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London Olympics: Day 15: Visit to Downton Abbey

25 Nov

Thursday, August 9, 2012:

From my travel memories of my trip to the London 2012 Olympics, the day I visited Highclere Castle is without a doubt one of the highlights! Prior to traveling to England, I started watching the television show, ‘Downton Abbey,’ and instantly fell in love! I had my mom watch it as well, and she loved it just as much. When we were planning what to do in England besides the Olympics, visiting the castle that IS Downton Abbey was high on our list.

My mom and I traveled to the castle via a train to Newbury, and then took a cab to the castle itself. The ride was about 45 minutes through gorgeous England. Our cab ride was wonderful as well, because the driver was from the area, and told us a great deal of interesting information. Something exciting happened on the train ride though that started off the day perfectly. I decided to send a message via twitter to one of the actors telling him we were on our way to the castle. His name is Hugh Bonneville, and he plays Lord Grantham. I didn’t expect any response really, but to my surprise, shortly after I sent the message, he sent me this hilarious reply:

I don’t think I could have asked for a better reply from him, haha. Also, this September, I worked at the Primetime Emmy Awards, and had the pleasure of escorting him and his wife backstage. I had the chance to talk to him about that message he sent me, and he remembered the exact tweet he sent. We then proceeded to have a good 5 minute chat about the Olympics and my previous study abroad experience in London! He and his wife were so sweet, and it was great to speak to him in person!

Back to the castle, as we pulled up in our cab, my breath was taken away by the beauty of Highclere Castle and the vast amount of land surrounding it. We stepped out of the cab, and walked down the road to the castle entrance. It was truly surreal to see the massive castle in person. This was my view looking down the road:

We first explored the outside of the castle, including the gardens. The amount of open land and flowers surrounding the castle was astonishing. After exploring for about an hour or so, we then took a tour inside! Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside, but I made sure to take many mental pictures. We walked through the main entrance, and walked the same steps as the Crawleys do when they enter Downton Abbey. This is the first room we saw, as seen in the television show, the door in the back of the photo is where we entered:

We first took a tour upstairs, inside of each bedroom. In each room that is used in the television show was a sign, stating the character it belonged to, and a little biography on them. The most well-known room on the show, aka the “Red Room,” was definitely the most buzzed about amongst the tourists. As we moved through the sitting rooms and library downstairs, there were workers there to answer any questions we had. It was interesting to see all the real life family photos of the people who actually own Highclere Castle. Seen in many of the photos were members of the Royal Family, including Her Majesty, the Queen, as well as Princess Diana. Overall, the house was divine, and it was fun to stand in the rooms and the gardens seen on the show. After our tour, my mom and I went to the cafe, and had tea, scones, and clotted cream! I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to spend the day at Downton Abbey 🙂

Here are the photos I took that day!


Cheers! andrea ♥

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London Olympic Football Final

11 Aug

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Today was an incredible day at Wembley Stadium in London! I attended the men’s football final, where México took home the gold against Brasil. Viva México! I’m half Mexican. One of the players, Peralta, stole the game with an amazing goal within the first 30 seconds of the match!! It was even more exciting to see him play, because my mom, who was with me, has the maiden name Peralta!! The energy was electric in the stadium, and I was so happy to attend such an anticipated event!! And I of course had to show some LA love for our Galaxy player, David Beckham!!! Cheers! Andrea

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London Olympics Trip: Day 8

5 Aug

On Thursday, August 2, 2012, I visited the Tower of London with my mom and friend, Hallie. While living in London 2 years ago, I always wanted to make it over to the Tower, but somehow didn’t manage to. I was excited to finally have the opportunity to tour such a historic site in London, and see the Royal Crown Jewels! Sadly, no photos were allowed in the Crown Jewels exhibit, but just imagine diamonds and gold sparkling all throughout the rooms.

After the tour inside and around the Tower of London, we again were able to get a great view of the Olympic rings on Tower Bridge! The sight is simply breathtaking. I literally could stare at them for hours. My first sighting of the rings truly gave me the chills!

After admiring the rings over the River Thames, we headed over to the gorgeous Savoy Hotel for traditional afternoon tea in the Thames Foyer room. We chose the Olympic Tea option, which included pastries made to be the colors of the Olympic rings. The tea room was stunning, and the pianist set the mood for a lovely afternoon tea experience. The waiters were dressed in coat tails and made us feel like royalty.

At night, Hallie and I headed to a couple of pubs in Leicester Square to celebrate a fantastic week together in London! I’m so happy I got to share the Olympic experience with her. On Friday, she departed back to America, and my mom and I headed to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I currently am. We had a great day exploring the Highlands and visiting the Loch Ness monster 😉 But more on that in a following post to come.

