Friday, August 26, 2011

Tourists in London

The London Eye

Westminster Cloisters

London Fields, in the rain

Waterloo Bridge, between Somerset House and the National Theater

Big Ben. Little Ben was asleep when we took it, or we'd have made him pose.

Millennium Bridge (rebuilt with less falling down!)

Baby in Soho

St. Paul's after Matins (Ben slept through that too).

And sadly, Starbucks. In our defense, we needed coffee badly and it was across the street from our bus stop.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I blinked

First day of school for my First Grader.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

around edinburgh

Chase and Ben at the window in Ladystairs. We loved our little apartment.

Tim might have loved it slightly less, since he was on a couch in the living room/kitchen, and got disturbed at 6 AM by my daily blind stumble for the coffee pot. But I definitely recommend homeaway if you're looking for a place to stay on a trip.

Yeah, it's what you think. And yes I totally ate them and they were delicious. Not so much the blood pudding though.

This is also taken from the window of Ladystairs, only at about 10 minutes to midnight. That's a bagpipe parade going past in a blur, and the crowd is getting ready to disperse. The fireworks would have gone off about 10 minutes prior to this. And... that happened every night. Sort of like Disney World.

Here's Ben eating some breakfast at a little restaurant next to the grassmarket. They also served the closest thing to real coffee we had the whole time we were in the UK. Jamie complains about doing without black beans and salsa but seriously, I would need weekly care packages of coffee beans if I were there for much longer.

And here's a poorly lit iphone picture of the castle. I took it while walking through Princes Street Gardens, and although it's a terrible picture, it still gives you an idea of how crazy somebody would have to be to try to invade. I guess you have to hand it to the English... I would have taken one look at that and turned around and gone back to my cute little thatched cottage in the Cotswolds. I mean, obviously they should have... Go Scotland! Kilts forever!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

holyrood and greyfriars

In Edinburgh we were staying on the royal mile, very close to the castle, but after walking up into the courtyard, through the gauntlet of be-tartaned ye olde gifte shoppes, we decided that although the castle was impressive, we'd rather see Holyroodhouse Palace and the Abbey.

The Abbey is beautiful, and it was amazing just to be walking around in temperate weather, among living, non-scorched gardens. Our friend and host Jamie would apologize when it drizzled and misted but we were too busy running outside with our faces up and our mouths open.

The story of the Abbey is that David I followed a stag in the forest, and was thrown from his horse. He was saved from being gored by the appearance of a crucifix in the stag's antlers. He grasped the cross, and in gratitude, founded an abbey on the site.

So... there are lots of deer statues.

The royal tombs in the Abbey are sort of bundled away into a back corner closet with a padlock on the outside. Understandable, since apparently they tend to get ransacked every time a mob moves through town (apparently, a lot).

Imagine living in a place where moss grows on stuff.

This is one of the tombs at Greyfriars Abbey. They form a square around the central yard, and each one backs up and shares a wall with the apartment building behind it. I guess when you've been living on top of each other for so long, there's less of a stigma if your neighbors happen to be very very quiet. In Oxford we stopped in a little coffee shop across from the camera where the outdoor tables were sitting on flat gravestones in the yard of St. Mary's. The names and dates were mostly rubbed away, and I suppose if you were looking for someone in particular you could ask your fellow coffee drinkers to scoot over or something.

The hill behind the abbey is Arthur's Seat, which we did not climb. We looked up admiringly at those who did, and decided to climb the much smaller Calton Hill. But first I made someone else carry the baby.