Thursday, August 24, 2006

another tsupid tsunami

did you know the words "stupid" and "tsunami" start with the same three letters? weird huh. but you'd never think of that, because they're in different order. in the subject line of this post i have altered the spelling of the word "stupid" to illustrate this phenomenon.

anyways, i'm getting kind of tired of posting pictures, and you're probably tired of seeing them, because i took too long to put them up after i got back. so i won't put up many more, because there are other things to talk about. but since i already built this post, here it is.

after our day tour of Scotland, we took a night train from Edinburgh to Cardiff, Wales. cardiff was a very pleasant place to stay. this is our first view of that fair city. note the Starbucks next to the Pure Rugby store. so you can get your joe after picking up your fave scrum sled. (i just used the words "joe," "fave" and "scrum" in the same sentence. ha!)

then we toured this "museum" of Welsh history where they'd brought old celtic buildings from all over the country to this one place so you can see them all. this, however, is not an ancient welsh building, but a cork tree, which was soft and spongy and oh so huggable.

this IS an old welsh building. it's a farm house from 1620 or something. they painted stuff red back then because they thought the color red scared away evil spirits. but, i was thinking, satan is red in every picture you see. how does that work? :)

this is the stadium close to our hostel. it's build like a giant ship. kinda strange, but whatever. our hostel is kind of behind that tree on the left.
this is natalie waiting patiently at a bus stop. this was right after we toured an old Manor and felt somewhat transported back in time because everyone there was dressed in period clothes, and the whole place seemed just like it hadn't changed for three centuries. read about it in this post.

this is Cardiff Castle and Moat, also close to our hostel. we didn't ever go inside this one, but we walked around it and it was really pretty in the evenings.

this is a little welsh village we drove through on our way to somewhere.
oh, right! that Somewhere is probably Caerphilly Castle, in a town called Caerphilly. (that'd be pronounced carefully - i mean, not that you pronounce it carefully, but like the word carefully. never mind.) this was the best castle of all. it was old and crumbly and rocky. for further information on this and other Wales attractions we saw, read my earlier post about wales (same link as before). in this picture, there is a man walking in a weird way, with weird (tight black) pants on.
this is the inner courtyard of the castle, and natalie next to the well. sadly, the well had been filled in, but i thought it would be neat to throw stuff in it and NOT hear it hit the bottom. but maybe that's how it got filled up in the first place. :}
here's me in the great room. i liked the great room.
i also had the opportunity to be in a grand fireplace without being burned up.
while i was in said fireplace, even though flames were not burning me up, and there weren't any flames at all, i made this face:
this castle was cuddly and huggable too!

natalie on a ruined wall.

we did other cool stuff in wales too. actually this is the only place we stayed two nights (other than london).

anyways. on to more important things, such as eating and wrestling. thanks for reading, friends!

Friday, August 18, 2006

today's tsunami warning level: HIGH

so, scotland.

i took a lot of pictures in scotland. here are many of them. oh, and we're back to center-alignment because the Ireland pictures in left-align had some spacing issues, as you might have noticed.

so un-pause and rewind your mind to the image of natalie and i, having had no sleep the night before, staggering off our shuttle to be greeted with the beautiful skyline of edinburgh. (it's pronounced "edinbruh" or "edinburra" said really fast.) these pictures definitely don't do it justice, but we were duly impressed.
i actually took one this later on, from a turreted, cannon-bespeckled roof on edinburgh castle. but it can better fit in the "edinburgh skyscapes" section of the tour. here are some pictures of the streets we walked down during our search for a hostel...
and here, natalie has a bit of shut-eye as she walks down a "close" (a narrow alley connecting two larger streets).
and, looking the other direction down the close. i really like how dark and tall the buildings are. they're pretty much all like's a guy bagpipe-ing near our hostel. i like how the crowd just walks could take him out and you'd never know he was ever in the picture.
here's natalie being swept off her feet by william wallace. the blue striped face didn't really do it for me, but she liked it.
for some reason there was this church with a red door that said Bedlam on it. i thought it was cool.

we visited Edinburgh Castle. that's the famous one up on the hill for those of you who know your scottish castles. but it's not much how you'd think of a castle. most of it was like a museum, but some parts of it were really neat, like dungeons and siege chambers and dark, ancient looking stuff. that does it for me.
this is a stained glass window inside the oldest standing building in edinburgh. it's St. Margaret's Chapel, which was dedicated in 1090 or so. and it's not magnificent or dramatic. it's rectangle-shaped and really small, with a tiny altar in the front and tiny windows. this window is about a foot and a half high. it was very cool to be there, and even though we visited zillions of chapels and abbeys, it never got old to be where people have been worshiping for centuries.
this is the inside of the chapel. i found this picture on the internet (i only took the window one because i feel weird taking pictures inside churches).
this is the view from a little turret-window on the roof of the castle. that's the scott memorial down there.
this is the roof and matching cannons.

after staying a night in edinburgh and visiting all the aforementioned sights (plus a lot more), we took a day tour of the Highlands, Glen Coe and Loch Ness. it was about eleven hours in all.

the first cool thing we saw on our tour was a highland cow. they are like hairy versions of texas longhorns. although, have you ever seen a Siberian cow? i'm thinking they look like normal cows. you'd think they'd be shaggy, but they're not, i don't think, even though siberia seems a lot colder than scotland. i guess there's only enough gene-pool to go around.

this is a place called Glen Coe. it's "way better than the pictures." it's this valley with these green sloping mountains on all sides. it was beautiful, stunning, and breathtaking...but not the jagged, rugged kind of stunning. it was peaceful and foggy and it smelled really good.

