Friday 30 May 2003

The Way Home, Part II

6:45. I did hit the snooze once, and then jumped into the shower, slightly larger than the one the fist time I stayed. Then downstairs, and was surprised pleasantly when they informed me that they had decided to give me a free breakfast since they had botched my reservation. So that was nice.

So with a nice full belly I caught the Tube to Heathrow. Got to Heathrow about 9:00am, checked in and through security by 9:45. On the plane and off we went only a few minutes behind schedule.

The flight to Chicago (where I was supposed to connect to Dallas) was very uneventful if not a bit long. My seat mate was returning from four months in South Africa, where she spends her winters. She was bemoaning the fact that 1st class had been booked when she got her tickets. *roll eyes*. But I listened to music and watched Catch me if you can, it was surprisingly good. Leonardo DiCaprio has really matured as an actor, a pleasant surprise.

Then we get to Chicago around noon, and my next flight didn't leave until 4:30pm. So I settled in at my new gate after changing money and informing the parentals that I was back in the US safe and sound.

This is where I learn that I am jinxed.

At about 3:45, they come over the intercom thing and announce that due to severe weather in the Chicago area, the plane that was to be ours to Dallas was rerouted into Grand Rapids, and there was no other aircraft available, so our flight was cancelled.


After waiting in a long line, and confusing the ticket person (since it was a connecting flight from an international flight, this somehow made things more complicated.), I finally got on the 6:00pm flight leaving out of the opposite side of the terminal.

So I called Mom and had her call Nathan, to give him my new flight info, and then hurried over to my new gate.

After waiting there for about 30 minutes, they come over the intercom again, announcing that the plane we were to ride on had been hit by lightning, and they were waiting for confirmation from the tower whether or not they could down grade our aircraft from a 777 or if they had to wait for the next 777 available, which had been rerouted to a town I'd never heard of.

Sure enough, the tower said we had to wait for the 777, and that moved our flight time back to 7:30. I call Nathan and Mom again.

A little later they announce that the new plane had been further delayed because of an electrical emergency during refueling, and that meant our flight wouldn't leave until 9pm.

I go up to the desk and beg the ticket lady to change me to an earlier flight. She took pity on me and got me on the 7:30 flight.

I run back over to my original wing over to the terminal to discover that flight too had been delayed, because the flight before it, headed to Paris, was waiting for a connecting passenger. We did eventually get off the ground and the pilot made the usually 2.5 hour flight in less than 2 hours. The entire plane was grateful, since the vast majority of us had been through the exact same process described above.

So we got into Dallas, Nathan, bless his heart, was waiting for me and then we went on the Great Airport Luggage Scavenger Hunt (surprise surprise my luggage didn't get routed properly, but did make it to the same airport, just on another flight. A miracle as far as I'm concerned.)

Then we made the drive back to Norman, getting in around 2am.

So back home I was, and in the midst of the moving mess, but home indeed. The trip was at an end, for better or worse, and another wonderful place in my memories and in pictures. 

The Way Home, Part I

Tuesday was my last day in Aberdeen, and was mostly spent trying to get money issues figured out. But that got resolved with an hour or so left before I had to catch the bus to the airport. So, Brett and I talked for a while, and as I got on the bus he made a comment that he'd be keeping up with my travel notes, to which I replied that the trip was pretty much over and there would probably just be one more entry, to which he quipped that I still had the road home, and that's always an adventure.

Jinxed me he did.

Although the way to London wasn't too bad.

Got to the airport with plenty of time to spare after lugging my monster bag through Aberdeen to the bus station. The plane was a bit late taking off for some unexplained reason, which put me at Luton at 10:30.

There were several people going to the bus station, so we all got on the shuttle including an exchange student who needed to get to Manchester. It took 3 bus drivers to figure out a route for him. (Resisting the urge to make a Tootsie Pop joke)

So we were finally off to the train station (Luton is WAY outside of London), and got a ticket for the next earliest train, 11:15. This meant I didn't get to London until midnight. At this point, I was quite hesitant to try and take the underground back to the hostel/B&B, since I didn't know the system well, nor did I know about it's reputation after dark. So I drug my monster luggage over to the main Kings Cross Station (the Luton train arrives into Thameslink)--pretty shady.

