Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pink Day!

While going through and reading my dad's mail as part of my job I learned that today is indeed National Pink Day!  I didn't even know that one existed!!  This could potentially be on my list as one of the best days of the year!  Since I realized it was Pink day I decided that a good way to celebrate is posting the pictures of everything Pink I saw in London.
 Flowers in Hyde Park
 Door on the way to Portobello

 Random sign on Portobello

 I completely agree
 I need one of these!

 This is by far my favorite!! Not only is the car pink but the seats, phone, and sunglasses!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Delightful Dover

Well I can definitely say we have accomplished drving all over England.  The driving did not end yet though.  Today we drive to Dover and stopped at a little gas station store for breakfast.  No complimentery breakfast today.  I missed having a big breakfast.  We got to see the white cliffs as we drove up to Dover Castle.  It rained all day today and was way windy up on the castle.  I loved feeling the wind blow my face and hair.  It is almost as if weather like that gives me more energy.  We first went to the war time tunnels and saw what it would have been like to be in them in WW2.  The set up was really cool.  They made it like you were a soldier there and learning about the plans, wars and weapons.  They had projectors that made it seem like real life people were there.  I would definitely recomend seeing that.  We went to the hospital/dressing rooms tunnel next but I didn't think it was as good as the other one.  It made me slightly nervous because they said it would have similar smells to when it was used and it did.  It had hospital smells and then in the kitchen it had food smells.  My favorite part was the great tower.  We took a spiral staircase that kept going up and up but had branches of stairs off the sides.  It was pretty much like a maze with stairs and rooms.  When you got to the top there was a chimney and one of the rooms had a fire in it so it smelled like fire.  It was so cool to be up there with the wind, looking over at the water and the village, and smelling the fire.  We also saw the museum ther and found out our ancestors lived there.  We are related to Eleanor of Aquitaine, who married King Henry 2 of England and the King of France.  She was the mother of King Richard the Lion Heart.  Knowing that made the castle even better.  Technically I should live there!  Pretty much I have learned in the last few days that I need to live in a castle and have a farm.  We spent a lot of time at the castle so we had to rush to Canterbury to see that.  We didn't really know what was there to see but we found it.  There was Cathedral there and it had some ruins around it.  The village is pretty cute.  We got to look around in the cathedral.  We stopped at Pret Manger for dinner and got yummy sandwiches, crisps and cookies.  It was delicious!   We still had time so we went to the London Temple.  We took some pictures then went in the visitors center and talked to a lovely missionary sister in there.  She told us what church to go to on Sunday and just chatted.  Since it still wasn't very late and we learned from her not to go to Brighton on Sunday due to  London to Brighton bike ride, we headed for Brighton.  We pretty much drove around for a little and then decided we needed some ice cream.  We found a Tesco so dad waited in the car while mom and I ran in to get some Magnum bars.  Best ice cream bars ever!  Wehn we got back dad asked if we heard the girl singing in the pub across from the car.  We said no and he said he thought it was a boy.  The singer was wearing an open back long dress, evening elbow gloves, necklace and had red curly hair.  When we got a better view and heard it singing it was definitely a boy.  Then we noticed it was all men in there, so we assumed it had to be a gay bar.  To top it all off the guy thing was singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow!"  Pretty much the gayest thing I have ever experienced.  Well I noticed plenty other gay bars on our way out.  They aren't hard to miss with rainbow lights and such.  Interesting place Brighton is... at night.  We got back to our hotel and a guy held the elevator for us.  Now this is sad because he had pushed the third floor and we got off on the first floor but he followed us off and walked down the hall.  We went the wrong way at first but turned around.  We were unsure our room number but I was pretty sure I remembered it.  We finally figured out our room and saw the guy walk back down the hall after he figured out he was on th wrong floor.  Once we got to our door, our key card wouldn't work; we tried it in the surrounding doors with no luck.  Well it was time to be embarrassed and ask the guy at the front desk what our room was.  He told us it was the room number we had thought so we informed him of the defective key card we had.  He tried to get it to work but ended up giving us a new one.  I was just glad it was the card and that not all three of us are stupid.  Sure enough the new card worked.  It was nice to sit on my queen bed and relax.  We watched a western movie on the TV for a little bit.  It was interesting and funny.  I am excited for tomorrow!  I am going to get the bag I have wanted ever since I have been here and we are going to the Romeo and Juliet ballet!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Castles?

