S: Denise Underground 2010
BC: Matterhorn Switzerland
FC: Denise Underground | 2010
1: Florence | In Florence was this huge cathedral. We couldn't go inside but it was being decorated in white and green marble which was really incredible. Next stop was David by Michalangelo. It is the David as in David and Goliath. He has the sling over his shoulder and has rocks in his hands. It was really impressive to see in real life. | Church where many famous Florentines are buried. This is Galileo's | At the Uffizi Gallery we saw tons of really amazing art by all the greats. Michaelangelo, Leonrdo, Faael (kinds sounds like the lists of the Ninja turtles.. no Donatello though. ) This one I really liked. I can't remember who even painted it but it is Mary and Martha having an intimate conversation. The colors are so vibrant. | rushing back to the train. Daren reveling in the fact that he was number one! | Later that night we went to a 24 hour cafe where Daren discovered that he could get chicken wings. That night was the big dessert night. All kinds of chocolate creations including this chocolate colloseum. Amazing ice sculptures too.
2: Antibes France | Antibes is a quaint little town where Picasso spent much of his time. We headed to this little local market. These have also been a favorite with us. We wandered threw this really incredible food market as well. They were selling all kinds of meat, and fancy cheese. Dad and I bought some fancy cheese and sausages for his office. French cheese really is pretty fantastic stuff. From there we wandered down into the port where we saw some of the most incredible yachts. This city is really close to Montecarlo.. the playground of the rediculously rich, so the boats were out of this world. Then back to the Norweigan Gem- our home for the last 7 days. Floating tranquilly in the warm Mediterranean. That night we made sure to really enjoy the ship, the food and each other. We went to the closing show and at the end of the show they had a bunch of the staff come out. This man here was pretty much the celebrity on the boat. Each morning as we walked into the eatery he was there with a spray bottle of antiseptic wash saying in a high pitched phillipino accent "happy happy washie washie" you could hear him when you were coming up the hall. It was really funny and he always mad e you smile Almost every entertainer made reference to him.
3: I was hoping the fountains at the MNAXC would be showing again tonight so I headed down to catch the show. No luck.. I guess summer ended October 1st. There were tons of locals and visitors out | I found my way to church. I was fantastic to hear church in spanish. Reminded me so much of church on my mission. People were really friendly. Probably 10 people at least welcomed me. Other similarities to Chile.. started late, ended late and in RS they didnt announce an activity they planned it as a group complete with people yelling thir food preferences, location ideas and times across the room. There was a very sweet spirity there. Everyone who bore testimony talked about their lve of Christ and gratitude for His restored gosple. It was great to feel that familiar spirit here in Spain. | Today we had to say goodbye. We had some good times in that room. Most of which included Daren and Andrea attacking me! I was out of Daren's reach by the time we made it to the curb.. this is Daren making sure that Andrea knows he loves her and to mke sure she wont miss him too much! | October 2009
5: I got off the night bus this morning at 630 . not an ideal time to start touring but I didnt really have any options. The city did have a peaceful quiet about it that I did enjoy though. The really nice thing about Madrid is that while it is a huge city, there are lots of really nice parks. and gardens behind the palace. I waited a while outside the palace until it was time to open. When it didnt open someone informed us that today is Spain Day so a lot of things were closed. But that did mean that they were having a military parade so I went and checked that out. The coolest part was all the aircraft that flew over. It was pretty incredible to see all their military craft up close. It was also really fun to do something that was very local. There were tons of Spanish people there and I dint see many tourists. At this point of the day my lack of sleep was catching up with me as well as that I was on day two of being alone. I became totally miserable. I wandered around and got some lunch at McDonalds. The low point of the day came as I sat there crying over my fries.. yikes! All I could think about was how good I had things in San Diego. I had great friends, a great job. I loved my calling and I left it all to be totally miserable and I just wanted to go home. I have decided that my family is like a drug to me and today I was going through with drawl. I needed to not be so dramatic and remember the country song "youre gonna miss this" I really am luck to be here. So i went to the Reina Sofia museum. This is a Picasso not only was a weird artist he could make beautiful things as well. Next I went to the botanical gardens They were established in the 1700's. These flowers remind me of the ones that Van Gogh painted. Another great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. In the evening I went to the plaza mayor where you find tongs of shops, restaurants, locals and tourists a like and lots of street performers. I found some legitimate chilean empanadas at one of the markets. Heaven! I squeezed on this bench with a bunch of old d ladies . One of them commented on my flower and so we started chatting. They were born and bred in Madrid and had all been getting dressed up and coming to the plaza mayor each night for years. SO fun to listen to these little old ladies.
6: Lisbon | I joined the hostel and did a free walking tour of the city. We rode the trolley. The city is built on a series of hills so it was nice to not have to walk. Our first stop was the daily flea market. A classic favorite among travelers. It is always fun to see what unique things they are selling. Next we went up to the castle on the top of a mountain overlooking the city. Pretty classic southern european looking city. If you think that bridge looks like the Golden Gate bridge .. it was built by the same company as did the famous twin in San Francisco. The best part was the guide took us to an authentic Portugese restaurant. This is Lauren from New Orleans. We are two lone travelers that met on the hostels walking tour. The traditional Portugese meal doesnt look like much but it was incredible. After the tour Lauren and I headed off to see a bit more of the city. We saw this old monestary but sadly found that things had switched to winter hours. So we missed it. Just down the road was the must do thing. The famous pastry shop. Custard tarts! yum. By the time we got back to town it was time for dinner. We shared an octopus salad( rubbery but good) and Clams and whole shrimp.
7: Sintra & Cascais | Pena Castle. It was built by the ruler of Portugal in the 1800's. Covered in really cool mosaics and original furniture. | great view | Ty (australia) Lauren (new Orleans) Me | I think I have a pic like this from every country but I still can't get over the little walk ways and how beautiful they are. | we took a bus who must have been a retired Nascar racer. to the beach in Cascais. Relax in the sun! | Back to the Baxia district. all the streets have really beautiful decorative tiles.
8: Porto | Went exploring/getting lost in the city with Ty and Lauren. It really is charming. By noon I said goodbye to my new friends and hoped a bus to Porto. One recommendation I got was to see this book shop. It looked like something out of Harry Potter. I wandered around downtown for a while and did some shopping. I saw the river front and enjoyed the scenery. The views were really stunning.
