July 02, 2005

Lisa: This is not a difficult concept

Eye-makeup remover should not sting the eyes. It is formulated for the EYE AREA. Seriously, people. Also, you should not have to rinse it off, either by wiping with a wet washcloth (creates wrinkles!) or splashing (washes the stingy stuff right into the eye proper).

July 03, 2005

Lisa: UK trip, Days 1 and 2

I have decided I'm going to post here what I wrote in my travel journal for each day on my trip, along with the pictures I took that day. It's probably going to be pretty boring for most of you, but you can either look at the pretty pictures and ignore the words, or skip these entries altogether. There will only two weeks' worth, and I'll try to post one every day, so it probably doesn't matter much one way or the other. You will be out of your misery soon enough.


Blake and Molly and I got to the airport in plenty of time...but I hadn't updated my passport with my married name and had to get David to come back and pick me up so I could go get our marriage license. I made it back in time for our flight, though--phewf!

A six-hour time difference between Salt Lake City and London meant that we got on our second flight at 4 pm our time and landed in London at 8 am their time. I wish I had slept on the plane!

On Sunday, we found our Bed and Breakfast (the Georgian House Hotel), dropped off our luggage, and headed out to do some sight-seeing. We went to the British Library

and saw a whole bunch of really old and important documents and books, like the Magna Carta, a Gutenburg bible, the first manuscript of Alice in Wonderland (including Lewis Carroll's original illustrations), etc. Then we took the underground to the Tate Modern and saw a bunch of art from the last century.

Very cool--but we were getting pretty tired, so we headed back to the hotel for a shower and a nap. After our nap, Blake went foraging for food and came back with some authentically English chips, meat pies, chicken, and deep-fried sausage(!).

We set our alarm for early Monday morning and went to sleep.

  • Picture 1: Statue of Sir Isaac Newton in the courtyard outside the British Library

  • Picture 2: British Library entrance

  • Picture 3: View from an upper floor of the Tate Modern
  • Tomorrow

    July 05, 2005

    Lisa: UK trip, day 3

    Monday we got ready quickly, snarfed some cereal and milk the hotel left out for us, and ran over to the travel office to meet up with our group for the Cornwall tour. The breakfast turned out to be a bad idea. Even though we had a great day of sightseeing planned (including Stonehenge) I got quite sick from the milk and spent most of the day throwing up next to the bus!

    Here's where we went on Monday:


    (starring Molly)

    (Heel Stone thingy)

    (Hey, it's us!)

    (Barrows across the road from Stonehenge)

    Dartmoor National Park

    (Real Dartmoor ponies?)


    clapper bridge

    Cox Tor

    (Molly took this photo from the top of the Tor. Unfortunately, I was down at the bottom in the parking lot, puking.)



    (the beach right outside our hostel)

    Anyway, we got to Newquay (pronounced Newkie), which is kind of a beachy surfer town, and I turned in for an early night at the hostel.


    July 07, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    In honor of my birthday next week, I would like to compile a list of items that would be a welcome addition to my toolbox.


    and, for crafting metal and glass,


    which, since Blake thinks Lisa and I will kill ourselves, would necessitate a


    and just imagine how many things I could build if I had a


    Of course, if I receive the gifts which I ask for, I'll have to build a workshop behind my apartment building...

    Lisa: UK Trip, Day 4

    I felt much better the next morning, and we headed off on the tour bus for Cornwall!

    So far we have seen a few more Neolithic stone things (Lanyon Quoit

    and Men-an-Tol)

    and even participated in an "ancient" fertility ritual!

    We're eating lunch on a beach near Land's End--it's so beautiful here.

    It's a bit cold for swimming, but sitting the beach in a hoodie with my shoes off is just about perfect.

    After lunch on the beach, we walked along the cliffs

    to Land's End and took our pictures next to the flagpole.

    Then we got back on the bus and headed to St. Ives, a quaint little fishing village with tons of gray stone townhouses.

    It was packed with tourists, but we managed to cram into a little restaurant for an authentic Cornish Cream Tea (a pot of tea, two scones, clotted cream, and jam). After our tea, we headed back to the hostel in Newquay.