Last night was a bit of a struggle.  I have been having a hard time with allergies the last few weeks I have been here.  Pretty much since I took such a long nap yesterday in the car, I could not go to sleep no matter how hard I tried.  Not to mention I couldn't breathe very well.  After an hour or more of laying in bed I did finally fall asleep.  It's all good I have learned to deal with the allergies.  Well maybe not so much. 
I think this hotel has been my favorite so far.  It is a castle, with free wifi, and complimentary breakfast.  I could have used a longer and more substantial bed but thats okay; I am used to bad beds by now.  So we went down to breakfast and it was a different guy this time, so dad asked him if it was complimentary for sure, he said it was but he would double check.  Well after we had gotten our food, including a delicious waffle for myself.  Seriously they had some of the best waffles I have ever had.  The guy told dad it was free for mom and him but not me.  Yay! haha  Thanks guy for making me feel like I shouldn't be here.  Don't you worry, we ended up getting my breakfast free too.  The guy went back to dad and told him he would have the front desk take off the charge.  This was turning out to be a great day auntil I heard mom's reason for why.  She said that the guy was looking at me and probably thought I was cute and thats why he took it off the bill.  I don't know if I believe thats the reaon, but free breakfast is always a good thing.  Well we did discover upon arriving in our room and researching on the ipad that we were indeed very near to a Costco.  That's right England has Costco!  So of course we went after we struggled with Mrs. GPS for a little while to get there.  The food samples here are so much bigger!  A slice of cake and a regular size cup of apple juice beats a bite of cake and a lid size amount of apple juice.  The clothes and things were more stylish too.  Oh and they had huge boxes of Galaxy bars!  I was tempted to get one but that would be a lot of weight in my luggage, which is already bursting.  After a quick looksy into Costco we started the wonderous drive to Warwick Castle.  The drives are always great when you have a GPS that you have to trust but is not always completely reliable.  Anyways we made it and discovered that this castle is a huge operation.  They have almost tried to make it like a Disneyland time thing.  Not that huge of scale but really kid oriented and magical.  We got to attend the Royal Weekend Party and visit with all the "guests"and see the inside of the castle.  It was a pretty cool castle.  I liked all th einteraction type things.  We tried to go up this tower and got up the steps only to find it was roped off at the top but the was this girl on the other side.  So I stepperd over the rope and followed where she and her friends went.  They ending up disappearing once we got to the next tower but there were other people so we figured it was okay we were up there.  We were limited on time because we only had 2 hours on th etime meter.  So it was time to go to Blenheim Palace, which I had already been to before with my study abroad group.  I got to go upstairs this time though and it was like a virtual tour that took you back in time.  I like when they do stuff like is way more interesting than reading about it.  I think Blenheim is my favorite one.  I would live there if I could.  I just need to figure out how I can marry one of the Duke's grandchildren or something.  Since Oxford isn't too far away we drove through there adn saw the university and such.  It's a pretty difficult city to manuver a car around in.  We hadn't really eaten besides breakfast so we decided there was only one thing to do.  Go to Hampstead and get the best crepes in England!  I thought for sure the people would recognize me but I am pretty sure it was a different guy for the first time ever for me.  Oh boy those crepes are delicious!  I could eat them all day everyday and they would still never get any less amazing!  Now this is when Mrs. GPS was making us the most miserable.  We were trying to get through busy crowded London in rush hour to our hotel in Gatwick.  She would not show us the right streets to trun on so we were going in cirlces and making u-turns but on the bright side we saw the Marble Arch and Buckingham Palace.  I got to see where I sat on the night before and day of the royal wedding.  The flowers that were there are gone and there are now lovely red flowers.  I think they were Tulips.  It was pretty much over an hour to make the short trip through London.  We go to our hotel fine though and got upgraded to a room so I get my own queen size bed!  I went to set some things on the bed and leaned against it only to have it roll away from me.  Definitely not what I expected but I guess in some cases that could be very nifty.  Bottom Line is: I will be sleeping comfortably tonight!  No more missing and falling out wooden slats!  My allergies may still affect my sleep but there is nothing to be done about that.  Tomorrow we see even more castles!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Today we drove to Edinburgh in Scotland to see the Edinburgh Castle.  We parked down the street from the Castle Rock Hostel that I had stayed in when I came before.  We had to pay for parking of course which appeared to be a nightmare at first.  I would put in the coins and they would fall right into the coin return.  Nice but not what we wanted.  I figured out though that it was how you put the coin in that mattered.  I started giving the coins a little flick off my finger and it started working.  We got a parking ticket and headed up the steps to the castle.  For some reason they were building a huge ugly bleacher thing in front making the view less beautiful and castley.  I led Mom and Dad through the castle since I had been before and we only had as much time on the meter as pounds and pence I had in my wallet.  I enjoyed seeing the castle again.  I realized I didn't remember as much as I would have hoped.
 Edinburgh Castle
 The crowning of a King.
 The fireplace in the great hall.
We got to see the one o'clock gun shot. 
 After seeing the castle we began the drive to the next castle Alnwick.  We thought we wouldn't make it in time to go inside but a camera crew was there filming for a game show so we got to go look around for free.  It was really cool. There was a lot of open grassy area in the middle and a courtyard. 

