Tag Archives: 42

Travel Itinerary

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Okay…after spending four+ years thinking about this trip, planning this trip, and changing my mind frequently on what to see and where to go, it’s now pretty much set in stone. So here it is:

September 15th: Board plane for Iceland. I don’t know guys. I may be more excited to be in Iceland than any other part of my trip. The more I look at pictures/read about it, the more it just calls to my soul.

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September 16, 17, 18th: Iceland.  I have booked tours of the South Shore, as well as horse riding over a lava field, and a tour of geysers and waterfalls. I’m taking an extra bag so I can break my “only carryon luggage” on the return flight. I have discovered that wool yard is actually a lot cheaper in Iceland than in the states, and I am completely in love with Icelandic wool. So I may just have to fill that suitcase, and mail it home once I reach London.

September 19th: Flight to London. The one thing I have absolutely planned for this date is watching the premiere of season 9 of Doctor Who in London! In the theater, if they do a big screen airing…otherwise I made sure my hotel has a television.

September 20th: London. Tour of Highgate Cemetery, canal ride in Little Venice, and shopping the Camden Markets.

September 21 – 22nd: In the morning, I have a tour booked of the Royal Opera House. Then, I will meet up with my friend Alberta and take the train to Leeds Castle, where we have a room booked. I also have an Owl Experience booked at Leeds Castle!  We return to London on the 22nd, just in time to attend a theatre performance of The Woman in Black. I hear it’s terrifying. I hope so! My second friend, Bonnie, will be flying in on the 22nd to join us as well, but she’s not into being scared, so she is going to see Shakespeare at the Globe instead. Wuss. 😉

September 23rd: Oxford. All three of us are taking the train for the day to Oxford. I’m particularly interested in seeing the world of C.S. Lewis. He’s probably done more than any author in shaping my inner self.  Tolkien – and Harry Potter film sites – are also a big draw.  If the weather allows, we plan to go punting.

September 24th: Alberta leaves us to go to Iceland, so Bonnie and I (as the two Harry Potter fanatics) are going to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.  When we get home, we’ll take in a Cabaret/Burlesque show.

September 25th: Bonnie and I will visit Kensington Palace, and the V&A museum. In the evening, I catch the sleeper train to Scotland, while Bonnie remains behind for another day in London, then Paris.  I’m excited about the sleeper train – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do!

September 26th: I wake up in Edinburgh! Today I will hit all the major sites of the Royal Mile.  Including, of course, The Elephant House Cafe, where Rowling worked on her writing. In the evening, I will take a ghost/history walking tour.

September 27th: Today is my chance to get outside of Edinburgh, and see a little bit of the rest of Scotland. I’ve booked with a small group that visits Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands.

September 28th: I return to England, via the coastal train. On the way, I’ll hop off at Alnwick Castle. Some of my ancestors lived here, scenes from Harry Potter were filmed here, and they have a fabulous poison garden. Afterward, I’ll continue to York, my next destination.

September 28 – 29th: York. I have nothing specifically booked here, but this is one of those beautiful cities with fantastic history. I’ve always wanted to visit.

September 30th: Leave York for Bath, and on the way, I’ll stop at Hardwick Hall. It was built by my favorite ancestor, Bess of Hardwick – the second most interesting and dominant English woman of her time. (The first being Elizabeth I.)

October 1st: Bath. I’ve been to Bath once before, all too briefly. I have a session at the Fashion Museum’s Study Facilities. They are going to pull some extant examples of beetlewing embroidery, 1830s dresses, and maybe an Edwardian evening dress or two, and I will get to have a couple of hours of hands-on playtime. Photographs are allowed!  In the evening, I want to visit Thermae Bath Spa, and have a soak in the rooftop pool.  Bliss….

October 2nd: Daytrip from Bath to the Cotswolds. I plan on visiting several small villages and just wandering around…  Change of plans – I’m going to Cardiff instead. I plan to visit the Doctor Who Experience, for sure! At some point, I’ll be taking a hot air balloon ride over Bath. Haven’t quite decided on a time yet.

October 3rd: Train back to London. I might stop off at Salisbury on the way for a couple of hours. I just have to get back to London by 3pm for my tour of the Angels Costumiers.

October 4 – 5th: Early flight from London, and one night, two days in Venice.

