25 May 2013


After our first visit in Edinburgh together with our guide we decided to go today on our own to Edinburgh because it was a "free day".

But first at 2.30 am the firealarm went on and howled through the hotel. Ilona first thought it was her mobile, and I thought it was something behind my bed, finally we looked out of our room and saw a few heads peeking out of their rooms too. As we didn't hear anybody of the stuff, I put my jeans on reluctantly and a coat and went downstairs with the others. Ilona was quiet in panic, but I thought it's not serious, I saw no firemen and nobody from the hotel staff on our floor. We were 6 to go out on a side street and then saw all the others standing in front of the hotel, freezing ! One had even taken her bed cover and wrapped around her and looked like a snowball.

Of course I had to take pictures and found the whole event rather funny, because it really didn't seem very serious to me. But rules are rules. We then were told that we could go back into our rooms which we did. After these emotions we all went to bed again.

This was the second fire alarm we had since we started our trip ! Now I wait for the third. There is a proverb saying "never two without three".

After breakfast we started our free day by taking a sightseeing bus at the station. It took us to the "new" part of Edinburgh which we hadn't seen yesterday.  The weather was wonderful, the sun was shining and we could sit on the deck of the bus.

We listened to the explanations and looked around and tried to see as much as we could.

We passed by the botanical garden, which looked beautiful

and got out of the bus to see the "Britannia" the yacht which took Queen Elizabeth II and her family around the world. Now she is permanently moored as an exhibition ship here in Edinburgh. The entrance to the yacht is via the Ocean Terminal. We didn't go on board, we had no time for that. But at least we had seen the beautiful ship from outside.

We hopped on the next bus which took us around another side of Edinburgh and then brought us back where we had started from. I think it's the best way to see the maximum of a city if you don't have a lot of time.

Then we walked along the main shopping street, where saw some interesting fancy people, a guy who talked about Jesus and our sins all alone for hours, but nobody listened to the poor man. A bagpipe player,  a woman who had her face covered with piercings so that you couldn't see her skin anymore and a fire  juggler !

We had lunch in a nice pub and Ilona ate "Fish & Chips" for the first time in her life and found it delicious.

We did some window shopping, Ilona bought 3 Scottish scarfs, and then we sat again in the sunshine and had a nice ice cream ! We were so happy that we had such a good weather for once we were in Edinburgh !

We returned to our hotel and rested, tomorrow we will see "Nessie" at Loch Ness ! If you don't hear from me anymore either Internet is not working or Nessie ate me !

24 May 2013


York,  way to Hadrians wall

The morning started with a nice breakfast and then we left the hotel at 7.15 direction Edinbourgh in Scotland. It was quiet cool and very windy which made the temperature even more unpleasant.

Hadrians wall

Our first stop was the Hadrians wall, very impressive when your think that this wall is over 2000 years old and was built by the Romans. The landscape was of outstanding beauty ! This patchwork of different greens and yellows was just amazing.

After having taken enough pictures of the wall, we returned to the bus just in time to avoid a shower. In fact we were quiet lucky, the sun came out when we were outside and it started to rain when we got back into the bus !

Next stop was the Scottish "Border" with a guy in a kilt playing backpipes and against some money allowed to take a picture of him. I didn't like at all the fact that there was a "border", after all I was in the United Kingdom ! Apparently there was Scottish money too, but I haven't seen any.

We then made a stop at Jedburgh for lunch, there was not much to see besides the Abbey, but I found a nice red beret which I bought because the scarf I was wearing was not warm enough, it was as cold as in winter ! I also bought a thicker scarf. We left Jedburgh for Edinburgh and arrived there at 2 pm.

Our guide took us for a walk through the city and explained some historical buildings.

We went up to Edinburgh castle from where we had a very nice view over the city.

We saw the Pub where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, because it was cold and she had no money to pay the heating for her flat. Today she probably could pay the heating costs of whole Edinburgh.

To finish our  tour we went to the graveyard which was quiet special as people were living in these houses and had a nice view on the old gravestones. There were many creepy stories about this graveyard.

After such a long day we had our supper in the hotel and I am just able to write this post and will then fall into my bed half dead ! Tomorrow is a day off and we will make a tour through Edinbourgh of our own. So we can rest a bit and go later to visit the town. 

23 May 2013


Our room in the hostel was perfect to spend one night, but we had some difficulties with the bunk bed ! It was quiet hard to get to the "first floor" because there were no steps or a I wanted to sleep in the upper bed, but I was to tall ! So Ilona had to sleep there. Each time she moved I thought I was on a ship and the waves were schaukeln me to sleep.

Today it was a very tiring day ! We left London at 6.30, after having a coffee on the parking. We are a group of people from a little everywhere, so far I know that there are 2 South African ladies, a few Malasians and some Americans.

The weather was dry and it was not so cold and we arrived in Cambridge around 10 am

First thing we did was taking "punting" boats and were pushed around like in an Gondola from Venice. The weather was a little grey, but it didn't rain and we enjoyed the ride on the rive Cam very much, We saw quiet a lot of the famous Univrsities and it was a real interesting ride.

After a walk through the town we returned to the bus and continued our way to York.

We had our lunch in the coach driving towards York where we arrived around 2.30 pm.

and visited the very beautiful old center.

We stopped at an old Pub under which had been discovered a Roman bath. It was very interesting to see !

