Friday, March 23, 2012

England: March 19

Today was another long day. We started it off by going to Stonehenge. It was pretty cool to learn the various myths surrounding the stones. My favorite is that the devil dropped them while flying. It must have been a lot of work to put the stones together without modern technology. Nathan thought that how they connected the stones was interesting. At the top they fit like a ball joint and then there is a tongue and groove joint at the beam. It's hard to imagine how they built it without cranes. They said that one of the stones alone weighs as much as 7 elephants. It was pretty cool. Also only a portion of the rock is shown, the rest is underground.

Next on the list was Stourhead Gardens. If you have seen the Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice, then you have seen Stourhead. The scene where she is running across a bridge in the rain and Mr Darcy states that he is in love with her was filmed there. So naturally we walked around the spacious gardens and visited the estate house. It was nice to get some fresh air and the views were amazing. The house was ok, to see. A bunch of books and paintings of dead people…I am so nice.

From the gardens we drove to Bath where we had a late lunch. This whole trip we have been eating breakfast at 8 and lunch at 3 and dinner at 9 I will be glad when we are on a normal schedule. Bath was such a cute city to visit. We walked around the Abby and outside of the baths. We did go into the Pump room which overlooks the ancient baths. We got a glass of the bath water which supposedly has healing powers. Does it work? Nathan who had not poo in four days said that one sip of the water led to a four day big poo 5 min later so it must work! We walked through the fashion museum and around the rest of the city before getting back on the road.

Our last stop was Oxford. We got there to late to see the city so we got sandwiches at the local super market for dinner. It was another long day but it was fun

England: Dover, Bodium & Salisbury 3/18/12

We left london today and took the train to Gatwick airport where we rented a car. Yep that's right we rented a car and drove on the other side of the road. How was it? It was great! I didn't drive. How was it for Nathan? He describes that first day of driving as the worst day of his life. We almost died getting out of the rental car park. We got lost at every round a bout. We had to stop and ask for directions for every place we went. In the case of Bodium that would be 3 times. There was a car on his butt every time he would look back and no room to pull over. Any damages to the car? A scraped hub cap that may end up getting us charged. Cross your fingers that we don't get charged.

Anyways, we drove down to Dover to the castle which was pretty cool. There were Medieval tunnels, old ruins and great views… my kind of place. Nathan enjoyed it too. We speculated whether or not it was France we could see from the high tower. I would definitely recommend Dover.

From there we went to Bodium where we got lost 5 times on the way and scraped the wheel and hub cap. Eventually we found the castle. I liked this one because it is surrounded by a mote and has the traditional medieval castle look. It was interesting to learn about the history of the castle. Unfortunately, despite it's well preserved outside, the inside was completely in ruin.

From Bodium we made a long drive to our B&B in Salisbury. We got lost on the way to this one too. We walked around Salisbury that night, but it was kinda scary because the place was EMPTY! Seriously, no one was out. It was hard finding a place that was open for food.

It was a long day with around 6 hours of just driving. Yuck! We may have skipped some sites, but I am happy with what we were able to achieve in our short stay!

London: March 17

My legs are so sore! Today was just as busy as yesterday. Luckily I slept well, a little too well, it was hard to get up this morning. Our day was gonna start on time until I got something in my eye after breakfast and spent 20 min trying to get it out:(

We then hoped on the underground to Big Ben, and Westminster Abby. The Abby was cool but the free audio guide made us spend more time than we normally would. We learned about all the royalty buried there and how half of them put each other there. For example, queen Elizabeth I imprisoned her cousin Mary Queen of Scott's for 13ish years only to have her executed for plotting against the crown. (Mary was Elizabeth's rival and closest claim to the throne) after Elizabeth's death, she was succeeded by Mary's grandson I think and he moved his moms tomb to Westminster to be burried adjacent to Queen she didn't see that one coming! But seriously the whole royal line is about one king or queen trying to outdo the other and making sure no cousin, uncle, brother or whoever doesn't try to overthrown him. Oliver Cromwell was buried at the Abby for a short time until rulers were switched, and his remains dug up hanged drawn and quartered.

Overall, it was a very pretty church, but there is a lot of corruption surrounding the people buried there. Our next stop was St. Paul's, and let's just say 2 churches in one day was not a smart move.

When we got there, a wedding was taking place in part of the church so we had to wait for it to be over to explore the high alter. The church was interesting to explore. There were a lot of war memorials including the American roll of honor (or something like that) which has the names of American soldiers who died or received awards in WWII, anyways we got to see the name of my grandmas brother. I can't imagine what it would be like to loose a family member to war. The whispering gallery was cool but the whispering part didn't really happen. The crypt was also neat to wonder around. We spent way too much time wandering around St. Paul's and Nathan reached his limit at looking at churches.

We were then back on the tube to covent garden where we walked up 200 steps from the underground. We explored the shops and had lunch at a cute pub called the globe. I had a delicious beef stew and nathan had fish and chips.

We then went Leicester Square where we bought tickets to The Mousetrap, I love mysteries and Agatha Christie is a favorite. We then got back on the tube to Baker Street where I got a picture in front of 221B Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes. We got there right before closing, so they wouldn't let us in the museum, but all I really wanted was a picture outside so I was happy.

It was then back on the tube to Leicester Square where we walked around the outskirts of SoHo and China Town while trying to find ice cream.

Our night ended with one of London's longest running plays, followed by a double decker bus back to our B&B.

