Sunday, November 29, 2015


I hated London when we first got there.  It was hot and our hotel had no AC.  AC is not a big thing in the UK.  We just happened to be there in a record breaking heat wave.  I'm no stranger to a hellishly hot day, I mean, I do live in Texas, but we have AC. Being on buses and trains and subways and just being in the middle of a bunch of hot, stinky people was not a good time.  I was just over it.  However, when you meet a friendly policeman, who proudly shows you his gun, grins brightly and says it's only for "public assurance", your day gets better-even though you're hot and tired.  I didn't even think British cops were allowed guns. 

And I couldn't resist-"Look kids, Big Ben!" Every single time we saw it :)

 Pano from the London Eye
 It wasn't falling down.
 There's no AC in here...
 Pano Picadilly
 Their seats at a street performance.  We kept looking for Ed Sheeran, but no luck.

 The beginning of the changing of the guards.  It's about 90 degrees.  I can't believe one of them did not fall out...
We were expecting to hear some grand marching song from the band, but we were treated to Michael Jackson's Thriller. Totally unexpected.  I think the Brits have a pretty good sense of humor.

 Thames pano
 Give way...
 Windsor Castle was beautiful, but you aren't allowed to take pics of the cool stuff inside.
 The last night, 3 girls and I braved the tube and London city streets alone to see this play. 
So long London! I hope I get to come back someday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Smoking kills in Scotland, too.  This was spotted in the graveyard we stood in to get a look at the Queen's Edinburgh (pronounced Ed-in-burra) house.  She was coming the day after we left. 

Just chillin', playin' some bagpipes.

View from Edinburra Castle
 This was a pet cemetery in the castle.

Quirky mailbox

Learning to look the opposite direction for oncoming traffic was difficult, but Edinburra does what it can to help us Americans out :)

This is a tiny area between the traffic lanes.  I think they reached maximum occupancy.
Traffic is WHIZZING by...
 One of the things I was most excited about was getting to ride a night train from Edinburgh to London.  Here it is. 

Waiting to find their cubicles.

These were some tiny spaces.
You kinda have to walk a little sideways to get down the hallway.

 It was a long ride, I was tired and didn't get to see any of the countryside I was so looking forward to seeing, was the night was night...
But once we arrived in London (at a ridiculous 6 a.m.), we were greeted with this sign-
get it?
Guess we weren't as far from home as we thought.

Edinburgh is a beautiful city.  Sometimes I can hardly believe I got to go there...


We took the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead.   Ferries aren't my favorite and I figured I'd be sick, but it was basically a cruise ship.  I was fine.  I wasn't fine when I got my phone bill though.  Fair warning: don't use your phone on the ferry-it's no man's land as far as cell phone companies are concerned and they charge you an actual arm and leg. 

We rode in the 'coach' for a while and ended up in this fabulous place called Beau Maris.  The castle had never been completed, but it was one of the coolest ones we saw.  It had short walls for a castle.  It also had a guard swan.

 Beau Maris is big with clammers.  The way they parked their boats made me laugh.

We drove on to a town called Llangollen.  I have no idea how to pronounce that, but it was a cool town.  Lots of shops I would have loved to have visited, but we got there on a Sunday afternoon and most things were closed.  We stayed in this place that has been a hotel since the 1700's and is supposed to be haunted. It is adjacent to a cemetery even.  I didn't see any ghosts though.

The view from my non-haunted window.
There was some kind of party going on in the lounge so as I was getting ready to sleep, I was lulled into unconsciousness by 1980's metal band covers.   It was a little surreal, to be in this old place listening to Metallica.

Wales was beautiful and I would love to go back and spend more time there. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015


We started out by flying from Houston to London to Shannon.  It was an exhausting haul, but we got to watch movies sooo.
These are some pics from the Ring of Kerry.  Ireland is absolutely gorgeous.  It does remind me a lot of the Texas Hill Country only greener.  Much greener.

This was an
interesting little stop.  There were vendors set up on the side of the road, selling everything from art to produce.  There was even a dog on a donkey.

We started in the town of Kilarney, which was pretty nifty, but if I put pics of every place we went, I'd break the internet and bore myself, so as it turns out, I'm a liar-the abridged version is what's going on.
We wound up at Blarney Castle a couple days after our arrival.  It was pretty stinkin' amazing.  If you get to live in a place that has castles, it's not a big deal I'm sure.  Since Texas isn't really known for it's castles, I was in awe of this place!

 That little thing right there at the end of the grumpy old man's stick is the Blarney Stone.  If you kiss it, you're supposed to be endowed with the gift of gab and eloquent speech.  You lay down on your back and scootch up to it and plant one with your bare lips right on the rock. I'm not chatty and don't care to be and I'm a bit of a germophobe so I said no flippin way.  I don't think they disinfect it regularly.
 In one of the "windows".
 Fairy House

Since we were in Ireland, I expected to catch a glimpse of a Leprechaun or two.  This right here is the closest I got.

iPhone pano at the top of the castle. The Blarney Stone is by the crowd to the right.
Next was the Rock of Cashel.  It was closed for renovation but it looked cool from the outside. If you look in the center of the pic, you'll see a pack of kids.  They decided to see what was on the other side.  Never mind that they had to climb a fence to see it.


They were gone a good while, but one girl came back quicker than the others.  If you've ever met bull nettle, you'll know it is nasty, painful stuff.  I figured Texas was the only place to have such a wicked plant, but 'tis not so.  Ireland has a version of that stuff and Abby found it.  She wasn't interested in seeing what else was behind the fence.

We finally made it to Dublin and hit St. Patrick's Cathedral.  It was impressive, but I think they NYC one is bigger.

I enjoyed learning more about Jonathan Swift.  I remember reading his story about eating Irish children called a Modest Proposal.  If you haven't read it, I suggest it. 

This is the old library at Trinity College.  Most impressive for a book fanatic like me.  It smelled heavenly.  I wish I had a room in my house like this.

Their brains expanded some while looking at the books.

One of the things I liked most about these cities was the street performers.  You get a pretty good show for a little pocket change.
In Dublin

View on a Dublin Street
 I did see lots of homeless people.  Here is some prose from one of them.

I love vintage clothes.  One of my missions was to hit resale shops and boutiques to see what I could find.  Sadly, I didn't get to any resale/thrift shops, but this little boutique was the sweetest thing.  The lady working in there spent a little time talking to the girls.  For some reason, the conversation got to dancing so they showed her how to two-step.  So if two-stepping takes off in Dublin, you'll know where it got it's start.

These living statues scared the crap of me.

Tomorrow, we'll go to Wales!