Kathy and I left home early Saturday morning, we were headed to England for our daughter's wedding. Our first stop was New York City.
We had several hours to kill before our flight left for London, so we hopped a train and went into the city.
We had ridden the Long Island Railroad into Pennsylvania Station, from there you can walk to Times Square, so that's what we decided to do. Notice the sidewalks full of people, not something you see much of here in Florida.
Busy Times Square
The Lovely Mrs. Kesler in cold New York City.
We found a small place and ate some lunch, it was really cold so it was good to warm up a bit. After lunch, we headed back toward the train station, from there you can see the Empire State Building, we decided to get a closer look, notice Macy's on the left, it is really big, we walked through the store rather than on the street so we would stay warm.
Close up of the Empire State Building.
We went back to the airport and caught our flight to London, we arrived early in the morning Sunday, Michelle, Brendan, and Brendan's Parents met us there.
She resembles me doesn't she?
We drove from London to Portsmouth, about an hour and a half drive, to the Duffy home. We met the rest of the family and got to know each other a bit. Michelle made her own wedding cake, here she is putting icing on it.
After a while Kathy and I took a little nap so we would be rested for the dinner we were to have that evening. They had all the family and some of the wedding party over for Chinese, Brendan's dad Tony prepared the meal.
After the meal we went back to the house and just hung out, in the below photo, I am trying to play along with Liam, one of the brothers.
We were staying with Ollie and Katie during our visit, so we rode home with them. We stayed up late talking and getting to know each other. Good times.
The next morning (Monday) Ollie, Kathy and I drove down to the mall to get our wedding outfits, where we met three of the other men from the wedding party. We picked up our clothes then headed to a pub down by the water and had some lunch. I, of course had to have some of the English fish and chips I've heard about all my life, Kathy had the battered sausage and chips. We had a great time with the guys, by this time they were like old friends. This is the pub where we ate lunch.
We finished lunch then took a walk around the area, Ollie had left to run an errand so we just wandered around until he returned. Notice the very narrow streets. We were told that this area dates back to the time of King Henry the VIII.
This church had a sign out front stating that it was built in 1212, 800 years ago. Now that's an old building.
Steve, Poppy and Nigs.
We went back to the Duffy home that night and hung out some more. Here I am with my daughters Janelle and Michelle, Janelle came over on a different flight than us.
The next day was wedding day, all us guys dressed at Ollie's while the girls went to Janelle's hotel room. The photo below was taken as I saw Michelle for the first time on her wedding day, the girls had all arrived in a restored VW bus.
With a name like Duffy, you could have guessed that kilt's might have been the men's attire, if so, you would have guessed correctly.
Ignore the bag, I was in charge of getting all the corsages to the guys, that's what I was carrying.
The last photo I took before walking her down the aisle.
Putting the ring on his finger, it was a tight squeeze, he may never get it off.
Brendan and Michelle in the garden.
The wedding party. Two of the men are Brendan's brothers, the others all long time friends.
At the reception, I tried to teach Brendan the Kesler jig, though I'm not sure he was paying much attention to me.
We had offered to take the newlywed traveling around the country for a few days as their wedding present, I know it seems odd to spend your honeymoon with your parents/in-laws, but they said they could honeymoon anytime, but could only travel with us while we were there, so that's what we did.
They picked us up the next morning, we headed out without a destination in mind, (in true Kesler fashion).
I told Brendan, "just get us out of town" so he did. We ended up in a area called "The New Forest" it was west of Portsmouth.
We stopped at this place for lunch.
I thought this was a neat photo, you can see Brendan in the mirror.
We finished our lunch and decided we would drive north and west, possibly toward Wales. We headed up some back roads and came across these wild ponies wandering free. We saw many more roaming in the wooded areas.
While riding, I asked Brendan if he know where Stonehenge was, he said he wasn't sure. I looked at a map and noticed that we weren't but 20 miles or so away so the race was on to make it there before the sun went down.
