Donna & Kristy


Donna & Kristy

Boring middle aged mother and teenage daughter enjoying their first ever travelling experience - the trip of a lifetime :-)

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland July 7th 2010

The beds at the Parliament House Hotel are absolutely divine. SO comfortable that it's hard to get out in the morning. I rose at around 8 and went for a walk. I passed another old cemetery and, being a sucker for old cemeteries, I had to go in! I found an Alexander MacKenzie which was exciting as that was the name of my grandfather. It wasn't him but it was still a thrill to see his name. I must be getting a bit daft in my old age! I also found a old monument with a skull and crossbones. Seemed a bit macabre but who knows what the prevailing attitudes were in the 1700s. I continued my walk up to Hollyrood Palace which is where the Queen stays when she is in Edinburgh. I bet she ... read more
Mary Queen of Scot's bath house!
Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh July 6th 2010

I woke quite a bit earlier than Kristy so I had a shower and went for a walk for an hour before breakfast. I had a wander around the most amazing old Calton Cemetery. What a grand old place. There are graves dating back to the 1700s! Huge old concrete affairs, some with old english spelling. They are in remarkablly good repair. It really makes you think about mortality and the great cycle of life and death when you visit a cemetery. After spending a while wandering around the cemetery I wandered off down the main street of Edinburgh. It's a busy place in the mornings (as you would expect in a capital city). Everyone walking briskly, presumably to work. I got to the tourist office and bought a map of the city and a few ... read more
Our first close up of Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh July 5th 2010

Today we are going to Edinburgh! I am so excited. My grandparents emigrated to NZ from Scotland and I have always felt a yearning to see their country. We woke up at our usual time and enjoyed our last English breakfast. Yesterday we had looked on our map and spotted a Operating Theatre Museum over by London Bridge and we decided to go there before our flight to Edinburgh in the late afternoon. We checked out of the Nayland but asked if we could leave our bags there for a few hours. They were surprisingly nice about it and offered to lock them in a room in their other hotel just down a bit. The museum was near Guys Hospital. I have to admit that we wasted quite a bit of time wandering around looking until ... read more
The Operating Theatre Museum
Aboard the Gatwick Express
Parliament House Hotel

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London July 4th 2010

Another noisy night but we shut the window and left the curtain open which reduced the noise a bit but still kept it a bit cooler. We wandered down for breakfast at about 8.30, showered, tidied our room and were off to an internet cafe by 10. We felt a bit ripped off by the cafe - it cost 6 pounds each for a minimum of 5 hours which won't be able to use. A good learning lesson for us - check before sailing merrily in! We finished there at about 11am and went and purchased another Travelcard for the day. We went to Westminster and then walked down Whitehall which intersects with Downing Street. I thought we might be able to see Number 10 but Kristy said the road was blocked off at either end ... read more
Guarding Downing Street
Westminster Abbey
Taken from near the London Eye

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London July 3rd 2010

We didn't have a particularly good night. It was quite hot and our room is right next to a road which was busy with traffic all night. During the night we decided to open the curtain and window which cooled things down a bit. Unfortunately in the morning we both woke with an itchy rash! We've decided that tonight we will use our silk sleeping bag liners to counteract the (what we assume) are bed bugs. We're sharing a double bed but we don't think that is causing the heat problems. No matter. We're in London! At about 8 we went down for our first English breakfast. Breakfast consisted of a choice of cereal, tea or coffee, orange cordial, a boiled egg, slices of cheese and ham and toast which you make yourself by feeding pieces ... read more
Donna & William Shakespeare
Kristy & Queen Victoria
Donna & Nelson Mandela

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London July 2nd 2010

After a very hot night in Paris we woke up to a day promising to be no cooler. In fact it was likely to be a scorcher and we were not tooo unhappy to be leaving for London. After our last delicious breakfast at the Altona, we had showers and packed. We left the hotel at 9am and received sad looks from the mad brothers and a "Bon Voyage" from the black guy who did the night shift on reception. I wish I had asked them if I could take a photo of them. We dragged our bags down the street the half kilometer or so to Gare du Nord and checked in at the Eurostar departure. There was a passport control where an unsmiling British woman enquired as to the purpose of our visit to ... read more
more of the French countryside from the Eurostar
St Pancras station
London taxis

Europe » France » Paris July 1st 2010

We had a slightly quieter day today after our hectic last few days. We spent the morning doing chores. We took our laundry down to the laundromat a few doors down. I doubt we would have ever worked out how to use it though! We studied the instructions for quite a while and tried to translate them with the help of a dictionary. Finally an older man came to our rescue. Clearly bemused at our stupidity he explained in rapid French what we should do. Our complete lack of comprehension just confirmed his belief in our foolishness. Sighing with the air one takes when dealing with a silly child, he gestured that we should give him some money. We handed over a few coins and he inserted it into a machine on the wall, pressed a ... read more
Our menu in the outdoor cafe at Jardin des Plantes
Huge greenhouse at the Jardin des Plantes

Europe » France » Paris June 30th 2010

We both woke at about 6am - the first time we have not woke up in the night and had a chat! We're feeling pretty good although our legs and feet are quite sore. My calf muscles are protesting the 284 step climb up the Arc de Triomphe yesterday. We enjoyed the usual breakfast before heading off to the Sacre Coeur on foot. It was within easy walking distance of our hotel. Well it would have been easy but it is at the top of a hill! Lots of lots of stairs later we finally located it. The map I bought yesterday came in very useful although we did do a bit of good natured arguing about the best direction to take. Streets are quite complicated in Paris - no nice little square grid pattern like ... read more
and more stairs
roads in Paris
Kristy crossing a pedestrian crossing

Europe » France » Paris June 29th 2010

We woke again last night. At 3am this time. We had another wee chat. Kristy went back to sleep but unfortunately I couldn't. Room service did not leave us any towels yesterday. At 6.30am I decided to go down and ask for some. I found out the French words for towels (serviette) in our French phrase book and went and successfully requested some from reception. I enjoyed a leisurely shower in the rather temperamental shower (which leaked rather profusely on the bathroom floor!) By then Kristy was awake. She was somewhat perturbed to realise that I was going to wear my Air France white t-shirt and black pants for the day. Her perturbation arose from the fact that she would also be wearing her Air France t-shirt and black pants. Apparently it is simply not 'done' ... read more
Looking up at the Arc
Beautiful carving on the Arc
The grave of the unknown solder

Europe » France » Paris June 28th 2010

We woke up at 1am last night and had a wee chat but fortunately we were able to go back to sleep and didn't wake until 7.30am. We both feel surprisingly refreshed and ready to go. I had bought some homeopathic NO JET LAG pills before we left and we took them all during the flights as per the instructions. We think that they have worked well. Breakfast was supplied by the hotel and consisted of croissants (of course!), a baguette, cereal, orange juice and a cup of tea. It was lovely. The baguettes are delicious. I'm not normally a fan of crunchy bread roll type things but they are a perfect consistency, specially with jam or marmalade. We decided to go out for the day and explore Paris by Metro. We think the man at ... read more
Gare du Nord train station
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower

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