United Kingdom · 8 Days · 92 Moments · July 2015

Travels through London & Scotland

5 August 2015

Fringe is in full force now - kinda feel bad for the locals, even since I've arrived it has gotten insane.
The castle is massive, with multiple museums inside (most of which do not allow pics). Lots of war history & Mary Queen of Scots details. Oh and the Crown Jewels, gorgeous.
Edinburgh castle
Whisky tour & tasting!
One more "full breakfast," this time with haggis & black pudding.
"labels are for jars, not people."
Checked in to flight tomorrow, and car to airport booked. :( I don't want to leave!!

4 August 2015

4.54 miles, 666 ft of elevation. I didn't intend to come down on the other side, but it made for a very pretty trip down.
Haggis (which is FANTASTIC) and Irn Bru.
Post hike pint at the World's End.
Hiked to the top of a very beautiful & windy Arthur's Seat.
Am realizing I am not going to make it out to the Highlands this trip. I want to see all of Edinburgh & the waterfront, and all of the single day highlands trips run from 8am to 9 or 10pm. Will just have to come back again. :)
Lazy start to the morning - was very nice not waking up hot & to street noise/music! Getting breakfast (trying the full Scottish, of course), then up Arthur's Seat I go!

3 August 2015

Last note before bed - 4 miles for the day, and that's only because I walked down the Royal Mile & back up before finding a pub and settling in for the night. Will need to get some real exercise in tomorrow to burn off all of the beer from tonight.
Fully intended to just stop into the pub under my flat to check it out...MAYBE get one drink. Ended up hanging out for 2+ hrs on a trivia team - we came in 3rd in a tie breaker!!
Also has to be said - the portion sizes here are huge. I've pretty much been eating one meal a day the entire time I've been here, the portion sizes (plus the drinking) is totally why.
See! Very good. But huge.
Dinner - fish & chips (gotta compare Scottish to English, right??), and another pint - this one's Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted. Good beer, just not used to drinking it not-cold. It's not warm. Just not cold.
I am hiking up Arthur's Seat tomorrow. For now, selfie.
Edinburgh doesn't even look real, it's absolutely stunning. Unbelievably beautiful.
St Giles Cathedral. Wow. Reminds me of Trinity in Dublin.
Edinburgh Castle beer.
The apartment I am staying in is to the left on this street - this is the Royal Mile.
Not in Scotland yet, but scenery getting greener & blue-er.
For some reason I didn't expect to see beaches this far north - I'm sure is cold, but pretty.
My seat mate had ended up being very chatty, which is ok & has been interesting. This is a statue made of steel by a famous local artist, called "arms of an angel" or something.
Very pretty town & cathedral!
At the halfway point, just passed York.
Food service! The woman in front of me is quite annoyed that they're out of apples. :)
40 minutes outside of London - lots of nothing outside. Very pretty though!!
There it is - platform 9 3/4.
There it is - 11am train to Edinburgh!
Bags packed, waiting for the car. :(

2 August 2015

This is what 5 days in London looks like for a Broadway fan.
3.5 miles for my last day here. Not surprised, though, other than wandering through Chinatown after breakfast/before the matinee I really didn't walk around all that much. I will miss London, had an amazing time, but am totally ready for some good fun outdoors in Scotland.
The Commitments was so much fun. I loved the movie, own and regularly listen to both!! soundtracks - the musical totally captures the same feeling. Had the entire theater dancing by the end.
Apparently the shows "with the most fights are Jersey Boys & the Commitments." They actually searched my bag before letting me in here. Only time that happened in NY was for Hamilton with Obama. I gotta say, maybe theaters don't need to push the alcohol so hard if they're having problems with fights??
Doing laundry & packing in between shows.
Why yes, it is weird to be seeing American Idiot in London. Although maybe no different than last night at Gypsy with all the (well faked) American accents on distinguished British actors.
Wandered through Chinatown on my way to the theater. Looks/feels exactly like SF Chinatown.
I have to say - I am SO grateful for my electronic cigarette. People smoke everywhere here, directly under my flat seems to be a popular spot for the folks who work in the shops there, and there is no doubt in my mind I would be smoking real cigs again without it. I'm sure Scotland is going to be similar.
"Full Tredwell Breakfast." Very very yummy, even though I couldn't finish. Plus a fantastic Bloody Mary.
That's a damn fine cup of coffee.
Last day in London :( Gorgeous morning though, so why not an outdoor "full English" breakfast at a celebrity chef type restaurant? (At Treadwells, Marcus Wareing's place) and then another two show day, American Idiot and the Commitments.

1 August 2015

Oh and 6 miles down today. I really didn't think I'd walked all that much!
Interval (intermission) impressions: Gypsy is so not my favorite musical. Nothing Sondheim ever really is. That said - holy cow Imelda Staunton. Now I understand the reviews, this is HER show. Amazing performance so far, second half should be interesting.
Forgot to mention - this stars Imelda Staunton, who I know best from Harry Potter, and one of my favorite Doctors - Peter Davison. So excited to see them.
Another beautiful old theater - at the Savoy for Gypsy!!
The savoy. Beautiful theater (and hotel)!
Imelda Staunton. Amazing. What more can I say - she's the reason to see this show.
Yeah, Miss Saigon was fabulous. A couple weak spots I could nitpick, but overall really well done, unbelievably well produced - sets, lighting, massive cast & stage.
Intermission. I am SO glad I decided to see this. The changes made are perfect, it no longer tries to be a sappy love story, but more of the creepy dirty truth of what was going on during the war. And the girl who plays Kim is fantastic.
Must remember to google later - when did Ellen's song change from "Her or Me" to "Now That I've Seen Her?" It looks like she has yet another new song in this production - "Maybe."
Finding the number of bridal parties here very funny - yes, this is a love story, but it is SO not a happy one. Gorgeous theater tho, and an awesome seat.
I keep getting asked for directions. Last night it was on the train platform in Greenwich - a woman from Wales asked "are you a local?" I started laughing. Surprisingly tho, I was able to help!
Proper British tea service.
Highland scramble. Exactly what I wanted.
Late, lazy start this morning - ran downstairs around 9 for coffee, then took my sweet old time getting up and dressed. Breakfast now, then Miss Saigon c/o Leicester Square's half price ticket booth. I have heard it's a very...weird...production, but I love the show too much not to go.
Set out intending to go to a pub for a true English breakfast. Then I spotted Fortnum & Mason. How could I say no?

