Trip Itinerary

Welcome to the AK in the UK blog. We’ll be chronicling our jaunt across the three countries on the main Great Britain island: England, Wales and Scotland.

Curious where we’ll be? Well, then. Peruse at your leisure our planned itinerary:

  • Aug 31 – Fly Out
  • Sep 01 – Land in London. Train to Bristol to acclimate. Sleep in Bristol.
  • Sep 02 – Train to Bath and bus to Stonehenge. Sleep in Bristol.
  • Sep 03 – Train to Cardiff, Wales. Sleep in Bristol.
  • Sep 04 – Train to Moreton-in-Marsh. Sleep in M-i-M.
  • Sep 05 – Explore more Cotswolds. Sleep in M-i-M.
  • Sep 06 – Train to Liverpool. Sleep in Liverpool.
  • Sep 07 – Liverpool. Sleep in Liverpool.
  • Sep 08 – Pick up car in AM. Drive through the Lake District. Stay in Keswick.
  • Sep 09 – FLY BY THE SEAT OF OUR PANTS! Drive to Oban.
  • Sep 10 – Drive to Loch Ness, Inverness, Dingwall. Sleep in Drynachan.
  • Sep 11 – Highlands. Isle of Skye. Sleep in Drynachan.
  • Sep 12 – Drive to Edinburgh. Sleep in Eburgh.
  • Sep 13 – Edinburgh. Sleep in Edinburgh.
  • Sep 14 – Edinburgh. Sleep in Edinburgh.
  • Sep 15 – Drive to Durham. Hadrian’s Wall. Sleep in Durham.
  • Sep 16 – Drive to York. Drop car. Sleep in York.
  • Sep 17 – York. Sleep in York.
  • Sep 18 – Train to London. Sleep in London.
  • Sep 19 – London. Sleep in London.
  • Sep 20 – London. Sleep in London.
  • Sep 21 – Fly home. 🙁

Updates could happen. We like to change stuff up!

Flight Itinerary


Flight AC542

DEPART – Seattle/Tacoma Int’l Airport – Friday August 31, 11:55 AM

ARRIVE – Toronto, Pearson Int’l Airport – Friday August 31, 7:18 PM

Flight AC862

DEPART – Toronto, Pearson Int’l Airport – Friday August 31, 9:55 PM

ARRIVE – London, Heathrow Airport – Saturday September 1, 10:00 AM

Flight AC863

DEPART – London, Heathrow Airport – Friday September 21, 11:05 AM

ARRIVE – Toronto, Pearson Int’l Airport – Friday September 21, 2:05 PM

Flight AC541

DEPART – Toronto, Pearson Int’l Airport – Friday September 21, 5:50 PM
NOTE: THIS FLIGHT IS 1 HOUR LATE! Take off at 6:50 PM.

ARRIVE – Seattle/Tacoma Int’l Airport – Friday September 21, 7:57 PM

Flight times may change, check Air Canada for updates on arrival times.

Security a Breeze

The trip has started off with the easiest check-in and security pass ever.

We didn’t have the weight of our bags scrutinized and, once at TSA, we didn’t get a pat-down nor did we have to go through the X-ray machine. Score!

London, buckle up. Here we come!



Toronto, Ontario – Canada

Alex and I are at the airport waiting for our next flight to London. Toronto has a huge airport. Lots of walking to get to our gate. Now we wait…. We haven’t eaten much today and the time change is already messing with me. I’m super tired and still have an 8 hour flight ( twice as long as our first flight ) ahead of us. I’m not a happy flyer so I hope I can sleep most of this leg.

Note to self: take Ativan 60 minutes prior to flight to allow it to work as we take off. First flight was not so much fun for me.



Day 1 – Bristol – Finally!

After (wow I have no idea how many) hours of travel, we have arrived in Bristol.

Our flight from Toronto to London was delayed a bit due to new landing gear tires needing to be put on the plane. Favorable winds however still got us to London at close to our expected landing time. Airport traffic meant we did a few circles but finally touched down at 10:30 local time.

We chose to take a coach to Bristol (departing at 12:15) in lieu of the train, which saved us quite a few pounds. A two hour ride through mostly English country side and we made it to our first town.

The GPS gave us some issues but we finally got it to sync and trekked about 20 blocks or so through an enormous shopping district to find our hotel. We checked in around 14:45 local time.