They did have a taxi queue, and I was off to the Windsor House, same place I stayed the first time. I had confirmed my reservation with them the first time I checked in and told them that I would probably not be arriving until 11:00pm on the 27th. They made a note and said that would be fine. Granted, I didn't get there until half past midnight, but I didn't think that would be late enough for them to cancel my reservation.

Yup, they cancelled my reservation when I didn't arrive at 7pm.

They had one room left, but it was twice as expensive as the one I had reserved. Had it not been nearly 1am I would have found some place else. As it was, I talked them into reducing the higher rate since I had indeed confirmed the reservation earlier. So, I get up to my room, get ready for bed, and fall into it exhausted. . .

with insomnia

Ick. I think I finally fell asleep around 3am, and my alarm went off at 6:45.

Monday 26 May 2003

Castling Again

Today was Donnattur, and I filled up my last memory card.

I took the bus into the little village nearest the castle (Stonehaven), and then hiked up over the bluffs to the castle itself. The hike was absolutely beautiful. It went through these fields and near some craggy inlets of the ocean. The green of the fields combined with the blue of the ocean and the black volcanic (assumingly) rock formations was quite stunning, especially with the castle ruins crowning the highest cliff over the entire scene.

Wandering through the ruins was really quite a magical experience. Because they're ruins they pretty much let you have the run of the place, and you're free to crawl over, rummage and poke around as much of it as you can get to. They have the most dangerous bits roped/barred off, but the rest of it is completely open. I bought a guide book that was pretty helpful, but I got the feeling they were mostly guessing at what some of the rooms were originally. So, I preferred to wander through and let my imagination do the work.

For being in ruins a surprising amount of the castle is still safe for people. For instance, there are several floors of the original keep that you can still get to and through. One of the features, they had most of the old guest books out (1930ish-present), that you could look through. I thought about looking for Stephen's family's original visit, but I had no clue what date to even expect, so he'll have to go through it with me when we got back one of these days.

After going through all of the ruins, I took a foot "path" down to the shore, and watched the ocean for a while with the castle towering above. Talk about an incredible experience.

Now, you guys are no longer allowed to tease me about Moscow burning, because the number of times this castle has been burned by various armies or the owners is astounding. For being built on a cliff with only one possibility of attack, you'd think they'd be able to defend it better than that. But the fires have left the stones really interesting textures that I'm not sure would have been possible otherwise.

Still, no more Moscow teasing now!

Then I hopped the bus back to Aberdeen and will probably spend the rest of my night packing. My plane doesn't leave until 8:00pm tomorrow, but I'm supposed to take some of Brett's stuff back too, so we'll see how that fares.

Probably a last game of GO as well. =)

Anyway, back to London tomorrow and then to the states the next day. So this will probably be my last entry until I get home. It feels like I just got here too. Not nearly enough time, but an amazing trip none the less.

Until later all! 

My First Castle!!

Today I saw my first castle!!!

Crathes Castle

Now how would you pronounce "Crathes"? I still don't know, because EVERYONE I talked to pronounced it differently. I got everything from Crates to Crathies to Craithes and anything else you could think of. The only problem with this is that if you don't pronounce it they way the person you're talking to does, then they don't understand which castle you're referring to. This is the first time I've had issue with the accents here.


On to the Castle itself. . .

After getting up a little late, I got to the bus station only to find out that they were running a shortened schedule, so the next bus wouldn't get me there until almost 3pm, giving me only 2 and a half hours to see the castle. Oh well, better than no castle at all right?

The bus turned out to work pretty well because it literally dropped me off at the gates, then turned into a lovely short walk through a forest. In the open feild right before getting to the castle grounds themselves, they were having a vintage car ralley, complete with Scottish band playing what sounded like a Roland arrangement of 80s pop. Very strange.