9: I caught the metro to the airport in Portugal. This involved major repacking so I could make the weight limit. In the end I had to throw away all my hair products and was wearing about half of my clothing. So I showed up in London about noon.. only to realize that the stanstead airport is about an hour train ride from London so the train to the Metro station . From there to the nurses office where my paper work hadnt shown up. Then back on the metro during rush hour with a suit case. I headed across town to meet up with Lauren who is best friends with Charlotte. and asked if I could stay with till I started work. So I met her at a train station for a 4 hour drive up north. Big travel day
10: Leeds and York | we went to the Leeds City Museum with Ross and Chris. It was actually one of the better ones I have seen. Starting with these judge wigs you could try on . Dont we look fantastic. I guess Lawyers still wear them in the court room. How ridiculous. | We then wandered around downtown since the boys could not make a decision about where to eat we went back and made sandwiches sat around fro literally hours and then finally went to york. | Old castle wall still surronded the down town area. | York Abbey | Chris Rob Lauren Ross and Me | They all go to Leeds University The YSA scene is really different here. It is not unusual for people to drive 3-4 hours to go to a dance in one night. So the whole country is close | Ghost Hunt wals of York. This guy was a fantastic story teller
11: Camden Market | I met up with Lauren in Camden Market. It is this really huge street market with 100s of shops I really liked this piano/organ shop. For a while the owner was playing classical music. Fantastic atmosphere. We shared a fantastic belgian waffle covered in nutella, thin banana slices topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
12: Preston Temple | MTC | London Temple
13: Today things finally got going with my job. I will be starting next tuesday on a surgical unit for patients that have had cancer tumors removed. Just nice to know I will have a job. So to celebrate I walked down to Oxford street close by and did some shopping. Well not too much since the funds are getting low. After traveling through a crowded underground for an hour and a half I was excited to be back to Laurens house with people. Tonight James came to town and we headed to the cinema. We saw "the Invention of Lies" I would not recommend it but it was relaxing after a day of crowds and shopping. There is nothing better then good friends. Thanks James!! | Oxford Street
14: Today I moved into somewhere semi permanent. There is no company housing available so I am staying for a month with a friend of the owner of the travel nursing program in Wimbledon. As my good luck she lives in this beautiful 2 million pound house. This is my little cupboard room. Its tiny but perfect. I have a little tv, wardrobe, and my own sink in the room. | Wimbledon such a beautiful little town beautiful fall colors
15: Catching up with "old" friends. It was so great to see Hannah again. Amazing how two weeks in Ireland will bring people together. We just wandered around town for quite a while catching up on our adventures since the last time we saw each other and eventually ended up on Oxford street. Which was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do since last time I was there it was insane, but I was just happy to hang out with her that it didnt matter. We went into this huge Primark. It was literally about as bad as Disneyland inside. We laughed as we pushed threw millions of shoppers. The checkout line was at least 50 people long. and there are 4 checkouts with about 20 registers each. It was an experience I am glad to have once. Yeah for fun friends!
16: So back to work at Guy's Hospital. It is under the same trust as St Thomas' right by the London Bridge in town. I got up at 530 left the house at 6 walked to the underground, took the underground changed trains twice and walked in the door at 7. Full hour commute which is ridiculous to me but very common for many Londoners. Yikes! I went to the floor at 730 and found the assigned "ward sister" I had just showed up in my street clothes as directed so she sent me downstairs to reception to get some scrubs. I couldnt find that anywhere so I went to the front desk and they sent me to the basement. I finally found the Linen room and there was no one there so I found some shelf with scrubs on them and headed up to the ward. From what I found out during the day this unit was recently moved into a nice new location and somehow in the process they have tons of new staff. So today there was the ward sister, a charge nurse and Penny who has been there for 4 years. THe 2 other nurses were both new grads of about two weeks working on their own. I was assigned to work with Penny. who already had a new grad student working with her. We had 9 patients! Granted most of them were pretty capable of taking care of themselves but still it was just complete chaos. I felt completly useless and spent most of the day following people around. The people I worked with were awesome. So once I figure out what is going on I think it will be fine. | This is "the Monument" which commemorates a 1666 fire that burned for 3 days in London. It is the tallest stone free standing stone column in the world. | St KIatherines Docks. | Tower Bridge at dusk | HMS Belfast, Europes only surviving WWII big gun ship
17: This photo is taken from London Bridge which is commonly mistaken for Tower Bridge. In 1968 an American, Robert P MCCulloch paid $2.5 million to buy London Bridge under the mistaken belief that he was buying Tower Bridge. The then London Bridge was taken down, transported to America and reconstructed at Lake Havasu City in Arizona. Hence why "london Bridge" became so popular. | City Hall | Wandering London Bridge
18: Halloween | In Notting HIll | Festive but no costume. I headed to a Halloween party feeling like I was back in Junior High. I met Annie, Monica and Shannon. It was not the most fun, but did make some connections. Sat I headed to the Notting Hill to go to the antique market featured in the movie. Turns out it was on Portobello road (featured in Mary Poppins.. so many famous places) I thought this was quite an ingenious way to advertise pizza in a very Brittish way. I can not imagine what this place would be like in the summer! I came across this great band playing in the corner. The Ryan O'Riley Band.. I am now kicking myself for not palying the 5 pounds for their cd. I wandered through all the antiques. Tons of jewlry and dishes of course. Next was the food section of the market. Not only fresh food but they had food being prepared from all over the world. I wandered through town until I came upon this charming path. This city is just full of things to discover.
19: Celebrating Dia de los Muertos at the British Museum | Church, beautiful homes and fall colors. near russels square | parade around the grand hall of the museum | checking out the ancient civilizations. Mexico, Buddah, tons of mummies. | Remains of an Egyptian from before they did mummifications.. 3400 BC, huge statue of Ramesee II, Rosetta stone which helped interpret ancient Egyptian heiroglyphs. One of the huge statues from Easter Island.
20: Covent Gardens and National Gallery | Today I met up with Lauren in the city and hit up some of her favorite places. First stop was Covent Gardens .. which I found out was not a garden at all but an area with lots of street performers and little shops. Cute little cupcakes. I don't think I have seen prettier desserts. too pretty to eat. Next the national Gallery. Took a shot of the atrium just before the security guard told me "no photos" we saw some Van Gough. Van Eyck pretty amazing.
21: today I saw Billy Elliot- a new musical about a boy who a midst the political turmoil in his home town decides he wants to be a ballet dancer. The Princess Theater was really amazing. That night I joined in celebrating Guy Fawkes night which marks the downfall of a plot in 1605 by a group of Catholic conspirators to blow up the houses of parliament. They celebrate with huge bon fires, always topped by a suffd efigy of Guy Fawkes, carnivals and fireworks. I found this ride which was amazing. Basically I am hooked into one of those chairs and that arm flips all the way around so you are going around and upside down all over the place. I definitly enjoyed myself. | Guy Fawkes Day
22: Tonight after work I met up with Charlotte at the Hyde park dance.If you are thinking that the last time you saw her she had blond hair you are right. She ordered a wig for Halloween but it didn't come on time so she wore it tonight. I might have to get one of those myself. The theme of the night was PJ's . I had completly forgotten about it since I was coming from work, but I was suprised that pretty much everyone was dressed up. The winners were a guy and a girl who didn't know each other and had matching onesies!! I met her friend Emily from Bristol, very cool girl. As a ypical dance goes pretty much hung out with these ladies and had a good time. | PJ Party
23: Since Guy Fawkes Day fell on a Thursday they extended the party into the weekend. During the day i met up with Hannah and Renee. Renee is in the town from Oxford. It was so good to catch up with them and hear about what they have been doing. i met up with Charlottes friend Emily and we went to a celebration at Victoria PaRK.This giant robot roamed the crowd all evening equipped with his own radio system and classic "robot talk" Little creepy when coming at you. Then the fireworks started. Even more impressive then Thurs. I met Lisa and Kelly , two of Emily's other friends from Bristol. Emily is really fun on the walk back to the underground station we got talking about our books and she gave me some awesome suggestions.
24: Remembrance Day | Nov 9, 2009 | Today was Remembrance Day which is like our Vetrans day. Everyone wears a red poppy on their lapell and there was a big ceremony at Westminster Abbey.l Tons of people so could hardly see but the royal family is somewhere over there. I snagged a good seat for the parade. Hannah and Renee and I all met up there. We really didnt know what to expect but found out it was a lot of military people marching. The backdrop for the parade was pretty incredible. Right there with the westminster Abbey and Big Ben. | British band, red coats white guys dressed as Arabs. Scottish troops.. must have been freezing. the phillipino troops
25: Jersey Boys | I went to the west and saw the Jersey Boys. I really didnt know much about it but heard it was good.. and it was! I loved it! Its the story of Frankie Valli and the Four seasons. You may have just heard of them but you would be surprised at how much of their music is familiar. The story was really interesting. Monica came with me. It was nice to have company for such a fun show. She is another american from LA
26: Cambridge I went to Kings college , one of the oldest colleges. The chapel was really amazing. the organ was a gift to the college from King Henry VIIII. They dont have the exact time it was gifted but it has his and Anne Boleyns initials. | Everything was so detailed and ornate. | The college was laid in the 1400's | Trinity college , the largest of the Cambridge Colleges. | Cam River runs through the campus. | Issac Newton who studied here | Planted apple tree in Newtons honor. | wandered the city really cool old candy shoppe | ended visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum.
