Posts tagged united kingdom

Birmingham Comic Con 2013

This weekend I went to Birmingham Comic Con. It was my first time attending, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was attending with my friend JoJo from CheekyGeekyGoodness who was running a stall to sell her fab geeky waistcoats and bags.

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As I’ve only been to San Diego Comic Con and Anime Expo, a lot of judgements come from those past experiences. It was a small con, by those standards, consisting only of a merchandise hall. There weren’t any panels to attend or big gatherings or evening events.

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UK Trip 2011: London, at last!

We ended my romp around the United Kingdom in London where Nancy and I stayed at the London House Hotel located in Bayswater. Although this hotel wasn’t as cheap as our 20GBP a night Travelodge hotels, it was still within my budget and it was a really nice hotel for the price. I would definitely recommend it to people traveling to London on an average budget. Our rooms were very comfortable, the shower was awesome and the front desk was constantly helpful. A subway station was also easily located around the corner and not hard to navigate to.

London, Day 1

Of course, we spent the first and second day hitting up all the tourist-y fun stuff. We arrived in London from Cambridge late in the afternoon and figured that the one super-touristy thing we could do was The London Eye since it was opened later than most. As anticipated, one ride in the Eye was extremely expensive although the view was pretty spectacular. Though perhaps I wouldn’t recommend it to most travelers on a budget.

On our second full day there, we found an open double-decker bus tour, which is a must for first-timers like me. It was an easy way to get around to see all the main sights. We stopped at the Tower of London and spent a couple of hours poking around within the castle. Definitely an interesting place to see some of London’s older history. We also stopped to look at Cleopatra’s Eye by the Thames River and of course, Buckingham Palace.

London, Day 1

London was very much a city and reminded me of many other cities I’ve been to. It was quite a contrast from all the other places we went to during my trip. Still, I am interested in going back and exploring the city a little deeper. On the third day, we went to the Tate Britain Museum, a smaller museum but stock full of art of different variety. Pilbeam showed me Camden Market aka Camden Lock, an area with open markets and famous for its goth stores. The best thing about the market was discovering the hidden stalls that had artists and crafters selling their own handmade and unique creations. It’s a great place to find cheap accessories too in which I bought many!  Continue reading

UK Trip 2011: Stonehenge

When Pilbeam asked me what I wanted to see while in I visited her in England, the Stonehenge was on my main list of must-see-tourist-attraction. I am a big fan of the wonders of the world (again, somewhat of a history dork). We planned a quick stop to Salisbury between Bath and our trip back to Cambridge- by quick, I mean, quick! We spent less than half a day in town; although I don’t think you needed more than that to marvel at the rocks.

We were a little surprised when we stepped off the Salisbury train station. I suppose we were expecting signs for the Stonehenge everywhere the minute we arrived… but nada! There was one tour bus that offered tourists a ride to the Stonehenge and they were not easily spotted. There didn’t seem to be any other options either besides the single tour bus.

Huh. It boggled us for awhile because we had assumed Salisbury would be milking the Stonehenge for all it’s touristy worth. I suppose that’s a very ‘American-way’ of thinking though. We joked that if the Stonehenge was in the U.S., it would have a mall and a theme park next to it by now.

Later, as we talked to Pilbeam’s friends, it seemed many English people seemed not at all enchanted with “big, old rocks.” Then again, one of them did say that the Pyramids of Egypt were ‘boring’- which I took a personal offense from since Egypt was one of my childhood summer homes. Then again, I suppose I could understand the more jaded views of a local person- especially, when it comes down to it, just big, old rocks with no definite explanation behind them.

Oh well. I still think the Stonehenge were quite neat and the mystery behind it is intriguing. I would like to believe that aliens were most definitely involved too.

The Stonehenge

The Stonehenge tourist center was also small and inconspicuous, somewhat camouflage in the farmland environment. Stonehenge is surrounded by nothing but sheep and green, green, green as far as the eyes could see. Plus, lots of burial mounds. Again, we were blessed with nice weather that day and managed to take some awesome photos of the scenery.  Continue reading

UK Trip 2011: Scotland

Pilbeam and I jetted off to Scotland and spent two glorious days in Edinburgh. When we arrived, the sun was out and shining! Which surprised both of us since we expected rain, rain and more rain. We stayed at the Travelodge Shandwick Place; the best thing about our cheap-o, little hotel was literally around the corner was the Edinburgh Castle.

The view around the corner of our hotel!

We did see plenty during our two and a half days in Edinburgh. On our first night, we took the Haunted Ghost Tour hosted by a ‘historical interpreter’ (or as we like to call them… larpers!). The tour was free and started at The Last Drop pub which is located on Grassmarket street. While waiting for the tour, Pilbeam and I ordered up some dessert inside the pub and I had coffee with whisky in it. It was super strong and kind of awesome. Our tour guide took us around different parts of the town, all within short walking distance from The Last Drop and told morbid stories from the town’s history. It was quite entertaining… even if he made up the stories or not! He even picked me to be a part of his first demonstration during the tour in which I had to pretend to be stuck inside an iron maiden.

I wasn’t very good at it, apparently, because he told me that I shouldn’t pursue an acting career.

Edinburgh, Day 1

Edinburgh, Day 1

We spent the morning at Edinburgh Castle on our second day and then at one of the National Galleries after we were done pretending to be princesesses. At the art museum, we got to view Rembrandt and Da Vinci paintings in person. For two girls who were immersed in art for many years, it was pretty awe-inspiring. On the third day, we went to Hollyrood Palace, the Queen’s summer home. Since it was Spring and royalty was currently absent from there, we were able to view the rooms that they usually inhabit. I thought it was kind of strange to be  trumping around someone’s residence and treating it like a museum, Pilbeam assured me it was a very ‘English thing’ to do. They did preserve Queen Mary of Scots’ private quarters in one of the towers and showcased many of her old private items- which included locks of her hair. One day, it may be possible to clone her.

On the way to Hollyrood, we ran into the Museum of Childhood inside a toy store. The museum was three story high and showcased all kinds of vintage children toys and items. It was quite a neat find and I recommend it to people who are fond of toys.

We had afternoon tea after Hollyrood and then made our way to the National Museum of Scotland. Continue reading

UK Trip 2011: Cambridge & Ely

Cambridge is a nice, small town and about an hour train ride away from London. I’ve heard locals describe it as a somewhat boring place, but I found it to be a nice break from big and bustling cities. Of course, I was only there for a few days so who knows how I would really feel in the long run! Nevertheless, I did enjoy my stay there. It has quite a few historical site such as the King’s College Chapel which was completed during King Henry VIII’s reign.

King Henry and Anne Boylen even carved their initials onto the organ piano inside the church. Kind of neat to think that they had walked the same church floors as I did, right?

Cambridge, Day 1

Since old church buildings are kind of neat to look at, Pilbeam also took me to a nearby town, Ely. We visited the Ely Cathedral. Along the way, we met a friendly horse looking for sugar cubes and carrots from the tourists passing by.

Ely Cathedral, Day 2

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