July 31, 2011

For Sunday

I am safely in Edinburgh, Scotland. I can't believe this is the final week of my study abroad. In some ways, it seems like I've been here forever. Then sometimes it feels like I got here yesterday. Crazy. Anywho, I don't have a lot of blogging material, since yesterday the majority of the day was spent driving, so hopefully I'll have some goods tomorrow. For now, here are some lovely pictures for you to enjoy (I am a pinterest addict).



July 29, 2011

York, Fountain Abbey, and the Beginning of the Lake District

This morning, after a lovely breakfast at the good ol' Ibis, we walked to York Minster to walk around the inside. It was so beautiful, and since it was around 9:30, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

We were free to wander around before we had to get back on the bus, so we decided to explore for a bit.  Kelsey, Catie and I met up with Sarah and Hilary while walking around, and we found a spa where they did fish pedicures. Basically, you put your feet in a tank of water with about 75 little fish and they attach to your feet and eat the dead skin off of them. Ick. Sarah an Catie decided to do it and we all were able to see it. Both of them screamed when they first put their feet in, but they ended up coming out soft! They said it felt like little tiny nibbles and tickled a lot. Yeah, I definitely would not have been able to handle it.


Sarah's actions completely explain the experience
After we left York, we headed to Fountains Abbey and spent a few hours there. It was so pretty and after walking around, we ended up lounging on the grass reading and talking.




We left Fountains Abbey and started the 3 hour journey to the Lake District. Once we got into the main area, I was in awe. It is so beautiful here! It's hard to explain, but it's sort of like Sundance with stone houses and less pine trees. We got here late, and the restaurants would be closing soon, so we ended up getting groceries for a big spaghetti dinner at the hostel. Our hostel is... well let's just say I'm glad we're only staying one night. It is basically indoor camping. Bugs included.

Tomorrow, we'll be touring the Lake District, and then making our way to Scotland. I believe we'll be seeing Lochness in the next day or so. Man, I am impressed that I have kept up with blogging this trip! I hope you enjoy it!

July 28, 2011

Same People, Same Clothes, Different Day!

Today, we set on our way to York. Before we made it to York, we stopped in Preston to do a little Mormon tour. Preston is the place where Heber C. Kimball and the first missionaries came to bring the gospel to England. Preston is where the church was first established in England. So yeah, it was a pretty big deal.


Where the first British saints were baptized

We walked around the town learning about the different sites, and ended up at the temple. It was right by the England MTC, so it was cool to see where British missionaries go to prepare for their missions!



After Preston, we completed the final few hours to York. We're excited to go to York Minster tomorrow, then tomorrow night we will be in the Lake District (it's like The Hamptons of England).

For now, this is a little list of what I'm missing about home:

  • First and foremost, the parents. But it's ok, because they're coming to Scotland in 8 days to see me!


  • These Utah girls.
  • Home cooked meals.
  • Utah summer heat. This damp/rainy/kinda warm weather is getting old.
  • What I wouldn't do for a snoasis snow cone.
  • Salads as a main course.
  • The rest of my clothes. The poor things, all lonely in my closet.
  • My own room/bed that I don't have to share with anyone.
  • Good old American plumbing that doesn't include excessive pumping/jimmying the handle.
  • Sonic. I could use a CC right about now.
  • Not having to live out of a suitcase and haul the thing around everywhere.
  • ICE.
  • Outlets next to mirrors and in the bathroom.

I'm having such a great time over here in the UK, but I will be very glad to be home and back to a set schedule! 


July 27, 2011

Beatlemania

We love our little Grant!



This morning, after a cute little breakfast at our B & B (that's British for Bed and Breakfast, yo), we headed to Liverpool. Let me tell you, bus time is my favorite. Especially when I get a whole row to myself. There wasn't a lot of room in front of me, so I experimented with a few different positions to get comfortable, including back against the window, leaning on the window, until finally I found the perfect position: laying on my side with my feet stacked resting on the armrest in the aisle next to me. Get the picture? It might have looked a little awkward, but it sure was a great sleeping position. 

Anywho. We made it to Liverpool, grabbed a quick lunch and headed out to the docks. Supposedly, this is where our ancestors first made the trek over to America. We sang some hymns (drawing some attention from random people), and then went over to the Beatle's Story museum. 



The Beatles museum was a museum I actually enjoyed. The audio tour was interesting, and each room was decorated so well. They even had a replica of the alley where the Beatles played numerous times a pub called the Cavern. It was really cool.

After the museum, Kelsey decided to conquer one of her fear of heights and ride the ferris wheel. It was pretty mild and a tad boring, but had a beautiful view. 






We got a quick dinner at BurritoBar, which is like Chipotle here. IT WAS HEAVEN. Not close to real mexican food, but good enough for us. After dinner, we were feeling pretty worn out, so we decided that a movie was a good choice. We ended up seeing Transformers 3.  I'm not sure if any of you know, but I am a huge Transformers fan. As in, I have an Optimus Prime blanket that I take to college with me. The movie was AMAZING! Besides the Victoria's Secret model that can run perfectly in 4 inch heels and not have her makeup ruined from dirt/sweat/autobot gunk, I loved it. 


Tomorrow, we'll be off to Preston, then to York. The journey continues!

July 26, 2011

Goodbye, London!