Here are some highlights from my 8th day in London:

 

cheers! andrea ♥

London Olympics: Days 5,6,& 7

1 Aug

Today marked my being in London for exactly 1 week! Time sure does fly! I’m trying to make sure to soak in every moment. On Monday, day 5 in London, we attended a Beach Volleyball event at Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace. Horse Guards Parade is a very historic location in London. It is where the Queen inspects her troops during the Trooping the Colour event every June. It was a great first Olympic venue for us to visit, because it was within walking distance from our hotel. Beach Volleyball was such a fun event! There was a DJ, intermission dancers, and great teams who competed. We were fortunate enough to see the men and women of Team USA!! The men sadly lost their match, but our ladies won!! Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are both 2 time Olympic Gold medalists, so I had complete faith that they would pull out a win. It was also an exciting match for me to watch, because Misty is a fellow CSULB alum! It was sad, however, that everyone was so against us Americans!! There was a good amount of fellow Americans sporting their flags at the arena, but many people left before and or during our women’s match, and we were even booed!! It’s just because we are the world’s rivals I guess?! Go Team USA!! I’m sporting my flag proudly to every event I attend!!

Yesterday, Tuesday, July 31st, was our Fencing event. We watched 4 matches total, including the bronze, silver, and gold medal rounds!! It was incredible to witness an actual medal ceremony!! Fencing is an astounding sport, and I was literally on the edge of my seat!! After fencing, we took a night stroll around London to check out Buckingham Palace and the Olympic rings on Tower Bridge! Such an amazing sight to see 🙂

Today, my mom and I went to Wimbledon for London 2012 Olympic Tennis in Centre Court. We watched 4 amazing matches, and saw Serena Williams from Team USA and Andy Murray from Team GB win their matches!! I loved every minute 🙂 Below is a a gallery featuring highlights from my 5th, 6th, and 7th days here in London town!! Cheers!!

 

Cheers!! andrea ♥

First weekend at the London Olympics!

28 Jul

Yesterday was officially the 1st day of the London 2012 Olympic games!! London town was bustling with excitement & tourists from all around the world sporting their country’s colors, apparel, & flags. It’s so much fun to spot fellow Americans wearing our stars & stripes.

We had an eventful day trying to get over to Olympic Park, only to find we had to have tickets to just walk around the stadium! And those tickets were only available on the site for UK residents, so we were not happy about that. If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you may have noticed tons of empty seats at many events. This is due to other countries currently not having tickets available to them, and online is the only place to purchase tickets, as they are not sold at the door. Luckily, we came to London with 5 tickets on hand for beach volleyball, fencing, tennis, athletics, and the finals for men’s football! We were looking into tickets in hopes of going to the closing ceremony and possibly swimming, but our chances looked very slim when we were told only the UK/European Countries site was available. However, I was more than determined, and found the loophole to search the available inventory of tickets. It turned out that Closing Ceremony tickets are still available, but at quite pricey rates. However, we were fortunate enough to plan for the high prices, and I was determined once I learned my favorite childhood group, the SPICE GIRLS!!!!!, will be performing possibly for the very last time together! They were my very first concert back in 1998!! Many thanks are due to my dad for making this phenomenal graduation trip possible for my mom and me. Also, thank you so much to my mom as well for attending these games with me, I am thrilled to share this experience with her!

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One of my very best friends, Hallie, and me near Olympic Park:

Here are our tickets to closing ceremony!!

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Today, when we collected our Closing Ceremony tickets, we also took pictures nearby Olympic Park and the Stratford Westfield Mall next door:

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I fell in love with a couple fascinators:

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I also found one of the most amazing dresses:

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Our meals so far have been amazing!

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Cheers to a fantastic first weekend in London for the Summer Olympics!!

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Tomorrow is our first live event at Horse Guard’s Parade, Beach Volleyball! Can’t wait to cheer on Misty May Treanor (fellow CSULB alum! Go Beach!) and Kerri Walsh! Team USA!!! They play at 11pm London time, 3pm PST time.

Cheers, Andrea

PS. I’m blogging from my phone, so I will update with all my camera photos when I have a chance! Cheers again!

Americans at the London 2012 Olympics!

27 Jul

We arrived in London yesterday, July 26, 2012, and just a few hours later headed to Hyde Park for the Olympic Torch Relay Finale & Concert. The concert featured The Wanted! Today, July 27th, we headed back to Hyde Park for the Opening Ceremony & Concert Celebration! We wore our American gear proudly, even though the majority of fans were Brits. We did run into some fellow Americans sporting their flags though!! They showed the Opening Ceremony on a large screen from the beginning after Duran, Duran played live in Hyde Park, but then cut away from the ceremony once the Parade of Nations began. They started to show the parade later on when the Netherlands were walking, but just as they got closer to the U’s, they cut away again!! Even though they cut away for us to see Snow Patrol in concert, my mum (haha British way of saying Mom) and friend, Hallie were SO BUMMED they didn’t show our Team USA!! Team Great Britain must be threatened by us Americans!! I thought it was quite rude not to show our team!! We did get a couple glimpses of the Americans in their Ralph Lauren gear, and cheered for them as much as we could!

Despite that bummer, the Opening Ceremony was fantastic!! Cheers to Danny Boyle! And hooray for David Beckham bringing the torch to Olympic stadium along the River Thames! Well, it’s 3:00am here in London and we are headed to check out Olympic Park today, Saturday.

It’s so great to be back in my lovely city of London!!! Today, when we left our hotel to find a Barclays bank, we turned a corner a short walk away, and there was Big Ben!! That’s when it really hit me that I am back! Can’t wait for these next coming weeks in the UK! London & Edinburgh, Scotland 🙂 Cheers!

Andrea 🙂

P.S. Our hotel is gorgeous!
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