Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's the simple things

There is only a week a half left on this amazing adventure of mine! Time has gone way to fast but as I look back I realize it is the simple memories that made these 6 weeks so amazing.

First day out and about, we decided to always try and take the stairs

A night at the ballet

Matching headbands bought at PriMark

Lazy Saturday mornings spent blogging and watching movies

Seeing old roommates in new places

London and their funny signs. Who would want to take a bath in the Hyde Park lake?

Sun hats at the globe

and other funny hats too

Being constantly reminded that I am in LONDON!

Splitting a 15 pound sundae at Harrod's. (mom we had to do it)

Watching one of our professors frolic through the fields

First real rain storm spent at Kew Gardens

We love Sperry's!

Jersey Boy's made my list of top 3 musicals!

Mamma Mia never gets old!

Feeding a horse during our country walk

Jumping in other people's pictures

Finding a kindred spirit

Just a few of the many great memories we have had in London Town! And we are off to make many more in Stratford the next two days. We are going to the birthplace of the one and only William Shakespeare! I guess you could say we kind of like Shakespeare around here!

Until next time...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Never Never Land

Our flat is right across the street from Hyde Park. This has been one of my favorite things while living in London. We are able to go across the street for a run, a walk on a lazy day, Sunday strolls, games, and tea parties.

Hyde Park is full of all sorts of memorials to different people like Princess Diana, King Albert and so on. The trick is finding your way to these memorials without getting lost and all turned around.

Princess Diana Memorial

King Albert

And of course Peter Pan
The creator of Peter Pan placed this statue in Hyde Park in the middle of the night so that the children would think it just appeared. He wanted to keep the magic of Peter Pan alive.

We have had a few birthday's in our group while being in London so we decided to celebrate them all at once with a tea party in Hyde Park. It was right before travel week so everyone brought all of their extra food to share with the group.
The Birthday crew

Our delicious spread

It was my first time trying tea and after adding a good amount of sugar I quite enjoyed it!

One of the boys was really smart and brought a frisbee over with him so we planned a game of Ultimate frisbee one morning. This was so much fun it was a great way to wake up and get outside for some exercise.
The frisbee group

Pre-game pictures:
Team 1

Team 2

Post-game pictures:
They look pretty happy considering...

that this wonderful team one!

We are down to the two week countdown so we are trying to take advantage of every second we have. We have found there is no other place we would rather spend most our time than in this beautiful park!
Until next time...

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Land of Scotts

Our professor's are great and gave us a travel week during our program. It was perfect timing right at the half way mark when we all needed a break from Shakespeare and Theater. I decided to spend a day in Scotland and the rest of the time in Ireland. I stayed in hostel's and lived out of a backpack for 5 days straight! We had a group of 12 in Edinburgh and then split in to 2 groups of 6, one going to Ireland and one staying in Scotland.

...Make a wish...

Our first night in Scotland we ate at a pub that had 2 meals for the price of 1 and two desert for the price of 1. It could not get better than this for our group. After a delicious Scottish meal we did a ghost tour of Scotland's underground city. Our tour guide was getting very into it and telling us all these stories of previous people on the tour seeing ghosts and having marks on them when they came out. Nothing happened to our group but we did jump a few times. We then headed home to our lovely hostel.

It was a 3:30 am wake up call for our group. We were going to climb Arthur's Seat to watch the sunrise. Well, we ended up going up the wrong mountain to begin with so we did see the sunrise but not exactly where we wanted to see it.

Since we were already out we decided we might as well do the hike we were supposed to do to begin with. Meisha and I were a little hesitant because it was freezing cold but the view was worth it. I felt like I was on top of Scotland.

We got home around 8:30 and immediately climbed into bed trying to get heat back into our bodies and we ended up crashing for a couple of hours. Then it was time to wake up and start moving. We headed to the Edinburgh Castle.

After the castle it was time for our two groups to split ways. Sadly, Meisha had to decided to stay in Scotland for the weekend so this was a very hard goodbye for the two of us. Everybody was laughing at us because we were hugging for a good 2 minutes. Our flight wasn't for a few hours so we decided to continue our sightseeing journey through Edinburgh.