So, all said, since that’d be 06:45 back home, total travel time from Seattle to Bristol was right at 19 hours.

Yeah, so where’s the pub?

Day 2 – Bath & Stonehenge

Hello America!

While you were all tucked safely away in your nice warm beds Alex and I were off seeing some amazing sites today.

First stop… Roman Bath

Amazing architecture and quite a site to see up close. We were able to walk down into it and be up close to the water. Though it was recommended not to actually touch it.



Second stop… Stonehenge

Stonehenge has been on my bucket list for years and today I finally made it there. It was pretty amazing to see such a site up close. Though there are ropes and no entry signs so we couldn’t actually walk right up to it. We took tons of photos and will share them when we return to the states.




Day 3 – Putzing About Bristol

Today originally was going to consist of training to Cardiff in South Wales. Instead, we opted instead to explore the city we’ve been home-basing in: Bristol.

I suppose we may never know of it was the right choice, but it certainly wasn’t a poor one.

Bristol has quite a history to it. There is one section of the medieval wall still standing — on Nelson Street — in an area if town caked in artful graffiti.


We took the hop-on hop-off tour bus once through to get a sense of the town before hoofing the pavement to see some sights up-close.


The Clifton suspension bridge, with its 50 pence toll, was beautiful both from afar and up close. Whether staring down on it in the Avon Gorge from The Downs, or strolling across it via sidewalk, this was a terrific stop.


At first, we figured this town was a bit too modern, missing any old English charm, what with our route to the hotel from the bus station consisting of a massive mall with all the usual shops we’d be used to back home.

It took a little looking and suggestions from a local pub owner, but the charm is there under the shiny new metropolitan layer.

We’re about to go poke about a bit more, perhaps even Geocache. Cheerio!


Day 3 – First UK Geocache, Bristol

Today we decided to go geocaching. I’ve had a trackable rubber ducky for a while now waiting to be brought to the UK. This trackable is working its way to London. I could have kept it until we arrived in London in a few weeks but thought it might be cool if it got to exchange hands a few more times first before reaching its final destination.
We also weren’t sure if we’d be able to make time once in London to find a cache large enough for Princess Fey.
I hope the next cacher finds a great new home for her too.


Day 4 – Bye Bye Bristol

Today is a “travel day” as we call it. We hate travel days because it means we need to pack up and move out of our cozy room we had. Our bags are 20 lbs a piece on our backs and it’s uncomfortable to lug around on and off trains.

Today we are heading to the Cotswolds. 2 hours and two trains away from Bristol.

So bye bye Bristol, you were swell!


Cabot Circus – local shopping mall


Graffiti Alley


Clifton Suspension Bridge


Kari @ Cabot Circus last morning in Bristol

Alex @ Cabot Circus – leaving Bristol


Day 4 – Moreton-in-Marsh, Cotswolds

Today we left Bristol and trained into Moreton-in-Marsh. We checked into our cute little B&B and headed off for a day of hiking through the Cotswolds towards Burton-on-the-Hill. We saw lots of sheep and cows along the way.
4 miles round trip and now our feet are nice and tired. We’ve walk almost 7 miles total today including our trek to the train station from our hotel in Bristol. It’s so nice to be out of a big city and away from the hustle and craziness of larger city.

The Cotswolds are much quieter and peaceful. The only sounds we heard as we hiked was that of birds, sheep and cows.

Now it’s time for our first real meal of the day. We are at a place called the White Hart Royal Hotel and Eatery.

Fish n Chips and burgers with a side of Hooky beer will be had tonight. Cheers!





The Treetops Guesthouse B&B

“Hooky” beer

Alex’s burger

Kari’s fish n chips


Day 5 – Chipping Campden, Stow and Hiking

Quick note: Full English breakfasts are quite filling. Wow.

Anyhow, I may have said it in an earlier post, but reiteration here is valid: The English countryside is stunning.

I’m not sure if the busses here have extremely tight schedules to fit or if our driver had brakeaphobia. In either case, it was a swift ride into Chipping Campden (silent p for those keeping score at home) this morning.

We originally planned to hike into Broad Campden but the lady at the TI talked us into hiking up a hill instead. Of course, we did neither. The town was do nice we just poked around it a bit and took photos.