 This brings a whole new meaning to picturesque.

 The Gardens
There was an awesome bridge with a river running through the beautiful farm land and countryside.  Mom called it my castle because Elizabeth Percy lived there.  I was so glad we got to go in.  I wish we would have been there when it was open though because they had archery and stuff.  It was still very cool though. 
 I am going to be an archer.  Just decided.  I will just join Hoyt Archery Team.  I already have the last name.
We then began the long drive to Derby, but first dad wanted to get gas.  We stopped at ASDA (England's Wal-Mart).  Mom and I got food and Dad tried to get gas but you need a specail card so we had to find a new place.  I thought the GPS was beginning to be our friend until then.  She had us all over going through neighborhoods to convenience stores and shopping centers but no gas stations.  I decided the best thing for me to do at this point is sleep.
 I slept pretty much the whole ride until we got to Nottingham.  I woke up and it really could have been a dream.  I was in Nottingham!!  I used to pretend as a little girl that I was fighting with Robin Hood in Nottingham and Sherwood forest.  It was one of the best wake up calls I have ever received.  Mom somehow found out about this pub that is the oldest in England.  It dates back to 1189 and is built into the rock under Nottingham castle.  I loved it!  It had fabric depictions of Nottingham and Robin Hood.  Apparently there are secret passages from the pub to the castle.  Crusaders you to stop by there on their way which is how it got the name, Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem.  After I enjoyed a delicious bacon cheeseburger, (for some reason I can't seem to resist those) we walked to Nottingham Castle and read a little bit about Robin Hood on some of the wall things.  I also got a picture with the statue of him.
 Robin Hood and I fighting side by side!

 Robin Hood, Maid Marian and Friar Tuck.
 Robin Hood and Little John fighting on a bridge.
 King Richard the Lion Heart join the hands of Maid Marian and Robin Hood.
Robin Hood shoots his last arrow.

