Monday, September 6, 2010

UK Reunion!!!

My mother Karen, stepfather Ira (they are standing in front of Buckingham Palace in the photo), daughter Bailee and I recently returned from our week-long trip to the UK where we spent the majority of our time in and around London, as well as a couple of days in Oxford. Unfortunately my son's illness (gastroparesis) prohibited him from traveling which meant his mother stayed behind as well. This was the only bummer about the trip yet I am optimistic that all will return to the UK in one year (if not before) to celebrate the marriage of Christopher and Victoria. It was a pleasure to finally meet Grizz's "bird" Victoria. I am already looking forward to the second annual reunion.

The weather could not have been better (nor could my wonderful daughter :-) as we took in the famous sites and history of London (Buckingham Palace, War Cabinet, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, etc.). Grizz's parents, Pamela and Peter Macklin were gracious enough to allow us to use their flat for the week, located in the wonderful district of Chelsea, just footsteps away from Buckingham, Harrod's and Hyde Park). I even got to see David Tait (Everest teammate and 3-time Everest Summiteer) at his UBS office in downtown London.

After a few days in London we traveled by train to Oxford, staying with my friend and Everest teammate Stuart Carder and his lovely wife Jane on their picturesque cattle farm just outside the city. The peace and quiet were great but even better was Stuey's talent as a tour guide (note the sunglass exchange between my daughter and Stuey in the picture). We visited Bleinheim Palace and Oxford itself, the highlight being our visits to the various colleges of Oxford University. We even got to see the memorial to Sandy Irvine (he perished on Everest near the summit in 1924 with George Mallory) on Merton College.

Perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip for me was reuniting with my teammates and brothers from Everest. The Macklins hosted a wonderful BBQ at their home near Wimbledon where I got to meet Christopher's brother Andrew, his wife Justine and their two beautiful children Eloise and George. Stuey and Jane even drove down from Oxford to join us. It was the reunion of the "3 Amigos!" (see pic) I will be anxious to see my mates again in the near future.