The roads are not well marked and we made several wrong turns, of course I was to blame, I had the map and kept telling him where to turn.
We made it just in time.
We posed for a group photo, notice the three Americans bundled up to stay warm, and the sole Englishman with no jacket.
We drove that evening north and west, we decided to go ahead and try to make it to Wales before spending the night. I can't even explain the fun we had once we crossed into Wales and began looking for a room. They don't have hotels at all the exits like we do here, you have to find a town, go to a pub, ask if they have any rooms, if they don't they will tell you where they think you can find a room. The funny thing was, Welsh, English, and Americans all speak English, but we had the hardest time understanding anything the Welsh people were telling us. We must have stopped five or six times to get advice on where to go, but we were never really sure what they said so we just drove around aimlessly for several hours. It was great fun though, I was pleased to find that my new son-in-law has a good sense of humor and enjoys the hunt just has we do.
This is the little Bed and Breakfast we found outside the city of Caerphilly .
The breakfast that morning was the traditional English breakfast, The Lovely Mrs. Kesler took a photo for you all to see.
When we had gone to dinner after getting our room, we noticed an old castle so we decided that would be our first stop the next day.
Posing outside the castle.
Michelle helping Kathy try to get in without paying.
At the outer gate.
The newlyweds on honeymoon with their parents.
I think I may have married a crazy woman, here she is on TOP of the castle, one step away from a four story drop.
Here they are sneaking around in areas they shouldn't have been, they both look like they're up to no good don't they?
Perhaps we should have locked THEM up instead.
The grand hall.
A spooky walkway.
The view from our cell.
We call this the secret garden, isn't it neat. When I see this, I think of the many centuries this building has been standing. I believe the sign out front stated that the castle had fallen into disrepair around the 15th century. I believe the structure was built almost 800 years ago.
You easily see Kathy on the rocks, Michelle is not so easily noticed with her leopard camoflage.
Inside the castle walls.
On one of the many spiral staircases in the castle. We found that if you run down four flights of spiral stairs, you get dizzy.
Again, climbing and jumping rocks.
I just love this photo.
Way up there where you see the flag flying is where Kathy was standing in the notch in one of the previous photos.
We spent a couple of hours at Caerphilly Castle, we had a great time, we were the only ones there for quite a while. We then drove further west just to see some more of the country of Wales, while driving down a two lane road I spotted a small stream coming down a hill, so we pulled the car over and went exploring.
Each little waterfall we would come to, we would climb, then see another and climb it, then another, they seemed to never stop.
While climbing the waterfalls, everyone but Kathy got wet, I fell in climbing down from the highest waterfall, Brendan got wet when I dropped a rock in the water next to him, and I think Michelle just climbed in the water. We were a little cold and wet. We began heading back to England, once there we stopped in Bath for some lunch.
Kathy having some English tea to warm her.
Our lunch spot in Bath.
We arrived back at Ollie and Katie's that night, they had prepared for us some steak pie with mashed potatoes and peas. We went to bed late again that night. When we awoke in the morning, our hosts had already left for work but had the dining room table set for us with breakfast. I walked into the kitchen and noticed two cups ready with tea bags already in them, all that was needed was some hot water. They were great hosts.
Brendan and Michelle picked us up later that morning and we drove to London, we parked on the outskirts of the city then rode a combination of train and tube (what the English call a tube, we call a Subway).
We tried to see as many things as we could in one short afternoon, like Buckingham palace.
A walk back to another tube station.
We walked along a promenade alongside the Thames River.
We stopped for some lunch in Westminster, It was the highlight of my day, I think I just enjoyed being with the kids, all the rest was just icing on the cake.
This is my rhubarb crumble that I had for dessert.
The last stop in London was Trafalgar Square
A policeman offered to take this photo of the four of us.
We went back to Portsmouth for one last night. Early the next morning Brendan, Michelle, and Tony picked us up and drove us back to London to catch our flight home.
Here are Ollie and Katie, or wonderful hosts.
We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to the next visit.