The time came to finish our trip to Derby.  I pretty much sang Taylor Swift the whole way; I hope Mom and Dad like Taylor Swift because they have been getting a lot of here.  Oh I guess they had better like my singing too, which they have too since we are related and I ma their daughter.  I took a break from singing to tell Dad the street to take after I read the signs. Thanks for nothing GPS I refuse to name.  She redeemed herself in getting us to our Castle Hotel in Breadsall.  We got here and the people were a lot nicer than the Bat Guy before.  My bed was set up, we had free wifi, complimentery breakfast and they remembered my towels!  The only downside from last nigths hotel is I had a queen size to myself; tonight I got on my bed and a wood slate from underneath fell to the floor.  My head is for some reason sinking to the floor as well.  I might have to sleep at the foot of the bed.  Its all good though.  The hotel is beautiful and a castle so its makes up for that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lake District (Beatrix Potter & William Wordsworth Houses)

This morning I woke up to myself moaning.  Haha  I must have been having a bad dream.  I knew I was moaning in my dream but then I heard it and woke up.  My eyes were stuck shut and my nose was so stuffy I couldn’t breath.  It was misery, no wonder I was moaning in my dream.  Anyways Mom asked if my allergies were noticeably worse today and I said they were and she said she has asthma and an itchy throat, so we guessed someone must have brought a dog in the room at some point.  Who does that!?  I mean I love dogs and everything and understand wanting to take them with you but not in a no pets allowed hotel room.  Anyways since breakfast was only free for dad and 10 pounds a plate for mom and I, dad went to eat while we finished getting ready.  Yes we decided we would just starve while he had a feast for breakfast.  Better one than all of us right?  I am just kidding.  He did go to breakfast but mom and I had yogurt, bread and bananas in the car.  Plus it was the best yogurt ever!  If ever in London…the must get yogurt is the yogurt corners.  So good!  Now we are just listening to Taylor Swift, driving through the beautiful country on our way to the Lake District.  The small little towns are so cute!  It’s so fun to drive and see all the green and animals, then end up in a small town for a little and then back out to the greenness!  I love it!  I am so having a farm!

A Day at Pemberly and Pemberly

This is what our "Castle Hotel" looked like from the outside.
Today we had breakfast in the restaurant of the hotel.  They had Casmin and my new favorite cereal, Crunchy Nut.  I got some of that, a waffle, hash brown, baked beans and croissant au chocolat.  It was delicious!  Apparently though it is only complimentary breakfast for 2 people.  Lame!  So it was good that I ate my fair share since we had to pay for it. 
When we were leaving we saw the Royal Mail truck!  For some reason it was more exciting to me than it sounds.Our next stop was Chatsworth House, which is Pemberly in the Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice.  It was one of the most beautiful palaces I have seen here, at least on the inside.  My favorite part was the beds.  Pretty much the kind of beds you dream about having. 
We stopped to grab food at a farm store on our way to the Pemberly used in the old Pride and Prejudice.  On our way I pretty much decided that I need to live in the English country.  It is so so so Beautiful!  There are cows and sheep everywhere!  It is green and has all these rock walls dividing the land.  For some reason I am just in love with cows, sheep and horses.  Oh and the cutest little baby goats were playing and jumping; it was one of the cutest animal moments I have ever had.
We got to Lyme Park the back way thanks to our GPS that I would name but I don’t think she is deserving of one at this point in time.  We may be getting rid of her after this trip and I am pretty sure it is the same thing as pets; you don’t want to name an animal you know you aren’t going to keep.  Anyways we asked a lady walking by and she said we needed to go back the way we came and take a different road.  We finally found it and ran into the entrance only to find out from the gift shop lady that they were already closing it down.  We went to the estate office and asked if there was anyway we could see any part of it so she took us through a part of it really quick and I got video before they told me we were not allowed.  We got to see the lake that Darcy swims in and the front of the house were the carriages arrived.  I loved it!  It was so fun being there and imagining what it was like.  We are now driving in the car with some extra time in the day not wanting to be spent at the hotel, so we are looking for a Top Shop and Primark.  It is too bad all the museums and things close at 5pm, it really makes for a short day.  We found a Primark but didn’t make it to Top Shop before it closed.  We stopped at Tesco on the way to the hotel to get the meal deal for dinner and some yogurt, bread, nutella and things for snacks.  The hotel doesn’t have free internet yet again.  I don’t understand how they wouldn’t when I stayed in hostels in Ireland with internet.  We watched a little TV.  Pretty much the end of a dumb movie with Sandra Bullock were she knows her husband is going to die and tries to prevent it but ends up causing it.

