Sisk Family European Vacation: London, Day 1
My husband and I left for London on Friday, September 2nd. Our plan was to fly all night…land in London…catch a ride to our hotel…sleep for a few hours…freshen up…and hit the town. It would have been a good plan, but as you might imagine, nothing ever goes according to plan.
  1. It is incredibly hard to force yourself to sleep at 7 pm. So, of course we stayed awake during our entire flight to London. 
  2. We landed around 6:30 am. We might as well have been zombies. Had we been properly rested, we might have thought through the next decision a little more thoroughly. 
  3. Since we’re tired, we immediately decide to grab a taxi. We don’t bother to ask how much it will cost to get from point A to B. Looking back, we probably should have asked…you know, to set our expectations.
  4. Our taxi driver takes us on a seemingly endless cab ride through London. I wish I had been more awake…he was telling some pretty good stories and sharing some pretty useful tips – I just wanted to sleep.
  5. We finally arrive at our hotel. My husband pays our driver what we believe is way too much for a cab ride (we later find out that it’s just a bad idea to take a taxi from the airport to our hotel). We accidentally leave his jacket in the car.
  6. The doorman opens the door for us – welcome. Although we’re greeted, they inform us that our room won’t be ready until 3 or 4 pm. Sad face.
  7. We check our bags and decide to take a walk…not like we’re in the mood to go very far, but we can’t just sit in the lobby all morning. After a couple of hours stewing in a local coffee shop, we decide to check to see if they have any rooms available. As it turns out, our room is now available. It’s 10 am.
  8. Yippee…we finally make it to our hotel room and collapse for a nice two hour nap. Back on track, we get up from our nap…shower…freshen up and hit the town.
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After our expensive cab ride, we decided that it was in our wallet’s best interest to use our legs and the underground metro system as much as possible. Maps in hand, we made our way to the Tower of London.
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I became a bit obsessed with taking photos through windows – I loved the framing, but also imagining the perspective of a royal prisoner looking out the tower walls.
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This is going to sound really dorky, but we absolutely love The Tudors. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay very close attention during my high school European History class, but after watching a little Showtime, this bit of British history really came alive. It was so neat to then walk the very grounds that royalty once walked…or were beheaded such as Anne Boleyn.
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Here’s my husband posing for the camera in front of Tower Bridge – this might actually be one of my favorite pictures of him. I promise there are pictures of me…just not quite as many and most of those pictures are on my husband’s droid.
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On top of many of the tower walls were these interesting looking monkeys (and in some cases leopards and lions). Various animals are placed around the Tower, mimicking how they would have been seen originally. In fact, I read that until 1810, there was a school of monkeys in the Monkey room. These animal sculptures are now part of the Tower’s Royal Beast display.
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Confession – I have no idea what the photo above is…but I thought it might be a good candidate for the Coffeeshop Blog’s Teeny Tiny World action.
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From the Tower of London, we could see some of the high-rises from the financial district where we were staying – Liverpool Street. Here you see what is commonly referred to as the Gherkin.
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After seeing the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, we walked/rode the metro over to St. Paul’s Cathedral – more to come tomorrow. Ha ha, now that I think about it…at this rate, you’re probably going to be seeing vacation photos for the next month. Enjoy!


    oh have tons of fun! London is an amazing city with lots to see and do! I love the sky in all your photos, can’t wait to see more!

    oh have tons of fun! London is an amazing city with lots to see and do! I love the sky in all your photos, can’t wait to see more!

    What a fun day!! I loved seeing the Tower of London when I went, though I had no idea about the monkeys; that’s such a cool tidbit of information!
    Your photos are awesome; my favorite is the one of Tower Bridge through the window. It’s such a cool shot, and such interesting framing. I’m definitely inspired. :)

    Wonderful pics, I really love the one trough the window :)

    great shots from what look slike a great vacation… so happy tht you both had a great time… after the taxi ride!

    Have fun! These are gorgeous!

    Fantastic photos! Can’t wait to see more of your trip!

    FUN!!! What an exciting trip!! These pictures are wonderful. I also LOVE the one through the window…especially how one side is in focus and the other side isn’t. It’s really nice. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip!!