    Here's what we saw on Tuesday:
    St. Michael's Mount

    Lanyon Quoit
    Sennen Cove
    Land's End
    St. Ives


    July 08, 2005

    Lisa: UK Trip, Day 5

    On Wednesday morning, we went to Tintagel, which is said to be King Arthur's birthplace. We walked out on a very windy cliff, from which we could see the ruins of a medieval castle. Our tour guide, Postman Pat, led us through a dramatization of the King Arthur legend involving plastic swords. Blake played Uther Pendragon!

    Then we walked into town to sample the Cornish pasties. Molly and I tried the cheese and onion, and Blake had one with steak. Yummy!

    At the request of our driver (Kenny) and several people on the tour, we stopped for a look-and-taste at a cider farm. Kind of boring for us non-drinkers, but we sat outside at a picnic table and sampled a bunch of different biscuits (cookies) that Pat brought along. We tried Jammie Dodgers, Jaffa Cakes, Hobnobs, and some chocolate chip and hazelnut ones I can't remember the name of.

    After the cider farm, we went to Glastonbury. Unfortunately, we only had time to go to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, but it was pretty cool. I guess we'll have to come back another time to see the Chalice Well and climb the Tor!

    After Glastonbury we went to Cheddar Gorge, which is supposed to be England's Grand Canyon. After a stomach-churning twisty drive, we got out and took a few pictures. The sides of the canyon are limestone, with green plants growing everywhere. It was about the size of Millcreek canyon! I think whoever named it (and made it a tourist attraction) must have had a sense of humor. Anyway, it's called Cheddar Gorge because it's right next to the town of Cheddar, where the cheese was invented. Also, the oldest human skeleton found in Britain was found there, and is called the Cheddar Man. Mmm, cheddar...

    After we got through Cheddar Gorge, we drove to Bath. We checked into the hostel (where Blake, Molly, and I got a private room, which was nice) and ate dinner at a delicious Indian restaurant with a bunch of people from our tour group. After dinner, we walked around Bath and found the places we wanted to see the next morning.

    On Wednesday, we saw...
    Sheppy's Cider Farm
    Cheddar Gorge


    July 12, 2005

    Lisa: UK Trip, Day 6

    The bus was scheduled to pick us up at noon, so we had some time to look around Bath. We decided to start with the Roman Baths, but there was a huge line of Japanese tourists waiting to go in, so we decided to look around in the nearby abbey for a few minutes first. It was beautiful.

    I especially liked reading the epitaphs on the grave markers all over the walls.

    After the abbey, the line at the Baths seemed to have calmed down, so we went in. It was pretty expensive, at over 9 pounds each, but they have done a nice job with the museum. Basically, we got to see inside almost all of the rooms--now most in ruins--and read about what each one was, how the baths worked, etc. The baths are still technically functional, with the hot mineral water bubbling up out of the spring, filling up the big main pool, and then heading out an ancient drain to meet up with the river Avon. The main pool is very picturesque, with a courtyard around it overlooked by Roman statues.

    I decided not to try a drink of the water in the pump room!

    After we visited the Baths, Molly and I went to the Jane Austen Centre. Jane Austen spent about five years living in Bath, and mentioned it to some extent in all of her books. A tour guide gave us some background on Jane's family, and then we walked through an exhibit with some replicas of clothing, furniture, etc. from her time period.

    (Molly with Mr. Darcy)

    After the Jane Austen Centre, it was time to get back on the bus!

    Our first stop in the bus on Thursday was Lacock, an idyllic little village that almost seems untouched by time. The BBC's Pride and Prejudice was filmed there, and you can see why. There aren't even TV antennae to get in the way of the shot!

    (Blake lusts after an anachronistic sports car)

    After Lacock, we got back on the bus and drove to one of the white chalk horses--actually a relatively new one--called the Cherhill White Horse.

    Next to it was an obelisk that was supposedly erected to commemorate a man who brought a woman back to life with a kiss after she was hanged.

    Not far past the horse and the obelisk was Silbury Hill, which is completely manmade. It doesn't seem to be a burial mound, so (much like Stonehenge and the other standing stones), they JUST DON'T KNOW why it is there or how it was built.

