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2017/08/11 Seeing Andrew Rayel at Ministry of Sound, London
π 2017-08-11 00:00 in Clubbing, Greatbritain2016
While randomly looking at Google Maps on my phone for an upcoming trip to London, I got a reminder to go check out Ministry of Sound, a legendary club for anyone who's been listening to essential mix back to the early 2000's when many trance mixes were played, and some came from that club.

The small problem, was that going to a club all night between a 12h+ day of sightseeing and 4 more such days right after that, was not the best timing ever, but at the same time, it was not an opportunity I wanted to miss. So, after leaving the V&A Museum when it closed at 22:00, I went straight to Ministry of Sound which was opening at 22:30, and only got back to bed around 03:00 or so. I was not in good shape the next day, but so be it :)

Ministry of Sound is an interesting club, it's not huge, but has 4 different rooms, with the main room being totally packed when Andrew was playing. Sadly, as a state of affairs in London, and the radical inclusion, they end up having to search everyone everywhere to pretty severe extremes. They had TSA style gates with full searches, making getting in a lot less fun...
Anyway, once in, I had a good time, and glad I went despite what it cost me in lost sleep :)















Here's a video summary with good trance bits:

2017/08/10 Yorkshire Air Museum
π 2017-08-10 00:00 in Flying, Greatbritain2017
York didn't require as much time to visit as originally planned, so I had 3.5H to spare, and figured I would visit the nearby Yorkshire Air Museum. There are only 2 busses a day that go there and I had already missed the 2nd one, but uber got me there.
At the entrance, I was told that 3H would be barely enough, so I rushed a bit, but in the end, 2.5H ended up being enough to see the whole thing. Thankfully I got a ride back from a nice museum visitor. While it's not a huge museum, and not the best one in the UK, it has some interesting and a few rare planes:




love the windshield wipers :)
love the windshield wipers :)




Mirage III
Mirage III

Mirage IV nuclear bomber, the only one outside of France
Mirage IV nuclear bomber, the only one outside of France








this one got me excited, the electric lightening, one of the highest flying jet planes outside of the US
this one got me excited, the electric lightening, one of the highest flying jet planes outside of the US


a 5000 ton bomb, to penetrate tunnels and caves
a 5000 ton bomb, to penetrate tunnels and caves

an early glider prototype
an early glider prototype



GB put effort into big airships too, but they prooved too problematic and dangerous in the end
GB put effort into big airships too, but they prooved too problematic and dangerous in the end


They had a control tower, and copy of the french pilots quarters




While I kind of regret not having had the chance to see bigger aviation museums while in the UK, but this one at least gave me a taste :)

See more images for Yorkshire Air Museum
2017/08/09 York National Railway Museum
π 2017-08-09 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Sciencemuseums
While I'm not a huge train nerd, I do enjoy train technology, so it was nice to see the York National Railway Museum. While it doesn't match the best train museumf I've seen in the world, namely Nagoya's SCMAGLEV and Railway Park, it was a good one too, and worth a 2H+ visit:




the mail train allowed agents to sort the mail while it was transiting to its destination
the mail train allowed agents to sort the mail while it was transiting to its destination

the eurostar that takes you from Paris to London, based on the TGV
the eurostar that takes you from Paris to London, based on the TGV

they had an original japanese bullet train
they had an original japanese bullet train

that original train was very spacious inside, probably too much so for real speed
that original train was very spacious inside, probably too much so for real speed


nice diesel engine
nice diesel engine

nice cutout of a steam engine
nice cutout of a steam engine

I had no idea it went through a bunch of tubes like this
I had no idea it went through a bunch of tubes like this



Mallard, fastest steam train in the world at the time
Mallard, fastest steam train in the world at the time


The back had a shop where they work on old trains:




See more images for York National Railway Museum
2017/08/09 Great Britain Day 15-16: York
π 2017-08-09 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Trips
We took an early train from Edinburgh to York, went to our B&B to drop our luggage, and went right away to the nearby National Railway Museum (on its own page)

not a super bad ass looking train, but it got us there
not a super bad ass looking train, but it got us there

