Blog: September 2010

St. Andrews and the Highlands

Posted on September 30, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Greetings from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It is beautiful here and we've been having a good time. Our journey didn't start off so well, though! Yesterday, from the moment we woke up in Edinburgh until into the evening, it poured down rain. And I mean poured! This was no gentle British mist, but full-on Oregon-style rain. Apparently it hasn't been this bad since April...

At Home in Edinburgh

Posted on September 28, 2010 by Holly Hayes
We arrived in Edinburgh around 1:30pm on Sunday, which was earlier than expected, and it was great to have the extra time to wander around at our leisure. The sun was shining brightly and it was actually warm all afternoon, which was a pretty nice welcome. We're quite happy with our hotel, too. Hotel room at the Fraser Suites I lived in Edinburgh for a year in 1999-2000 while I earned a master's degree and I loved it here...

Melrose Abbey and Rosslyn Chapel

Posted on September 28, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Sunday morning in Melrose we enjoyed a full Scottish breakfast, which includes all the usual suspects of the full English (ham, sausage, eggs, tomato, mushrooms) plus a potato scone, haggis and black pudding. The potato scone is a delicious, soft pancake-type triangle of mashed potato and flour fried in oil, haggis is made of sheep organs, oats and spices all cooked up inside a sheep's stomach, and black pudding is a sausage made from cooked blood...

Durham, Jarrow, Lindisfarne and Scottish Abbeys

Posted on September 27, 2010 by Holly Hayes
OK, now that I have some free time in rainy Edinburgh, I'll share the fun we had on Saturday, a really busy day during which we visited no less than six great sights. Here's the route: View Larger Map Durham We slept great in our Radisson BLU Durham and had a delicious buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant. The bus-girls were so attentive that they reminded us of eagles, attentively surveying the room then swooping down within 10 seconds of us finishing a plate...

Beverley to Durham with Some Yorkshire Gems

Posted on September 24, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Cathedrals and cities are great, but our very favorite type of photography project in Britain is a good village church. We got to check out a couple of these after leaving Beverley, and one was especially fantastic. The first one (above) was in the village of Bainton. It wasn't all that notable but really fun to visit - it was pouring rain and blowing wind outside and it was so cozy to find the door open, go inside, turn the lights on, and have a look around...

Two of England's Best Cathedrals: Norwich and Lincoln

Posted on September 23, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Yesterday morning in Cambridge, we got up at 6am, David made another great cooked breakfast, and we got on the road by 7am. The 1.5-hour drive was fairly good but there was a lot more traffic than we expected. Our first stop was Norwich. What we saw of the town wasn't very special, but its cathedral is wonderful and was one of our most enjoyable cathedral visits so far...

A Night in Beverley, Yorkshire

Posted on September 23, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Greetings from the Yorkshire town of Beverley, where we are staying one night in order to see Beverley Minster, a fine Gothic cathedral. The town itself is relaxed and quite attractive as well. We seem to be virtually the only tourists here, which is pretty great! The weather has been all over the place today, from partly sunny in the afternoon to dark skies, thunder, and heavy rain by dinnertime...

Good Night from Lincoln

Posted on September 22, 2010 by Holly Hayes
View of Lincoln Cathedral from our hotel window Today was a really busy but wonderful day. The weather was warm and beautiful, the drive went smoothly, the two cathedrals we visited were fantastic - and between the two of us, we took 1,350 photos! Whoa. It is about 10pm now and unfortunately I am too tired to even begin sorting through them to pick the best ones to share, so I'll save that for tomorrow...

Canterbury to Cambridge

Posted on September 21, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Yesterday morning we went inside Canterbury Cathedral as soon as it opened at 9am and started our visit in the crypt, which was closed last time we visited. It is the biggest crypt I've ever seen, stretching underneath almost the whole length of the cathedral. It's also the oldest part, dating from the early 1100s. That means it's Romanesque, my favorite flavor of architecture, and it has some great carvings and frescoes from that period...

Canterbury Sneaky Beak

Posted on September 20, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Canterbury Cathedral at dusk last night Night view after the lights came on Pretty golden light early this morning - very glad I got up in time for this, because the sun only lasted about five minutes and the sun barely showed up again the rest of the day! Canterbury Cathedral Gate this morning We saw some other great stuff in Canterbury then drove to Cambridge, where we are now settled in an apartment for the first of two nights...

Brussels to Canterbury by Train, Ferry and Car

Posted on September 19, 2010 by Holly Hayes
We are back in the UK and so happy to be here! It's kind of strange in a way - everything is so familiar that it seems like returning to the USA was all a dream and soon we'll just drive back to our home in Oxford. We've revisited several of our favorite things already: Marks & Spencers, Pepsi Max (even more delicious than I remember), and Wagamama...

Jet Lag in Leiden and Brussels

Posted on September 18, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Tonight I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open! And it is only 8:30pm. Sad. Hopefully we'll get a good night's sleep tonight and be done with the jet lag. This morning we were both wide awake at around 3:30am, so we went down to the hotel restaurant with our computers until around 5. David got a little more sleep after that, but I wasn't able to go back to sleep at all, so I've been a zombie most of the afternoon...

The Eagle Has Landed

Posted on September 17, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Greetings from the Netherlands! We are really tired but happy to be here. Our Delta flight was very smooth and really could not have been better (in coach anyway). We were scheduled to depart at 1:30pm and backed away from the gate at 1:29. Impressive! We had good seats in the front just behind first class (although that means we had to look at them reclining back and enjoying their hot towels...

Packed and Ready to Go

Posted on September 15, 2010 by Holly Hayes
The cat seems to think that if she can make herself small enough, she'll get to come along. Today was a very busy day, but we're finally almost ready. This morning we drove to Wilsonville (for Fry's Electronics) to be sure we had the biggest selection of laptops, and it paid off - there were lots of good options. We settled on a lovely Lenovo (a...

Stress Management

Posted on September 14, 2010 by Holly Hayes
The cat is the only one in our house who is not stressed Only one more day to go before our Europe trip and we are going to use every last bit of it! We are mostly ready but have hit a few unexpected wrinkles that have made preparations even more frantic in the last couple days before we go. First, poor David was hit with an excruciating toothache this weekend, which required taking lots of painkillers and trying not to commit suicide until his dentist could see him on Monday - at which point he got a root canal...