A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: anna_mg

From London to Scotland and back again

sunny

Unfortunately my blog wasn't working for several weeks, so I haven't been able to update until now. I'm unable to post photographs, too, so you'll just have to deal with the written narrative. :)

London was great, as always, and it was nice to see my mom again! The weather was absolutely sweltering, and people were even fainting in the Underground. My mom and I avoided the tubes, but this means we had to either shell out the cash for taxis, or... walk. Walking is fine in small doses, but we made the mistake of trying to walk from Waterloo to the Tower of London - it took us about two hours! The Tower of London was fantastic, though, I've wanted to visit for years and it didn't fail to disappoint.

After several days in London we took the Eurostar across the channel to Paris. Paris was extremely hot, too. I don't know if I like Paris as much as London, but then again, I've spent more time in London. I got to visit the Opera Garnier and saw a ballet there.

When we returned to England, we rented a car and drove up to Scotland. My mom did admirably well driving a car of the left side of the road, although we did get honked at a few times. We spent three nights in York, an ancient Roman city with loads of old buildings and a lot of ghost stories. I dragged my poor mother to a ghost tour, which was a lot of fun - the guide was very knowledgable and didn't do any hokey tricks.

After York we went to Edinburgh. I've never been to Scotland before and it was really beautiful. We went on the most famous ghost tour in the world, and unfortunately had no supernatural occurrences, despite the guide warning us that people have been taken off his tour in an ambulance! We went horseriding in the highlands, which was a ton of fun and had beautiful scenery.

We crossed Scotland to Glasgow, which I didn't enjoy so much as Edinburgh. Admittedly, we didn't get to see a lot of Glasgow because we spent a full day up at the Loch Lomond Highland Games, which were fun but, yet again, very hot! I don't think I've ever heard so many bagpipes in my entire life.

After Scotland we made our way back down to England's Lake District, which was gorgeous and... you guessed it... hot. But I think the weather was cooling down at this point and it actually rained, which helped to get rid of some of the heat and dust.

At this point, despite enjoying our trip, my mom and I were getting a bit weary so it was nice to get back to my grandma's house and relax for a while!

Posted by anna_mg 03:22 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

London

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The train took a while to get to London, but at least I had a book, unlike last time! We took our bags to our hotel, which was a little bed & breakfast run by one of Grandma’s friends near Edgeware Road. There were lots of middle-eastern people in the area, and it was kind of a new thing for me to see lots of women in headscarves and some even in full burkas.

The first thing we did was go to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I specifically wanted to see the historical costumes, which I’m a big fan of! There were not too many, because they had a silly 1960s fashion display, but there were some nice dresses that I took photos of. I also saw the Raphael cartoons and lots of other awesome historical items like tapestries, paintings, suits of armor; the list goes on and on!

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That night we went to see a play, a comedy called Hayfever with Judi Dench. The plot is that each member of this melodramatic and theatrical family invites a friend over for the weekend, without telling anyone else, so the house is very crowded and the guests are rather ‘disturbed’ by the eccentric family. It was hilarious! And it was cool to see Judi Dench in real life instead of just movies.

We went to the British Museum, which was fantastic. I especially loved the Egyptian artifacts – there were rooms and rooms full of it! We also saw the Rosetta stone, not to mention loads and loads of Greek, Roman, and other ancient things, plus some more modern things (I guess you can say that 200 year old items are modern, compared to some of the other artifacts there!) It was so awesome to think of how old everything was.

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We visited St Paul's Cathedral, which was absolutely amazing. It was huge and so beautiful, but sadly we weren't allowed to take pictures of the interior. I climbed all the way to the top, however - what a workout! Luckily it was a clear day, and I got some wonderful views of London.

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We went to a pub to watch the England vs. Trinidad & Tobago soccer match, which was SO much fun. Everyone is absolutely insane about the World Cup here, and I’ve been really getting into it. Soccer is the only sport I like watching! The pub was crammed full and everyone was excited and yelling, and you wouldn’t believe the noise when England scored. It was loud enough to wake the dead!

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(I practically chased that bus down the street to get a picture of it!)

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(There are tons of little cars like this in England!)

Posted by anna_mg 02:49 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Stonehenge and Avebury

sunny

Yesterday we visited Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circle. I've been to Stonehenge when I was about ten, and I've wanted to return ever since! The stones were as fascinating and beautiful as always, and I spent a good hour just wandering arond the circle and looking at the stones from different angles. It's hard to believe they're four thousand years old.