    Our last stop on Thursday was at the Avebury standing stones. The Avebury stone circles are much larger in diameter than those at Stonehenge, and a village is built right in the center. We had to pick our way through sheep fields to see the stones. It was definitely less touristy than Stonehenge, but I think it's a bit harder to appreciate without an aerial view outlining the shape of the circles, if that makes sense.

    (I don't think Molly was ready for this one)

    (OK, there she is)

    (See, we were really there!)

    (Can you see all the sheep poop?)

    After Avebury, we headed straight back to London and checked in to the Garden Court Hotel. It felt like a palace after all those hostels! We rode the underground to the Waterloo station (after a delicious Italian meal), took a ride on the London Eye Ferris Wheel, and then headed back to the hotel and to bed.

    (We could have asked one of the nice people in the car with us to take our picture, but did we? No. Very attractive result, don't you think?)

    Also, we met a really nice couple on our tour: PJ and Kate from Monterey, California. Maybe we'll run into them again someday!


    Sarah: 21

    Happy Birthday to me,
    Happy Birthday to Me,
    Happy Non-Alchoholic Birthday dear 21-year-old SARAH,
    Happy Birthday To MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    Thank you, I'm here all week.
    Tip your waitresses on your way out.

    July 13, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    This is a very special entry, because I am not only announcing the perpetually underrated


    as this week's tool (perfect for softening records for turning them into bowls, plus doesn't this make you want to create Shrinky-dinks?), but I am pleased to announce that I received a cordless drill for my birthday, an item I have long desired. Now I need only to find something to drill...

    July 21, 2005

    Sarah: When two become one...

    So, don't get me wrong, I adore both stores, but when did Target become IKEA? Now if we could just get an IKEA in Utah, I could more thoroughly compare...

    Lisa: UK trip, day 7

    I lost a little momentum, but here we go again...

    We had an early day today--we caught our train to Edinburgh from the King's Cross station at 6:15 am! There was a little tension when our taxi was a bit late, but soon we were safely on the train, enjoying the beautiful English countryside.

    When we got to Waverly Station, we caught a taxi to our bed and breakfast, the Turret Guest House. It was quite early (around 10:30 am) so we couldn't check in yet, but we left our bags and got some much-needed lunch at The Crags, a sort of pub aimed especially at the young backpacker/student crowd. Then we headed back to the B&B, checked in to our room (which was gorgeous!) and got our laundry together to go to the laundromat. I was already a bit upset because I thought Molly was writing mean things in her journal about me while we were on the train, and then to add insult to injury, when I unpacked my bag I realized I had left my toiletries carrier at the Garden Court Hotel! There wasn't much I could do about it at that point, so we got our clothes and asked Jimmy, the B&B owner, where to find the launderette. It was a pretty long trek away, especially with bags of dirty clothes, but it had to be done.

    After we did laundry (It's amazing how much better you can feel with a suitcase full of clean clothes!) we ditched our bags back at the B&B and headed out on a quest for dinner. Molly and Blake decided on a Chinese takeaway, and I found a little grocery store that was still open. We ate in our room, chatted, and then turned in for the night.


    July 22, 2005

    Lisa: UK trip, day 8

    On Saturday morning, we got up early so we could meet at the Haggis tour office by 8 am. The wonderful Jimmy made us a bag of ham sandwiches, fruit, and juice to take since we would be missing breakfast, and we took a taxi over to the Royal Mile, where the office was.

    There were a whole bunch of tours leaving from there at once, but they got us all sorted out and assigned to the right buses. We met our guide, Frazer, who was the driver for the tour as well. He talked quite a lot while he drove, which was fun. He explained to us right away about Scottish weather. It was gorgeous and sunny on Saturday morning (and sunny and HOT when we were back in Edinburgh), which he said was "miracle weather." The other two days of the tour were what Frazer called "sexy weather": drizzly, with misty clouds covering the tops of the mountains.

    Our first stop on Saturday was in a little village called Killin. Apparently, the little cascade of waterfalls there (the Falls of Dochart)

    is very famous and has been painted a lot. We walked to the tiny grocery store to get some food for lunch, and talked about how fun it would be to retire to Scotland.

    Our next stop was in Glen Coe,

    where we heard the story of the massacre and got off the bus for a little hike.

    It was raining a bit, so we ate our lunch on the bus before setting off for the Great Glen.