some tourists taking pictures. glen coe from inside the bus.
here are some other assorted pictures taken from a speeding tour bus. they'd be good, if they were, well, any good. so sad. i did like that it was cloudy/misty most of the time...but i wish we could have stopped every ten feet or so to take pictures. that would be a great bus tour. "alright, everyone buckle up, again!"
there were lots of sheep in scotland. LOTS of was rainy and foggy when we were in St. Augustus (the town next to Loch Ness). here is our umbrella and corresponding view from underneath it.
and this is the mighty (not all that impressive) Loch Ness! no monsters sighted.
this is loch ness again, but with us next to it. the rain stopped for about 20 minutes while we were next to the lake.
ok, back in the city (our bus tour got back around 8 that night). this is the Walter Scott monument. it's almost black in color and is quite stunning, i think. it's right in the middle of the city. this is as close to it as we got. i took this while we were waiting to cross the street to get on a train to Wales.
this might not look like much, but this is our very last view of Scotland. this is the ghetto train station (i can't remember what town it's in) where we waited for our connecting train to Cardiff, which we weren't sure we could even get on because we didn't have reservations. a security guard felt sorry for us and let us sit inside for a little while. the train guy did let us on, but for double the price. grr.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Monsoon is Down

to keep you entertained whilst i build another picture post, here's another funny conversation that took place recently at our house.

scenario: my sister and my dad are on the computer, and a little MSN-Messenger window pops up.

dad: why are all these people blogging us?

sister: they're not blogging, they just signed into MSN.

dad: MSN? is that a chat room?

sister: heh. and you don't even know what a blog is.

dad: yes i do. it's when people get online and they talk back and forth to each other.

sister (speaking slowly): no dad. you're thinking of chatting. a blog is like an online journal.

dad (smugly): yeah, right. you don't even know what BLOG stands for.

sister: um, it's short for a

dad: see, it IS the web!! talking back and forth!! i TOLD you!

Friday, August 11, 2006

the first wave

here is the first tsunami of pictures in what looks like it will be a great monsoon of photography. as usual, i'll get the rest up when i can, which could be a long time. :) you know you love me, you know you do!

there is no cropping, tilting, saturating, etc., because i simply haven't had the time. if i find any good ones i'll put them on my photoblog. sometime. hey, do you know the ten commandments of procrastinating? 1,

i'm just putting the ireland pictures up for now, because this is taking a lot longer than i thought. so...for historical accuracy, here's what happened: natalie and i flew into london and katie met us at the airport. the three of us then flew to Cork, ireland. from there we made our way up the southern coast to dublin...

when we arrived in cork, i immediately attempted to communicate with the natives. i asked the shuttle driver (taking us from the airport to the city center) "if you had one day in Cork, what would you do?" the driver replied, "I would leave." we didn't understand his indigenous tongue and promptly decided to stay an entire day. anyways, this is a picture of cork... is this. you can yawn now. well it's kind of a cute little city, like for families of four, etc.

there was one cool thing about cork. they had a very nice cathedral (St. Finbarre's) with quite the history, none of which i can remember. but it was very long, i think.

oh look, and i took a picture of the history! and there it is.

another view of the outside of the cathedral. i think that dog was born in 1197 and has been haunting the place ever since he died an untimely death shortly afterwards.

the church people weren't really excited about us taking pictures of the inside, so i don't have very many.

"kneel to pray." the other side of the kneeling-pillow said "stand to think." the clear implication is that thinking is the opposite of praying. we saw the National Youth Choir of Wales perform here that night. ok, that was a very cool thing in cork. they sang pieces of the Requiem and did some cool father-son pieces that were written at different times. er, anachronisms. :)

hey look, a yellow street, let's explore it! (we ended up in someone's backyard or driveway or something.)

after a few hours of wandering, we decided to give Cork the thumbs down (of course except for the concert that night). we are smiling because it's still funny, then. also, keep in mind that at this point natalie and i had been awake since our first flight left at noon the previous day. well, sort of. anyways, this was our first full 30-hour day.

the next day, we took a rather ill-advised trip to a town called New Ross. our plans to explore the area were dampened when a woman told us we needed a car to get to anywhere cool. she told us to get right to dublin. we learned from our first mistake of not listening to the natives, and indeed got right to dublin.

this picture is the *ahem* river in New Ross, which smelled bad and was full of trash.

in dublin, we all slept in a queen-size bed. it's a long story. i was in the middle. tee hee. this is the ghetto-ey little "yard" outside our hostel/hotel room. in this picture, i have captured the expressions of serenity and peace on katie and natalie's faces. clearly they are inspired by the blissful scenery, and are resolving to be better people for the rest of their lives.

this is us the next day at Dublin Castle. you can see the different sections of it that were built at different times. this castle was cool to walk around but we didn't go inside.

"look at this guy! he's just reading his paper but little does he know, there's a CASTLE behind him!"

a pretty section of road in dublin. the temple bar is in there somewhere.

for the record, the temple bar wasn't that exciting (although we didn't see much of it), and i also heard that the people who live in dublin won't go near it. it's ONLY tourists.

this is St. Patrick's Cathedral and katie.

and this is Christ Church Cathedral. it's massive and it has these ruins that are over a thousand years old.

and we all know we can't keep natalie away from those sexy
red heels, even in dublin.

a typical dublin street. narrow with straight high buildings.

this is the grand finale to the ireland segment of our trip. natalie and i stayed at the dublin airport that night because the shuttles didn't run that early (katie flew back to england that night). and hey, it saved us some hostel money. neither of us really slept because of our resolute quest for a good soft spot. then we realized that we had neither a clock nor a way to wake up in time for our 0630 flight. we managed by not sleeping at all. we did make a cozy little camp next to the arrivals sign, though. it had a great view of the first floor.

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