror on another car, shocked and unsure what to do, a by-stander said no problem, they see it all the time, and I should just put the mirror in the boot (trunk) of the rental car and go about my day. The final straw to the car, happened when John was driving and he look the wrong way, and we were hit by a truck. Praise God nothing happened to us or the other driver, but the rental car was totaled. Funny thing though, when we contacted the company, they acted like this was normal and brought us a new rental car.
On this trip, in 2006, since we were only staying in London, we avoided the driving experience. However, since then we are becoming experts on driving on the left side of the road which you will learn more about that on our trip to Ireland.
London is a beautiful city. Pictures do not do justice to seeing the famous places such as Big Ben, the London Tower, and Buckingham place. We were blessed to be able to see changing of the guards. That is a must when visiting London.
Public transportation runs very smoothly in London. The London Tube definitely the best way to travel.
Other popular attractions we saw and recommend are the London Zoo, London Eye, Westminster Abby, Windsor Castle and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
We only had five days to explore London before heading back to Saudi. Our favorite activity, with having two young children, was the V&A Museum of Childhood. It is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is the United Kingdom's national museum of applied arts. They specialize in activities for children. Both of our girls made their own t-shirts at the museum. They were a great souvenir of our time in London.
Lastly, as we mentioned in our previous travel blogs we love to explore and go on adventures. In south east London are the Chislehurst Caves. They are a series of intersecting man-made tunnels and caverns covering some 22 miles (35 km) in Chislehurst. From the mid-13th to early-19th centuries the 'caves' were created from the mining of flint and lime-burning chalk. Now the caves are wonderful place for tourists to visit and explore.
Stay tuned for our next travel vlog as we take you on a journey through Iran… a place that once was full of turmoil and unrest.