The weather was beautiful and I got some wonderful pictures. I confess to taking exactly forty-two photos... what can I say, I love Stonehenge and I love taking pictures! Even though in the photos you can't see many people, let me assure you, there were swarms of tourists - I heard more foreign languages than I heard English!

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After that we visited the Avebury Stone Circle. It isn't as famous as Stonehenge - but I guess that's a good thing, because here they let us wander around the stones and actually touch them. The circle isn't as "tall" as Stonehenge but it's much wider. In fact, it actually contains a tiny village. Peasants in the 18th century tore out some of the stones, but there are still lots left.

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I know the last one is silly! That's me pretending to be a druid. My grandma and I saw some hippie/pagan type people in long flowy skirts, running their hands all over the stones. We actually overheard one say to the other, "Can't you just feel the power?" It just had us in fits of giggles. I guess you had to be there...

Posted by anna_mg 02:13 Archived in England Comments (0)

London

sunny

We took a day trip to London yesterday, which was a lot of fun. We were just there for a play and a ballet so we didn't do much sightseeing (that comes next week!) but we did have a good wander around Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and some of the "smaller" non-touristy districts. Despite the fact that it's not full blown tourist season, the place was absolutely swarming with people!

We arrived in London by train at around 11 am, and from there we took the tube to Leicester Square and picked up some matinee tickets to a play called Embers, starring Jeremy Irons (a wonderful actor.) It was rather long, but good! After that we just wandered around, which suited me perfectly. I hadn't been in London since I was about ten and I think I was just walking around with a big grin on my face! I just love London, it's so fantastic! Everywhere you look there's something different, and so many of the buildings have been standing there for hundreds of years and have seen so much life and change go by. It's a beautiful city, with so much to look at and absorb.

We eventually wandered into Chinatown, and had a bite to eat at a very good Japanese restaurant. My grandma and I were literally the only non-Asians there! And, unfortunately, since it was the heart of Chinatown they did not have any knives or forks. I did fairly well with my chopsticks until I got to the larger pieces of chicken... then I had to attempt to cut it with my spoon!

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After eating we walked in the general direction of Trafalgar Square and Big Ben. There were so many people, I felt as if I was fighting off a mob! I was having some trouble getting through the crowd and my grandma leaned over and said in my ear, "Anna, don't be so polite, you have to use some elbow action here!" And after I did some pushing and shoving I worked my way through the masses!

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We walked along the Thames for a while. Suddenly my grandmother said, "What on earth are they doing?" I looked out and saw two men in the middle of the river! My first thought was, "They're going to be killed!" The Thames is a busy place, absolutely crammed with tour boats. A woman nearby said that they had dared each other to swim across. Everyone watched with bated breath until a police boat came by and hauled them out!

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After that we stopped at a cafe to change into nicer clothes and headed to the ballet. The Royal Opera House was beautiful and the ballet was wonderful. It ended at about 10 pm, and my grandma and I rushed to the tubes! We had to catch the 10:20 train and so we went charging through the Underground, dashing in and out of various hallways and cramming ourselves onto the trains. At one point we were running towards a train whose doors were closing, and my grandma seized it and pushed it back open and we hurled ourselves inside! It was hectic but hilarious; I wish I had a video or something.

Luckily we did catch the train just in time... and we both fell asleep on the way home. What an exhausting - but great - day.

Posted by anna_mg 03:07 Archived in England Comments (0)

Lulworth Castle and Barrington Court

sunny

Today we visited two places, Lulworth Castle and Barrington Court.

Lulworth was built in the 17th century but was sadly gutted by a fire in the 1920s. Even though there weren't any ceilings or "insides" it was still interesting, not to mention huge. They had models in period dress, which I of course loved, being the costume buff that I am. I didn't get any pictures, though, my batteries ran out!

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Barrington Court is a 16th century mansion which unfortunately has none of the original Tudor interior, but the reproductions were nice. Many of the rooms are used by a company called Stuart Interiors, that sells antique furniture - and when I say antique, I mean antique, as in furniture that's 400 years old and costs thousands of dollars. It gave the place a nice authentic atmosphere, even though I couldn't afford the cheapest candlestick! The gardens were beautiful, but they wreaked havoc on my allergies.

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Posted by anna_mg 10:14 Archived in England Comments (0)

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