Tintern Abbey

I am taking an Archeology of Wales class and for my mid-term project we were to write a brochure in a ruin in Wales. I decided to do Tintern Abbey and because it is so close to Swansea I traveled and took some of my own photos to use for my project. Monmouthshire is a gorgeous area and traveling along the Wye river was almost like being back at my own personal bank of the Monocacy. It was a surreal experience to wander in the shadows of the Abbey and the area is so serene. Despite the train catastrophes that I experience before and after my journey to the Abbey it was great to see it. It was almost whymiscal to sit in the Abbey’s shade and eat some freshly churned ice-cream at the little tea house that is adjacent to it. I definitely can see why Tennyson set his “Tears, Idle Tears” poem there. On a practical note I am finding that pre-planning is not always effective in Wales

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Bath

Last week I went to Bath with a student organization and saw both the American Museum ( a wee bit disappointing and primarily full of chairs) and the Roman Baths.  It was a great experience eve if a bit cold.  I even broke the no touching rule and as it turns out the water that flows into the main bath is actually tepid even after all this time.  You could also drink some of the purified water which with it’s high sulfur content was not my favorite.  The sauna suite smelled just like our sauna’s today.  I finished off the day with a 5 PM “Lunch Special” at a cute little cafe called the White Horse or something to that effect.  It had a very eclectic, gentleman’s club vibe.  Click on the link below for pictures!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1P9p9HDm4k&feature=youtu.be

London, Part 2!

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I went back to London for the day, (both ways for 10 pounds which is about $20 in total and 10 hours of my time) to visit one of my friends from my uni back home and to explore the sites a little bit more.  I left Swansea on Thursday evening, crashed at Desiree’s place in East London for the evening, and then set about exploring bright and early the next day.  This started with a 3 hour tour of the Tower of London (pics are below, none of the jewels though.  It isn’t allowed)  From this I learned that cobblestones are not my friends, crows are kind of mean, and that the queen’s royal body guards’ outfits look quite similar to the docens’ outfits.  It was incredibly interesting to see all of the jewels and even to just walk the path that so many historic people have also tread. Did you know that there is a super special spoon used for British Coronations to hold the anointing oil?  I didn’t.  I also took part in this cute little thing they had going at mid-day for the kids, as it is the UK’s half-term so the students had the week off, about the war of the roses.  I spent most of this day with some pretty fearsome nausea so I took the early afternoon hours a little slower and found a cute little cafe, the name of which escapes me but it is literally right outside the entrance of the New Scotland Yard office in Westminster, to eat some lunch and calm my tummy.  After I was feeling better I took to Bond Street to see if I could soak up any of the fashion week prettiness that the high street could provide. In the end I got a couple of free samples, spent a little bit of cash on some makeup ($30 USD for what is normally, and I checked first, roughly $200 worth), and realized after walking behind a woman who could only be a model that I was in no way suited for that kind of lifestyle.  I also learned that even the police in London don’t always know where they are going as I got 6 different sets of directions from how to get to Bond Street from the same street as that cafe.  I am not quite cut out for a city as big as London, Baltimore is good for me.  I also saw the most UK of cars.

London

My last little bit of travel before heading over to my uni in Swansea was a visit of London.  I stayed in the Kensington and Chelsea borough and found it to be quite nice.  My hotel was right by the Earl’s Court underground (i.e. Tube) station so I utilized that to do some exploring.  I did quite well other than a minor mishap at the London Bridge station, which locals have since confirmed is a confusing place, so I am quite proud of myself.  I also learned that UGGs scream tourist and I kept getting accosted by save the children groups and the British Red Cross.  Like Oslo I didn’t get to see everything that I wanted because of the limited hours, but I am a 5 quid(i.e. British Pound (that’s something like $9 USD)), 4 hour bus ride back.  I saw some of the big tourist things, some of which were not very impressing, but that may be on account of the time of year I went and the limited services available.  None-the-less below are some picture that I took of my various happenings (including some pics from in Westminster Abbey that I took before I was informed that there was to be no photography allowed).

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Norway

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Norway was absolutely beautiful (and very cold …. when I arrived it was -4 degrees Celsius).  It is also very expensive (as learned from a Burger King Whopper that was $17 USD).  Even though most of the tourist stuff was closed (Fjord tours) or working on limited hours (the museums) I still managed to visit the Viking Ship Museum (the pics above are from it) and saw some of the architecture.  I even figured out how to use their bus system because the museums are on an island and I wasn’t walking over an hour in that temperature.

Iceland Tour

The beginning of the North American Plate

The beginning of the North American Plate

The beginning of the Eurasian Plate

The beginning of the Eurasian Plate

The lake that formed between the 2 plates

The lake that formed between the 2 plates

Which continent am I on?

Which continent am I on?

One of the worlds'  most powerful waterfalls

One of the worlds’ most powerful waterfalls

Kinda ... the stairs were icy and I didn't want to hurt myself on day 1

Kinda … the stairs were icy and I didn’t want to hurt myself on day 1

I still got colors in the sky in the form of a sunset over the 2nd largest glacier in Iceland

I still got colors in the sky in the form of a sunset over the 2nd largest glacier in Iceland

Did you know that this is the first geyser to be found by Europeans?  Sadly it no longer shoots, but it's brother does just down the path.

Did you know that this is the first geyser to be found by Europeans? Sadly it no longer shoots, but it’s brother does just down the path.

That's right folks ... canned air!

That’s right folks … canned air!

I had an awesome time touring Iceland.  I saw so many awesome sights, but unfortunately no northern lights due to clouds.

Radio Silence

As I get ready to leave (we are down to just hours) I go into radio silence.  My phone won’t work in any of the countries I am going to so I guess I need to get a new one when I get there.  I am so ready to get out there and explore, but I am nervous as well.