Sadly, yesterday was our very last day in London. Catie and I decided to do the last few things on our list, and that was St. Paul's Cathedral and Oxford Circus. We didn't want the day to be too stressful, because we had to pack up our flat to leave the next day. So, after class we went took the tube to St. Paul's.


We were on the quest to find the famous staircase that's in several films, including Harry Potter (it's the spiral staircase leading to the astronomy tower in the 3rd, and it was even in the last film). Even though photography is not allowed... I snuck a quick shot:

Our tickets included access to the top of the cathedral where we could see what everyone said was the best view of London. Well, it was 530 steps to the top. Did I mention it was spiral staircases? Man, we were sweating when we got to the top, but it was so so worth it. See?


We decided after all that climbing and sweating that we deserved a Magnum bar. So we bought some and sat on the front lawn to cool off. After that, we went to Oxford Circus and did some shopping. That night, we came home and packed up our little flat. I'm going to miss London so so much. Our time there was absolutely the best and I can't wait to go back.

This morning, we headed out to the bus, and drove to Stratford. First, we went to Warwick Castle, which was pretty much like a giant Renaissance festival. We had a few hours of fun before we headed for a quick visit to Anne Hathaway's (Shakespeare's wife) house.

Warwick Castle

Anne Hathaway's house

After the Hathaway's home, we went to the birthplace of Shakespeare. It was pretty cool to see where he grew up (I'm sure an English major would be more excited about this).

Tomorrow, we're off to Liverpool! Can't wait for a little Beatlemania.

July 24, 2011

Je t'aime Paris!

On Friday morning, we left early to catch the train to see the Palace of Versailles. We wanted to skip the long lines so we would have the rest of the day to finish up what we wanted to see in Paris.

Versailles was huge! It was like it's own little village. The palace and the gardens were so beautiful. It was so cool to think that Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI once lived there. We even saw the escape door that Marie used to flee from the Paris mob that stormed Versailles.



Hall of Mirrors

The Queen's bedchamber



After our tour of the palace, we went outside to roam the gardens. They were also so so big! I think if I were a royal living in that palace, I would be in the gardens all the time. They were absolutely gorgeous.




After Versailles, we headed back to Paris, to get tickets to get on top of the Eiffel Tower. We waited in line for an hour and a half (MOM- book our tickets before we get there, or we'll be waiting in line) in the on and off rain. We found out that the very top was closed, so we settled for the second level. It was still very high up. The view was breathtaking!


When we got back to level ground, we hopped on the bus and headed to The Louvre, where we got in for free. There was so much to see and so many wings of the museum! We didn't have time to see everything we wanted, but we got in some big ones, like Winged Victory and Mona Lisa. It was crazy to see the pieces I've studied in Humanties in real life.


She was so small!
When we finished with The Louvre, we were all dragging and ready to go back to the hotel and sleep. The next morning, we saw the last thing on our list, The Arch de Triumph, and took a few pictures.


Clearly, we loved jumping pictures
After a quick breakfast, we headed to the train back to London. It was delayed, but we got back safely, glad to be back in a clean, English country. As we came out of St. Pancras station, I felt like I was home. It's only been three weeks, but I already consider London a home away from home. I absolutely love it here, and I'm so sad that we'll be leaving on Tuesday.

Here's my love/not-so-love lists about Paris:

Not-So-Love:

  • The sour milk smell between two stops on our metro to the hotel
  • The dirty metro stations
  • All the gypsies begging for money and casting spells on you behind your back
  • The "hey baby"'s we got everywhere we went (don't worry, they were greeted back with looks of death)
  • Homeless people sleeping in the metro

Love:
  • Delicious crepes EVERYWHERE
  • Fresh baguette sandwiches
  • Going on top of the Eiffel Tower
  • Delicious pastries in tiny little shops
  • History dotted throughout the city
  • Kind street vendors who would help us out the best that they could
I have to say, Je t'aime Paris! That's I love Paris in French, peeps.

July 23, 2011

La Ville D'amour

Thursday started out bright and early with a visit to Notre Dame. We had delicious crepes for breakfast right by the area, and were able to walk around inside and explore a bit.

Inside

Outside Notre Dame

We met up with 3 girls from our group, and they joined us in getting a pass for a Hop on Hop off tour around Paris. I'm telling you, that pass saved our poor feet from some serious walking! Before we left Notre Dame, we ventured into a small street full of greek vendors. We ate a delicious lunch of chicken with pita bread, and then headed to The Louvre.



                               
                                       We had to take jumping pictures everywhere we went. 
We decided to save the actual museum for Friday night, where youth under 26 get in free after 6. Free is free, right? So we took our pictures, then headed to La Fayette Galleries, where we got on the roof to see the most beautiful panoramic view of the city.

This is the epitome of our friendship. Kels: Let's snuggle! Me: Mehh...
There was a McDonald's on the 4th floor, and I saw that they made their McFlurries with MAGNUM chocolate. DAD! I REPEAT! McFlurries with Magnum Chocolate!! I've never had a McFlurry before, but Magnum chocolate is the chocolate of the heavens, so I had to get one. It was divine.

After that, we went back to the Eiffel Tower to take our daytime pictures, saving our trip to the top for Friday. Gypsy people were everywhere! But we still had a great time jumping around.



We headed back to our hotel early to get some rest before another big day: Versailles! It was so nice to go to bed early after a long and busy day. Versailles and more tomorrow! Or, approximately 4 a.m. for you guys. Au revoir!