November 29, 2014

London and Wales ~ Part Three

So, we drove north for nearly four hours on Saturday
and arrived at Auntie Mary's later than we meant to.
We were so happy to see her ~ have I mentioned that she is precious?
And, she was so happy to see us ~ told you she's something special.
Auntie Mary lives in a little house, but she had
rearranged and adjusted things to accommodate us all.

It's where we were for the next ten nights.

Here we are at the table...

...and on the opposite side of the room.

 We made a plan and stuck it to the fridge.
And then, we deviated from the plan accordingly.  Of course.
We were, however, able to see and do so many things while we were there.
Apparently Wales has more castles than any other country in the world.
Did you know that?  Driving anywhere usually includes a castle sighting.

Some are in ruins and some are being preserved.

The ruins can be explored for free ~ preserved ones cost.
So, we did some of both.

We had a couple of *home* days with Auntie Mary before

venturing out on our sightseeing excursions.
On Sunday, we were blessed to attend church with our Auntie.
Monday, we made a grocery list and shopped for the food we would need.

Tuesday, we went to Conwy Castle.

Auntie Mary woke up with a head cold and opted out.

She had recently been to Conwy, so her thinking was that
if she stayed behind on that day she would be well enough to join us
on our other planned days out.  It worked!  We were happy about that.

This is the view of the castle as we approached it on the wall.

Calvin and his camera were never far apart.

View looking away from the castle toward the bay.

Looking down inside the castle from one of the towers.

See the Welsh flag waving?
Calvin took the shot below ~ Fraser is gazing out at the view
and Emma is walking toward him.  We were standing on the 
edge of a deep hole within this tower.  It was many levels deep.

This is what it looked like ~ the view straight down.

Fraser and Howie with me ~ in the distance.  :)

Looking out at the view of the water from the castle wall.

From one end of the castle looking toward the other end.

Looking back from the other end ~ the shots above 
and below are taken from opposite ends of the castle.

Fraser inside a fireplace or cooking area?

Views of the surrounding countryside from the castle.

Emma inside the chapel area.

View of the castle from the distance.

Still more to come...
Many Blessings, Camille

*Posts in this series ~ IntroductionPart OnePart TwoPart Three
Part FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenFinal Installment

**All photos on our entire trip were taken by

Calvin and Emma ~ thank you for sharing, my loves!  xoxo

November 27, 2014

London and Wales ~ Part Two

This is becoming a series ~ bear with me, please?
Calvin took nearly 3000 images and Emma
was a close second with around 1000.
So, it has become necessary to break things up a little.

Our friend's Mom kindly opened her home to us.
She graciously allowed us to stay with her for the first three nights
of our vacation so that we might tour London ~ what a blessing!

This is the view looking toward the street from the front door.

Fraser is walking up the main street of the little town
she lives in just ahead of us in the shot below.

Have I mentioned that there was an eight hour time change to deal 
with those first few days of our trip?  Well, there was.
This meant that getting up at the crack of dawn
was a little bit challenging, since back home it was oh ~ 11pm!
The one day when we were down in the city *early*
I took note of the time our bodies were feeling ~ 2am.

It was so much better not to think about it.

So, I tried not to, and forged ahead.  And, forge ahead we did.
Our first stop on day two in the city was The Tower of London.
It was well worth the visit and took more time
to tour than we thought it would.  

The moat filled with poppies was incredibly impressive.
Apparently, there were nearly 890,000 of them placed.
We had no idea that this was what we would see ~
we have since discovered that it was a rare treat!

Each poppy that was placed was to represent a Commonwealth soldier who
died in the First World War ~ My great-great uncle was one of them.

The view of Tower Bridge as seen from inside 
the courtyard area of the Tower ~ below.

Overlooking the crumbling walls and courtyard areas within
the main walls of the Tower of London.

This guard really was guarding ~ yes, he was!

The main *Tower* was directly behind and to the left of us in the shot below.

The building where the crown jewels are kept is in the far back centre.
On a side note ~ we viewed those jewels.  It was difficult to comprehend 
what we were actually looking at ~ one of the diamonds is over 500 carats in size!

We stayed through to closing time at which point we were 
shooed out by Beefeaters ~ not even joking.
However, one of them kindly agreed to have 
his photo taken with the children ~ see?

As the evening descended upon us, we saw this ~ isn't it beautiful all lit up?

We met up with a friend for dinner that evening in the city.
We arrived back at our lodgings late and rose early-ish the next morning
so we could venture out for our last full day of sightseeing
before heading North to stay with our Auntie in Wales.

Our final day in the city took us to Westminster Abbey and the British Museum.
Calvin had his camera in tow once again, and was able to capture many iconic
London sights all in one shot.  This was taken just outside Westminster Abbey.

To get from one location to the other, we rode in a double decker bus ~ 
the top front row seats became available partway through our journey.  Score!
Here's the photo to prove it...

Old buildings on the left and new on the right ~
it is how it is in London.  I found it very interesting.

After the bus ride ~ street view as we made our way to the museum.

