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Going Home!

Going Home!

Saturday July 9 – We were up super early to catch our flight from Heathrow to JFK.  J&S drove us to the airport and we arrived around 7:30.  We didn’t know what security in Heathrow would be like so we wanted to make sure we had enough time.  As it turned out, we had PLENTY of time.  Heathrow was a breeze.  It probably took us longer to check in to our flight than to clear security.

Once we were in the terminal, we grabbed some breakfast and then made our way to duty free.  Chocolate and candy were on the list.  We grabbed what we wanted and then waited for our flight.


The flight from Heathrow to JFK was pretty easy, I had hopes of reading but reading was making me sleepy so I ended up watching 3 movies on the plane, “Daddy’s Home” “Point Break” (the new one) and “Sisters”.

We landed at JFK around 1:00 pm local time.  We then had to go through customs and clear security, again…. Once we were finally back through, we headed for our terminal.  I was pretty excited there was a Shake Shack in our terminal so that’s what we had for lunch.

Our flight time kept changing and finally around 4:00 pm we were able to board.  We sat at the gate for a good 20 mins before the pilot came on to say we were waiting for the catering truck to come.  About 10 mins later, they’d come and gone and we were still waiting.  At this point, the pilot comes back on and tells us the airport was requiring them to open the door.  Lots of grumbles later, the door was opened and we were told we could deplane if we wanted.  Apparently there is some rule that you can’t sit on the tarmac for more than 3 hours but we’d only been on the plane about an hour.  The pilot seemed pretty frustrated we had to open the door and said Delta was on the phone “giving them a strong talking to”.

Finally we were allowed to push away from the gate and make our way to the take off queue.  We were like 12th in line but the pilot said it normally was pretty quick and he was right.  But by the time we got in the air, we should have been landing in Raleigh.  It was very frustrating.  We were allowed to take the “short cut” to Raleigh, which saved us a few mins then, I guess.  We landed at RDU around 7:00 pm.

Then we were headed home!  We finally got home around 9:00 pm, cuddled some kitties and went to bed!



Thursday July 7 – We woke up and headed to Matt’s grandmother, Beryl’s,  house to hang out with the fam.  Several of his cousins were stopping by with their kids and then we were going to take Beryl out to lunch for her birthday.  She turned 90 on the 16th.

While we were there, I got a message from my mom saying my grandmother had passed away.  We were prepared for this and I figured it would probably happen while we were on our trip.  Matt and I took a little walk around the neighborhood so I could chat with mom and get a few more details and collect myself.  While I wasn’t close to my grandmother, not in recent years, I was still sad.

Once we got back to the house, it was about time to head to lunch so we took Beryl to one of her favorite restaurants, the Black Horse.

While we were in Reigate, I asked if we could check out a few antique stores.  I figured I could find something much cooler than your average tourist souvenir.  So after lunch we drove over to Dorking to check out the antiques.  While I didn’t see anything crazy, I did find some old glass picture slides so I bought a few of those.  I figured they were small and would be easy to carry on.

Friday July 8 – We went to Heaver Castle for the day.  This was the childhood home of Ann Boleyn.  The grounds were beautiful, it was a nice place to spend the day.  While I spent most of my time with my eye in my camera, Matt spent most of his day looking up.  Situated near Heathrow and Gatwick, tons of planes were flying over.





Taking pics of Malcolm and Steve taking pics.





Flowers for the wedding that was in the afternoon.



Beryl and Jill
Beryl and Matt
Beryl and Vala


Scared kitty!
Matt, Beryl, and Me (photo courtesy of Steve Edwards)
Michael, Steve, Jill, Beryl, Matt (photo bombing 😉 ) Me, Vala, Malcolm (photo courtesy of Steve Edwards)

The castle itself was interesting but you couldn’t take pics of the inside!  Finally it was time to head back.  As we were pulling out of our parking spot, we backed into another car.  Haha, whoops.  No real damage and everyone was fine.

That night we had dinner at the Black Horse again, to celebrate Beryl’s birthday.  It was also our last night to see everyone.  We had an early flight out of Heathrow and needed to be up around 5:00 am.

Matt helping Beryl and Jill take a selfie.
London – Europe ’16

London – Europe ’16

Saturday July  2 – Matt and I were up early to catch our train to London.  It was really nice having the train station so close to the hotel.

I was pretty excited to take the high speed train from Paris to London and to go through the chunnel!  Matt had never done the chunnel train so it was a first for us both.

Since we were crossing over to England, we had to go through customs at the train station.  It was pretty quick which left us about an hour to wait for our train.  There were a ton of people waiting in our train terminal so I made Matt go in search of food, which took forever!

The train from Paris to London was only about 3 hours so we would arrive in London a little after lunch.  The plan was to then meet Matt’s cousin Emma and her boyfriend Tim, for a “normal” day in London!

The train ride was pretty uneventful and the chunnel was a little disappointing.  I really thought you might be able to see some water as you were approaching but we got nada!  One minute fields were passing, the next we were in the chunnel.  It only took about 20 minutes to get through and then we were headed to the city.

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This was right before we went into the chunnel.

Once we got to the train station, we started looking for the train to get to the hotel.  The train station was absolutely crazy so we kept passing up ticket lines hoping for a shorter one.  We finally stopped at one and Matt was just going to wait while I stood with the bags.  We’d popped into a Starbucks so I was happy for the moment.  Not more than a few minutes passed before Matt walked back to me and said we’d just find a cab.

The cab line was much shorter and we figured it was worth the 18 pounds.  We also figured, we had gotten to the hotel before Matt would have actually gotten through the ticket line.

