Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stonehenge and Bath

Hello!  On the 5th of November, my program, KEI, took a trip to Stonehenge and Bath.  Stonehenge is a place that I think everyone sees and hears about, but never gets a chance to go to.  At least I never thought that I would!  But here I am, doing lots of things I never dreamed of doing.

Stonehenge, if you didn't already know, is a stone monument in Salisbury, England and its purpose was to predict eclipses.  It's amazing how people were able to build this monument so long ago without heavy machinery!  Definitely a breathtaking experience to see in person!

First photobomb of the day

Let's just get this traditional Colby photobomb out of the way

Introducing: Sheep, Like the Animal

After taking our time seeing Stonehenge, Kelly and I explored Stonehenge center and played houses like little kids in the village replica.  I also attempted to pull a rock as heavy as one of the rocks at Stonehenge, but alas... I did not succeed.

Welcome to Kelly's crib!

Bath was our next destination and was just as beautiful.   It reminded me of the small town from Beauty and the Beast.  So...basically a fairytale town.  But what else would you expect from a European town?

We started with a tour and walked around the town.  I got to see places where "The Duchess" was filmed and learned lots of information about the author, Jane Austen, who spent a lot of time there.  After the walk, we went to see the baths.  The water is supposed to be healing, that's why lots of people used to vacation there.  Now, it's all green and murky.  We weren't supposed to touch the water, but what do you think we did?  Yeah, you bet we touched that water!

Gotta love candids!

The day ended with a long bus ride home and a night of fireworks to celebrate Bonfire night.  I love KEI outings just for the fact that it brings everyone together.  Most times we divide into different groups when travel, so it's nice when we all come back together and do something as a group.  Overall, it was a great day filled with sightseeing and exploring!

We live in a wonder world that is full of beauty,
charm and adventure.
There is no end to the adventures we can have
 if only we seek them with our eyes open.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Pergola and Hill Garden

 Hello friends!  I apologize for the lack of posts these last two months.  My computer has been giving my troubles and my schedule always seems to be hectic!  That's why I've been doing video blogs on my Facebook instead!  That being said, this week I will be posting new blog posts to catch you up on what I've been up to every day!  So keep a look out each day!

Back on the last Sunday in October, it was one of those days when you wake up and just want to go on an adventure.  Luckily, my friend Alli was in the same mood so we got ready, hit up Pinterest for a cool place to explore, and hopped on the tube!  After about an hour, we finally got there and it was like we were in a different city.  From the first step out of the tube, it immediately made it to my top places in London.  It was so charming and had a nice ratio of town and forest.

Our goal was to go to the Pergola and Hill garden.  I will say, it was pretty difficult to find, but after having our noses stuck to google maps and a few extra steps, we found it. We came at a perfect time in the year.  All the leaves were changing colors, the air was crisp, and it made you want a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Prettiest purple berries

The Pergola and Hill garden consisted of a maze of gardens with a nice view of the main building.  Off to the side there were trails that led to a forest.  Of course, knowing me, I had to go explore the forest.  Sadly, Alli and I didn't leave bread crumbs in our path and we got lost.  After some time, we found a path leading to a random road which led us back into town.

Beautiful Alcida

After the garden, we spent some time in town and explored the local shops and markets.  There was so many cute cafes and restaurants, but sadly we had to leave to join our friends to watch football at Belushi's.   What a great day filled with adventures and taking things slow.  It's important to take days to just relax and explore and spend time with friends.

How cute are these buildings?


Hygge (n):
The cosy feeling you get when you're enjoying a good time with good friends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wales Weekend

Wale, Wale, Wales...what a great weekend we had!  This weekend, as you have probably already gathered, my program and I toured Wales!  It was lots of fun having everyone on this trip this time and being able to see many cities in two days.  Wales was a hidden gem, as I thought it was just fields among fields of sheep, but oh no there is much more!  Yes, there are sheep, but there are also castles and roman history!  This made the trip even more exciting because I didn't know what to expect!  

