Dear Da, Forgive Me for Loving London!

London City

My Irish Da would turn over in his grave if he knew I went to England, let alone loved any part of it!

First, I must acknowledge that London is one of the more expensive place to visit. I knew this going into the trip. My first time here I wanted to be a simple tourist. Our plans did not include blending in or immersing in local culture. Here, I wanted to spend the few days allotted to see and do things I had heard of so often. My priorities were Big Ben, Harrods, Tower of London, etc. the places and landmarks I've seen in movies and read about for years. My lovely sister Kimberly, who has lived thousands of miles for me for far too long, met me in Boston and we fly over together.  I was so happy for her company.

We knew that for the better part of our journey we would be taking things as they come. No reservations, no plans, and no schedules!  In the city of London we splurged a wee bit since the rest of our days we would stay wherever, as long as it was affordable.

We booked a room at the Leonard Hotel.  Almost $200 a night! Very posh, close to Hyde Park, and a fun treat. The concierge on duty, no matter what time of the day or night we came or went, always had a smile for us. And, always had a kind word, good advice, and even engaging conversation when not otherwise occupied. It's the little things like this that can make or break a hotel stay - not to mention having the softest hotel sheets I have ever felt and truly the nicest pillows on which to sleep! Next time I will definitely look for cheaper accommodations, but it was nice to start our trip in comfort.


We spent time just walking. Visiting Harrod's, much ado about nothing there. It's like a city in itself. One where a plain cotton Tee cost upwards of $80! We walked to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment - both as cool as expected.

We took in as much of Hyde Park as we could before the sun went down. It is very much like Boston Commons, only on a much grander scale. In other words, we loved it!

Strangers are a Travelers best friend.

We had arranged tickets to see Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theater on our first night So, after walking around all day we went in and headed straight to the bathrooms with our backpacks to change out of our day garb and did our best to look fitting for such an event. I really love hitting the theater no matter where I travel. This night ranked high in my favorites theater exploits. The show was brilliant and the venue amazing. Worth every penny.

We decided to walk back to the hotel. It was a windless mild night. A few blocks from the theater a man came running up to us from behind.  We were still high from the show and enjoying our night stroll. Bad travelers that we were, his sudden presence didn't even faze us.

As it turns out, my sister had dropped her passport. She had meant to leave it in the hotel safe when we left for the day. But, she forgot. This total stranger ran more than a block to reunite her with it. To me, that says a lot about the city as a whole.

Read about our next 48 hours of fun in London here!


Three Cape Cod Beach Walks You Don’t Want to Miss

Summer on Cape Cod is a top destination spot and the world knows it. So, one of my favorite times to be here is early fall. The traffic is lighter by literally miles and the fall colors among the trees are getting rich and vibrant. Best of all, if you know the right spots, it can feel like you have them all to yourself. Here a few enjoyable places I've found that won't cost you a dime and can safely be done solo.

Lower Cape

If you like walking along a beach, Cape Cod is chock full of gorgeous shoreline. The lower part of the Cape is near perfect a spot as you'll ever find in the north east. Want simple peace and quiet along your walk? Try exploring Bound Brook Island Beach in Wellfleet. On a clear day, you can see from Provincetown at the very end of Cape Cod and all to way to Plymouth. This beach is so secluded you need to travel down a mile-long dirt road just to get there. Though there is little doubt the jaunt is worth it. The views are truly unbeatable, especially early morning when the water has washed the sandy beaches clean. Then, you'll see the track marks of crabs and the footprint of every other creature that ventured out while we humans slept. Even rain can't make this walk a bust.



The Great Island Beach Trail  in Wellfleet is one of the longest beach hikes on Cape Cod. The hike can run over 8 miles. But, of course, you can turn back whenever you want. It runs long Cape Cod Bay and parts take you through wooded areas with more bird species that I could count. There are plenty more facets of nature to keep you from ever thinking about being bored! Furthermore, if you pack a lunch and plenty of water this hike can take up most of your day exploring and enjoying.



Upper Cape

Don't want to traverse that dirt road or feel alone on your walk? Try Falmouth Heights Beach in Falmouth. The energy of this place is easily felt with the shops, parks, and amazing eateries and clubs lining this scenic area. We have been to the Falmouth Road Race many times, which ends at the Falmouth Heights Beach. It's an all day affair where you'll meet your neighbors and others from all around the world. It's holds a festival-like atmosphere.