( The above photo was taken in Chipping Campden of an old church and cemetary. )

We took the bus back to Moreton-in-Marsh so we could hop on another coach that took us to Stow-on-the-Wold.

Once in Stow, we peeked around that village before hitting the trail that would ultimately spill us out at Bourton-on-the-Water.

This required passing through several fields. Some maintained, some filled with cows and some with very little evidence of a pathway ever existing.

( The above photo was taken on our hike through the Cotswolds as we exited Chipping Campden. )

( Alex “Felixing” in a field of cows. )

( After this photo was taken we realized we had no idea where the trail marker was. After 20-30 minutes of bonding with these cows we found our way out of this field. – bye smelly cows, nice knowing you! )

We passed through a couple small inhabited areas, likely even too small to be called villages. One house we went by literally had a stream running under it. It was hard to see the front but you could hear the small waterfall going. It was gorgeous.

We passed through a small town called Lower Slaughter. Like the others, it had an old church built with wool money many moons ago. It also had a pretty well groomed cricket club. No game was in process unfortunately.

Finally, we headed down a bit further and reached Bourton. This town is called the “Venice of the Cotswolds,” though this is a bit far fetched. Down the main drag, called High Street, as with all the towns here, runs a river that has been encased with man-made banks. Arching over the river in about five spots are cute little bridges.

After a small bite, a pint and sharing of stories with locals in a nice pub, we’re back in Moreton with our tired feet and eyes.
( Last stop in Bourton-on-the-Water was at a local pub. )

Now a little Geocaching before turning in!

Day 6 – Liverpool

The small village life was nice — and now is missed — but it had to come to an end as we headed north to the city the Fab Four put on the map.

Actually, I gather a map maker put Liverpool on the map, but The Beatles helped our eyes shift up the coast to find it.

We got in around 1410. After dropping our bags and doing a quick batch o laundry in the sink, we merely had to cross the street from our hotel to find the Albert Dock area.

We wandered around a bit checking out the old brick buildings and large sail boats docked in. On the south end of the dock, we booked our tickets for the Magical Mystery Tour for tomorrow at the TI.

Now it was time to poke about The Beatles Story, a walk-through audio guide lead tour through the famous band’s 10 years of being on top of the music world.

The artifacts, audio and ambiance were great. A replica alley way, Cavern Club and even a walk through a yellow submarine were nice touches.

There were several artifacts, from suits to instruments and more. Rooms filled with photos, letters or large displays replicating album covers.

We left the Beatles Story and had a bite and some cold beers. We finished up the day with some photos of old buildings and the water front as the sun started making its way down toward the horizon.
I was lead to believe that Liverpool was something different than this. In fact, it’s quite beautiful and after a couple more Beatles attractions tomorrow, we plan to stumble about the city to see a few more things that look interesting and picturesque.



Day 7 – The Cavern in Liverpool

Today was our only full day in Liverpool. I never expected to love this city so much. It reminds me a lot of Seattle with its waterfront charm and quirky characteristics. There’s a great mixture of old and newer buildings throughout the city.

Today was an amazing day… for today is the day we stepped foot inside The Cavern Club.
The Cavern, located at 10 Mathew Street is the club that many very famous bands have played, most famous of all being The Beatles.
As you walk through the doors and down into the windy staircase the air gets thicker. The Cavern is not a very large venue so instantly you begin to sweat.

We spent 2-3 hours here today listening to 3 different singers play their covers of songs, many of which were Beatles tunes. The crowd was really into the music and the performers got us all involved with their sing a longs.

The walls are covered in the graffiti of all of the passers by that have come to visit this magical place.


It was hard to want to leave as the night went on. But the crowd was getting noticeably drunker and seemed to be forgetting the words to the sing a long songs. There were many guys dressed as characters such as Batman and Waldo and even John Lennon. The old man “Mr. Balloons” was quite fun to watch as he was flirting with the younger ladies who were too kind to tell him to buzz off.
20120907-221730.jpg( The guy in the far left of this photo is Mr. Balloons )

We had one last drink and decided to head out saying goodbye to the Cavern maybe for a short time, maybe forever. I will remember this place fondly with the hopes of returning someday.

Day 7 – Beatles Sights and Keeping a Promise

Another day is in the books. Why do people start blog posts with cliches? That’s incredibly boring and far too easy.

Reset button.

