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Day 10 - Sorry I'm a slacker [Jul. 27th, 2008|10:42 am]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo

natbrat
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Day 10: Better on Sunday, and walking near the Artis (Zoo)

I decided I needed to leave the house today, so I planned a walk to the artis. I didn’t pay to get in because a) it was crowded b) I thought it was going to rain and c) it costs 17Euro (around $30). So I just walked around for a while and got lost. Also fun, but I was happy to get back to my bed.

Walking Around and Pretty Green ThingsCollapse )
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Amsterdam Days 7-9 [Jul. 14th, 2008|05:13 pm]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo

natbrat
Day 7: Last Day of Class, First Day of Hardcore (attempted) Shopping

How much do I love NL? We got celebratory drinks from the ISHSS staff for completing our first week of class.

Last day of class adventuresCollapse )


Day 8: Friday adventures at Albert Cuyp(straat).

Other people had already made some plans to travel for the weekend, or do other things so I decided now was the time for me to use public transit and wander on my own for some shopping.

Albert CuypmarktCollapse )

Day 9: Sick Saturday

I did very little of use today, as I woke up with sinus pressure and general craptastic feelings.

My terrible looking faceCollapse )
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More Amsterdam Updates - Days 4-6 [Jul. 13th, 2008|10:29 pm]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo

natbrat
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Day 4: AKA The first day of class
I kind of want to be Carole Vance when I grow up.
Onto the pictures!”><br /><img border=Collapse )

Day 5: Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday

Not a whole lot of interest today, just class and a failed trip to a market near the windmill on PHK.

Windmills and class peekturesCollapse )

Day 6: Red Light District Tour Day aka Wednesday.

So excited about this day!

Sex workers and Chinese food, oh my!Collapse )
So there you go.

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Amsterdam Adventures: Days 1-3 [Jul. 13th, 2008|10:22 pm]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo

natbrat
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I'll break this up into a few posts, so all the pictures don't load at once. :)

While I am also keeping a real, live written diary of my time in Amsterdam, I don’t think I feel like typing that verbatim for all of you lovely people to read. Sorry, I just don’t have the time (at least not while I’m here) to type out pages of dialogue, instead you will get short, tiny photo descriptions. Yay!

Keep in mind that there will be TONS of photos, so I will try and separate them by a couple of days. Caveat emptor – these photos are resized to be smaller but if you are using dial-up (Malea) these will take a while to download. Sorry!

The ArrivalCollapse )

Day 2 in Amsterdam

I was relatively rested and went on a walking adventure to find food and to try and get my bearings a bit. I also wanted to head to the flea market in Waterlooplein I knew was nearby.

Walk, walk, walkCollapse )

Day 3: Sunday

Wandered around with Shamim this morning so he could get a power converter for his laptop.

Central Station wanderings and Orientation to the InstituteCollapse )
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Last Day in Paris [Jun. 13th, 2006|04:41 pm]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo

natbrat
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Day 4 (last full day in Paris)

Our morning excursion led us to Giverny in Normandy to visit Monet’s gardens and his home which is now a museum complete with his very impressive Japanese print collection. The drive out of Paris was beautiful (although most of slept through at least part of the drive). You could definitely tell when we got into Normandy – Kate pointed out their very rich heritage shown best by what we consider a “traditional country” French cottage. Lovely.

We arrive in Giverny (the village Money lived in) to a light drizzle but not much wind. We went straight to the gardens because we only had a couple of hours to see the whole place. We walked underground through a series of small tunnels (to avoid the streets) before we entered the garden through a tiny, ivy covered gate. The walkways weren’t very large but only a few paces into the gardens you saw why it was an inspiration to Monet and his circle of friends – awesomely beautiful.

We all stroll around the bridges and paths taking pictures of the variety of foliage, colors, water lilies (yes, those water lilies), ponds, streams, and long flowing willows. Mom would have died – but more importantly she could also produce a more accurate description of what flowers and trees were there. We scrambled to get our picture on the main bridge littered with purple vines. Most of my pictures were dark because it was so cloudy, but they’re still very pretty. See:

Purple vines on the bridge.