27: Walking tour of London. Wellington Arch in Hyde Park. The arch comemorates when he took over Napoleon in the battle of Waterloo. The statue is the goddess of Peace. Buckingham Pallace. The Queens guards passed by. Queen Victoria is the statue she is the longest reigning Queen for 63 years. The current Queen is getting close to overtaking the record. Next Prince Chalres house. One of the guard boxes behind the house was unoccupied so we did the cheezy tourist pic. Next we moved on to Trafalga square, which comemorates some famous battle. The road is red since it leads directly to the palace. Here is the whole group in front of a museum dedicated to the Horseguards. Next we went to Churchill's War Cabinet Bunker, We finished with lunch then to the National Gallery As I wandered back to the underground I walked past the Centaph where the Queen had placed her poppy wreath on Remembrance Sunday.
28: Went to the National Portrait Gallery. I didnt think it would be that interesting but it was cool to learn some of the history through the portraits. Jane Austin, Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters. Henry VIII and his most famous wives. William Shakespear (he wore a gold hoop earring) Sir Francis Drake ( who is the most famous seafares in England.. He pillaged spanish cities so much that it became a large reason why Phillip II decided to send the spanish Armada against the English.) James Cook( who met his fate to the Hawaiian natives who had previously worshiped him as a God.) charles Darwin, Lord Kelvin. James Joyce, Aldous Huxley, Beatrix Potter. Winsont Churchil. Alexander Flemming(inventor of Penicillin) turned out better then expected. | As I started to walk to London Bridge there was this big crowd of screaming girls so I decided to investigate. It was the world premier of the new Zach Effron movie "me and Orson Wells" my | Famous People of Yesterday and Today
29: London Temple I met up with Lauren and her parents. Had some yummy classic english roast. Then headed to drive to the temple. The lights are all up on the temple for christmas It was beautiful. | Borough Market Its the market right by where I work. On fri and Sat they have food booths set up with food from all over the world. always amazing
30: York covered in christmas lights | Rob Ross Jamie Lauren Emily James Charlotte | York Minister was giving a choral evensong service so we decided to pop in and enjoy the sounds. So fantastic. | wandered the shops called "the shamles" they are skinny little medieval streets lined with shops and restaurants. | Sunday we went to church with Lauren. We were talking about different sports and Lauren was talking about how her sisters have influenced her brother "all us girls made him camp" to which I said "i love camping" everyone started laughing. To my susuprise "camp " means feminie. I am slowly catching on to all the Englishisms. On our boring car ride home. Lauren joked "emily you should flash them" to which Emily with her two shirts did. Good laughs
31: Wimbledon Park The duck and boating pond. Trail runs the whole park. and of course the tennis courts. So I say ado to my home there and packed up to Southwick | After taxi troubles bus drivers with bad directions some old ladies pointed me in the right direction. Hiking with all my stuff on nice cobblestone roads I finally got to my neighborhood. 3 hours later! I have a double bed, big wardrobe and my own bathroom!
32: St Thomas Hospital | St Thomas Hospital was founded in the 12th century and was named after Thomas Becket. The wall of the HDU is all windows and this is the view. Not bad! there are 3 nurses on duty and 4 patients. I was on extra so I really didnt have that much to do since none of the patients were that sick. | This is my lovely Nurses uniform. Not that cute but pretty comfortable. I also have a little upside down watch pinned to my lapel. They are not allowed to wear watches for infection prevention so all the nurses have one.
33: The building was pretty amazing. We only took in a little of the museum as it was so huge. We went to the Holocaust section. Every time I see the horrible pictures I think of how sensless war really is and that one man could lead so many pelple to be so evil. Very educational experience. | Hannah and I went to the Imperial War museum. They had tons of cool old war machines. Mini submarine. Not sure would want to be in the ocean in that!
34: To make it a fully American weekend I made some cornbread and had it Mann style with syrup. I actually started cooking on fri night. Made pumpkin pie! Had to shop earlier to find canned pumpkin which ran about $6 a can but worth it. Charlotte and Lauren displaying the pie. It turned out great. Sat stuck to another very American tradition and did a 10K run. .. I think we subconsciously do so we dont feel bad about the millions of calories we consume. Then cooking began . Had turkey, stuffing, homemade Aunt Karen rolls, green beans, candied yams, corn on the cob , ambrosia, mashed potatoes and gravy... excellent! Here is the group that came. Charlotte ,Stewart, Laurens nephew and niece, Lauren and Josh, Josh is from America and a great cook, so he helped me a lot with dinner and it turned out beautifully | started the day with traditional tea and crumpets
35: Hanging out with Hannah | Last night Hannah and I both worked so we got to ride the bus together. We had to work again tonight so we met up with some friends for dinner at our favorite pub "Witherspoons" and then bussed it to work again. So fun to have her around! Dang we look good in our uniforms!
36: Greenwich | Renee Hannah and I hopped on a bus to nearby Greenwich. It was amazing. | First stop Royal Naval College. One point we walked by one building which turned out to be the Trinity college of Music. You could hear opera and violin and someone playing the piano. Sound proofing was aparently not around when the college was built. | Painted Hall. So magical! | Paintings were beautiful but the best part was all the long tables with these great lights on them for cChristmas decorations. THe atmosphere was stunning. | Hiked up to the Prime Meridian. This little place dictates time for the whole earth. I got my watch exactly correct. Even took pic with the famous line.. heheh.. 0 degrees longitude. | View of the financial district. | Ended the night with mexican food.
37: Renee, Hannah and I started our big day at Victoria and Albert museum. Tons of history from different parts of the world. Statues, paintings, furniture, dishes, fashion. We danced around the 19th century ball room. Trying on a classic hoop skirt. Some so big had to turn sideways to walk through door. Huge blown glass. So beautiful. Something so stunning about white marble statues. Another room had tons of tombs as well as huge pillars. After the V&A we walked past Harrods famous department store. they were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Wizard of OZ so all the shop windows were elaborately decorated. Ruby slippers and all!Joining the wicked witch ..nice sock choice.. I may have become a little bit of a tacky tourist. Then it was time for the topper of the day.. Wicked.. at the west end. The secret of wicked is that its just as good the second time around as the first time. We bought the cheapest tickets we could for 15 pounds which put us in the 4th row. But since it was a matinee we moved to the center aisle about 10 rows back to the 60 pound seats. The show was phenomenal. Singing was fantastic and costumes were incredible. | Wicked Day Out Dec 2 2009
38: Surry Quays | I love walking to Tesco (british version of Target) I realized what a beautiful part of town I live in on my walks there.
39: Shepherds Bush Market | Lauren and I met up in Shepherds Bush market which was pretty shady, but had tons of sewing stuff. Tons of crazy fabrics. Very colorful experience.
40: Pizza Express. It sounds cheap but actually pretty nice Italian Restaurant. Yumm Our date night continued withThe new Twilight movie. The movie was great. Lauren went into the movie loving Edward bu by the end we both knew we choose the right boy.. Jacob.. dreamy. I have far too many teeny bopper both agree to be jealous of Bellacrushes.
