Hello everyone, here we are, in London after a seven-hour flight from Toronto. The temperature today was +15 degrees, cloudy with a little bit of rain. We are staying with Radek’s cousin Ewa, her husband Duncan and their son Freddie. They live in a beautiful area in London not far from the Royal Botanic Gardens.




Our short walk along the Thames River:


Our first British pub:


And the garden:


Symbols of Monarchy

The British Monarchy is represented by a number of symbols which are used in everyday life, these symbols represent not only the monarch’s reign but also the sovereignty of the nation and the historical significance of the crown. (http://www.monarchist.org.uk/symbols-of-monarchy.html)

The Official Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

On the left, the shield is supported by the English Lion.
Royal coat of arms
On the right it is supported by the Unicorn of Scotland.
(The unicorn is chained because in medieval times a free unicorn was considered a very dangerous beast (only a virgin could tame a unicorn)

The Royal Arms we see today have evolved over nine centuries, since Richard the Lionheart chose three lions to represent England. This symbol on the King’s shield would immediately identify him in the midst of battle.

The full version of the Royal Coat of Arms is now used only by the Queen in her capacity as the Sovereign. In the version used by the government and consequently as the official coat of arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the crown is shown resting directly on the shield, with the helm, crest and mantling not displayed (like in the black and white photo above).

The Queen has a separate version of her arms for use in Scotland, giving the Scottish elements pride of place.

Source: http://projectbritain.com/motto.html


Welcome to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

We want to live in a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued and conserved. Discover our science and visit our world-leading botanic gardens, Kew Gardens and Wakehurst. (https://www.kew.org/)
IMG_1855First day in London and I had a chance to  participate in an unusual festival:

Press release: Kew’s first Thai-inspired Orchids Festival

For four weeks, Kew Gardens will welcome visitors to its 23rd annual Orchids Festival with creative designs and unique experiences to appeal to all ages. (https://www.kew.org/about-our-organisation/press-media/press-releases/kews-first-thai-inspired-orchids-festival)

10 February – 11 March

The Princess of Wales Conservatory

  • First time Kew’s annual floral extravaganza has been inspired by Thailand
  • Thailand is home to 1,100 species of orchids
  • Programme of Lates includes traditional food and performances
At the end of our walk we saw these magnificent birds:

Ottawa: Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George and St. Antony


Edinburgh: Firth of Forth Bridges and Calton Hill


  1. Beautiful Joanna. And I love that you share the history, background and information. Can’t wait to see more!
    p.s. Not sure how much favour and pull my mom has with her ‘cousin’ 😉

  2. Amazing pics so far! Who took your pic in the tube? Your relative’ s neighbourhood looks very English! Lovei it! The gardens are lovely. Say hello to the Queen for me and especially Carson, Lady Mary and Mrs. Hughes.

    Christina and Randy

  3. Seeing the pictures from Kew’s, I’am getting into memory lane of year 1982, and I am a little jealous of not being there with you. Beautiful London has always warm place in my heart. Have a really good time, see as much as you can because it is worth it. Make sure to find the Polish food-prints which are a great deal in England.

    1. Thank you Danusia for your comment. We will try to look for Polish footprints, but I think we need more time. We enjoy the company of our Polish family and friends.

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