Hi! My name is Lee,
Here are the stories of 2 different holidays. UK and Paris (including Insight's Britain and Ireland Explorer) August 2009 and the Romantic European n September 2007.
The details get more and more scant as you go.

Europe » United Kingdom » England September 20th 2009

Thursday August 19th Packing is the hard part! I did really well this time and only took 9 kilos with me! Plenty of space. Saying goodbye to the girls was the hardest part. Then we were off to the airport. Checking in was so simple, as we'd done it online this time. We got to skip the queues! Waiting aound is the hard part, especially when you're excited. The Flight. My theory is correct. It really is like childbirth. You forget how bad it is. Singapore Airlines was fine. Really..they're all much of a muchness in my opinion. It was no better or worse than Qantas or BA. well.. the movie selection was crap though. My legs didn't ache as much as last time thankfully. We departed from the new terminal at Singapore. This airport always ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London September 19th 2009

Friday 20 August It felt like we were coming home! We had to wait for around an hour for or transfer. The driver was good and told us stories and pointed places out to us. We arrived at the Thistle Marble Arc and were able to check in quickly. No view this time... just a dingy courtyard instead of Oxford Street. We took off straight away to catch the Hop On, Hop Off bus. First stop was Westminster Abbey. A beautiful church! Creepy though. We were walking over dead bodies everywhere. Lots of famous people buried there as well as historical figures. I wouldn't want to bethere at dark! There were crypts at every corner. Next stop was St Pauls. I liked this cathedral a lot. It was much lighter and brighter and spacious..... plus less ... read more
Tower Bridge
Looking down from St Pauls

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London September 18th 2009

After 2 hours of jetlagged heavy sleeping, it was mighty hard to get back out of bed, and get ready to go out. We were so not in the mood. Getting ready was just a blur. We caught the tube to the Elephant and Castle stop. It’s amazing how many people are out and about doing normal business at 10:30pm at night… children too. Jules was running late and sent us a cryptic message directing us to a pub to wait. Ah… same mistake.. no map. We were pointed in the right direction to the Weatherspoons bar for a drink. Amazed that they upsell alcohol. There was a big push to buy double shots. Would never happen here. They others all arrived and we headed out to the Ministry of Sound nightclub to celebrate Evo’s 30th ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Knightsbridge September 17th 2009

Saturday 22 August We woke up sore and sorry today. I thought it was the dancing at first.. no.. more like all the steps we climbed yesterday. After a nice hot breaky, we took off through Hyde Park - LONG WALK. Big mistake. We should have Tubed it. The whole point of having an Oyster Card. Too much walking just makes you tired and miserable and you don’t enjoy it as much as you should. We found a cute squirrel near the lake. Very cute how they nibble. It came very close. Thankfully it didn’t jump on my face.  We finally made it to Notinghill. The number of people were overwhelming. More than last time for sure. I love the markets. I bought a suede bag from Oi! And a chocolate peanut butter cake from ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London September 16th 2009

I still felt awful when I got up, but not too bad. I skipped breakfast and planned on staying in bed a bit. After awhile I decided to just do it and go to Oxford. I’m so glad I did! It was between 1 ½ and 2 hours to get there on the bus and cost around 16 pound. What a gorgeous town! Stunning. Such old buildings and such regal colleges. I headed straight for Christ Church and wasn’t disappointed. It was such an easy place to see self guided. You can tell education is their field. The highlight was of course, the great dining hall. The Harry Potter dining hall. It was awesome and you could totally see where the inspiration came from. I could totally picture it laden with food. I saw the “Alice” ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London September 16th 2009

A-MAZE-ING! Sunday 23 August. I had a nice little sleep in today and then a smaller breaky.. already.. it didn’t take very long for the novelty to wear off, huh? I went for a walk by myself to Hyde Park. I came across some of the Queen’s guards ready to parade from Hyde Park Corner. I followed them up through Green’s Park (squirrels everywhere) to Buck Palace. I got there just intime for the changing of the guards. What a non event that was. I sat in James’s Park and enjoyed the peace for awhile, before walking back through Mayfair. When I got back, it was time to get ready for lunch with the family at Gordon Ramsey’s “The Maze”. It was a bit tricky to find it. On the way, we stumbled across a dingy ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » North Yorkshire » York September 15th 2009

Tuesday 25 August The start of the Britain and Ireland Explorer. Wake Up 6:15am Bags out and Breakfast 6:45am Meet in the Lobby 7:30am It’s always an exciting morning starting a tour. I love looking around at breakfast and wondering who will be with you. We met John, our tour director. He seemed like a friendly Scotsman! He had a very lovely accent that was very easy to listen to. We hopped onto the bus and I met Jo, who I had already talked to through email. John met my expectations of an Insight Tour guide. His knowledge base is huge. We had a lovely drive throught he English countryside. We detoured at one point and had a great view of Banbury… the home of the nursery rhyme, “Ride a Cockhorse”. It’s actually right on the ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh September 14th 2009

Wednesday 26 August No wake up call! Breaky and bags 7:15am Leave 8am We headed off toward Durham this morning. It was a wettish morning and around 14 degrees. Breakfast was nice and I had a tiney taste of black pudding. Meh.. .just tasted like salt. On the way we pasted Newcastle and John told us this is where the saying “Taking coals to Newcastle” came from… meaning.. there’s no point. Newcastle was a major coal exporter. We drove through the countryside of Wuthering Heights, where the Bronte sisters lived. We arrived at Durham at 9:30am and walked up to the Cathedral. What a wonderful town (saying that a lot, aren’t I??) they all are! The cathedral was simply beautiful especially since it was built in just 40 years. I really loved walking around the cloisters. ... read more
eating haggis!

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh September 12th 2009

Thursday 27 August Breakfast and bags 7:45am Leave 8:45 We left on the bus with our local guide bill, for a drive through Edinburgh. He was a fantastic guide. Very informative. He asked about family names and said that the Duncan’s were “trouble makers from the highlands”. Sounds like us. We drove up a section of Arthur’s seat for a wonderful view of Edinburgh.On the way, we saw a swan with her 3 babies. We walked through the stadium at the castle where we’d be that night, for the Military tattoo. It was much smaller than I imagined. The castle was fantastic. We saw the crown jewels. The buildings were amazing with all the cannon holes and terrific stones. The view was panoramic. Afterwards I went off walking through the town. It was a lovely and ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire » Newtonmore September 11th 2009

Friday 28 August Bags and Breaky 7am Leave 8am We hopped on the bus and sadly, drove out of Edinburgh. There was lots of beautiful scenery as we headed up to the highlands. We stopped at St Andrew’s Golf course. This is one of the most famous and old golf courses around… and I couldn’t give a toss. It was great to see how excited some of the golfers were on the trip though. It was drizzling and wet, so some of us headed up to the café and had a glorious hot chocolate - filled with cream and marshmallows. We drove a short way to Pitlochry for lunch. It was a lovely, quaint town, perfect for a tourist lunch stop. I had a toasted ham and cheddar Panini. I bought myself some celtic earrings from ... read more
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