Today’s agenda during our stay in Liverpool was devoted to the town’s Beatles sights.

We kicked off and ended our day by wandering through the Cavern Quarter. Specifically, Mathew Street, where the Fab Four played nearly 300 gigs in a at the world famous Cavern Club.

Read more about our time there in Kari’s post.

We also took the two hour Magical Mystery Tour bus ride through the city and suburbs where the band grew up, met and became superstars.

We saw Penny Lane, Strawberry Field and the childhood homes of all the boys.

The driver was really comical and informative. Turns out he even played a role in that NBC movie about the band from a while back. Sometimes on tours like this, you feel like a bunch of boring filler is tossed in. Our guide, however, had a nonstop flow of really interesting tidbits and commentary.

It was a fun time. We’ve got to get up and drive on the left for the first time tomorrow.

Color me nervous.

But, before I go, a promise fulfilled for my good friend and fellow Beatlemaniac Gabby:



Day 8 – Blackpool

Well.. We started out our day heading to the lake district. But plans suddenly changed when we realized we goofed up our car reservation. 2 cabs and £20 later we found ourselves back at the train station heading off to Blackpool.

Blackpool was our original destination before we decided to see the lake district. So it wasn’t as if we didn’t kind of want to come here anyways.
Blackpool is a cross between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. And at night there will be an illumination festival full of bright lights extending 6 miles through the city. It will be a sight to see!


Now we are sitting in Revolution, a restaraunt chain over here by the beach eating this yummy food and drinking the delicious beer.



We’ve spent the past few hours wandering around Blackpool. There are so many people here it’s like being in Disneyland. It’s definitely a tourist trap full of cheesy carnival games and rides. A true money pit. The only reason we are tolerating it is for the night photography which will begin around 8:00 PM. So for now it’s back to our hotel for a quick nap and then we’ll be on our way.


( This beach goes for miles and miles. )


If you’re keeping score at home, this is Blackpool on a map. About an hour or so north of Liverpool.


And this is the Irish Sea…


Day 8 – Blackpool at night

Here’s some shots from our iPhones of what’s happening tonight in Blackpool.


The sun was setting as we headed out down the miles of sidewalk. The lights began to turn on down the street lighting up the city with colorful characters such as Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob and his buddies from the show. Even McDonalds had their own light show of blinking M’s in front of their restaurant.

The city seems safe in the daytime but with the thousands of people flocking to the piers at night it’s a little unnerving to be carrying around expensive camera gear.

We felt pretty safe in the other cities, not really needing to worry about being pick pocketed or robbed of our gear.
For some reason here though the vibe is much different. The city is much dirtier and garbage is littering the streets. Blackpool is a beautiful beach town in the day and very colorful at night. It seems a little run down and in need of some TLC but in spite of that it wasn’t a bad little stop on the way to Scotland.
The fog rolled in very fast tonight and suddenly the piers we had just seen in front of our eyes were gone.

Tomorrow morning we are headed off to Glasgow, Scotland bound.


Day 9 – Citizen M Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland

This post is only about this amazing hotel room we checked into in Glasgow, Scotland. It’s called Citizen M. It’s very modern and flashy. The bathroom walls are a frosted glass and the lights inside change from red-blue-green-yellow. The curtains are controlled by a button and a dark shade drops down from the ceiling to cover the window. It’s very cool. We are here for 1 night. It’s been strange hopping from one place to another but this hotel is a very cool stop along the way.










Day 10 – The Highlands

We finally got our rental car today. Now we are free to go where we please.

We had a beautiful drive through Glencoe today. That is until the rain finally caught up to us.



We even found a bagpiper along the road that let us take some photos of him.


The photo above is of a very cool looking old dam. The rain was coming down pretty hard at this point but we couldn’t resist stopping to see it up close.

The B&B we are at is pretty unique as well. It’s from the 17th century. It has a very cute look and feel.




Day 10 – Driving on the Left

Holy schmoly.

There aren’t many better ways I can describe driving on the left for the first time. Perhaps “nerve-racking” or “scared” offer ample descriptions as well.

We picked up the hoopty in Glasgow.

There were roundabouts everywhere in the city. Entering them wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated. Instead, the difficult part was figuring out the proper exit to take.

After a couple misses, turn-arounds and try-agains, we got to the country side.

