Tag Archives: Tourist

Oh the Places You’ll Go

I last posted in February so since then I’ve visited Walt Disney World again for the Flower and Garden Festival, graduated from college, and accepted an offer to intern with one of Disney’s offices out in California!


I plan to post occasionally about my adventures out in California.   I definitely plan to do a few Disneyland trip reports as well as travel posts for any other sites I venture to!

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Friday Funny


Happy Friday!  Spring break is coming up so in honor of getting in that fun spirit here’s a friday funny.  Minnie looks great in this photo and I look super awkward mid-sentence.  Can anyone come up with a good caption for what I was saying here?

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Worldly Wednesday: Madrid

This week’s Worldly Wednesday takes us to Madrid!  Madrid was one of my favorite cities that I visited and I had such a great time there with friends.  Continuing my trend of recapping the trip by photos…

Football: We decided last minute to attend an Atlético football match and had a fantastic time.  We had nosebleed seats but felt the energy of the game surrounded by many enthusiastic fans.  I also scored a children’s jersey on sale as a souvenir from the game.  It was a nice warm day as well so it was great being able to enjoy the sunshine and the game.

Retiro Park: I’m seen here attempting to row the boat on the pond at Retiro Park.  We only had about half an hour out on the pond as we had to switch AirBnBs and were short on time.  But, it was so relaxing and was something less touristy that made us feel immersed in daily Spanish life.  We had sangria and sandwiches before going out on the pond and again just enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Royal Palace/other touristy sites: We did not go into the Royal Palace but did take photos outside.  We also hit up the traditional touristy sites such as the Prado Museum and Plaza Mayor.

Madrid was our first trip away from England and so we weren’t sure what to expect but things went very smoothly and our adventures for the semester were off to a fantastic start.

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WDW Half Marathon: 4 Things I Can’t Wait For (and 3 I am Dreading)

photo 4My study abroad semester has just about a month left which is crazy!  What is even crazier though is that my 21st birthday and 7th half marathon is just under two months away.

The Walt Disney World Half Marathon falls on January 7th this year, which is my birthday, and I am so excited.  As usual, I have been running a bit but could definitely be running more than I am.  I’m really looking forward to the race weekend as I’ll also be running the 5K and enjoying my time at Disney.

The 4 Things I Can’t Wait for are…

  1. Arriving in Disney and heading to the expo to pick up my race bibs.  The expo always has a bit of excitement in the air as runners walk around picking up their packets and perusing the different merchandise stalls.  I hope to get another medal to put on my Mickey Vinylmation and maybe look for another “I’m Training” shirt since I love the one I have but other than that, probably won’t buy anything.  Maybe a magnet for the car too.
  2. Anything after Mile 1 and even Mile 2 of the races.  I wouldn’t say I love running because that would be a stretch but I definitely like it a lot more than I used to.  However, the first mile or two are challenging.  After standing in the corrals, I am ready to run but then the crowds always make the start a little slow (not that I’m speedy by any means).
  3. Running or more like walking through Cinderella’s Castle.  During my first half marathon, which was at Disney, running through the Castle was SO neat.  Of course, the thoughts in my head were as follows “OMG I’m running through the Castle…Well actually I’m walking because there are so many people…Oh now people are screaming…I want to do that too…(screams)…That was fun…Oh yikes I’m not even halfway done with this and my legs are sore…Oh but this is so neat”
  4.  Wearing my medal around the parks and getting to congratulate other runners.  I won’t wear my medal for more than a day after probably although some people wear theirs the entire time they are in Disney.

3 Things I’m Dreading:

  1. The early wake up calls.  I have to get up early for the 5K and half but my sister and dad are running the 10K and I want to go cheer them on so we will see if I can wake up for that too.  I’m sleeping in on the 8th!
  2. The uncertainty of the weather.  One year it was 30 degrees supposedly and when I ran in 2013, it was perfect weather.  I’m worried the weather might be iffy or really hot or cold and I won’t know what to wear.
  3. Miles 8 and 9 of the half as those are usually the toughest for me.  Once I get to 10 then it’s just a 5K to go!

4 Things I Can’t Wait For plus 3 Things I’m Dreading makes for a total of 7!  And we are running on January 7th!  What is everyone looking forward to or not looking forward to about WDW Marathon Weekend?

