A Travellerspoint blog

See You Soon!

sunny
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All good things come to an end! This is my final post before we board our plane for New Zealand tomorrow. I have so much to tell you all, and more pictures to show than you'll probably want to see. ;-)

We are back in London, and are just about to taste (for the last time) the best cheesecake in the entire world, so I'll keep this short.

For anyone who wants to meet us at the airport, we land at 10:25pm on the 27'th, flight SQ317. (I told some people 10:40 - don't know where I got this from... 10:25 is the correct time).

Love you all, and I'll see you soon :)

Rach

Posted by RachMulder 25.05.2009 10:02 Archived in England Comments (0)

Scotland & Ireland

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Almost home time now! My apologies for taking so long to write to you all again. I have been waiting, putting it off in the hopes that I would be able to share some photos with you. Lately there has always been something to prevent me. Unfortunately today is no different - only the screen and keyboard are accessible to me, so no USB ports.

Never mind - more to show when I get home! :-)

We have moved around a lot since I last wrote. After our stay in Whitby with Robyn's Aunt, we went on to stay 3 days in Glasgow, followed by 3 days in Dublin. Today we have just arrived by train into Cork, where we will stay for (you guessed it) 3 days.

Glasgow was a lot like home. Robyn's Aunt and Uncle took us for a drive past Loch Lomond, and the way there could easily have been a NZ open road. Lots of ferns. It's hard to really put your finger on it, but Glasgow just felt 'New-Zealandish'. It also smelled strongly of marmite in certain places. (No idea why...)

We flew to Dublin. Our hostel there was a little budget compared to previous experiences - we had 3 flights of stairs to descend to the bathroom, and two more to get to the showers. (Not all that fun running past the internet room in your PJ's in the morning, either!)

In Dublin we did most of the really touristy things. The Guinness storehouse, of course, was a must. (By the way, I DON'T like Guinness.) :-P The place was fairly interesting, but reasonably pricey. You could tell they were in on all the hype - you should have seen the size of their gift shop! We caught a traditional Irish dancing show, and did shameful amounts of shopping (presents for ourselves, this time!) ;-O

We also went to Trinity College, home of the famous 'book of Kells' (a lavishly decorated, illustrated manuscript of the four gospels, transcribed by Celtic monks.) I enjoyed the place, although my experience was somewhat tainted by throngs of pushy middle-aged tourists who would literally shove you out of the way to get closer themselves. (A bit of trivia: The Trinity College library was used for a scene in Star Wars Ep II, where Obi-Wan is looking for Geonosis. It was deja-vu-ish to be inside, the set designers were obviously very strongly influenced by the place!)

We have only just arrived in Cork, so I can't say much about it yet. The hostel seems great, and the staff here have been way more helpful than anywhere else we've been so far - really going out of their way to tell us anything that might be useful .

As for Ireland overall, I can really only think of one adjective: rainy. It spits, drizzles or pours. There's no rhyme or reason. Today we were out walking and were caught completely off guard - it was a clear sky one minute, and absolutely torrential rain a second later. I have never seen rain come out of absolutely nowhere like that before. For the locals it's a bit of a joke - 'Did you want summer?' They say. 'Sorry, that was last week Wednesday.'

My computer is flashing at me - 5 minutes to go. I will try to write one more time before I come home - less than a week to go, now! I am looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

Love,
Rach

Posted by RachMulder 21.05.2009 06:34 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Photos From York

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As promised, here are a few photos from York. This is the place where we stayed. I won't say too much about it as it's all there in my last post, but you can see that it's all very 'period' - we really felt like we might be staying at Longbourne!

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Also, this is the "York Minster" which I did not mention before. It completely dominates the skyline and dwarfs every other building - making it a handy reference point for when you get lost... The second picture is proof that we climbed it - all 275 dizzying stairs!

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I've also included a couple of people-pics for the Mums - with one of Robyn especially for Helen ;-) The third one is for Nate - proof that Robyn does and will drink tea. (We have her on record now!)

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Today we travelled to Whitby with Robyn's Aunty Meg. She took us to see an old manor house (they call it Castle Howard, but it was never a fortified castle). Some interesting history here - Catherine Howard (yet another wife of King Henry VIII) was connected with this family, although I'm not sure whether she ever lived here.

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And that's a wrap. These lovely people are on dial-up, and it has just occurred to me that I am tying up their phone line. Bye for now!

Posted by RachMulder 13.05.2009 10:23 Archived in England Comments (0)

York

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Well, we are in York, where a street is called a 'gate', a gate is called a 'bar', and a bar is called a 'pub'! This small town has as much rich history as can be found in London - historically it was a very strategic point for battles, (particularly when Scotland was involved), so there are loads of medieval towers and fortresses.