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Michael walking along a path in the garden.

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Main view of the gardens.

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Another view.

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One of the ivy covered bridges. *le sigh*

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We spent about an hour in the gardens, both around the pond and further toward the house – where the gardens were in rows with neatly ordered plants in complementary colors.

Tulips near Monet’s house.

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Vivid and bright despite the drab landscape. Michael and I get separated from the girls so we tour the house pretty quickly. Wandering through each room of the two story house is strange, but I think I always feel strange in homes turned museums, like I’m invading old space. Like I said before, the print collection was lovely and we found people oddly congregating in the blue and white tiled kitchen. Apparently famous for…something. The gift shop doesn’t hold much interest so we zoom through, get a snack and head back to the bus and then back to Paris.

Jenny wants to go shopping back in Paris since she hasn’t bought anything but the rest of us don’t’ have much money left (Michael does but he doesn’t want to shop) so she goes off to tour the opera house. Michael, Annica and I map our metro route to Pere Lachaise Cemetery. It’s still raining quite a bit but it seems fitting for our cemetery visit.
We arrive pretty quickly and after a brief entrance I decide to buy a flower for Oscar (Wilde). I get two white roses and Michael buys a sunflower (he apparently used to wear them in his lapel). We head back into the cemetery along the winding (uphill) cobblestones. First stop, Jim Morrison’s grave to take pictures for Jenny and The Jess. Next we’re off to see Chopin, who, unlike Jim Morrison, isn’t behind a metal barrier. I give Annica one of my roses to add to the bouquets on Chopin’s grave.

Annica at Chopin’s grave.

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One pathway in Pere Lachaise:

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The walk yields some very lovely pictures of a wide variety of graves and monuments from marble to stained glass mausoleums. Our walk to Oscar Wilde’s grave takes almost 20 minutes because it’s at the opposite end of the cemetery. We arrive to find it covered in lipstick kisses (the curves of your lips rewrite history). I felt a real rush being there, imagining Bpo here almost hugging the Egyptian-style monument.

Oscar Wilde’s grave:

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Michael’s sunflower and a message to Oscar:

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I lay my flower across from Michael’s sunflower and take pictures of both. We linger long enough for Michael to get some great video of some old ladies near the grave. I take my obligatory picture next to Oscar’s resting place and we head out of the cemetery, walking slowly past all the veteran’s monuments covered in red, white, and blue flowers for the VE Day celebrations that week.

Pathway after leaving Oscar’s grave.

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We’re starving at this point and go across the street for a late lunch. We eat at the “poster café” – the one featured on the deco poster Michael bought in Monmarte. I had a wonderful egg concoction with tea, Michael had onion soup (I think) and Annica had some yummy tomato and cheese hors d’oeuvres and salmon for her meal – tasty sauce! Our waiter was fun, very traditionally Frenchman who cursed when he dropped things and barely smiled at us.

Next we wandered over near the cemetery gain where we had the best ice cream (really, sorbetto) I’ve ever had in my LIFE. Melted in my mouth bursting with strawberry flavor and Michael’s chocolate chip was wonderful as well. Annica got a crepe that was too sweet for her to eat so I finished it on the Metro home. I thought this way strange:

Warning sign in the Metro to watch your fingers.

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We all decided to skip the night trip to the Eiffel Tower in favor of packing for our early flight the next day. We stopped by the creperie near our hotel for a sampling of pastries to snack on while we repacked and enjoyed baths in the wonderful tub in the hotel room. I tried to finish my journal then but I was behind at the point. The giggle fits hit all of us when we try to go to bed – one of the consequences of an early wake up time I suppose.