    I love London and your pics bring me back. Great shots!! Day one seemed like lots fun and beautiful weather! And I’m sorry about the expensive taxi. The two times we went, we became experts on the tube. :)

    Looks like a great trip! Can’t wait to see more photos!

    I liked very much the “window through” shot, as well as the monkey.

    I hope you both had a great time. Regards!

    Wow, I can’t wait to see more pictures and hear more stories! The picture of the bridge through the window is AMAZING.

    Great photos! For me, coming back from the states is always worse than going to the states. Jet lag on the way back (to Europe) is always really bad while on the way to the states – I don’t feel it at all. Looking forward to see more photos!

    So jealous!

    Oh, you are so very blessed to be in the UK! I went there last year September. It is probably my favourite place on earth. Enjoy!

    Ashley – those are beautiful photos and I totally know what you’re saying about “Zombies” when you got there. I always have a great “plan” for jet lag that never seems to happen! :) Hope you had fun!

    Love it to see my familiar through someone else’s eyes.
    Next time when you come for longer maybe we could meet up.
    I am looking forward to seeing more of your shots of your trip.

    Have a beautiful day. xxx

    I am jealous of every one of these pictures! Looks like it was great!

    Yah, we got ripped off by a taxi driver taking us from the airport to hotel too on a vacay out of the country. lol. Sucks that you two were so tired upon arrival and then couldn’t get into your hotel room to rest. I bet that felt like a long day;0. These pictures are fantastic and so colorful! I love that oddly shaped building. We need more architecture like that here in the states! That bridge is gorgeous and I too love taking shots through windows. It is a very creative way of looking at something! I will truly look forward to the month’s pics as seen through your lens!

    Beautiful. Have fun, you should check up sharon. From skc photo blog.

    Oh my word I am insanely jealous! I am on an English history kick and have been reading about the tower and the Tudor dynasty, etc. voraciously.

    Have a GREAT trip!

    Or rather hope you had a great trip…you are probably home now huh?

    I’m so out of the loop! :D

    And jealous. Looks like a wonderful vacation. That pickle building is hilarious. ;) And tower bridge is awesome.

    Ash, these are amazing shots. And a trip of a lifetime too.

    Enjoy every single moment. Can’t wait to hear more about this trip.

    Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures.

    Hope your day is blessed♥

    Oh, lucky you! A trip to London sounds wonderful. Don’t you just LOVE Europe? The architecture is so amazing, with endless photo opportunities. Speaking of photos, yours are beautiful. Can’t wait to see more.
    Tricia :)

    Oh my goodness!! These are so amazing! Can’t imagine how many amazing photos will captured! Can’t wait to see more!

    Thank you for taking us on a tour! I’m not sure I’ll ever get over there . . . but maybe, hopefully . . . I love your teeny tiny world too!

    I am so jealous!! I would absolutely love to go to London someday, and I need to get some nicer camera equipment… haha. Beautiful photos, it looks like you had a lot of fun.

    It’s looks like you had a great time in London. I’m so jealous, it’s my dream to go photograph Europe. Anyway I just wanted to say that I love, love, love your picture of the window and the one that looks like a mini world. I’m glad you had fun!(:

    Yay! Vacay pix for a month! I’ll be living vicariously through your photos…all the while, seething with jealousy. (but, you know…in a nice way ;D)

    Geez…good thing you checked on your room. You guys would’ve been SO tired by 3/4pm!!!

    I LOVE these- I have always wanted to go there- so it’s really great to hear your experiences along your journey. All little mental notes in the back of my mind- so when I do go, I will be prepared!

    Oh, I would like to visit London some day. :)

    Sorry to hear things got off to a rocky start but looks like the 2 hour nap did some good. These are beautiful! Hope to make it there one day. Can’t wait to hear/see the rest!

    What amazing photos — I feel like I am in London! Thank you for sharing your trip! Can’t wait for Day 2!


    Oh my goodness!! So beautiful!!

    awesome shots, keep ‘em coming. i’ve never been to london but want to go!! (and i am a fan of tudor history too. have you read phillipa gregory’s books?)

    Wow, that is not anyone’s ideal start to a vaca!!! Sounds stressful! Glad you had a good time though, those are some pretty awesome shots! I love the different perspectives! That one with the tiny world or whatever action is pretty stinkin cool! I kept thinking it looked like a miniature building. :0) The window shots are pretty cool as well!

