Thursday, June 24, 2004

Day 11, Friday June 18th

We took a long bus ride into Paris and got in a 6pm. Our hotel room was ont he 9th floor, and had a view of the Eifel Tower!

That night we took a Paris Metro to the downtown area where we walked around. We found a cafe and had a special Paris dinner. We walked past the Louvre museum and the Notre Dame Cathedrial, as well as the Seine river wehre we caught a night time view of the eiffel tower!

Day 10, Thursday, June 17th

Today we took a cog-wheel train up the steep slope of Mt. Pilatus for a spectacular view of the snow-covered Swiss alps, then continued down the other side in a cable gondola.

We then took a boat cruise around the lake at lucerne, and had a wonderful dinner witha demonstratioon of swiss music, instruments, dance and culture. It was a surprise when the Hostess led the restaurant in a "happy honeymoon to you" serenade!

Day 9, Wednesday june 16th

In the morning we walked around heidelberg and bought fresh fruit at the outdoor market. We continued south into the black forest and stopped at a wonderful cucko clock store. I had great german food for lunch, Brackwurst mit sourkraut.

We then crossed the alpine border into switzerland, and made a stop at the Rhine falls, "the niagra of europe". We took a small boat to an outcropping in the middle of the falls for a spectacular view... very cool.

We then drove into lucerne and unloaded our luggage at our hotel. We had a 6th floor (top floor) room with a balcony overlooking lake lucern.

We then walked in the rain to a covered wooden bridge that crossed the river.

Day 8, Tuesday, June 15th

We woke early and left Bruges for a quick stop in Brussles. We saw the little peeing boy statue (whose name I shal not repeat), and did a little shopping in the food market and gift shops before we boarded the bus for Germany.

Once inside Germany, we boarded a boat for a day cruise on the rhine river. We saw lots of castles and vineyards.

After the cruise we continued on to Heidelberg to stay the night. Before we went to bed we went for a walk in the rain and caught the sunset. (we also caught a little bit of the simpsons in german...)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Day 7, Monday june 14th

Awoke early and tok the bus to the white cliffs at dover and took a high speed catamaran across the english channel. no hovercraft service (fuel costs too high).

Arrived in calais france and drove on a new tour bus to bruges belgium, the cutest town ever, far better than london. We took a walking tour and a small boat tour and enjoyed the middle ages atmosphere of the city while eating belgian waffles.

Day 6, Sunday , June 13th

Awoke at 6:15 for another hearty english breakfast. We met our tour group and took a bus tour around the various sights of london, including most memorably the changing of the guard.

We got done at noon and visited an antique fair, and then took the tube across town to catch the london performance of the lion king.

Afterwards we wandered and shopped and ate dinnner at a little pub. We then came back and went to bed a little earlyish.

Day 5, june 12th

Awoke to another hearty breakfast and continued our drive south towards london. We got to heathrow 2 hours early and took a quick trip over to visit windsor castle, the inside tour was closed though.

We dropped off the rental car and took our first trip on the london underground from heathrow to the hotel at hammersmith station. We dropped our bags off and took the tube to trafalgar square for lunch and shopping for gifts.

We then walked down to the river thames and caught a riverboat cruise to towerbridge and back to big ben. We then crossed the river and rode the giant ferris wheel, "the london eye" at night.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Day 4, Friday June 11th

We awoke toaday 6:15am toa a wonderful rainbow over the valley. We had a VERY hearty breakfast with wonderful bacon that was more of a slab of ham than a piece of bacon.

We then drove up the valley to the village of Balquidder to visit Rob Roy's grave and the graves of many of my Stewart relatives.

We then decided to head east and travel down the coast towards London and find a B&B for the night. We drove out to Holy island, which is a castle on a rock surrounded by a tidal estuary. We decided to stay the night in York. We picked a small (2 room) B&B and walked down to the ancient town center inside the roman-era walls and gates of the the city.

Day 3, Thursday, June 10th

We made it just past manchester and stayed at a Travelodge. We got in about 11:00pm and woke up just before noon. We continued north until carlisle where we drove 15 miles down a 1.5 lane twisty country road. At the end we visited Haydrian's wall (roman border wall).

We stopped at a pub for lunch. Siobhan had a cheese toasty (grilled cheese) and I had musaka. (minced lamb with potatoes in a tomatoe sauce) I also had potatoe leek soup.

Afterward we drove into scotland. It was typical scottish weather. (rainy/sunny)

For a while it was the rainist I have ever seen it rain. These people know how to drive in the rain. I'm going 80mph, (yes, mph... They use miles here) and everyone is flying past me.

We made it up to Balquitter, via a 2 lande road in the highland area. We found our hotel, "the king's house" built in 1779.

For dinner Siobhan had vegetable soup, while I had venison saussage w/ potatoes. (continuing with my attempt to stay away from UK beef)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Day 2 Wed -June 9th

Lying here, eating breakfast in bed, thinking how king henry the 8th stayed here in 1535...

We found a thrift store here, but no finds were to be had.

The castle packed us a picknick lunch and we drove an hour south to stonehenge, which was way out in RURAL farmland. I still cant believe they let me rent a car and drive ti without even mentioning that i have to drive on the wrong side of the road, or use a "roundabout" every time I want to turn left or right. The plan is to drive as far as we can toward scotland until we get tired and find a hotel. hopefully we can make it past manchester...

Day 1, Tuesday -june 8th (continued)

The castle is flat-out a real castle. Stone walls, stone staircase, a stone fireplace 8ft wide by 6ft tall, and gothic widows looking into the castle courtyard.

Dinner in the castle was $60 each, so we walked into the village and got a $3 gyro from a street vendor.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Tuesday June 8th

We arrived at 1pm, flew overnight with little sleep, and went straight to rent a car. The rental car insurance cost $120 for 3 days! It's not a problem driving on the wrong side of the road (I do it myself at home some times!) What's nerve wracking is driving from the wrong side of the car... The "round-abouts" are crazy indeed. I should have studdied national lampoon european vacation. W drove through the countyrside for two hours to get to castle Thornbury. The countryside reminds me of north carolina, but every one is driving ont he wrong side of the road, and everything is three times too expensive ie: $6 whopper. The town of Thornbury is the quaint english village. The castle is flat out a real castle. MOre to came...