Four people, One family, Three countries and more importantly- One bathroom!
This is the travel journal of a teenage Aussie as she explores the foreign territory of England, Spain and France!
Day 29: Paris
Today is our last day of our holidays- well technically, because tomorrow we will take the metro to the airport and fly out back home via Abu Dhabi. Etihad again!!! Whooo!! (Not)
Today we took the metro to Sacre Coeur. The cathedral was beautiful- and because it was situated on a hill, the view was absolutely amazing! We were horribly disappointed when we found out the tower and crypt were closed, they would have been really cool!
We also took the metro to see the Statue of Liberty- no we did not take the metro to New York, we saw the smaller one given to the French in thanks. There were a lot of Americans there…. Wonder why?? (He he)
We then finally finished our tickets by taking the metro to the Bastille. It started to rain and we decided to walk back since our apartment isn’t far from there. (But really? We always walk in the rain!)
We were all wet. So we went inside a shopping centre. And you know… brought stuff! (for like an hour and a half!)
Back at our apartment we played phase 10 before going out to dinner!
Now we are packing.
I am really not ready to leave- because it means school is starting again, and although I miss my friends and family, I wish I didn’t have to go home! But time to face reality!
Thank you to anyone who stuck with me through this journal and my trip (even though I will be posting this when I get home because we have no current internet!)
So for the last time:
After four days observation of Paris:
-It is a lovely place that is full of many things that I didn’t get to see!
- I could easily spend a week or two here!
- It is a great holiday spot with a good nightlife and pick of restaurants!
Day 28: Paris
This morning we woke up, had breakfast (croissant) and walked to the Louvre. The Louvre is HUGE!!!! It has like three wings with like three floors each. We had audio guides that were pretty good. We saw like:
-‘Slaves’ by Michelangelo
-Venus de Milo
-The Wedding at Cana (which is the largest painting in the Louvre- it took up the whole wall!!!!)
- ‘Mona Lisa’ by Leonardo Da Vinci
And many more…. But I saw so much I can’t remember them!
Seeing the Mona Lisa was like amazing. It was such a moment- actually seeing it in person… you know, you see it all the time on books and in movies, but actually seeing it is just astonishing.
After we left the Louvre- at like 4:30pm… (we got there at 10:30am) we were tired and starving so we brought a croissant and went back to our apartment to find the toilet seat replaced… but the internet still not working (WHAT IS THIS SHIT????)
We went out for dinner at the same place as last night.
We also played Phase 10, causing the neighbour to bang on the door because we were too loud!!
Tomorrow is our last day…. I don’t want this holiday to left.
After 3 days observation of Paris:
- I haven’t seen that many people smoke but the ground is full of cigarette butts.
- They are so proud of an Italian painting.
Day 27: Paris
TODAY I CONQUORED THE EIFFEL TOWER!!!!!!! WHOOOO HOOOOO!!!
Let me take you back to how this happened:
This morning we woke up late and after a well needed shower and a bit of breakfast we took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower! All the way I was dreading it- I even had nightmares!
We got there and decided to take the stairs up to the first and second floor- you could go by elevator and stairs- but we wanted the experience to say we climbed all we could to the top. It was only 700 steps so it wasn’t the amount of steps that bothered me- what bothered me was that it was pretty much in the open and you could see outside as you climbed! (It was all safe though with metal fences along the stairs that were high and strong- but phobia doesn’t give way to rationality)
We made it to the first floor and the view was amazing. We learned a lot on that floor- it is the biggest and did you know there are approximately 1600 stairs to the absolute top?! You can’t take the stairs to the top though, you have to take the elevator but there are stairs in case of an emergency.
Climbing to the second floor is when I started to celebrate! I MADE IT! We looked around and then took the elevator to the top- I don’t know what is worse- climbing or taking the elevator- I felt safer on the stairs.
The view at the top s amazing- although terrifying at the same time! You could see everything. I went up to the top open space outside but then we went into the inside space.
We went down the elevator and down the stairs and I practically kissed the ground when I made it!! We also saw the Australian embassy- it is next to the tour! It was such a sight to see an Aussie flag in Paris!
We ate crapes. YUMMM. They were the best crapes I have ever tasted. I had half of a ham and cheese one and half of nutella and almond one… the nutella one was AMAZING (but really, when is nutella on anything not good??)
We then walked to the Arc de Triomphe It was beautiful! We then walked all the way back to our hotel- It was a two hour walk and I was EXHAUSTED! On the way we saw some sort of protest- with police everywhere in full armour, but because we don’t speak French we have no idea what it was about (ANYONE??)
I saw Rue de Nicholas Flamel. Nicholas Flamel has his own street!!!!
Dinner was very good- I had French Onion Soup- it was YUMMM!!!
I am exhausted from my emotional battle and want to go to bed. Tomorrow we go to the Louvre!
We have no internet in the apartment (it is broken) so I am typing this up on word so you get a better, more detailed version of events and I do not have to write five days in one sitting!