After the train museum, we went to York Minster, the local cathedral:



It was a bit of a mess getting tickets for it, but we did the climb to the top, which was fun and had good views:




We got a few views of town:



Pictures from inside:







During the day, we went to the museum by St Mary's Abbey:






We then had an early dinner and went for the evening walking tour through town (2H):







The next morning, we went early for the Jorvik Viking Center, which has nice exhibits and a nice tour/ride, but ridiculous lines, which thankfully I was able to get through with a fasttrack ticket:





Last, but not least, the poorly named "York Castle Wall", which is actually a fairly large museum of lots of things, including an old town recreation, and much more:







And it's also a bit of a museum of everything:




Once I was done with York, we could/should have just left early and gone to London, but we had a prebooked night in the B&B plus a prebooked train, so since we had time left in York one way or another, I took an uber to the nearby Yorkshire Air Museum

See more images for Great Britain Day 15-16: York
2017/08/07 Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland
π 2017-08-07 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Sciencemuseums
Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland is a almost a museum of everything, well not quite, but it's 5 museums in one:
  • history museum of scotland (all the way back to prehistoric)
  • museum of natural history
  • science museum
  • how scotland used to be part of the tech industry
  • art museum
  • I naively thought 4H woudl do it, but honestly not quite. Had I known I'd have started a bit more quickly than I actually did.

    I probably spent a bit too long in the prehistoric section, which was nice:


    A good section of the people who used to live in Scotland, all the way back to the Romans and Vikings:



    how scotland was fighting england
    how scotland was fighting england

    coins for all occasions
    coins for all occasions


    cigarette for soldiers in hospitals, brilliant!
    cigarette for soldiers in hospitals, brilliant!

    A good portion of the museum was a nice natural history museum:



    funny how that old dinosaur looks a lot like the pretended lock ness monster :)
    funny how that old dinosaur looks a lot like the pretended lock ness monster :)




    nice collection of felines :)
    nice collection of felines :)


    did I mention felines? :)
    did I mention felines? :)


    The science museum section also had good displays:




    dolly the sheep, the one that was cloned
    dolly the sheep, the one that was cloned


    printing press
    printing press

    Peter Higgs who theorized the Higgs boson over 50 years before Cern was finally able to confirm its existence
    Peter Higgs who theorized the Higgs boson over 50 years before Cern was finally able to confirm its existence




    nice collection of computers, most european:
    nice collection of computers, most european:




    A floor showed how Scotland was very much involved in the tech industry, including semi conductors:

    huge silicon lingo that wafers and chips are made from
    huge silicon lingo that wafers and chips are made from



    A nice collection of art from around the world:






    I so barely finished in 4H and had to rush some bits. Without a proper map and navigation it's a bit of a mess to visit though due to multiple kinds of museums all mixed into one. That said, well worth the visit, too bad it closes kind of early (17:00).

    2017/08/06 Two michelin rated restaurants in Edinburgh: Number One and Anniversary Dinner at The Kitchin
    π 2017-08-06 00:00 in Dining, Greatbritain2017
    While I was prepared for pretty bad food in the UK, it's actually plenty of decent to good restaurants, and we went to visit some of them. Edinburgh (Scotland), has plenty of good restaurants, and we went to try 2 Michelin rated ones.

    Number one had a tasting menu of 4, 7, or 10 courses. For that day, we figured the 7 course one would be enough. Jennifer got the premium wine pairing to go with it:









    a few deserts to finish the meal :)
    a few deserts to finish the meal :)

    Two days later was our anniversary and Jennifer booked a dinner for us at The Kitchin (yes, it's spelled that way), another michelin rated restaurant. We took the premium tasting menu and Jennifer got the premium wine pairing:









    Neither were amongst the top restaurants we've eaten at in Paris or California, but they were both a good dining experience, although not quite competitive in price with similarly good options in California (price was similar except it was UK pounds instead of dollars)

    2017/08/06 Great Britain Day 12-14: Edinburgh
    π 2017-08-06 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Trips
    Days #12-14: more rain on and off. until finally, on the 14th day, UK-wide rain stopped.