October 6th: One last day in London! In the evening, I have tickets to see Raven Girl, a ballet at the Royal Opera House based on Audrey Niffenberger’s book. In the day, I plan on doing some shopping.

October 7th: Flight home.

I’m quite pleased with this itinerary – it mingles all the history, geekery, and costuming I can fit in, plus a number of things I’ve always wanted to do, and never have. It’s also a bit of a research trip, since after I publish the time travel trilogy I’m currently working on, my next two series will be Victorian Steampunk, and Elizabethan Steampunk. It will be very helpful to be able to actually see/experience the same things as my heroines. And, I’ve spent all the time I wanted, enjoying the anticipation and planning stages. I’m ready to go!

My Travel Journal Arrived!

All the way from the Philippines.  It’s so awesome.  I love getting things from people in other countries; just the packaging alone is often amazing.  This one, sadly, did not come sewn in a fabric bag (India) or with cool little stamps all over it (Asia).  But it was wrapped very nicely inside:

And Nadja, the lady who made it, wrote a personal note for me:

I’d mentioned what I was intending to use it for, and she remembered.

There was also another envelope with printed information on how the journal was made.

But now…on to the unwrapping of the journal itself:

The first page is embossed with the Alunsina stamp:

The last page has an owl.  I love owls, so this is a lovely surprise!

It’s perfect, it’s gorgeous, and I can’t wait to fill it.  I’ve already decided that the wrappings and Nadja’s letter will be permanent additions.   I’ll also begin writing in it, long before it’s time for my travels.  Things like my plans and hopes for the trip, and as things get finalized, my itinerary.  The first thing I’m going to look for is a few perfect lines of poetry for the first page.

If you’d like an Alunsina journal of your own, you can find their Etsy shop here, as well as many more styles of journals on their facebook page.

Thank you Nadja and Enan!

Packing Light

For my trip, I’ll be taking only what I can carry on the plane….for about a three and half week long trip.  This video shows a good method for packing!


New Idea

I’m realizing I was thinking too small for the first stop on my Grand Vacation.  Instead of a few days in New York on my way over, what about a few days in Paris?   The airfare seems to work out to the same price!

Let me just say first that I’m not one of those girls who swoon over Paris.  I’ve never been all that attracted or interested in Paris, actually.  It would never be my destination of choice…but as a stop-over for a couple of days?  That would be perfect, since there are just a few things I would like to see in Paris.

Here is my list:

The Eiffel Tower.  Well, of course, doesn’t everyone?  But if I’m strapped for time, I’d settle for a walk-by, rather than a full-on, take the elevator to the top kind of visit.

Notre Dame.  I’m a sucker for huge, grand, gothic buildings…especially if they have gargoyles.  I adore gargoyles.

The Paris Opera House.  I’m even MORE of a sucker for grand theater buildings.

And this is the actual theater that inspired The Phantom of the Opera. Look, there’s even a lake under the theater!

The Catacombs.  I think ossuaries are the most fascinating things.  I’ve always wanted to visit one.

Bones are so beautiful.

And, since this list has been in reverse order of how much I’d like to see these attractions, here is my number one reason for wanting to spend a couple of days in Paris: Versailles.

And this, mostly because Marie Antoinette is one of my favorite people.  I want to see her Versailles…especially the Petit Trianon, and her fantasy village.  If I were a queen, this is exactly the sort of retreat I’d build for myself.

I want to spent an entire day here, just wandering.

So right now, that’s the plan.  Paris, Egypt, Jordan, and London.  I’m so excited I could explode, but I’m glad it’s still years away.  Planning and dreaming about a trip is one of the most enjoyable parts.

Travel Plans

There are two places in the world that have always been mine.

Even before I’d actually traveled to England, it felt like home.  I think it’s partly because most of my family tree is rooted in England (and I do believe in genetic memory) and partly because I have fed that love all my life.  When I finally made it to England, it was home.  I have never traveled anywhere in the States that felt so completely comfortable and right.  I’d move there in a heartbeat if that were possible, and I don’t think I’d miss the States very much at all.

But there another place that is home to part of my soul, and this is a place I have not been…yet.  But in 2015, I’m finally going…to Egypt.

