UK and Ireland, Day 12.

This is it! The final journal entries from the UK and Ireland trip. It took a little while to get it all online, but that’s okay, cause I’m likely the only person who had read them all teh way through. This was the day we were slated to leave, so we woke up early to see Westminster Abbey, and the changing of the guard, then rushed off to the airport. Virgin Airlines again proved to be a little picture of heaven, flying over the earth. Delays, and wacky weather lead to us getting back a bit late, and minus one flight to Washington D.C., but it all worked out just fine. As usual, pictures are also online. It was a wonderful trip, and I had a great time, and I’m really glad Joel and Robb were able to come, as I had a great time hanging out with both of them.

6/14 Flight to Boston

Okay, we’re on our way to Boston… Sweet. Currently I’m watching “The Big Bounce” and truth be told, it’ snot great. I think it’s trying to be clever.. and trying to make you wonder who is fooling who, but it all seems really telegraphed, and quite frankly uninteresting. I think the major draw it had going for it is that the girl is very hot… but it’s PG-13, and edited for the plane, so essentially it’s like watching “USA Up All Night”… which, quite frankly, is a big ol’ waste of time as well. Anyway, yeah, the movie kinda blows.

How’d we get here?

We got up around 8:25.. okay, i got up then.. the other guys got up earlier and showered and grabbed some breakfast at the hotel. We then headed off to Westminster Abbey… westminster abbey Inside was quite nice, and quite impressive. it was filled with famous people… Famous dead people.. Let’s see how many i can remember: Mary Queen of Scots, Henry III, Queen Elizabeth, a lot of other royalty. then the ones I thought were especially kewl: T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, A monument to Shakespeare and one for Winston Churchill, let’s see, there was Chaucer, Charles Darwin, Handel, … there were others but I’m having a hard time thinking of them. Lots of famous dead people. So we walked around there for a while… (Picture taking was forbidden, which is a shame).. Eventually Joel and I made it all the way around (we were in a bit of a time crunch, so I wasn’t standing around much).. So then i tried to take a few pictures or the main stain glass window.. Not yet sure how they turned out…. checking… Not great, but it’ll do.

Okay, seriously: Best Airline Ever.

I’m going to repeat that, because it bears repeating: Best Airline Ever.

We’ve already had a glass of Red wine with dinner, and a fruit Lolly (popcicle… and it was f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s),free beer and a filling meal of Beef Stew, and some crazy chocolate pudding with some chocolate something or other snacks….. Anyway, Joel and I have just returned from going for beer… we were both given free cans of Heineken. And we’re not talking those mini “airline can” type dealies, I’m talking a full can of beer. Now I’ma sit back, drink my beer, and watch “The Italian Job”. Life is good.

Oh yeah, the day, today.. When we finished with Westminster, we walked our way to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. As we approached we saw a large group of the guard dudes at a building right near the Palace in formation,and some formed a full band… that began to play the theme to Hawaii 5-0.. guardsI don’t understand it either. Anyway, we made it to the Palace, and got decent standing positions near the road… And after a time, the band appeared, and marched down the road, and marched on past us. Many pictures were taken. They went on into the Palace grounds, then another band, and another formation of soldiers showed up and marched on in as well.. Then they did the whole band formation thinger, and soldiers in formation thinger, and a lot of marching and yelling, and then the band started to play. After a while we had to take off for our plane, and they were pretty much done (the guard had been changed, and all that)… as we left, the band began to play “Love Lifts Us Up Where We belong”. I know this country is weird.

From there we walked to the Underground station, mind the gap but on the way we found a little shop that had T-shirts with “Mind the Gap” in the Underground logo.. Both Joel and had to have one. (I can’t remember if I’ve already talked about it, but at many Underground stops, the announcer/PA voice will say what stop it is… then “Mind the Gap” [the space between the train and the platform.] So, long story short; T-shirt Acquired.

Onto the Underground, one switchover, and we were at Heathrow. We checked in at the desk, but they were being really strict about carry-ons… As in, no bags over 6 kg… so we were kinda screwed in that department, as ours clock in at well over 10… So they had to be checked. Joel and I quickly mined ours for any valuables: like my palm pilot and keyboard, + book

6/14 Plane to Boston II

Okay, so we got our tickets, but they didn’t know yet what gate we were at… not a big deal, we still had an hour and a half… yeah.. well, After a half hour we still had no gate number… we were beginning to get annoyed… With the plane leaving in an hour, we really ought to know where to go…

Gate 35.. Finally. So we headed out, went through security, and then found one giant ass line well out of the gate area into the walkway.. Yeah, that would be ours…. Bugger.

Wait in line, wait in line, wait in line… Then we get in, and Joel and Robb get pulled in for security checks… I did not, so I headed on into the gate area, just in time for our seat numbers to be called (we were all sitting together this time). So I headed on in…sat down, and waited for them to show up… That pretty much brings us up to right now.