    We left Durham early in the morning and drove to Scotland:


    We first headed out to the retired Royal Yacht Britannia, which you can enter from a shopping mall. It's the Yacht where the royal family would travel the world and "be royal" and go on vacation, with the UK taxpayer's money. Good scheme they have running... In some ways, it's not quite unlike airforce one, except much slower, and bigger of course:






    onboard doctor
    onboard doctor

    with so much uniform changing, because uniforms are important, a huge washing station
    with so much uniform changing, because uniforms are important, a huge washing station

    Nice machine room
    Nice machine room

    After the boat, we drove to another Georgian House for a tour:



    We then used our last few hours in the rental car and drove to Holyrood Park and hiked up to Arthur's Seat for an elevated view of the city:







    the castle, and old town
    the castle, and old town

    never had the time to look that one up, maybe a ski slope in the winter?
    never had the time to look that one up, maybe a ski slope in the winter?

    We then went to drop off the car, and we walked to our B&B to drop off our luggage:

    the park shortcut was scenic but not faster
    the park shortcut was scenic but not faster


    We then went out for our nice dinner at Number One





    Sightseeing-wise, it was kind of a short day since we only arrived in Edinburgh a bit after noon due to the longish drive.

    The next morning, we started with the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the queen stays when she's around. Sadly, no pictures in the palace:





    what's left of the chapel attached to the Palace
    what's left of the chapel attached to the Palace

    Next, we went to the Scottish Parliament Building for a guided tour. Yes, Scotland has its own Parliament as they are given some autonomy and self rule. You can tell the parliament is recent, it's extremely well designed and with a fair system that puts broken systems like the US one to shame (with stupid things like filibusturing):


    each MP gets a small pod office where tthey can work in between sessions
    each MP gets a small pod office where tthey can work in between sessions

    this is where they get to reflect
    this is where they get to reflect

    the parliament building has a very nice architecture, but no pictures inside
    the parliament building has a very nice architecture, but no pictures inside

    From the parliament we walked up the royal mile:

    we got stopped by this in the street
    we got stopped by this in the street

    oink, why don't we have an oink where we live?
    oink, why don't we have an oink where we live?

    A few things on the way, several churches, a museum of Edinburgh which sadly we didn't have the time to see later, and a few more things:




    St. Giles Cathedral was quite nice:



    National Convenant
    National Convenant





    We then ended up at the museum of scotland, a museum of everything, and that sucked the rest of the time we had that day

    Since sadly this was another museum that closed as dearly as 17:00, we had another 4H of daylight left. In July/August, the whole city has a big festival with hundreds of things happening every day. I got a ticket for a student designed video game room, and then a play for an incredibly cheap price (and yet it was well acted):




    this game designed on a single neopixel strip was actually brilliant
    this game designed on a single neopixel strip was actually brilliant

    We then went to check out Camera Obscura, which had decent surrounding views from its top, and some illusions on its floors below:












    Last, but not least, we headed for our play, departure lounge, which had simplistic decors, but was well acted:


    The next morning, we went first thing to the Edinburgh Castle and as soon as we got in, we made a beeline for the Scottish Crown Jewels, which quickly had a 30-45mn line soon after we went (we beat everyone there and got in with no line at all). I got tickets online which while print at home ended up working fine on my phone, they scanned us and we got straight in:


    line starts early
    line starts early



    crown jewels
    crown jewels



    Nice views from the castle:





    Next, we went to the national gallery (I opted to skip the portrait gallery):




    The had an annex with other art :)



    We then walked around town a bit to hit some waypoints Jennifer set :)



    museum of the mound is a former bank and a museum of money
    museum of the mound is a former bank and a museum of money

    million pounds
    million pounds

    Next was another victorian house, which honestly was a full waste of time which would have been better spent at the Edinburgh museum or the dynamic earth. Oh well...


