United Kingdom · 46 Days · 43 Moments · June 2017

Disney Magic thru the United Kingdom

21 July 2017

Salvador Dali's Christ of Saint John of the Cross.

19 July 2017

Seen on our travels.

17 July 2017

Back on board. On to Liverpool.
Skara Brae. Long before the construction of the pyramids, and centuries before Stonehenge was erected, the settlement of Skara Brae was a thriving village from 3200-2500 BC. A massive storm in 1850 uncovered the structures that had been hidden under the earth for millennia.
The Broch of Gurness, Orkney, Scotland. What you can't see: freezing rain and winds that will melt the skin off your face.
For some reason, Stone and Iron age Scotland was the place to be. The 800 BC remains of the Broch of Birsay on Orkeny Island are just one of the truly impressive remains of what was once a thriving civilization. Broch is derived from Brough, which I'm sure means "Disco" or, if literally translated, "Funkytown." It's not appreciated that the Disco movement died the first time centuries before its most recent demise in the early 1980s. In both cases, the blame can be traced squarely back to John Travolta, who only ages 15 minutes for every decade.

16 July 2017

The Standing Stones of Stennes, Ornkney Island, Scotland. Around 5,000 years old, it was thought that these stones marked the location of the first KFC in Europe. In the center of the circle was a central fire pit, or hearth. It was here that orders for the Colonel's 11 herb and spice chicken were passed through to the kitchen. Because the Neolithic people were driven by necesity to survive the harsh conditions of North Scotland, the hearth was colloquially known as a "Drive Thru."
The Yesnaby cliffs on Orkney Island, Scotland. Some of the most breathtaking scenery, with some of the harshest wind and rain, in Scotland. Highlights include a wind-driven reverse waterfall, and rains of foam blown up the cliffs from the sea below.

15 July 2017

The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland. Bridging the Clyde and Union rivers, and eliminating the need for a series of locks, the wheel sends ships up or down the 72 vertical feet separating the two. One of the first 21st Century Wonder of the Modern World. And the question has been asked, according to our guide, a million times: Yes, the engineering and construction of the Wheel worked out to be cheaper than building the many locks necessary to do the same job.
Before we leave Glasgow, let's visit the Glasgow Green. Oldest park in Glasgow (opened in 1500s,) and home of the Doulton Fountain and the People's Palace. The Doulton Fountain was given to the City in 1888 (Same year as the incorporation of the City of Orange in Ca.) and moved to the park in 1890. The indoor greenhouse of the People's Palace we opened in 1898, and were meant to be serve as a cultural public space, and intended to be a start at reversing the horrible pollution and overcrowding in Glasgow at the time.
Greenock harbor, Downtown Glasgow, and Glasgow City Hall, Scotland.
Presented without comment: The Kelpies.

14 July 2017

Greenock, Scotland, and wind turbines off the coast.
Greenock, Scotland. Gateway to Glasgow, and our first really wet day. First-up in Glasgow is the amazing Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Because of our time-crunch, we ran through a few exhibits, ending with an original Salvador Dali, Christ of Saint John of the Cross.
The arrival of the Disney Magic in Liverpool was such a big deal, the city threw a fair, and had a large screen at the pier where they showed Disney movies. When we set sail, there were thousands to send us off.
Liverpool. No matter how we searched, we failed to find the fabled pool of liver from which the city takes its name. For those of you unfamiliar with the ancient legend, it was written that he, or she, who pulled the liver from the wading pool would be crowned rightwise King, or Queen, of the Britons. The Britons is a nightclub where even the Beatles wouldn't play.
Captain Jack Sparrow really let himself go.
A final taste of Liver pool.

13 July 2017

Fantastic Pub. Ireland for the win. Next up, Liverpool.
There will be some delays in postings as wifi is spotty in places, and non-existent on the ship. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12 July 2017

Dublin: Gate at to the Emerald Isle (the non-Northern Ireland part...) Trinity College, where the Book of Kells dwells. The former Irish Parliament building, Dublin Castle, monument to the Potato Famine, and the amazing cathedral.
Dublin: Gate at to the Emerald Isle (the non-Northern Ireland part...) Trinity College, where the Book of Kells dwells. The former Irish Parliament building, Dublin Castle, monument to the Potato Famine, and the amazing cathedral.
The library at Trinity College, Dublin.

11 July 2017

Dinner at Animator's Palate. The meal begins with everything in black and white. As the meal progresses, the pictures on the wall come to life, as invisible animators draw characters at different stages of the animation process. Once dessert is served, the drawings come to life with color and motion, as does the room. The food was darn good, too.
Portland and Weymouth. The Jurassic Coast is world heritage site, and one of he natural wonders of the world. The 95 miles of coastline contain some breathtaking beach cliff scenery, along with some of the most intact geological formations recording over 185 millions years of our planet's history. Also, great fish and chips, and beef and ale pie!

10 July 2017

Backtracking to France, we stopped in Bayeux, an amazing Normandy village which can trace its roots 2000 years. It's everything you'd expect from a French town ordered right out of a Hollywood set designer's catalog. Also: amazing crepes! Hamburger crepes!

9 July 2017

Time for some Magic. Our first dinner is in the new restaurant, Carioc's. Gold star to the non-Disney fan who can guess the reference, without internet assistance.
The American Cemetery in Normandy for those lost during DDay and the retaking of Europe. It overlooks the very cliffs that US Army Rangers had to scale with ropes and hooks on June 6, 1944.
More from Normandy.
Our first port is La Havre, France. A short trip later we are on the beaches of Normandy, and the Omaha and Utah beacheads. You can still feel the weight of history in these places, where bunkers, gun emplacements, and munitions craters still scar the land. While the landing at Utah beach was executed with near picture perfect precision, with fewer than 200 Allied casualties, wind and sea conditions conspired to botch the Omaha beach landing. The commanding general made the decision to press ahead with the landings anyway. In the end, nearly 5,000 men lost their lives. Was the commander correct? Could more lives have been saved if he had made a different decision? History can judge in hindsight, but the beach had to be taken, and in the end, it was.
Until proven guilty...
We are grateful for the bounty we are about to receive.
English parking garage.
Important information: Contrary to what the Amazing Race purports to be "reality", it take more than 15 seconds to fly from Los Angeles to Great Britain. Also, following the ten hour flight the last family cleared through Customs was not eliminated. Damn you, Phil.

8 July 2017

Dover Castle. Site of centuries of Shakespeare inspiring drama, two world wars, and the "Pocket Pistol." Deep underground run 4 miles of tunnels that have been excavated over centuries, and used for centuries of warfare all the way up to the Cold War. There is an age to these buildings of stone that is only matched by the ruins of the Aztecs and Mayans on our continent.
Ye Olde Sixbells Tavern. Classic British Pub serving classic British food in a classical way.
Hello, Gatwick!
The excitement level is approaching critical.
Our hotel du jour, the Duke of Cambridge Gatwick Hotel. Once a home for-wait for it- The Duke of Cambridge, around 1856 or so. It's historic, so you can't charge more than two phones at a time without dimming the lights and hearing the current buzz. Tomorrow: Dover Castle, the White Cliffs, and the Disney Magic.
Our chariot to London awaits.
This motley bunch is going to Jolly Olde England. Note: random woman in red shirt not included.
Oh, Bradley Terminal, you're the only redeeming feature of LAX. Plus, Umami Burger!

6 June 2017

Up, Up, and Away Turn off the lights, take out the garbage, and lock the front door. Turn the key in the lock, and bid your everyday life goodbye. Vacation has begun. And the journey of a thousand steps begins in the TSA line at LAX. If we don’t return, tell Sophia we love her.