41: Stake Dancee Met up with Charlotte for the Hyde Park dance. We decided that sequins are the way to go this year. This is one of our friends Nathan, From Poole. He is our real life teeny bopper, Zac Effron crush. The dance was so amazing, not because of the people but Charlotte and I danced around with all the young kids she knows from home. The dj played all this really amazing old school hip hop music. I loved every song they played and just had a great time dancing.
42: We had our own Pride and Prejudice tour. Church by their house where Mr. Darcy and Lizzie are married. The gardens and of course Longbourne itself. Just before this lady came out and asked us to get off her land. apparentl its a privat farm now. Luckily we had seen it all before she discovered us. | Longbourne
43: took a quick stop in the little town of Castle Combe. Also used in filming of Harry Potter. I cant get enough of these little towns. We walked out of town, which took about minutes and walked into a little countryside on the foot path. Beautiful December day.
44: Laycock Abbey which has no connection with Pride an dPrejudice but the filming of some of harry potter movies | This piece of the village was used in the latest Potter movie when Harry and Dumbledoor are walking to Slughorns house | I thought Prince William would meet me half way | This is where Hagrid came to rescue Harry as a baby. If you are wondering my hair is so crazy I was trying to make it very Hagrid like. | Wandering around town. This pub was built in the 1300's | Decked out as a christmas market | This is the piece used in Harry potter when they are running through the halls | This is Laycock village where Meryton was filmed. The ball at the beginning of the movie was filmed here at the Red Lion | Wandering Laycock Village
45: Prepared a traditional British Christmas dinner. Christmas crackers. "tear apart" presents that everyone grabs the end of one in a circle and pull at the same time. The person who gets the bigger end gets the present inside. I am now the proud owner of a mini tape measure key chain. Also has a crown and paper with cheezy jokes and riddles. Charlotte was very pleased with her jokes and hat. | we chowed down on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce . parsnips, carrot and swede ( a potato thing) mash, sausage wrapped in bacon (low fat Im sure) and roast potatoes. Charlotte also made mulled wine.. no wine involved. Its kind of like our wassal but has grape juice, orange juice, spices and tons of sugar. This is their traditional christmas drink.. Schloer. You sound drunk just pronouncing the name. It tasts like nonalcholic wine.. not that tasty. Sparkling cider please. A verry tasty and exciting experience | I finally got a christmas tree today. Turned out to be quite a pilgrimage. I found the British equivalent to Home Depot and finally figured out how to get a bus there. I had been on the bus for about 25 min. I was getting pretty close when I saw a little market with a guy that was selling christmas trees so in a moment of passion I jumped off and inquired. They turned out to be really expensive. So other than get back on the bus and pay again I nievely thought I could walk the last 15 min. to the store. After walking about 15 min I asked some Indian guy who informed me that I was walking in the wrong direction and asked me to have coffee with him.. yikes.. so I headed back to where I started paid the extra money and got on the bus. Got there about 2 hours after I left my house. After 3 hours I got this little beauty home and decorated it. I am so happy worth the hastle. | Christmas Dinner 12.10.09
46: wells is the smallest city in England. A city is any place where there is a cathedral all the other places are villages. Emily used to live here so she showed us around after church. This is quaint little road leading into town. | The city is decked out for christmas- live reindeer and all. They dont look too enthusiastic about the christmas season. | the Cathedral, which makes this an official city. Emily and I having a little fun | Charlotte followed around this cat for quite a while as here artistic side came out. She had just fallen over, but still got this great shot.. hehe | beautiful house | music hall
47: The Vicars CLose. The houses on this street were built for the vicars that sung in the cathedral in the 1300's. Its still amazing at how old things are | We went inside the cathedral while they were having evensong. Choir music is always more stunning in a building like this. I was particularly impressed with the red ad blue designs on the celing. All the architecture and arches were also very different from any other cathedral have seen. | Wells | next stop was Bishops Palace. It has been the home of the Bishops of the cathedral since the 1200s Allegedly the swans that swim in this mote are trained to ring a bell to beg for food. Wish I could have seen that.. | beautiful sunset just little early (4pm) | walking path onto big open field with sheep. so classically british
48: Brighton- known to all Pride and Prejudice fans for bing the place for getting husbands. Unfortunately the regiment want in town, so I had to make do with a beautiful day at the beach and some awesome sights. This is the pier with carnival rides and yummy fatty foods. Best part was the beautiful sunny day. I could actually feel warmth on my face through two jackets. The beach is really beautiful here. rocky buty nice. | Saw at the tube station. Good old Ghandi. Reminded me that I need to stop and smell the roses sometimes. Or maybe saying stop smelling the roses and get down to buisness | Enjoying the sunshine I took a walk all the way to the end of the boardwalk to the marina. Not as many nice boats as the south of France but still a very nice marina. Mostly I enjoyed the walk. | In the evening everything changes. Pier lit up was stunning. I hopped on the bus and headed back into town just in time to drop by South bank and see the German Christmas market. all kinds of crafts and foods. | Royal Pavillion which was built as a pleaure palace by Henry the 4th in the early 1800's | Brighton
49: Big day of touring. Hamstead. Area of town that has been preserved so that it looks like what London was originally. Heath, which is a huge part on top of a big hill, there is a lookout over the city. Of course with no map we got lost a few times. Found some wild holly. Stunning views of gardens, duck pond, and a view of the city. So lucky it was a clear day. Next wandered some of the streets and found this ancient well. Originally founded because people came seeking medicinal purposes of this well. I went to get tickets to Phantom for the evening. As we walked Leischter Square we saw they were setting up for the world premier of Sherlock Holmes. Next we wandered to Westminster Abbey to see the evensong. The abbey has their own special school to train their choir to sing. It was amazing to be in that beautiful historic building. The seats we had were just right of the choir. It is such a different feeling o be there at night with everything lite up. Next walked back to the west end via Trafalgar Square to meet up with Hannah. They had this unusual ice sculpture there. It was melting away with this polar bear skeleton underneath. Kinda cool. At the end of the evening we went to se Phantom of the Opera. Hannah had never seen it so it was fun to introducer her to it. She said she was "tingly" when we left. I completly agree. Such an amazing story with such inicredible music. On the way to the tube station we came across a statue that has been converted into a gian snow globe very creative. Such a fun Day! | Hamstead Heath | Westminster Abbey | Phantom of the Opera
50: After picking up Jason from the airport we headed strait to the tennis players mecca Wimbledon. We saw the museum first with actual trophies for the mens and women singles winners. | The day just kept getting colder and colder . It started snowing again Fun but soo cold! | Right in front of court one. | Inside the press room where the player are interviewed after thir matches. | center court where all the big matches are played. The unique thing about wimbledon is that all the courts are grass courts. They spend tons of time and money on making that grass just the perfect condition for play.