    Since everything useful was closing early again, Jennifer went to do some scotch tasting:



    We then walked around town a bit, and took a bus to our anniversary dinner at The Kitchin.


    2017/08/05 Great Britain Day 11: Keswick Scenic Drive, Castlerigg, on to Durham
    π 2017-08-05 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Trips
    Day #11: heavy rain at times

    After breakfast in our B&B, we were supposed to go for a scenic loop around the lake and the hills. As a reward for trying, we got pretty bad rain, so I drove the loop quickly and may have set a lap time record for wet conditions :)



    'fantastic' views
    'fantastic' views


    The highlight was 'surprise view' up a crappy road. I still had to take these pictures under an umbrella:




    Before leaving the area, we stopped by Castlerigg Stone Circle which is another version of stonehenge, just less famous and with smaller rocks:




    We then drove to Hadrian's Wall. That was quite interesting, I didno't know the Romans had invaded England all the way to Scotland, and after dealing with the crazies of the north, they figured it was easier to build a very long wall across a narrow part of England, and hold their position. Most people don't know that there is a second wall higher north, Antonine Wall which was the 2nd line the Romans built as they proceeded further north, but eventually they gave up the fight, and retreated to the Handrian Wall.

    After holding the line for a few hundred years, the romans eventually decided that England didn't really have much value and wasn't worth all the effort they put into keeping it, so they just let it go. In the meantime, Hadrian's Wall was a formidable construction at the time (likely only rivalled by the Great Wall of China). I think the only problem is that they built the wall, but they didn't get Scotland to pay for it :)

    The Romans had impressive positions in England
    The Romans had impressive positions in England




    Along the wall, they had forts, and I think with the crappy british weather and the mud, many artifacts were preserved in the mud and are now being unearthed, giving lots of valueable info on the Roman Empire:


    Next door was Vindolanda, a big fort:







    sadly the buildings didn't really survive the passage of time
    sadly the buildings didn't really survive the passage of time


    Nearby you could hike next to remaining bits of the wall:




    every roman mile, there was a small fort to keep the line
    every roman mile, there was a small fort to keep the line

    And we went to see Housesteads Roman Fort, where we got poured on by the end of our visit:


    the wall keeps going but is missing most of its height
    the wall keeps going but is missing most of its height



    After we were done, we drove to Durham to see the cathedral and castle where we slept:

    city tour under the rain
    city tour under the rain











    the cathedral got rebuilt in legos
    the cathedral got rebuilt in legos





    The next morning, we had breakfast in the great hall:



    2017/08/04 Great Britain Day 10: Hiking around the Lake District (Glenridding, Howtown, Keswick)
    π 2017-08-04 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Hiking, Trips
    Day #10: very occasional light rain, aka a fine sunny day in Great Britain (good given the hours of hiking we did)

    On the way to the lake district, we stopped by Dove Cottage/Wordsworth Museum, which while having some nice cottages, was kind of boring given that I had no idea who the former inhabitant (poet/writer) was



    But this put us on the way to the hilly region around lakes, where we did a couple of hikes:



    after parking our car, we took the boat across the lake
    after parking our car, we took the boat across the lake

    and we did that hike back (11km, 2h20-ish)
    and we did that hike back (11km, 2h20-ish)







    We then got back to our car, and we drove to the next lake by Keswick, and did the catbell hike to the local top. Thank god for long days, we were able to start late-ish in the afternoon when there was room in the 8 car only trailhead location. That hike was a lot more steep and gave better views:




    welcome to the top, although a real 'Arturo' would have been standing on top of the marker :)
    welcome to the top, although a real 'Arturo' would have been standing on top of the marker :)


    then we hiked down around and back down to the lake
    then we hiked down around and back down to the lake

    those were all over
    those were all over



    And after close to 20km/4.5h of hiking, we drove to our gastro pub for well needed food :)