Anyway, when I got to the ticket area, they were having a "National Heritage Appreciation Day" which meant that everyone got in FREE!! Very cool. The downside was that the increased demand (other people had gotten wind of this apparently) meant they were giving out time specific tickets, meaning you had a ticket that was only valid beginning at a certain time. I got one of the last ones for the 4:00pm slot. Yess! This then meant that I had almost an hour to wander around the castle gardens, which were magnificent. It was raining just slightly with the sun coming out intermittantly.

The castle itself was made out of red granite, so the wet stone in the sunshine shined like new copper. Breathtaking, really breathtaking.

Crathes Castle was build in 1596, which makes it "young", and evidently it was inhabited by the same family lineage until 1980, when they turned it over to the Scottish Heritage Society. This means that it is exceptionally kept up, with several original pieces of furniture left as well, most of which is carved wood, and stunning in its own right.

I got lots of pictures! But, only of the outside. I did get a really neat guide book of the interior with lots of history as well, so everyone can read that when I get back. It's just as well too, because it would have been difficult to get as good of pictures, since it was pretty dark in some places, as well as having lots of people. . .including the requisite group of Japanese tourists. It was also much smaller on the inside than what I expected it to be. Evidently, though, it had been two whole wings larger, but a fire in 1966 destroyed those, leaving the castle pretty much as it was when originally built.

I stayed right up until the place closed and the meandered back to the bus stop through a really nice wooded trail. When I got to the bus stop, however, I found out that yes the bus runs every hour. . .until 5pm. After 5pm it runs every two hours.

And everything was closed.

And it was raining.

2 hours.

The longest two hours of my life.

The most annoying part of the wait, however, were the drivers that would go by, honk and wave, spraying me with water from the road. Yeah, great, thanks, hi to you too.

On the upside I saw a slug for the first time. I didn't realize that they got so big!! We're talking almost 6 inches long and almost an inch in diameter. Monster slug.

By the time the bus got there I was pretty cold, and very thankful that the Scottish don't turn their heaters off until mid June.

So tomorrow I'm going to the ruined Castle Donnotur that is on the bluffs overlooking the North Sea. And I'm making sure to get a good EARLY start tomorrow, since it's supposed to be almost an hours hike after you get off the bus. But it's a hike I'm really looking forward to because it's along the same bluffs.

Good thing I brought my extra memory card! 

Saturday 24 May 2003

Saturday in Aberdeen

I got all the rest of my Aberdeen seeing done! One thing I discovered, the churches are significantly more impressive from the outside than the inside. The outsides will be beautiful Granite Gothic structures, while the insides are usually plain plaster painted a solid color with very little other interior decoration. Not ugly, not pretty, just blah.

I stopped by the tourist information bureau to get information on the castles, and it looks like I will be able to see two before I leave! More info on that later.

I also got to see the Maritime Museum, which turned out to be much cooler than expected. 5 floors divided into two parts: One dedicated to offshore oil and the other to clippers and history of Aberdeen harbor.

The Offshore oil bit included a *huge* model of a rig complete with moving parts, and detailed explanations of every level, as well as the processes involved with getting oil out of the sea floor and to the refining plant.

I enjoyed the history side much more. Each floor had its own theme pertaining to Aberdeen harbor history.

The top floor was the advent of the clipper and the tea trade.

The fourth mostly on sailing ships: navigation tools (that you got to play with!), particulars of making sails, how a sailboat is rigged (complete with mast and boom to show how the pulley systems worked, that one could also play with), and diary exerpts from notable Aberdeenians.

The third floor talked about fishing, all the different methods and what types of fish they're best used to catch, and how the techniques have developed over the years. It also included a pretty detailed explanation of how catch limits are determined in Scotland.

The Second Floor was recent developments including a display on a type of training procedure for offshore oil workers that was developed in Aberdeen. So pretty cool.

Kind of wish you were with me Dad, you would have loved it! Especially the sailing bits.

