Archive for September 2012

Fulham and a Good Rub

September 30, 2012 - 2:05 am No Comments

As we were getting kicked off the train, Doug took the plunge on a sweet hotel on Tower Hill. After a mix-up with hotel rooms and keys, the hotel proved to be sweet indeed, with big fluffy beds, a gym, a hot tub, and saunas. We could do with a bit of luxury to finish off the trip.

Locked Out in London (more…)

The Train Back to London

September 28, 2012 - 11:35 am No Comments

For dinner last night, I had some curry chicken and a fried Mars bar. My cousin Andrew had told me to be on the lookout for those. It tastes about how you’d expect: warm and soft and sweet on the inside, crunchy and savory on the outside.


A Day in Edinburgh

September 27, 2012 - 5:36 pm No Comments

After a full night’s sleep, I woke up feeling like a million quid. Unfortunately, it seems I missed some good karaoke last night.

For this morning, I booked a free walking tour through the cobblestone roads and alleys of historic Edinburgh. Fiona, our loud and articulate guide, showed us a historic close (Scottish for alley), St. Giles Cathedral, Greyfriars Cemetery, and explained where the expressions “shitfaced” and “graveyard shift” come from.

SANDEMANs Walking Tour of Edinburgh (more…)

Loch Ness and Too Much Whisky

September 27, 2012 - 1:17 am No Comments

Checked out of Moorag’s Lodge and headed straight for Loch Ness.

Jeff Finds the Loch Ness Monster (more…)

Eilean Donan and the Isle of Skye

September 25, 2012 - 10:44 pm No Comments

Despite some snoring from two of the guys (and apparently me), I got a decent night’s sleep. After a quick porridge breakfast in the hostel, we hit the road with Andy. It was a dark, rainy, blustery day, and the bus bounced around pretty good.

Our first stop was an overlook at Loch Garry, a body of water that, according to legend, was carved out so that it looked like Scotland from above.

Loch Garry (more…)

William Wallace and the Scottish Highlands

September 24, 2012 - 11:13 pm No Comments

It was late by the time we got into Edinburgh, found our hostel, and dropped our bags. Doug, Conrad, and I set out to find some food, but the only open places in the area were KFC and McDonald’s. After filling up on burgers and chicken tenders, we were feeling better and worse at the same time.

Royal Scots Greys Monument (more…)

Cathedrals and Footy in Liverpool

September 23, 2012 - 7:33 pm No Comments

After arriving at Lime Street Station, we struck up a conversation with a young station employee about what we were doing in Liverpool. One of the coolest things about the UK is that people in service positions, whether they are train station employees, cashiers, cops, bouncers, taxi drivers, or sanitation workers, are friendly and approachable and happy about their jobs. Back at home, most of the people who do these things are miserable, resigned to their fate and depressed about it, and they’re not shy about letting you know how miserable they are. Here, everyone is just so cool.

We found our spacious apartment on the Mersey River. This was our first booking, and after initial difficulties finding our way into the flat, we were excited to find that it was spacious and clean. Conrad had made a special request for a cot. What was delivered was a collapsible baby pen. Ah, language differences.

Exploring Liverpool in the afternoon didn’t really happen. We napped instead. Or at least the others did, while I took advantage of the tenuous wifi and mapped out an itinerary for the night and following day.

After cleaning up, we headed out to watch sunset over the River Mersey. We were all impressed by the blend of historic and contemporary architecture, highlighted by a collection of historic buildings called the Three Graces and a monument marking the final departure point of the Titanic. I took advantage of the golden hour light washing everything in a magical glow, bouncing around and taking lots of photos, doing my best to keep the hordes of punk kids out of my shots.

Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes of the Titanic (more…)

A Long Day in London

September 22, 2012 - 1:19 pm No Comments

After landing at Heathrow, we tubed to central London, found our bearings, and navigated to our hostel in Piccadilly Circus.

Conrad Thinks He Knows the Way (more…)

Dulles to Heathrow

September 20, 2012 - 7:13 pm No Comments

It all started with the familiar adrenalin rush that comes with clicking a button in a web browser and making the first reservation. This time, the first click was Doug purchasing round-trip tickets for four from DC to London.

After years of talk about going to England to catch some soccer games, my buddies and I have finally managed to put together a trip to the UK. My friends Doug, Jerry, and Conrad all cleared our schedules for September, went back and forth on soccer games and city stops, and finally settled on a ten day itinerary which takes us to London, Liverpool, and a short tour of Scotland.

I’m very excited to be doing this trip with these guys. Having moved around so much growing up, these four are the closest thing to a “crew” that I’ve ever had. And now that we’re all a bit older and living our own lives, we don’t get to all meet up very often anymore.

Doug has turned into a veteran New Year’s travel buddy of mine. It’s become a joy traveling with him. Conrad is the rookie traveler. He’s never taken a big trip like this before. In a way, I’m jealous the first-time experience that he’s going to have. I’m sure I’ll have a blast, but he’s going to be experiencing everything with that additional layer of excitement and newness that comes with one’s first big trip out of the country. Jerry, who I have never taken a trip with, is bouncy and enthusiastic.

Jerry has playfully turned the four of us into the A-Team.