    2017/08/03 Great Britain Day 09: Conwy and on to Liverpool
    π 2017-08-03 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Trips
    Day #9: light rain, some sun

    We did a tour of Conwy in the evening and the next morning, including walking the medieval city walls which are in surprisingly good shape. Conwy castle was actually built by the British to rule the surrounding Welsh, and it was nice to visit:

    only a few ways in the city
    only a few ways in the city


    found during our walk of the city walls
    found during our walk of the city walls

    Castle:










    The bridge to the next town had an old bridge built to match the castle, a 2nd castle like bridge for the train, and then an uninspiring bridge for more cars:


    Rest of the city:




    you could play catch and release crab fishing
    you could play catch and release crab fishing



    the seagulls didn't release as much the crabs they caught
    the seagulls didn't release as much the crabs they caught


    not big indeed :)
    not big indeed :)



    Plas Mawr was another house from that time:




    By then, it was noon-ish, so we left to go to Liverpool and started with the metropolitan cathedral, which was built recently and is definitely modern looking:






    the crypt underneath is much older
    the crypt underneath is much older


    We then moved our car next to our hotel and went to see the Museum of Liverpool as well as the Merseyside Maritime Museum, but sadly we had only 2 hours for both, which wasn't close to being enough:







    examples of smuggling in the maritime museum
    examples of smuggling in the maritime museum

    slavery section of the museum
    slavery section of the museum



    By 18:00, we got kicked out, and we took an uber (or first one) back to the other cathedral in liverpool (the main one). It is absolutely huge







    We then got tickets for a tour to the top:





    And then we got to learn about the church bells and saw folks who were practising playing them. The impressive part was that they could ring the bells while having the bells not actually make sound, and then had a computer that would reproduce the exact sound the bells should make. This allowed them to practise playing without actually bothering everyone around in the city. Super nice!


    Jennifer even got to try a bell simulator
    Jennifer even got to try a bell simulator

    We then finished the (long) day by walking to Chinatown, which outside of the big gate and a few Chinese restaurants, was not that impressive:



    2017/08/02 Great Britain Day 08: Caernarfon's Castle, Beddgelert Village, Snowdon
    π 2017-08-02 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Trips
    Day #8: Rain, and more rain that ruined our time around Snowdon, especially the ride to the top :(

    our B&B had breakfast in an old church, cool :)
    our B&B had breakfast in an old church, cool :)

    After breakfast, a short-ish drive to Caernarfon's Castle, an old british fort, still in good shape:






    We got to see someone play the organ in the nearby church, very cool:


    We then drove to Beddgelert, which was supposed to be for a nice walk around, but it was just pouring rain:




    Next, we drove back to snowdon, a mining town where slate is harvested, for our train tour to the top:







    And last was going to be our mining train tour, but the weather was just bad and we didn't get to see much for more than half the trip:


    diesel vs steam
    diesel vs steam


    poor hikers who did all this in the rain for no views
    poor hikers who did all this in the rain for no views

    yeah coal!
    yeah coal!

    great views
    great views

    note the rack and pinion track
    note the rack and pinion track


    And that was it for the day, honestly it the weather ruined a lot of it.

    2017/08/01 Great Britain Day 07: From Birmingham, to Blists Hill Village, back to Wales and Llechwedd Mine Tour, and on to Conwy
    π 2017-08-01 00:00 in Greatbritain2017, Trips
    Day #7: Rain and a bit of sun, and rain

    I started the day by taking a few pictures of downtown Birmingham around our hotel:







    Next, we drove to Blists Hill Victorian Town, a recreated mining town. It was not as good as Ballarat in Australia, but still decent:















    And then we had a long drive to Llechwedd for its deep mine tour, which we barely got there in time, for:









    and from there, more driving still, to reach Conwy, our base for the next 2 nights.


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