51: Jason and Melanie are Here! I spent the majority of the day on the underground picking up these two. Jason and my good friend from San Diego, Melanie. I am so glad they are here. Its always fun to show people around town and especially fun around the holidays. Best away from home christmas present ever! | Jason Melanie and I met up with Hannah and Charlotte and headed to West end to see Les Miserables. It was amazing. Such a great story of revenge and repentance. | When we got out of the show it was FREEZING!! We got hot chocolate and wandered around Leister Square
52: Finally landed in Milan and figured out our rubbish rental car company and got our first Panda and were on our way to Venice. So nice to drive. I have missed that. We got to Vnice a few hours later and checked into Mariott(thanks Jason) We were so happy to finally be there | Charlotte came to stay overnight .. so snugglie. She took us to the airport at 4 am | Unfortunately that wasnt early enought to make our 730 flight .. so 300 pounds and a huge line later we were booked for the next flight at 3pm We could finally check in 3 hours before our flight and thank goodness we did. I had some pepper spray in my backpack (thanks for the bday present justin) which I have traveled with tons, but the security lady decided this time to take out everything. my underwear was everywhere. So she found the pepper spray and called the cops over with their machine guns. I had to go into their little room get full finger prints and give a recorded statement. Just added to the ridiculousness of the day! We were extremely happy once we got into the air!! | December 18, 2009
53: Woke up to a blizzard that had come over all of north Italy. made for beautiful... really cold..day. During high tide a lot of the city floods, so they put up these walkways abouve the sidewalk so you dont have to walk in the water. It was really crazy because even some of the shops had water in them. Even the foyer of St Marks was flooded. We saw lots of locals shopping in rubber boots. We mostly wandered and took in the sights. The Rialto bridge which is one of the biggest bridges in town. Bought Wellies (rubber boots) . In order to get to St Marks suare we had to wade through quite a bit of water. We had fun splashing around in the square. How weird to live in a city that floods everyday. St marks had amazing gold mosaics covering the ceiling. We had to get some classic Italian food. amazing pizza. They did a great job decorating the city. There were tons of Christmas lights on all the tiny streets. The slices were huge. So yummy! | Venice
54: Rome | We went to church in rome. We drove there in the Panda. On the freeway there is a semblance of order but once on the city streets everything dissolves into anything goes. No lanes motor scooters running stop lights. Whatever you want. At one point I was going strait and a car on my right wanted to turn left so when the light turned he just turned rigfht in front of me. Fun but seriously out of control. We got a little head set and everything was translated. | Piazza Navona where they had a christmas market. We found these giant doughnutSoo good. Apparently since everyone lives in apartments and dont have fire places santa climbes in the window.
55: First stop was Pantheon. Built to the Roman gods in AD 126! the dome is a huge perfect circle. In the Pantheon is the tomb of the great artist Raphael. | Never too cold for gelatto! | Monument to Mussolini. Everything here is just so grandiose! | Coloseum. Always impressive. | While we were walking back we were up on a bench watching the performers. They started pulling guys jason made the mistake of making eye contact and thi is whre it led. All four sit on tiny stools back to back then had them lay on each other laps. Took waay the stools so they were this tangle and simply went on with things for about 5 min. I think Jason will be more careful to avert hi seyes from the gaze of street performers from now on. Once the sun went down it got soo cold so we headed back to the hotel
56: sleeping in | Sistine Chaple. Raphael rooms we finally found in the maze of huge museum. This is one of his most famous paintings. "the School of Athens" Raphael is said to have painted every great Greek philosopher of his time in these paintings | This "balacchino" was built over the tomb of St Peter by Bernini. It is over 30 meters tall which puts the hight of the dome into perspective. We went into the crypt as well and saw st Peters tomb
57: doesnt even begin to capture the immensity of the church. so stunning. I have realized the romans were all about big. Everything is so grandiose | Rome
59: Switerland | Zermatt | We knew it would take at least 8 hours to get to switerland but with snow conditions it took about 13!. Once to northern Italy the roads were thick blanketed in snow which was a challenge for our little panda. By 10 we made it to Zermatt. This place is super exclusive and you cant even drive into the town, you have to take this little train. This town is this little village nestled at the base of really stunning mountains. Tons of upscale shops and chalets. Just getting up to the slpes was an ordeal. First off we got on a train which climbed up into the mountains for at least a half hour. At some pints they had cut a path for the train right trough the rock. It toattly reminded me of the dark passages of teh Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. I kept an eye out for the red eyes of the abominable snow monster. Then we had to get on a gondola and another gondola then another lift and we still didnt even make it to the top of the mountain. Aparently you can actually ski that resort in Italy and Switerzerland. It is on such a bigger scale then anything I have seen. The snow is amazing so light and fluffy. Jason and I had a great time. My body was rejecting the sport since its the first time I have een this eary and my skills were rusty at the beginning so I fell a couple times and jacked my knees. I let Jason do oner un by himself while I looked for some pain killer at our restaurants and things were better after that. Only fun pOnly not fun part was this huge long flat stretch at the end getting back into the town, but it walked along by this really great little river which made for a beautiful walk.
60: Christmas Eve It was really great because Hannah and Renee were in town and we had planned to meet up but I hadnt heard from the. I told them previously what pub we would be eating at and they just happened to wander in and find us there. We opened christmas crackers and had a wonderful time together. What amazing friends I have! | After a yummy dinner we walked over this foot bridge. There were really beautiful night views. It was so nice having company in town because we walked all over the place and I really got better feeling for the city.
61: Christmas Day | I worked on Christmas Eve so when I got home we opened some small presents I had gotten for us. Including these read Union jack socks and had crepes Then we headed out for a nice Christmas Day walk. It as such a beautiful crisp day. Tower Bridge is about 2 miles from my house so we walked there first. Such an impressive structure. Then to st Pauls to try and catch their Christmas day choral service, much less crowded today since all London transport is down. Here we are on the massive church steps. I found out that these are the steps used in Mary Poppins when the bird lady sings "feed the birds" The service was really amazing an all male Choir in long white robes sang some amazing music, none which was recognizable to mea s christmas music. They did sing some christmas songs but to tunes I didnt know. It was amazing to be in a church of that amnitutde and to hear the choir voices resonate through the church. After we wandered home and met up with my roomates Nikki and Sarah and her bfriend Jose and had a nice christmas orast and attempted to watch Elf but all fell asleep.
62: Walking London Took the bus into Greenwhich and got this amazing view of the city. Then down to Thames and got on a river cruise. he driver gave us a brief description of everything we saw, it was freezing so we headed down to shelter. This pic is funny because Jason is jut being "gangster" but we remembered that Daren told us that this gesture is like flipping someone off in the UK Walked to Buckingham Palace Through Hyde park to this winter wonderland carnival christmas market Found a schnitzle (breaded fried german meat tasty) You just cant help but enjoy something with such a great name. Everywhere we went Jason was feeding the birds.. and as a result he got pooped on about 5 times. 3 times in Rome and twice in London. This bird got him good. It was pretty funny since Melanie hates birds, so they kept their distance during Jason's feeding. I think she might have been the smarter one. Speakers corner which is classically a place where peple would get on their soap box and preach about whatever they want. too cold today I guess. I am sure Gordon Be Hinkley preached on this corner during his missionary days
63: Kensington Gardens. It is really amazing what a huge area of the city is parks. There are 1700 in London Next was Portabello Road market at Notting HIll. We even happened upon the Travel Bookshop. This is the one where Hugh Grant works in the movie! From there we took a bus back to Oxford street. We didnt realizce how crazy it would be . After Christmas sales started. It seemed like black fri in the states. We found ourselves a nice pub and got some classic fish and chips with pea mash After wandered into the main square of Somerset House It has been around since the 16th century and was favvorite of the nobels and now is used by government. Our original plan for the night was to see Lion King but it was sold out. Jason went and sw Phantom and Melanie and I went to se teeny bopper heart throb Zac Effron in his new movie Me and Orson Wells This is the theatre where the movie premiered . The movie was mostly just weird but we were of course entertained by Zac. I hink oeverall today by the time we got home we walked at least 10 miles. It was a great day and we saw so much but my feet need a rest.
