Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Last Day

Today is our last day in England.  We've had an action packed 2 and a bit weeks going from London, to Durham and lastly down to Petersfield.  In between we've seen and done a lot including the London Eye, Hampton Court, York, Durham Cathedral and Stone Henge.  More importantly we've been able to visit with family and friends along the way.  We stayed with Florie and Alan in Durham and visited with other relatives.  We stayed with John in Petersfield and he spent a couple days taking us around the area.  We had a great time with great people and hope to do it again one day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Travel Partners

I've been lucky enough to have spent the last 2 weeks with my parents traveling England.  I've really enjoyed traveling and exploring with them and so I thought I would create a post of some of the pictures I took of the two of them. 

Pimlico, near our apartment

The Parliament Buildings

The Tube

Top of a Double Decker bus, London

The London Eye

The London Eye

Stopped in for a pint

The Britain at War Museum

Hampton Court Palace

Train to Durham

Feast with the family

York Cathedral

Durham .... with the Cathedral Towers in the background

The English Countryside

Stone Henge


Thanks Mom and Dad for a great time and wonderful memories

Thanks Mom and Dad !

Stonehenge and More

Yesterday we all piled into John's car and headed out for a drive thru the beautiful English countryside where the houses are quaint, the roads are narrow and the rolling hills seem to go on forever.  This took us to Winchester.  There is, of course, a Cathedral among other things to see.  We tried to see the "Round Table" of Knights of the Round Table fame but there was a wedding happening so it was closed to the public. 

Next we headed off to Stonehenge.  Unexpectedly it seems to be out in the middle of nowhere, still living in the middle of a field.  True, there are highways nearby but there are no buildings that I could see.  The Stonehenge itself was interesting because of mystery that surrounds it.  Given the number of people who visit stonehenge, you can't get up close.  That would change later in the day.


We then decided to go to a town called Avesbury but not before stopping off a Woodhenge.  You see, whoever made stonehenge made all sorts of henges in the south of England and they use different materials.  The woodhenge didn't survive, being made of wood and all, but it has been re-created to give you an idea about how it looked.  Woodhenge was followed by Avesbury which is a really cool place.  Like the rest of the theme of the day ..... there is a henge here as well that surrounds the village.  This henge is made of stone but the major difference is that it is totally accessible which I thought made Avesbury better than stonehenge.  There are gates that let you into the fields where the stones are and these fields were full of sheep. 


A great big thanks to John for driving us around and making this day happen.

As John would say .... the White Hair Brigade!

Friday, September 21, 2012

MMMMMMM .... Food

Although the food in England is pretty much the same as in Canada I thought it would be good to share some of the meals I've had since being here.  There are a few things that I wanted to have while here.  One is the Bangers and Mash and the other is the scones with clotted cream and jam.  Both were excellent but the scones-cream-jam combo wins.  Eat it ..... eat as much as you can!  It's excellent!  And a big thanks to Florrie and Alan for making them for us.  Anyways .... I've not been very good at taking pictures of food and drinks but I did remember to take a few so I thought I would post some of them.

Pimms : An English summer drink.  I love the mint

Spinach Salad .... Yum!

Bangers and Mash

Chicken Stroganoff

Feast prepared by Florrie, Alan and their family

It doesn't look like it but this is the strangest so for ..... any guesses? It's Pigeon with Blood Pudding and Peas and it was excellent!

Scones, Clotted Cream and Jam .... excellent !!

Steak Pie, with a something or other to let the steam out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thank you Florrie and Alan !!

Our time with Florrie and Alan is nearly at an end.  We leave tomorrow morning, the 20th, for Petersfield.  This post is to say a very grateful Thank You to Florrie and Alan for all of their very generous hospitality.  We were well fed, toured around Durham, York and many places in-beween, and spent time talking about times past.  I could not have imagined that we would be so well taken care of.  Thanks!

Just so you know ... they didn't want me to post their picture but I unexpectedly found this one online

No Ordinary Public Path

When I think of public paths I think of sidewalks and walking paths thru parks and such.  In Durham they go one step further (pun intended).  If you are walking along the road beside fields or paddocks you will see an unobtrusive green sign that says "Public Footpath".  These paths lead thru the fields that contain the sheep and cows of the farms.  You see ... it is the responsibility of the farm owners to ensure that there is a path thru their fields including the means to hop over the fence. So today I went for a walk around Florrie and Alan's neighborhood and made sure that I use the public footpath.  To be honest the first few steps past the cows and sheep were a little bit nervous but they paid no attention to me and I enjoyed my walk.

