Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Interesting observations about London:
Everyone sure seems to be in a hurry. Maybe it's because we were there midweek and everyone was going to and from work, but it seemed that way even at night.
They don't seem to have trash bins in public areas. Even in the food court of a mall! In the Victoria train station where there are plenty of restaurant booths, etc., there's a sign saying not to litter but to give your trash to a cleaning attendant. That's fine if you can find one. I was tempted to leave garbage in a photo booth.

We took a sleeper car train to Edinburgh (pronounced Edinburra). It was a small cramped compartment, especially with all our luggage. At first I didn't think I'd be able to sleep with the strange motion but I soon dropped off. We got there around 7:30 am and made it to the hotel. It was a nice change of pace from London. Everyone seemed more relaxed here.

Sir Walter Scott's Monument

It was lovely. We decided to do a tour of Edinburgh Castle which was pretty cool. It's very old, having been built by William the Conqueror after his famous conquest. Greeting us on the way up to the castle was this William Wallace-type fellow. He was actually fairly entertaining. He wasn't officially part of the castle tour or anything, but he was raising money for leukemia so I tossed in a few coins.

Here's a few pics of the castle and grounds:

In the barrel of Mons Meg

Helping play the pipes!

Well, that's enough for now. Next stop: Dublin, Ireland!

London Part II

Right, we're in Sweden now, so time to catch up a bit...

Thursday night, we had a dinner-and-show deal to see the Lion King at the Lyceum, with dinner beforehand at a restaurant called Fire & Stone. They specialized (or specialised, as they spell it cross the pond) in exotic pizzas themed for different areas of the world. Pretty decent actually!

So the next day we had booked an Evan Evans bus tour to Salisbury (there's quite a lovely Gothic cathedral there (no, it doesn't wear black lipstick and mope around a lot)), Stonehenge, and Bath.
The trip started out great although the weather looked a bit worse. (The weather had been quite good actually.) Still, the cathedral was quite amazing.

Now they warned us not to be late to return to the bus for the next section of the tour because they only had a fixed time with the driver and it would mean they'd have to take time off of another event. Well, they were serious! We must have been 1 minute late, and as we came out of the cathedral, ZOOM! off goes the bus without us! Did they take a headcount or anything. Apparently not. So here we were, stuck in Salisbury!
We wound up having to catch another local bus from Salisbury to Stonehenge, in the desperate hope of catching up with our bus there. It was a tour bus so it wasn't cheap, 22 pounds I think. Meanwhile it was raining fairly well. OK, so we wait for the bus...catch it... get to Stonehenge and see our original bus pull away just as we pull in. I jump out, bang on the side of the original bus as it's pulling away, but to no avail.
There's another bus from the same Evan Evans tour company that's there that agrees to take us on but it's leaving in a few minutes. I run around the monument taking pictures quickly, but didn't dare take too long about it. Figure I may as well get at least something out of this disaster.

We then took the other Evan Evans tour bus to Bath and finally caught up with our original tour. They seemed entirely unapologetic about it, implying it was our own fault for being late. The other tour bus driver didn't even seem to believe us that they wouldn't wait for missing people. Anyway, we didn't really feel up to going to see the Roman baths themselves by this time and were fairly hungry, so we grabbed something to eat. Alas, we had to take it to go because there wasn't enough time and we sure didn't dare risk them leaving without us this time, because they wanted us to rejoin our original bus.

As a bit of a protest, we brought our hot food on board the bus and ate it on the way back once we hit some evening London traffic, against their rules. But hey, what were they going to do at that point. I enjoyed some slightly cold fish and chips, and Aprille had her curry. No one said anything and we staggered back to our hotel.

Arr, Roaming Pirate doesn't recommend Evan Evans Tours!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Finally got some Wi-fi and some time to post!

So after an uncomfortable red-eye to London (the flight was fine, but sitting for 10 1/2 hrs on even the most comfortable plane is, well, not comfortable), we took the Tube (or the Underground, the subway system) to our easyHotel in the Victoria area on St. Patrick's Day. Easyhotels are very small, inexpensive hotels that are very orange inside with only the most rudimentary amenities, but we figured we could save a few pounds this way and we would be out and about town most of the time anyway. It wasn't too bad really.

Here's the Roaming Pirate in front of the London Eye, a giant ferris wheel that rotates at a nice leisurely pace and gives a lovely view of all of London. And here he is from atop it looking down at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament across the Thames.

Here's a night view of the Cannon Street Station Bridge.

The next day we explored the Tower of London. The Pirate loved this!

