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Entries in England (11)

Sunday
Aug252013

Sleeping In the Airport: Stansted

Stansted is famous for being a local budget airline hub. As such, hundreds of flights daily go in and out of this medium sized airport carting thousands of budget travelers to and fro around Europe. As such, this airport caters to overnight guests. There are lots of flights leaving before 8 AM and as such, it’s a tempting option to stay at the airport rather than booking at a local hotel or hostel in London as...

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Tuesday
Jul262011

Spending the Night on a Towel on a Concrete Floor

For those of you who didn’t know, I will be spending the next two weeks on a quick tour of the west coast of the Balkan peninsula. If you have no idea what that is, click here to read the wikitravel article for a bit of background. I will be starting in Zadar croatia and working my way slowly down the coast by bus through Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Montenegro and Albania before arriving in Greece.

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Tuesday
Dec142010

Finding Myself Re-evaluating my Position on London

I woke up at Rachel’s at 1 PM incredibly refreshed. I hadn’t slept on a bed that nice, or for that long since Valencia (almost 2 months prior) and I had my favorite kind of plans laid out for the day: none. And I started enacting that plan promptly. I walked to the grocery store to pick up some items, turned on VH1 on Sky and dumped the entire contents of my backpack out onto...

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Tuesday
Nov302010

London. And Pulling Myself Out of My Rut. 

I've always hated London. I've only been about a half dozen times, so it's not really fair for me to be so negative about it. But I really didn't like the place any time I'd been before. So I wasn't exactly excited to be there. My plane got in late. About 11:00 PM. Then I had to catch the train out about 30 minutes away to get to the house that had been so GRACIOUSLY offered up by a friend while...

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Wednesday
Dec262007

The Bells were Ringing out on Christmas Day

map londonLocation: London, England, UK

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!

Ours has been a VERY relaxing one. We slept in this morning and started our day with a little Gone with the Wind and then a HUGE brunch at the Hilton complete with Mimosa's, every kind of meat imaginable, mince pie, bacon wrapped sausage, pralines, a truffle tree and raspberry cheesecake; not to mention all of the things I didn't get a chance to try. At each table, we had a little box present and a Christmas popper which contained balloons, a paper hat, confetti, those firework poppers and a little present. I got measuring cups :) Everyone in the restaurant was letting the poppers off, blowing up the balloons and then letting them go and fly and it was so loud and fun! Before the end of the meal, we were all covered in confetti and gifts. Santa also brought us some magic markers, but he made me and Andrea share because he said we were too old to be getting our own!!

After a quick rest, we jogged down to Kensington garden where we got some fantastic pictures of the sunset. There were these two swans swimming in the Spanish ponds that kept following us around and we got a lot of pictures of them as well. We walked in the dark to Prince Albert's Memorial which was huge and all lit up. We took a cab back to the hotel where we watched the end of the African Queen. Dinner tonight was at a very cute little Italian restaurant who had the most amazing tortellini. We're calling it another early night because we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. The family is heading back to Tulsa and I am off to mainland Europe. It's also Boxing Day here in the UK which is a holiday that was originally started as a holiday where gifts are given to the poor. The name originates from the fact that on Christmas, collection boxes are sent around churches and then the next day, the "boxes" are divided and passed out. Now, its basically a huge day when no one has to work and everyone shops, so we think it's going to be quite busy around town.

Anyways, Merry Christmas again!! I'll try to get pictures up as soon as possible. I know I'm a couple days behind.

XOXO

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Now playing: Elvis Presley - Blue Christmas
via FoxyTunes

Monday
Dec242007

With all our Tricks we're making Christmastime

map londonLocation: London, England, UK

After I last updated, we found a fantastic little corner pub right next to our hotel called the Sussex Arms Pub. We knew we were going to like it after the first Guinness that my dad bought had a four leaf clover drawn on the top of it in the foam. It was a really cute little local place and by the time we got there, most of the people were quite toasted. By the end of the night it was like a group karaoke session. We were singing songs like "That's Amore" and doing pub-wide cheers to Christmas!! It was really fun.

This morning we woke up early to start sight seeing, hoping that we would be able to do tours in the globe theater, tower of London and the Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, all three of them were closed. We went to the globe theater first which was Andrea's favorite part. She was really involved in drama in high school so I think she had a little more personal attachment than the rest of us. The theater was very cool to look at though. After that, we went to St. Paul's cathedral, which is the one that Princess Diana got married at. My dad says that this is the location of every Royal wedding and funeral and we could see why. The building was huge and looked more appropriate as a state capital building than a cathedral.

We took the tube to the tower of London, hoping that we would be able to walk around inside, but unfortunately they were closed for the day. We walked around the outside and down towards the Tower Bridge and took a lot of pictures. The water was beautiful and the weather was nearly perfect. The sun kept peeking out from behind the clouds but remained behind enough for us to get perfect lighting for our photos.