64: Museum-a-thon | Today after going to early church meetings we went to the Science Museum. I have this top ten book of London and it had the top ten things to see in the museum. This little simulator ride was number one. It was a simulated roller coaster with graphics about as good as Atari from the 80's. We just laughed when we got out and stopped following the top ten in the book.In the basement there was an exhibit of old house hold items like stoves and hair dryers, etc. Here there was a display of how a toilet works....complete with it's very own "floater" so you can follow it through the whole process....intersting but a little yuck too. Next was the Natural History Museum. Same stuff you see in all that type of museum. Their dinosaur bones were really cool and the building that houses the museum is spectacular. They had a working model of a T-rex which was cool and they had a model of a blue whale which is the largest mammal on earth. It was seriously the size of an airplane! Very cool. Jason's double chin was not quite as confincing as the real buddah - nice try J! Our last stop was the National Gallery where we got to see tons of really amazing Impressionist art by Rembrant, Monet, Manet, Serrat, Van Gogh, etc. It was an extremely cultural day. I really enjoyed it. Again....my feet need a break.
65: Golden Birthday A couple months ago I read "persuasion" by Jane Austin and found a quote that suited me perfectly this year. It reads as follows "it sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at 29 that she was ten year sbefore and generally speaking if ther has been niether ill health nor anxiety it is the time of lie at which scarcely any carm is lost" I think this is the situation in which I find myself | When we got inside we got in on a Yeman Wardens tours. These are the guards of the tower they are real military men who guard teh tower, live there, in the houses behind with thier families and take us all on tours. | They told us that these dorors are painted blue because soldiers used to be illiterate and a blue door signified a civillian residence and they would not enter. | Tower Bridge from the outter wall of the Tower. Stunning. | Spent the day at the Tower of London. Very interesting place. Originally a fortress , a royal palace, and a prison. It has also been the treasury for the crowned jewels of the united Kingdom since 1303. We had to wait in line to get tickets since there were tons of other tourists there today and it was pouring rain. | The tour was conducted exclusively in the chapel on the grounds since it was raing a ton. The warden told u about some of the most famous prisoners of the tower, namely anne Boylin and Henry the 8th other wife Katerine who was both beheaded in this square. We saw both their burial sites..creepy. We also got to go into the royal armoury and see tons of suits of armor and other cool weapons. After that I had to get Jason to the airport so I left Melanie ata tarbucks and got Jason his things an off to the airport.
66: Melanie went out for some adventures. King's cross train station finding 9 3/4 Must be a lot of us Harry Potter fans | British Library which turned out to be way cooler then expected. Magna carta. Lweis Carroll's original manuscript for Alice in Wonderland. The original score for Handel's Messiah. The Gutenberg Bible. Leonardo da Vinci Notebooks. Original manuscript of Jane Eyre. Several Beatles songs . Original scores by Mozart. | Harrods. Lavish department store. The Egyptian hall. We spent a good amount of time wandering. | This si the bathroom. Nonchalantly dabbing a bit of perfume on. Even the bathroom was amazing. | Great Italian Food | More Bday Fun
67: I had to work during the day which turned out to be lucky because when I got off I just walked right out to the westminster bridge to where all the acion is taking place tonight. By 8pm there were already a lot of people out. Around the London eye is equivalent of NYC times square. I ran into my roomate Sarah and her bfriend Jose. There was a DJ playing rubbish music so we danced to keep warm. It was mostly foreigners. As seems to be the case with foreigners the blonde hair really does something for them. This Italian asked to take a pic with me out of the blue. New years kiss out of the bealSo since Lauren and I decided this is the year of the sequin we had gotten our sequins ready for the night. Met another group of friends from Columbia. Bottom pic is sarah and Jose who were really fun to hang out with. The clock struck 12 and the fireworks went mad. We welcomed in the new year with big ben Once the festivites were over we all started to shuffle off the bridge and it all of the sudden started to snow. It was so dreamy. A little while after midnight I finally go tin touch with the girls who were all over at the Hyde Park chapel at the YSA dance. These girls have been one of my favorite things about 2009! what a blessing. We did a little gift exchange and chatted to the hours of morning. .
68: We headed to Windsor. Here we are on the mall leading into the castle. A mall over here I found out is a long stretch of land. You can kind of see the casle there in the background. But I was a little more excited about my new red patton leather Harrods bag. We saw these classic mail boxes and Lauren was going to take a pic for us but then this guy was waiting to take a pic so he took one for us. Here is the gate to Windsor castle we didnt go in but walking was a great way to see how majestic it was. Then we just walked a little down the high street and looked at some of the shops. It got really cold so we haded to a pub and sat for literally 2 hours chatting. | New Years Day in Windsor
69: So this pic was taken just after we got out of bed at 4pm! so We stayed up late again last night talking and watching a girlie movie and then all slep squished in my bed. We woke up anywhere between 10 and 12 and then layed in bed until 4pm. It was great! We just layed around and talked. Luckily the cookies and chocolates were in reach so we ate that for breakfast and lunch. We talked about all kinds of things including our new years resolutions and our high lights and low lights of 2009. My low light Madrir- So miserable. High light- meeting these two ladies and just living here and traveling. 2010 is looking good as well.
70: Spa Day | Hannah and I went for free spa day! Story goes that Lauren and I bought a two for one massage voucher at this spa and were supposed to go today but there was a mix up so we couldnt get our massages, the owner gave us two free passes to the thermal suite. Lauren wanted to just wait to come for the massages so Hannah came with me. It was so fun. We tried to act cool while the attendant was showing us around but the second she left we got our cameras out were running around like kids at Mc Donalds play land. . We got there about 10am and before we knew it it was 2! We were totally wrinkly and waterlogged. It was really great to be warm inside and watch the cld winter outside. | When we were done at the spa we headed over to the HSBC building which is the tallest building in London. There is a big shopping mall in the bottom so we checked out some of the after christmas sales. We met up with Renee in town and got some malaysian food.
71: Snow ball fight | Yeeeooowww! as Jenna would say. we decided to start the trip out with a bang and head to the west end for a show. We got an unexpected "bang"as we left my house we headed to town and this group of kids started lobbing snow balls at us. We quickly realized that they were following us and that we would have to make a stand. It turned out to be a pretty sorry snowball fight as no one actually got hit by a snowball. Also you may notice Jenna is wearing my clothes.. she got here ok..but her luggage was lost in Canada. We went and saw blood brothers which is currently starring Ginger spice from Spice Girls. It turned out to be pretty amazing show. I cannot recall a movie I have seen where I laughed out loud and cried out loud. I am so greatful for the happy and relatively care free life I am blessed with
72: Found a beautifully made snow man just outside the entrance to Hyde Park so we shared some winter lovin' with him | Can you see that though some ducks are swimming some are walking around on ice! The lake is almost completly frozed over except for where all those birds swim continuously. Before we froze we went to Harrods, and Portobello road and Notting Hill. | By 3 we were frozed to the bone so we headed indoor for a little entertainment and saw Stomp. Probably the most profitable show ever. It is in a small theatre so no sound equimpment needed. They use junk as props for making their music. Everything right down to the kitchen sink.
73: A day in Scotland Unfortunately had to work all weekend so Jenna did some tours and her won thing. As you can see by my ghostly breath..its still freezing! We hopped on a night bus to Edinburgh Nothing like sitting up for 8 hours. We did all the things I did last time and still amazing the second time. We went on a tour of the closes under the city. You can see JK Rowlings inspiration for Hogwarts. We finished the tour in the city park. You can see the castle overlooking the park. Once again we finished as popsicles. So we headed to see Avatar. I am not converted to sci fi but it was entertaining.