After two days observation of Paris
- Some people are a bit snobby but some others are really nice!
- Things are much more expensive here (higher cost of living- higher wages?)
Day 26: Paris
This morning we woke up early and took the Metro in Madrid to the airport. We then took a two hour flight to Paris. We took the train to the city from the airport- the Paris Metro is absolute chaos. It is great because there is pretty much a train every five minutes, but EVERYONE takes the Metro because it is so cheap and everything is so far away!
Our apartment is in a FANTASTIC location! We are right next to a Metro station and a five minute walk from Notre- Dame Cathedral. Our apartment though, is TINY. It is only one room, with another sofa bed, but the kitchen/lounge room/second bedroom is smaller than half of my bedroom at home (and my bedroom isn’t that big!). The toilet doesn’t even have a toilet seat!!! But we are looking on the bright side because we are in a magnificent city and pretty much in the centre!
We first went to Notre- Dame! It was exquisite! The Cathedral is much simpler than the ones in Spain but it is the beauty of it, plus the outside is so detailed it is breathtaking. Only half the Cathedral was open, but we end up climbing the tower- the view was amazing! (But it was high and I was scared!) We climbed 400 steps- it was pretty easy but the non- stop spiral made me dizzy.
It was getting dark and dad wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and night so we walked ALL THE WAY there (it was a good hour and a half trip!) The Eiffel Tower was absolutely beautiful- it was illuminated and then lights started to flicker and it was all very beautiful. We are going there tomorrow and I am scared out of my pants- Why? Because I have an extreme phobia of heights! (Just in case you haven’t figured that out already!)
We end up taking the Metro back (it is very easy to use- but it is SOOO FULL!) We had dinner at a restaurant near our apartment (because the table in our apartment is so small it can barely fit too people!)
Mum and dad offered to take the sofa bed tonight so my brother and I get the double bed!
Oh gosh I am dreading tomorrow!!
After a days observation of Paris:
- It is all organised chaos- to a tourist it looks like disorder, but the locals seem to know the flow of things.
- They like to put their flag up (like one at every corner!)
- There are really cute guys here (I thought there wouldn’t be but there is…. Merci)
Day 25: Madrid
This morning we went to the Museum Thyssen- an art gallery that had a wide range of artworks- from the 13th Century to well 2011??
It was alright at first, but after an hour of landscapes, you start to loose interest. But a boys school touring the gallery sure cheered me up!
After that we went shopping, and I brought two tops that I thought would look shit on me but looked really good on me!
We then went home and I did my homework (ugh- but I have done the minimum and now only have to go above and beyond!)
We are packing tonight as tomorrow we are flying to Paris!
After three days observation of Madrid:
- It is a very lively place.
-There are a lot of monuments!
-They like their art galleries (there are like ten)
Day 24: Madrid
Another cold shower for me this morning, but I was determined not to let it dampen my spirits.
We got on the first bus (Route 1) and we were right at the front… but we were freezing! We got on the second bus (Route 2) but we got off early because we were just so cold!
After lunch we went shopping again and my dad and brother got really cool clothes (and we got all the family gifts out of the way)
We went home and watched T.V.
After two days observation of Madrid:
-It is just amazing!
-The people are really friendly
-It is not as touristy as you would think
-They have really cool shops and sales!
Day 23: Madrid
We left a little late (but still aware that we had a three hour drive ahead of us!) we entered Madrid- into a flurry of activity. We found the hotel okay- dropping the rental car off was a little hard. A five minute trip to the train station via the petrol station (smallest petrol station I have ever seen in my life) took us an hour via the freeway and a hospital!
When we FINALLY got back to the hotel we decided to go shopping. There were stores from our hotel down to Plaza del Sol. (And 90% of them were shoe stores- HEAVEN!!)
I brought an AWESOME pair of heels that I can’t wait to wear before we went to the San Miguel Market. The atmosphere was awesome!
Tomorrow we are taking a hop on, hop off tour of Madrid.
After a days observation of Madrid:
-They are really lively. They will stay up late and party!
Day 22: Torreneuva
This morning we went to our relaxing hotel- the one that Esteponia was meant to be! We got lost (like really? You are surprised?) We were a little worried because it snowed- but it was only on the sides of the roads (It looked amazing- I took so many shots!)
We arrived to find out that it is a FIVE STAR HOTEL!! It was amazing.. everything was open and it was ALL TO OURSELVES! We were the only people there. It was fantastic!
Lunch was amazing, best spaghetti carbonara I have ever tasted (don’t tell my Nonna’s)
We spent the rest of the afternoon in the spa- it was like a pool, but a spa with other small, different temperature pools- there was also a vapour room and a sauna!
We had a light dinner before we went to bed!
After a days observation of Torreneuva:
- Really nice, friendly place!
Day 21: Granada
This morning we woke up early to be at the Alhambra by 8am. Yay! The Alhambra is absolutely beautiful… but we couldn’t fully appreciate it because it was POURING DOWN RAIN!!! It was really funny trying to listen to the audio guide and taking pictures (and dad was all like “we don’t need umbrella’s!!”- great call dad!)
