Monday, October 30, 2006

This week I'm in London, and it's been really wonderful. The weather cleared up, and was quite sunny both saturday and sunday, so it was perfect for walking about. I have seen so much already, it is hard to imagine that there is so much more that I haven't seen yet. So far my favorite area is Gabriel's Wharf, which is a walkway that runs alongside the Thames. There are tons of shops and street performers on the wharf, and the veiws of the city are beautiful from there.

Today I went to the modern art museum, and saw the changing of the gaurd. The changing of the gaurd is probably the most fun I've had while here, despite the fact that it is merely government spectacle. The modern art museum, Tate Modern, was breath-taking. It is the largest modern art museum in the world, and the collection includes works by Mondrian, Rothko, Polluck, Barnett-Newman, and Lichenstein, all of whom are included on my "favorites" list. I could have easily spent more than a day there, but there are so many other things for me to see. Tomorrow, I am going to see the Rosetta Stone, which excites me terribly. I may also try to get to see the national archives, which has Shakespeare's will, Jane Austin's will, and Guy Fawkes' confession papers, and I also may try to get to the cemetary where Karl Marx is buried, but because I have no idea where these are it may not happen. I also may make a trip to Baker's street, which has a Sherlock Holmes museum, and the Charles Dicken's museum, but again I'm not sure if this will happen because of time restraints.

I am not sure when I am heading back north to Manchester, because my train ticket is good for any train within a month, but it will most likely be Wed. or Thursday. Pictures will be up as soon as I get them developed! (I have six rolls to be put on disc!)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wow, it really doesn't feel like I've been here for one and a half weeks already! I really haven't done as much as I thought I would, but this is vacation, right?! Besides hanging around Manchester, I've been to see York and Chester. In both towns I've been to see the cathedrals, which are really nice. The York Minster Cathedral is unique because it has all of it's stained glass, something that was damaged in most churches and cathedrals during the civil war. It was quite impressive to see such a huge peice of architecture. The whole thing is falling over though because it was built on sand- kind of ironic when the processional banner they use in service has strong reference to the verse "build my house on rock and not sand" I was the only one in the group to find that amusing, I think....

Chester had a smaller cathedral, but I think I enjoyed the windows there a bit more. Also, it is where Handel was forced to rehearse The Messiah for the first time, as a storm kept him from sailing to Dublin on schedule. The cathedral has the original manuscripts on display. That was really neat for me to see. I went to the Dewa Roman Experience in Chester, which is supposed to be this big great thing. It is basically a hokey museum where you walk past statues and look at piles of rocks and old roman pottery. Dewa was the name of the town when Rome was occupying britain. It was pretty bad... but I still had fun.

Tomorrow I am heading off to London!I have a whole list of things to do there. I want to see the Rosetta Stone, and Portebello Road, and the Queen's horses, and Karl Marx's burial site. The UK is great because a lot of the things to do are free. I try to give at least £3 donations to the museums and cathedrals, but it's nice to be able to do these things when I am utterly broke.

Still haven't made it to Liverpool, but I have plenty of time. I'll probably do that on Monday or Teusday depending on the whether. My pictures are here:
Although the pictures from Chester aren't developed yet; I'm waiting to get a couple more rolls so I can take them all in together.

I'm off to do some dishes and then to meet some friends for "tea" (that's dinner)
Pip pip!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mornin' Gov'ner

Here are a few excerpts from the journal I've been keeping:

(En Route from Chicago to Manchester)
When the world is telling me it is 6:00am, my body is telling me it is midnight, and my brain can't even tell me which portion of the space-time continuum I'm on, a warm roll and warmer cup of coffee are comforting enough to anchor me back to reality; especially when they are served with a smile. I owe the flight attendants much gratitude.