74: On Jenna's last day here (she got her luggage today) We rented a car and headed for the country. First stop Stonehenge. Not many people have seen it under snow. When we rented the car the guy at the desk found out we were going there and there was this crazy religious group out there that was always chanting and singing. He said he thought they were Mormons. Well, we set him strait on that one. Then we drove on through the country, really beautiful snowy drive over to Laycock village. The drive itself was really great and it was fun to just hang out with Jenna and catch up . Finished off the night by seeing one of my fav. Les Miserables. I saw it less then a month ago but I really love the music and I am not piecing the story together in its entirety. So it was a quick trip for Jenna but we had a blast. | Stonehenge
75: Sherlock Holmes | This afternoon I headed to 221b Baker Street to the fictitional residence/museum of Sherlock Holmes.Mr. Watson was on site so we discussed some cases in the sitting room...hehe. They had tons of memorabilia from all his different books, but I am not a big enough fan to have read them all, but it was really cool to see what an early 20th century house would have looked like. In the books, Sherlock lived there until 1904, so it has been restored to look like a home in that time period, so that was pretty cool. On the top floor they had wax figures set up in scenes from the various books....creepy! After I left I found out that Abbey Road was just one underground stop away, so I went over and walked in the Beatles footsteps. I was just realizing as I was there how much those 4 men changed the world. Very cool.This is Abbey Road Studios, still a music studio today. The Beatles recorded more than 200 songs here.After that little jaunt I was back on the Sherlock Holmes trail....I met up with Hannah and we went to the Sherlock Holmes pub.We have so much fun together, we both talk really fast I have noticed when we hang out. We talked about our bucket lists. I have been making sure that I fit in all the important stuff from mine and I made a copy for Hannah. Hannah had to go to work then, so I went to the cinema and topped off my Sherlock Holmes day seeing the movie. I really enjoyed it...probably more so because I am in London. So fun!
76: Tate Britan | Here are three paintings that I loved from the Tate, This painting is by John Everett Millais. Here he depicts Marianna, the main character from William Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure"Mourning for Icarus by Herbert James Draper. His story comes from Greek mythology. Icarus' father made him wings of wax and advised him not to fly too close to the sun. He forgot his fathers advice and as his wings melted he fell to his death. John Singer-Sargent called Carnation Lily - Lily Rose. It was painted in the Cotswold of southern England and is a few neighbor girls.This is also in Hyde Park. It is a memorial to Prince Albert, erected by his wife Queen Victoria after his death. It sits directly across from Royal Albert Hall.This is Royal Albert Hall where I went to see Cirque de Soleil tonight. The hall itself is really stunning. It is built after the fashion of the ancient roman coliseum, so it is massive inside with a huge round stage in the center.The show of course was really amazing. It was like a circus on crack. There was apparently some kind of story line going on but I think you must have to be on crack to understand that. Luckily all the acts were so incredible that it didn't really matter. There were incredible acrobatics, jugglers, tumblers and extortionists. It was one of those shows where I kept saying "wow" all the time without even thinking about it. It really is amazing what the human body can do.
77: Oxford walking tour | I went to Oxford to see Renee and Hannah. We started off with a walking tour of the city. My camera decided to completly die on me so I only havea few shots. Our tour went to new college just as notable but perhaps not as intelletual. hugh grant and Cate Beckensell studied here. Malfoy is turned into a farrett under this tree in the Goblet of Fire. After the tour we went to the=is pub cs lewis and jf Tolken used to come here in their time We met up with a few friends Harjot and Lucy and got some dinner and had fun chatting.
78: Getting Renee on her bus was quite an undertaking | Cafe for breakfast. Hannah and I shared our meals so she started calling me wifeie | she even fed me some of her crepes..haha | We were so sad to se REenee leave. We have been in each others everything for the last 5 months | infamous dining hall of christchurch replica made for harry potter | Lewis Carrol who wrote Alice in Wonderland was a math tutor at Christchurch and this window shows Alice in the top left window along the botom of the window you cans see the other characters from his book. | Main quad of the college. Where Harry learns to ride his broom | This is the chestnut tree outside the library. Lewis Carrol worked in the library and often watched a cat called Dinah in the tree. It belonged to the Deans daughter Alice who could also be seen playing in the garden below. Dinah became the Cheshire cat in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. | exit it was so picturesque | We headed back to Hannah's to watch Goblet of Fire. and see all the Oxford sights in the movie. View from Hannah's dining room of the financial distric of Canary Warf. Her kitchen is pretty posh we made some pancakes.
79: Lion King It wasn't the most amazing show but seeing the costumes was totally worth it. The giraffe was my favorite. After the show, I walked down Drury lane. Now there is not much going on but it used to be the main theatre street in London.
80: Went on a tour down south to Leeds Castle Dover and Cantebury. Blackheath is where the victims of the bubonic plague were buried. They cant build anything here because if they unearth the bodies they will release the plague into the air again. | Medieval bathroom even though they didnt bathe that often | Renovated room used for conferences. The Egyptian pres and Israeli Foreign Minister met in this room to prepare for the camp david Accord. | Entryway. The castle was really amazing to see. | Lady Baillie was very fond of exotic birds. Kookaburra. Sounds like a money. Also a toucan. | Next stop white cliffs of Dover. castle perched on top even | Canterbury Cathedral. Original cathedral in this location was founded in the 7th century | Leeds Dover Canterbury
81: After work Hannah and I went to hotel nearby where we had breakfast buffet that is discounted for NHS emplyees. Traditional English breakfast. After about an hour we realized we probably got a little carried away!!!
82: This evening after I had moved out of my place and stahed my stuff at Hannah's we packed our bags for Sweden and headed to the Indian quarter of town. | sooo full | Luckily after checking out some last min sights we made it just in time for our flight. Then it was time to sit in the airport all night waiting for our 6 am flight. I hadnt slept for more then 2 hours in a row since Tue.
83: This is our Hostel..rad! It was built in the late 1800's and used as a training ship for the navy. It made several trips around the world before serving as WWII bunkers and then converted to a youth hostel. It was really reezing. Hannah was wearing about 16 layers. Hybrid between a bag lady and Japanese tourist. Figured out the bus system and got some yummy swedish dogs and headed to the Vasa Museum. The Vasa was a 17th century war ship that tipped over and sunk after sailing for 20 min. it sat at the bottom of the sea until 1960;s because the Baltic sea is not very salty there are no barnacles here so easily restored. Extremely elaborate stern coverted with crests and statues of roman gods. Old diving bell You would have stood up in there and been lowered into the water. The air trapped in the bell would allowed you 30 min of oxygen. cool but creepy. After the museum we went back to our ship to relax. We had dropped by the grocery store for some food and found these little cocnut covered puff balls heavelny goodness.
84: Breaky. Hot coco morning noon and night. Toast with jam every morning kept us going. One of the greatest parts was busting through all these chunks of ice. A nursing home.. not bad! Home owned by one of the richest families in Sweden. They own many different companies including Saab. Had to have a quick Titanic moment. After the tour dropped into Mc Donald's to warm up. They had blueberry cream pies. Spent most of the afternoon wandering around little shops and found some sweet hats. Pippy Longstockings is swedish. Hannah and I bought these sweet tshirts with swedish flag for about 2 pounds. We sported our t's and ran around deck taking photos Ahoy!! | Sweden
85: Happy Australia Day! Today everyone will be having a bbq and running around in bathing suits, not us. Not sure why its such a novelty to stand on ice above water but it is. First up for the day was Skansen, an outdoor museum that details life in Sweden. They had shops set up as they would have been in mid 1800's. Watched glass blowing very interesting. In the kiddy land they had cool sheep made out of ropes. They had a whole portion of the park for the local animals of Sweden. Reindeer. Owls.and moose. I dont remember seeing those at a zoo everOn our way out of the park we found these classic painted . Getting up on them was half the fun. It's harder than it looks. After Skansen we headed to the island of Gramla Stan which is their old town. We went to cool cafe and had a cellar for some swedish desserts. Hannah just got a new camera so we were trying out different colors. Our last stop on Australia day was the Absolute Ice Bar. Complete contrast from what Hannah would be doing at home. It was very first ice bar ever created. Everything but the floor and ceiling are made of ice. We had to put on special parkas not only to keep us warm but so our body temp wouldnt melt the ice. Even the cups are made of ice. We got some lemonade which was glowing tasty but suspicious. Not terrible comfortable but we chilled in these ice recliners And to end our day we had to run around in our tshirts and freeze on the deck of the boat.
