Welcome to Day One of Fredericksburg Traveler. I am starting this blog to share a little bit of the world and to give travel tips and advice.
I am an Airline Pilot who has lived in Fredericksburg since 1999. My job takes me weekly to different destinations around the country and around the world.
Over the past 17 years as a pilot for a major U.S. airline, I have been lucky enough to travel to many far-flung parts of the world such as Singapore, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro and Kuwait. I also do the occasional freelance news story for Patch.com, so you may have seen me on this site in the past.
Over the next month I have trips to Munich, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, London and Zurich. I will be taking pictures of the Christmas lights and decorations in each of these cities to share with you. Having just returned from London, that will be the subject of my first post
London, England...one of my favourite (to use the Brit spelling) cities in the world. London is, for me, a bit of a second home-town. Back when I was a more junior international pilot it was the junior route, and I went there often. I estimate I have been to London more than any other city I fly to, probably over 150 times over the years. It is very familiar to me and I find I am able to navigate and even give directions to others almost as if I live there. It is constantly changing, yet nothing changes.
The venerable staples of London sightseeing remain the same. St. Paul's, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey....the list goes on. Yet, each time I visit London there is something new afoot. Whether it is new theatre at one of the numerous London venues, a new exhibition at the Tate Modern, or a seasonal festival in Hyde Park, London never fails to delight one with its range of activities and happenings. During the Christmas season London has some of the best decorations in Europe, in my opinion.
The fact that Christmas is upon us would be impossible to miss when you are in London for the Holidays. Many of the major streets have incredible and beautiful light displays and the store windows are decked out in hopes of luring the hordes of holiday shoppers through their doors.
Along the South Bank of the Thames River, near the London Eye (a giant Ferris wheel) there are booths selling food and ornaments, reminiscent of a German Christmas Market. Big Ben himself is lit up in the colors of the season. Along Regents Street, one of the main shopping thoroughfares in Central London, busy holiday shoppers crowd the streets hurrying in and out of the numerous shops lining the street. For a more posh holiday experience you can head a few streets over to Bond Street where expensive boutique shops such as Dolce and Gabana and Burberry are waiting for the chauffeured upper crust to drop in.
Over in Covent Garden the decorations are in not to be missed, as you will find giant Christmas ornaments hanging inside the courtyards of Covent Gardens and a huge Rudolph sculpted from shrubbery outside. Of course the buskers and street performers of Covent Garden will always provide you with some fun and free entertainment while you shop. Walk South to the Strand and find Somerset House and skate in the courtyard of British Royalty. Somerset House was built starting in 1547 for the Duke of Somerset. Today it is a major Culteral and Arts center which hosts, in its courtyard, one of the most picturesque outdoor skating rinks in London during the winter months.
If you are looking for a bit more of a thrill head West to Hyde Park where the annual Winter Wonderland fair is set up for the holiday season. Winter Wonderland boasts many outdoor carnival rides as well as a Bavarian Christmas village and the UK's largest ice skating rink.
So there you have it... a very brief rundown of London during the Holidays. If you are lucky enough to get over there and visit during this special time of year you can be assured that there is much more going on than I have been able to list here. A quick internet search of Christmas in London will give you a good idea of where to go and what is going on. While you are out enjoying the Christmas lights when you are there, don't forget to stop in and warm up and any of the numerous London Pubs and have a pint of Ale! My Favorite is the Victoria, near the North Border of Hyde Park. Its a London Tradition.