EngLANGd: Part 4

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Our last full day in London brought us absolutely beautiful weather! Such a lovely send off! We started our day with breakfast and more pictures on our way to Westminster Abbey. We loved walking past the London Eye every day on our way to our adventures.

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Our stroll from our hotel was pretty and quick, so bright and early we got into the already forming line and waited for Westminster Abbey to open for tours.

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Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the Abbey, so you’ll just have to allow me to paint you the scene with my words. Or, you could always just google pictures of the interior. šŸ™‚ Until then my outdoor pictures will have to suffice!

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We used the audio tour to explore the inside of the Abbey. It was…different. Parts of it were as regal and beautiful as I imagined they would be. However, there are SOOO many people buried there. Like, hundreds maybe? Not even kidding. Maybe this is common knowledge, but I was not expecting to be walking next to and on top of graves the entire time we were touring. It was like a giant, indoor cemetery…very odd! The walls and floors were lined with tombstones, memorials, and vaults. It was neat to learn the history of the chapels and people buried there, but I was expecting more of a church feel and less of a mausoleum.

We wandered around admiring the statues, architecture, and stained glass for a couple of hours before we headedĀ outside. The corridors leading out of the Abbey were 100% from Hogwarts, so naturally, we took tons of pictures! You can’t tell me these hallways won’t lead me to the Great Hall.

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The corridors surrounded a beautiful courtyard with more stained glass and photo opportunities.

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Next we found Britain’s oldest door, which dates around 1050! I pretended to knock on it, while fearing it may disintegrate, before we headed into the chapter house.

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This area was a beautiful octagonal room full of stained glass and wall paintings that dated back to the 1200s. I loved the tall, extravagant ceilings! The architecture was stunning in here.

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We explored Westminster Abbey for a little while longer, and took a few more pictures of the lovely exterior.
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By that time we were cold and famished, so we headed to a nearby pub and grabbed some Steak and Ale pies. Nowhere near as good as fish and chips, but it was nice and warm on a chilly day!

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The rest of our day was mostly unplanned, so we decided to go to the Natural History Museum on a whim.

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It was one of the best decisions we made! The museum was jaw-dropping!

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We were floored by the amazing architecture. When you come in, you are greeted by a huge dinosaur skeleton, which inspired us to quickly head into the dinosaur exhibit.

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It was so great! They had so many fossils and skeletons and a huge animatronic tyrannosaurus rex. Louis was so psyched…he’s been a huge dinosaur fan since he was little.

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My personal favorite part was the mineralogy area…in particular The Vault. It housed some of the most beautiful stones! I wish I had taken some pictures, though I doubt they would have done the gems justice. We spent some more time in the main lobby while the sun set. The evening light coming through the cathedral-like ceilings was stunning. If I’m being honest, I think I was more impressed by the architecture at the Natural History Museum than at Westminster Abbey! Even if you aren’t a huge museum fan, this is a must visit when in London.

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The museum was closing, so we strolled next door to the Science Museum. We mostly visited here because they were having an exhibit about 3D printing, which Louis is super interested in. It was neat, and I’m so amazed by all of the things that can be 3D printed! It is creepy and exciting all at once; I feel like we’re totally living in the future. We explored a few more exhibits, but we were pretty exhausted by this point. I’m sure there are a ton of areas that we didn’t even set foot in, so maybe this should be on our list to visit if we ever go back!

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The Steak and Ale pies from earlier hadn’t really held us over, so we headed to find some dinner. We decided on Bella Italia, a place that had been suggested by my friend, Anne. It definitely didn’t disappoint! We were seated at a small table for two upstairs. We enjoyed some delicious Italian food (pepperoni pizza and spaghetti bolognese because we’re so adventurous), and talking about how great our trip had been.

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After dinner, we found the most adorable bakery, Hummingbird Bakery. I got a red velvet cupcake, and Louis got vanilla and carrot cake cupcakes. His carrot cake cupcake was literally the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. I’m so lucky he shared a bite with me. šŸ™‚ I’m happy we got to spend our last night strolling around London and enjoying the ambience of the city and each other’s company.

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When we finally got back to our hotel, we took an Uber car to a hotel by the airport. We had an early flight to catch, so we wanted to be close by. The next day, we loaded up, headed to Heathrow and hopped on a plane back to Texas!

