Mind The Gap

shakespeare, university, and pulled muscles oh my!

Posted by admin on Apr 14, 2010

For our last full day in Great Britain we really jammed packed it full of fun. We headed to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London and did a tour. They were setting up for MacBeth which starts in 10 days. The Globe was fun but we are sad the the actual plays in the Globe don’t start until the last week in April so we didn’t get to see a show. After that we walked a long way to get some photos. After grabbing lunch on the run(literally…haylee pulled a muscle in her leg and austin was sore from our looooong run we hopped a train to Cambridge (40min away by train). Upon arriving we had to walk 20 min on our hurt legs to get to the center of town. We took some photos of the University and shopped at a local open air market. After getting back to London we went straight to Harrods (famous department store). We then walked around more and bought lots of trinkets. We got back to our hotel at a little after 8 and were starving so we unloaded our bags into our teeny room and walked to the pub on the corner of our street. Its interesting when you look around at the pubs and see little kids since as long as they aren’t drinking they are allowed at bars here. Kids can even walk up to the bar itself to order food! Definitely something you wouldn’t see at home. Needless to say we fell asleep with ease…that is as soon as we could clear our bed from all our luggage as our room barely fits the bed :)


Warwick or Disneyland?

Posted by admin on Apr 14, 2010

After our eventful train ride back to London we headed srtaight to the British Library.  It’s hard to imagine actually using this as a library and not just staring jaw dropped at the immensity of it.  We went to the Treasures room where they keep the old Bibles and the Magna Carta and many other things.  It was fun to look for sure.  The next morning we caught a train to Stratford-upon-Avon and found ourselves in Shakespeare world.  When we first got off the train we were initially disappointed with the feel of the town…but after walking a bit we found ourselves in the center of it all and were very excited.  Seeing where Shakespeare was born and how he grew up was exciting.  The house was so old that it wasn’t level on the second floor and every floor board creaked and the doors were built just for us…but no one taller than us :)    Close by is Warwick so we got on another train and headed there.  Warwick castle is huge and they have made it like disneyland.  We got to see a Trebuchet fired and a knight riding a horse and yes we climbed 530 steps to look out the highest tower!  We were exhausted after viewing the castle.  We will check back later and write about our last day and a half.


Train construction

Posted by admin on Apr 11, 2010

This weekend train construction is causing some travel issues. Even locals are frustrated. When we left Edinburgh we really didn’t have many choices …we chose York which has lots of Viking and Medieval roots so we just walked around and took some pics. We stayed at a cute B&B run by Jason who was a nice guy. We got quite a deal from him because we have a Rick Steves travel book and Rick arranged special prices for those who have his book. Leaving York was very hard because of the train construction and it’s a Sunday. We are on a packed train to London. We are having our first experience STANDING on a train for 2.75 hours. We booked our last three nights at a little B&B in London but we will be doing some partial day trips probably to Stratford upon Avon and Cambridge. Weather is still great. In York we wore tshirts without sweatshirts! Hope all is well at home, we miss you.


Next Door Neighbors…worlds apart?

Posted by admin on Apr 10, 2010

After Windsor we left for Edinburgh, Scotland. The train ride was gorgeous…ocean views, castles, baby sheep. It took 4.5 hours. Scotland is a bit different. Pros- places are open much later, bagpipe music on the street corners. Cons- the people are a bit more rough around the edges…they all drink beer (lots of it, then whisky) and we heard a lot more swearing. The castle is right in town and dominates the skyline. It is huge! It sits atop a hillside so the views from up top are breathtaking, literally you are out of breath from the hike up the castle :) The Royal Mile that leads away from the castle is full of shops for fun gifts. Our bags are starting to overflow from the little trinkets. We also did a day trip into St.Andrews which was a lot of fun. St Andrews is a the smallest town so far that we have spent time in and very laid back. We looked in cute shops, took pics of the famous golf course that is home of the British Open this year. We golfed at St. Andrews… see the pics we will upload later :)

As requested here is more info on our passes: The Great British Heritage pass can be bought before you travel or at a select few big cities that they list on their site. It gives you prepaid entry to almost 600 sites in all of the United Kingdom. You buy the pass for the length of days you will be using it for. So we bought the 15 day pass. They are flat rate charges for the length of time. So we calculated what places we would go to on the list and added up the admission charges. It was cheaper for us to buy the passes which included sites like Stonehenge, Warwick Castle, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, etc… The pass looks like a debit card and they just look at it and issue you a ticket for the site you are at. It also gives you priority entrance…you do not have to wait in line. You find an attendant or priority ticket office and they let you right thru. We skipped a huge line at the Roman Baths and a line a Edinburgh castle. Now we are off to York, England working our way back to London.

Side note on food: The food in England is great! Big breakfasts with Bacon,Sausage, Toast, fruit, cereal, beans, tomatoes,mushrooms, and more. Their is a great variety no matter what town. You can always find English, Italian and American and usually more. There are lots of Supermarkets like Sainsbury, Mark and Spencer, etc. WE LOVE the Cottage pie! Tea and scones are everywhere! Scotland on the other hand had some stranger options that we did not partake in like Wild Boar, Fish Pie, Haggis, and other mystery items.



Bath to Windsor

Posted by admin on Apr 9, 2010

On our last day in Bath we really soaked it all in. First we walked to the Jane Austen center for a tour of all things Jane. Then we went to the Bath at work museum where the workers truly love their job and love talk so we got a little history lesson before even wandering the museum. People in Bath are a lot more laid back than in London. We left Bath and headed to Windsor…not sure what to expect. It was great! Lots of shopping and nice people. Our hotel was family run and definitely one of our favorites by far. The people were nice and helpful and did I mention we got this place cheaper than any other so far?! The castle dominates the city and everyone uses the castle as a point of reference for directions. The castle was grand and the crazy part is that they still use it. We toured on Thursday and there had just been a reception of “important” people on Tuesday. We must have just missed the Queen.