We were home by 2pm and decided to stay in for the rest of the night because everything was drying on the heaters.
We ate pizza for dinner (I think it is becoming a tradition!) and played Phase 10 for the rest of the night!
I am officially addicted to the following Disney Programs:
- Shake It Up
-Good Luck Charlie
-Wizards of Waverly Place
-Phineas and Ferb
After two days observation of Granada:
-They have really embraced the Muslim influenced in their culture (It is fantastic! All their buildings are colourful!)
Day 20: Granada
This morning I had a cold shower… great start to the day. I was glad to put yesterday behind me and was looking forward to Granada. We drove to Granada (another two hour trip) and after a little trouble getting through the small streets we made it to our hotel.
We first wanted to go to the Alhambra…. which was on a VERY LARGE HILL!!! We got lost and by the time we got there, we wouldn’t have enough time to see anything so we walked home (whats worse?: walking uphill or walking downhill down slippery streets?)
We had tapas for dinner and watched T.V (Disney Channel is the only thing we can get in English). We are going to see the Alhambra tomorrow!
After a days observation of Granada:
- It is a beautiful place
- There are a lot of Orange trees…
Day 19: Estepona
Today was just a shit day. First I fell in the shower and now have a huge bruise on my leg, the same leg as my wonky knee.
Then we had breakfast, and like idiots we are, we guts ourselves on churros… that were a bit too oily for my taste and now I STILL feel sick. (Ok, that is our fault, but the day gets worse)
We drove three hours to Estepona, but we didn’t care because we were so excited to finally relax at a spa resort.
We arrived and it looked a little dead- which was to be expected because it is winter. It was a BEAUTIFUL place and I was so excited.
We checked in to find out EVERYTHING IS CLOSED! The spa (which they are famous for), the restaurant, the pools, EVERYTHING! All that was open were the apartments.
On our paperwork, all it said was that some complimentary services would be closed- not ALL OF IT??!! I mean surely a Spa hotel couldn’t have left one spa open?? Or have reduced staff but still keep things open?
But it didn’t matter, we had T.V and wifi… surely it could be okay. I couldn’t even be upset at the receptionist… he sounded like Fez from That 70’s Show so….
We got up to our apartment to find that every channel was either in Spanish, French, Arabic or German… none in English. We couldn’t even remove the dubbing from channels we had done to in the past because they locked the menu button.
We reviewed our paperwork to find out breakfast was included and I was seriously pissed off… and anyone who knows me knows that when I get upset… I GET UPSET! (and throw a tantrum…)
I went downstairs to give the receptionist a piece of my mind (and temper) and I would have because I was in a rage… but mum spoke first and he was all “oh, I am sorry, but everything is closed” in his Fez accent.
He said he would send a person to fix the T.V (still not fixed) and all but yeah… we can’t do anything here (What is the point of opening a hotel if no one can do anything- anyone want to answer that for me?)
There was no way that I was going to do nothing for two days… so we rearranged our accommodation so we only have to stay one night here- Thank God, its a freaking ghost town and I am slowly loosing my mind!)
Back at the apartment I went to have a nice, long bath…. after my brother and I put every light and electrical appliance on (why not? It’s not like I’m paying for it). Unfortunately, I still felt sick, so the heat from the bath made me feel even more ill so I had a cool shower and went to watch random things on you-tube (why not waste their wifi- its free!)
We stayed home and mum and dad cooked dinner (brought from a supermarket five minutes away) and we watched CNN- the only English channel (YAY- this was such a treat after watching Bride Wars yesterday! Sarcasm much??)
I stayed up to wish my one of my best friends a happy birthday (staying up as late as I could- still woke her up!) and I am off to bed, ready to put today behind me with only a bruise on my leg to remind me of it.
Hopefully Grenada is better than this (well anything could)
After a days observation of Estepona:
-It is a beautiful place, on the beach, magnificent views.
-If we came in summer when everything was open, we would have loved it. Anybody would have had a ball
-For what we got now, it was WAY to expensive!
Day 18: Cordoba
Today we drove to Cordoba. Now imagine this… small streets that are only one way. My dad had to reverse into the carpark… UNDERGROUND!!
We first went to the Mosque. It was absolutely beautiful. We then went to see the Alcazar which had absolutely beautiful gardens. We spent ages there, it was so sunny and hot that we shed our jumpers and lied down in the sun! Heaven on Earth.
But now I want to talk about the boys. OH DIOS MIO! Cordoba has some really nice men- GIRLS, GO TO CORDOBA!
We then went back to our apartment where my brother figured out how to get some T.V shows in English. THANK GOD!
Oh, and I hit my head, hard on the headboard…. and it hurts. (And thanks to the amount of Grey’s Anatomy I watch… I am convinced that I have like brain hemorrhaging and I am going to die…)
We went out to dinner to an insanely fancy restaurant (well for us- dressed in hiking boots, jeans and lame jumpers) that was nice… just a little bit TOO fancy for my taste!