Asked this guy to step aside .... but he persuaded me to wait :)

A step over the fence

Durham Cathedral

Florrie and her daughter Rachel took us to Durham today.  We walked thru the city taking us to the Durham Cathedral and past Durham Castle.  This cathedral is much different than the York Cathedral in that the Durham Cathedral is of Norman design whereas the York Cathedral, although it was originally Norman, is now a Gothic Cathedral.  The interesting part for me about the Durham Cathedral is that it is the first use of the pointed archway allowing larger and thereby heavier roofs and towers.  Without this innovation the York Cathedral could never have been built.  I know ... I'm showing my inner geek but I really enjoy that stuff.  You can't take photos of the inside of the Durham Cathedral so these pics will have to do.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What a Shambles

Today Alan and Florrie took us York.  It's about 53 miles south of Durham.  Like many of the cities of northern England there is a massive Cathedral in York.  We spent a few hours checking it out.  The mind blowing part for me is the constructions and design.  I can't imagine how they built such a thing so long ago (Constructions started in 1080 if I remember right) with limited technology.  From 1080 it wasn't until about 450 years later that it was considered completed.  It has changed since then due to fires, partial collapse due to sinking foundation and other mishaps.  Amazing!!

York Minster
York Minster

Next we were off to walk along the original wall surrounding the city.  It's about 3 km around and we walked a small section.  I find the history surrounding England, just as I did with Scandinavia and Japan, to be amazing.  Imagine all the people thru the ages who walk the same section of wall as we did and the stories that they could tell.

The old city wall surrounding York

We topped the day off with a walk around the streets or York.  The most interesting place was called the Shambles which is a narrow pedestrian street with interesting buildings and tourist shops.

"The Shambles" in York

England ... The Working Museum

We went to a historical town called Beamish yesterday.  They call it a "working museum" as the people who work here actually use the buildings and equipment as they did in the past.  Most of the homes had fires lit and the workers were there baking or washing or whatever they were up to.  It's set around 1800-1900 or so but there were buildings that originate from around year 1000.  It's a typical historical town that shows how the people lived in the day.  The buildings are old but as far as I can tell they look pretty much the same as those buildings and homes in the actual villages and town around Durham and I'm sure those all over England.  This makes a lot of England a working museum as far as the buildings are concerned.  Anyways, Beamish shows how the coal miners lived and worked back in the day.  To say it was difficult work conditions would be an understatement.  8 hours in the mine working in virtual darkness without a mask or earplugs.  The average life span of a miner was 47 years.  There weren't many other options so the mine it was and for many from the age of 14.  No Thanks!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Off to visit the relatives

There are 3 parts to our trip as I mention in my blog entry "What time is it ....... travel time".  The first part was our time in London which has come to an end and we are now onto part 2 ........ Northern England.  We have family that live in Durham and so a good part of yesterday (Sept 15th) was a travel day to the north.  We took the train to Durham from Kings Cross which takes about 3 hours.  I expected to see lush green rolling fields but since there has not been a lot of rain the last few weeks I saw dried, brown rolling fields instead. This is good because it means that we have enjoyed great weather since we've been in England and yesterday was no different.  Arriving at the Durham train station we met with my mom's cousin's husband, Allan.  We will be staying with Florrie and Alan while we are here.  Luck has it that another of my mom's cousins, Jimmy and his partner Leanne who live in Toronto are also visiting and we have 2 overlapping days together before they leave.  So after settling in, a group of us headed to the local pub to watch a football match between the local premier league team Sunderland and Liverpool.  Several drinks later it was back home for a few more drinks and a lot more laughs.  It was another great day.

Today Florrie and Alan unexpectedly arranged a big gathering with family and friends.  They put on a feast for about 20 or so and we talked, laughed and drank all afternoon.  I managed to step away with mom and a relative, Mark, for a short walk near the house.  It's beautiful as you can see. 

                                                              Mom outside the pub

                                           The fields surrounding Florrie and Alan's home

                                                         Florie and Alan's Home

Outside Florrie and Alan's Window

Friday, September 14, 2012

Funny Mom Photos

Some of you know this and for others this is new info but my mom loves to take funny photos.  She likes wearing hats, pretending to eat things, having things sticking out of her or anyone else's head, sitting beside any sort of statue or figure and that sort of stuff.  She'll ask you to do it as well.  This trip is no different.  There are many of me and my dad like this on my mom's camera that I don't have access to but if I had them I would gladly share.  I will add to this post along the way cuz I KNOW there will be more of these ........... Enjoy the pictures.

Near the London Eye
At the Tower of London

At the Tower of London
At the Britain At War Museum

At the Britain At War Museum
At the Britain At War Museum

At the Wine Fountain inside Hampton Court Palace
At the Wine Fountain inside Hampton Court Palace
At the Wine Fountain inside Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
At the Wine Fountain inside Hampton Court Palace

Near Durham Cathedral

Near Durham Cathedral


Baby (1) bike ride (1) China (8) Dog (1) Durham (8) England (17) Estonia (2) Ferry (4) Finland (13) Hampton Court (1) Helsinki (13) Hockey (2) Japan (23) London (11) Petersfield (4) Rudolph (1) Scandinavia (16) Stockholm (4) Stonehenge (1) Sweden (4) Tallin (1) Tower of London (1) York (1)