CLICK HERE FOR THOUSANDS OF FREE BLOGGER TEMPLATES »

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

London

Thursday August 31st we took another train from York to London. 
This time the ride was about 3 hours. We were only in London a day and half so once more we jam packed what we could into the short time we were there.  
When we got to London we took a cab to our hotel and dropped off our luggage. Then we walked 1/2 a mile to our first museum. 

 Madame Tussads Wax Museum. 
This was one of my favorite places. It was the perfect "selfie" museum. There seriously were thousands of wax figures to see and take pictures with. The first part of the museum was full of actors. 
I love George Clooney! 

Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite too!

Along time ago.... Brittney Spears was my favorite singer ever! 
I owned every single cd she released. 
Every once in a while one of her songs comes on the radio and I'm always amazed how well I remember the words. Oh how I loved her!

I had to take this one for my Dad. He loves John Wayne. 
We grew up watching his movies. 

Bruce Willis was one Kory let me take his picture with. 

A few months before our big vacation we watched the Sherlock Holmes series.
So had to capture his picture too. 

There was another room dedicated to super heroes.
We saw the Hulk, Captain America, Spider Man and many more.
Kory put on the blades and stood next to the Wolverine.

There was another room dedicated to Star Wars. I am not a Star Wars fan. I have not watched all the newest and latest movies but I do remember these 2 guys from watching the Star Wars movies as a kid. They were always my favorite. 

The museum had a little ride (think the Mermaid  ride at Disney Land again) that showed and told us about important people in London history. There was a Sherlock Holmes tour and a 7 minute 3D Super Hero cartoon to watch. We easily spent 3 hours in the museum. It was totally worth the 35 pounds each we spent. 

For lunch we stopped by a little Korean shop that served us food outside. I ordered rice, chicken and their house salad. 
 So yummy! 

After lunch we walked back to our hotel where we had about an hour to get ready for our "date night". We had tickets to see Le Mis.

Before the play I had never seen the movie, the play or even listened to the music. 
I had no idea what the story line was. 
It was so awesome to see it for the first time live.
The actors were great and the music was just awesome!

Friday September 1 we had another fun filled day planned ahead. We took the tram downtown where we bought ourselves a hop on/hop off bus tour to help us get to where we wanted to go. 


Our first stop was the White Towers. 

We were given a tour around the grounds by this man. 

There is so, so much history here. This tower is where the two princes went missing. There are many theories about what happened to them but it is believed their Uncle killed them so that he could be King after there father, King Edward IV died at war. 

The White tower is also where Ann Boelyn was imprisoned and later beheaded on the nearby greens by her husband, King Henry VIII. 

The Crown Jewels are also kept here in a different building but for security reasons no cameras were aloud. 


Along the grounds were authentic weapons used to protect the white towers.  


The grounds once had a lion pit.

Pet monkeys use to roam the grounds....


and even an elephant. 

After leaving the white towers, we walked across the Tower Bridge. 


We were hungry and wanting lunch. I really wanted to go to Borough Market for lunch.  
Bourough Market was a pinterest find. 

 The Borough Market is like a huge out door flea market back home but for food. 

There were a ton of people! 

Sea food on ice? 

I'm not sure we'd ever see this in the states! 

Cheese anyone?
 For lunch we bought a pork sandwich. 
The man cut a piece of pork that was rotating on a spickett. So  yummy! Before I could take a picture a bird flying above us took a poop on Kory's hand. Luckily it missed the sandwich but I was laughing to hard to get a picture. 

After lunch we made our way back onto the bus. Next stop was Hyde Park.
Hyde Park in one of the largest parks in London about 350 acres. On Sunday's LDS meetings use to take place here outside on the grounds. 

So, so green.

 I loved the covered walkways. 

 All around Hyde Park were these chairs. We wondered where they came from? We didn't see very many people using them while walking by. So we didn't know if someone was setting up for an event or what.

Finally we came across this sign. 
Hmmmmm......interesting!

We walked all the way through Hyde Park to get to Buckingham Palace.

There were a ton of people walking around and taking pictures. I did manage to capture some detail on one of the pillars. If we wanted to we could have waiting in line for 2+ hours to be given a tour inside. We decided to move on. We had seen enough. After all the Queen and her family don't even live here!


In front of Buckingham Palace was this huge statue. 