Tomorrow we are going to a spa.. hopefully the weather is good!
After a days observation of Cordoba:
-They are just really nice and laid back.
Day 17: Sevilla
This morning, we woke up late, like extremely! (It was like 9:30am) and we took our sweet time having breakfast. We went out expecting yesterday’s weather- it was a little bit colder (I told dad t-shirts were not appropriate)
The first stop on our day was ‘Catedral de Sevilla’- The Seville Cathedral. It is apparently the third largest cathedral in Europe- after the Vatican and St. Paul’s in London- I’ve seen both. It was mesmerising, the detail and the work in the building was so plentiful that I couldn’t decide where to start looking. We saw the tomb of Christopher Columbus! It was AMAZING!
We then went to climb the tower- 34 flights of stairs, although they were ramps for wheelchair access- cool right! Not, the 35th flight of stairs were actually stairs! This poor lady in a wheelchair got pushed to the top to find out she couldn’t actually go to the top!
The view was amazing. You could see nearly everything!
After the cathedral… we went walking around and looked at shops and things. We are going to start buying presents soon so we are looking. We also went to the Piazza de Espana, now that building was absolutely beautiful- it was full of colour and had a fountain in the middle of the square. It also had a monument to every region/city in Spain and their conquest.
Afterwards we went home to chill (and for me to rest my defective knee- ten years of Taekwondo will do that) and I did some more homework (BORING) before we went out for Tapas.
Now we are chilling and watching a Barcelona vs. Osasuna soccer game- cannot understand the commentary, but I understand the game!
Just before I go- I am really annoyed. I have been in Spain for three days- and have not seen ANY cute guys. None. Nada. Nein. Absolutely none. What a disappointment!
After two days observation of Sevilla:
-They smoke like a chimney pot
-The bike and vespa riders are more dangerous than the cars!
-They had VERY, VERY small streets! (Like you can jump from one balcony to the other across from it!)
Day 16: Sevilla
This morning I was the first to be woken up… why… because apparently I take the longest in the shower. We left Trujillo and drove another three hours to Sevilla.
We entered city to find all its chaos. Cars everywhere and small streets. We first went to the Alcazar, which is a castle that is the royal residence for the royal family. It was beautiful, the detail in everything was breathtaking.
We then went walking around. It was really hot, about 16 degrees Celsius (which after the weather in England was a heatwave) so we abandoned our jumpers and I even got to have ice cream today (Raspberry Sorbet- YUM).
We then we went back to our apartment and my brother and I did our homework (Italian journal I haven’t even started) until we went out for Tapas.
Tapas is brilliant. It is like lots of entrees and so you can try lots of different types of food but not eat too much.
We walked around and then went back to our apartment to watch T.V (the only thing NOT in Spanish is Desperate Housewives).
After a days observation of Sevilla:
- They drive like crazy.
Day 15: Trujillo
Today we woke up early… like extremely. We were at Gatwick airport by 7:30am! We took a flight to Madrid. It went for two hours. I slept for an hour and a half. For somebody who is scared of flying, that is bliss!
We got to Madrid and picked up the car, we then drove for three hours to a small town of Trujillo. My dad had to get his car in a tight door (and like close his mirrors) to get to parking.
We first went to a castle. It was very beautiful, but old and under kept… and should be condemned. My parents begged me to go on the wall… and I did, but I kept firmly against the wall- the other side had no ledge (SCARY!!)
After that we went to see a church and then went back to our hotel. We played cards until 8:30pm, when we left to go eat.
We ate at a nice, family run restaurant. With the little Spanish my mum knows, we ordered dinner.
The first course was tomato soup. Now I have never been a fan of tomato soup, but I could write sonnets about this soup. It was just amazing.
After dinner we walked around and then went back to the hotel where we watched T.V.
After a days observation of Trujillo:
-They are really nice. Even though they don’t speak English, they really try.
Day 14: Windsor & Gatwick
This morning we drove to Windsor to see… well what else: Windsor Castle. Unfortunately, the State Apartments were closed but we were able to see everything else.
At 11am we saw the changing of the guards- which was so much better than at Buckingham Palace. Why? No crowds, which meant we got a really good view. And once we were inside the grounds, we could hear what they were saying!
Windsor Castle was amazing! It was HUGE! We went inside St Georges Chapel which was incredible (the detail in the architecture is mind blowing!)
After the castle we had Traditional Cornish Pasty and drove to our hotel in Gatwick (technically we are in Surrey- directions to Little Whinging anybody?)
After a very nice dinner and a shower, I am off to bed.
Tomorrow we are flying to Spain!
After a days observation of Windsor:
-To go in the Castle you have to go through airport security.
Day 13: Oxford
This morning breakfast was late (8am) because it is a Sunday! We made a two and a half hour drive to Oxford to meet up with a family friend (practically family) who lives in England (for safety reasons I will not divulge her name).