This morning I woke up early, which is how I know that my body has not yet adjusted to the time difference. Last night I was dissappointed to find that my phone doesn't work here at all, not even to tell time. I'll have to buy a watch, but other than that I don't mind. I'm writing this at a small tea shop in Hyde, just down the street from where I'm staying. A sweet old lady at the counter, who refferred to me as "love"helped me count the coins to pay for my coffee, the first purchase I've made with British pounds. I went dancing last night with keith and met a nice group of people. We played pool and table football (which is foozball, but they told me only the French call it that... well, and apparantly the Americans do too) Don will be driving me into Sheffield tonight for more dancing.
Something pleasant about the people here is that instead of saying thanks and you're welcome, they say "cheers." Also, everyone says please for everything.

Well, I must've adjusted finally because this morning I slept in until nearly half past noon which is way too late to head out to Liverpool, as I had originally planned. It is also too late to go into town and see the museums of manchester because everything closes by 5:00pm. It's okay though, because I need a day of lounging around and there will be plenty of other days to see Liverpool and go to museums. Tomorrow I am going to York to see a cathedral. It is also Keith's wife, Adele's, vacation as well, so she is planning several day trips and has invited me along. It's nice to have the company. I'll most likely have lunch at the tea shop again, or perhaps at the pub down the street (which is where I've eaten a club sandwich and diet pepsi- with chips added- for the last two days) I'll have to get an alarm clock, since my phone isn't reliable to wake me up anymore. Also, I couldn't find my toothbrush this morning so I guess I'll get a new one as well. Yesterday at the market I bought a proper journal to write in as well as a watch. I looked for peroxide to keep my ears from getting infected, but I found out that it is illegal to sell it here. I got directions to a Claire's though, which is where I got my ears pierced, so I'm sure I'll be able to get the solution there.
Dancing last night was fun. It was mostly classes, but it was interesting to see the differences. They don't swivel too much here, and they focus a lot on the triple step. Tandem charleston also seems to be quite popular, but not 20's charleston or solo charleston like it is in Cleveland. I'm excited to meet new dancers this weekend at the workshop that Keith is putting on, and also excited about the London Bal Fest next week. Even though Bal isn't my favorite, I'm excited to meet people. I'm a bit worried though because I got an email from my dad saying that my tickets were mailed to me back in the states, so now I don't have them. Hopefully this is nothing that a couple of emails can't fix.
I'm meeting my "British" family (Keith and Adele) for dinner (or as they call it here, "tea")in town tonight, since I was supposed to be coming in from Liverpool anyway. I hope I don't get lost on the bus system; it's very confusing. I might go a couple hours early, just in case, and if I get there on time I will just walk around the neighborhood and take some pictures. I love my brother's camera. It took me a while to figure out all of the buttons, but I have it down now and I like it much better than my old point and shoot digital camera. I took a walk near the Tames river yesterday and got some good shots of a horse farm and the country side around the river. I can't wait to see how the film turns out.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I head out for Manchester in the morning. I definitely have mixed emotions about this. It always seems like no matter what, I am rushing around to get things ready to go. I must have packed my bags about ten times before finally getting what I want to fit into a carry on bag. I bought a carry on backpack, that has this nifty little day pack that snaps off the front, because I am using a seperate airline to get to chicago. I'd rather carry on my luggage than go through the hassle of checking and claiming it twice. I'm really excited, but also nervous and even a little reluctant to go all at the same time. I guess I haven't travelled so far by myself before- I've always had Elizabeth or some group with me. I'm sure that once my flight is underway I'll be super excited again... how can I not be, when I am going to see the birthplace of John Lennon???

Monday, October 09, 2006

Exactly one week (to the minute) until I'm flying on an airplane to Manchester!!!!!

I got my ears pierced today! I got Amythyst stones, for the twins because they were going to be born in Feb. I was kind of freaking out in the mall, but the lady who did it said I did well because sometimes people punch her... I rondomly decided to just get this over with today, otherwise I will never do it, and I want to be able to wear pretty earings for the holidays. I'll be able to take my starters out by Thanksgiving.

I case you're wondering, yes I did cry, and yes I did treat myself to a cookie after. :) Now I have princess ears