London and The North

The Rubens Hotel (where we stayed) very close to Victoria Station

So we are on the road once more, after several months at home. Although India is our main destination, we stopped in the UK for a couple of weeks to see friends and relatives and to spend Christmas with our respective Mums.

London (Dec 14 to 18)

Our first UK stop was London, where we went to see a show (Driving Miss Daisy) and a Carol Concert at the Albert Hall. We also spent an afternoon browsing pictures at the National Gallery (wonderful) and another short afternoon at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which wasn't quite as impressive and we finished up at the Science Museum next door.

The Reading Room at the Q&A

A gorgeous piece of gold jewelry also at the the Q&A. In the background, you can see a custodian coming to tell me photographs aren't allowed.

Kris was fascinated by this cutaway Mini, which was her first car. It looks like a toy and it appears to have been  made by elves.

The original "Rocket" - the first ever Steam Train and a Spitfire from WWII, both in the Science Museum

Near the museums are the Albert Hall (which was where the Carol Concert was held) and the wonderful, if slightly overdone, Albert Memorial.

 The Albert Memorial

  The Royal Albert Hall

 Nearby, a skating rink had been set up and looked just like a Brueghel painting.

Skating in Kensington

Just too cute !

We also took a  ride on the London Eye - something we had meant to do before on previous trips, but never quite got around to doing.

A "pod" from the air

The Eye from the ground

It was so steady, even Kristine wasn't nervous

St Paul's Cathedral lit by late afternoon sunshine.

London under blue skies

"The Shard" now under construction. When completed in 2012 it will be the tallest building in London at 1017 feet.

The City of London with the well known "Gherkin Building" building at the centre

Oxford Street at Christmas

Finally, we paid a visit to Oxford Street, to enjoy the lights and the hustle and bustle of an English Christmas in London.

 Lytham St Annes and Yorkshire (December 18 to 28)

 After four days in London, we drove to Lancashire, where Kristine stayed with her Mum and her sister and Paul drove to Yorkshire, to spend Christmas with his Mum. After a week away, we made it back together for our Anniversary (December 28) before jumping on a plane from Manchester to Abu Dhabi, the first "foreign" stop on our trip.

Christmas Dinner at the Sandpiper Inn, Leyburn

Joan and Carol on Christmas Day

Next stop, Abu Dhabi !