We end up getting there a bit early so we decided to do some laundry at a Laundrette (because, you know, that is what you do when you are bored). After we finished we met up with our friend and went walking to the city centre.
Oxford is beautiful, but a bit expensive I think! We went for a Traditional English Sunday Roast which was DELICIOUS! (Yorkshire Pudding- YUM)
After a hearty lunch we went for another walk leading to our hotel. After saying goodbye to our friend we decided to play more cards. We played two rounds of Monopoly Deal and half way in a game of Phase 10 before I cracked it and left the game. We are now watching TV.
After a days observation of Oxford:
-It has a lot of universities (Did you know it isn’t just Oxford University but a lot of different universities?)
Day 12: Manchester
This morning we left for Manchester. As soon as we got there we left for Sportscity… where the Manchester City stadium is. We got there too late to make the early tour session so we spent the two hours we had to wait shopping in the City store, buying tops and other team merchandise.
The tour of the stadium was brilliant! We got to go into exclusive rooms and stuff and everyone was very excited for the game tomorrow!
After we walked back home, we went looking around at the shops near our hotel before heading back to our room and playing cards.
A break in the middle of Phase 10 lead us to Nando’s to eat. It was absolutely full so it took forever for us to get a table- but it was worth it!
I end up winning the game of Phase 10 and two games of Monopoly Deal! The boys kicked our asses at Italian cards though.
After a days observation of Manchester:
- It is a really big city.
-It reminds me of Melbourne (TRAMS!)
-They are really passionate about football!
Day 11: York
We woke up a little late today and nearly missed breakfast! We first decided to go to the Jorvic centre. It was a museum of Viking York. Archaeologist have found remains of them and have been able to reconstruct how they live… and understand what they ate and did! There was a little ride that took us through Jorvic (Viking York) and we went on twice! It was really interesting! The vikings were only about 100 years to the Battle of Hastings, so their life was very similar to early Medieval.
After we went to Barley Hall. It was a medieval townhouse. It was very pretty. But the best thing was the exhibition showing how fashion has changed throughout the times. Demonstrating this were costumes from period films. ORIGINAL COSTUMES THAT THE ACTORS ACTUALLY WORE!!!!
I saw the costumes of:
-Colin Firth from Pride and Prejudice and The Kings Speech
-Cate Blanchett from Elizabeth
-Heath Ledger from Cassenova
-Keira Knightly from The Duchess
-Daniel Radcliffe from David Copperfield (he was nine years old)
-Helena Bonham Carter from The Kings Speech
-Dame Maggie Smith from Downton Abbey
-Alan Rickman from Sweeney Todd
I could not believe it!! It was amazing! There were many more but those were the ones I was most occupied with!
Today we decided to mix it up and have a proper lunch- we had fish and chips… YUMM!
After that, we wanted to go to the Castle Museum… but we took a wrong turn and (because my brother and I needed to go toilet) went back to our hotel. We end up all falling asleep and didn’t wake up until 3:30pm.
We tried to go to the museum… but we were too late so we walked around before going back to the hotel to play cards.
After an intense game of Phase 10 (for all those who have played the game… you know how it can be… for those who haven’t, DO NOT BUY THE GAME… IT WILL ONLY CAUSE FAMILY TENSION AND A LOT OF ANGER!) in which I almost won (If my brother didn’t close as soon as I got the wild… I would have less points and won) I decided to update.
I am going to play Monopoly Deal now!
My brother is convinced my mum has the plague. Her cold is really bad (I feel guilty)
After two days observation of York:
-There is a lot of history in this city that they are proud of and like to show off!
Day 10: Lincoln & York
This morning we woke up INSANELY early. It was like 5am. We left to go to Lincoln and end up getting there at 9am. Everything opened at 10am. Not to mention it was raining and windy. HIP HIP HOORAY!
When it opened, we went to the Lincoln castle. Unfortunately the outer wall walk was closed, so we went into an inside building to see the Magna Carta. What is this boring document? It is the document signed by Prince John that is the basis of the current English, American and Australian constitution. Countries all over the world use rules from it! Apparantly, there is not just one Magna Carta, but about 60 written by dictation at the same time that went all over Britain. But now there are only a couple left. The Lincoln Magna Carta is the only one that travels. It is the only one paired with the Charter of the Forest. Which is like the Magna Carta for the poor people. Apparently last year, it went to America… and moved people to tears.
We also saw the Lincoln jail… which was pretty awesome!
We then brought our own replica of the Magna Carta (for school work) and after eating a pie for lunch (the first proper lunch we have had for the whole trip) we left for York.
When we got to York it was 2pm. So we checked in and went to the York Minster. Which is a big Cathedral. We brought tickets to climb the tower. We climbed 275 steps, all that were narrow and in a round tower sort of thing that made me dizzy. It wasn’t hard getting up (I did the Vatican towers four years ago and that was 700 steps) but I got a bit dizzy.