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Greenwich, Gin, and Gulls

img_0949Well the title is an alliterative quick summary of the past week here.
Last Wednesday we went to Greenwich (not the preppy Connecticut town, but the one here in England) to the National Maritime Museum.  The museum had a variety of exhibits, but I enjoyed seeing Nelson’s coat from the Battle of Trafalgar
the most.  img_0945 It was the one he was wearing when he got hit, and then later died from the wound.  They also had his blood stained stockings.  It’s a bit crazy how blood stained stockings have been saved for more than two hundred years.    img_0975
On Thursday, we took a toimg_0978ur of the Beefeater Distillery Tour.  We definitely were able
to see more when we toured the apple cider mill in France and I believe we did as well at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.  We did see much on this tour other than the ingredients they use to make the gin.  They gave us a free gin and tonic but I was not a huge fan.

img_0983Sadly for Friday, I couldn’t come up with word beginning with “g” for our Sherlock Holmes walking tour.  We saw different sites all around the city and heard about how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the short stories in the Strand magazine, which then made the magazine very popular.  One of my classmates mentioned “The Great Mouse Detective” on the tour and now I really want to watch the movie again!  The voice of Sherlock Holmes in the movie is actually voiced by an actor who went on to play Sherlock Holmes in many different mediums and his name is Basil Rathbone.  And we learned about the origins of Holmes’ hat and pipe.

Our second all day field trip was on Saturday and we took the train to Brighton where we saw sea gulls.  img_0993The day started out sunny and bright when we arrived at the beach town.  We had a few minutes to take photos of the beach before we started our sewer tour.  Yes, sewer tour.  Sewer tours are a thing and supposedly you have to book them way in advance because they are so popular.  I was shocked that vacationers actually did this.  Our professor had signed us up so we had no choice.  img_0996We wore hard hats and gloves (because there are rats in the sewers…yay).  First, the workers/tour guides gave us a quick introduction about the sewers and we saw a short film.  They gave us advice to take a deep sniff to numb our senses as we walked in but it did not really help.  We walked through different overflow areas (which had been hosed off before the tour but just use your imagination on how well that worked).  After an hour and a half, we were ready to head back into the sunshine so we climbed a staircase and we emerged from a manhole (like Amy Adams does in Disney’s Enchanted).  You should’ve seen people’s faces walking by as they asked what we were doing and we said “a sewer tour.”  After the tour, we had a pub lunch where I had a good pulled pork sandwich.  My friends and I then went shopping around town and stopped for ice cream, but unfortunately the weather had turned and it was now pouring.

I spent Sunday meeting up with family friends and going on a tour around London led by a family friend/connection and that was really fun.  I walked 11.68 miles on Sunday!    Monday, we went to the Alexander Fleming Museum at St. Mary’s Hospital (where many members of the royal family have been born).  This hospital looked very old and different from the hospitals I’ve seen back home.  We couldn’t believe that royals had been born here.  The museum was up a few flights of windy stairs and not air conditioned.  The last week or so has been brutal without air conditioning, especially when you are listening to a tour guide or packed in with lots of Londoners on the tube.

Yesterday, we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is my favorite museum in London but unfortunately our tour guide got the time mixed up so we started the tour late and were all hot and exhausted.  I am hoping to head back to the museum if I have time this weekend, since I was not able to see much.  I met up with two friends from high school who are also studying abroad in London for dinner and we got a great deal at an Italian restaurant with 10 pounds for two courses and wine!

Hope everyone’s week went well!

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Bank of England and A Visit to the Countryside

Thanks everyone for reading about all of my museum visits and following along during my time in London. Enjoy the exciting posts now because once I get to the university in October, I do not think my daily life will be as thrilling!

On Monday we had an afternoon free, as yesterday was an all day field trip and our professor offered to give us some time off before the busy day.  So Monday afternoon, I went to the Bank of England to exchange some old notes.  I also went to the Bank of England Museum.  This Museum was very well done.  I read through (almost) everything in 45 minutes but it was very interactive and made the financial system easy to understand.

I was able to touch a gold bar as well which was neat and they had how much it was currently worth in pounds right above the gold.  I touched gold worth 350,000 GBP!  The museum is free, easy to get to, and was not crowded.  I would definitely recommend visiting this museum.