Lobby meet up time is 6am. Off to Newark first then an express flight back to OKC. Home.
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Paris Day 3 [Jun. 13th, 2006|03:44 pm]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo

natbrat
[mood |contentcontent]

Day 3
Up early(ish) again on a quick Metro/walk to Notre Dame. Poor Kate is getting ill again and is getting down and out for the rest of the trip. We stop a few blocks from the historic medieval cathedral, also point zero in Paris:

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This is the place where all streets begin to be measured. We take turns stepping on the zero mark in an old tradition to increase our chance of returning to Paris. Truthfully, I have mixed feelings about Paris. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more at the beginning of the tour or if I spoke a bit more (or any) French. I would like to come back with Michael, spend a whole day at the Louvre or walking along the Seine. We didn’t have much time to wander, the Paris leg of the trip was much more scheduled, for obvious reasons.

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Notre Dame – one of the few places in Paris not given justice in pictures or postcards. The history, the years of weather stained into the flying buttresses, the awe-inspiring rose window. Truly beautiful. I find myself increasingly annoyed at other tourists for using flash camera inside while chattering in this place of worship. Despite my often cynical perspective, I do hold respect for holy places where people go to pray for stillness, for peace. I pass through the church quickly, getting a shot of the rose window (no flash!). Jenny stopped to buy a rosary and I wandered outside while she paid, luckily capturing the tail end of a parade in honor of VE Day, the end of World War II.

After the trail of horses left, I wandered to the side of Notre Dame looking for the Quasimodo gargoyle Kate told us about. I wandered alone to the back of church into a small, lovely garden with free restrooms and a glorious view of the rear architecture:

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I meander down the series of small gift shops where I buy a pack of Paris postcards and more batteries for my camera. I stop at the Seine, give a sigh and head back down where I run into more of our group, including Michael who looked at me as though I had really been lost. Completely adorable – it’s nice to be missed.

We leave from Notre Dame and head out for the Louvre, only a short walk. We buy our tickets early but spend at least an hour grabbing some good, checking out the basement pyramid (see below) and browsing some shops.

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We begin our search of the greats by looking for the Venus de Milo in one of the many halls of statues. Along the way, Annica gets her first glimpse of all the amazing sculpture – her reason for coming here. Michael and I both spend time adjusting our cameras to catch the best (and hopefully sharp) pictures of the statues. One in particular catches our attention – a torso with no other appendages. The body is turned so gracefully towards the light, simply stunning. We wander the halls until we see velvet roping, an obvious indication we were now in the presence of the Venus de Milo along with all the other push foreign tourists who simply must have their picture in front of the statue. The lighting…

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Lovely. We move along quickly to the Winged Victory, bypassing rooms of metallic Roman sculpture, ancient Egyptian artifacts, and delicate metal workings. The staircases surrounding the Victory are filled with waves of people merging from separate parts of the museum. We notice a refurbishment and restoration room on our way back up the stairs, with the door cracked on one of the lower levels. Annica is asked if she knows what type of work is being done there. She looks very confused and politely says she is completely unaware – realizing later it was a prime opportunity to feign authority.

Onto the Italian painters from here and the Mona Lisa. I was told to expect something small, true. The smirk was still entirely captivating behind the glass walls and throngs of tourists. I feel much the same about all the “big stuff” in the museums we’ve visited – good to know it’s real but otherwise not entirely moved by the whole process. We all end up taking a break on the circular sofas in the hall of Jesus paintings, giving our feet a much needed rest. I forgot to mention our quick dash into see Napoleon’s crown jewels in a highly ornate room of portraits – artists and architects of the Louvre. No pictures in here either.

After our break, my final goal is to see the Rubens rooms – a journey that takes us through more rooms of religious art including beautiful stained glass in light boxes and tiny metal sculptures of Roman gods and goddesses like the one below:

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Along the hallways, I snap a picture of the courtyard. I like the view from the windows.

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I get separated and wander alone through the French and Dutch paintings until I find the Rubens room, a large hall consisting mainly of portraits of Catherine de Medici. What lovely bellies and full hips. Love Rubens!

I find Michael again in a room of French paintings and he looks relieved to have found me again. I’d almost like to pretend we’ve met here after a long break (longer than 20 minutes) and I find joy in strolling down to the sculpture garden hand in hand. Absolutely adore him. The sculpture gardens ends our adventures at the Louvre but not before Annica picks up her desired posters and I get and I get postcard envelopes in the basement post office. Not quite as fun as regular postage, but they’ll do.