Now it is a decidedly sleepy little town - cute as a button, but with those tell-tale tourist trappings: McDonalds, Starbucks, Burger King, Borders, Subway, Subway, Subway... Almost everyone walking down the street has a camera, but who can blame them? And I'm just as bad - snap, snap, snap!

But you should see this place! The houses are red brick and covered in sprawling ivy. The main city-centre is cobbled, and much of it is closed to vehicles. The streets are narrow, the buildings are droopy and the upper storeys overhang the lower ones, so that you could almost reach out of the window of a building on one side and touch the hand of someone doing the same thing on the other side.

The B&B that we are staying in is like something out of a Jane Austen movie - our room has a four-poster bed, red-velvet upholstered furniture, huge draping curtains and a flowered friese. It also has a space-defying bathroom where you have to turn sideways to exit the shower, and could easily drink from the tap while sitting on the toilet (which we strongly suspect was a lawnmower in a past life), but who could be bothered by such trivialities in a place like this?

Unfortunately, as gorgeous as everything is here, I can't post any photos. Part of the charm of this place is feeling that you've stepped back in time - but it also applies to their library computers, which are running Windows 98 and sadly can't handle the jandal. So I will have to be content with sharing the above lengthy description instead.

Yesterday we went on an open bus-tour of the city and were told some amusing stories about its past. We drove past a church that had lost it's spire. It was first damaged by cannon fire, then struck by lightning, and later blown up - at which point York finally gave up on it and pulled it down. We also heard a story about a man who got blown off a tower during a gun salute, and landed in the moat. Somehow it conjures up strong mental images for Robyn, and she's off giggling for half an hour every time she remembers it. But perhaps you had to be there...

I'd better go - I'd love to share some pictures with you but it's not going to happen today. Tomorrow we will be picked up by Robyn's Aunty, and taken to the small east-coast town of Whitby. Hopefully she has a better computer, and I can share some pictures from there.

Much as I am enjoying my holiday, I'm really looking forward to coming back (only two weeks more!) and seeing you all again. Bye for now!

Posted by RachMulder 12.05.2009 03:13 Archived in England Comments (0)

The Riches of London

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Our time in London is (sadly) coming to a close. I really feel that I could spend a lot longer - there is so much to see and do in this incredible place! This week we have gorged ourselves on England's richest historical places.

Westminster Abbey was amazing. Jess, this is where Elizabeth I and her half-sister 'Bloody Mary' are buried. It's also where Mary Queen of Scots and a dozen other uber-famous people are laid to rest. The Abbey contains monuments to a number of well-known classical authors, including Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.

It is also the site of the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Photography was prohibited, as it always is in churches, but I have looked up a picture of this monument because I was particularly moved by it. Click on the image to read the inscription...

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We have also been to the "New Zealand Memorial" at Hyde Park corner. It was adorned with poppies leftover from Anzac day, and for a brief moment I felt the stirrings of patriotism as I stood beside it. The "Australian Memorial" was just a wee bit cooler, but hey, who's comparing?

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We also visited the British Museum (site of the real Rosetta stone, which I thought I had seen in Egypt) and the Tower of London. Our tour guide at the tower was so hilarious - he kept cracking stupid jokes such as "let's head off" (eyerolls) and scaring people by suddenly yelling at them. But we had a lot of fun and actually learnt a lot as well. Here's a picture of me on the Tower Green - the site where Anne Boleyn was beheaded.

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London is a strangely familiar place. Coming from Europe, we have noticed a number of similarities to home that make us just a little more comfortable here. Obviously, it's pretty nice to be able to speak English. But it's also comforting to find the traffic on the left-hand side of the road, and even (crazy as it seems) to be able to tell by looking whether a switch is on or off.

Using the London Tube (subway) gives me a weird feeling of deja vu, too - and then I realise that it's because I'm ambling across a Monopoly board. In the last few days we have stopped at Piccadilly Circus, Park Lane, Pall Mall, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.

There are also a number of sites that invariably trigger movie-quotes and show-tunes (I have been absolutely incorrigible, apparently). Really, though, who can go to St Paul's without whistling "Feed The Birds" or Fleet Street without "The Worst Pies in London"? (One barber-shop there, but it seemed fairly harmless).

Here we are on the steps of St Pauls. It's not early in the day, and we couldn't find a bird-woman (or even a bird) to pose for us, but hey, you can't have everything.

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Tomorrow our train leaves from Kings Cross Station, where there is (reportedly) NO platform 9 3/4. So disappointing... In researching train times I came across an article stating that, for some time, a special division of St John's was established to aid wannabe wizards who had injured themselves running into the station wall. Rings with truth, doesn't it? Would be funny, though... ;-)

Next time I write, we'll be in York (2 hours North by train).
Bye for now! :-)

Posted by RachMulder 09.05.2009 09:18 Archived in England Comments (0)

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