After this we took the tube to the Westminster Abbey which was... surprise... closed. We walked around the outside and down around parliament which was just as amazing as the first time I saw it about a week ago. We decided to start heading back to the hotel to get ready for Christmas. We went to Harrods to get a couple board games to play tonight and to grab some food. The store was HUGE. There was this wonderful Egyptian staircase that ran through the center of the entire store with carvings on the escalators and hieroglyphics on the walls. Our favorite area of the store (besides the jewelry department... duh) was the toy store. There was the amazing snow (that we made my mom buy) that was a powder that turned to real snow when you added water to it. Like real wet cold feeling snow. I have no idea how it works, but it was amazing. Don't worry, we're bringing some home :)

After Harrods, we tried to make it down to Buckingham palace but it was getting dark too early so we headed home to start decorating for Christmas (My parent's don't know we did this yet so don't tell :) We hung stockings and Christmas lights and tinsel in our room and put candy and stocking stuffers in the little stockings. It's nothing special but we wanted to make sure it at least felt somewhat homey in our little Abbey court hotel room.

I put a picture up of our little home away from home :) After that break, we went to eat at a corner pub and have been sitting there since then. We actually left the parents there to come here and check email and update the blog, so I probably should get back to them; who knows what kind of trouble they are getting into without us!!

Anyways, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas Eve!! We enjoy all of the wishes and blessings you guys have sent to us on the message board and I appreciate all of you following along!!

I hope everyone has a safe holiday and I love you all!!

XOXO

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Now playing: Amy Grant - The Night Before Christmas
via FoxyTunes

Sunday
Dec232007

Where you go, is where I want to be

map londonLocation: London, England, UK

Today was all train rides. We woke up relatively early to have breakfast and then get on the 10:30 train back to London. One thing I have realized is that travelling in groups over 2 people without reservations on a train is a BAD idea. It's just really hectic trying to find seats together and, expecially during the holiday season, its impossible to find someplace to put your luggage. I ended up tying my backpack to a luggage compartment and just letting it hang from the top because I couldn't find any other place to put it.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. We passed through almost all of England, through fog, rain, snow and ice. The only thing that was really noteworthy was when we passed through a town called Preston, England. See, I had a dream about 2 years ago, and the image from above was in my dream. I'm not sure if I had seen a picture previously, or if I was somehow pre-installed with this stock image, but I have seen this before; and as soon as I saw it, I knew exactly where that deja vous was stemming from.

Not sure if you signed up for tagging along for my philosophical divulgance into chicken before the egg, but unfortunately (or fortunately) for you, when you signed up to follow my physical journey, you also signed up to follow the emotional and spiritual development that I am sure to experience while I am over here. Consider yourself blessed to catch a glimpse at my inner workings ;)

All for now. We have arrived in London and checked into our hotel the Abbey Court in Hyde Park for the evening. We had some pizza and bruschetta at an Italian restaurant chain called "Ask" and now we are off to have a pre-bedtime brewsky at a local pub. Tomorrow will be busy, but at least it seems to be a little bit warmer here!!

XOXO

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Now playing: Dave Matthews Band - Where Are You Going?
via FoxyTunes

Friday
Dec212007

The Family is Here

map liverpoolLocation: Liverpool, England, UK

I am freezing. Being back in Liverpool yesterday was a huge shock to my system. I've figured out how to convert temperatures. It was about 55F in Ireland and here's it goes from about 28 in the morning to no warmer than 34 in the afternoons. Plus there is this horrible wind that whips constantly. Brrrr!!!

Yesterday was very relaxing. I spent the morning walking around down on the docks. On the way, I visited two very different churches. The first, is the metropolitan church which (in the pictures I will post as soon as I can) is the one that kind of looks like a space ship. It was very unique. I'll just leave it at that. The second of the two was a medieval and beautiful dark stone church that was extremely gloomy. the fog was very thick and the church was so tall that you could barely see the top of it. There was very thick brush that ran all the way around it and then there was a moat (yes, an actual moat) that ran all the way around it. The moat was about a 100 foot drop from the road and then the church came up out of the ground there. It was beautiful.

At this point, I headed towards the river and visited Albert Dock which is the site of the Beatles museum as well as a historical focal point for liverpool. Aparently, back in the day, Liverpool was a huge slave trade port and there is a huge museum dedicated to it on this dock. This is also the site of most of the classic Liverpoolean worker images that come to mind (most notably, Accross the Universe... think the shipyards where Jude worked... Loved that movie Cheesy Grin) The docks are very well preserved and there are some fantastically old ships that still sit in the water nearby. It was extremely foggy yesterday which added to the mystery.

After all of this fun, I found the Pier Head (after much strife) and caught a ferry to the other side of the River Mersey. Mike met me here and his dad drove us back to their little house in Wallassey. It was exactly what you would expect. Cute little brick house with cute little rooms on a cute little road. I was instantly greeted by warm soup, hot tea and some mince pie. I met Lucy, Mike's sister, and her daughter Kira as well as Mike's mom. We sat and chatted for a long time and played with Amelia (Mike and Kimmie's daughter) and Kira. We went to dinner at a very cute little (of course) country pub where I had some sort of beef pie with mashed potatoes and gravy on top. It was very strange, but VERY delicious. After this we went to Lucy's house and sat around and played with Amelia and Kira for a little while longer before the Allens dropped me back off in Liverpool to meet up with my parents.

After I had completely exhausted Mom, Dad and Andrea's ear about Ireland, they ate some dinner and then we went to this brewery around the corner to have a couple more beers before bed. The place was very cute and very local. I'm so excited that they're in town, I've already taken Andrea on a crash course of Liverpool and I know it's going to be much more exciting to share all of the excitement with an actual human.

XOXO

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Now playing: Rick Springfield - Jesse's Girl
via FoxyTunes