Here are some pictures I took in the sculpture garden:

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I’m watching you, watch over me…

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We head to St. Michel to eat at a lovely café. I have a ___ madame sandwich (a glorified fried egg sandwich) with some very dry rose wine. The mousse de chocolate inside joke is born here as well all get our delectable ice cream and Annica is left out of the dessert adventure. The waiter tells her not to cry and we giggle.

Here’s Michael and Annica in the café:

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That night was our cruise along the Seine (which was freezing) and the “Illuminations Tour” of Paris on the bus. Presumably, the night lights of Paris are to be enjoyed from the bus seats – it was enjoyable. Warm…most importantly warm. My planned adorable outfit for the boat didn’t help the weather situation but we got quite a few lovely pictures out of the ordeal.

I was amused by having an “N” bridge (I know, I know…it’s for Napoleon)

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The crew – I loved the lighting on this shot.

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Classic Eiffel Tower picture.

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Attempted kissing picture 1 – I love Michael’s face.

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Successful kissing picture!

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Paris - Days 1 and 2 [Jun. 12th, 2006|11:12 am]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo

natbrat
[Tags|]
[Current Location |work]
[mood |pensivepensive]

Paris

Day 1
First (albeit short) day in Paris. We didn’t arrive off the Eurostar and check in at the hotel until around 5pm. The Eurostar was very nice aside from some seating arrangement issues. I slept a bit on the train (which surprisingly only spent about 15 minutes under the English Channel) but I kept slipping off Michael’s shoulder and down his arm. The train station was bustling this Saturday afternoon and we got to hear the first bit of Kate’s French – she’s quite good really.

I keep going between a British accent to Spanish pronunciations of my broken French. Strange. We coach in some very heavy traffic to our hotel – a very nice Novotel near Bercy. We freshen up, change, and head as a group to the Latin Quarter (so named for the area where Sorbonne students hung out and lived) for dinner. We were pulled in off the street to a restaurant for 3 courses of our first authentic French meal: onion soup, poullet (chicken) with fries, and caramel crème custard for dessert. A very friendly wait staff made the meal quite enjoyable as well as a small glass of apple wine courtesy of Richard.

We down a few shops into a salsa bar, where Kate apparently knew the bartender, for a few drinks, joined by Gina (aaaack) in our corner booth where Kate jokingly asked for a cigarette for “her retarded friend Richard” from the lovely French college boys sitting next to us. They looked horrified, but gave her one anyway. Metro home for another costume change to add another layer then across the street for another drink with Kate and Richard, where we laughed at Kate’s running gag about her millisecond relationship with our waiter. We finished out the night downstairs at the hotel bar, but I didn’t get a drink – just a quick phone call home then off to bed.

Day 2 – Bus rides galore

We set out early the next morning with Gui (our bus driver for the entirety of Paris) and Sonja, the crazy red headed French guide. Most of us took tiny naps on the bus because of the vibrations and Sonja’s narcoleptic voice. Most of my pictures are fuzzy at best because I have no idea where we stopped or where we were; all the buildings were important, filled with history, lovely architecture – but Sonja raced through them. I know that we stopped at Les Invalides where Napoleon is entombed, orignially a veteran’s hospital. We all look so sleepy in this picture:

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A later bus perspective of the Opera house:

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I believe we stopped before that at an area where lots of nobles lived. This is where I took this neat picture of Michael:

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Also a quick photo opportunity in front of the Eiffel Tower, because it’s Paris.

