The Adventures of Mace and Courtney
Warning: Image Heavy
Tonight is my last night in London. I've exhausted myself by trying to suck everything I could out of the city on my last day, so I have no regrets in spending my last night down here in the computer lab. I have some new pictures I've found from borrowing everyone's camera, so I wanted to do a farewell post with pictures from the entire trip.
*strums guitar on Austrian mountainside* Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...
One of the first days, before we left for Paris and Amsterdam, a small group of us ventured out to Buckingham Palace. I like this picture because it provides the "before" to a "before and after" story. We're still wearing American clothes (sunglasses? how embarrasing), posing like tourists, and clearly have no idea what is going on. In the picture are (left to right) Christie, Lizette, Caitlin, myself, and Liu.
In Paris. This was the best elevator ever. It was TINY. Smaller than a phonebooth, maybe (oh wait, you don't have those over in the Colonies.) It was uncomfortable to stand in with only two people. We shoved in five and took a picture. xD These are the same people as the picture above.
These are some people from the program waiting at the docks for our cruise on the river in Paris. It went past the Eiffel Tower, under pretty bridges, etc. It was one of the best things we did in Paris. In the front are Liu and Lizette again. In the background are Alyssa (my room mate), Jason (who makes toffee, has conspiracy theories, and talks a little too much), and Mitch (who was gone most of the time in other European countries. He was awesome. No one really ever knew where he was. I wish I had enough money to enjoy this experience like he did.)
Me waiting for the girls to get back from the bathroom in Paris. I purposely tried to look irritated. I love this picture. xD
In Paris again. I think this was on the road between the Opera House and a restaurant we ate dinner at. You can't really see anything, but I think it's a funny picture. Lizette, Caitlin, Christie, Liu, and myself.
In the Paris metro station. A lot of people thought the British tube was disgusting...they quit complaining once we got to Paris. It smelled like BO, was always stuffed full of people, and rattled like it was about to fly off the tracks. This is Christie, myself, and Lizette looking bored while we waited for the next train.
Getting ready to leave our hostel in Paris and head to Amsterdam. One of my favorite pictures from the whole trip. I am so awesome. Lizette, Christie, myself, and Caitlin.
From Amsterdam, my friends Christie and Caitlin. Caitlin was my good friend for the first half of my adventure, but we had a little too much of each other in Venice. After that, Christie and I became closer. Christie is on the left and Caitlin on the right.
I posted absolutely zero pictures from Amsterdam when I first posted about it, so I had better make up for it now. We found this restaurant (after a day of visiting the Van Gogh musuem and the Anne Frank house), and I was very excited. ALL PANCAKES! Unfortunately, in Europe, pancakes are usually eaten with weird things on top of them - fruit, vegetables, meat, etc. Pancakes are more like pizza here. I just ordered a "dessert pancake" covered in ice cream. It satisfied. This is a terrifying picture of me, I realize, but I thought it was funny.
I briefly mentioned the disgusting-ness of our hostel in Amsterdam, but here is some proof of it. This was posted in the entryway. I think they were trying to be funny, but still. GROSS.
In our hostel in Amsterdam. I'm so glad someone took a picture of this filth. I wish we had taken a picture of the bathroom - that was really the worst part. Caitlin had bug bites all over. There was graffiti about drugs and sex all over the walls (you can see some behind me). It was freezing. People screamed in the hallways at all hours of the night. The shower was the same level as everything else and there was no barrier, so it flooded the entire room. Ugh. *shudders*
Christie and I in the London Waterloo train station, arriving home from Paris and Amsterdam. Glad to be away from that awful hostel!
Myself in front of Canterbury Cathedral. It was incredibly windy. xD
Christie and I in the parking lot across the street from Stonehenge. It was windy, again.
All right, that's all of the new pictures I had from the beginning of the trip. Now we can move on to new things that I have done since my last post.
This is an old palace of Henry VIII just outside of London. Christie and I ventured out because we had heard it had beautiful gardens and a fabulous hedge maze. The gardens were mostly dead because we didn't make it out there until November, and the hedge maze was nothing compared to the one we had already experienced at Leeds Castle. It was a disappointment, but there was still some fun stuff.
Myself inside the first courtyard.
Mace in front of the awesome trimmed trees. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland or maybe even Candyland. xD
More gardens. This was one of those places where it was especially clear that we had come too late in the season. You can see in the planter behind us that the flowers are just twigs. *sniffle*
A lake with swans! And more gumdrop trees! Yay!
