Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Disney Cruise to the Bahamas 2007

This is the terminal at Port Canaveral. In the background is a model of the ship. We had to get our passports scanned here, get our daughter signed up for the kids' club, and sign a few documents before boarding the ship.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bank Holiday in Bath

We arrived in Bath on a Bank Holiday, so shops were either closed for the day, or closed early.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford Upon Avon. We didn't pay for the tour. It sure looks like a grand house to me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Portsmouth - Home of Sherlock Holmes

This shingle beach is in Portsmouth. It was a town I wanted to visit because of its prominence in literature - the home of Sherlock Holmes. And it's the site of a lot of maritime history. It was a tough visit, though. We got there late in the day. It was very hot, and our non-air conditioned hotel put us on their top floor facing the sun. And the window would only open 1 inch - I guess they wanted to keep people from leaping out of the window. In the morning, we found a large and nasty-looking bug in our daughter's bed. Shudder. But, hey, the beach was interesting.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Brighton Coast

We stayed in Brighton two nights and what an interesting place. It's on my list of places I want to see again someday. It was HOT when we were there. We stayed in a boutique hotel in one of the happiest neighborhoods in Brighton and would do it again. Great characters at the hotel, generous, kind, helpful, charming and fun! Can't believe all the niche shops that go on and on in Brighton.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Copper Scarecrow Thingy

Another street performer along the Thames. We were making are way to the Tate Modern when we met this one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Well, it's Something That Can't be Resisted

I was afraid we wouldn't find any of these in our day and age of cell phones. They weren't "everywhere" - but still scattered about London.

Monday, September 22, 2008

County Hall and the London Eye

Our hotel in London was in this building - County Hall. Of course, we rode the London Eye which was a great preview of our stay, helped us get oriented. This picture was taken while walking over the Westminster Bridge.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Golden Queen Along the Thames

We saw the golden king putting on his makeup a bit later so he could be by the queen's side.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Singing the Blues in London

Another street performer along the Thames. He did sing a few lines of blues for a pound.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bobby Busker

A break in the clouds, and the walkway along the Thames in London becomes crowded with street shows. This Bobby pulled a "rainbow" out of my daughter's hair for a pound. She thought it was great!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Fashion Museum in Bath

The interactive area of the Fashion Museum in Bath. It was a fascinating place, the display of gloves was especially interesting. The tough thing about the place was the low lighting everywhere, because light is so harmful to delicate cloth. Guests are free to try on hoop skirts and corsets.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Weir at the Old Mill Inn - Bath

This is the weir at the Old Mill Inn - and you can take a boat between this weir and the one in downtown Bath. That's something we did. It was great. We were the only ones on the boat. And we saw a kingfisher. They're so small!

Monday, September 15, 2008

More Green Water Views

The Roman Baths tour is one I want to take again, and spend more leisurely time. I didn't get to listen to all of the tour. Everyone gets a personal listening device and you punch in codes to hear tidbits of history. They also have kid versions.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Roman Bath Yucky Green Water

My daughter posing in front of the bath under the open air, which they explain is why the water is green. The sunlight encourages aglae to grow. There are signs all over that say, "don't touch the water," and them most kids do. They also offer a free drink of the water at the end of the tour, and they warn you it will taste like metal - we passed. But Jane Austen fans know the importance of the Pump House and the alleged "healthy" qualities of the water.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Cathedral in Bath

This is the view of the Bath cathedral from the walkway above the Roman Baths. Yep, the cathedral was built on top of the baths, as was much of Bath in this area. It's the piece of info missing from all the displays, who, where and why did they fill it all in and build on top of everything?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Laundry Led Us to the Royal Crescent

The famous Royal Crescent in Bath - which we found by accident because we were looking for a place to do laundry. We found the Spruce Goose laundry facility, and my Dad parked the car just up the street - right in front of the homes. I like this picture because it shows some of the famous Bath stone in less-than-makeup-perfect shape. I wondered when we were there just how the stone was kept clean. Do they blast it? Use acid cleaners? I never did find out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Old Mill Inn Riverside

This is right out the restaurant at the Old Mill Inn in Bath. The river is called Avon, but it's not because it's THE River Avon, it's just a general term for rivers. The setting was perfectly pastoral. Across the river, sheep were grazing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Off to Bath - the Old Mill Inn

This is the water wheel at the Old Mill Inn in Bath, England. A delightful place and the restaurant there was one of the best meals we had during our trip to England. We heard some story about how the wheel was going to turn the restaurant for a "revolving restaurant" attraction - but that since the river sometimes flows fast, the turning would have made diners nauseous. I don't know if that's true, but it is true that the wheel squeaks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This is One Wisteria Vine

This is one wisteria vine, and how lucky we were to be at Hampton Court Palace when it was blooming. Made my wisteria vine at home look really wimpy!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hampton Court Maze