I honestly cannot remember a time when I wasn’t completely infatuated with Egypt.  When I decided to plan a trip for my 42 birthday, I considered lots of places I could go – I opened the choices up to anywhere in the entire world.  England, the Amazon, Venice, India, the Galapagos Islands…but in the end there was really only place I simply have to be.


Just the name alone makes shivers rise on the back of my neck.

I will be traveling solo, and since Egypt (unlike England) is not a place I would actually be comfortable traveling alone in, I have found a tour group that caters to solo travelers and offers the sort of trip I want to take.  But before that, I discovered that there is no direct flight from Seattle to Egypt.  All the flights dump you somewhere in Europe and you have to change planes to continue on.  It seems a waste to be dumped somewhere I don’t actually want to be…so here’s the plan.  It doesn’t cost extra (in fact it’s slightly cheaper) to fly to New York City, and from there catch a direct flight to Egypt.

So I will first go to New York and spend at least one night there.  Just long enough to see a few of the things that I’d really like to see.

The Statue of Liberty:

The Met…

…because of course I want to visit their costume exhibits!

I’d also like to see a Broadway show, if there’s anything playing that appeals.

From there, Cairo.

I want to shop the Khan al-Khalili bazaar:

But really, Cairo has just a passing interest for me.  I want to go out into the Egypt of history!

Abu Simbel:

The Temple at Karnak:

The Temple at Philae:

And of course the pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Valley of the Kings.  Hopefully one of the big tombs will be open to tourists while I’m there, because I’d love to climb down inside one.  I also want to take a hot air balloon ride over the pyramids or the Valley.

Part of the tour is a two day Nile cruise…aboard a traditional felucca.  You bring a sleeping bag and sleep out on the deck!  Sounds so heavenly.

There is also a night out under the stars in the desert of Wadi Rum.

Also, I will have several days at the Red Sea (containing some of the most gorgeous reefs in the world.)

As well as Mount Sinai (the mountain where Moses saw God and was given the Ten Commandments) and Saint Katherine’s Monastery (location of the original Burning Bush…supposedly.)

I will also float in the Dead Sea…where the salt is so dense it’s impossible to sink.

I remember first reading about this place as a kid, and being so curious what that felt like.  Now I’ll finally know.

And THEN, as if Egypt weren’t enough, I’m taking a side trip to Jordan (with the same tour company.)

Petra.  I’m going to set foot in PETRA!

This is another place that I remember first learning about, and being completely amazed.  It seems too impossible to be real.

Including the pyramids, I will have visited two of the Wonders of the World.  I have the shivers again!

Seventeen days in Egypt and Jordan.  I can’t wait.

But the adventure still won’t be over.  Remember the no-direct-flights-between-Egypt-and-Seattle thing?  This means I will fly home via London.

I haven’t decided for sure how long I’ll stay in London.  Not too long…probably not more than three days.  Just enough time to catch a few of the things I missed when I was last there.

The Victoria and Albert Museum.  Because I have to see their costume collection.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum – and also probably a Holmes walking tour.  I LOVED the walking tours I took in London last time. They were a definite highlight.

I hope to get a B&B very, very close to one of the parks.  I adored the parks last time, and I didn’t get to spend hardly any time there at all.  Hyde’s Park was brilliantly gorgeous – and I was there in March, before anything much was growing.  This time, I’ll be there in early September…

I loved the profusion of water fowl.  Swans, geese, and more common and unusual varieties of ducks than I knew existed.  I love ducks.  Ducks are God’s perfect animals.

I also adored Regent’s Park, so we’ll see which one I end up staying closest to.

And maybe, just maybe I’ll see one of these:

There is at least one at large in London…I’ll have to find out where!  If I don’t come home at all – or if I come home five minutes after I left, you’ll know I found the Real One.

But my major reason for wanting to stop in at London is because of the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour.   I can’t help it…I do so want to walk down the ‘real’ Diagon Alley!

And then…sadly…home.

But only to start planning the next big trip!  I already think I have narrowed down to either Venice or an Amazon/Galapagos combo tour.  Until the world ends (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I happened in my lifetime…the signs are all there) I intend to do a lot more traveling.  And after the worlds ends?  Even MORE traveling.  Sigh.  It will so wonderful to have no monetary or physical limits – and to actually experience the world as it was meant to be, before it became the sad, sinful world it is now.