In June 2022, we visited the United Kingdom and France. We went to Norwich, Cambridge, London, and Disneyland Paris.
But first Norwich
We had been wanting to visit Aunt Estrella and her family in England for a long time but we had always put it off. Then came the pandemic. Aunt Estrella was know by her colleagues as a wonderful and caring nurse always ready to serve the people in need of help. Unfortunately, auntie died because of Covid-19 at the age of 52 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), where she had been worked for nearly two decades.
In June 2022, we were delighted to visit Estrella in Norwich and pay tribute to her. Her dear husband Melvin and her wonderful son Christian picked us up at the airport in Luton on a very hot day. Together, we drove home where we were hosted for two days and also met Josh, and Cooper, their cute little dog.
On the day of our arrival, we visited Norwich city center and went to dinner in a nice restaurant. After that, we strolled through the streets of Norwich. One of the little streets running parallel to Norwich’s Wensum River is called Elm Hill. It is a historic path made of pebbles and populated by Tudor-style houses, among other things the set of some films such as Stardust, with Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. Elm Hill was one of the main roads in the Middle Ages, crucial for the trade of goods arriving by river at Quayside. Apparently there are more Tudor buildings on Elm Hill alone than in all of London! Another thing to see in Norwich is its Cathedral.
Thank you Melvin, Christian & Josh for the time you spent with us, for welcoming us into your beautiful home, for inviting some of your friends to have dinner and chat with us (a pleasant meeting with all of you) and for taking us to visit aunt Estrella. Thanks also for taking us to Cambridge where Dad was studying and he was finally able to visit again after 31 years. We are very grateful to all of you and we are waiting for you all in Sicily!
On Sunday morning we took a National Express bus from Norwich to London Victoria Station for 10 times less than the train ticket. Indeed, in Great Britain, taking a train costs more than flying to the United States. Once in London we went to the Ibis London City – Shoreditch Hotel. Highly recommended for location, price and quality of services!
Day 1 in London
With only two days left to visit the capital, it was really difficult to choose what was worth visiting compared to the immense tourist and cultural offer of London. We reached Hyde Park by subway and then walked through London and reached the Tower Bridge on foot, passing by the many London monuments and attractions: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Palace with its clock tower known to all as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the notorious Tower of London, once a feared prison from which it was impossible to escape.
Day 2 in London
The next day, instead of the London Eye which is the most famous Ferris wheel in the world from where you can see Big Ben, the Thames and practically all of central London, we made the cheapest choice of going with the Emirates Airline Cable Car starting from Canary Wharf. From there, we reached the center of London and Trafalgar Square.
We started our walking tour from the National Gallery, moving from one wonderful place to the other. We finally reached the British Museum where we had thought we would find the famous dinosaur skeleton which obviously was at the Natural Hystory Museum, near Hyde Park. Too bad, it would have been enough to watch the film “Night at the Museum” but instead… However, that is definetely a good reason for going back to London!
Day 3 in London
On our third day London, there was a total chaos due to train and underground nationwide strikes! Luckily buses didn’t strike and we could easily reach Saint Pancrass International Station for our Eurostar from London to Paris (also not striking!). The normal cost of a ticket is indeed extremely high. However, if you book well in advance you could find tickets at very low prices. After just a bit over two hours on the train, we were already in Paris Gare du Nord and then soon in town of Serris, at the gates of Disneyland.
Our admission tickets to Disneyland were paid for by me thanks to gifts from grandparents and payments for the many housework done for mom. A nice saving since the costs for the park are really exaggerated. We bought three days park hopper tickets which are just perfect. In fact, we saw almost all the shows and rode almost all the attractions. Disneyland is not a place for people who do not want to wait or queue. The waiting time will take at least 10 minutes to over an hour, so patience is a virtue.
Days 1-2-3 in Disneyland
Our first day was a blast with lots of fun. Unforgetable will be my first roller coaster ride where I was so terrified and overwhelmed by the thrill.
On our second day, we watched the Disney shows and got some autographs from the some of the most famous Disney characters. The Lion Show musical was indeed amazing!
On our third day, I finally met Mickey and Princess Belle, my favorite one. It took me more that a hour to meet them, but I was delighted especially for Belle. Afterward, we moved up to visit Walt Disney Studio to complete our tour (my favorite was the ride at Remy’s Ratatoulli Adventure).
Every day in Disneyland Paris, the day ends with the Disney D-Light for the 30th anniversary and the Illumination shows. These are truly extraordinary shows of lights and animation against the backdrop of the magical castle. Indeed, Disneyland lives up to its name as the most magical place on earth.