Again, my calculations for difficulties proved incorrect. I figured the city would be the tougher task than the country. Rather, it was the narrow roads in the highlands (they call these highways?) that at times scared the poop out of me.

Literally, every time a big truck passed by, I flinched and held my breath. They’d often be over the center line (some stretches of road didn’t even have a center line) forcing me further to the shoulder.

A couple wheel scrapes and curb hops are all I endured. It was odd. At times scary. But, this is the joy of travel: experiencing differences.

Next time, we go to a country that drives on the right side of the road!

Day 11 – Isle of Skye

The dramatic and picturesque Isle of Skye was our destination for the day.

I’d be remiss not to mention that, while the gorgeous scenery and fun of vacation consumed the bulk of the day, the anniversary of the September 11th attacks were still on our minds. No castles, sheep or photo opps can block that from our minds.

That said, we did what Americans do best. We pressed on and lived our lives, enjoying the freedoms and amazing financial blessings we enjoy every day.

On the way out to the island, we passed Eilean Donan. An extremely small island that holds a gorgeous castle.


This castle dates back centuries, having been defended against clans, Vikings and the English. It eventually was sacked and partially destroyed. Renovation was done in the early 1900s to return it to its beautiful state.

On to Skye. The weather was insane. As we drove around for hours, we had rain, sun breaks, rain, sun breaks and so on. This literally went on all day. The folks at our B&B gave us this head up, so of we found an area we wanted to photograph and it was raining — we’d pull over and wait.

You’ve heard the phrase in Seattle: If you don’t like the weather — wait 10 minutes. This phrase was clearly stolen from Scotland.

See below for lots of pics!

And then the rainbows. So, so many rainbows. The weather was almost a impressive as the high peaks, grassy slopes and whistling rocks near Kilt Rock.

Woolley-Bully let us get right up in his grill for photos. These guys were all over.




Day 12 – Loch Ness, Tulloch Castle and Wallace Monument

Today we said goodbye to our fabulous B&B hosts, Neville and Sonia. They were two of the nicest people we’ve met on this trip. Granted we paid them to be nice to us but they did go out of their way to make us feel at home in their place.

Sonia’s pancakes were the best! I had them two mornings in a row.

It was about 9:45 when we left the B&B and headed out of town towards Loch Ness to track down the mysterious creature from the lake. With some amazing luck and great timing we spotted Nessie right away!



We also stopped by Tulloch Castle and The MacPherson Clan Museum. Alex has some family history there and we were hoping to find out a little more about his family at these two places. Sadly we didn’t learn much and left empty handed.

Our last stop of the drive was at the Wallce Monument. It was closed when we got there so we could not go inside but we did get some neat shots of the outside.

Tomorrow we will be touring Edinburgh on foot and seeing some more amazing sites.



Day 13 – Edinburgh, Scotland

Today we walked around Edinburgh. There were many sites to see and miles of roads to walk down.

We started off near Edinburgh Castle and walked down the royal mile. It was filled with many old buildings and lots and I mean LOTS of touristy souvenir shops. Most carrying pretty much the same old stuff. Scarves and kilts. Scarves and kilts.. etc.

The churches were amazing. Mammoth compared to our churches back home. The stained glass windows were so colorful.


The wind was super strong today, reports were up to 40 mph gusts. And boy we sure felt those gusts. We’ve sure seen the weather change from summer to fall on this trip. Back in Bristol it was very warm. T-Shirt weather, but in Scotland it’s more like super warm jacket weather. Luckily it did not rain today, we just had to deal with the wind. I’ll take wind over rain any day though.


We found s great pub today called Tolbooth Tavern. We had a beer and hung out for a bit to rest our tired feet.



Day – 14 Another day of trekking through Edinburgh

We spent another day here in Edinburgh walking aimlessly about.

It was much sunnier today but still quite windy.
We found the Hard Rock Cafe and had a bite to eat with a side of beer.

We also found a couple new places to visit such as St. Andrews Square, where we were unable to find our third geocache attempt and an ice cream shop, where we stopped for a soft serve cone.
Tomorrow we head out to Hadrians Wall and leave this big busy city behind. It’s been nice to visit but I think 2 full days here was a little too long.


Day 15 – Hadrian’s Wall and Durham

After three nights in the hustle and bustle of Scotland’s capital, it was time to head south back toward and into England.

