Posts tagged travel bug

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: The Jane Austen Centre

During high school, Pilbeam introduced me to the world of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen. If you listened to episode 8 of the podcast, you’ll know about how we did a marathon viewing of the BBC Pride and Prejudice series with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy… then we went to see What A Girl Wants in theaters just to see Firth dancing in leather pants. Naturally, we made it a goal to visit the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England!

It was the first tourist attraction we went to the minute we were settled into our Travelodge hotel in Bath. By the way, I do not recommend this Travelodge to people. Although the location was fairly good and the price was super cheap, the hotel is right above a club. I lost a night of sleep due to obnoxious, loud young people that were leaving the club drunk. It was super annoying and the walls of English buildings tend to be a little thin.

Despite that unfortunate aspect of the trip, Bath was wonderful!

The Jane Austen Centre

Most days, you will be greeted by this dapper gentlemen in front of the Centre. Jane Austen lived in Bath for a few years after her father passed away. She disliked having to move from the peaceful country to the more cramped lifestyle of the city. The centre is located on the same street where she used to lived in a house that was similar to her family’s. Her original house on 25 Gay Street is now a dental office, unfortunately. I wished the city would mandate her house to be a historical site and make those dentists leave…!

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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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Ep. 7 Simon Cooked Sheperd’s Pie

In which our Lady Defectivegeekers multiply to 3 people – Space Pirate Queen and Pilbeam party it up in England; while Gizzy enjoys the warm California sun. We discuss Pilbeam’s supergeek origin story, Star Wars, Jack the Cat and adventures in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridge, A Preview!

Yesterday, I arrived in England and I have now invaded Pilbeam’s lovely home in Cambridge. On the drive from Heathrow to their house, they gave me a little welcome present. Cadbury eggs! A proper English Easter chocolate treat!


On my first full day, we took a walk around town and saw more of Cambridge’s famous sights. I will have to post those photos when I get home because I can only use my phone pictures right now. I give you the view from Pilbeam’s guest room.


I am suffering a little bit from jet lag but I took a nap today after a long day of walking. I went to Pilbeam’s life drawing class and her art teacher allowed me to participate. It was pretty awesome to be in an art class in England, I must say. I was a little rusty at it but I didn’t do too poorly. Either way it was loads of fun.

More updates soon!

The Travel Bug: Here I Come England!

I am incredibly excited to finally be making my way to the United Kingdom. In all my traveling days, I’ve never been to Europe. I am so excited! Most of all, Defective Geek’s co-founder, Pilbeam, has been living in England since we graduated from high school. For years, I’ve made promises to visit her and she had consistently ordered me to do it. Finally, the day has come! This coming Wednesday, I will be flying to London and I am bursting with anticipation.

I am mostly packed and working on minimizing the clothing I am bringing. It is hard because I am preparing for the cold and need to bring layers! Mostly, the weight of my suitcase is due to the amount of candy I am bringing for Pilbeam and her boyfriend’s enjoyment.

My two weeks vacation will be jam-packed. We will be going to Edinburgh, Scotland where I will be getting my fill of castles. Then we’ll be in Bristol, Bath, the Stonehenges and we will spend the last few days in London. Mostly a lot of sightseeing, but there will hopefully new food to taste and some shopping in between. I am currently taking requests for cute Scottish/English boys wrapped in bows to take home to my California girl friends. I’ll do my best to capture some, ladies.

As for the podcast…

I will be doing at least one podcast while I am in England and it will be with Pilbeam as our co-host! We will get a chance to hear her story to geek-dom and her other pursuits. I am hoping we can do a second one to keep the regular schedule going, but I can not make promises. I will just have to do my best.

Otherwise, I will mostly likely not have time to update the blog while I am out there, but I will come home with plenty of photos to share. Fortune Cookie has promised a slew of new blog posts during the time I am absent, so look forward to it! Maybe even Gizzy will show herself again around here ;)

Again, thank you for reading our blogs. I hope you are all doing well. :)