Church Today and Church Then

Today we got to sleep in a little bit because church wasn’t until 11:40 but we did need to leave time to get there.  We were a tad late due to poor navigation from the GPS (like usual) and the parking lot being mostly filled besides a tricky spot.  We weren’t as late as we thought though because they were only on the opening hymn.  Sacrament was good there was a girl speaker who talked about her conversion and how the gospel changes lives but only when you decide to let it.  She compared it to the stars and how amazing they are but you have to trust the person telling you that they are there to look up at them, and then you are in amazement and never want look away.  Then there was a guy speaker who also talked about his conversion and the atonement.  A missionary from New Zealand talked to us after and told us about the first Mormon chapel in England being only 20 minutes away.  So we asked someone for directions and these two nice men helped us.  As it turns out one of them was the uncle of a boy one my study abroad (Patrick).  It is interesting how small the world gets when you travel and get to know more people.  I love it!  
We found the cute little chapel with a wishing well in front.  The door had a keypad on it and beside it in the window was a paper with questions about the church on it.  So the answer to the questions would be the codes to open the door.  It was so cool!  It reminded me of a safe house or something from a movie. 

We went inside and there was the chapel and little displays talking about the founding of the church there.  Apparently there was a group of people that didn’t believe any of the churches on the earth were true and that a restoration had to take place.  They had a rigorous scripture study plan that they participated in and called themselves the united Brethren.   When Wilford Woodruff received revelation to go that area they were ready to hear the gospel and the whole congregation of 600 was baptized, so then the chapel became a Mormon chapel. 
There were old fashioned clothes you could dress up in so of course I had to.  It was fun to have the whole place to ourselves.
When we left it was raining again and we drove through the countryside to Stratford-Upon-Avon. 
We went to Shakespeare’s Birthplace and the lady said I could get in free!  I don’t know if I look like a child or if she just figured they were closing soon.  I felt good about it either way.  I like it better this time because they let us take pictures and I was able to read things that I didn’t have time for before.  The floor in the second room you walk in is the actual floor from Shakespeare’s time; I walked where Shakespeare walked!
Interesting things are that:
1.    They keep the nicest bed in the parlor as a status symbol of their wealth, only the guest would sleep on it.
2.    They put red around their bed to scare away the devil and other things and green to show family love and safety; which is why they dressed the children in green.
3.    Boys used to wear dresses and long hair up to age 5 so that they would look like girls.  It was believed that the devil would come and take the little boys in the night because they were more important.  However Shakespeare was the first child to survive after his two older sisters who died.  That was very unusual.
4.    We get sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite from the beds in their time because the mattress was suspended by rope that would have to be tightened by a thing they called a bed bug.  If you pinched your finger in it while tightening the rope it was like getting bitten.  If you didn’t tighten the bed you would be on the ground.
5.    Sleep caps were tied under the chin so it could hold your mouth shut.  If your mouth wasn’t shut then rat droppings and bugs from the thatched roof could fall in your mouth, which is the original reason canopy beds were made.
 The glove making room.  Shakespeare's father sold gloves right out of the window in the house.
 Shakespeare's bust in the window looking out to the street.

 This place has the best milk shakes in the world!  Or at least that I have ever had.
After the birthplace we drove to the Holy Trinity church where Shakespeare was buried.  We didn’t get to go in because it was closed.  I took mom and dad on a walk to the other Shakespeare sites like Hall’s Croft and New Place; we couldn’t go in of course since they had closed by now.
 We found a place to eat called the Garrick Inn and had beef and tuddles pie with mashed potatoes.  Then we started the drive to our next hotel, which was in Derby.  It was a really cool looking castle.  The guy at the reception desk was kind of weird and reminded me of the Bat on Rescuers Down Under.  We got to our room and didn’t have my roll away bed so we had to call the “Bat Guy” and get it.  He brought one and set it up for us.  It was pretty much just a little mattress on a metal and wood frame.