After graduation my sister and I went to Europe for an 18 day holiday. We visited a bunch of her friends and saw London, Oxford, Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Paris, and Madrid.
We flew out of DTW, which isn't all that exciting, but we managed to make it exciting. Our flight was from Detroit to Atlanta to Dublin, however when we arrived our Atlanta flight was severely delayed. We asked about changing to a different flight, however we were told to wait. Needless to say, after something like 7 hours in the airport, we were denied boarding. Turns out that we were rebooked through JFK and never told, and that flight had already left. So we had to start jumping through hoops to get a new flight. We did manage to get on a flight to London through Amsterdam which left 15 minutes after booking, so we made it to Europe. As a consolation prize, we learned that EyjafjallajÃ¶kull was erupting and that no flights were going to Dublin anyway, so even if we had made our first flight we wouldn't know where we would have ended up.
2010-05-03 Here we are, ready for adventure. I believe my parents wanted a before and after photo to show how weathered we would be after the trip, however I'm not setting the bar very high in this photo.
2010-05-03 Even though we didn't need to, we did ride through the connection tunnel to concourse B/C.
2010-05-03 Trish sitting in the airport. We did a lot of sitting this day, and looked forward towards more sitting on an aeroplane.
Arrival in London
We made it to London, and somehow figured out the trains to the tube and made our way to a hostel we had looked up in the Amsterdam airport.
2010-05-04 A train station! What a bizarre concept.
2010-05-04 Dinner on the first night. That soda is "low calorie"; not quite diet, however it has no sugar, opting instead for barley extract and fruit juice. It was also quite cheap.
2010-05-04 This was delicious.
2010-05-05 The next day we proceeded to do the touristy things. Here is a telephone box.
2010-05-05 There was some sort of "save the elephants" campaign in the city. I'm not sure, I didn't read any of the plaques. However, I do enjoy decorated elephants.
2010-05-05 One of the lions at Trafalgar Square. Self portraits became a hobby of ours.
2010-05-05 Four times the fun at Trafalgar Square.
2010-05-05 Trish and me at Big Ben.
2010-05-05 Looking at the London Eye from the Westminster Bridge.
2010-05-05 The Palace of Westminster.
2010-05-05 The Palace of Westminster under renovation.
2010-05-05 Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Lots of people and really long, so we ate lunch instead.
2010-05-05 Perhaps the best lunch ever. Tuna, cream cheese, and water crackers.
2010-05-05 We proceeded to make our way to the London Eye. Here is the bubble next to us launching.
2010-05-05 My future home.
2010-05-05 Here is a train station (Elephant & Castle I believe), and an overlook South of Thames.
2010-05-05 Here are our heroes with Big Ben in the background
2010-05-05 Living in a bubble isn't so bad.
2010-05-05 Trish was thrilled by the London Eye, however I was quite skeptical.
2010-05-05 As we kept walking we found more elephants. This one is camouflaged.
2010-05-05 We proceeded to China town. If you are clever, you'll notice the sketchy guy in the foreground is me.
2010-05-05 We found these pork roll things, which Trish used to eat every day for breakfast. It was quite good, however there is a steep markup between markets in Shanghai and in London.
2010-05-05 I can't tell the difference between American and English clothes, however this store just had old "vintage" clothes in it anyway.
Visit to Oxford
We visited Oxford and Patricia's friend Jane who was studying there.
2010-05-06 I was going to get a samosa for breakfast, but then we saw a vendor with a full pig, and he advertised bacon sandwiches. After Trish ordered her sandwich, I asked for the bacon sandwich... only to find he had run out of bacon, leaving only sausage left. I should have gotten the samosa.
2010-05-06 Here we are at Oxford Castle. A REAL CASTLE! IT IS OLD AND STONE!
2010-05-06 Here is the inside of Oxford Castle.
2010-05-06 We looked at the cake store in this market we walked through.
2010-05-06 Outside the Radcliffe Camera.
2010-05-06 Our fearless tour guide Jane.
2010-05-06 Inside the Bodleian Library.
2010-05-06 We climbed the spire of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. It provides an excellent view of the city. Here is me emerging from the spiral staircase.
2010-05-06 Oxford cityscape, you can see Magdalen Tower in the distance.
2010-05-06 I dropped my favourite... coin.