So, rough impressions of the trip:

My favorite city: Edinburgh. Why? Not certain. It just seemed really friendly, and laid back. London seemed too busy… Don’t get me wrong, it was kewl, and the Underground is great. But I wouldn’t ever want to live there.. it’s just too rushed, and a bit too big. Dublin struck me as being … well… mean. And here I’ll have to admit that quite a bit of my impressions of places are based on the places we stayed.. just cause I kinda base my whole feeling about a place on if I trust leaving my stuff behind, and walking back to my bed late at night..In Dublin, our place was sketchy, and as a result, I found the whole place a bit sketchy. And the people… i dunno.. “mean looking”. And Cardiff… Cardiff was a bit too much of a club town filled with skanks.

Edinburgh was just gorgeous, and I’d feel safe walking around anywhere there, and I also felt like I got a good feeling for where things were in the city.

Favorite moment: The Old Irish men singing on the train. No Question. Joel has a recording of the first song…. but it hardly captures just how kewl the entire thing was.. It was just tone of those moments in time that you’ll never forget… One of those things you didn’t think really happened, and then there you are, experiencing it. It was excellent

Most Beautiful Place: The Cliffs of Moher. Pictures won’t do it justice.. You should go see it.. It just takes your breath away.

Favorite Place to Stay: The hotel in Cardiff. Nice fancy room, with TV, and coffee, and a big ass breakfast… Wonderful. Honourable mention for the first day in London, with those friendly girls from Tennessee. They were pretty kewl.

Favorite Airline: Virgin Atlantic. Sexy Stews with lovely accents, Free beer, Zelda and Street Fighter II, The Italian Job, Sabrina, Wonderful food. This is how to fly. Did I mention free beer?

Favorite Meal: The Roast Lamb, with Friend Mushrooms, Broccoli, Yorkshire Pudding, Carrots, John Smith Beer, Hot Fudge Sundae…. Spectacular.

Best Joke: “Cockfosters. Australian for cock…Cockburn. Australian for burn.”

Woot. They have the Stonecutters episode of The Simpsons. Best Airline Ever.

“Who controls the British Crown. Who keeps the metric system down? We do. We do.”

“I always wondered if there was a god. And now I know there is… and it’s me!”

They’re showing the first half of the Final episode of The Office as well. I’ve seen in quite a few times at this point. but it’s still just so very funny… Also, the accents at this point don’t stand out… Woo.

I really can not wait to be home…. We’ll be finally getting in to my parent’s place after midnight.. which’ll feel like 6 a.m. to us. Woot The drive back to Michigan would not be wise this evening… Early tomorrow then.

6/14 Stuck on the Tarmac

We’ve been here for quite some time…

First and foremost, I should mention that this is the 50th entry I’ve made for this trip. That’s no small feat, I’d say… and just goes to show I write too much.

Now the story of where we are… We are in Boston. We arrived in Boston from our London flight, grabbed our packs, and went through customs, then handed our baggage off to the luggage check hinger again, so they’d send it on to our final destination… Then we headed up to what ended up being a very long line to the United Ticket desk. We waited quite some time, then got to the front of the line… Now you’ll recall that we were due to go from Boston to Washington D.C. to Chicago… Well, there was some craziness going on with flights to Chicago (a Thunderstorm between us was causing all sorts of delays, I believe), so our Ticket dude (Roscoe Mills) set us up to go on a direct flight to Chicago from Boston on a flight that was due to leave at 6:20, but was delayed til 6:45, so we were all set… We should arrive in Chicago somewhere around 8:30 Chicago time… Not bad at all. Well, I called my Mom, told her about it, and they planned on meeting us at O’Hare at 8:45.. So we were all set.

stuck We got through security, and got to our gate, and it was pushed back to 7:00…. Apparently O’Hare was not allowing flights to take off or land for a while so we were delayed. Finally, they decided they’d stick with the 7:00 time, and load up the plane, and hopefully we’d get our clearance to push off, and we’d be all set.

We loaded up the plane, and were all set to go…, and we received word that we’d be delayed again… to 7:30…

Not horrible, we’d still get there before we were planning originally.

Well, we continued to sit.. and sit… and sit..

We then received word that we were all set to go, and we watched the safety video, and were set…
to sit here and not go anywhere…

The captain announced that we weren’t being given clearance to push off from here… So we could land, just not take off. Yeah. “teh suck”.

Well, they said we’d not be allowed to take off for another hour and a half. WTF!?

We just received word, however, that we might get to take off at 8:45, which is about 35 minutes from now.. so I guess we can hope for that.. That’d mean we’ll push off very soon… and I gotta turn this thing off.

But it looks like we’ll arrive in Chicago at 10:30 Chicago Time.. My parents will be waiting for a while.. Sorry Mom and Dad…

6/14 Chicago

We arrived in Chicago at 10:00 p.m. That’s around 4:00 a.m. for us.

Vacation over!

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