Thursday, June 3, 2010

London Weekend

The great old city of London. Started off Saturday by waiting at the stop for an hour and ten minutes because the first bus that I was trying to catch didn’t show up. The busses around here are kind of shady. They can be late sometimes, early other times, and just not show up sometimes. Oh, and it was raining so it wasn’t looking good for the first few hours. But by the time I got on the train the sun had started to poke out and the rain had lifted. When I stopped in London I walked to the closest park and it had a bunch of gardens and soccer fields with tons of kids running around. I stopped and played hacky sack with a group of college kids for an hour or two. It was pretty fun. They told me a few places to go once the sun went down. I walked through the big park and through a ritzy part of town to get to my hostel. I checked in and dropped off my backpack in my locker so I didn’t have to drag it around town. There was a pub in the hostel and I went down for a pint. I ended up meeting Carlos from Portugal who said he was a regular at the hostel due to doing dental work in the area. We had a few beers together and he was kind of bummed out because he missed his flight earlier that morning. He was out parting too late the night before, so I couldn’t convince him to come back out with me for another night. He did also tell me a few places to go. So then I took the Underground to Piccadilly Circus, a pretty big tourist spot, where London pavilion shopping center is. I hopped a few pubs and found a few places that were alright but the drinks were like 10 pounds and a lot of places had steep cover charges. I did make my way into a basement bar that had reasonable drink prices and didn’t have obnoxious techno music blasting. I ended up starting to have a few drinks with a group of people and went around to a few other places. I did happen to find someone that had studied in Madison and we both couldn’t believe that the world can be so small sometimes. It was funny because her husband was British and kept getting mad because his wife started to use her American accent and he didn’t like that one bit. Overall, it was a great night and I ended up meeting some cool people and did make it home safely into my bed at my hostel.
I woke up fairly early around 9 and started my day off by getting on the Underground and I had an English breakfast about 4 blocks from Big Ben. I wondered around the area for a few hours and took some pictures and soaked up some of the sights, acting like a true tourist. Monday was a Bank Holiday here so there were quite a few tourists around to crowd up the sidewalks. I walked around the south bank for a little bit and watched a few street performers try to beg for money from everyone walking past. I worked my way north again and made it to the British Museum. I think that museum has some of the greatest pieces of history in the world. The Rosetta Stone, a piece of the Great Sphinx, Amenhotep III’s Colossal granite head, and over 130 mummies and tombs, just to name a few. I spent a good 4 hours walking around that place and I still don’t think I got to see it all. I was pretty drained at this time so I had a good meal before I left and jumped the last train I could and still make the last bus home out of Bath. I did have a great time and I will be back to spend more time there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Volcano That No One Can Pronounce

Thursday, April 15th

Our flight was scheduled to leave Heathrow airport in London at 2:30pm. We left the office at 9:00 and caught a train to London to catch another train to Heathrow airport. We arrived in London Paddington and were stopped on our way to the airport train when a worker at the station stated that there was no use going to the airport since is it was closing at noon today. We had heard a few things on the radio before we left the office about a few flights being canceled in northern Scotland but we thought there was no chance in our flight being canceled because our plane could just fly south out of the airport to avoid the ash cloud. So we got on the train that we just rode in on, and went back to the office.

Friday, April 16th

Once we got up we called up Delta to see when we were scheduled and we put on a flight leaving London on Monday. I did hear unfortunate news earlier that my Grandma Sebion had passed away and the funeral was on Monday so we fought Delta to see if there was any way I could get on a flight leaving Sunday from the British Isles because we could get to anywhere by train or car. Delta then put us on flight out of Dublin on Sunday at 10:20am.

