The Casting Dock

England: downtown London

After a truly glorious first three days with the lovely family of six, we switched gears and headed from the northern end of the city straight downtown (London city limits are quite massive!) to visit one of my best friends from high school, Mandy, and her longtime boyfriend, Oliver.

Mandy and I lived nearly inseparable lives for about 7 years. We went to (a tiny, tiny) private K-12 school and (a pretty large) church together from 5th through 12th grade, played on all the same sports teams, went to church camp together, vacationed with each other’s families (lake houses! beach trips! senior trip cruise to Mexico! visits to New England!) and virtually lived at each other’s houses for extended periods of time (well, really I was the one camping out at her house for weeks on end). Aside from my own blood family, I’m not sure there is anyone with whom I share more history than Mandy and her twin sister Ashley. For me, that alone is deeply meaningful.

It makes me feel all sappy and nostalgic just thinking about it. Aside from my (then quite crappy) family issues, there were no significant events in my life over those seven years of which Mandy was not a part.

Then came college. Mandy went north a few hours to the Dallas area and I headed up in the Boston direction. We kept in shockingly good touch for the first two or three years, talking multiple times a week and seeing each other on breaks back home, but then life kicked into high gear. Neither of us were home as often and talking on the phone became more challenging to upkeep. Since college graduation (5 years ago!) we figure we have seen each other maybe 2 or 3 times, never for extended periods of time. We chat occasionally, but not often.

So when Mandy and her boyfriend Oliver moved to London a year ago, Jerry and I figured it was high time to schedule a visit. With two great sets of friends in the same city (and a city Jerry reallllly wanted to see to boot!), it was the perfect occasion.

And similar to leg one of our journey, leg two did not disappoint.

Westminster Abbey.

Jerry and I did most of the touristy stuff together since admission tickets get pricey and Mandy and Oliver have seen all those places plenty of times, I’m sure.

The houses of Parliament as seen from the courtyard inside Westminster.

Big Ben. And a beautiful, sunny sky.

Tower Bridge.

I was obsessed with Tower Bridge, especially with the Olympic rings hanging. Oh how I wish we could go back in a few weeks and catch some Olympic action!

Strolling through St. James Park with Buckingham Palace in the background.

Obligatory Buckingham Palace picture.

The object of my infatuation, Tower Bridge, as seen from the White Tower at the Tower of London. I literally took dozens of pictures of this guy.

Taking in the view of St. Paul’s and the London Eye from the balcony of Mandy and Oliver’s 25th floor flat.

Yeah, it was legit.

Jerry up close and personal with the Rosetta Stone, my favorite museum artifact of the trip, at the British Museum. It’s just beyond fascinating when you think about what this baby did for our understanding of Egyptian culture. And the fact that it just sat there undiscovered for so many centuries??! Makes me wonder what other ancient artifacts are out there undiscovered!

Mandy and I sent Jerry and Oliver off to do manly things at the International War Museum one afternoon.

Guys are easy, I know, but still–I’m so glad these two got along well.

While they were warring it up, we explored the rose gardens at Regents Park. They were magnificent.

Mandy in a sea of delphinium.

Mandy, I am SO SO SO thankful for this time together.

Thankful for long, lingering dinners; leisurely strolls through London’s impressive parks; time to both catch up on life and make new memories; delicious chicken korma (devoured too quickly to capture on film); legit prosciutto and fresh bread from Borough Market (along with overhearing the old American man’s futile requests for “just a bologna and cheese sandwich” from the Italian woman at the cured meat stand); cream on everything; cooking together; joint skyping wth Ashley, baby Amelia, and your mama; waking up and enjoying breakfast and coffee in the same place; living life together again, even if only for a few days.

Let’s make it happen more frequently this decade, shall we??!!

3 comments

1 Noche { 07.06.12 at 11:33 am }

Good girlfriends are such a blessing…you have been greatly blessed. So nice to see you two together again. …you both look the same, just grown up and still as lovely(British term!) as ever. This blog was a walk down memory lane with England as a backdrop…doesn’t get any better!

2 Paris: the two day tour — The Casting Dock { 07.07.12 at 8:46 am }

[...] Lisa Following a splendid three days catching the London highlights, Jerry and I hopped on the Eurostar and raced through England, under the English Channel (slightly [...]

3 Rhonda Burns { 07.12.12 at 3:16 pm }

Loved the pictures. Brings back such memories. One of my favorite times in life was when I lived in England. I would move there tomorrow if I could. (Well..only if Brian and Liz would agree to let me take J-man with me!)

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