    Girl! I am LOVING this European Vacation part 1 series! I love the tiny town!!! The architecture is awesome! :) I bet you had a great time!! Can’t WAIT to see more!!!

    Fantastic images!! Love them.I especially love ‘through the window’ shot; it gorgeous in b&w.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your vacation pictures!

    Beautiful shots! I especially love your focus and the use of blurriness. Okay, that really doesn’t make much sense, but it was a long night with the small one :) I hope there are lots more photos to come! I am living vicariously through your pictures! I’ve always wanted to visit Europe, and now I can see through your lens a world so different from ours, but one that is saturated with history and beauty.

    London is my favorite place in the entire world. I would move there tomorrow. Have fun!

    How fun Ashley!! London is one of my favorite cities! I visit often! Keep posting those pics, I’m loving them!

    beautiful pictures! I especially love the second with the Bridge through the window in b&w–amazing!

    And I ALWAYS take Advil PM to help me sleep on planes! Works like a charm without making you feel groggy like prescription sleeping pills will! And occasionally…advil pm and a glass of wine! you will sleep the ENTIRE flight :)

    Awesome trip!


    Thanks for sharing :-)

    Love and blessings,

    Yay a whole month of photos! I can’t wait (I’m being totally for real here) I LOVE them!! I love the one through the window and the monkey, actually i love them all… bring on the next set. Sorry about the very expensive cab ride seems like you must have had tourist written on yout forehead.

    I just got into your post and it ended. I need more. I love British history. I need to go there some day. I want to see the peaks and the lake district. You know, cause Mr Darcy is from Derbyshire. ;)

    Lovely shots. I miss London. You were born to take pictures Ashley. I look forward to seeing more shots through the windows, this one is spectacular.

    Thanks for sharign your adventures! :)
    Fantastic photo’s as always :) Can’t wait to see more!

    We have done that overnight thing when we went to Scotland in 2006. We were zombies all day that first day. I am enjoying the sights. It seems to spoil the scenery to see modern buildings along side the castles. I would love to look in the tower. Did you see any ghosts? Looking forward to more. V

    I am totally down for looking at a month’s worth of posts of vacation photos. Looks lovely! I’ve never been and have always wanted to. Also, I love The Tudors too. We’re both dorks. ;)

    Gorgeous photos! London looks like a ton of fun to photograph!

    Bring on the vacay photos! I love your shots from inside the Tower of London–the perspective really makes the history come alive! And I had absolutely no idea about the monkeys roaming free…crazy! :D

    Holy Cannoli Ashley. These are GORGEOUS! I’m going to love following your photos through what looks like a beautiful trip!

    Wow, tower bridge is absolutely stunning. I have seen photos of it before, but I honestly haven’t paid that much attention to the detail.

    I am looking forward to more photos.

    You guys are so, so cute. I just love it to pieces! And, the Tower Bridge shots are amazing. Isn’t it lovely?

    Beautiful shots! Love the window framed ones too!

    Great photos! I miss my home, it’s been over a year now since I was in England. Hope you guys have fun!

    Love the shots of Tower Bridge through the window :)

    Fantabulous! The one through the window is so great! I love doing that too. It is a great way to capture an unexpected perspective.

    London is one of my all time favorite place in the world…and that b&w photo looking through the window at London Bridge is to die for. I wish there was a FAV. button!

    Gorgeous photos. Looks like so much fun!!!

    I love everything here, but that monkey made of wire, fascinated me. Beautiful shots, Ashley!

    Very cool, enjoy, be safe and try and get some rest.

    Great photos Ashley! Looks like a lot of fun and tons of photo opportunities. I really love your window shot – beautiful. That monkey one is super cool too!!!

    Gorgeous photos, Ashley, even if you were a bit hung over from your flight. :)

    Oh, where do I start??
    Love that tilt shifted image, thanks for the link…really a perfect shot for that.
    LOVE that b&w shot through the window…so pretty!
    Great shot of your hubby. Curious how you edited it…the light is beautiful and it’s so crisp.
    Great collection!! Was looking forward to see what you shot ;)

    Gorgeous photos, looks like fun.