    Frazer had us practice our guttural sounds by reciting the names of the four lochs in the Great Glen: Loch Linnhe, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and Loch Ness. We actually turned off the road before reaching Loch Ness, and instead headed over to Loch Garry. Loch Garry is vaguely Scotland-shaped, and so is on a lot of postcards and calendars of Scotland.

    Then we drove through Glen Shiel, but it was too misty (in other words, the weather was too sexy) for us to see the Five Sisters mountains.

    Our next stop was the Eilean Donan Castle,

    which is famous to us because it was the castle in the Highlander movie. The owners still live in part of the castle, but we got to tour most of it.

    It was all furnished, and was quite fun to see. I especially liked the bedrooms, which had all sorts of crazy nooks, stairways up to windows, and cute little fireplaces.

    The castle itself is on an island with a bridge built over to it.

    The tour guide told us that the causeway was actually the last thing to be built--they had to bring over the building materials for the rest in boats!

    After seeing the castle, we piled back on the bus and headed to Plockton, a "tropical" fishing village with the Scottish version of palm trees.

    From there, we headed over the Skye Bridge (supposedly shaped to suggest a pair of seagulls in flight) to the village of Kyleakin. The village is tiny, with two restaurant/pubs and three hostels making up the main part of the town. We checked into the hostel, named the Saucy Mary after a Viking princess who supposedly flashed her chest at passing fishing boats. Our room at the hostel was tiny--barely enough room for a bunkbed, a twin bed, and a sink--and we had to share a toilet and shower facilities. The horrors! I guess we were a little spoiled after the B&Bs.

    Anyway, after we dumped our luggage we had some dinner at the restaurant that wasn't in the Saucy Mary, and set off to walk around the town.

    First, we walked out onto a little tidal peninsula and hiked up to the ruins of a tiny castle that was supposedly the residence of Saucy Mary herself.

    (That's part of the Skye bridge you can see through an opening in the ruins.)

    Then we walked up another little hill on the other side of the port where there was a monument to the local soldiers who died in World War I. The monument was in the form of a Celtic Cross--so pretty!


    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    My latest addition to my desk:


    for increased organization! Perfect.

    July 23, 2005

    Lisa: UK trip, day 9

    On Sunday morning we woke up, had breakfast at the hostel, and got back on the bus. Our first stop was the Sligachan River. Frazer told us a legend, the upshot of which was that if you stuck your face in the river and held it there for five seconds, you would have eternal youth and beauty. Blake did it!

    After a bit more driving, we stopped for a walk in the Black Cuillin Mountains, up to some "fairy pools" above a waterfall.

    (There's Blake in the poncho he insisted on bringing.)

    Blake and Frazer were the only ones to strip to their swimsuits and jump in, and Blake said the water was freezing!

    After our hike, we drove past Dunvegan Castle, which is still the seat of the Clan Macleod.

    We stopped for lunch in the town of Portree, which is a fishing village with a beautiful natural port.

    While Blake and Molly were in a café having lunch, I sat in the courtyard to eat the sandwiches I had packed at breakfast and then walked around and went into some shops. I found a store that sold some really cool clothing batik-printed with Celtic designs, and I bought a skirt there.

    Our next stop after Portree was for another hike, this time up to the Old Man of Storr, a rock formation on the side of a mountain. It was a VERY steep hike, but not too long, and getting to the top was worth it. We had a beautiful view of the coast and of the ocean on two sides.

    (I did not style my hair like that on purpose. I swear.)

    (me and Blake again)

    Our last stop on Sunday was at Quiraing, a lookout point at the top of a very windy and narrow road. There were tons of sheep around, which meant (as always) looking out for sheep-poop land mines.

    I should mention also that all over the Isle of Skye we saw the long-haired orange Highland cattle, or "hairy coos," as Frazer called them. Legend has it that touching the horns has a Viagra-like effect. Blake loved the hairy coos (not for their libido-enhancing properties), and has been singing little songs about them ever since.

    After that last hike, everyone was pretty tired and we headed back to Kyleakin for dinner and an early night.


    July 24, 2005

    Lisa: UK trip, day 10

    On Monday morning, we started on our way back to Edinburgh. After crossing the Skye Bridge for the last time, we headed up to Loch Ness for some photo opportunities. Our first stop was at Urquhart Castle. We didn’t go into the castle, just took pictures of it with Loch Ness behind.