The morning drive included a nice stop in the borders for a fun photo opp.

Now back in England, we headed toward Hadrian’s Wall. Did you know it’s American English to say toward and UK English to say towards? I already knew that before this trip, by the way. Gabby probably taught me that.

The way’s length was quite amazing as you’d see long stretches of it as you drive between sights.

We stopped at Housestead’s Fort, which has the best preserved fort remnants. Still, it’s all foundation and rubble. Your imagination and help from recreation artists are required just as they are for most of the Roman Forum.

It’s amazing to think about the extended reach of the Roman Empire at its peak.

After poking about the wall for a couple hours, it was off to Durham. Here, there was of course a well known cathedral. It was stunning inside with it’s high bell tower, arched ceiling and stained glass depictions of biblical events.

The town itself was neat but overflowing with drunkards on a Saturday evening. I’d advise hitting this place during the week.

That’s it for now. Two nights in York upcoming then we’re off to finish the trip with three nights in London.


Day 16 – York, England

Today we woke up early and drove to York. It took about 1.5 hours to get here from Durham. Durham was nice but full of “older” ladies dressed up for a night on the town. Basically they were acting like drunken idiots at 6:00 PM. Good times!

Anyhow, when we arrived in York we dropped off our Mercedes rental and Alex said goodbye to driving on the left forever… Until we return someday that is.

We hadn’t had wifi access in 24 hours so we had no idea how to find our B&B that we reserved. After about a 1/2 mile or so we found a Costa coffee shop and a nice young lady who helped us out by using her phone. We’ve found most people very willing to help out with directions and have been very thankful for them. All it takes is a very lost look on our faces and strangers come out of the woodworks to help us.

When we finally found our B&B we checked in to our lovely room and started out on the town.

First stop was the York Castle Museum.
A very well put together story of how people fought and lived during times of war in the 1940’s. There were rooms decorated as they would have looked back in the 20’s , 30’s, 40’s all through the more modern times like you might see today.

There was even a whole street decorated with shops and a horse carriage with sounds of thunder all about. Easy to imagine how it might have been back then with this set up.

After the museum we walked about the Shambles, a shopping district here in York. This is where we sit and drink our beer and write these posts.

The enormous church here is called York Minster. So large in fact that we couldn’t fit the whole church in our photos. The bells were chiming as we passed by, I was able to get the sounds on video. Quite an amazing sound to here from such a beautiful church.

We spent quite a while today walking around the city and up onto the old city walls.

Tonight we head out for a ghost walk tour about York. I’m excited but I don’t think Alex is as into it as me.

It’s 10:15 PM and we just finished our ghost walk. Our guide was pretty good. He knew lots of tales of haunted York. York is supposedly the most haunted city in Europe. His stories were good and he gave me a fright and a few others too. We lucked out with the weather, it was a bit rainy before the tour. We walked all around the town listening to stories of murders and hangings. There’s a bar called the Golden Fleece that was featured on Most Haunted, a tv show. York is in the Guinness Book as most haunted city.

The tour was £5, pretty worth it considering the length was over an hour. It was not cheesy like some others we heard were. All in all, a good time.

Day 17 – The Golden Fleece

I find stories of hauntings interesting. Whether the tales are far fetched or not I can’t say for sure.

Today we stepped into the Golden Fleece pub for a beer and a snack.
This pub is full of atmosphere. Lots of pictures and drawings of York and many, many ghosts encounters posted on the walls. The floor is slanted to the right and the tables are packed in tight. The light is dim and the door is creeky.


This pub is considered the most haunted pub in England.

This excerpt is from the Golden Fleece Web Site:

“Possibly the most famous ghost is Geoff Monroe, a Canadian airman who was staying at the pub in room four when he died in 1945, by throwing himself or falling out of one of the windows. People staying in his former room have been frightend in the night by his figure, in full uniform, standing over them, his icy touch having woken them from their slumbers.
Customers have complained of bedclothes being removed, clothes had been taken off the rails and thrown on the floor, the sound of footsteps were frequently running across the passage ways and The Lady Peckett’s Dining room.
During a ghost hunt in 2002 a number of people including a (now former) skeptic, saw a man walking through the wall of the front of the bar, Dressing in late 17th century clothes, he walked of a wall adjoining Herbert’s House, across the corridor to the Shambles bar. The most chilling aspect of the sighting was that the ghost paused as he crossed the corridor and looked straight at the horrified ghost hunters.”
Pretty crazy huh? While I didn’t encounter a ghost here, one that I know of anyway I did have a creepy feeling while I was alone in the restroom. I crossed my fingers hoping I wouldn’t get an icy touch or slap on the butt when I was in there. Definitely creepy, but a fantastic stop on this amazing journey we have had so far!