Michael and I

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Roger, Anne, and Jenny (I thought this was cute)

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We can’t stop at the Arc de Trimuph because it is so ridiculously busy, also because you lose all car insurance once you enter the circle. Crazy! Lunch was quick at café Brioche where I had some very creamy pizza and the best dessert I’ve ever eaten:

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Back on the bus for our trip to Versailles! We arrive and see what used to be the site for the giant Louis XIV statue; they’re currently restoring the courtyard to its original design with a series of gates. We only have an hour to explore the ridiculously large gardens so we focus on one or two side garden while we wait for the fountains to come on (they have scheduled times). The side gardens test our ability to turn ancient sidewalks into our carido activity for the day. The garden to the right with the seashell fountain seen here:

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We run back to the main fountain to get this picture:

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Then head inside – no pictures here. Highlights include the Queen’s giant gold bedroom where all the monarchs were born, the half-covered Hall of Mirrors (currently under restoration) and the rows of ornate ceilings. Dr. Frankland’s noice kept playing in my head abou tyher inner revolutionary getting angry at the gaudiness of the palace. We wander back into the garndes to escapt the heat of a thousand tourists and I get these pcitures:

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What lovely statues along the main walkway:

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Monday evening we hit some of my “must-dos” for Paris after Roger gives us a hefty warning about going to “that part of town.” Read: so scary that Annica stayed with the group going directly to Monmartre). We pretty directl ignore Roger and head toward the seedy bit of Paris nightlife. We take our pictures in front of Moulin Rouge:

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And I skip down rue Lepic to the Café des deux Moulin (from Ameile) to take my picture and pay omage to Jeunet., wishing Sami was there so see it with me (I’m sure she will when she goes).

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We spotted the café Le Chat Noir on the way to the sex museum: Musee de l'Erotisme. I love this place! I take tons of pictures, mostly blurry to avoid using flash. This was one of my favorite pieces, an ode to cunnlingus:

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5 levels of erotic art – generally much more explicit and ancient than the NYC museum. 1st floor: ancient statues with rows of penis, vagina, threesome, and “hidden” figures like the one above. My pictures from the museum show my obvious interest in the religious satire art, the detailed Adam and Eve egg. Upstairs we see a very neat leg sneaking out of window and the wall. I remain fascinated by the sepia nude photographs from the late 19th century with soft light and delicate props. There were a series of thin multi-colored copper wire sculpture of genetalia along with the stamp covered mannequin bust. Michael and I both buy postcards and we explore the basement with the interactive moaner puzzle and loads of miniature sex models before we leave.

We head out of the tawdry area of town toward Sacre Cour on the Metro. Beautiful at night:

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We snap a few photos and wait for the Eiffel Tower to sparkly in the distance. It does, we start to shiver, and head home after stopping for ice cream (I know, I know) and postcards.
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London Day 5 (v. long) [Jun. 6th, 2006|09:24 am]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo

natbrat
[Current Location |work]
[mood |nostalgicnostalgic]
[music |Placebo - Meds (special edition)]

Day 5 – last day in London
Our last full day in London begins with a trip to Hampton Court, one hour outside central London. I’m going to quote here from my journal – just for fun.
The bus ride jostles me a bit because of some poor sleep (and frustration at my dumb, sore body). At any rate, the Court was lovely. Took lots of pics for Mom of the gardens including the famous Maze, the main fountain court and other.

The clock tower, which I loved because of the zodiac signs.
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(Written later that night, slightly tipsy) I was discussing Hampton Court. The courtyard was breathtaking (including costumed guides who were presumably wives of Henry VIII who lived there). We wandered first into the Georgian rooms and the Queen’s area before heading in to the gardens…Jenny gasped at the gardens when they first came into view – we all laughed including the guard.

Jenny standing outside the back of Hampton Court.
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MMmmm…gardens.
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Walking paths are fun with friends.
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The gardens, fountain, and sound of the gravel were all so relaxing. We spent over an hour around the various gardens, including the maze. It wasn’t too difficult but the hidden speaker boxes were effing scary! I won for best surprised scream.