86: Saying goodbye to Swedein | We ate these noodles each night and decided to finish them off today. We brought them in a plastic bag and had the rest of our pesto on the side with soy sauce on the other. Prettytasty but looks manky. by the time we landed we needed real food so off the Wetherspoons. I am going to miss Hannah. She has been such a life saver. | Last time it snowed was a month ago bu not a bit had melted so todays snow just added on top of last months. It is the first time in 15 years they have had a proper snowy winter with ice on the water and all that make for the complete Sweden experience, so I am glad we had snow.
87: Spa Day with Lauren | I met up with Lauren for our much awaited Spa Day and massages. It was the same spa I went to before with Hannah and this time we got 50 min massages.. amazing! I had tons of knots in my back from travling around, sot was really nice to relax and more than that it was really nice to hang out with Lauren. I haven't seen her in a month and she is great! I am feeling very bittersweet about leaving London. I have some amazing frineds here. After the spa we went to the Hummingbird Bakery in Soho. I had a choc cupcake with cheesecake chunks and cream cheese frosting. We headed back to the tube whenwe walked by this amzing looking Italian place I had such a fun time hanging out with Lauren today. She didnt just fill a gap in my life I would have picked her to be a friend. Hopefully we will stay friends for a long long time.
88: Jon and Charlie. Never a dull moment here at Tommies. I was able to meet some great people and learn a new way of doing things..won't miss the uniform too much | Last day of work at St Thomas Hospital Jan 30 2010
89: Prague | Flew into Prague and wandered around town checked out shops and sights. I sat down on a bench here to write a post card to Justin and just as I did this bum who smelled of cheap wine came up to me and started saying something in Czeck and put his hand out for money. I only had a few coins for tomorrow so I didnt give him any. Instead of just going away he just stood there over me while I wrote. I tried to offer him an orange I had just bought but he just pointed to hs tooth and heald his hand out (apparently oranges are too hard for or their alchol content wasn't high enough) For about 5 min he hovered around me. Then I finished and held my purse and walked away. Weird. The castle was amazing at night. and for dinner some traditional Czeck food. Braised beef with potato pancakes very yum
90: Walking Prague | Real Prague Cathedral..not a disneyland fake. I met up with a group for a walking tour of the city. There is an astronomical clock which was built sometime in the 15th century. very complex for that time. Next the Estes Theatre. Mozart conducted the first show of Don Giovanni there. Next the Jewish quarters. There are a few synagoges left in the city. The guide explained that Hitler occupied the city for 7 years which was plenty of time for him to destroy them all but his plan was to keep this Jewish quarter in tact as a museum of the extinct Jewish race.. twisted. Little history on the Prague castle. Used today for a government building. It was started in 870 and finished in 1926.. certainly took their time. Largest medieval castle in the world..very cool. A pic of me in Wenceslaus square, you can see a statue of him sitting on his horse behind me. This is the king the Christmas Carol was written after. I finished the day by going to the National Theatre to see an Opera "Vec Makropulos" The theater was amazing, the orchestra sounded fantastic and the singing was beautiful. The opera had english translations to read in the last 10 min I figured out that it was about a beautiful opera singer who had found the elixer of life and lived to mbe 337 and how life had lost all meaning for her
92: Pariser Platz. This city is incredibly historic. WWI and WWII were both started here and the cold war began and finished in this city. | Jewish memorial, suprisingly only built in 2005 It is made up of this blank slabs of dark rock. No jewsactually died on this sight but it is right in the center of Berlin | Reichstag, German Government building | Posh Hotel Adlon. Building Michael Jackson dangled his baby from the 3rd floor | The spot wher the tour guide is standing, just beyond the blue car is the sight directly over the bunker where Hitler commiteted suicide. He ceremoniously killed his wife and favorite dog first with cyanide and then shot himself (because soldiers die from gun shots not syanide) Our tour guide pointed out that it is very fittingthat there is nothing to nothing to mark the spot of his death except a bi ugly parking lot. | The Wall. It was interesting to learn more about it. Apparently there were 4 different parts of Germany and Wset berlin was in a part of the country where they were offering 100 deutchmarks to immigrate and life was better and thriving there so they built the wall to stop immigration then to stop it they had to shut all the borders and eventually people were trapped there. It finally came down Now9, 1989 and people from East Germany flooded in and ran around and eventually went home, they didnt necessarily want to live there they were simply fighting for the right to travel. | This area on the west side of the wall is where the building stood where all the masterminding of the holocaust was done. You can see remnats of brick walls underground, this would have been where prisoners were kept and tourtured before being sent to camps. | checkpoint Charlie. One f of the most used crossings between west and east Germany. | Book burning memorial which is the same spot where 20,000 books by forward thinking authors were burned in 1933. You can vaguely see book shelves under the glass. There is just enough space on those shelves to hold 20,000 bookds. There is also an intersting plaque nearby that has a quote by Heinrich Hein in 1821, "Where they have burned books, they will in the end burn people" Very prophetic.
93: Humbolt University. Anciently teaching was very different teacher taught student, student grew up and became professor and taught what he was tauhgt from his teacher. Someon here came up with idea that professors should also be students and thus research was born | German National Cathedral. It was built in the late 19th century mostly because they were trying to keep up with St Paul's Notre Dame | After the walking tour I went to one of the best museums in Berlin, the Pergamon museum. This is the Pergmon alter where sacrifices were burnt to their gods. | Ancient gate to the city of Babylon. The lower tiles are the original tiles and the rest is a recration The recreation of the path waling up to the gate, very ornate. | Mini model of what it would have looked like in the tie of Nebacunezzar II | Berlin Germany | Top of the Reichtag dome. It has spiral walkways all the way to the top. The view was amazing. I have really just seen a tiny piece of this huge city. | While the dome offers a great view it is also very symbolic this is the view looking down the parliament room where the politicans meet. so this may serve as a reminder that they are very literally under the people they are representing. | View of the dome
94: I went today to visit a true concentration camp. It was a very intense experience all together. One I am glad that I had but one I probably wouldn't repeat. As I saw in first person all the evidence of these atrocities I wasn't quite sure how to deal with it. It felt weird to talk about normal things or to eat my sandwich. I just kept thinking...."Oh Heavenly Father, these are all your children!" What a terrible time it must have been for him and what a sweet release it must have been for these men and women to meet death and their maker. I guess what I take away from my time in Berlin is to enjoy the rights that I have. The right to simply be free.....how massive that simple thing is!
95: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
97: Saying Goodbye
98: Going Home | 19 hours after I said goodbye to the lovely fields of England.....I said hello to LA - could they be more dramatically different??? It was so nice to fly over LA and see familiar stores and people driving in their cars and houses instead of flats, all things that are familiar to me. But there are so many things that have become familiar to me about London. I saw a big Target and thought, "I am really going to miss Tesco". I also saw a big parking lot and thought, I am really excited to drive my car to the grocery store and not have to walk 15 minutes home with heavy bags. Bittersweet...
99: So great to be back in this place I love with so many people that I love!