18We had such an amazing time on our trip across the pond! It definitely made me want to travel more with Louis because I realized how much there is to see in the world! I feel so thankful and blessed that we were able to make such fun memories together.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for following along with my recaps of our EngLANGd adventures! I loved reminiscing about our trip and sifting through my hundreds of pictures to share. I’m so proud of my recap title, I guess our next trip will have toĀ be somewhere else ending in ‘land’…ScotLANGd, IreLANGd, ThaiLANGd, SwitzerLANGd…we should be good to go! šŸ˜‰

DottedSiggy

 

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Night Al Migrations: Government Canyon State Natural Area

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I’m back to share our most recent adventure! This past Sunday, we took a short, fifteen minute drive from our apartment to Government Canyon State Natural Area. After almost two years, we had no idea it even existed, let alone how close it was! The area is almost 9,000 acres and boasts over 40 miles of hiking trails for biking, hiking, or running (if you’re asking for a twisted ankle.). You can also camp overnight if you’re just wild and crazy.

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As soon as I realized how close Government Canyon State Natural Area was to us, I mentioned it to Louis, and he was eager to go. We’ve been trying to explore San Antonio more lately, so this jumped to the top of our “To Do” list. After some research, we found out that there are DINOSAUR TRACKS IN THE AREA. What!?!?!? So magical. We made that our #1 destination and set off toĀ achieveĀ ourĀ paleontologist dreams.

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As soon as we hopped out of the car, Louis pointed to some animal poop and said, “Scat!” I immediately told him if we were part of a nature troop, he would be awarded the Scat Badge, and we spent the rest of the hike pointing out scat. Anyway…after our scat discovery, we came upon the visitor center. It was very quaint and housed a gift shop along with a rentable picnic pavilion and restrooms.

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After asking a ranger the best way to reach the dinosaur tracks, we headed out on Joe Johnston Trail to begin our 5-mile hike. The trail was very well maintained, with benches every mile or so to rest. There were some rocky patches, and I almost busted my face about 78 times, but thankfully I managed to stay upright the entire journey. So much for looking outdoorsy and adventurous in front of Louis. (Like he doesn’t already know me after 8 years. Wishful thinking.)

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Our hike was mostly flat, but there was some beautiful cliffside scenery along the way. It was so peaceful; we barely passed any other hikers on our journey. All we could hear was the wind rustling through the trees, birds singing, and the occasional “Oh crap!” from me as I tripped over another rock.

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Before we knew it, we reached the dinosaur tracks! It was so cool! They were just out there in the open for anyone to admire! I feel like stuff like that is usually behind glass at a museum, so we felt pretty special getting up close and personal with the giant footprint? Clawprint? Track…?

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Look at how little our feet look! It was basically a modern day Jurassic Park.

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The tracks were located next to a beautiful bluff, along what is probably a creek during rainier months. We spent at least 30 minutes wandering around the area, and we had the whole place to ourselves! It felt like a hidden oasis.

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Louis even miraculously found this adorable, teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy frog! How precious is it? Have you ever seen anything so tiny??

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We made sure to snap plenty of pictures with our Dino Discovery and wondered together what the dinosaur was like and if he was running after prey, drinking some water, or just chilling when these tracks were made. Probably chilling.

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We got creative with my iPhone and managed to take a panoramic including both of us! Aren’t we just the smartest.

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Thankfully, a nearby rock kindly offered to take our picture via self-timer, so we posed together for one more shot before heading back to the car. (AKA another 1.5-hour hike back the way we came.)

12I’m so glad we went to explore Government Canyon Natural State Area together! Our hike and exploration lasted around three hours and provided exercise, great memories, and a fun, new experience together. The area costs $6 a person (free for kids under 12) and is open Friday-Monday, 7am-10pm. After 10pm you’re locked in the canyon to battle the wolves TO THE DEATH. Just kidding. You do actually get locked in though…and I’m pretty sure there are wolves, too. If you’re in the San Antonio area, I’d recommend visiting if you’re looking for something different to do! It really felt like we were hours away from the city, and I hope we return soon to watch a sunset with a picnic or do some stargazing!

Black all caps siggy

 

P.S. Make sure to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and LOTS of water with you! Snacks may be a good idea depending on how long you’re hiking, too. We only hiked 5 miles on a relatively cool day, and we easily finished a gallon of water while there. It’s always better to be prepared!

 

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