We made it!
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Center of the maze, our shadows.
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One of my favorite pictures from the whole trip, the oldest vine in England.
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Michael and I are writing postcards now and I know my semi-intoxicated state will lead me to miss key moments of the day. We took a tour of the massive kitchens (which smelled authentically like meat) whilst we were waiting on the carriage ride. Thistles (the horse) and Morgan (?) (our guide) gave us a lovely tour of the hunting grounds. I must have taken dozens of pictures [like this]

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We leave a little after noon (I owed Kate some chocolate that we purchased later in the day) for another sleepy bus ride back to central London. Quick costume change at the hotel and to Salisbury’s for another lunch on the go on Oxford Street, where I get some cute earrings and a black pashmina. We all find ways to spend money. Sadly, we waited too late to see the inside of Westminster Abbey by the time we got there. We sulk for a bit, sit on the lawn, and make further plans. We decide to follow the advice of Morgan the carriage driver (a former exchange student himself) to hit Camden, a funk shopping and hippie/goth/etc area of town.


Jenny and Annica at Piccadilly when we stopped for currency exchange before Camden.
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Camden
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We love it! My inner goth is amused by the rows of shops with black things, corsets, white face paint, etc. We stop in dozens of shops where I drool over Doc Marten Mary Janes. I think we all bought something: I got a necklace from a street vendor, Michael got a very sleek leather jacket from a vintage shop and some Street Fighter action figures from the rave shop, and Jenny got a cute polka dot belt. Our last stop was an import store with some very interesting shop keeps who asked us if we knew Tim McVay. Michael got a heat Kirin statue – a dragon figure from Indonesia. Jenny and I get an offer for drugs (politely declined) as we wait for Michael and Annica to finish poking around. We all end up at a fish and chips place then home to the hotel with a quick stop to King’s Cross.

More Camden pics:

Annica with the Buddha outside the Camden market bathrooms.
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Annica helping out Harry at King’s Cross, platform 9 ¾ .
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Walk back near the British Museum again (don’t remember when I took this) along the quintessential 19th century London housing. Very P&P looking.
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Michael, Jenny, and I decide to go out that night since we have been entirely too sober. We hit the overpriced hotel bar, back to the Imperial for a rum and coke, then finally to the Edge for some fag hag time and a Saturday special drink. Stopped by the Greek place for some rice and baklava takeout. Mmmm. We also stopped by Harmony for a special purchase (must see to that). Paris tomorrow on the Eurostar.

Last night out at The Edge, very cool gay bar.
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Michael and I outside the Imperial, the lovely pub in our last night out with Jenny.
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So in love. (London is pretty damn cool too)
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Second bit of London [Jun. 5th, 2006|03:22 pm]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo
been_a_book

We pick back up at St. Paul's Cathedral, here is Natalie looking very lovely in some of the surrounding garden. Back onto the bus, and we pass by a shop with a lovely little garden out front ("cheap" is an old term for shop, or store, so cheapside is an area with shops.

Next we pass by a name I had heard pretty often, the Blackfriar's Club, with their, well, black friar out front.

We're on our way to see the changing of the guards, a pretty big hub-bub. Various pictures of us waiting, including Jenny, Dr. Johnson, John Morgan, Annica, Jackie, and Dr. Frankland:


Jackie decided that laying on the sidewalk would be the best place to get a good shot. One of the personnel asked her to move.

And here comes the band! I don't have any pictures of the actual armed guards, because my batteries died just as they walked up.

We head back to the bus, and pass Kate on her cell phone, that hip urbanite.

Once finished with the bus tour, we young ones once again head off on our own, this time to the British Museum. I add to my collection of pictures of warning signs:

Beware the lions! Inside, the place is enormous. It is actually dizzying to look up at these glass ceilings.

I'm a big fan of Classical sculpture, but little remains of the sculptures from the Parthenon.

By this point we lose Annica. Yes, we lose Annica in the British Museum. So, we set off on our own and hope that by dumb luck we'll bump into her. The next two pictures are the biggest woodblock print I've ever seen (comprised of 192 separate woodblocks, it is mostly propaganda for Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, containing his geneaology and exploits from his life) and Natalie in front of a gigantic Buddha.


This place is huge! Time for a break.

Next, on to the reading room. Later, I'll upload a video to show how enormous this place is. Jenny is. . . Overwhelmed by the amount of books? Yeah, that's what I'll go with.

