Sunday, July 19, 2009

How many castles can you finagle on to one page?

To start.
Eating non British food with our friends (we
heard ethnic food was the best in England)

British candy
(British food actually hasn't been bad for us, if you avoid the weird meat pies.)

I'm two weeks behind now but here is another glimpse of our trip. It's been an incredible experience and I have a feeling a once in a lifetime. Most vacations are so rushed that you just get glimpses of what a country is like, but I feel like I've had so much time, touring everyday, to see England in a different way than just seeing London and few other major things. I've had a time to spend a whole day in different towns, cities, or villages, to explore and read and shop and meet people. It's been a lot of fun. So...

the second day of Scotland we decided to drive around the little towns and hills and go castle hunting. There are castles everywhere that just dot the maps. We found a few, but the best were the Castle Cambell and the Stirling Castle.

The ward my dad served in long ago.

Lochleven Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was held as prisoner.
You can take little boats out to the island.

Castle Campbell. This was my favorite that we found.
We actually got in free to this one. But that's a story for Matt to tell.

We found it on the map and didn't realize it was at the top of a very steep mountain.
The walk up was incredible though, as was the view from the top!

The view down the mountain

I think Matt's in the dining hall

Can you believe the this place?!


Stirling Castle

When we got back to England I went to see Warwick Castle. I'm bolding the important parts so you don't get lost.

This one was really fun. It's more like a theme park. I took a tour into the dungeons, which was really gory and had great nasty actors, and I got picked every time they made an example of someone. Every time we switched rooms the new guide would pick me out. I had to sit in the cage while torture tools were demonstrated, then I was condemned before the court as a traitor, and finally I had my head chopped off.

I wish I would have had my camera inside the rooms. They had wax figures dressed up and in poses. It felt real, I could imagine living in those times.

Windsor Castle
This castle is still being used. If the blue flag is up the queen is in residence. No luck.
Mmmm. Belgium waffles. Since I didn't get to go to Belgium for real.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Joe + Helen waz ere

My dad served his mission for our church in Scotland so I grew up hearing all about it. He would speak "Scottish", show us his creepy Scottish dolls, tell us about the Heeland Coos, haggis, the Scotland countryside, I even did a report on Scotland in 5th grade. Because of this I've always wanted to go to Scotland. I know my dad has always wanted to go back as well, and he plans on it, but until then, here's what it's like today Dad.

The Scottish countryside, like I'd been told, is gorgeous! It's so green, with cows and sheep everywhere. But I don't feel the need to roll up my windows and turn off the air when I drive past these farm animals like I do in Utah; it all looks so mesmorizing in the setting of the bright green and the blue sky.

The first day we went to Edinburgh. We got there in the afternoon after some stress driving in a huge city on the left side, then walked into the city, and it was huge! I don't know what my little mind had always conjured up when I pictured Scotland as my dad described it, but I think I was expecting a little Scotish village with people walking around in kilts (although there were some of those) and speaking with their fun Scotish accents (which they did, for our entertainment).

The Edinburgh Palace

A lad.

We tried haggis to say we did.
Tasted very sausagy. To quote from So I Married an Axe Murderer--"I'm convinced that the entire Scottish diet is based on a dare."

Inside the Edinburgh Castle gates.
The Edinburgh Castle is set up on the hill lining the city.

Very large potato, or "jacket".

We had a lot of fun walking around, watching awkward street performers eat balloons, shopping, climbing a huge monument that overlooked the city, and visiting the castle. Edinburgh was great.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oxford and Bath

This week has been a dream. England has been my focus to help me get through the last few months of teaching. Thank you Matt for letting me do this. You know your husband loves you a lot when he has to work all day but says, Go have fun, in England, for three weeks.

When Matt and I first got to London we hadn't slept much during what would have been our night, and then it was already morning in England so we were headed towards another full day. We rented our car, and both of us being sleep deprived and hungry for real food we got in on opposite sides and drove the two hours to the little village where Miles and Kris live, and then on to Brackley where Matt works. I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack on the way there because I couldn't think straight and I could not focus enough to figure out where we supposed to be driving half the time. And I know Matt was just as tired, but somehow, with his ambidexterity we made it, but not after driving in the opposite direction for a while on the way home. We miss our GPS.

The little town that we're in is so quaint. There are cottages scattered all throughout the countryside out here.

The first full day here Matt went to work and I went in to Oxford. Oxford is such a beautiful city. I've spent two full days there already and I plan on going back now and again because it's so nice. The history is incredible over here. I'm not used to several hundred year old buildings. And everything looks English. All of the buildings and the homes have that old English look and I love it. Everyone told me the food would be the worst, but so far what I've eaten hasn't been bad. I've been pretty selective though. They eat what they call pasties like mad here, pasties and baguette sandwiches. That's what every shop sells. They also eat a lot of weird looking sausages and lots of tea.

Kris gave me a guided tour through Oxford on her map, so I followed that around the city, and having endless amounts of time I explore to my hearts content.

Part of Christ's Church (where the Dining Hall was filmed for Harry Potter)

St. Mary's Church

The view from the tower in St. Mary's church

Yesterday I went to the amazing city of Bath. I'd never heard of it until, like many other Jane Austen fans know, I heard it in many of her works. I saw some of the places mentioned in her books or that are in the movies, like the Royal Crescent, and I even went in the Jane Austen gift shop. Matt was glad he wasn't there for that I'm sure.

The thing that everyone told us we have to try is their scones and clotted cream. They are so good! It's thick like butter and I'm sure just as healthy too.

The view from my clotted cream tea shop on the bridge

I believe that's Jane herself

The Royal Crescent. Gorgeous!
(Watch the new Persuasion)

I walked around all day, finding new streets to take, standing in awe most of the time as I turned a corner. Bath was built up and became poplular during Jane Austen's time, I love that time period, but the buildings are pretty much all the same color. I think it gives it a very unique and breath-taking look though.
Bath Abby