Tag Archive: Christmas

An Unexpected Day

Our final few days in London were full of nice surprises.

We spent Christmas day around the hotel, most of London was shut down including the Underground, so there was no point in going anywhere unless we wanted to pay for a taxi. It was really strange to see a city as large as London basically shutdown. I took a walk with my father down the street and we really didn’t see that many people and even the streets weren’t that busy.



The following day was our final day in London and my sister had been wanting to visit St. Bartholowmew’s Hospital, which is where Sherlock and John (from Sherlock Holmes) met for the first time. We took a quick taxi to St. Peter’s Church and from there it was only a short walk to the hospital.

St. Peter's

St. Bart’s was huge and confusing and we spent a long time trying to find the plaque that commeorated Sherlock and John meeting, eventually we were told that it was in a museum inside the hospital and the museum was closed. Dissapointed as we were, we still found a few fun things in the area. My entire family has watched the BBC version of Sherlock and so we recognized the area where the final scenes of the last season were shot.

St. Bartholomew's Hospital

As we walked around the hospital we happened upon a telephone booth with little notes pasted on the inside. Without spoiling anything, the notes were geared towards Sherlock and one of the themes in the final episode.

Sherlock Booth

My sister and I added one to the booth.

We Believe

A little further down, we came upon an unassuming plaque, which to our surprise was put up in memory of Sir William Wallace, who as some of you might know, was the main made famous by the film Braveheart.

William Wallace

After exploring a very cool courtyard next to the hospital, we made our way over to Hyde Park, where there was a winter wonderland set up, with rides, restaurants and games. It was great to see all the stalls of food and gifts lining the street. Tt reminded me of the Christmas markets in Austria, although the markets in Austria are the best I’ve seen so far. A lot of the restaurants in the Winter Wonderland were based on the stereotypical Bavarian taverns for Oktoberfest.

Winter Wonderland

Towards the back of the wonderland was an ice palace, which had some amazing sculptures.

Ice Palace


My favorite sculpture; a giant dragon!

Ice Dragon

The Winter Wonderland from across the park.

Hyde Park

As we were heading back to the hotel we made a chance sighting. As we walked through Leicester Square we saw Stephen Hawking coming out of a theater. My first celebrity sighting and it was of one the most intelligent men in the world!

I spent five months in Europe and although I was sad to leave it all behind, by the time I stepped onto the plane at Heathrow, I was done and ready to be home. Nobody was looking forward to the flight back, but somehow our tickets were upgraded to business class and we spent the 11 plus hours of travel in style, with our own reclining seats, TVs and pillows. Stepping back into the Portland Airport and seeing that horribly patterned green carpet had never felt better!


Winter Lights

Christmas is just around the corner, which means that the lights go up (as well as the electricity bill) in all the homes and around the city. Over the past few weeks the busy streets of Vienna have started to sparkle. The Christmas markets, called Weihnachtsmarktes in German have also popped up everywhere.

The lights on Kärtnerstraße heading away from the center of the city.



Lights on Kärtnerstraße heading towards the Opera House. This is one of the popular shopping streets.


A random street.

I like these the most. It looks like it is raining light.

Snowing Lights

Schönbrunn has a Christmas market out front. Every night the building is lit as well as the Christmas tree in front. This is probably my favorite market so far. It’s touristy, but there aren’t too many people, plus the giant palace in the back just adds to the beauty.


Schönbrunn Christmas Tree

Chandeliers hang from the buildings along the Graben. Both Kärtnerstraße and the Graben were flocking with tourists and Christmas shoppers. It’s worth seeing the lights, but be prepared to do some ducking and dodging.


The Rathaus. Probably the most crowded place in Vienna at night. This is one of the bigger Christmas markets and it is always packed with people, to the point where it’s almost impossible to move between the Christmas stalls.


An ornament stall at the Rathaus. There are toys, candy, chocolate, ornaments, classic Austrian foods, and of course the famous Glühwein (mulled wine) and punsch (flavored schnapps)!

Ornament Stall


St. Stephen’s

St. Stephen's

A giant Christmas tree of lights by Schottenring.

X-mas Tree

Even the grocery stores are covered with lights!