Jenny is tired and heads back to the hotel for a nap. We've given up on the possibility of seeing Annica, so Natalie takes me over to an exhibition on the Enlightenment and the king's library. Mmm more Classical sculpure.


Here's an interesting bit of repair they did to one statue:


And of course, being king means you get a stuffed chimp in your library, obviously.

Natalie looking cute in front of the museum.
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First bit of London [Jun. 4th, 2006|10:59 pm]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo
been_a_book
The arrival in England is splendid, and we are met by our guide Kate, a humorous British 30-something (it's impolite for me to reveal a young lady's age) who will also be directing us through Paris. I am delighted to find that our luggage carts have hand-brakes, which means I can ride mine down hills, much to the danger of everyone around me. Natalie has a fantastic action photo of this. The airport is actually some ways outside of London, so we have a splendid bus ride through English countryside.
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Buildings and billboards are the first signs of civilization, and specifically the billboards are a sign that we are no longer in American civilization.
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After getting into the hotel and setting up our baggage and such, Kate offers to take the group down to Leicester (pronounced "Lester") Square for some lunch and then on to something else.
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Kent, Angus and David milling around there. We young ones, Annica, Jenny, Natalie and myself, go off for some food, and Natalie and I discover a nice, traditional pub by the name of the Imperial on a side-street while Jenny and Annica pick up some Starbucks. 9 hour flight to England. First stop: Starbucks. We have some delightful sandwiches at the Imperial (not true, I have a jacket potato), and I have my first beer, a genuine Czech Budweiser. I found it a bit strange that the bartender suggested this, but it was good, at any rate. We meet back at the center of Leicester Square, and some of our group is late, because they had to have their check split at Planet Hollywood (again, 9 hour flight, first stop: Planet Hollywood), and Kate admonishes them with chocolate penalties. We take a short Tube trip to a boat tour down the Thames. Lots of fantastic pictures to share from that. First, the London Eye, a 450-foot tall ferris wheel with enormous glass pods. Sponsored by British Airways, a "flight" takes a full half-hour.
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I take a lot of pictures on the river tour, most of which I can't recall the meaning of the building. Again, we see Kent's head. A recurring theme, seeing as how he's too short to make it fully into my pictures.
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My lovely Natalie, and is that the Old Bailey in the background? I have no idea! but, look at her cute hat.
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A rather fascinating building, but I wanted to show a little portion of it, notice the name of this eating establishment, I saw a few of them in London:
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The first recognizable picture, here we find a full working replica of Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind, which he circumnavigated the globe with. Actually, this replica has completed his journey three times over, seeing more sea miles than his original ship.
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We finish up the river tour at the London Tower, where John Morgan purchases a sizable chocolate coin for Kate in apology for his being late. She is ecstatic, it's like having money and chocolate simultaneously. Here, we see a small remaining portion of the Roman Wall, a portion of the Tower dating back to the Roman conquering of England.
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The young ones again venture out away from the adults for the evening in hopes of getting some top-shelf Chinese food in China Town, of all places. After stopping in a couple of junk shops, I spot a restaurant across the street I did not believe existed. "Holy shit."
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I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
walkin through the streets of Soho in the rain.
He was lookin for the place called Lee Ho Fooks, gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein.
 There is a great deal of struggling with Annica's camera to get the flash working now that the sun has gone down, and then I get a picture of Natalie, just as Annica puts forth her best accidental effort to ruin the picture. Natalie asks if the bottle was right in front of her face, and I say it's not right there, but in the general vicinity.
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A bus tour in the morning, with a very humorous guide whose name no one can recall, and our bus driver Pete, who is bald and heavily tattooed. Here, we see a picture of a small sandwich shop, which I took a picture of because I liked to imagine that the chap smoking there really is Neal, standing on his corner.
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The big attraction on the bus tour is a short stop at St. Paul's Cathedral, where we pick up caffeinated drinks and some postcards. Here we see Carmen talking to Kate about the Greek fish and chips restaurant they ate at the night before while Kent, David and Jackie loiter in the background like the hooligans they are.
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I'm closing here, at # 132 of my 876 pictures, I'll continue later.
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