Recently, my daughter and I took a trip to London, with a few days in Rome. I wanted to see all the places in London that I’d been writing about for years. The three-day side trip to Rome was a last minute decision, but a very good one.
Of course I knew London was a modern, thriving city, but I was a bit disappointed that so much of it was ‘new.’ But then again, the area we stayed in was in a up and coming neighborhood, which meant a whole lot of new buildings going up, taking away some of that ‘old’ feel.
A trip to the Burrough Market, a very old market on Southwark Street, was quite interesting. There is no exact date (or year) that can be attributed to when it first opened, but the closest year is 1014. So you can see it’s been around for a long, long time.
The food was delicious and quite varied. It’s the sort of place where you purchase food, then stroll the market while you eat it.
We also did a one day bus tour and visited the Tower of London, Big Ben (which was covered in scaffolding since it’s being cleaned or repaired.) We took a boat tour on the Thames (pronounced ‘tems’) and passed the Globe Theater (not the original, that one burned down), the London Eye, and passed under London Bridge. And yes, the tour guide sang the song.
My daughter and I spent an entire day at the British Museum and viewed Cleopatra’s mummy (not to be confused with the famous Cleopatra. There were seven of them), and the Rosetta Stone. Very impressive. One thing that is wonderful about London is most of their museums are free.
One full day was spent in a tour bus to Stonehenge and the city of Bath. You might be interested to know that Stonehenge looks exactly as it does in pictures. A circle of very large stones (boulders?). The emptiness of the area surrounding it, though, gives it a very ancient, sort of mystical feel.
It was quite cold and windy the day we were there, and the grounds were muddy from recent rains, so we were not allowed to circle the stones all the way. But we did get a lot of wonderful pictures.
The city of Bath is featured quite a bit in Regency books. It’s a remarkable place and looked much more like I would have liked London to look. Old churches, cobble-stone shopping centers and of course the Roman Baths.
We took a tour of the baths which was fascinating. Although they date back to the Roman era, the current ‘bath’ dates from the 19th century. The original Roman baths are below the city streets, and you can still view them.
One thing was certain about our visit. We need a second one.
Rome was wonderful. Even though our time there was quite short, we managed to squeeze in the coliseum, the famous Trevi fountain (we threw our coins over our shoulders to guarantee we would return), the Spanish Steps and Vatican City.
The Sistine Chapel was without a doubt, a place that takes your breath away.
We drank dark, strong coffee at a small table in front of a café each morning, strolled the old streets, and ate dinner in a lovely restaurant where two different men came in and played music for a while, then stopped at each table to wish us a pleasant evening (and look for a tip – which we gladly gave them).
My daughter was so in love with Rome I was surprised I got her to leave. She is planning a month long trip back there next year.
While I had hoped my visit would give me more of an idea about the Regency era, we squeezed too much in to really get the ‘feel’ of Regency London. I did spend an evening strolling Oxford Street where all the ladies of fashion shopped back in the day.
But these stores were Zara, H&M, The Gap, etc. ::Sigh:: At least the floors above the stores were still the old buildings, and beautiful.
There was one quiet street near Oxford Street where I took pictures of the lovely homes. I imagined my heroine, Lizzie from my new release, Captivating the Earl, climbing into a carriage in front of one of the houses and riding the short distance to Oxford Street to shop. What a lovely time the Regency era was. At least if you were one of the nobility, that is.
Although I loved all that we saw and did, I keep thinking about all the places I missed. So, there is no doubt that another trip is in order.
CAPTIVATING THE EARL
Lady Elizabeth is hiding in plain sight…and very plain dresses. To escape her traitorous father’s reputation, she’s left behind the glittering balls of London Society to act as a governess. For the first time in her life, she’s independent and taking care of herself. All is fine…until the irresistible Lord Hawkins arrives at her employer’s house.
Lord Hawkins is a rake of the highest order, but something about the beautiful governess working for his cousin makes him want to act like a gentleman. After an attempt on her life, Hawk discovers who Elizabeth really is. Now under orders from the Home Office to bring her in, Hawk vows instead to protect her. Even though he’s not entirely sure she’s innocent, she is his responsibility. If only he could stop wanting her.
Hawk may be handsome and honorable, but no matter how much Lizzie wants to give in to her desires, falling for the tempting man will surely bring heartbreak. Especially when he proposes the only way to keep her safe is to marry her. She doesn’t want his name if he’s only doing it out of a sense of duty. But someone in the Home Office wants Lizzie dead and it’s up to Hawk to convince her of the danger when even becoming his countess may not save her life.