Later that evening I took Brett and Kaz out for dinner as a thank you for putting up with me. We went to a little place called The Illicit Still. The food was pretty yummy, and the cider was awfully tasty.

The beer here is mostly all lagers, and the one thing I've learned is that I generally like those labeled "Ale" better. Don't know what the difference is; perhaps it's time to learn.

After that, I let Brett talk me into watching his choice of a movie. Brett and I's taste in film rarely coincides, and this one was no exception. This one turned out to be a wretched little piece called Meet the Feebles, evidently by the same director as Lord of the Rings.

Should bode well right? Let's just say this director has come a long LONG way if that's where he started. I only found one bit funny, and I was the only one who caught it. I won't go into anymore of it, frankly because it isn't worth it. Leave it to say the vast majority of the movie was just plain bad taste.

One of the things I've been noticing about my choice in movies is that I really don't appreciate excessive violence or sex. Especially torture. Mostly because I can't comprehend how one human being could do that to another, even with hate running deep. I just can't fathom it. This naturally leaves many really good movies outside of my comfort level. Titus comes to mind. Amazing film, incredibly well done. I couldn't get past the physical abuse neccesary for the progression of the story. Literally couldn't stomach it. *sigh* Perhaps I'm still much more innocent than previously thought.

Don't be mistaken, however, Feebles was NO Titus not by a long shot. So don't run out and rent it thinking you're going to be seeing good film, even from an artistic appreciation, because you would be horribly disappointed.

Then we finished "24". The last four episodes. That was a cliffhanger of a series, with some suprisingly good acting, and the kind of attention to detail that makes or breaks the show. I was really impressed. Too bad the second has already started, otherwise it might be the first television program I would have actively followed.

Friday 23 May 2003

Remaining Things to See

Just a quick list of things left that I want to see before I leave:

* The rest of the art museum
* A Castle
* The maritime history museum
* The Catholic Cathedral
* The Church of Scotland Cathedral
* The old part of Aberdeen

Doesn't look like a whole lot but considering that I leave on Tuesday, and the Castle trip will be one full day. That leaves me three days to get it all in. Better get my butt in gear eh? 


Brett and I ended up walking into the center of the city to hit the museum first. But, we got distracted along the way by his favorite used bookshop.

Only a few minutes he said.

Liar. =)

For £10 I bought the entire Divine Comedy, a Collection of Short Stories by Voltaire, and the 2nd Part of the Gulag Archipelago (and it looks like a good translation to boot). After talking to the shopkeep, he said that he'll find the first part for me by Monday. Yay!! Not exactly light reading, but a necessary component for any Russian studies person.

Then off to the museum. We spent the rest of the afternoon there (4 hours), and still didn't get all the way through it. It's mostly modern art, but they have some really amazing watercolor and oil on canvas portraits as well. So that means we'll have to go back yet again. I'm loving this. =) They also have a Maritime Museum that I'm looking forward to attending sometime before I leave.

Then we headed off toward the harbor and this little fishing village right on the edge of Aberdeen. I got some great pictures. Then it started to downpour. By the time we found a cafe to warm up in, we were both soaked to the bone. But this cafe (Cafe Continental btw) had Lentil soup, which was awfully yummy and great to fill a wet, hungry me.

Then we called a cab and went back to campus and the flat to get changed and get dinner-- Chicken pitas. mmmmmm. So tonight will probably be another evening of either movies and reading, and probably another GO game. We'll see if some strategy changes will help turn the tables on Brett a bit, and maybe hand me a victory. We'll see, we'll see. 

Thursday Evening

Well no Hamlet for me. Didn't get my vote in quickly enough, so instead Kaz chose and we ended up watching 2 Days in the Valley. Not that great. Brett and I started up a GO game, about half way through because we were quite board with it. GO solved that pretty much. I lost by a good margin, but the game played out much closer than the final space count suggests.

Some observations:

* Opening in GO is by far the hardest thing. The game has so many possibilities that it's extremely difficult to know from the get go, what strategy will work.