The view was BREATHTAKING. You could see everything! Getting back down was a little hard as the steps were so narrow and I was scared I was going to fall! We then went to the crypt and treasury. You could see the layers and remains from a Roman temple and a Normal church and how the Medieval Cathedral (which is the one standing) is so much bigger but was influenced by the others. The treasury was full of things used for church from the Roman days. It was amazing.
It was dark when we got out of the York Minster so we went to have dinner at a nice pub. The food was really good and desert…. mmmmmm! While we were there, we saw advertisements for ghost walks… there were so many. We picked one to go to as we thought it would be a little bit of fun (well, not me… I was freaking out… I do not do scary well!)
The ghost hunt was actually very funny. Our guide was an old scary man who had an incredibly dirty mind! It wasn’t very scary, because there were children there but the stories were a bit frightening!
Walking home that night… my feet hurt!
Mum is still sick!
After (half) a days observation of York:
-They have a lot of ghost walks (like at least four)
- It floods a lot (well they are in between two rivers)
-They are a lot more kid friendly
Day 9: Nottingham
Today we left early and went to Nottingham, home of Robin Hood. I really wanted to go on a tour, but at the tourist information I found out that it only happened once a week, which really bummed me out.
We decided to do the tour ourselves and made our way to Nottingham castle. Outside the walls there was a statue of Robin Hood, we took thousands of photos next to it! Going inside the walls of the castle, I was expecting a big old looking castle like you see in the movies… unfortunately, the residents of Nottingham knocked it down so Oliver Cromwell wouldn’t take it over.
The castle, rebuilt, is now a museum/gallery and there were lovely objects inside it. One of the exhibitions was a History of Nottingham, which was really interesting. Unfortunately for us, we were only staying in Nottingham for one day so we couldn’t go to the Sherwood Forest, there were not many Robin Hood things to do in Nottingham.
At the castle, there was an option to do a cave walk, which was sounded very interesting so we decided to do it. We walked down into the tunnels and caves- all which were hand made as there are no naturally made caves in Nottingham. We ended up at the bottom of the hill at the end of our tour and we passed by a pub called Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem- a pub that has legally been a pun since the 1100’s.
After we decided to do a Robin Hood walk, in which you follow a series of boards in different places in the city (mostly down the same street) and each board told a tale of Robin Hood, which was fascinating. Now comes the complication: we got to board eleven of twelve, where Robin Hood killed the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Board number twelve was in a church, where it is rumored Robin and Marian got married. The church was closed down by the police so we couldn’t see the board. Now I will never know what Robin did after he killed the Sheriff.
After that we went to a Modern Art Gallery that was very interesting. All the pieces were unique and some very funny.
Our hunt to find food at a pub didn’t go as planned. All the pubs had the same rule as Bath so we ended up eating at a New York style Italian restaurant. It wasn’t really good.
I am not sick anymore… but mum is!
After a days observation of Nottingham:
- The city is like Melbourne…. THEY HAVE TRAMS!!!
Day 8: Stratford-upon-Avon
This morning we left early. As as it was raining we drove through Bibury (a very beautiful town) then we impulsively decided to go to Stratford-upon-Avon because mum and I wanted to go.
We went to Shakespeare’s birthplace, which was amazing! There was just so much information and I learned so much about how Shakespeare’s work was influenced by his life. The guides were so nice and informative that a 15 minute tour took us an extra hour. We also went to New Place and Nash Place. New Place was the place where Shakespeare died, but some idiot destroyed the house. I learned a lot about his children and it is really sad that his like died at his granddaughter. I really wanted to go to Shakespeare’s grave but we were running out of time with our parking ticket. We decided to go to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage since we had to drive there. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Not the actress guys, Shakespeare’s wife) was INCREDIBLE. It gave a little insight to the relationship between the couple, but so much was lost due to poor administrative skills and carelessness in the past.
I didn’t want to leave Stratford-upon-Avon. But we did and drove to Painswick (which was another gorgeous town). There must have also been a boys school that finished for the day because some good looking guys in blazers made me feel very self conscious.
While we drove, I saw a sign for the Forest of Dean and later on we saw it from a view point on the mountain! Also while we were driving my dad almost hit a doe. It just rain in front of the car! It gave me a huge fright!
Our hotel is very nice. It is at the back of a pub that served really delicious food. I also tried Treacle tart today! IT WAS LIKE A SLICE OF HEAVEN IN MY MOUTH! So good!
I am still very sick and so now I am going to bed after taking my medication.
Tomorrow we are going to Nottingham. Robin Hood, here I come!
After a days observation of Stratford-upon-Avon:
- They must be sick of Shakespeare. (Absolutely everything is named after him)
Day 7: Bath
This morning we woke up nice and refreshed to an English breakfast (minus mushrooms, because I don’t like them). We then made our way to Bath. We first went to the Roman Baths to see the handiwork of the Romans. It was really interesting to see what they built to worship the Goddess Sulis Minerva.
Mum and I then went to the Jane Austen Centre. It was HDKHSHGKGGFFSGKFK!! ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! They had props from the movies and original letters from Jane to her sister Charlotte. Mum and I wanted to buy a copy of Sense of Sensibility that was a remake of the first edition. It weighed a ton though and cost 15 pound so dad said absolutely NO WAY!
