Friday, October 29, 2010

First Stop: Manchester, England

We actually started talking about taking a trip to England as a joke.

We frequent a local place called 'The Wine Room' in our little town.  They have tastings every Tuesday which we always attend, unless something "big" is happening that keeps us away.  There's a college student there, "S", who one  evening said something about her birthday being November 14th.  I chimed in that our Anniversary is on November 4th and we should "party together".  She said she'd be in England then, and our neighbor, "W", said "We can be there!"   ("W" & his wife "C" have been to England at least 6 times and they love it.)  It sort of picked up steam from there.

What started out as a joke, somehow became a reality, and boy am i glad it did!

A mixture of old & new in Manchester

After an 8 hour (or so) flight, we checked into our hotel on October 14th around 11 am or so, and then went walking around town.  (We didn't really do much "tourist-y stuff"  in Manchester.)  We ate lunch at a place called 'Bar 38'.  Then we walked around town some more. 

If you ever go to Manchester, be sure to stop in at their Information Center downtown.  They have the COOLEST maps there!  The maps are actually "powered by Bing", and totally interactive!  The four of us stayed there playing with the computerized maps for almost an HOUR!  =-)

After playing with the coolest maps ever, we walked into a huge department store called Debenhams.  (Boyfriend needed a hat since it was so chilly.)  Then we strolled back to our hotel.

After freshening up back at the Jury's Inn Hotel, we met "S" and a friend of hers at a place called "KRO-Picadilly".  Very nice bar/restaurant.  Seemed to be a  very "happening" place.  Plus the food was delicious!  "C" & I got the "Pint of Pie" which was like a steak & ale pie in a ceramic pint "cup".  Delicious, but almost TOO HOT to eat! (Heat, not spice.)
It was really good to see "S", and i think we only reminded her how homesick she was.  She's in England for one semester in a "study abroad" program.  She said she couldn't really believe we had come all that way "just to see her". 

After eating supper at "KRO-Picadilly", we walked to the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel... to the bar/restaurant on the 23rd floor (i think it was called "Cloud")!  It was FANTASTIC!  The view was AWESOME, and unrestricted because the 23rd floor only has low-level lighting so you can sit and truly enjoy the view.
Oh, it was beautiful!  (See the pic from yesterday here.)  Gorgeous!

I cannot get a picture to load, but if i could, you would be seeing a picture of the Hilton Deansgate from my hotel window here!!!  [FRUSTRATING!!!]

A beautiful evening for us all.
S & her friend walked back to her dorm, and the four of us walked back to our hotel, and thus ended our first day in England. 
Come back tomorrow for more of the continuing saga. 


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ooops! I Forgot About Bath and Lacock and Bourton-on-the-Water and STONEHENGE!!!

How could i forget about all those places?!?!
How DARE i?!?

I guess i was just so anxious to tell you about London that i simply skipped all the other stuff.  Sorry 'bout that!  Or, as the "kids" would say:

"My bad!"

Tomorrow i'll begin with Manchester, and go on a daily basis in a more organized fashion, and you'll not miss a thing.
'Kay?!  =-)

Here's another picture, just so you'll forgive me:

Boyfriend & me at Stonehenge 
(it's not that tiny, we just couldn't get that close)


Did I Hear Somebody Say England!?!

Man-oh-man it's been a long time since i posted!  Part of that is because i started putting my thoughts into a Word document on my computer.  It's been helpful, but it hasn't "encouraged" me to blog!  Sorry 'bout that!
I haven't been doing much quilting lately anyway, so there hasn't really been much to blog about...

But remember one time i told you that Boyfriend was taking me to England?!
Well, guess what?!?!

I have pictures!
Actually, we took over seven HUNDRED pictures, but don't worry; i won't bore you with ALL of them.   =-)

When i say "we" went to England, i really mean the four of us; our next door neighbors were our "tour guides" because they've been to England like six times before, so we felt "safe" going with them.  (Boyfriend's a little coughscaredcough to travel out of our country... BUT YOU DIDN'T HEAR THAT FROM ME!!!)

We flew out of Charlotte, NC on Oct 13th and did a quick layover in Philly, and then flew into Manchester, England (arriving on the 14th).  We really went there to see a friend who works at our favorite spot, The Wine Room.  (Who knew?!  =-)  )  Her name's Sarah, and she's spending one semester studying abroad, lucky little devil.

We spent one night in Manchester, and then hit the road in a rented car.  We drove across the north coast of Wales, and almost all the way down the west coast to a town called Cardigan where we spent the night in a tiny town called Gwbert (goo'-bert).  One night there, and then we went to Carmarthen, Wales to meet up with another friend from the Wine Room, Kelly, who is ALSO studying abroad for the semester.  (I'm thinkin' i didn't do something right when i was younger... Hmm.) 
One short day there (we didn't really get to see much of Carmarthen), and then we headed back across the Severn river into England, where we drove straight to Gatwick airport to turn in the car, and hopped on the train into London.

Oh my god, LONDON!!!  I absolutely LOVED London!!!  The architecture, the history, the cultures, the Tube, the red double-decker buses... I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT LONDON!!! 

We stayed in London until the 25th.  We were supposed to go to Paris, but with all the rioting and striking and craziness going on over there, we decided to just stay in London.  And i'm GLAD we did!!!  I didn't really "miss" Paris 'cause i am SO IN LOVE with LONDON!!!

People keep asking me what my favorite thing about my trip was and, honestly, i can only say


I loved it ALL!!!
(Well, "all" except that looong and boring plane ride there and back, that is!)
We had an absolutely FABULOUS time!!!
Even the weather was wonderful!  I fully expected, before i left, that i would get wet every day; that my feet would be soaked at the end of every day.  I expected it so i (hopefully) wouldn't be disappointed every day, but...
It never really rained on us!  We had cloudy weather in Manchester and most of Wales, and even saw the sun on many days in London, but... it never *really* rained on us!  (I'm not counting that one time it started to lightly sprinkle a tiny bit and we popped into a Cafe Nero for a coffee, and by the time we came out, the streets were almost dry.)  I could NOT believe it!  I am STILL tickled (in case you couldn't tell)!
Here's a picture to get you started:

Manchester at night from the 23rd floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel (we did not stay here, only came for a drink... or two.  And the VIEW!!!)

... more tomorrow ...