See us heading in?
Calvin took this shot, that's why he is missing.

Fraser loves languages and cultures ~
it was a highlight for him to see (and be photographed with)
the actual, real, in-the-flesh (or rock, as the case may be) Rosetta Stone!

A question ~ how did England become the possessor of all these artifacts?  
Don't mean to stir up trouble, but, it is something that persistently crossed my mind. 

The sign directly below the statue pictured above.

Amazing architecture ~ Austin would have loved London.
How much we missed him on this trip!!

We left the city once again on the underground ~
SO incredibly steep to get down to it!
See me at the far left in this shot with the orange hoodie?
At times there would be a few of these escalators to descend.
Claustrophobia, anyone?

They whizz right by you ~ it's an incredible experience.

Then, we took the train in order to return to our accommodations
to retrieve our car and make the nearly four hour drive up to Auntie Mary's home.

To be continued...
Many Blessings, Camille

*Posts in this series ~ IntroductionPart OnePart TwoPart Three
Part FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenFinal Installment

**Photos in this post courtesy of my two photographers ~
Calvin and Emma.  Thank you my loves.  xoxo

November 25, 2014

London and Wales ~ Part One

As was mentioned in my last post, going to Britain
was not on our radar in a serious way until it was booked
and we were making preparations for our departure only one week later.
We hit the ground running and didn't stop until it was
all over and we were back in our own beds.  Yes, crazy!

We just about forgot to take a *farewell* shot and then,
just as my brother and mom were about to drive away,
we flagged them down, and gathered for the photo above.  
Anticipation ran high.

Our flight was AC 854 to London ~ see it listed below?

We had a little time on our hands once we were through security.

Calvin took the opportunity to have some fun with his camera.

After a nine hour flight through the night, we arrived.
Calvin snapped this shot as we were descending into London.
If you look closely you can see a square of red around the Tower of London
directly below the wing beside the Thames ~ those were the poppies!

Before we left the airplane, we visited with the captain of the flight.
Howie got to take a turn in the right seat.  :)

After leaving the airport, we got a rental car and proceeded to drive to
our friend's mom's home an hour away.  

Side note ~ driving on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side
of the car with left handed shift was interesting, to say the least.
I kept having to look away ~ Howie was doing the driving.
He did very well and overall, we only had a few *colourful* moments.
We logged over 1150 miles on our rental vehicle ~
all things considered, I would say it was a great success.

We got ourselves settled and the next afternoon,
we ventured into the city.  Emma noticed the *little* things ~ 
like the lettering (above) on the pavement.  Oh, so British!
We took a train and then the underground and arrived one hour later.

First stop ~ Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.
It was afternoon, so we opted to save the Tower of London for
another day when we would have more time to explore ~ wise plan.

We took a Thames River boat ride from the Tower
to Westminster and saw sights like these ~
The London Eye on the left, and the Parliament Buildings on the top right.
See the Big Ben clock tower?  We did ~ up close and personal for well over an hour.  
Our Calvin is a photographer ~ we happily indulged him.
Big Ben at dusk was a *must do* for our young man.

While Calvin was shooting Big Ben, Emma shot people (pun intended).
(After she captured Big Ben on its own first ~ of course.)

See?  People are in this shot ~ any guesses who they are?

We had time for silliness, too.

Actually, we had LOTS of time for lots of things.
Calvin was busy, busy, busy.  He got some amazing shots
which he agreed to allow me to post...see below.

The next five shots are Calvin's ~ yippee for the tripod!

Big Ben on its own ~ he used HDR imaging for this shot...

...and this one.
Both were taken on the same night with varying exposure
times and techniques.  The differences are interesting, don't you think?

The London Eye ~ opposite side of the bridge
and opposite side of the river...kitty-corner from Big Ben.

Another of Calvin's shots ~ an iconic London image.
Looking toward Big Ben...

...and away from it.

After Big Ben, we walked in a big circle around the downtown area.
Along the way, we enjoyed some of the sights of London at night.

Buckingham Palace was gated and guarded (of course) ~
but, that didn't stop us from peering in and wondering.
(There was someone sitting in a front window on the lower level ~
who was it?  Couldn't say...but, we were intrigued by it all.)

Calvin set up his tripod and we got a family photo ~
this is Emma's photo of the set up.

Here is Calvin's photo of us all ~ in front of Buckingham Palace at night.

We ended the night in Trafalgar Square ~

See Calvin with his tripod and me watching him?

We arrived back at our lodgings late and went to bed.

It messed with my brain a little when I thought of what time
it was back home ~ around 4pm BC time.
We were all restless at about 2am in our new locale ~ 
a little mixed up.  Nothing new, really.
It took a few days, but, we got sorted out ~ mostly.

More to come...ready or not.

Many Blessings, Camille

*Posts in this series ~ IntroductionPart OnePart TwoPart Three
Part FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenFinal Installment

**All photos in this post courtesy of our two photographers ~

Emma and Calvin.  Thank you, my loves.  xoxo