Thursday, August 18, 2011

day 362

oh, london. you have so many great things. so many that it may take me a lifetime to see them all. here is today's fun filled adventures:

1. shakespeare's globe: isn't shakespeare grand? i mean, really, the man can do no wrong. has anyone seen the preview for the movie "anonymous" about the validity of shakespeare's works? i might cry a thousand tears if it turns out he's a fraud. but until the movie comes out, i stand by him and am here to tell you about the greatness of the globe theatre. 

sigh. the globe. so romantic. so dramatic. so historic! for those that aren't shakespeare buffs (not suggesting i am), there were a few big theatres back in shakespeare's day and the globe was one of them. shakespeare primarily wrote for (and often performed in) the theatre group called lord chamberlain's men. 

the globe theatre in london today is as close a replica as possible. they have a thatched roof (covered in hay) and it was constructed entirely out of oak, no steel was used. pretty snazzy if you ask me. 

anyway, enough history for you today. the tour took us into the theatre where we got to watch some actors rehearsing for an upcoming show. that was really cool- they don't use any microphones, only use a live "band" of musicians, rely primarily on natural light. very authentic. then we got to go see all the different costumes, how they created special effects back then, etc. it was really amazing. 

2. bus tour: sometimes i love bus tours. mostly cos it gives my feet a break, but also cos it covers a lot in a small amount of time. we got to see where mozart lived, where j.k. rowling lives (brooke was dying to stop by and say hi), learn a ton of trivia about different monuments. we even saw some campers who've been living in tents for the past 5 years protesting the war. five years? i probably would have given up by then. 

3. tower of london: you would think that with a whole day ahead of you, you'd be able to see a ton of sights, right? wrong. brooke and i only saw the globe, went on a bus tour, and had lunch by the time we arrived for the last tour at tower of london. unfortunately, the entire city of london also knew that this was the last tour, and my claustrophobia kicked in. we decided to ditch the tour and do things on our own. the last time i was in england, i went on a tour of tower of london and having a guide makes it all the more worthwhile. we did see a lot of amazing things, but our feet were KILLING us!!! by the end, i was like, "i don't care if queen elizabeth herself is in here showing off the crown jewels, get me home." haha! i blame it on pregnancy fatigue. 

tomorrow... PARIS!!!

day 361

story time. 

so, we get to the train station to leave edinburgh and head to london and realize that 98% of the seats on the train have been "reserved." reserved? i thought this was a free for all. nope. so we scout for seats and find nothing. the train honks its horn indicating it's leaving in 2 seconds, so we run up and down the tracks with our 1200 lb suitcases and see 2 open seats. brooke and i are like, "you guys take the seats, we'll find some up ahead in one of the other cars." well, the train honks again at which point we jump on the train before it leaves without us. we find a conductor man and ask what to do. he points ahead and says, "join those people." uh... you mean the people sitting in between each car on the floor next to the bathroom? yeah. those people. 

so, brooke and i got to sit in in a cramped corner in front of stinky bathroom and garbage bin on the floor for 4.5 hours. 

heaven help us. 

day 360

i love scotland. i do. probably one of the best places i've ever seen. but please, for the love of hello kitty, get me to a train and out of this car! haha! all of us love being here, but definitely are not fans of driving here. narrow streets, no signs, scary drivers, etc. luckily today is our last day of having a rental car, so we're celebrating by traveling to stirling castle. brooke and i celebrated our arrival by singing (quite loudly) songs from "the sound of music." little did we know there were people on the second floor of the castle watching (and laughing) at us. kind of awkward. 

stirling castle is OLD! well, pretty much all castles are old, but this one is even older. thanks to mel gibson, i felt semi-knowledgable when reading about the history of stirling. our evil friend, edward I (or longshanks) tried to take over stirling, but thank goodness for mel, er, william wallace and his scottish comrades. they kicked english booty and put off english takeover for a bit longer. just in case you need a refresher of this fabulous movie and piece of history, enjoy courtesy of youtube. 

(this place LOVES unicorns) 

(she's mormon!)

day 359

“oh, my dear boy, we’re not going to punish you for a little thing like that. it was an accident. we don’t send people to azkaban just for blowing up their aunts.”

haha, don't you just love harry potter? i mean, really, those who knock it obviously haven't read the books. i know. i used to be one of them. i refused to read them cos they looked silly and childish. then, my sister left on a mission and made me promise i would read all the books while she was gone. best decision of my life. 

kind of like going to alnwick castle. what's so great about alnwick castle, you ask? oh, it's just where harry potter was filmed- the REAL LIFE hogwarts!!! man, if only i had a robe, a wand, and a broom- then you may as well refer to me as luna lovegood. 

after a scary drive to the castle, we stopped for lunch before heading inside. as we were walking up the hill towards the entrance, lora remembered that the spot where we parked had a time limit. she decided to head back down, move the car, and meet us at the entrance. so, the rest of us got to the top of the hill and waited for her at the entrance... 

