Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ireland/UK 2009 - Days 9 & 10 Edinburgh Scotland

We arrived in Edinburgh on Friday night (day 8) and promptly crashed. Earlye the next morning we took the train (within walking distance from the hotel) into the city centre. It was a short walk from there to Holyrood Park where the Gathering 2009 was being held. You can see just behind us in the first picture Arthurs Seat (a local landmark) and the surrounding hills, remember them for later.




One unexpected yet very cool thing was that HRH Prince Charles made an appearance and officially opened the gathering with a short speach. We were actually so close to the stand where he was speaking (<25 feet) that we couldnt see him cause of all those next to us :) Nonetheless it was cool to see royalty. This pic was from about 10ft away as he strolled along post-speach.


Remember those huge hills from earlier? Eden is perched on the edge of one of those in this shot. Thats where she was when she called you Mom/Dad/Leah!


Claire was a little mountain climber too.


Oh yeah, and there were actually some games too :)



The much fabled Caber Toss.




One of the few shots we took of Edinburgh city :(


Not even Wensleydale?



This is Eden and her friend that she met at the swimming pool in the Hotel in Edinburgh (an Irish family on holiday).


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ireland/UK 2009 - Days 7 & 8 Wales and travel to Scotland

Day 6 sees us leaving the Brecon Beacons and heading north to the Snowdonia region of Wales; specifically the Swallow Falls area within the Snowdonia National Park.

We stopped at a town called Blaenau Ffestiniog which is located in the middle of the park (the parks are like that over here). The town is essentially made up of abandoned slate mine(s) however has a really cool railroad that climbs into the mountains around it (which are beautiful in their own right).


On our way to Swallow Falls we stopped at Dolwyddelan Castle in northern Wales. This castle turned out to be one of the most beautiful due to its locatoin as well as the views it provided.



It also turned out to the the windiest and most rugged (read: pretty trick to scale and VERY precarious at the top) lending to its coolness.


Just a view from the side of the road when we stopped randomly to get something out of the back.


On Day 7 we traveled out of Wales *sigh* and back into England to Birmingham to catch our flight into Edinburgh. On the way as we drove up and over the hills we stopped off to climb to a peak (dont know what else to call it on a hill) and get a view/take a family pic. Again, it was very windy up here.



There was an old slate mine here too, see James at the bottom of one of the huge waste piles for reference?


We stopped for lunch: Packaged Samitches (our favourite) and juice at some random little picnic area which suitably zonked the kids out for the rest of the ride...YES!




We then proceeded to drop off the rental car, catch a flight, get another rental find the hotel and then check in...most of it in the rain :) But I dont really feel like typing much about that part!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ireland/UK 2009 - Day 6 Wales

We left Southampton this morning and headed towards our 2nd country of the trip: Wales. We headed over the bridge into Wales and almost immediately started into some of the most stunning hill country ever (which we will NEVER be able to reproduce in photo/video).



We were destined for the Brecon Beacons National Park however we had a stop at Caerphily Castle just outside of Cardif on the way. This was a pretty large castle with a full moat and was pretty intact. We climbed and clambered over stuff that would have been gated/taped-off/under security in the US :)




We then had some awesome driving throughout the National Park on our way to the hotel in the town of Merthyl Y Tyfdir. We quickly realized that even though all signs on the road were written in English and welsh, we wouldn't be able to pronounce a single place name...even the English versions :) We just picked a random spot (spotted by Lauren) on the side of the road to pull over and go walking. We wound up walking through some sheep fields and said hi :)




Out of the way!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Euro Trip 2009 - Days 2 - 4 London, Southampton, Portishead

Day 2: London

Today we actually got out in the city (London) starting out on the Tube (subway) making our way directly into the downtown area where we started off by going to the Science Museum which turned out to be great for the kids.



We then headed into Hyde Park which was awesome; huge, well maintained, and with lots to do it was an awesome time.


From there we took the tube right into the heart of the city, where (when we stepped out of the tube station) we were literally at the base of Big-Ben looking straight up at it!


We then toured around a bit seeing as much as we could of the main area as we could without getting totally fragged :)







Day 3: Southampton

Today we packed up and got on toward Southampton, stopping at a castle along the way. This was our first castle and was pretty awesome, we stopped and had a picnic before climbing around all over it (they don't care about that over here!).



Then we went by Laurens favourite: Jane Austen's house which was pretty cool (albeit girly :)



We wound up in Southampton where we checked out the 3 parks that adjoined the hotel grounds.

Day 4: Portishead

Today we headed to Portishead (oh yeah!) stopping at Stonehenge along the way. A bunch of stones in a field by the freeway, however it was odly mysterious and wound up being a really cool experience.



We then made a stop by another castle on the way where it rained and drizzled suitably the whole time: a truly English experience.



We then wound up in Portishead which is truly the last town on the edge of the water before going in to Wales. We were pointed to an awesome restaurant right on the hill overlooking the water where we could see wales in the distance...very cool.

So that's it for the time being, more posts and pics to come as we have time!

P.S. This pic didn't really fit in anywhere else, but I did want to show off the Full English Breakfast (as done well in Southampton :)