The Lake District
My British Literature class trekked up to the Lake District, where Wordsworth and Coleridge used to bum around. I absolutely LOVED it there. The land is protected - no one has been allowed to build any new structures since the Victorian times. There are sleep and hills and lakes and wild trees as far as the eye can see. I definitely need to go back there someday and explore it at my leisure.
When we first arrived. Everyone is grumpy from the long train ride, and because we had never heard of the Lake District and didn't know why we were there. Little did we know what was waiting for us! xD You can see my favorite professor, Dr. Gass (one of the reasons I decided to do the London Semester) hunched over on the left side. She's smaller than I am, limps a little when she walks, is incredibly intelligent, and refuses to tolerate nonsense. I love her.
What we found when we ventured in to the Lake District. Pictures never to anything justice. It was amazingly beautiful. I just wanted to sit down and soak everything in for hours and hours, but there wasn't time. Ugh, I'm so sad to go back to California tomorrow ;_;
On a boat tour around Lake Windemere, the biggest of the lakes in the Lake District. Caitlin and I.
I worked on my Padme Packing Gown embroidery while we took a boat tour of the lake. Always the cosplayer. <3
We took a little hike to this overlook spot. Again, pictures don't do anything justice. It's farmland and wild wood in every direction.
Another little hike, this time to a waterfall. Nature is my favorite part of traveling. I think that is why I loved the Lake District so much. Whatever beautiful buildings and canals and statues man can erect, they can't ever rival the things God has done with nature.
We drove up to a stone circle, like Stonehenge but not as well preserved. I actually liked this place better than Stonehenge, because it was on top of a hill and had fabulous views in every direction. I took this picture for Luke because it was the closest I could get to lying in the middle of Stonehenge on Halloween. It actually turned out great, even though you can't tell I'm in a Stone Circle. It just looks like I'm in love with England, and that is pretty much the truth.
Another one from the stone circle. Caitlin took this while I wasn't paying attention. It's very Romantic period - I look like I'm battling with the forces of nature and losing. The wind and the rocks and the mountains overwhelm my tiny little figure. I love this picture, too. You can see my professor in the corner again.
There she is again! Isn't Professor Gass the best thing ever? She's so small and angry in such a big happy world. I want to be just like her. <3
One more from the stone circle. I like the shadows.
As we are leaving the Lake District. Everyone is grumpy again, A) because we're leaving and B) because Caitlin won't stop taking pictures. There's a typical British sign for you - "Keep back from the platform edge. Passing trains cause air turblulance." Yes, because if I jumped in to the pit with the train tracks, air turbulance is the greatest of my worries. >_>
We visited Cambridge University with Professor Gass and my British Literature class. Cambridge and Oxford are huge rivals. When you are at one, you refer to the other as "The Other Place." Christie and I, who were quite taken with Oxford, were suspicious of Cambridge and didn't take many pictures. This is from Caitlin's camera. We're crossing the bridge into some college. I dunno which one. Hmph. Cambridge *grunt* was beautiful, though.
Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music
Phantom of the Opera
As some of you know, I dressed up all fancy for our trek out to see Phantom of the Opera in London. It was mediocre, actually. The Christine was HORRIBLE - she was flapping around like Batman the entire time. Not even kidding you. She would literally take the ends of her cape and hold them up above her head, and run around the stage. She also couldn't sing or, perhaps obviously, act. The rest of the cast was okay, but I couldn't get over that embarassing Christine. Anyway, on to the pictures!
Ready to go! Alyssa (my room mate), Caitlin, and myself. This was in my room.
Without my coat. I bought a bouquet of red roses and insisted on carrying them around. My friends thought I was crazy, but what-eva. That's how I roll. It made the experience better, for me. ^_^ AREN'T MY SHOES THE BEST THING EVER?
Caitlin spent about an hour curling my hair. I loved how it turned out! I felt very Christine.
The Christmas party. The one in the front wiping her face is Alyssa, one of my room mates. She's really funny and nice, I like her. I want her hair. We opened those party popper thingies and they all had little crowns in them. That's why we're wearing them ^_^;
Naar, me father was a tree! Me at the Christmas party. I had a pirate eye patch in my popper. That is my friend Christie and Katie Hammond from my British Lit class.
Everyone in my program, at the very end.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodbye...
WHEW! That's it for my adventures! I still have pictures from Christie's camera that I haven't uploaded to Photobucket, so you may get one more small update. I leave tomorrow morning.
Thank you everyone so much for your letters, comments, AIM conversations, e-mails and everything. A lot of my friends have gotten desperately homesick, but I think my love for the Internet really saved me. When I started missing everyone, I just came down here and there you were. Thank you all for helping me out and keeping me safe and happy on this trip <3 See you all soon! I come to California December 18th!