Saturday, November 17, 2012

Castle life and the London Olypics

I am a delinquent blogger, but this is a life experience that I will always cherish and must share.  Larry and I were invited to join a phenomenal, dream-come-true trip to the London Olympics. 

Our home for a week...with unprecedented access.  The Leeds Castle!
We were flown first class and picked by our be driven to our home for the week, the Leeds Castle.  This castle is a living museum, but is usually only allowed to be explored in tours by day visitors.  The group we traveled with was given unprecedented access where all ropes came down...we lived, ate, slept, enjoyed, and LIVED in the castle during our entire trip...and could listen to music in the drawing room, read in the library, eat in the immense banquet halls, and explore wherever we wanted.  It was a  dream.  The castle's history was amazing and originally built in 1119 by the Normans, but was later owned by King Henry VIII (which he purchased for his first wife,  Catherine of Aragon.)  The history of the castle and area was fascinating....and I couldn't believe that I was there.  I slept in an original bedroom where royalty slept...and I was treated that way as well.  It was by far the most amazing trip of my life and allowed me experiences that I never even dreamed of.  I still can't believe it... We watched America win GOLD, explored Canterbury, toured St. Paul's cathedral, danced in a medieval castle, experienced falconry, saw Westminster Abbey, were trained in archery, did a killer ropes course, ate like Kings, made wonderful new friends, laughed, and had the time of our lives!  It was also my first and only trip to Europe, my first passport stamp, my first visit to a castle or cathedral, my first Olympics, my first time in first class, and so many other firsts.  My words don't do this justice at all, but it was such an  incredible life experience.  I will be forever grateful!

Larry holding his first Gold medal.

We had a couple Gold medalists stay with us through the week.  This is Taylor Ritzel  (on our Rowing team)

Remains of the Old mill

Exploring castle breathtaking in person.

So excited to be at the Gymnastics finals...

We saw USA win GOLD!

That is MISSY FRANKLIN...and she was darling!

Our Mock King Henry VIII for a murder mystery dinner

An amazing meal in King Henry VIII actual banquet hall.

This was a canary diamond a friend let me try

Track and Field...great day.  We even saw the Blade runner.

At the Track and Field event.  So fun to watch! So exiting in person.


At the top of the maze in the stunning castle gardens.

St. Paul's Cathedral in Canterbury

A resting place for many Medieval kings and patron saints.

Try Falconry...why not...when in a castle, do as castle folk do...

The Big Ben

VIP seats in Wembley Stadium for the Gold medal Soccer Match...AMAZING!

This man is the archery trainer that personally taught Russel Crowe,  Richard Gere, and many more.

Can you see my head in our bedroom window?
View from our bedroom window in the castle..

So this is first class, huh?  It's hard to go back after having a seat like this.

A family that I will forever LOVE...for a million reasons.