    These are beautiful so far Ashley. Absolutely LOVE the B&W looking out from the window. Really beautiful. I’ve never had the opportunity to explore London. I’ve been on the outskirts (Birmingham), but never in the city. Looking forward to your month long vacation posts. ;-)

    Oh wow, So beautiful Ashley! Can’t wait to see more! Sorry you didn’t have a great trip there.

    Love the castle shot..

    Great photos! :)

    Im jealous, would love to visit london :P Looks like you had fun!

    When we went to London we also couldn’t check-in right away, so we stayed awake all day. Then I took some sleeping pills and slept like a baby. lol. I didn’t have a great camera in those days. So jealous of your exquisite captures. Can’t wait to see more. I’d love to go back again with my new camera and new photog knowledge.

    Lovely! I just love the shot through the window! Thank you for sharing your day in London!

    I love the photo through the windows. Fantastic. Oh, and the tilt shift shot was perfect. You nailed it!

    Ashley, these are amazing! Love those vibrant colors! WOW! And the shot through the window! BEAUTIFUL!

    I’ll gladly view your vacation photos for the next month. These are amazing!

    WOW!!!! I SO wish to go back to London with my dslr in hand & actually caring about architecture. I went when I was fifteen, and although I loved looking around….it was more a pause..oh that’s nice, let’s move on. Can’t wait to see more!!!

    Those are absolutely amazing! Bummer about the cab ride. Live and learn, I guess. :) Looking forward to seeing more!

    awesome and gorgeous photos! you lucky duck! :)

    I will keep this simple & sweet…


    LOVE your Tower Bridge photo!

    When I read ‘taxi from airport to hotel,’ I immediately thought uh oh.

    Beautiful…enjoy your trip!


    I love the tiny world. How stunning . Wonderful shots as always.

    Love your through the window photo – there is something so timeless about it.

    I hope you’re having a wonderful time!!

    Very cool photos! I’m glad you were able to get a nap in! Sounds like a fantastic trip and the weather looks great!

    Oh…love to see London through your eyes!

    Glad you all had a safe trip. Those photos are magnificient. I love seeing different places. The buildings there are gorgeous. My fave is that bridge. What a perfect picture!

    I’m up for seeing vacations photos for the next month! That way, I can live vicariously through you. These are lovely and I hope that the next posts says that you guys caught up on your sleep. I cannot imagine how tired you must have been that first day. Keep those photos coming!

    okay…wow! what awesome shots and beautiful pictures! I love that window shot… i love the perspectives you captured! these are just stunning!!! amazing!! :)

    Love the window shot! This must have really been a trip of a lifetime! I’ve never been to Europe…it’s on my bucket list!

    Great shots,I love the through the window views. Looks like the weather was nice for you :) Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    SO amazing! I so want to go on a European tour. Thanks for the tip about cab fares. ;)

    Beautiful set! I love the monkey shot. Too cute! Looks like you had some gorgeous weather too!

    Loved these pictures. :)

    Marla @

    Beautiful, beautiful!

    I knew your photos would be amazing – but wow you completely blew me away. So beautiful.

    After a few trips where I thought I’d be able to fly through the night and hit the ground running, I’ve learned that Nite Time Tylenol is my friend, a dose just as I get on the plane means at least a little sleep on the flight.

    Can’t wait to see more! I love all British things. I’m going to live vicariously through your photos!

    We’re avid watchers of The Tudors here too Ashley. I just love that first image of Tower bridge and I can remember years ago probably taking one from a similar position. Oh I wish I could have warned you about the taxi’s as we’ve always used public transport from Heathrow.

    Beautiful shots! I love the second one through the window. The focus on the right, it’s just so cool. Looking forward to seeing more of Europe through your lens. :)

    Amazing shots Ashley, love the ones through the windows, adds such an interesting perspective and mood.

    What a fun trip! I went to London when I was in 7th grade and regret that I was so young because I didn’t fully appreciate where I was. I love the shot looking through the window- They always give such a unique perspective. Can’t wait to see more!

    These are so pretty! I know I’ve said that two other times but they are all so pretty! I love the teeny tiny world one! :)

    Beautiful photos! I love the one looking through the window! How neat!

    I adore the window shot, the one of you hubby is fantastic, and WOW that monkey is weird, haha. Love all the photos from your trip, girl! I knew you would come back with amazing stuff! :)