 After Buckingham Palace we went in search of our hop on/hop off bus.
Our next stop was the M&M World. This building was 4 stories tall full of M&M memorabilia.

I love M&M's. 
It's my kids favorite too!
 I so wanted to buy each of us our own m&m mug. But I was worried they'd get broken on our way home so I didn't. 




Every floor had m&m's. They had every color, shape and flavor.
So fun to spend some time just wandering around! 

After leaving the M&M World we decided we had better stay on our bus until we got back to our hotel. We had big plans for the night and didn't want to be late. So as we were driven by the different touristy sites I snapped pictures. 

I loved the "thumbs up" art work. 

Bird Head dancers

A man holding an elephant up by it's trunk. 

Beautiful buildings. 

This is London's Eye and you can see Big Ben underneath it. 
Not the best picture! 
I wanted to ride the "eye" but we ran out of time!

We had tickets that night to my all time favorite Opera. Not that I had seen it yet.... but I knew it would be my favorite! I loved it!
 I have always loved the music. When I was a teenager learning to play the piano I wanted to learn how to play it's music. It's what kept me practicing without being asked! 

It was a phenomenal night!

Friday, February 02, 2018

York

Tuesday morning we left Scotland and headed to England. The Train station was just a few streets over from our hotel so it was a pretty easy to walk and pull our luggage behind us. I had my brother take our picture getting on the train and now I can't find it. Ugh...


This little sign was next to each seat on the train. 
It says,"Power Up! Plug in and grab some juice for your mobile, tablet or laptop. No toasters or hairdryers please." 
For reals??? I can't imagine packing around a toaster with me...... and a hairdryer, now that's just funny! 


Our train ride to York from Glasgow took us through the country side. Lots of rolling hills, green grass and sheep. Our train ride was about 4 hours long.  Getting off the train with our luggage was quite the experience but we did it. Then we pulled out a phone and google mapped our way to our hotel by foot. We were only about .5 mile away Woo Hoo! We left Glasgow about 7 that morning and and was to our hotel a little before noon. Not too bad! The best part was that we didn't have to drive or worry about parking! 

The Queens Hotel is right on the River Ouse that runs through the city. The hotel was conveniently close to the bridge that would take us into town to see the sights on our list.   



Near our hotel were stairs that led us to the river. I was surprised with how dirty it was down there.  Everywhere we have been has been so clean. From the parks to the streets to the bathrooms in the store.  
Maybe the duck's did it? Hahaha 

Pretty white swans. 



Before crossing over the bridge we saw a ferry go by. 
If we have enough time we can tour the city on it.  

Standing on the bridge. Our hotel is just to the R and the "tourist traps" our to the L.


First thing we did was purchase our hop on/hop off city bus tour to get our sense of direction and make note of where the sites were that we wanted to see. 

 There were 3 specific tours we wanted to do and was told that we needed to make a reservation for them as they fill up fast! The first was the Chocolate Story tour. Amazingly when we got there to make our reservations they let us in with the group waiting for their tour to start. So fun to hear how and why York is known for their chocolate. We were asked to put our cameras and phones away at the beginning as they didn't want their "secrets" shared with everyone. It was a cute way of telling us no pictures were allowed. 



Through out the tour we were able to sample cocoa beans and we were given lots of  yummy samples. We even got to make our own chocolate suckers in the end. Yummy! At the end we were told we could take pictures of our suckers. So I did! It was a fun tour.


After our chocolate tour we quickly made our way over to York Dungeon to make our reservation for the next day. Once again we were asked if we wanted to join the group going in. Absolutely!

This was a 75 minute live show. Again pictures weren't allowed inside. Characters were dressed up and portraying those from the past. We had vikings, an executioner, a doctor's apprentice trying to learn more about the plague and many more. I was asked to participate in one of the parts. I got to stand in the corner with a scroll in my hand that had a secret written in it. I was supposedly caught trying to pass it to the King of the enemy. When discovered I was later stoned to death by my people for being a traitor. Oops!  This tour reminded me of a haunted house. We walked from room to room. Each were dark, had unknown noises, whispering, wind out of no where and different characters. There were even a few screams from our group. Kory was asked to participate in the 3 different rooms with 3 different characters. He must have looked like a pretty likable guy for being picked on so many times from different people each time. The first time we were in a room showing different types of torture techniques. The executioner pretended to use his tools on Kory. Ouch! The second room we were before a judge. Kory was suppose to defend himself but every time it was his turn to proclaim his innocence the judge would cut him off. It was kind of funny to watch the lawyer and judge banter back and forth and then Kory just trying to follow his que's. Everyone was laughing and then the judge would yell at us to be quiet or we'd be sent to the guillotine. Kory of course was found guilty and sent to the executioner. The third time we met a new executioner and Kory had to put his head on the block. It was a great 75 minutes. 

