Category: Travel (Page 2 of 4)

Live from Machu Pichu, Peru

Kirsten and I are loving our honeymoon! We spent the first two days in Urubamba, Peru (the Sacred Valley) at a wonderful hotel/resort, Sol y Luna. One of the days Kirsten spent at the resort spa, while I went on a full-day horsback ride up into the mountains, visiting the Inca ruins at Moray as well as the Inca salt mines at Salinas. Wonderful day, despite the splitting migraine I had by the end (that I attribute to the altitude).

We then took the train to Aquas Calientes (where I´m writing this at a local internet cafe). After checking into our hotel, we caught the last bus up to the ruins at Machu Pichu, and spent a few hours there.

Today we got up to the ruins (you take a 20-minute bus; nice tour-type buses) earlier, and explored some more. Kirsten went back down early to do some shopping, and I stayed at the ruins until the last bus around 5:30. We just finished dinner at Inka Wasi restaurant (I passed on the Guinea Pig and went with pizza :) )

I´m going to post a complete travelogue (to date) tomorrow, but those are the highlights.

Alexandria, VA

Kirsten and I visited Alexandria, VA a couple of weekends ago. We started off on King Street (visited shops in the “new old town”), then had a few pints of Guinness (or cider for K) at Murphy’s pub. Ended up at old town at the water,
watched the gulls and someone playing the Glass Harp
and then had dinner at Chadwick’s

UK Trip Day Eight (8/25/2004) Last Day

Got up and out of room by 8:30. Stopped at Starbucks and then took the tube to the Tower of London.

Walked around the Tower. Since it was before 10 when we got there, we went to see the Crown Jewels first. Good move, as there was absolutely no line.

One of the diamonds in a scepter from ~1650 was about the size of a small hen’s egg! Whoa!!

They have this moving walkway in front of the cases holding the jewelled crowns and scepters, etc. Guess that’s how they keep the crowds flowing. From the looks (and length) of the ropes forming lines to get to the the jewels, thousands of people must line up each day to see them! We hit it at the perfect time; I went back 2x to get better looks.

We then walked around the armory (with all the various suits of armor, etc.). Noted the Norman “toiliet” – was just a slightly slanted tunnel in the side of the wall, and just dumped right out the side of the tower.

Had to get back to the hotel to return the camera, get our bags and get to the airport, so we couldn’t see much more. We did see the Ravens that live at the tower. Myth has it that when the Ravens leave, the empire will collapse.

We took a private car from the Hotel to the airport. The concierge-lady recommended this as both economical and easy. It was; at 35 pounds it is worth it for the convenience – no subway, bus, etc. Don’t take a regular taxi, since they charge by time. The private car (nice Mercedes) was a fixed price for the trip. The driver (black guy originally from Jamaica, but in the UK for >30 yrs) was a riot. He gave us his philosophy on driving, and driver etiquette. I’ll request hime again!

Plaza Executive Cars 020 7724 0000

We made it from the Hotel to Heathrow in ~30 minutes (at 12:30 in the afternoon).

The Air Canada wench at checking made me weigh my carryon (backpack). You are supposedly only allowed 10kg per bag for carryon. This was news to me; they didn’t weigh or restrict it COMING to the UK. Mine was 18 kg, so she made me check it. What a pain in the ass. I took out some stuff, but had to leave some fragile souvenirs, etc. in it.

Had to claim our bags in Ottawa, then go through both Canadian and US customs. We would have missed our connecting flight to Washington DC (Dulles) – we only had an hour layover and arrived late – but the connecting flight was delayed an hour or so. We made the connection, got to Dulles (only an 90 minute flight), got the bags, and took a taxi back to the Lady’s place. Had to work the next day, so I went back to my place. Got to my place about 10pm, which was 3am “my time”. Night Night.

UK Trip Day Seven (8/24/2004)

Yesterday at the British information center the Lady had found out about a place called “half price tickets” that sell theater tix at (half) price for that evening’s performance. She really wanted to see some real London/British theater, so she got up and journeyed out to the place. We had wanted to get tickets to see a Shakespeare play in the Globe, but they were totally sold out. We said we’d meet at the Bus Tour stop in Trafalgar square at 11:30. If either of us couldn’t make it, we’d try it again at 12:30, etc. So, I had some time to go find some bookstores.

Around the corner from the Hotel is a little Internet cafe, so I brought my laptop in and was able to check email, etc. via wireless (at 1 pound/hour).

Put the laptop back in the room and headed off to Charing Cross. Bought two Boswell’s at a shop (Rees and O’Neil) in the bookstore alley off Charing’s Cross. Also found a first edition Topper at another shop there (Tindley and Chapman). I got to the bus stop at 11:35 (by my watch). Missed the Lady; I waited around a bit, and then had a pint of Guinness and a chicken sandwich at the “Two Chairmen” pub. The Lady wasn’t at the bus stop at 12:30 or 1:30 either! I was beginning to wonder if we were going to the same bus stop. We finally met up at 2:30. Turns out our watches were off by about 5 minutes in opposite directions. :)

We took the subway to the British Museum. It’s free to get in. Bit of a mis-communication ensued, and we got split up. I got a tour book and did the “Intro to Ancient Civ” tour – Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome, and Roman Britain. Some mummies, but it turns out the good mummy exhibit was separate and required tickets. I didn’t have time to see a tenth of the museum in the ~2.5 hours we were there (they shoo you out at 5:30).

The large Egyptian statues were impressive – and some were 4000 years old! Ditto the Assyrian statues (even older, some). The sculptures and friezes from the Greek Parthenon were amazing in their detail. I took lots of pictures! Next time I have to come up with a system to notate such things; there’s going to be no good way for me to know what a given statue is “of”. Maybe I can match them up with a guide book.

Found out later that the Lady had been to the Reading Room. I would have loved to see that. But the museum closes at 5:30. Staff starts herding people through rooms, shutting doors behind as they clear rooms. Eventually everyone gets dumped into the great Hall and entrance area. Efficient way to clear the place out. I DEFINITELY want to go back to this museum!

Stopped by the Museum Tavern after the museum – directly across the street. Had a couple of pints and rested at the bar. When the waitress poured the Guinness, she finished it off by swirling the glass so a little shamrock was outlined in the beer head. :)

The Lady had purchased tickets to “Chicago” earlier in the day (turns out that was all that was available). We took the tube back to Charing Cross Station, since the theatre (Adelphia) was on Strand. We stopped by “Porters Restuarant”. It’s an “authentic English food” place. Delicious dinner! I had an appetizer of Chicken Liver pate with garlic and Guinness. It was homemade, and came in a little crock, with bread on the side. Delicious!! The entre was steak, mushroom, and Guinness pie (with puffed pastry on top). I had it with chips and a Guinness. Again, Delicious!

Turns out that Chicago was just phenomenal! David Hasselhorf (the Babe Watch dude) played the lawyer, but the women were just stunning (and great actresses). The live band was absolutely fantastic. Loved the music (and the band). We had good seats- 6th row on the floor, left side.

We got back to the Hotel about 11:30. Got to sleep a few hours later. :)

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