Overall London was fun, crazy, exhausting, and busy. We did a lot in the 2 1/2 days that we were there. Although we missed some cool museums, I am happy with what we accomplished in the little time we had.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

London: March 16th

London March 16th

As my previous post stated, I woke up at 4am...stupid time change. Needles to say Nathan and I have been exhausted all day. But it hasn't stopped us from having fun.

We started our day with Tower of London. With the Beef Eater tour, we saw the chapel, and learned about the prisoners and beheadings. There were some great stories. We saw some torture devices, including the rack (where they stretch a person). There was one story of a girl who was torture on the rack until almost dead and then burned at the stake for hearsay. lets just say England has had some issues with religion.

Some of the sadest deaths were the two boy princes who were taken to the tower for safety but killed by their Uncle.

In fact it seems that the royal family had a tendency of killing or imprisoning family members for the throne.

Following the tower of London, we walked across tower bridge and got a picture in front of the Globe Theater. There weren't any shows, but I didn't really want to stand and see a show anyway.

We made a surprise visit to Tate Modern. Nathan enjoyed it more than the national portrait gallery. It was interesting to say the least. One of the exhibitions had mirrored walls with color changing lights hanging from the celling. My crappy description doesn't do it justice…

From the Tate modern, we walked across the Millennium bridge. My amazing engineering husband was showing me the retrofits that were needed.

We got a quick glimpse of St Paul's before catching the tube to Buckingham palace. The palace was cool, but the queen should open it up for more than 2 months of the year. We then WALKED from the palace through Hyde park to Kensington gardens to the peter pan statue. Let's just say it was a long walk on top of all the other walking we did today.

It was back on the tube to Harrods which is basically a fancy Bloomingdales meets Nordstrom. Too fancy and expensive for my liking. Why would anyone pay full retail price for clothes. It was cool looking around the food court but I could have opted out.

British Museum was next on the list. However we only had 40 min before they closed. We saw the Viking exhibit, China, the Rosetta Stone and my favorite the Egyptian. It was sad that we couldn't spend more time there. I would have liked to have seen the ancient Greek exhibition, they had closed it early. That museum is Amazing! So much history, the wannabe Indiana Jones in me was super jealous of all the archeologist who discovered these wonders.

We then went to kings cross station so I can see platform 9 3/4 if only the Hogwarts Express was there to take me to Hogwarts. Then I could turn in my unfinished potions HW. Professor Snape probably hates me…

It was then back on the tube to Picadilly Circus, which is like a circus. There were so many people and street performers out and about. It was there that we finally had dinner at about 9. We were exhausted and starving.

Our first full day in London was long, fun, tiring, and filled with walking

Friday, March 16, 2012

Welcome to no sleep

It's 4 0'clock in the morning
Everybody is sleeping
Husband and I are wide awake
And my stomachs a growling...
Stupid jet lag
We are officially in London town!
So let's rewind a bit
On the 15th of March in the year of our lord 2012 Chelsea Catherine & Nathaniel Fields touched down at Heathrow airport at 3:30 in the afternoon, where they waited an hour in line to cross the border. We then rode the tube from Heathrow to Victoria.
A few lessons from my first tube experience: everyone is in a hurry. You need to watch where you are going or you might get sideswipe. There are so many different tubes/rail lines, it would be easy to get lost if you were not paying attention.

So we checked into our hotel at 6:30...yes that is 3 hrs from when we landed. After a much needed face wash and brushed teeth, we were out the door and back I the tube!

Nathan led us through the tube to the national gallery which is different from the national portrait gallery. In fact the national gallery had closed when we got there. After walking around the outside if the NG we decide we should eat it's about 7 by now. However when we turn the corner, I find the NPG. I don't think Nathan was excited to push off eating for art but we did. Thanks to working at OCMA, I got us free admission to the Lucian Freud exhibition, aka art of burned naked people as Nathan would put it. It was interesting to say the least. Anyways that place is deceivingly big and by the time we were done it was 9 and we still hadn't eaten.

For £17 we ate at the spaghetti house and split bruschetta, fried risotto ball, and chicken with interesting potatoes. We barely made it through dinner without falling asleep. It was delicious, but we were exhausted.

So a few observations from my first day:
1. Everyone speaks a different language. London us a multi-cultural melting pot. I heard German Italian some African language that I don't know and who knows what else.

2. People are always protesting something

3. Mind the gap gets old after the 100th time :)

Overall, I am excited and grateful to be here. Today we hit up the Tower of London and British Museum so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You stay classy San Diego...hello London Town

We leave tonight!!!
Ahhhhh I am so excited, nervous scared
Let's break down why I feel this way

Excited: I am going to England & Ireland! I have always wanted to go there since I was a little kid and heard they still had kings and queens

Nervous: I am going outside of the country for 2 weeks! My poor kitties. Will my house be ok? What if they loose my luggage? What if we get ripped off. WHAT IF.... I could go on forever

Scared: as I said before, I have dreamed about going to England since I was a wee las. It has seriously been on my top 5 places to see since I was a kid. I loved learning about the history reading/watching British period pieces aka pride and prejudice aka mr Darcy aka Colin firth. What if it doesn't live up to what I imagined it to be? What if I don't have a good time. What am I thinking? I am talking crazy talk...of corse I will have a good time.

Stay tune for pictures on fb instsgram and here (the blog) about our adventures

And if you would like some inspiration from our trip, I suggest listening to London Calling by The Clash or The Rocky Road To Dublin by the Dubliners

I would put it in this post but I don't know how to do that from my phone