2 Weeks in the Kingdom!

Yesterday I finally got back from my two weeks in the UK! Scotland was fun, but we travelled all over the place and had to get on a train almost everyday and my bags were heavy and I was getting wore out and so was Mom and Auntie Beth. We did eat some glorious food tho, including Sticky Toffee Pudding with custard at this Gun Lodge just outside of Inverness. And I had this fucking amazing Venison steak in Wick which was bloody and delicious and resting on some beets and beet puree. SO GOOD omg! We stayed at this tiny Bnb just outside of Keiss in Northern Scotland and it was totally rural and we needed to ask cabs to come get us and bring us back from Wick and John O’Groats. There were chickens all over the place, and a couple of growing chicks which were pretty cute. I tried haggis there and I was pleasantly surprised and ate all of it, and then had it again the next day. When we went back to Glasgow I tried blood sausage, but I was not as impressed. It had a nice texture, but it just didn’t taste so great.

London tho was without a doubt my favourite place, we went there just Mom and I (Auntie went back to Canada from Glasgow) to spend a week in a YHA hostel off Oxford Street in Soho that was actually a really nice quiet place. I was a little worried about going to a hostel, because I have had some rank experiences in them, mostly in sleeping in the dorms tho. We had a room to ourselves. The bed was not the greatest, BUT it was quiet and safe. They gave us a decent continental breakfast that kept us getting up early so we didn’t have to go forage for food on our own. The first day we went on a hop on hop off bus tour, saw many things. The next day we went to Stonehenge because we checked the weather network and it was supposed to be the one nice day, AND IT WAS! It was windy, but it didn’t rain on us the whole time we were out there. Stonehenge is pretty majestic and humbling, and surrounded by hundreds of burial mounds. They don’t let you go right into it because they need to conserve it obviously, and so many people visit. But the path gets you pretty close, and we listened to the audio guide as we went around. They have found pottery there that is the same kind as found in the Orkney’s, which is interesting because there are standing stones up there too which we have seen. And some stones are from Wales. And anyway, it was a really interesting site to explore.

We went to the Harry Potter Warner Brothers studios the next day. It was pretty fuckin amazing. They had so many of the sets, including Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest. They have recently included most of the costumes also. And there were props, animatronic creatures, some mermaid heads, dragons, basalisks, etc. It took a few hours to go through the whole place, and we had their butterbeer which was pretty delicious. I ended up getting some souvenirs like a Hufflepuff Seeker shirt and a Butterbeer glass and some pics of me on a broom. It was awesome! I would recommend anyone go there. It was a little intense that they played the soundtrack everywhere, BUT over 8 movies or whatever the soundtrack has many variations so it wasn’t too bad.

We went to the Tower of London, and I think Mom’s knees took a beating. When you go into the buildings there, you have to keep going because the stairways are too narrow to let two people pass at once. So we went in the White Tower and it was 204 steps, and Mom was like omg. And I checked my iPhone at the end of the day and it said we had gone up and down 34 flights. It was a lot! After that we went on The London Eye and got a view of the city, which was ok, not amazing tho, and Mom hated that because she is afraid of heights, but I really appreciated that she was willing to try it out.

What else did we do? I’m sure I’m forgetting some things. We went on a ghost tour by bus, which happened the day the terror attack happened. Ha ha oh yes we were there during a terror attack. Really it was a failed terror attack because thankfully the bomb didn’t go off the way it was meant to, it was loaded up with nails, but it ended up being a big fireball that gave people flash burns, and the nails didn’t act as shrapnel. What shocked me about being there when that happened was the way the Londoners just went on with life. Like they didn’t cower, or act shocked even, or even talk about it. We spent the day on Oxford Street shopping, because WE were nervous about going on the Tube again. But everyone else just got on with things, going shopping, seeing friends, going to the pub, etc. The police presence really stepped up, we had hardly seen them previously, but suddenly they were everywhere, the stations, the touristy places. We accidentally walked through London Fashion Week where all the models were being photographed, and cops were stationed all over there too. The threat level went up to another attack being imminent, and thankfully we were leaving a couple days later. Our last night we met up with our friend Sheila after going to the Tate and checking out Soul Of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, and some of their free galleries. She took us to a pub, where I had my first non-alc craft beer ever and it was so nice. Then we went to an Indian restaurant that was amazing. Then she left us at Kinky Boots where we had gotten cheap last minute tickets. Kinky Boots was pretty fun.

So anyway, yesterday I came home, and I was fine for a while, but jet lag kicked in and I went to sleep at 8:30pm. I was exhausted. Mom unfortunately went a different way than me, through Calgary, and her plane was delayed a few hours. I think she is currently still asleep.

OH and I finally met my friend Nosh which was awesome and we had a great conversation over brunch, which we waited in a long queue for. So great! 😀

It was really fuckin expensive to be there, and we were having a lot of fun, but overall I have no regrets, it was an amazing experience and while Mom and I saw Scotland before, we have never been to London and wanted to do it for a long time. She was having fun buying things for her relatives, and I mailed a whole whack of postcards back to cousins and friends. I got three shirts, one t shirt of the Lesbian M&M, the Hufflepuff Seeker shirt, and also a cute red button up shirt from M&S with stars on it. And I got some random things like a puffin magnet, and a tartan rucksack, and a really cute hand thrown and painted cup from Stonehenge, and we got a selfie stick but never used it.

I don’t know when we will ever be in a financial position to go on such a trip again. It was really because we both won REVEAL awards that we went. We’d made a deal if we won we would go, so we did. I really liked going somewhere when I didn’t need to do work. No festival to attend, no networking, not anything! Just seeing some sights and eating amazing (and expensive!) food!

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