Monthly Archives: April 2011

Gloucester

On Monday, April 25th, I took the train out of London from Paddington Station to Gloucester to visit my Uncle David & Aunt Pet, cousin Maxine and her family Robert, Kirsty, & Emily ( I was in Maxine & Robert’s wedding when I was 9), and cousin Tracey and her family Dave, Sam and Victoria. It was really great to see everyone since I haven’t seen them for anywhere from 7 to 20 years ago! It was a quick but lovely visit!
Pics below :

Paddington Station

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On Tuesday morning I went with my Aunt Pet and Uncle David for a walk around the center of Gloucester. We checked out the Gloucester cathedral which is about 1000 years old.  It used to be a monastary waaaay back in the day, and when King Henry VIII demolished them in the mid-1500’s, only a few survived.  This one did, and became a cathedral, because Kind Edward II is buried here. (Sorry about the quality of some of my pics).
imageThis is really such beautifully detailed stonework.  Another claim to fame of this cathedral is that parts from the Harry Potter movies (Hogwarts) were filmed here.
imageThe gray rectangles on the ground are tombs.
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imageKing Edward II – He was murdered by his wife and her lover.
imageRobert of Normandy
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imageBad shot of the beautiful detail in the ceiling.
imageOur guide getting all excited about taking us into the crypt.
imageThe crypt!
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imageThe view from Maxine and Robert’s house in the Forest of Dean.  Beautiful!
imagePic that my 12 y.o. cousin Sam made of me.  Totally freehand and done in about 10 mins.  He’s going to be famous.
imageView from the train of the grape seed fields in the countryside.
imagePretty, random town from the train.
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Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, etc: Pre-wedding

After Southampton I took the train back to London and stayed with the gracious Sutcliffe family (realitves of one of my coworkers at The Salvation Army, thank you Claire!). They were so nice to let me spend Easter Sunday with them! We had a delicious BBQ’D lamb dinner and had the most fabulous cheese for dessert.
Before that though, they took me on a walking tour around Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the Parliament buildings. It’s impressive just to be in the area, but what always strikes me is the amazing detail of the architecture. I could take a million pictures of every little detail of these buildings. Anyway, as expected the area was very busy; preparations for the royal wedding were in full swing, and many tourists (including myself) were snapping pictures of it all. 
Pics below are of as follows:
1. The road leading down to Buckingham Palace which is closed to traffic on the weekends. Sorry the light wasn’t very good in this direction.
2. The front gates of Buckingham.
3. View of the balcony where Will and Kate will have their “first kiss”. The security guy you see in the pic is not one of the normal guards. They had a lot of added security in addition to the usual ones.
4. Media area that they have set up for the wedding. Usually the public would be able to go onto this area.
5. US media crew. I believe they were from NBC and this shot was just after she had got done filming her segment. I thought about running behind her so I could get on camera but I hadn’t had enough beers yet (Rosy ; )  )  Anyway, so she had been talking about the hectic last minute preparations…whatever…
6. St. James park around the palace.
7. Wedding flare already in place along the route to Westminster Abbey.
8. Westminster Abbey
9. Parliament building
10. Big Ben with the London eye in the background.
11. Gates to Clarence House where Will & Kate will take residence.

P.s. sorry I did not get myself into any of these photos this time around. And also yes, it is such fantastic weather I have a hard time believing I am actually in England. Apparently its the hottest April in England in 100 years. Fact.

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Me & Will & Kate

Apparently my Will & Kate picture didn’t upload in my Brighton post. So here it is…

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Brighton via Southampton

After my first night in London I spent the next day at the Camden Market, a busy sort of cutting edge place know for its alternative scene and nightlife, and also for its great market in the Horse Tunnel Stables (pics to come at a later time). Then I headed for the station at Waterloo to catch the train for Southampton. My second cousin Shelley lives there with her husband Steve and their little boy Alexander. It was a little over an hour on the train. All three of them came to meet me at the station. It had been almost 20 years since I had last seen Shelley, so it was so good to see her again and to meet Steve and Zander.
They were so lovely and treated me to a room at the Southampton Holiday Inn…something that after my first night in a hostel room with ten other people (especially the two Argentians who were making out) was absolutely heaven!

I knew really nothing about Southampton before going there. I am not kidding when I say that I have not planned this trip. I am literally flying blind, by the seat of my pants, in the dark…ok maybe not in the dark…but you get my drift. Turns out, as I found out from the fantastic view of my hotel room, that Southampton is the port that you would dock into if you were sailing across the Atlantic…say on the Queen Mary II ( uh hum, Heather) AND where the Titanic set sail from. All outside my hotel window!

That night Shelley and I went out for drinks and dinner…I will post more on this later when I can upload photo’s from my other camera. I promise soon I will get this all figured out, but for now at least I have figured out the best strategy for my Thunderbolt. Thanks for being patient with me. And yes, I will try to take more photos with me actually in them. It’s just hard when I am in the moment…and traveling solo…but I will!

Below you’ll see a photo of Southampton’s city gate. Back in the day there was a wall around the city complete with beautiful arches and scary dungeons (no joke)! Presently, the wall is only a small part of the city and in bits. But it is really beautiful. I greatly enjoyed the view of four arches in the wall that they have lit up with colored changing lights out of my hotel window. I’ve included the photo below but I am not sure of its quality since I was so high up (and had a few beers).

Saturday Shelley and her family picked me up and we went to Brighton/Hove. I LOVE Brighton. I would come back for a beach holiday in this area in a heartbeat. Besides what I saw, which was a lot and ton of fun, it is apparently also close to some other great beach spots (Eastmoore and The Isle of White) so you could plan a really nice holiday of it.

We walked all the way from Hove to the Brighton Marina. Below are some pics of the walk. The beachside cafe we had a burger and beer at. The Brighton Pier, where Shelley and I scared ourselves shaky on one of the rollercoaster rides. And where I got my picture taken with Will and Kate.

You’ll also see a picture of the Royal Pavilion. A palace built for the Prince Regent, later King George IV. It has an Indian architectural influence and a Chinese interior. It was majestic and in some ways did not fit, but on the other hand it represents what makes Brighton so great…its diversity and “anything goes” sort of attitude!

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24 hours

I made it online! I have had a bit of trouble with the wifi and getting connected, but I think this will post. This is seriously my first couple hours in London.
My ticket from Heathrow to my hostel. The Astor Musuem Hostel on Montague Street (the blue door) to the Princess Louise, where I braved the after work crowd solo. I later found out that I am here on a bank holiday…hello good friday, so there were much more people out on a Thursday night (in suits) than normal.
Then my DELICIOUS meal of mussels and frijtz with my favorite Leffe beer.
The perfect start to my trip! xoxo

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Rad thing of the day!

There is nothing better than a song you are completely obsessed with, and players from your favorite baseball team, together in one video.

Thank you Rosy for finding this!

(Now back to packing!)

Cheers!

To the end of my employment at The Salvation Army and the opportunities it has afforded me!

To the beginning of new travels, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of life!

And to you, my dear readers, for all your friendship, love, and support!