Before starting our tour we had pictures taken of us. We had to go before the judge for......


I got to pretend to be an executioner. 
Our serious faces didn't turn out so we picked the ones of us smiling! 
 So much fun!

Between the bus tour, the Chocolate Story and the York Dungeon it was about 6 o' clock and everybody had closed or were in the process of closing so we headed back to our hotel for the night. 

Wednesday morning (Aug 30th), our last day in York we were up and ready to go.Most places don't open until 10am which is so frustrating when we are only here for a short time. 

The first place we headed to was the Railroad Museum. This place was absolutely massive! There were at least 3 buildings at were all 3 stories tall and then some. They had over 300 years of railroad history within their walls. 

This is the front of the Queens train from back in the day.

A peak into the Royal carriage.

Then came the commoner's seating. 

Luggage carts! 

They had a weight limit on the luggage back then too.  

The Conductor's train.

  A little more modern... 

And today's trains....

One of the buildings that was seriously 3 stories tall looked like this.... 

and this.... 

Just absolutely full of train paraphernalia on all 3 levels! 
This is what toilet paper use to look like.  

Replica trains to scale.

Train seating... 

A telegram engineer's type writer...

It was pretty cool. 

After the train museum we hopped back on the bus and rode to the other side of town. 

This is Clifford's Tower. It is the largest remaining part of the York Castle left. 
Back in the 1100's the Jew's were being persecuted because the King had recently ordered everyone to be baptized. For some reason the Jew's fled to the "Keeper of the King's tower" for protection. Their was quite a large mob of people and even soldiers outside the tower. The families inside were afraid that they'd be stoned to death, or killed because they refused to be baptized. They soon realized they couldn't hold out from the mob much longer. So they decided to die all together. The Husbands killed their wives and children and then took their own lives. Just before the men took their own lives they set fire to all their possessions which of course started the tower on fire. It's estimated that there were about 150 Jews inside that fateful day. How horrible! 

In the center of York is a large brick wall that makes a big circle. That wall was the outer wall of the castle grounds. We were able to walk the wall. 



Kind of fun. 

York was so colorful and full of people. Several of the streets were lined with flags


or umbrellas. 

  
We passed by a local entertainer. 
Riding a unicycle and throwing knives in the air.  

We visited 2 really small museum's about King Henry VII and King Richard III. 
They had armor we could try on. I think the linked chain and helmet made me gain 50 pounds. 
It was so heavy!

York Minister was absolutely huge and stunning. It was so large I couldn't fit the building into my camera frame.  


The front leading inside. 
I loved all the artwork.




All around the building are stone carvings. 
This one reminded me of the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" 

 We had one last tour for the day. On our way their we walked through the plaza again and was able to stop and watch another street entertainer. He was juggling flames. Pretty cool to watch.  


Our last stop for the night was at the Jorvik Center.  
A year or so ago the building had a flood and so it had been closed to not only fix the damage but they also remodeled it at the same time. We had to wait in line for over an hour to get our tickets but we did get them!

It reminded me of the Little Mermaid ride at Disney Land. We sat in a little cart that was on a track and it led us around the interior of the building. As we saw figures from the Viking Era a story was told about each display. Although we weren't moving very fast it was pretty dark and super hard to get pictures.


A display or artifacts found and on display during the Viking era. 

The tour was about 45 minutes and just full of information from that time period. We saw the straw and mud huts they made for their homes. We saw their cooking pots and utensils. We were given a little glimpse into how it would have been like to live during what we call the Viking period. 

Like everywhere we've been so far on this wonderful trip, we are surrounded by incredibly old buildings being used today. 


Just amazing!

I loved York! 
I would have loved to share these experiences with my kiddo's. There were so many things they would have liked to see and do. I really felt like York could be a very family friendly place to go.