Day 17 – More York

We’re just about to the finish line, which turns out to be an aptly used cliche seeing as how my feet feel as if I’ve been running a marathon.

Shoes were put to pavement once more this morning as we we made our way from our B&B, through the ancient walls and back into the certified most haunted city on earth.

We started by meandering through the Yorkshire Museum. This place had all sorts of information and artifacts spanning the city’s history under the rule of Romans, Vikings and evil Kings.

Built among the ruined St. Mary’s Abbey — with some foundation and pillars still incorporated within — it’s phenomenal to ponder the change this relatively small city bore witness to.

After poking around the museum for a couple hours, we had a midday beer at The Golden Fleece, one of the oldest and, supposedly, most haunted joints in town.

Then it was time for the free walking tour hosted by the city volunteers group. Our guide, George, was an older chap that knew the city quite well. Having been born and raised within the walls, he had an undeniable passion and love for York.
We learned about different inhabitants, rulers and invaders. We were given bits of info on everything from Guy Fawkes to the Harrowing of the North. We even learned about how certain terms originated in York.

Such as “a hole in the wall,” which derived from a minister using a secret passage out of the Minster into an adjoining pub back when businesses surrounded the cathedral.

Can you spot where the door was? It was filled in when Charles II came to town and ordered all non-church related structures be removed from the holy grounds.

After three hours of walking the city, it was time for dinner!

Kari had green thai chicken curry — or something like that — while I had a chicken and mushroom pie with mash and veggies.

Okay. It’s time to relax. London tomorrow!

Day 18 – London (AC)

Travel days are quite crazy. Not just the hustle and bustle of going from a place that you’ve just finally mastered to a new, unknown animal. At the end of the day, the place you left seems like a dream you just remember bits and pieces of.

We hopped on the train in York at 10:25 – which was a bit later than we’d like, but that express train to London was literally half price (£50 vs £100 each).

Once in London, there was a sense of “making it.” We purchased our London Passes (multi-attraction discount card) and Oyster Cards (tube/bus pre-loaded fares), then hopped on the Tube for a 15 minute ride to our hotel in the Westminster area.

20120918-212139.jpgAfter checking in, we shot out and like little ball beatings got sucked in by the magnets that are historical and iconic sights.

Westminster Abbey.

I wasn’t supposed to take these and even feel a little guilty.


We toured the Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum. Both are amazing exhibits. The history of WWII just never gets less staggering. This was just one piece of that time in history.

The museum was phenomenal. So many pieces of information, artifacts and interactive displays on the man’s life.

20120918-214410.jpgSeeing Big Ben was similar to The David or the Statue of Liberty. These are places you learn about from a young age. When you see them up close, they consume you. It’s hard to stop taking photos. You just stare at the detail, soaking in the fact that you’re actually seeing it.


On the other side of the south bank, we poked around the London Eye. We bumped into an arcade that was part of our London Pass. £3 in free tokens each was enough for us to play a giant PacMan game and some air (hockey) soccer.

I won three games in a row. I played the fourth left-handed. After taking a 4-2 lead, Kari tied it up 4-4. Then I went up 6-4. She again tied it up. The machine’s air turned off and we had to play the final point without air. Lame. Left-handed and without air, I finally lost. May as well have used my foot!

And one more pic of Big Ben!



Day – 19 London Tower, Tower Bridge and Abbey Road

We had a lot of walking to do yesterday… So much in fact that we were too tired to post last night.
11 miles of walking over about 11 hours of being on our feet = sore everything!!

We got to see some really neat stuff though so we can’t complain too much.

First stop was at London Tower to see the Crown Jewels. Unbelievably sparkly! Pretty awesome to see up close. 20120920-210606.jpg
Next stop was right next door to see the Tower Bridge. We got to go up top and see the view of the city up high. It was a gorgeous crisp end of summer day. A few clouds hovering above and a lot of sunshine.