31 July 2015

9.65 miles for today. Tempted to go wander around a little bit just to hit a solid 10.
Yup. Empty car.
On the train from Greenwich back to London. I think I'm the only person in this entire car. Wow.
Tommy was spectacular. It was clearly heavily influenced by Curious incident of the Dog... very much "internal Tommy" staging/dancing. And Tommy signed my hand during his rock star phase in the show! Can I go again??
Just realized that the people I'm watching are playing baseball - not cricket. I thought Brits were anti-baseball??
The number of large parks & green spaces in London is extraordinary. I'm very jealous.
Very frustrated with navigation apps. Just spent an hour wandering in circles thanks to the latest one I'm trying. It should not be this difficult to get good directions without Internet! After all, I have gps...why is internet so necessary??
Very funny moment - at lunch in a pub (London Lager is yummy), reading a cheesy novel about an American who falls in love with a prince William-type (royalty) at Oxford. Story is talking about how chugging a jug of Pimms is an old school tradition. I look up, and there's a sign advertising "Jug of Pimms." Ha!
Went for a run - slow due to me dodging tourists & stopping to take pics...but had lots of fun anyway.
My little flat, plus a bonus shot of the view out the window. I am in a first floor walk up over a very busy retail street filled with lots of shops - Drury teas across the street, amazing coffee (New Row Coffee), clothing stores, beef patty's, gelato and tons more. Not quiet, but thankfully quiet enough for sleep from midnight - 8am.

30 July 2015

At least I'm getting lots of walking in to make up for the junk food. 7 miles walked yesterday, and surprisingly - 12 miles today!
Post-show snack - pork bun. Love these things.
Oh and the theater has waiter service at our seats. Strange.
Bend It Like Beckham was a lot of fun - any show that has me leaving the theater singing a song in another language has to be something special. Sadaa chardhdi kalaa!!
Bend it Like Beckham! Reviews have said that it is good....but long (3+ hrs). Interesting crowd here too.
Dinner was a beef patty from the place downstairs (my apartment is literally on top of it) and a Jaffa Cake. Am I doing British right?
Opera in Covent Garden.
Pretty & gloomy looking. Must bring raincoat tonight.
Hey Dad! The cab has a hearing aid loop!!
Lunch at a little French cafe. Very yummy quiche, rose, and of course, diet coke.
Buckingham Palace was fun - really interesting seeing the state rooms, stables, etc. and it's neat how it's becoming "modern" - for example, the "candles" on the carriages all take LED's!
Morning!! Woke up at 6:45, just like I do back home - looks like exhausting myself yesterday had properly forced me to adjust to UK time. Still loving everything about this hotel, everyone is so lovely, there are very special touches added to everything (ex: Cadbury hot chocolate & 'biscuits' on the in room coffee/tea service). This place served its purpose perfectly as a place I could get into immediately after landing for my first sleepy day here. Today - Buckingham Palace tour, get settled in the airbnb, and Bend it Like Beckham tonight!

29 July 2015

Quick day 0 recap before bed: - not really calling it day 1 since I landed at 11. - timing worked well all around. Car service was waiting as soon as I had my bags, hotel room was ready - and upgraded to a suite! - had just about an hour in the hotel before I had to go to the show, which was intentional...if I spent too much time sitting i was going to fall asleep. - walked to/from the theater - about 1.5 miles each way, really nice walk through multiple parks. Sooo many parks here, I'm jealous & can't wait to get out and run (probably not until Friday). - show was fantastic. I did get a little droopy eyed sleepy towards the end, but made it through fine. Loved the chat after, the show attracts a very specific type of musical fan..even they pointed out that Jason Robert Brown's shows don't do particularly well, &talking musicals with a crowd like that was a ton of fun. - after the show came back to the hotel to figure out where to get dinner from. 1/2 later, yummy fish & chips!
7:30pm - concierge calls to ask if I will need help with my luggage when I check out tomorrow. 8:43pm - housekeeping came by to "see if there is anything I need." Oh and there are very sweet people every 5 feet in the public spaces of the hotel asking how you are, do you need directions, etc. I am torn between feeling pestered and being impressed that a hotel tries so hard to be helpful. I'm sure if I did need the help I would appreciate this a lot. My perception is definitely skewed, given that I've only had about 3-4 hrs of sleep on a plane since waking up at 7am yesterday in NY.
And day 1 dinner! Takeaway fish & chips, of course!!
Asked for ice for the room. Delivered in a silver bucket on a China plate. Very very slick.
Pretty WW2 Canadian Memorial in the park.
Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown. Spectacular, amazing cast (west end always has amazing performers) & the chat/q&a was a wonderful surprise. Really cozy & intimate, I loved it.
Walked by Buckingham Palace on the way to the theater.
The hotel room has a hallway!! Gorgeous & huge.
Half an hour through customs. Not too bad.
My "view" on the plane.
Getting ready to leave at the gate!