Bath

Posted by admin on Apr 6, 2010

Bath is amazing! More laid back than London but still lots to do. The first night we stayed at a B&B run by a sweet woman and toured the Royal Crescent and the Fashion museum and finished the day at an Irish pub. The next day we toured the Roman baths which impressed us both so much. There is more to see than you think. We were so happy we had Great British Heritage passes because with them we were treated like royalty. We got to skip the long line out in the cold and go straight in. Later in the evening we went to the Thermae Bath Spa where we got a two hour pass to enjoy the hot spring pools and aromatherapy steam rooms. (our favorite was the Eucalyptus and Mint room)Our new B&B is closer to town and we booked it for two nights. The first night at the new place was fine tho we both have colds which interupted our sleep a bit. When we woke up we ate and got a train to Stonehenge. (side note: the trains are easy to figure out and we have never had to wait more than 30minutes for one headed where we want to go)We have been so happy with the dry weather but the wind at Stonehenge was a bit tough at times. When we arrived back in sunny Bath we went to the famous Pump Room for afternoon tea(yum)! We had to try the famous Bath water which comes out of the ancient springs with all sorts of minerals and what not. The water stinks but does not taste nearly as bad as we thought. We are now going to sit down and figure out where in Great Britain we want to go tomorrow. Cheers!


Amazing last day in london

Posted by admin on Apr 4, 2010

On Saturday we checked out of our hotel and took a bus to the British Museum where we had our plans for the Bible tours. We walked around town to find a hotel and found a sweet little place. For coming the day of we got 40% off for a basic double which I should say is still expensive. They still were waiting for people to check out so we went and took our tours. When we came back they had to do some switching of the rooms apparently so we ended up with a king suite!!!!!! So now are 40% off the basic became an even better deal. The place was so cute we will try to put up pix later. Our Bible tours were so amazing and faith strenthening. Our first tour was called Keep your eyes on the prize which considered Paul and Christians in Roman times. It centered on the idea of a Roman soldier and the prize they looked forward to and how that relates to the everlasting life the Bible offers. Our second tour was called Choose for yourselves. This tour took us to the rooms of ancient Egypt and considered the hard time Isrealites had during those times. It centered on their choice of serving their one God or being influenced by the many Egyptian gods and their foreign customs. We can tell you specific details when we get back. Now fast forward to the next morning and we are on a train right now headed to Bath. And yes we will be taking a bath in Bath. Again the weather is amazing… sunny and clear tho a bit cold. Thank you all for your posts we miss you all and love to hear from you!


We Have WiFi!

Posted by admin on Apr 4, 2010

So we are finally staying at a place that has free wifi. WiFi was hard to come by in London unless you wanted to pay $15/hr. Now that we are in Bath things are better (at least for tonight). Were able to upload more pictures from around London, our tour of Bethel, the British Museum, and the London Eye.


Friday in london

Posted by admin on Apr 4, 2010

Well…where do we start?! We woke up early on our Friday morning and ate a large breakfast at our hotel. We started touring around town only to realize that Good Friday is a big deal here. Many museums close and other sites as well. We were able to discover that the Tower of London was open so we went and saw the beautiful crown jewels which includes the world’s largest diamond and more gold than we could imagine! We also got a tour of the tower by a dynamic tour guide who had us laughing. We got an early tour when the place wasn’t packed and boy was that good because by the time we left it the line to see the crown jewels wrapped around the castle as far as the eye could see. Then the crazy part of the day began. We had to walk a long way to our hotel because bus service was limited due to Good Friday (at least we had good weather). We changed into meeting clothes to go to Bethel. As we left our hotel it started pouring! And getting to Bethel was the biggest adventure we’ve had yet. Bethel is as far out as you can go on the tube(subway) and the surrounding areas are not as nice or as inhabited as central London. When we got to the last stop we were running late and had missed lunch because of the time it took to get to Bethel…and we now had to walk about a half mile or more up a hill. We were so relieved to finally get there and of course being the wonderful people as they are there they got us on a tour no problem. As you can expect we had a great time. We can write about the people we met later. The way back was more of an adventure on the tune because it was evening on the outskirts of town and the tube ride was a bit uneasy. We had dinner at a place packed with locals near trafalgar square and it was much needed as we hadn’t eaten in 13 hours!!! Austin had fish and chips and Haylee had Italian and yes finished the entire huge bowl of food which is not a usual thing as restuarant dishes are usually much too big for her appetite.


A Beautiful Day

Posted by admin on Apr 1, 2010

After we landed (which was a bit rough because of wind) we took an express train form Heathrow to Paddington Station.  It was a little freaky because we were right in the middle of rush hour which made it daunting to travel on the tube, but we made it none the less.  We were able to check into our hotel very early which was nice since we wanted to ditch our bags right away and get going.  We got on a hop on hop off tour and rode it around until lunch.  We saw the Tower Bridge, Parliament,Big Ben, and so much more. After lunch we lost our good weather and decided to take the free river boat cruise(covered top) that came with our tour.  Tomorrow we are going to tour the Tower of London, St. Pauls Cathedral, The Globe Theater and Bethel.  Our hotel is in a nice location close to Charing Cross train station and just a few blocks from famous Trafalgar Square! Here are some pics from our tour.