We went to our apartment, which could be described in one word: SHIT! First off their was no toilet paper (which absolutely sucked because I REALLY needed to go toilet) then instead of the two single beds we requested, my brother and I were expected to sleep on two leather pull out sofas with one set of blankets. Then when we went to get some drinking glasses and found all the plates and stuff were dirty. It was disgusting.
We then walked to The Circus, which basically was a bunch of houses in a circle and then the Royal Crescent, which was the same thing in a semi- circle.
The quest to find food was hard. All the pubs either did not serve food after 4pm or have a rule ‘no children after 7pm’. We finally found a pub that had a later time for the no kids rule but the food tasted reheated.
I am still sick and cannot breathe through my nose.
Thank God we are only staying one night.
After a days observation of Bath:
- They are not very friendly.
Day 6: Stonehenge
This morning we woke up early to pack. After checking (and rechecking) our apartment for anything we may have forgot to pack, we took the underground to London Bridge before taking a train to Gatwick airport to pick up the rental car.
We drove to Stonehenge. And it started to rain. So we took a tour in the rain, we were freezing and just wanted the audio tour to end so we could get back into the car. It was very interesting though and seeing something as ancient and mysterious as Stonehenge was magical, despite the weather.
We drove to our hotel, which was a little cottage in the middle of nowhere (Romsey). It was actually somebody’s house (but we had our own little area sectioned off by a door). The owners were very nice and accommodating. We ate at a pub named the Red Rover and I had a Sheppard’s Pie (YUM). On the way to the pub we came across a ford that was flooded to four feet deep and dad had to do a U-Turn (in a very tight street) to go the other way.
I also have a cold. (Such fun!)
After a day’s observation of Romsey:
- It is a very quaint town.
Day 5: London
Today is New Years Eve. We woke up a little late and took a leisurely walk to Buckingham Palace (AGAIN) via Oxford Street. I had died and gone to Girl Heaven as I walked down Oxford and Regent St (and that is coming from someone who is not very girly).
The Changing of the Guard Ceremony was very interesting, but there were heaps of people and (because I am so short) I could barely see anything.
We then went to Westminster Abbey. It was incredible and awe inspiring! I saw the graves (or memorials) of Elizabeth I, Mary Tudor, Shakespeare, all three of the Austen sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, Jane Austen, Isaac Newton and so many more! I felt so revered.
We then took the underground back home and went exploring the Camden markets. There were so many and with very different and unique shops. I fell in love with handmade leather journals with intricate locks.They were absolutely incredible!
We then went back and ate before heading with the underground to Enbankment. Yep, that’s right. I stood for five and a half hours, right in front of the London Eye and waited for the fireworks. There were so many people and by ten o’clock we had no personal space, couldn’t feel our legs anymore and could only stand upright thanks to the people around us. The fireworks were amazing though. It was a New Years I will never forget (and this is coming from someone who is normally scared of fireworks- guys, I think I have overcome my fear!)
Trying to get home was the challenging part. There were so many people in the streets that we had to walk to Tottenham Court Road Station until we could even think on getting on a train.
We (FINALLY) got home and slept.
After five days observation of London:
- They make a real mess (The government are going to have a real hard job cleaning up the amount of filth on the floor from the celebrations)
Day 4: London
Today we slept in and left at about 9am. We walked to Kings Cross Station and I saw Platform 9 and 3/4. After taking a million pictures (which I can’t post because my laptop is too crap to hold HD pictures) we practically ran to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards and guess what… THERE WAS NO CEREMONY TODAY!! (We are going to try again tomorrow)
We decided to go to Harrods. On the way we saw uniformed men on horses trotting down and stopping traffic. It was interesting.
Harrods was so expensive!!! Even with the sales. Although I saw a pair of shoes that were so beautiful (and so expensive!) I will be dreaming of those shoes tonight.
I didn’t let the high prices get me down though and end up buying a winter coat from the Gap (Yeah, I know, not British but it was a VERY nice coat). It was 75% off so I only paid 34 pound where the full price was 120 pound.
We also went to the Science Museum for my brother. It was interesting, but it was a little boring sometimes and I occupied my time by taking pictures of the planes and stuff.
On the way home it started to rain. And we walked all the way home in the rain. That wouldn’t have bothered me but my new jacket was in a paper bag (Science 101: what happens to paper when it gets wet? Answer: It disintegrates). We got back all wet and turned our bathroom into a steam room because of the towel rack that heats up so it all dries.
I am so tired. I have blisters on my feet and want to drop. I’m holding out for Ben & Jerry’s and to post this.
After four days observation of London:
- Many people hang out at the Science Museum. (Do you know how many hot guys I saw there??)
Tomorrows New Years Eve… no idea what we are doing.
Day 3: London
Today we were woken up by my auntie who skyped us. It was 5am.
