Proof I Existed – Part 3, England, Wales and France

When we were newly married, and living in Germany, we traveled to other countries when we could.

A bus tour took us to England.  This was our approach to Windsor castle.


I loved the English countryside with its stone walls and livestock.


We went to London, England.


We saw English guards in London.


We watched the changing of the guards.


We saw Buckingham Palace…


…and London Bridge.


On our bus tour, we also saw Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral,  Stratford on Avon and made a quick stop in Brussels, Belgium.  We viewed the White cliffs of Dover.


My Mom (who was visiting and on the trip with us) and I broke off from the tour and journeyed twelve hours by train, subway, boat across the English channel and then another train to Penwortham, Lancashire in northern England where we spent some days with a long-time pen-pal of my mother’s.  Either our host or the host’s brother-in-law knew the person who lived in a castle called Hoghton Tower and a tour of the outside of the castle was arranged.  It is tucked out of the way and not a tourist attraction, just genuinely majestic and interesting.  As we approached the castle, I was fascinated with how the terrain was used for defense.


This is the castle closer up.  We were actually able to go back two days later to see the inside.


We were carted to many relatives’ homes and introduced as the visiting Americans.  Much of the travel was harrowing as our hosts’ driving seemed to defy many traffic rules, especially speed limits on winding roads.

We also took a day trip from England to North Wales to the Isle of Anglesey.  My mother had researched our family history and was pleased to find the grave of an ancestor in a cemetery in the Welsh countryside.  Next to the cemetery was a quaint chapel where our  ancestors likely worshipped.  A caretaker visited with us and kindly opened the chapel to allow us to see the inside.


We also spent some time in France.  We saw Notre Dame.


The buttresses on the side of Notre Dame looked just as they did in the textbook used in my high school French class.


This shows Notre Dame from the side.


This is a Rose window from inside Notre Dame.


We spent some hours around Sacre Coure…


…and we went to The Louvre.


We stood in Concord Square.


And we went inside.


Nope, this is not New York. This is the model of the Statue of Liberty in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background.


The architecture at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower is complex.


There is a beautiful pond at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower.


Here is another angle of the pond at bottom of Eiffel Tower.


This is a view of the Arc de Triumph from the Eiffel Tower.


This is the view downward from the Arc de Triumph. How does anyone get anywhere? Makes our new roundabouts in town seem pretty easy to navigate.


More adventures will be shared next time.

Adding a scan of a postcard of Hoghton Tower for reader Mary, who has a family connection to the area.  Thanks for your comment, Mary!

Image (34) Image (35)

We were told that  James I knighted a loin of beef here and that is where the name “sirloin” comes from.

However, snopes refutes the story.



About Climbing Downhill

Wife and mother of grown kids, in my 60's and dealing with MS, making life's moments count and trying to offer something of value to others along the way.
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7 Responses to Proof I Existed – Part 3, England, Wales and France

  1. Mary says:

    Hi there,
    is the Hoghton Tower you visited in Lancashire? If so, that’s the area my Grandad is from – his family farmed around Hoghton. Amazing if so! It’s on my list of places to visit, especially as it’s not too far from me, though historic buildings aren’t so great for those with mobility issues! My family loves to tell the tale of James I knighting a loin of beef there!

    • Oh Mary, I wish I knew. It was long ago and someone else did the driving. Sometime this week I will try to retrace our path on an online map (or better yet, check my Mom’s notes!).

      • Mary, My Mom had a postcard of Hoghton Tower and the back of it says “Hoghton Tower, Lancashire, built 1565.” It’s fun you have a connection there. I scanned the postcard and added it to the end of my post.

  2. Mary says:

    Oh wow, that’s great! My whole family is from that area, around Pendle Hill, which is nearby, – where the witches are from! Do you remember why you chose to come to that area particularly – as you mentioned, it’s not on the usual tourist trail.

  3. Mary, I found my mom’s detailed notes and have revised my post to explain how we ended up there. Thanks for asking!

  4. Good stuff. Didn’t even need my passport.
    My wife was born in the U.K. so we get back there often. Always good to see the sights of London.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Mary says:

    Thank you for updating your post. I hope you managed to enjoy your stay in northern England, despite the frightening driving experience!

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