2010-05-06 Next we went to the Museum of the History of Science. Here is a multiple stage distillation setup.
2010-05-06 Mechanical model of the solar system.
2010-05-06 We went to the Christchurch Cathedral. I received a children's guide, however I found it more confusing than the regular one.
2010-05-06 We had some time before dinner, so we went walking through a meadow area next to Christ Church.
2010-05-06 I don't mean to brag, but I do have a certain way with women.
2010-05-06 We saw all of the boathouses for the different colleges.
2010-05-06 Everyone is happy in this picture. Jane, Trish, and myself.
2010-05-06 Yes, I definitely have a way with women.
2010-05-06 Here is Jane and her boyfriend Steven. We ate dinner in the Christ Church dining hall, as Steven is a member of the college. They have a full blown multiple course meal, real fancy like. We stole some fruit.
2010-05-06 Harry Potter was filmed in the hall.
2010-05-06 After dinner, walking through Christ Church's quad.
2010-05-06 Walking home, I saw this sign. Someone was thinking "How do I get TacoBell to the Europeans?" and the Crunch Wrap Supreme became the Fajita Wrapstar.
We went to Stonehenge from Oxford. Unfortunately the student tour which we had planned on taking didn't have enough interest and was canceled, so we had to book a better (more expensive) one.
2010-05-07 Proof that we made it to Stonehenge. I suggest to bring earbuds to famous locations, as the audio tours are hard to hear without them.
2010-05-07 Bunch of stones stacked. Pretty cool, but you can not get close to them, so quite boring. I wanted to carve "Rich was here" for future civilizations.
2010-05-07 This is the foundation of the old cathedral at Old Sarum Castle. It was a hill fort which was overcrowded and the wells weren't sufficient for the population, so Salisbury was founded nearby at the river. The extensive fortifications here were never attacked, so I suppose they worked.
2010-05-07 Here is Salisbury Cathedral. This is what was transported from the hill.
2010-05-07 Inside the cathedral. We saw a lot of churches and old buildings this trip, and it was right around here where I started getting bored with Gothic Architecture.
2010-05-07 Here is a model of the hill we walked on. The real thing was a lot more boring, with no buildings at all.
2010-05-07 The central courtyard of the cathedral.
2010-05-07 I don't know why these were in the clearance section of the gift shop. Or why the gift shop has a clearance section.
2010-05-07 Avebury, another stone circle. There is the town of Avebury which cuts through the middle, and the stones have been chipped away or completely used for building materials.
2010-05-07 I found a stone.
2010-05-07 We accidentally harassed some people who didn't want to talk to us asking for permission to take a picture of their dog. We think they didn't speak English. Don't fear, I took the picture without their consent anyway!
2010-05-07 They day was finished at Jane's apartment where we made naan pizzas. Mine featured Tuna.
Another Day in London
We left early in the morning for London. We didn't have much of a goal to our sight seeing, and ended up South of the Thames and in the financial district.
2010-05-08 Back in London.
2010-05-08 Good, they didn't stop the elephant parade while I was gone. ELEPHANTS STOP FOR NOONE.
2010-05-08 This is The Navigators, in Hay's Galleria. I assume it is a tribute to England's presence on the seas during the age of steam.
2010-05-08 This is outside the Greater London Authority, looking on Tower Bridge.
2010-05-08 This is where an event celebrating world friendly products was being held. Additionally, perhaps my favourite elephant too.
2010-05-08 Looking on the Tower of London. We probably should have entered, however I'm never thrilled about seeing any crown jewels.
2010-05-08 That night we cooked all of our leftovers together in one dish. This has tuna, kidney beans, chic peas, noodles, and spinach in it. Unfortunately the only salt in the hostel was in bag form, which quickly went into our dish, and left our dish as desirable as sea water. We still ate it.
2010-05-09 The next day we went to the London Museum. We found it interesting, however I was disappointed that the modern portion of it was being remodeled, which covers from the London fire to today. It was free. I regret opting to not see Imperial War Museum during our visit.
2010-05-09 Ryanair flies out of the London Stansted Airport, which is 50 miles from the city centre. Because our flight was early in the morning, we had to stay at a bed and breakfast that night. And because it was Sunday night zero of the two nearby establishments were open. Don't fly Ryanair.