We were planning to go to Kings Cross Station, but we didn’t because dad wanted us to go to Westminster Abbey and then onto Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard.
Now what was planned and what actually happened were two completely different things. We got halfway down Tottenham Court Road when it started to rain a little. My dad, the total wuss he is, decided it was too cold to go.After we teased my mum (whose genius idea it was to forgo bringing our jumpers in our bag) we made our way to the British Museum.
On the way we saw a bunch of horses being walked down the road. It was really awesome.
The British Museum was really good. They had wicked Egyptian artifacts (including mummies and sarcophagus) and really cool Ancient Greek and Roman statues (and jewels they used to wear).
We then decided to go to the Tate Gallery, so after walking across the bridge we saw some of the free galleries. There was this one art piece that consisted of a statue with old ratty clothes surrounding and leaning against it. It was my favourite as it shows how the world is becoming a dump and how important artifacts are being degraded.
We ended up taking the underground home (YAY!) as we were going out to a Medieval Banquet for dinner and didn’t want to walk back to Camden Town from St. Katherine’s Docks. The banquet was funny and amusing, but the food was ordinary. We took the underground back. I am so tired.
After three days observation of London:
- Understanding the train system is WAY easier than understanding the bus system.
I swear I’m going to Kings Cross tomorrow or there will be blood!
Day 2: London
Today we woke up a bit late, it was 7:30am and still dark! After eggs on toast for breakfast, dad pre-booked tickets to the Tower of London online… but we had no where to print them!!! A trip to the office where we picked up the keys to our apartment (where the lady was very rude… well it’s not our fault there is no printer in the room) we were on our way.
We walked from Camden Town to the Tower of London! THAT IS FAR!!!! With a quick stop at Cafe Nero (where dad was chatting up the Italian Barrista..) and another stop at Leonard Jay of London, we arrived at the Tower with a belly full of a warm drink and two new leather jackets for mum and I (which were only 39 pound.)
The Tower of London cannot be described! It was AMAZING!!! There was so much history in one place! We arrived just in time for the first tour with a warden named Bob, who was hilarious!! If you go to the Tower of London, pray you get him as a tour guide. After the tour we were free to go anywhere we wanted (that was not private area) we saw everything and it took us four hours to do so! If you do go to London, go to the Tower! Even if you are not a history buff like me, it is so amazing to see and experience.
We walked briskly home as our feet were killing us! We stopped at Sainsbury’s to get dinner and now we are watching TV.
I’m waiting for mum and dad to go out so I can break out the Ben & Jerry’s. YUMMMMMM!
Ooh, and I think I am burnt. Which is really funny as it was only ten degrees today! (It would so be my luck to be the only girl who can burn in winter in England).
After two days observation of London:
-They do not like Americans (cold feelings from the American War of Independence maybe??)
-They take their buses very seriously… (I’m not even going to bother to attempt to understand the bus routes and zones, I am just going to get a headache!)
Until tomorrow! (I have no idea what we are doing, mum said Harrod’s)
Day 1: London
We are staying in a self-contained apartment in Camden Town. It is quite nice. When we got in yesterday, we fell asleep at 7pm after two flights (the second leg, the eight hour flight, had no entertainment as the screens were broken, so no movies :( ) so we didn’t see much.
This morning we woke up early. It was 7am and it was pitch black! It did not get light until 8! We left at 8:30 and (after spending half an hour getting lost…) walked down Tottenham Court Road down to the London Eye.
The walk took three hours via Soho, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and Big Ben (which wasn’t as big as in the movies). The London Eye was fantastic (and this is coming from a person who has a fear of heights). You could see everything.
We cannot believe all the tourists… I mean we thought no one would be s crazy as us to go to England in the winter. We forgot that everyone pretty much has holidays from Christmas to New Years.
After a nice stroll down St. James’s Park and Green Park, we went to Buckingham Palace (and vowed we would come back for the changing of the guard) we started walking home via Piccadilly Circus, the Seven Dials District (for some window shopping) and New Oxford Street (for more window and electronics shopping) we finally made our way back to Camden Town where we got lost- AGAIN!
While we were lost we found a sports shop where mum, dad and my brother got new jackets (I am a little more picky… I want to buy a nice long coat), when we got back to the right street, we went to Sainsbury’s (which is like the British equivalent of Woolworths for us Aussies) to buy dinner. And guess what we found…. BEN & JERRY’S FOR HALF PRICE (it is soooo expensive in Melbourne…) when we went home and had some(OMG, Chocolate Fudge Brownie was DELICIOUS!!!!!), watched a bit of T.V and went to bed.
I am in love with English accents. I love hearing people talk. And seeing Harry Potter signs on buses is more special than seeing them in Australia!
Everything is sooo cheap here!!! (Even with the exchange rate…)
After a days observation of London:
- It is the J-walking capitol of the world (I feel like a criminal)
- They smoke like it is going out of fashion (I have inhaled enough second hand smoke to give me lung cancer!)
Tomorrow we are going to the Tower of London!