Then we headed off towards the Globe Theatre. We used our London Pass to go on a tour inside. The theatre has the only thatched roof in London. It is not the original one but an excellent replica all the same.

And to top off our long day of walking we headed to the underground subway and headed out towards Abbey Road.

Although it is technically just a crosswalk, it is the most famous crosswalk in the world. There were many Beatles fans there trying to replicate the famous Abbey Road album cover. There were also many cars just trying to go about their day passing through that intersection frustrated by the Beatlemaniacs in the road taking pictures.

I would hate to live near by with all of the car honking happening everyday. And of course Abbey Road Studios is right next door so we added our names to the wall along with thousands of others.


After Abbey Road we went out to do some night photography by the London Eye and get a bite to eat. Long day and 1 more to go!



Day 20 – Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s

Well, this is it.

The 20th and final day of our whirl wind tour around the main British isle. We’ve seen so much and traveled so many miles. Our feet hurt but our minds have been massaged with beautiful country side, history and culture.

Today we set out to see the last of the major London attractions. We started with a stroll to Trafalgar Square for a little photography and people watching.

We then walked through Admiralty Arch and marched down The Mall to Buckingham Palace. The thing that stuck out to me was how the gates are the most luxurious thing surrounding an otherwise vanilla building.

It’s the history that matters, though. We got in position for the changing of the guard. There were so many people nudging and pushing and positioning themselves to squeeze into any opening to the front.

The ceremony itself was quite long and drawn out. As the incoming guards passed by, I got some nice unobstructed video. Once inside the gates, though, the sea of people and the gates themselves blocked the view mostly.

It was still neat to watch. Those black furry hats have got to be heavy and hot!

After the guard change, we strolled through Hyde Park. Included was a stop at the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial fountain.

A tube ride later and we had lunch in the Notting Hill area. It’s a cute little part of town. A little quieter with more shops and restaurants than historic sights.

Our final stop was St. Paul’s Cathedral. The outside of this place looks really plain. Actually, it looks more like a government building than a cathedral.

Inside, though? Magnificent.

20120920-214012.jpgPictures aren’t allowed so that’s all I’ve got. The rest was magnificent, though. It rivals the inside of many others I’ve been into, and I thought it was nicer (inside only) that Westminster.

We’re ready to come home I think. Three weeks of walking takes a toll. Three weeks of washing clothes in sinks gets tired. Three weeks of sleeping in a foreign bed gets uncomfortable.

But this is what I label as a first world problem. I expect no pity and feel blessed to have been able to experience this.

We’re on our way back, America.



Day 20 – Trip Favorites

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite things we liked about our trip.

Top 3 favorite places?
Kari: Liverpool, York, Cotswolds
Alex: Portree in Skye, Cotswolds, Liverpool

Best breakfast?
Kari: Scotland @ The Drynachan B & B Sonia’s pancakes
Alex: Tree Tops B & B in Moreton-in-Marsh, Liz’s full breakfast

Favorite lunch?
Kari: Glasgow @ Maggie Mays, chicken burger with salsa and jalapeños and hand cut french fries.
Alex: Liverpool, bangers and mash

Best Hotel?
Kari: Glasgow @ Citizen M
Alex: Glasgow @ Citizen M

Best B & B?
Kari: The Drynachan in Scotland
Alex: The Drynachan in Scotland

Most comfy bed?
Kari: The Drynachan B & B in Scotland
Alex: The Drynachan B & B in Scotland

Best Photography Locations?
Kari: Isle of Skye, the Highlands and London
Alex: Isle of Skye

Favorite touristy place visited?
Kari: The Cavern in Liverpool
Alex: Big Ben

Most memorable moment?
Kari: sing a longs at The Cavern
Alex: hiking through the Cotswolds

Day 21 – We’re coming to America!

We woke up early, 6 AM and got ready to say goodbye to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye for good. We got through our long 8 hour flight from London to Toronto just fine, minor turbulance. But now we see we are stuck here for an extra hour at the Toronto airport. It’s already 9 PM London time and this flight won’t leave for another 3 hours. We were hoping to be able to stay awake through the 5 hour flight back home to try to get our sleep schedule back to normal quickly but now I’m not sure this is going to happen. I’m already running low on energy. I just want to get home and get a good night sleep in my own bed.