“I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream” unless, like me, you are lactose intolerant, then you just sit there sad with your once scoop of sorbet remembering a time when you could enjoy ice cream (yes, I’m still bitter by my diagnosis). Here I was at Harrod’s Ice Cream Parlour at the iconic luxury department store in London with my niece, it was all so surreal. The room was filled with multiple nationalities, languages, religions, etc. and yet, here we were enjoying our commonality, a love for ice cream (or sorbet in my case).
The seats at the counter were empty for only a few minutes at Harrods Ice Cream Parlour
I tried to dissuade my niece from the ice cream idea after our late lunch (I was afraid to go because I knew the prices would be insane) as we walked back to the first floor food hall – “what about a cupcake, isn’t it so pretty?”, “how about pain du chocolat like we had in Paris?”, of course, my case was getting weak, the child wanted ice cream, more specifically the ice cream sundaes she watched the other kids eat with glee. So back to the 2nd floor we went as I gave in and her mood did a 360 into this happy, no longer moody, child.
Cupcake Temptation at Harrods Food Hall was not enough to forget about the Ice Cream Parlour
Table set for two at the ice cream parlour
This week many of my travel friends are in Athens, Greece for the TBEX conference, sadly, I was unable to attend due to work commitments. I’m a bit (very) jealous not to be sharing the adventures with them this week so I thought I’d share some of my favorite Greece photos (note these are all unedited photos, the country really is that gorgeous – no filter needed!).
Church Bells of Santorini
My first visit to Greece was over twenty years ago as part of a group tour with visits to multiple cities and a day cruise to various islands to explore. At the time, I was just out of college and excited to explore the storied history and see all the ancient ruins I had studied in my European History class. It was interesting to see how the world had grown around the ruins (just like in Rome, Paris and other European cities), life in the form of cars, traffic and people passed by history on a daily basis as it was just part of the landscape.
Temple of Apollo in Corinth
The windmills of Mykonos
On wine tours in the past few years around the world, I’m often asked if I’d like to buy wine to bring home with me. For most people, this is an easy question. For me, I just give the winemaker a sad puppy dog look and reply “Pennsylvania” and immediately they know and instantly feel sorry for me. Living in Pennsylvania means that the state government buys and controls the wine – they won’t let me ship any wine to my house either (can’t sign up for a wine club, can’t ship that delicious wine I tasted on vacation, etc) You’re thinking this is insane, right? You’d be right but woe is the poor wine lover in Pennsylvania. But the state doesn’t just control the wine but the liquor and beer too!
Leave it to a foreign airline to source local – they offer Chadds Ford Winery in the British Airways Lounge at Philadelphia International Airport
The Commonwealth (because we are technically not a state although we say “State of PA” often) of Pennsylvania controls all alcohol, yes, all of it via the Liquor Control Board (LCB). The LCB regulates happy hour rules/prices, charges a fortune for liquor licenses (which is why Philly has over 200 BYOBs) and is the largest purchaser of wine (which keeps prices pretty low based on bulk buying) . If you ever see me (or other people) gawking at the ease of buying liquor in the corner store, supermarket or Costco you can guess we are from Pennsylvania. There is no Two Buck Chuck at Trader’s Joes, no wine at Costco (let me repeat, I go to Costco and there is no wine!) and forget the supermarket (that would be too easy to have it all in one place.). To make it even more complicated:
The form asked “Do you like your Smile?” and I was stumped as I never really thought about my smile. Now, if it had asked “Do you like your thighs?” I would have immediately wrote “NO” in capital letters, double underlined, but that’s a given – what women loves her thighs? Here I was in the orthodontics office filling out the consultation form almost thirty years too late (although apparently it’s never too late). To understand how I got here, you need a bit of background or maybe just a few choice words – sixteen, fat girl, all girls catholic school, three months before prom. Ok, maybe you can’t get the mental picture of how important prom was back then to a sixteen year old junior in an all girls Catholic high school. It was a big freaking deal to go to the prom – my class was made up of 356 girls at the time and everyone wanted to show off their date and dress at the prom – no one wanted to sit home alone (oh, foreshadowing if I only knew).
Street Art in London plays with the signs – broken heart? pierced by Cupid’s arrow? what do you think?
Three months before prom, the dentist sent me to the orthodontist to see if I needed braces – the full metal kind with little rubber bands. Here I was dateless with only the monthly dance at the boys school to meet someone to ask to prom and the dentist was explaining how the next two years of my life (junior, senior years of high school with the possibility of a bit of college) would be spent in braces. At some point, I tuned him out because here I was already at a disadvantage trying to get by on my wonderful, sparkling (sarcastic) personality and saw braces as a no-go if I wanted a social life. Somehow my mother let me make the call so of course, I said “NO” and life went on. In hindsight, I should have taken the hit of braces for two years as they wouldn’t have made a difference in my dating life (or lack thereof).
It’s funny what you don’t see when it’s right in front of you – for years, I stayed in Park Lane across from Buckingham Palace and never entered the park preferring to stay on Piccadilly and use the Underground. This summer, I finally took that walk in the park – St. James’s Park in London (it helped that I was staying at the Sofitel St. James, across the street from an entrance to the park). Entering mid-way near the hotel, I walked through the park toward the Thames and London Eye on my walk up to Tower Bridge. On my way back to the hotel, I walked up to Buckingham Palace admiring the flowers of St. James’s Park along the way.
Happy flowers in the park
For my walk in the park, I may have taken a few hundreds photos of all the trees, flowers, water, animals and people. I can’t remember the last time I just enjoyed a park without a care. It was very fun to experience the park and then see it through the camera lens. It was a sunny June day and the colors of the blooming flowers just made me happy.
St. James’s Park London – flowers in the park
Daisies in St. James’s Park