(Rested & Recovered)
23.08.2007 - 25.08.2007 20 °C
As some of you know, the bout of ecoli at the end of the trip hindered my updates on here.
In the penultimate evening in the UK, we did end up seeing Wicked, which was worth it.
The last day in the UK was great...up to a point, that is. We went to Warwick Castle and the sun emerged along the way. Warwick Castle is a perfect spot for a family day - there are medieval displays and demonstrations throughout the day (think jousting, archery, falcons, trebuchet, etc.), and is very picturesque.
The Peacock Garden is just that - a large population of peacocks lounging around a sunny, manicured garden.
From there we went to Shakespeare's birthplace along the Avon. Very touristy, but I did manage to get some Macbeth finger puppets (doesn't everyone want these?) and a wonderful mug inscribed with a variety of Shakespearean insults (doesn't everyone want this as well?). This is Shakespeare's home growing up. They figure this was his bedroom window.
We stopped at a pub for lunch, and visited with a very curious horse with attitude in the field beside the pub.
Then we went to Oxford and visited Christchurch College.
The dining hall there was the inspiration for the dining hall in the Harry Potter movies. We were fortunate to be able to go into the secret gardens as (a) students were on holiday, and (b) the flood damage had finally been repaired. Our tour guide said that one month prior, the college was surrounded with over a foot of water. The real Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) used to peek into the gardens from a keyhole, but she was never allowed in. Her father was some sort of professor, as was Lewis Carroll; the latter based his characters on people in Oxford College and around Oxford. Here is the door Alice peeked through:
On the way home, I got sick, which made the next 24 hours, including the plane ride, rather not so pleasant. However, I'm now home, and can share some other pictures that I was unable to upload before. Here they are:
This is the dungeon that Byron visited, then wrote his famous poem: "The Prisoner of Chillon."
Berne (or Bern):
One member of our tour group asked, "Are those really birdhouses up there?" to which Darrin, his mom, and I could hardly hide our giggles. They're chimneys.
A group of matching houses.
Along the highway from Berne to Lucerne
The falls inside the mountain were unphotographable due to low light and no tripod.
The covered bridge in Lucerne. There are pictures painted in panels amongst the eaves of the bridge (and, apparently, even nicer ones in the other covered bridge that I didn't visit)...along with millions of spiderwebs!
A nice shot of Lake Lucerne
I loved the clouds in this shot!
This is a detail of the most beautiful stained glass window I've ever seen, in St. Vitus' Cathedral, Prague Castle. It was done by Alfons Mucha, the Czech Art Nouveau painter, in the 1930's. OK, so it's not old stained glass...but it's beautiful! (Go to this site for a larger version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mucha_window_in_St_Vitus.JPG)
The view from our hotel window at night.
Statues on the Charles Bridge, surrounding Prague Castle in the background.
Saint Wenceslas (not actually a king!) is Prague's patron saint; you find his statue everywhere. This is a particularly nice one; in this shot, he is looking at Prague Castle.
An early morning shot across the river from the Charles Bridge.
Details of some Prague buildings.
The Fisherman's Bastion. This area of Budapest was nice.
A statue and tower at the Fisherman's Bastion.
A nice shot of the fireworks on August 20, the main holiday of Hungary - St. Stephen's Day. We chose to skip going to St. Stephen's Basilica at 5:00 to view the mummified hand of St. Stephen that was going to be paraded around the grounds for his special day.
Another nice fireworks shot.
The bell - Big Ben - is silent right now, as he is being fixed.
Not the best picture because of the weather, but this is one of the views from the London Eye.