    Then we stopped at the cheesiest Loch Ness gift shop ever, where there was an underpass we could take to get down to the water of the loch itself.

    After Loch Ness, we drove through Inverness (where Frazer claimed all the people were ugly and inbred) and stopped at the Culloden Battlefield where the Jacobite rebellion was quashed.

    (That's us in front of the cairn commemorating the dead Jacobites. NOT a flattering picture, but what can you do.)

    (That's the battlefield itself--well, part of it.)

    For lunch, we stopped at a pub called the Tipsy Laird in the town of Kingussie.

    Our last stop of the tour was in Dunkeld,

    (Molly and Blake in front of the Cross, a memorial to the Dukes of Atholl.)

    where we visited the Dunkeld Cathedral

    (outside of the cathedral)

    (organ pipes)

    and saw the sarcophagus of a horrible psychopath called the Wolf of Badenoch.

    Of course, we didn’t touch his coffin, as that would have been VERY bad luck.

    (the ruined section of the church)

    (grounds outside the cathedral)

    (more of the grounds)

    Then it was back to Edinburgh and the Haggis office! When we got back to Edinburgh, unfortunately it was time to do laundry again. At least we already knew where the launderette was! We stopped there on the way to our B&B, and Molly and I found some doorstop sandwiches in a nearby shop. Blake tracked down a Greek pizza shop, so he was happy.

    Our suitcases full of clean clothes again, we walked the rest of the way to our next bed and breakfast, the Dunedin Guest House. It was quite close to the Turret Guest House, so we were on familiar ground. We checked in and relaxed in our room for the rest of the night, knowing we had a big day of walking ahead of us.


    July 25, 2005

    Lisa: UK trip, day 11

    On Tuesday, we got up and enjoyed the "breakfast" part of "bed and breakfast" (finally!) and took the city bus up to the top of the Royal Mile so we could be at Edinburgh Castle when it opened. At the castle, we saw the Scottish crown jewels, the royal apartments, St. Mary's chapel,

    (the altar inside St. Mary's)

    and the War Museum, which was very cool.

    (outside of the war memorial)

    We had some lunch at the castle's café before setting off down the Royal Mile.

    (You can see these statues of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace as you leave the castle. Those people are totally not with us.)

    Views of the city from the castle:

    Blake was a very good sport on Tuesday, as the Royal Mile mostly means shopping! We found lambswool scarves in the Smith and Anderson tartans for our dads for Father's Day, and got a few things for ourselves too. Most importantly, Blake got a kilt and a Scotch thistle kilt pin!

    (Deacon Brodie's tavern)

    We did also stop at St. Giles Cathedral

    (stained glass in St. Giles Cathedral)

    (St. Giles' organ pipes)

    and a museum covering the history of children's toys. When we got down to the bottom of the Royal Mile, to our dismay we found that Holyrood House was closed because the royals were in residence!

    (outside Holyrood House)

    (the new Parliament building across the street)

    Instead of spending time there, we walked up to Canongate Church and checked out the little cemetery behind it,

    and then trekked over to the Princes Street Gardens. I decided to climb to the top of the monument to Sir Walter Scott,

    which meant climbing over 275 steps up a narrow and quite claustrophobic spiral staircase--

    (There I am at the top! That's as far as Molly could zoom in.)

    but the views of Edinburgh from the top were amazing!

    (Waverly Station)

    (toward the Royal Mile)

    (overlooking the National Gallery)

    (over Princes Street and New Town)

    We walked back across Waverly Bridge to have dinner at an Italian restaurant on the Royal Mile, and then headed up to Warriston Close to the office of our ghost tour: The Real Mary King's Close. They took us down into the close, which had been built over with the new parliament building in the 1800s. The guides were in character, and they had some little scenes set up down there. It was a bit campy and cheesy, but it was also really interesting to see how closely together (and in what filth) the people of Edinburgh lived at that time.

    After our tour, we headed back to our room to relax and read for a while before turning in for the night.


    July 26, 2005

    Lisa: UK trip, day 12

    On Wednesday morning, we had a great breakfast at Dunedin House again before taking the city buses to Ocean Terminal to see the royal ship Brittania. We looked around the small museum, and then Molly and I toured the boat itself.