* All the territory is at the edges. The middle, while important, doesn't gain you anything if that's all you hold.

* Ask and answer the following questions before placing every piece:

- Where is the threat?

- Where do I want to go?

- How do I want to get there?

While these may seem extremely elementary to any seasoned GO player, these were huge breakthroughs for me. So yes, I'm a novice, but I'm really enjoying the ways in which the game forces one to think. Those thought processes will become extremely important I have a feeling.

Anyway, after the GO game, they got me hooked on this TV series called "24". Each episode occurs over a one hour period, and all together all events take place over the course of one day. As far as I can tell it's about revenge on the guy who authorized a secret mission during the Bosnian conflict and how that hooks back to the man running for President. (Incidently, this 24 hour period corresponds to the day of the California primary). It's very addictive. I couldn't imagine only getting one episode every week. So hopefully we'll get to the end before I leave. . if not those of you in Norman may have to bear with me through this. hehehehe

Thursday 22 May 2003

Thursday in Scotland

Well, it seems like I'm finally starting to destress, which to my body seems to mean sleep. 12 hours of it to be exact. That of course, leads to us getting a pretty late start on the day, but then again the whole point of this wonderfully timed vacation is rest, so no harm done.

We walked about the city after taking a bus into the center, and it strikes me that Aberdeen isn't nearly as old feeling as, say, Edinburgh. But the entire city being made out of granite is really cool, and they have some wonderful old cemetaries that date back into the 1600s.

Another really interesting feature are all the dance clubs and restaraunts that have been made from old abandoned churches. There's even one that features "Seven Deadly Sins Cocktails", and the inside is replete with torture implements, aged wood, and themed menus. Yes a bit cliche, but really neat none the less.

We also stopped into the Modern Art Museum downtown, and saw some really neat pieces. One was a painting of a rumpled white sheet. Yes sounds dull, but really quite well done. The other was this nifty fountain thing with a cool interlocking copper sphere creation that the sprays of water echo. Quite cool. We didn't get to see all the exhibits though, and plan to go back tomorrow. So more on that later.

Pretty good day. I got some great pictures of the skyline and the statue of William Wallace with a seagull on his head. Right across the park from the Wallace statue was the one of Edward I, the king who executed Wallace. How's that for symmetry. I couldn't get a clear shot of it because of the way the streets and the buildings were. Too bad.

So the rest of today will probably be spent over a GO board after a film. I'm thinking Hamlet. For some reason my trip on the town has me in a Shakespeare mood. Go figure. =) 

Rest of Day Two in Aberdeen

So the Italian sausage sandwiches didn't turn out as good as originally hoped. The sausages themselves got all crumbly, so we made a last minute run to the grocery store for pasta and turned it into a pasta dish. The guys really seemed to think it was tasty, and even complimented me on the sauce.

It's amazing what you can do with a few spices, veggies, meat and tomato sauce.

Other than that, we walked to the theater to catch Matrix Reloaded. I'm still stunned by the beauty of the landscape here. The ground itself is really quite interesting, not all soppy and sludgy like one would expect with all the rain, but more springy and spongy. This makes walking a really funny sensation. We ended up getting to the theater a bit early and since it's located on the beach of the North Sea (didn't realize Aberdeen was that far North) we sat on the dock, talking and watching the tide crash against the granite wall. Hypnotic truly.

Then came the movie, and I have two words for it:


Really bad acting. The writing wasn't the best ever, but even the decent lines were quite poorly delivered. The sex scene was also way too long. Granted, the way they incorporated it with the rave thing was interesting. But, it was an interesting visual display for about 1/3 of the time that it went on for.

I did however really enjoy how well choreographed the fighting scenes were. Very nice. Especially the one with all the clones.

All-in-all, while I enjoyed the first movie, the second one takes itself way too seriously; it's like they're all of a sudden trying to make commentary, not that the movie can't, it's just if that's what they wanted to do, perhaps they should have hired real actors.

Anyway, getting back to the flat, I got to talk to Stephen a bit before bed, which was really nice. He and I really must come back some day for an extended (2 week-ish) vacation. 