We had to try the traditional Scottish food Haggis which is sheep stomach...but don't worry it tastes like Hamburger Helper!

Do you recognize me in this picture???

The one and only cafe where J.K Rowling started writing Harry Potter

Soon enough it was time to start heading to the airport. We arrived with 2 hours to spare (aren't you proud Dad?) After hanging out at the gate for 2 hours it was finally time to board when they told us that the engine wasn't working and our flight would be leaving 4 hours late. By this time it was 6:00 at night and we were running on little to no sleep. Needless to say, we were not very happy especially when they decided to give us vouchers for 3.50 ten minutes before we were suppose to board and all the places in the airport had closed. Don't worry we were able to enjoy some lovely drunk Irish men sing at the top of their lungs for the whole 1 hour flight to Dublin!

By this time this was about all I could do...

Kiss Me I'm Irish...

After a very long day and long night trying to locate our hostel we finally made it to Dublin. We were so excited to be in Ireland! We decided to sleep in a little bit the next morning and try to recover and then it was off to explore Ireland. We did not have any plan at all for what we were going to do so we decided to head to Wicklow (the place from P.S I Love You) for the day. Here comes the first lesson I learned about Ireland...
     1. Information desks have no information. They only thing they can do for you is give you a map.
We were at the bust station for a good half hour just trying to figure out how to get to Wicklow it was a very frustrating process. After an hour and a half bus ride we made it to Wicklow town.

We were expecting something like this...

and ended up with this...

Yeah, not the same thing. We decided to stick around the town and see what we could find. It wasn't much. After grabbing some lunch we headed to the tourist information where once again they couldn't help us out so we headed to a Taxi Cab service where I learned...
       2. There are no public transportations to National Parks in Ireland.
Does that make any sense to you? Because it sure doesn't make sense to me and the taxi cost 100 Euro so that plan was thrown out the window. I then looked down and found a pamphlet to Usher Gardens, I had no idea what it was but found out a taxi was only 6 Euro so to Usher Garden's we went.

There was the cutest little shops in front of the garden entrance

We felt like we were entering Secret Gardens

Our Irish Family

We became the parents of the trip guiding our way through Ireland

The girls

After returning to Dublin we decided to call it an early night since we would be waking up at 5:30 the next morning to catch a train to Limerick for a scheduled day tour. 5:30 came pretty early but we all woke up and found ourselves in Limerick excited to have an actual tour set up. Surprise Surprise when I walked up to the information desk and they told me they had never heard of our tour. I then called the tour office where they told me that the tour started down the street. We had a few minutes to spare so took our time walking through the little town. Lesson 3 of Ireland is...
        3. Locals are very friendly and useful when it comes to information about their country.
We discovered that if we ask locals they know exactly where and what to tell us. Our tour was called Paddywagon Tours
This is our tour guide Sean

The tour took us to the Cliff's of Moher. Also known as the Cliff's of Insanity from Princess Bride or the cliffs where Dumbledore takes Harry to destroy the horcrux in HP 6.

After the cliffs we went to a little town called Doolin where we grabbed some lunch before hitting the road again.

Next stop was along the coast where everything was covered in Limestone. It was absolutely gorgeous.

The tour lasted through the day and by the end we were exhausted. After our 2 hour ride train home we found a little pub to have a nice baked potato in and then headed home for bed. This was the night I learned lesson number 4...
      4. You will probably get told that you look sad by a 60 yr. old man in a pub and called kitty, kitty on the street don't worry this is just how the Irish flirt.

The next morning was our last day so we decided we should spend it walking around Dublin. We hit all the sights in about 3 hours time, we were on a roll.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Dublin Castle

Inside the Dublin Castle church

Mickey and Minnie paid us a visit at the Grand Opening of the Disney store

The shopping is pretty great in Dublin and of course we couldn't leave without our Celtic hand/heart/crown rings. But lesson 5 was...
     5. Dublin is not a very pretty city and it smells funky so remember your nose plug! Instead spend as much time in the countryside as possible

We loved our weekend getaway and came home with many adventures and stories to tell. We very much enjoyed the Luck of the Irish!

Until next time...