    It was really neat to see the royal quarters,

    (drawing room)

    as well as the kitchen, laundry, and other more 'behind the scenes' areas on board. Everything was so compact, but organized and shining clean!

    Afterward, we collected Blake (who had been reading on a couch while we were on the boat) and took the bus back to Princes Street. Our first stop there was the National Gallery of Scotland, which was great. It wasn’t too big--the perfect size for an art museum, really--and there were a lot of wonderful paintings there.

    We grabbed some takeway lunch at Marks and Spencer, and ate lunch on a bench in Princes Street Gardens. Our next scheduled stop was the Museum of Scotland, near the top of the Royal Mile but a few streets over on the opposite side from the gardens. Before we headed there, though, Blake wanted to stop at a whisky shop on an errand for a friend of his at work--and the good whisky shop was near the bottom of the Royal Mile. By the time we got back up to the museum, we were all pretty tired. In our Rick Steves guidebook, the museum got a rave review, and (to be fair) it looked like they had some amazing things there. However, we were a bit frustrated with the layout of the museum, which didn’t really lend itself well to a single path that takes you past all the artifacts, as well as with the confusing and non-linear audioguide. We decided we were just too tired to appreciate it, so we headed back to Dunedin House for a nap.

    It was still quite light when we got up and headed back out, so we decided to ride the bus over to New Town to try to find a cool-looking cemetery we had seen over the rooftops from the Royal Mile.

    When we got off the bus, Molly walked us basically right to it (yay!) and it turned out to be really interesting.

    (sign outside)

    (The obelisk is for some guys who were influential in creating the Scottish parliament, if I remember correctly.)

    (the base of the obelisk)

    (Those turrets you can see in the background are next door on the property of the governor's residence.)

    Among the old-fashioned headstones and vaults was David Hume's grave

    (Blake with his buddy Hume)

    and a monument to Scottish-American soldiers who died in the American Civil War.

    (Yeah, that's Abraham Lincoln up there.)

    From the cemetery we could see some other monuments up on a hill,

    (That's the City Observatory that you can see.)

    so we walked over to check it out. It turned out to be a monument for Admiral Lord Nelson, the City Observatory, and a sort of neo-Classical collonade of pillars that I couldn't discover the significance of.

    It was a fun place to walk around, though.

    (I told Molly and Blake to strike a saucy pose, and this was the best they could do.)

    (looking back down over the city from the observatory)

    For dinner, we headed back to an Indian place we had seen on the Royal Mile, which was tasty but crowded, and then returned to Dunedin House to repack and go to bed for the night.


    July 27, 2005

    Lisa: UK trip, day 13

    We got up quite early this morning so that we could catch our train for London at 8 am. The owners of Dunedin House left out some breakfast food for us, which was nice, so as soon as we were packed we hopped on to the city bus and headed to Waverly Station. We felt like experienced bus travelers by now--no need to call a taxi!

    On our train ride back to London, a train in front of us broke down, causing a delay, and we picked up some of their passengers--making our very HOT train car also very crowded. The plan for the night (after checking in to our last B&B) was to divide and conquer. We each wanted to see three museums in differing amounts: the Victoria and Albert, the Natural History Museum, and the British Museum. Since they all close around six, we wanted to try to see as much as we wanted of each of them before then. My plan for after dinner was to try to track down the toiletry bag I had left at the Garden Court Hotel.

    Unfortunately, Thursday night didn't work out quite as we had hoped. The train just got hotter and hotter, and more and more full, and the automatic door between our seats and the smoking section kept opening and letting out smoke on us, and we just got more and more misterable. When we finally got to London, we were hot, sticky, and starving. We grabbed some overpriced sandwiches in the King’s Cross station and ate them standing up (because for some reason the English don't believe in seats in their train stations, not to mention garbage cans) before dragging our luggage onto the subway to Victoria Cross station, close to our last B&B, the Elizabeth Hotel (not nearly as pleasant as it looks on their website).

    When we got there, our room was up three flights of stairs and was tiny and not air-conditioned. I didn't think I'd ever cool down!

