Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997




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
2017/08/06 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.


More pages: August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997