On Saturday morning, we all piled into a coach bus and headed on our way to Wales.  It took about two hours to get to our first destination called Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths.  Caerleon was a Roman settlement that dates back to around 75 AD.  At the site, we were able to see the foundation of Roman soldiers' houses and an amphitheater.  What was neat about this particular site was that these remains are some of the best preserved Roman ruins that remain in the United Kingdom.  

Believe it or not, but six soldiers would sleep per square!

Kelly and the amphitheater 

Rob taking in the view

The blondes abroad 

Kelly and Judi


After exploring the Caerlon Fortress and Baths, we got back on the road and headed into town to grab some lunch and walk around the streets.  Kelly, Judi, and I discovered my new favorite restaurant called "Revolution".  The atmosphere was busy and exciting.  I didn't know what to look at because all of it was so interesting and you could tell the restaurant really valued and spent time on their appearance.  The food was just as spectacular.  They had everything but the kitchen sink on the menu and it was really hard to choose.  I stuck to a classic and got fish and chips.  It was delicious!  To top it off, the service was amazing and we even got signed up for their rewards program and got a discount!  What a great lunch!

Yes, that is a line of underwear hanging from the ceiling.

It says, " In these stones, horizons sing."

What's a blog post without Colby photobombing one of my pictures?
 Our last destination before heading to the hotel was St. Fagans National History Museum.  This was my favorite destination of our trip.  St. Fagans is a open-air museum that displays the lifestyle of Welsh people.  There was beautiful gardens, huge trees, sheep, and lots of little historical buildings.  This place was basically heaven for me.  I wished I could have stayed there all day.  The girls and I didn't really go into many buildings because we enjoyed walking through the all the paths in the gardens instead.


Looks like Kentucky to me!

This is why we are friends

After St. Fagans, we headed to our hotel and then went out on the town.  The girls and I stumbled across another Revolution restaurant and we couldn't get in there fast enough! We spent most of our night there and eventually met of with the guys until it was time to head back.

Sunday morning we had a great breakfast at the hotel and then we piled back onto the bus to head to the Big Pit Mining Museum.  At the Big Pit Mining Museum, we got to put on a helmet and utility belt (or in Allyssa's opinion...a fashion belt) and headed down into the mine.  It was really interesting to see how everything operated and hear about all the life-threatening risks that the miners took everyday.  My favorite part of the tour was that all the tour guides actually used to work in the mine when it was still being used.  Our tour guide told us lots of crazy, funny stories from when he was working in the mines which made our tour unique.

Our last stop before heading back to London was at Caerphilly castle.  When we got off the bus we walked around to look for a place to eat for lunch.  The area was swarmed with so many birds such as geese, ducks, swans, and so many other birds.  It was insane!  I thought at any moment I was going to be pooped on!  Luckily, the birds spared me.

After Kelly, Judi, Libby, Rob and I ate at a European chain pub called "Wetherspoons", we headed back to meet up with the rest of the group to explore the castle.  You would think that I would get tired of walking through castles, and in some sense I have, but every castle has a unique aspect that is so intriguing to explore.  In this case, Caerphilly castle is the most storybook castle I have yet to see.  I think this is the first castle I have seen in person to have crenellation and a castle that was originally painted white.  Unlike the other castles I have seen, this castle was not in use anymore and some of it was even collapsed.  I liked this castle better because you could really use your imagination to picture what it was like in the castle.

Locals like to fish in the moat

Colby and I

The beautiful Judi

Making up after Colby broke Kelly's phone.

Oh, look!  Kelly being a jerk!  What a surprise?!

Kelly so proud of herself for photobombing my picture and Antonio joining in!


Aren't we all a cute group of Americans?

After our last stop, we got back on the bus for a long drive back to London.  I never thought that we would make it back!  It was bittersweet to be back though.  I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Wales and going on a trip with everyone, even if it was short.  That's why it's so important to take everything all in, the good and the bad, and make most out of every moment you have.  These moments we have are fleeting and I would hate to waste them.

We travel not to escape life,
but for life not to escape us.