    Blake wasn’t feeling too well, so he opted to take a shower and spend the afternoon in the room, but Molly and I headed out to the Victoria and Albert museum as planned. We split up so that we could each see the sights we were interested in, and agreed to meet back at the room so we could go to dinner together.

    I spent most of my time at the Victoria and Albert looking at the fashion exhibits. There was an amazing exhibit of the clothing of Queen Maud of Norway.

    After I was done at the V&A, I took the subway over to the Garden Court Hotel. I had left my toiletry bag there on the previous Friday, and had several subsequent frustrating phone conversations with the staff there, trying to track it down and get it back. At first I was hoping they could ship it up to the Dunedin House in Edinburgh. I thought that it could be waiting for me when we got done with our Highland tour, and then I could use my regular toiletries and take my medicines and everything for the last four days of our trip. Unfortunately, I overestimated the competence of the hotel staff, and probably the speed of the UK postal service as well. When the bag still hadn't appeared by the time we were leaving Edinburgh, I called the Garden Court again to see if the bag had been mailed. The woman working at the desk had no clue, of course. I told her to leave a message for her manager that if they hadn’t mailed the package yet, they shouldn’t mail it--and that I would stop by on Thursday night to try to pick it up. Long story short, the bag was waiting there for me on Thursday (with no explanation as to why it hadn't been mailed). Anyway, I was happy to have the bag back to take home, at least.

    On the way back to the subway stop, I stopped at Boots, a sort of drugstore that sells all kinds of toiletries and things, and is ubiquitous in Britain. Kate (from our Cornwall tour) told me that Sol-Tan, the Boots-brand sunblock, was the best ever--so I had to get a bottle (or two, since there was a 2-for-1 deal)!

    Then I tried to get back on the Underground to go back to the Elizabeth Hotel, only to find that there were massive delays on the Circle Line. I had to take THREE very hot and crowded trains to get back to Victoria station, and it took me about an hour. When I got there, Blake and Molly were waiting to head out to dinner, so I turned around and we walked over to a place recommended by the hotel. After we ate, we stopped at a convenience store for necessities: specifically water, candy, and pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream!

    After the ice cream and a cool shower back at the room, I felt much better. We settled in for the last night of our trip, which turned out to be (in the grand tradition of that whole day) noisy and hot.


    July 28, 2005

    Sarah: Sweet, sweet love.

    I attended a wedding last week of an old friend, and received a bar of chocolate as a favor. Apparently there is a company that wraps chocolate in a themed wrapping to be used as favors for a variety of occasions. Their particular wrapper featured their engagement picture, their names, and the wedding date. This is all fine. Then I turned the candy bar over. What appears to be the standard nutritional information is in fact a sappy love recipe. Allow me to share:

    Serving Size 1 Couple Joined Together
    *Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a lifetime of love.

    Amount/serving %DV*
    Love 20%
    Laughter 20%
    Patience 20%
    Honesty 20%
    Trust 20%
    Happy Marriage 100%

    Ingredients: Two Dedicated People Taking the Journey of Life Together as Husband and Wife .

    I have to go now. I have to clean off the vomit.

    July 29, 2005

    Lisa: UK trip, day 14

    On Friday we had time to eat breakfast at the hotel before we had to get going for the airport, and it was tasty--but served in a basement dining room that was a bit hectic.

    We hiked up the stairs, grabbed our bags, and hiked back down the stairs and to Victoria station to catch the Gatwick Express to the airport.

    We had plenty of time and places at the airport to spend our last few pounds--in between about five security checks! "Heightened security" at U.S. airports is nothing compared to what we saw at Gatwick. Maybe we looked especially shady or something.

    On our long flight from London to Dallas, they showed The Notebook for the in-flight movie, and Molly and I (along with most of the women on the plane) were weeping silently with our headphones on by the end of the show. I think Blake thought we were somewhat insane. Unlike our trip into London, my legs were really painful and my ankles and feet swelled up. Maybe it was the slightly smaller plane that made the difference.

    Our flight from Dallas to Salt Lake was pretty uneventful. I think all of us slept the whole way (we had been up for 24 hours at this point, after all). Then it was back home and back to the daily routine. I even had to go to work the very next morning!

    All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I hope rereading this journal and looking at the pictures we took will provide great memories for a long time to come--at least until we save up enough money for another trip!

    Start Back at the Beginning