Here is the middle of the Hampton Court Maze, which is listed as the biggest, or oldest, in the world - I can't remember which. We let our daughter lead for part of the way, but she kept taking us in circles. It was fun. The maze was built as a place for contemplation. The big compass arrow swings around every once in a while to further confuse. This is the maze featured in the Jerome K. Jerome classic, "Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Covered Walkway at Hampton Court Palace

This is another feature in the massive palace gardens. My daughter ran though it several times, even though it was a hot day. When we visited England in May of this year, it was their hottest May since some time in the 1700s.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

One of the Many Gardens at Hampton Court Palace

The gardens at Hampton Court Palace go on and on. The Palace is home to the longest herbaceous border in the world, 1/2 mile - mostly tended by volunteers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hampton Court Palace - We Were Wowed

Walking into Hampton Court Place - near London. Lots of history here, and a lot of it ugly stuff - and examples of decadence and over-the-top-ness like I've never seen before. More info here. This is actually a modest entrance, I think, compared to the buildings, grounds, art, gardens, "royal rooms," and kitchens inside. There were several groups of uniformed school children, my daughter mixed in with one group while touring inside.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In the Peacock Garden at Warwick Castle

My daughter wanted to get a picture close to one of the castle peacocks. First, she chased them around. Then, she figured out that if she just stayed still, they'd come close. There was also a show/display of birds of prey. They were well-trained and flew over the crowd many times, buzzing our hair.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Warwick Castle Courtyard View

These are the living quarters inside Warwick Castle, much of this is a later addition - when society uppity-ups lived here. This view is from Guy Tower. There is a sign at the base that warns there are 300 steps to the top so be sure you are fit enough for the trip. The sign did not specify that the steps were the size of a piece of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, in a winding stairwell that only one person could possibly use at a time, and most of the stairs were in total darkness. Once you start up, you can't go back down unless there is no one behind you. Guy Tower and the coordinating Caesar Tower are war fortresses, with lots of arrow keyholes. I love it that much of the countryside is still farmland.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Silly Relatives

One of these two is a relative of mine. You can guess. More of our adventure at Warwick Castle in Warwick, England. We spent hours here. Next, I'll show you the view after climbing one of the towers. The towers are true medieval, and it's true that I wanted to go back down before I got to the top - but it was not an option.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Revisiting our England Trip

I'm going to share photos of our trip to England earlier this year, since we're not going to be traveling much for a few weeks with school underway. We took a lot of pictures of old buildings because here in the U.S., we just don't have any buildings this old - unless they are Native American artifacts or crumbles of structures. This is Warwick Castle. The first section (not this view) was started around 1080. This is the entrance and it's creepy. This whole castle was built as a war machine. The entrance has lots of "murder holes" - where boiling water was poured on those not welcome, or they were shot with arrows. Once inside, the cheery courtyard made the place more friendly.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Multnomah Falls

This is Multnomah Falls. You can see this right along I-84 in Oregon, and it's a nice rest stop - including a restaurant and gift shop. There is also information about Native American legends about the falls, including how if you look at the water just right, you can see a young woman. There are also pictures of a wedding on the bridge when a huge chunk of rock fell from near the top. You couldn't even see the wedding party through the resulting splash. Amazingly, no one was hurt - they just got wet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stormy Weather

Not much beach-playing time on our visit to the Oregon Coast this year. Squalls and storms are prevailing. We still like the cooler weather and even feeling cold. We know at home in Boise it's hot and we'll be sweaty again Thursday night.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Haystack Rock and a Sea Garden

The "greenery" in front of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is called a sea garden. It's full of all sorts of creatures that I can't identify, along with ones I can - like starfish and mussels. Volunteers bring out education boards and put up sandwich boards letting people know what areas they should avoid walking on so creatures aren't damaged.

Hello Starfish

This little stray starfish was peeking out of a tidepool in front of Haystack Rock. When the tide is out, there are hundreds of starfish tucked against the rocks at their base. Rainy and cool here on the OR coast, and it feels refreshing.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Deadman Pass - Rest Area?

More like final "rest area?" This is an exit off I-84 while traveling over the Blue Mountains. This is also along the Oregon Trail - which goes through Boise, too. Elevation here is about 4,000 feet.

The Columbia River - Close Relative of the Boise River

This is the Columbia River - which we'll continue driving along to Portland today. We're in Hood River, Oregon - a hot spot for windsurfing. And with high temperatures in the 90s today, I'm sure they'll be out. The Columbia and the Boise River are connected. The Boise runs into the Snake River, and the Snake feeds the Columbia - which ends at the ocean. Our drive here was hot even with air conditioning in the car. It was 104 in several spots in Eastern Oregon. Multnomah Falls and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry are on our "to do" list today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Time for a Road Trip

We'll be heading for the Oregon Coast this weekend, and sharing our journey here. This is the only "road" photo I had in my stock of pictures. Heading this way would be the wrong way to Oregon, in fact, exactly the opposite direction. This picture is on the road heading East into Boise. We'll head West out of Boise.