Tag Archives: England

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!

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42

It’s been awhile since I posted anything about my Big 42nd Birthday Year Travel Plans.  A lot has changed in the world, and at this point, I’m pretty sure Egypt is going to have to wait a few more years.  Especially with this new, completely wrong-headed and immoral war with Syria we’re plotting – it just appears the region will be too unstable in 2015.  So, I am turning my attention to my back-up plan: England and Scotland.

The problem is narrowing it down.  I want to go everywhere in Great Britain!  I am trying to make it a good mix of everything I love: history, geekery, and nature.  Also, I have always wanted to sleep on a train, so naturally I’ll travel from London to Scotland via the Caledonian Sleeper train.  The little rooms are so cute.

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Once in Scotland, as part of the geekery, I will visit Edinburgh’s Castle (Hogwarts!) and ride the jacobite steam train.  Any Potter fans out there will recognize this iconic moment from the film:

Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Hogwarts Express

It is believed to be one of the world’s most scenic rail trips.  It will take me to the coast town of Mallaig, where I will hop a ferry to the Inner Hebrides islands.  White sand beaches, turquoise water…sounds like the Caribbean, right?  No, it’s still Scotland!

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Mull, I think, will be my home for at least a couple of days.

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From Mull, it’s possible to visit Staffa, famous for Fingal’s Cave.  There is nowhere else like it in the world.  I have always wanted to go there.

4681115733_5741ec75c4_zIn addition to being stunningly gorgeous, these islands are also FULL of wildlife.  Whales, otters, and my primary focus: Puffins.

They aren’t afraid of humans, and will readily approach.  This can even happen:

Puffins!!!!

I have also located the hotel chain I will stay at while in London and Edinburgh.  easyHotel.  I LOVE this concept.  What do you need in a European hotel?  A bed, a bathroom, and a super-central, clean, safe location.  Nothing else, so why pay for it?  EasyHotel is such a brilliant concept.

Maybe one night I’ll spring for the tv.

Or not.

Falconry

Another thing I’d love to do in England is spend a day learning about – and actually flying – various birds of prey.  Including owls.  It must be the most amazing thing to have an owl come swooping in and land on your glove!

There are a bunch of falconry centers that offer these days…now I just need to find one close to where I’ll be…this is a must-do!!!

Here’s my list:

The feel of a tree frog, cupped in my hand.

A new piece of uncut fabric.

Ancient trees.

The smell of gunpowder.

A brand new pen.

Migrating geese, honking overhead.

Frozen cherries.

Anticipation.

Everything about a duckling.

Old things.

Thunder and lightning storms.

Roller coasters.

These apricot candies that are only sold in one shop located in VA (I live in WA). http://grandmaspantryva.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=GP&Product_Code=606

The look in my dog’s eyes.

Night.

The feeling of deep history you can only get in places like England.

An egg so freshly laid that it’s still warm and sticky.

French Fries.

Llamas’ faces.

Sitting surrounded by tall, wind-whispering grass.

Dreaming.

Fried chicken hearts.

Laughing so hard I can’t breathe for the pain.

Grasshoppers jumping away as I walk.

The smell of books and paper.

These are a few of my favorite things.