We stayed at the Doubletree Westminster.  While I really would have liked to stay somewhere a little less generic, the room was nice, convenient, and had good views.






I’m pretty sure I have this exact same pic from our last trip to London. 😉

Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we grabbed what we needed and headed to meet E&T.  We met them at the Embankment Station and then headed out to find lunch.  We ended up at a place Matt and I had eaten at the last time we were in London over by the Tate Modern.  We sat down and were both like “we’ve been here before!”

Matt on the left on our trip. Matt on the right from our previous trip! I was like “GET ON THE HORSE!” haha

After lunch we decided to take a water taxi to Greenwich.  Matt and I had to buy tickets but E&T could use their train pass.  We waited and waited and waited.  We finally talked to one of the attendants to see what was going on.  He moved us to the front of the line and we waited for a while longer.  Finally our taxi came but a large party had taken the wrong taxi and they ushered them onto the next one, which meant we were SOL!  We finally decided the water taxi was going to be a bust, since we’d been there close to an hour and were still waiting.  We tried to get our money back but it turned into this big ordeal so E&T took our tickets and were going to submit a refund request.




At this point, we all decided we needed a drink so we headed for a pub.  We had a few drinks there while a little rainstorm passed before heading to dinner.  We went to a Mexican place called Wahaca.  They severed small plates so we tried a few different things, which were all really good.

The only pic we got of the 4 of us.

Matt and I still hadn’t checked into our hotel so we decided to call it a night.  We made it back to the hotel and got settled in our room, then we walked a few blocks to grab some water and food for breakfast the next morning.  Another early morning as we were headed to Devon for some family time.

View from the elevator bank on our floor.
Switzerland – Zurich to Lucerne

Switzerland – Zurich to Lucerne

Our trip officially started Friday June 24th with a flight to Zurich leaving Raleigh at 4:55pm.

Matt took the day off and I worked from home that morning (to save a day).  Our morning was filled with last minute details and packing.  Finally 1:30 rolled around and Matt and I hopped in the car and headed to the airport.  Our flight from RDU to JFK was a breeze!  Left on time, though once we arrived at JFK there was another plane parked too close to our terminal so we had to sit on the tarmac for a good 30 mins before finally being able to park at gate.  The airline staff asked the passengers to stay seated if they didn’t have an immediate flight, which was good because Matt and I were going to be cutting it close. Thankfully our departing terminal was the next one over.  We managed to run to the bathroom and grab a sandwich before boarding our flight to Zurich.

While we were waiting to depart, we noticed 1) the plane wasn’t very full and 2) some workers on one of the wings.  We didn’t think much about it until the Pilot came on and said there was a  maintenance issue but we would stay on the plane while they fixed it.  No more than 2 minutes later we were asked to de-board the plane!  So our flight departing at 8:05 ended up not boarding until midnight!  I was so annoyed.  I was tired and just wanted to go to sleep.  We also taxied for what felt like an hour before finally taking off.

The “we are stuck in the airport” selfie.

We get in the air, finally, and things are nice and quiet and dark and then they turned the lights on to serve food! WTF!?!?  At this point, I was really glad they had provided eye masks.  Finally the lights were turned off but it didn’t do much for my sleeping situation.  I think I managed a few hours of sleep on and off.  I finally woke up around 6am EST starving!  I ate a few cookies and not long after they started to serve breakfast.  It wasn’t great but it was food.

We landed in Zurich after noon and made it through customs pretty quickly.  We found our train and headed off for the hotel.  By this time, I’d found my second wind so minus really just needing a shower I was doing pretty good.

After a short walk from the train station we found our hotel, Sorrell Hotel Seindenhof.  Our room wasn’t quite ready so we went to the hotel restaurant and ordered a coffee while we waited, watching all of the super expensive cars drive by.  We saw a McLaren, Porsches Lamborghinis – there was not shortage!  As we were sitting there the bottom fell out.  Thankfully it was a quick little rain storm and passed before we went to our room.

View from our room.
Our hotel duck!
One of the many bachelorette parties we saw.
This was a dining trolley.

Once we got to the room we showered and headed out to check out the city.  We wandered over to the old city and walked around before deciding we needed food.  At this point, we were back by the hotel but hadn’t found anything interesting.  We stopped by the front desk and the girl recommended a place in the old city.  Go figure!  So we headed back over there.  We ended up stopping at a place called Saint Lucia for Italian food!  It was really good! After dinner we headed back to the hotel for sleep!











The next morning we woke up and grabbed breakfast from the hotel restaurant.  We then took another walk around town.  The sun was out so we had a nice stroll before going to check out and grab our bag for the train to Lucerne!

European Trip 2016!

European Trip 2016!

The Edwards do Europe!!!!

Back in January Matt’s parents mentioned that one of his grandmother’s was turning 90 in July and asked if we would like to go over and celebrate her birthday!  Pretty much a no brainer when they also offered to cover our plane tickets!

It’s been over 6 years since we’ve been to the UK to see family and quite a few years since anyone has been over to the US.  With a vague timeline in hand, Matt and I decided we would go over for two weeks.  We’d spend one week with family and one week trekking around.  At first we thought we’d actually see Beryl on her birthday so I started trying to figure out how we could also see a Tour de France tour stop.  I mean if you’re going to be in Europe in July, you might as well make that work right?!!?  The only stop I could kind of work out was the Tour stop in Berne Switzerland.  Then Matt’s parents decided to go over a little earlier.  This would rule out any Tour stops but we decided to keep Switzerland on the list.

Once we started looking for plane tickets we found a good deal flying into Zurich and out of London!  This would mean we’d have a week to make our way to the UK.

First stop, Zurich!