Monday, September 30, 2013

What? A bus in the Euro Tunnel?

That's exactly what we did ... the bus drove INTO a train car and there we sat, gently rocking back and forth, engine off-no air, for about a 25 minute ride to the northern shore of France.  We were told we could get off the bus and stand between the bus and the solid sides of the train, about 3 feet on each side, but it seemed a little scary.  I must admit that on the return trip, with Rick leading the way, several of us braved the walk to the restrooms in the first car of the cargo train.

Our Normandy "AWC Couples" adventure begins in Bayeux at a 3 star hotel just steps from the majestic Cathedral. The location was perfect, the hotel ..... "charming" (code word = adequate)!

We entered the Cathedral just in time to hear the end of the evening organ
recital - it was breathtaking and haunting at the same time!  Around the cathedral is the historic center comprised of timber framed houses, restaurants, and shops with display windows of french pastries, camembert cheese, chocolates, embroidery, lace, and apple cider  ....  all local to the Normandy area.

The first night we all ate together....
~I could not wait to dig into a pot of moules and frites!

Saturday afternoon we had time to explore the famous 
Tapisserie de Bayeux

which tells the story of the conquest of England by 
William, Duke of Normandy in 1066.  
The good thing was that with the help of the audio guide we moved right along
the 70 meter marvel of the 11th century!

Leaving plenty of time for social gathering and reflection of our
 memorable day on 
the D-day landing beaches.

Monday, September 23, 2013

London Cabbie Huts

They look like overgrown garden sheds but these distinctive green huts can be found on the streets of London offering shelter and tea for cab drivers since 1875.

Because cab drivers weren't allowed to leave their vehicles when parked at a stand, it was difficult for them to get a hot meal while at work, so The Earl of Shaftesbury (God bless 'im) and a few philanthropic chums decided to create a cabbie's charity in 1874. 

Entitled the Cabmen's Shelter Fund, the charity set out to construct and run shelters to provide cabbies with 'good and wholesome refreshments at moderate prices.' 

Only 13 still exist today and many are open to the public
for 'takeaway' sales...
Yup, the construction workers and us,
 just in time for 

We were greeted with a smile and you can't beat the prices....

Tea and Coffee   80p
All cakes           80p
Sausage Roll      £2.30
Bacon Toastie     £2.30
Add an egg for 20p!  

Breakfast  at a Cabbie Hut was on Marianna's "bucket list" before she leaves London
 and we tagged along!
Rick is still talking about that sausage roll!  

This fat pigeon sitting on the roof was waiting 
for someone to drop a crumb!  
A little frightening, don't you think?  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I say good bye again....

But not without a great party ....
to honor Robin McDonald and her 7 years in London,
lunch and a little Prosecco at The Antelope!  

You know how much I HATE to say good bye! 
I truly think my sister and I have some kind of genetic flaw that makes our 
tear ducts leak as soon as we hear the words, 
"Good bye" 
AND weddings, or funerals, or patriotic songs, or Folger's coffee and Budweiser commercials....
I digress.....

Mary gave the most heartfelt, eloquent 
farewell speech!
Everyone signed an album full of photos of Robin's AWC adventures over the past 7 years.

We laughed and talked and shared a lovely meal.

Robin said good bye and thank you with grace...
a few tears in her eyes and a knot in her throat! 
Seven years of friendships and a lifestyle only expats can appreciate! 

Again I say, I will miss you dear friend!
You are NOT the last to leave!  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Oia Santorini

After a restful sleep and a poolside breakfast including a scrumptious Greek omelet made with olives and feta, we were driven to our original hotel  ~ The Kirini Suites and Spa, a member of the Relais & Chateaux, in Oia, Santorini.

Remember I mentioned "upgrade"!

Our own white cave and private pool...I don't even have words to describe it!  

We walked to the village every afternoon.  We took advantage of the spa and enjoyed an evening of Kirini wine tasting and a special White Cave Dinner Experience,
but the dinner I will remember the most was at the restaurant on the harbour of Amoundi Bay, 
"The Sunset"
Only one way down.....
.... a couple of choices going back up!  We took a cab! 

Delicious fresh seafood.....

and another incredible sunset!

I don't think I will find a more relaxing, peaceful place on Earth!  

They might agree! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The magical Greek island of Santorini

Every picture is a postcard!  

and I can't think of a more romantic place to spend our 35th Wedding Anniversary!

We were greeted at the airport by warm, dry air, a driver, and the beautiful hotel manager Eva, with news that we were going to spend the first night at one of the sister hotels in the center of the island, GRACE, and the next day we would have a driver take us to KIRINI and.... 
"Mr. & Mrs. Mayfield, you have been upgraded to our best suites!"
Well alrighty!!!
~I have grown to love that word "upgrade"!~

an infinity pool and a breathtaking spot for breakfast! 

We felt like exploring so walked along a path, about an hour to the village of Fira, 
where many of the cruise ships dock.
It was busy, with lots of small shops and restaurants along winding, narrow paths.

Our private hot tub was waiting for our return..........

After a fantastic dinner of Greek salad (the freshest tomatoes I have had all summer and yummy Feta) and fresh grilled fish drizzled in olive oil, lemon juice and fresh oregano, all complimented with Santorini wine, it dawned on us as the sun was setting that our journey back to GRACE was going to be uphill