18 October 2009

Finishing Up

I'm really (maybe) close to having access to the pictures on my camera, so I'll finish up posting about Europe in the next several weeks and go back through the blog to supplement the information I posted while I was traveling.

If you don't receive the blog posts in a reader, check for the following labels on the sidebar:

Posted Post-Trip - Brand new posts added chronologically after the trip (like this one)
Text Added - Existing posts I've improved (I hope) with text
Photos Added - Existing posts with photos added

Otherwise, I'm back to my normal blog.

Thanks for your interest and all of your comments while I was away!

17 October 2009

The Best Photo

I was labeling photos from Europe this morning and found this one, which may be the best photo I have ever taken. It's from the parking lot at Tintern Abbey. I was so taken with Welsh that I was snapping pictures of the bilingual signs and ended up with this one. That's undoubtedly the Rick Steves Great Britain book cradled in my arm.

15 October 2009

False Hope

You know how I keep promising photos? Guess who left her camera in Scotland?

Scotland Redux

I visited Scotland twice on my trip. The first time around I met Steve and that is why there was a second visit to Scotland at the end of the trip. I forgot to bring my camera on our adventures almost every single day, so I have, for example, no pictures of the terrible, terrible, narrow bridge we had to cross to visit Steve's ancestral home. And I have no pictures of New Lanark (the first project of Robert Owen, whose second utopian mill society, New Harmony, I visited in Indiana; New Harmony does not include a Disney-esque ride through the utopian mill society experience, narrated by a ghost, though) or the House of Dun or Dunkeld Cathedral or most of the places we went.

I do have
The Den
The Den is an old, pagany site in Dunino. This is a pool and a hollowed out footprint that were likely used for ancient coronation ceremonies or, depending on who you believe, human sacrifices.

And Seaton Cliffs
I took this picture before I realized that we weren't to the really picturesque part yet and then I didn't pull my camera back out when we did reach the prettiest parts--cliffs and caves on the North Sea.

And the Hermitage
Steve at the Hermitage. This area of Scotland looks like Tennessee.

09 October 2009

Wales is Pretty, Yes?

These are some of the sites we visited in Wales.

We rode the train up the coast to Harlech Castle, and it rained all over us. Harlech Castle is a fantastic ruin, though.

Kirsten and I peek out from beneath an arch where we were waiting for Stash. After visiting the castle, we asked a local for a treat recommendation and took refuge in an ice cream shop.

This is the beach at Aberystwyth. "Aberystwyth" is fun to say.

Aberystwyth Castle - Please note the beautiful, blue sky. In Wales.

View from Aberystwyth Castle

Dyfi River - close to the resort where we stayed.

Dyfi River on the way into Machyllneth, the town where we caught the train and went to market and which is an impossible name to pronounce.

We found some sort of pagan stone circle on one of our many hikes through the Welsh countryside.

08 October 2009


The UK has introduced me to two new things I love. (I know, they've already given us so much, right? Digestive biscuits, Shakespeare, The Vicar of Dibley, crumpets (I ate three today). They're a nation of givers. Except for the bus driver who gouged us on Monday, telling me the fare to Machynlleth was 2.40 instead of 2.00, so I had to go rummaging through my bag for my envelope of coins--Romanian coins, European coins, Turkish coins, British coins--which, naturally ripped apart when I pulled it from my bag, scattering coins ALL over the bus floor and delaying our departure, when really the fare IS 2.00 and I could have purchased a second delicious treat at the bakery with that 40p he charged me and maintained my dignity on the morning bus. Except for him, they're a nation of givers.)

1. Fuchsias--Somehow, I don't think I've ever seen these flowers before, but they're all over Wales.

2. Seaweed Peanut Crackers--I imagine that these did not actually originate in Britain, but it's where I found them and came to love them. They're little ball-shaped crackers and there's a single peanut inside each one. They're fantastic. Unless they're in your backpack during a terrible storm at Harlech Castle and they get wet. A soggy seaweed peanut cracker is no good at all.

Completely unrelated--I met a sheep farmer and quizzed him about his sheep dogs. He doesn't enter them in trials, because they refuse to run uphill. They jump on the ATV in the morning and then herd DOWN.

Saturday I'm off to Scotland and then I'll be back in the US with a USB drive and all the promised pictures from the trip will actually appear on the blog.

05 October 2009


We're in Wales, staying in an 18th century mansion that's been converted into condos. The bathtub is the perfect size and shape in which to read and you can step right outside the door and grab yourself a sheep--the place is overrun with them. Much to our amazement it has been sunny and beautiful in Wales, so we've been able to go hiking up the green, green hills to see the Roman steps and lovely vistas.

Kirsten and I have seen enough castles to keep us happy for a good long while, but Stash is visiting from Texas (a castle-free state), so tomorrow we're going to hunt down a Welsh castle for her.

Just another week and a half before I return to the States. Eeek.