Yesterday we had our all day visit to Faversham in Kent.  We took an early train out of London Victoria and headed into the countryside.  I slept (as I always do in any sort of vehicle) but kept an alarm because unlike my summer trains into the city and back, I was not getting off at the last stop.  We started off the day a little tired and wondering how this all day trip was going to be.  Surprisingly, I did not look up anything about where we were going ahead of time.

When we arrived in Faversham, we walked to the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre.

This centre exceeded my expectations.  I thought it would be a small exhibit that we would spend at most an hour at before going to lunch.  However, the Centre took up three older houses and we split into a few groups so that tour guides could lead us through the exhibits.  The centre is very hands on with a record player we could adjust, rotary telephones to call each other on, and air raid helmets we were able to try on.  The items here go back to the spearheads of the ancient times all the way to the World Wars.  The tour guide even sounded an air raid siren for us.  We heard a variety of stories from a woman who murdered her husband on the 7th attempt and dragged him through the snow and was immediately discovered as her footsteps gave her away, to a story on a real life pirate.  Our tour guide was fantastic, as were the rest of the guides for the day. We stayed at the volunteer run museum for two hours before having a lunch break.

I went with a few friends to the Vault, a small pub in Faversham.  I had Shepherd’s Pie as well as some chips.  I had just enough time to run to the second hand bookstore in town before we had to meet back up as a class.  I HAD to purchase the Winnie the Pooh stories in the photo below.  Plus the book was only a pound.  The bookshop was run by volunteers as well and the elderly lady ringing up the book said to me “Oh you’ve found one!” very excitedly and then asked which one and all.  While Amazon is convenient, I really enjoy small bookstores. img_0937   Since our class is focused on chemistry and the relationship of this science with the public, we headed to the Chart Gunpowder Mills next.  The walk there was over the river and through the woods.  Okay, not quite, but it was through a few neighborhoods and then by a river which bugs just loved.  I had to put on my sweater in the heat in order to avoid blowing up with mosquito bites.  I was expecting something different, as the Mills were tucked away and it was only one small building.  The guides, similar to the one at the Heritage Centre, knew a LOT about the mills and were very passionate volunteers which was great.  I was in the group that went on a forty five minute walking tour first (so glad I wore my sneakers this day).  We learned more about Faversham and saw old sites from the time of the Gunpowder Mills.  Our professor almost got attacked by a duck when we stopped near a pond as the ducks came up to us easily hoping for food and then flew over us to others who had brought bread.  Along the tour, residents we passed all said “Hiya” or “Cheers” to us so I felt like we were very welcomed even though we took up half of the narrow road at times.

After returning from our walk, we switched with the other group and went inside the Mill.  I know Britain does not get that hot all that often, but I would’ve really appreciated some air conditioning (or a huge ice cream cone) at that point.  It’s been in the 70’s and 80’s here!  We heard more about the actual gunpowder making process with the tools right there in front of us.  Our guide also told us about his recent travels and quizzed us on British currency. img_0925  Overall the day was one of my favorites so far as Faversham is the cutest town and I highly recommend it as a day trip out of London!  We were all exhausted at the end of the day and barely scraped together a cooked dinner, but the trip was definitely worth it.

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7 Days Done, 7 Lessons Learned

  1. Bring your own bags when you go grocery shopping.  It is 5 pence for each bag you use.  So unless you are buying meat or something that really needs a plastic bag, bring your own reusable bag.
  2. They do not seem to have applesauce in the grocery stores, which is devastating.
  3. Items expire sooner.  Nothing we buy lasts for more than five days, other than Oreo cookies 🙂  Okay, maybe a few other items but it seems food is bought more often here.
  4. When crossing the street, the loud beeping means you can cross now.  Definitely startling the first time you hear it.
  5. The regular M and M’s are made using a different kind of chocolate or are just different over here, but still very good.
  6. The tube is not air conditioned.  So this summer in NYC, I was sweating standing on the platform but then cooled off once in the car.  Here, I am fine on the platform but sweating once I enter the car as it has been in the 70’s here most days and has barely rained.
  7. Most of the grocery stores only have one cashier and then 20 self service check out machines.  I love self checkout so this is lovely.  And if you don’t want to spend time sorting coins, you can just put them in the machine to pay and it tells you how much you still need.  If you put in a Euro by accident, it will spit it back out.  IMG_0838.jpg(Photo is from King’s Cross station)

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