15 minutes go by... 30 minutes go by... hey, look! there's hagrid! he's leading in a wedding party! 

45 minutes go by... here comes the bride and groom in arthur weasley's light blue ford anglia (identical)! so cool! 

an hour goes by... okay, something's gotta be wrong. the car was just down the street. lora should have been here forever ago. brooke decides to investigate (and check out some thrift stores while's playing detective). she comes back up the hill and tells us there is an ambulance at the bottom. maybe lora got in a car crash or had a heart attack (driving in the UK is pretty stressful)! we decide to go down and look around the city, see if we can find the car, get more info about the victim, and try calling her. well, the car is gone, the victim was from the city, and we realize we don't have lora's phone number. 


it has now been 2 hours. we've seen the same weird guy drive his car by the castle seven times. the security guard probably thinks we're homeless. my tongue is raw from all the sour patch kids i've eaten. we finally decide to walk back to the entrance. and guess who's there? daniel radcliffe!!! just kidding. it was lora. i totally had you though, for like half a second. 

it turns out, tricky alnwick castle has more than one entrance. lora moved the car, found a parking lot right next to an entrance to the castle and had been waiting there for 2 hours until she found us at the other entrance. 

the moral of the story is always bring your cell phones (jenene) and make sure they are turned on (lora). haha!! the tragic part of the story is that by this time, it was too late to go in the castle and see the different rooms, but we did get to walk all around the grounds, gardens, and anywhere outside the castle. even though we missed out on part of the harry potter adventure, it was totally worth it for the grounds. SO BEAUTIFUL!!! and enchanting!

later that night, when we got back to edinburgh, we decided to go on a ghost tour. our tour guide was great! i love dramatic theatre people. they are so entertaining. i probably laughed the most and loudest. he took us to these 18th century underground vaults and told different ghost stories, true stories, and told us all about the scary history of edinburgh. my favourite was probably the story of burke & hare, edinburgh's most famous serial killers. 

okay, i'm sleepy. more tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

day 358

oh, edinburgh, how i love thee. 

1. what once was a treasured experience is now a dreaded outing. i refer to the dilemma of eating out on vacation. you start your trip excited at the notion that you don't have to cook dinner, you can choose from a wide variety of menus, no dishes to clean, a cozy environment, and someone to wait on you. by the end of your vacation, the only thing you want to see is something NOT from a restaurant. for example, all i want to eat right now is my mum's swedish meatballs with some well seasoned veggies and some water. sadly, i must continue to eat restaurant food for the next 9 days. tonight's menu was chicken tika masala from an indian restaurant in edinburgh. not great, but what did i expect?

i've decided that restaurants in big tourist areas have it made. their food doesn't have to be great because this is simply a one-time meal for the tourist. a necessity. something to get them by until the next meal. maybe i'll move here and open a restaurant...

2. let me tell you about this awesome place called camera obscura. it is awesome. it's a 5 story museum that is filled with optical illusions. you start out at the top where a fun little tour guide lady shows you the whole city of edinburgh through her ginormous camera obscura. then you make your way down through the fun house/museum/learning center that i have to say is cooler than san francisco's exploratorium. the highlight however was at the very end when brooke and i experienced the vortex. we loved it so much, we went through it about 5 extra times, even running in front of people. i know- we're children. you walk through this tunnel on a catwalk-like bridge and because of the way the lights are running it makes you feel like the room is spinning. you think, "ha! that is nonsense. it wouldn't fool me." oh, how you're wrong. about 1/4 of the way across the catwalk, you immediately start falling over from side to side. brooke and i were laughing SO HARD. it might be the best thing about edinburgh. haha, well, might be.

(not me... obviously, but a pic of the vortex)

3. didn't get to see nessie on this trip, but watched a hilarious 3-D movie about the study of the loch ness monster. i knew there were some people out there that believed in nessie, but not to the extent of one adrian shine. the man is kinda weird. his 20 minute movie that looked like it was made in an hour gave us all the facts and myths surrounding the history of the loch ness monster. i must say, it was 20 minutes of my life well spent considering how much it made us all laugh. 

4. after trekking up MANY flights of stairs (have i mentioned that europe has over a trillion flights of stairs? they do), we finally made it to the royal mile and to the entrance of the edinburgh castle. SO AMAZING!!! this castle is built on what looks (and feels) like a mountain. you can see it as you leave our apartment and it just looms from above. truly an amazing piece of architecture. we got to explore the grounds with our tour guide, but brooke and i had to leave after awhile cos his B.O. was so bad that we couldn't concentrate. not totally his fault, it was hot that day. i am constantly amazed at how long these buildings (and artifacts!) have survived! quite impressive. 

5. our apartment is dope. 

well, that is all for today. my posts are getting more boring. probably cos brooke is staring me down so she can use the computer and talk to her boo. 

(random wedding at the castle. kinda wish i could get married in a castle)

(beak wants ethan to be this guy for halloween)

(i look happy to have my head on a plate...)

(...while brooke actually plays the part of a head on a plate)

(poor little midget brooke)