Wednesday 21 May 2003

First Two Days in Aberdeen

So yesterday after I finally got here, we went back to his flat, dropped off my stuff and then went to buy groceries for the week, which I paid mostly for since he's putting me up for free.

Then back to his place and he cooked dinner, I took a nap while he and Kaz watched some TV, and then we stayed up talking and playing GO.

I didn't realize how much fun GO can be when you play someone who's that close to your skill level. So I think we'll be playing a good many games of that during the next few days.

His new girlfriend is really nice, if not on the young side. She just turned 18 last month and is finishing her first year in school. But she's pretty nice and seems to be a good influence on Brett and vice-versa, which is always good to see in a relationship.

Today, there isn't much going on. More just letting me wind down from traveling and de-stressing from the semester and the post semester events. I did throw sausage and red sauce into the oven this morning for italian sausage sandwiches for dinner, so that will be a nice surprise for Brett and his flatmates.

We do have tickets to see the new Matrix moving tonight (it's first night showing in the UK), and there's a walk planned back from the theater to the flat to show me to older and more scenic parts of the city, before jumping into it full force tomorrow.

So that should be a good time.

See you when I get back! 

Yeah well. Remember last time how I said that the front desk had arranged a car to take me to the aiport at 4:50? I showed up downstairs, packed and ready to go around 4:45 to wait for him. I have to be at Luton NO LATER than 6:30 in order to make the flight.

4:50 no driver. Maybe he's running a bit late.

4:55 still no driver.

5:00 yet again, no driver.

At 5:05 I go downstairs and knock on the inkeepers door. It took nearly 5 minutes to get her to answer and even then she said that these drivers are notoriously unreliable and that there was nothing she could do. When I asked to use a phone to call him (they did give me his number the night before), she said that she only had a mobile and that the phone at the front desk was out of order so I was on my own.

great. Thanks for nothing.


So I grab my bags and head out to the street to try and catch a cab myself. The first two who stopped looked at their watches and said there was no way they could get me to the airport for less than £100 or that there would be no way to get there in time for the flight so I was just out of luck.

Londoners are not earning themselves any good marks at this point.


The third cab who stopped said that while him taking me to the airport would be horribly expensive, and that even if he did, he couldn't garuntee getting me there in time, he could get me to the train station to catch the first train to Luton at 5:45 and that that would be my best bet.

So in I jump, and on the way explain the entire situation. I could tell he felt awful, and he gave me some really good advice on how to avoid that situation in the future. Evidently, the front desk didn't book at cab, they just booked a regular person they knew (umm can anyone else say not safe?) and that these "contract cars" were really unreliable and that he was surprised that any respected establishment would put me in that kind of situation.

He gets me to the Thameslink Station at exactly 5:35 due to some very good driving and I tipped him an extra £5 for his help and sensitivity, because at that point I was more than a little stressed.

The train gets there early at 5:40 and I'm on it. It took right at 40 minutes to get to Luton, and it was looking like I would be able to make the plane. Well, we get to the Airport Station, and there's a shuttle to take you the rest of the way to the airport. Ok. . . we all get on and wait. . .and wait. . .and wait. . .and the driver of the shuttle keeps talking on his mobile. Finally he shuts up and gets moving at 6:25.

We pull up to the airport, and I get into the terminal just in time for me to see the person close the desk for my flight. 6:35. I beg one of the other attendents to check me onto the flight, even if that meant checking my baggage on the next day's flight. They said the best I could do was either wait until that night at 8:30pm or take the flight to Edinburgh and then the train over to Aberdeen. Because I didn't fancy spending 14 hours in the airport, I had them switch my reservation to Edinburgh. Found a neat little internet kiosk and emailed Brett about the changes to my schedule.

So off I went. Arrived in Edinburgh, and got to take a lovely bus route through the city. The train station was right across the street from the castle. How I would have loved to take a few hours and tour it, but I got to the station at 10:10 and the next train was 10:25. So, no castle for me.

