I'm Tamera Goldsmith, a portrait and wedding photographer based in Colorado Springs and serving the Front Range: the Springs, Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Pueblo and the world. I specialize in wedding photojournalism and creative lifestyle portraiture, including maternity, babies, children, families and high school senior portraits. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Europe Day 1

I finally find myself with a little free time! I feel like I can spend a few hours dealing with the pictures from my Europe trip and not feel too guilty about it. This trip was absolutely the highlight of our year and I'm so happy to finally be able to share some of it through photographs. So here goes...

We left our house at 6:30am on Thursday, November 2nd, for the airport in Denver. By "we" I mean me, my boyfriend Pat, his brother Gene and my brother Chuck. Our flight took off at about 11:00am and dumped us in Calgary for four hours. Calgary was COLD! I could feel the chill from inside the airport! From there we hopped our flight to Heathrow Airport in London. I believe we arrived in London around 10:00am (London time) on Friday the 3rd. We were unbelievably exhausted, the flight was about nine hours and we were so cramped and stiff. The last time I took a flight that long was in the 70's, from the Philippines to the States (actually that's way longer than nine hours!), and I don't remember it being that uncomfortable. I think airplane seats have gotten way smaller and way less comfy since then! Or maybe I've just gotten way bigger.

Anyway, our driver Paul (who was the nicest guy) picked us up and drove us to our hotel in Hever, which is about 30-45 minutes from Heathrow. We were so freaked out to be driving on the left side of the road. We were all cringing and flinching whenever another car approached from the opposite direction, it was hilarious. It always looked to us as though we were about to be hit head on! It took us several days to get used to that actually. The entire way there we picked poor Paul's brain about British culture. We didn't want to make any faux pas and we were very curious. Paul graciously answered all of our touristy questions without laughing at us, which was nice. Once we got to the hotel and checked in, we were all so fried that we decided to take a little nap. More like a little coma. When we woke up it was about 7:00pm and it was almost too late to get something to eat, but we were all starving! We were forced to order room service, which was hideously expensive, and we quickly learned our lesson about the exchange rate. The pound was about $2.05 during our time there, and anything you would pay a buck for here (say, a soda) is a pound there, meaning you pay double for everything. Ouch! So our grim little dinner cost us about $20 each!

That's pretty much the story of Day 1. After we ate we were too pooped to do much else, although I think Chuck and Gene found the energy to walk a mile through the dense fog to the local pub, the Henry VIII. Believe it or not, Henry VIII actually supped there once, so you can imagine how old the place is. BTW our hotel was on the grounds of Hever Castle, which is where Anne Boleyn grew up. You can just imagine how picturesque and very, very English it was. It's also "Pooh Country," and by that I mean that Winnie the Pooh was written nearby. The township of Hever is really just a hamlet with only a couple hundred residents. It's so pretty, I can't do it justice with words. Our suite was in I believe the former kennels of the castle. Those dogs had it pretty good!

Below are a few pics from that first day. I was incredibly wiped out so there isn't much, but you can get sort of an idea of how beautiful Hever is, it's truly enchanting.

Arriving at Heathrow. That's Pat on the left and Gene on the right.

Driving out of Heathrow and through a tunnel. I'm sitting in what should be the driver's seat, but I'm not driving! Talk about culture shock. We were so terrified to be driving on the wrong side of the road. It was unnerving to say the least!

A bucolic view of the countryside near Hever, shot through the car window on the way to our hotel. It pretty much looks like this all around where we were staying. Right out of a fairy tale.

All the roads around Hever are this narrow and winding, and the trees branch overhead to form a tunnel. It's so lush and green there, even in November.

This is right by our hotel. It's a centuries old thatch-roofed house. In Hever and Edenbridge (the nearest town) there are ancient buildings all over the place. I think the residents must take them for granted, but I was enthralled.

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