We arrived around 6.30 at the hotel Ibis, very tired and had to wait for ages to get our dinner ! Also Internet connection had a horrendous price, 5 £ for one hour. Trying out Internet connection I suddenly found myself connected to Skype Wifi, which I didn't even know.

So I was able to write at least a little report about our first day of travelling !

22 May 2013


After a nice trip without any problems we took the Eurostar train in Brussels and not even 2 h later we arrived in London.

I had looked on internet which tube to take to our hostel and we found it without any problems. Public transports in London are just great even I with my non existant orientation sense found the way ! I turned out that the bus we had to take at London Bridge stopped right in front of our hostel.

Our hostel

We had just put our luggage in a locker because it was 11 am and our room was only available at 2 pm, that the fire alarm started howling that it hurt our ears, we had to go outside and 3 min later firemen arrived and checked what had happened.

Then arrived a second truck. I found that rather funny, the other guests laughed too, but Ilona was worried about our papers we had left in the locker. But 10 min later we could go in again, apparently a washing machine had caused steam and the fire alarm went off. What a "warm" welcome !

After this "shock" we went to London's city center, walked along Oxford street, had a look into the beautiful "Liberty house" store, where cars covered with flowers were hanging from the ceiling.

We walked through Carnaby street and then I wanted to show Ilona Covent Garden. I don't know why, but I mixed it up with "Camden Town" which is completely in another direction and rather far away from the center.

But it was very nice, because it's quiet a special area with lots of tatoos and piercing shops, very fancy clothing and lots of Punks and Gothics walking around. We had coffee there and then took the tube and the bus back to check into our hostel and got a room in the 4th floor with bank beds ! I think I once slept "on the first floor" of a bed when I was about ten, so I insited to sleep up there 60 years later. Ilona was happy because she didn't like to sleep "high" ! I just wrote this post and then we went to bed.
Tomorrow morning our bus tour starts at 6.30 am !

21 May 2013


While you are reading this I sit in the Eurostar the train which goes through a tunnel under the sea and takes me in not even two hours from Brussels to London !

And from there we start our Bus tour which takes us around the UK. My friend Ilona and I celebrate our 70th birthday and have offered ourselves this trip !

These are all the places we will visit !

From tomorrow on I will write a little every day of what we have seen, a sort of travel diary. Of course depending on Internet connections !

20 May 2013


Helps you to remember what you have done on the weekend of May 18. If you participate please put the little logo on the top of your post and leave your link.

Feeling much better and nearly "normal" (if that is possible) after my Bronchitis, I finally had the courage to do the laundry so that everything is clean for my round trip through the UK. The whole week I just couldn't do anything. I also filled in the fridge for Mr. G. and bought him enough different pasta plates to heat up in the micro wave while I am gone.

As the sun came out in the afternoon, I could even work a little in the garden. I also prepared my little notebook which I take along on my trip, so that I can write everyday what I have seen, as a sort of diary.

My friend whom I know since I was 8 arrived in Brussels with her 15 people family to celebrate her 70th birthday, and she called me that they had difficulties to arrive at the Hotel because in Brussels center the "Gay Parade" was going on with around 80.000 people ! 

On Sunday morning I went to their Hotel, to meet her mother ! Meanwhile she is 90 and of course we wanted to see each other. She had known me so well as a little girl. I was more often at her house then at home, because it was such a lovely funny family and my friend had a little sister and a baby brother which of course was very interesting for me !

They all stayed in the Hotel Metropole which was built in 1895. It was the best and most luxury hotel in Brussels and many celebrities stayed there, like the Shah of Iran, Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, the Crown Prince of Spain and many other royalties. A few American presidents, Johnson, Eisenhower and Hoover where also amongst the guests. Placido Domingo and even Einstein liked this hotel.  It was also the hotel where famous actors stayed.

Of course it had been renovated and refurbished inside, but it still looks the same as it was shown in some movies amongst them a James Bond.  

The entrance Hall is full of marble and mirrors and the light quiet dim, so that my pictures are not the best.

And then I met the woman whom I know for such a long time. Her character hasn't changed a a bit and she was still the same. We had a lovely time together, digging out old childhood adventures, talking about my parents and old neighbors, while having a cup of tea in the beautiful lounge. Time flew by so quickly and after two hours I returned home from my excursion into the past.

In the evening we went to Brussels to join the whole family for the Birthday supper. The restaurant was near the Grand'Place just at corner of the Queen's Gallery.

It was a very cozy place

The meal was great very good French kitchen, with seafood or Capaccio as starter and then fish or roasted duck as main course, then cheese and "Sorbet" ice cream. We laughed a lot and had a lot to tell, I had seen her 3 children last time maybe 20 years ago, and besides her oldest grandchildren (25 and 21) I had never seen the youngest ones of 7, 8 and 2.

And here we are celebrating her birthday and we remembered that we celebrated our birthday for the first time when we both were 8 !!

Great Grandma despite her 90 years enjoyed the meal and participated at all conversations. As the way to the hotel was a little long for her on the cobbled streets, she sat in a wheelchair which normally she doesn't need. Her youngest great grandson was pleased that his great grandma was also sitting in a buggy  ! The oldest great grandsons took over wheelchair and buggy and made a race through the Gallery with both of them. That was so funny we laughed to tears !

It really had been a wonderful birthday celebration.