But, I did get the most beautiful ride through the Scottish country side and along the shore. I've never seen fields such a vibrant green or flowers that color yellow or purple. With the hazy sky, it provided an even greater contrast to the colors. So, even though I arrived into Aberdeen some four hours late, I was pretty relaxed by the time I got there, and pretty tired.

But I got here, and got to see some amazing scenery along the way. Cost me about £35 more than expected, but all's well that ends well right? 

So after my last entry I wandered the area around the hostel/B&B just to get a taste for the area, and came across Kensington Park. The sky was a bit overcast and it drizzled a good bit, breaking out into a full-fledged rain but not too heavy that a tree didn't make good cover.

The gardens were really beautiful, and all different kinds of trees. So it was nice and refreshing to get about and stretch my legs after nearly 12 hours in an airplane. Kensington Palace and the little art museum there in the park were both closed due to renovations, so nothing there to really explore.

Then back to the hostel/B&B to check in. I was only 5 minutes early, but they still didn't have the room ready, but they said they had a room with a private bath that I could take instead for an extra 6 GBP. So, I took it thinking that a nice lingering, steamy shower would feel wonderful after a good long walk in the drizzle and traveling. Well, it turned out that the entire "bathroom" was about the size of a standard bathtub: shower, toilet, and sink. I literally could not close the door while sitting on the toilet because there wasn't enough room. While showering I had to stand parallel to the wall so that all of me would fit in the shower at once.

So much for a lingering shower. But hey, I got clean, which was more than I was before.

I then picked up a little guide they had in the front lobby of all the sights in London, and since time was short I decided to hit the National Gallery instead of St. Paul's and the Tate.

On my way out, though, I had the front desk guy arrange transportation for the next morning at 4:50 so that I could make my flight to Aberdeen at 7:00. After making the reservation he gave me the name and phone number of the driver that he had arranged. Remember this for later.

Anyway, off I went to the National Gallery-- and yes, Branson you were right the tube system is really wonderful, if for no other reason that it has little Cadbury Egg dispensers all over the place. =)

I spent most of my time in the 1700-1900 section and in a special sculpture exhibit they had up. I think one of my favorites out of the paintings was Monet's 'Parliment at Sunset'. Its done in such a way that they shadow of the building on the water morphs into the building above as the red, purple and yellow streaked sky fills in the remaining space. The colors were so vibrant and the way he streaked the sky for sunset reminded me more of lightning at dusk than a true sunset. Really remarkable. I think I may become a fan of impressionism afterall.

So I stayed at the museum until it closed at 6:00pm, grabbed a rather dry and tasteless turkey sandwhich at a nearby cafe, and then headed back to read for a few hours before doing pre-check out (since I would be leaving so early the next day), and asleep by 9:00pm.

All in all a pretty good day in London, but definitely some place to come back to a spend a week or so seeing everything. For instance, they have a permenant collection of Dali at an extension of the Tate that I would love to see. Hopefully it will still be there in a few years time.

Monday 19 May 2003

Day 1 in London

Well here I am safe and sound in the wonderful city of London. We arrived about a 1/2 hour late due to back up at Heathrow, but nothing serious.

Nathan got me to the airport with plenty of time to spare, and I was checked in and through security in less than 10 minutes in Dallas. Not too bad. I got to see his new place too, which is fabulous! I think we need to throw a housewarming for him after he gets all moved in. *hint hint*

Anyway, for whatever reason they won't let me get into my room at the B&B until 2pm, which cuts into my sightseeing time considerably. The original plan was to hop over to St. Paul's and then catch the Tate Modern with whatever time was left over. Of course, all that was assuming I got into my room at 10am like they said I could. *sigh* oh well.

My flight to Aberdeen is tomorrow morning at 7am. Yikes! That means getting there by 6am. Even though I did get sleep on the plane, I'll still be pretty dazed. Poor Brett having to deal with me in that state.

Anyway, I'm going to hop over to a cafe and grab some food and figure out the rest of my day.