Saturday, April 17th

First train we got on was at 6:25am to Reading outside of London to catch a train north to Birmingham, and then from there we went to Crewe, and finally ended up in Holyhead. The last train we got on was so packed that we had to stand in the part of the train where two cars come together and stand next to our luggage. Everyone was getting on the ferry to get to Ireland either to get home or to see if planes would fly from Dublin before the UK airspace opened up. So the area after the train station was packed of people getting off the ferries or trying to get on the boat. We did make it on and started to sail to Dublin. The ferry was pretty nice, we grabbed a spot in the lounge next to the bar and the TV and it wasn't that bad. We got to our hotel at about 6:00pm and after the 12 hours of traveling with a big suitcase I found some food and then we went to sleep at the hotel.

Sunday, April 18th

We did find out before we went to bed that our flight would not be taking off at 10:20 this morning. I slept in until 10 just because I could. Then went to the Guinness Storehouse and that was amazing. It was a self guided tour and took about an hour. You end up at the end of the tour in a glass bar on the top of the storehouse that overlooks Dublin with 360 degrees of glass windows. We then walked around the Temple Bar and other streets in Dublin. The Temple Bar is a few blocks of the downtown area that is all sidewalks for streets and has tons of shops and places to eat. We toured around there for a bit and had a few pints and a good night.

Monday, April 19th

I booked a ferry ride that leaves Dublin at 9:00pm to make it back to Melksham to work for a few more days because we got a flight rescheduled to leave London Heathrow on Friday April 23rd. We went to the Old Jameson Distillery and toured that place which was also very sweet. We spent the rest of the day walking around, shopping and just enjoying the sights. We got a cab back to the Port of Dublin and got on our ferry ride back to the UK.

Tuesday, April 20th

Ferry landed at about 12:30am but the first train out of the station wasn't until 4:45am. I spent a few hours chatting with others trying to get home and got a few minutes of sleep. Then it was six solid hours of sitting on trains and transferring back to a different train. We finally got back to Melksham at about 11:30am and got a bite to eat then back to the flat for a nap. And that brings you up to speed with how my weekend went and why I have not been posting much due to being so busy. Overall, I feel pretty good I just would like to be home and eat a Chipotle burrito. Hopefully I my flight will take off on Friday and I will be home soon enough.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First Post

Greetings from a little island across the pond.
I am now on day five on a 12 day trip in England. The trip in went very well, landed in London at about noon on Easter Sunday, then jumped from a train at the airport to London Paddington (Pictured) the main train station in London. From there I got on a train towards Bristol and got off the train in Bath. Bath is a very pretty city and got to see a very little bit of it as I rode the bus out of town towards Melksham. Got off the bus at a stop one block away from my new apartment(flat). The street looks just like the streets from Harry Potter and most of the houses on the island are twin houses. Dropped off my suitcases, which sucked to carry around all day, and jumped in my Volkswagen Sharan (pretty much a minivan). Driving on the wrong side of the road was a little tricky at first but not to bad. Everyone drives like its a rally race and the roads resemble one too, no shoulders, hillsides right next to the sideline, and speed. I like roundabouts and not having stop signs. Drove to a pub in Devizes, the closest town to the west, and had Easter dinner. A steak dinner with chips and vegetables, not much flavour but the veggies were delicious. After dinner a quick drive past Stonehenge just because it was so close. It comes out of nowhere, its just a bunch of rocks piled up in the middle of a field. I was almost falling asleep so back to the flat to sleep. Monday was a bank holiday here so no one was working, but I stopped by the office to check out the place while no one was around. The office is nice, production room is clean, and warehouse is full. Other than that, it is where I am going to spend a lot of my future. From there it was off to the golf course just up the road to the north of Melksham. Whitley golf course, was a pretty nice course, we rented clubs for 2 pounds and played nine holes for 8 pounds. I shot a 44 on a par 33. I am happy with 11 over on a new continent. The greens were cut longer, like out fairways, and their fairways are cut longer like our first cut. It was windy but the sun would peak out once in a while, anything is better than rain. Dinner was fish and chips from a restaurant on the south side of Melksham and was delicious. Tuesday was work. I met everyone and started to learn about the day to day things that happen around the office. So far it has been a awesome time and I must of brought good weather along with me because it hasn't rained yet. I hope everyone reading this is well and will continue to read future posts.