I'll post more later, even though by now we're in Dublin, Ireland. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Roaming... Pirate?

The Roaming Pirate (special thanks to Kay) practices for his trip to Europe. (Background by Apple iMac)

Please don't sue me, Travelocity.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We're taking a whirlwind tour of Europe (well, a bit of it anyway) for two weeks, leaving Tuesday evening, and arriving on St. Patty's Day afternoon in London. A couple days there, then to Edinburgh, Scotland for a couple more, then over to Dublin, Ireland, and to Frankfurt, Germany. My grandparents are from Aschaffenburg, a small town just outside there, and there's even a street named after it. Finally, on to Copenhagen and over to Malmo, Sweden to visit my wife's sister and her husband.
We'll either lose weight from all the walking around, or gain it from eating out a lot. Wish us luck, and if you have any advice, we're all ears!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Coming Soon!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Happy TLAPD!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Honeymoon pics!

Get yer mind outa the gutter. They aren't *those* kind of pictures. Anyway, since my lovely bride posted lots of wedding pics, I'll post some of our journey up the California coast.

We stayed on the Queen Mary until Sunday (the wedding was Friday) so we could spend a bit of time with visiting family, and we partook of the mighty international-style buffet they serve on Sunday mornings. This was in my fortune cookie. It's a bit blurry but it says, "The husband is the boss - if the wife allows." The Queen Mary thinks of everything - even marriage advice!

We drove up to Paso Robles (central CA north of San Luis Obispo, home of the famous Gum Wall) where they had a fine inn with hot spring-fed hot tubs in our room. Here's us being cheesy!

We were considering camping one of those days but it had been pretty hot so we scratched that idea and decided to go into San Francisco for a day. We managed to acquire a room at the last minute and headed north.

Candlestick Park (or whatever the heck they call it these days)

On the way to SF, we stopped at Black Bear Diner in Carmel (or was it Salinas?) and we picked up this little gal to help out with the driving. We named her Honey Moon.

We spent most of our time in SF here... Fisherman's Wharf!

What honeymoon would be complete without seeing bread in the shape of crabs and alligators?

After dinner, we decided to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. Mad got this pretty cool shot.

When we got to the other side, we saw this guy who we thought might want a ride back into the city, but he just stood there staring like some kind of ... you know, that thing people carve and put in parks? Well, whatever.

San Francisco Art!

Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough with my camera, but the guy circled had the most flagrant mullet we've ever seen, and keep in mind Mad has been to West Virginia.

Gratuitous pirate pic.

So we had lunch at the Sea Lion Cafe, famous because, right nearby, wads of sea lions bask on floating platforms and bark a lot. So I took lots of pictures but I won't bore you with them all. Just a couple:

Ah, but I'm skipping ahead. When we first got to SF, we thought, hey, let's go check out Alcatraz. I mean, it's right there. But upon calling, of course, they were sold out. Apparently you usually want to book a week in advance during the summer. But as I was buying a jacket (I wasn't used to being cold after that heat wave in July) there was a booth offering tickets and they could get us there on the boat tomorrow for only 10 bucks! What's the catch? Well if we were just willing to listen to a sales pitch about vacation timeshares... so we did it. Oh but we were going to have fun. We devised a plan that Mad would be a brilliant scientist whose career was cut short by a terrible car accident and was now horribly brain damaged, so she could act all crazy and blurt out whatever she wanted. We even thought of hooking up a computer and asking the MOAT for ideas, but we chickened out and just acted normal. We stuck it out and got our reward and even the 10 bucks back. Alcatraz was pretty cool; there was an audio tour and everything. So here's some pics of Alcatraz:

Me in the Big House.

Mad waits for lunch in the dining hall.

It's nice to know I can still practice art even if I commit heinous felonious acts. (which WBAGNFARB)

On the way back I got a nice shot of the Bay Bridge in the sunset. It leads to Oakland for you Raider fans.

Naturally, they tried to imprison us both, but fortunately we were wearing our Protective Hoodies of Invulnerability.

A nice shot of the city, including the Transamerica building and that funky tower thingy.

OK, well, that's about enough of San Fran. So we headed down to Monterey, and stayed at a nice B&B called Jabberwock Inn. But I didn't take any pictures of that, so you'll have to be satisfied with lots of pictures of sea life from the Aquarium:


We really went native while we were there.

Look! Otters!

Weasel and Giant Furry Otter.

I couldn't resist getting a T-Shirt that had "Hairy Otter" and a spoof of Harry Potter. I didn't get a pic of it though.

Hey... hello? Oh great, everyone fell asleep with all these pictures...