Recent Adventures in London
I realized that while I've been rather diligent when it comes to blogging about my travels, I've been negligent at reporting on the happens of London between my travels. So, here is an update!
London began decorating for Christmas as soon as November began and each of the boroughs and main streets have their own separate light up nights. So far, I've gone to light up nights at Oxford Circus and Regent's Street.
There are also a number of outdoor ice rinks around London, so I went skating for the first time since my arrival. I didn't bring my skates, so I had to use rental skates (which also happened to be hockey skates!) for the first time. It was so strange not having toe picks and I felt so restricted not being able to jump or spin!
When I first visited London with EFCollegeBreak last year, I stayed in Watford, a smaller borough an hour from the city center of London. It took an hour to reach Watford by the tube, but on Wednesday I returned via a fifteen minute train ride to visit the Making of Harry Potter, a tour of the sets and props used in the movies. I felt like I was actually walking through Hogwarts!
One of the items on my London bucket list was to see a musical. White Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas movies, that I've seen too many times to count, so I went to see the musical. It was great! It strayed a bit from the movie, but I liked the changes. We went to a discount ticket office early in the day and were able to get half-price tickets and front row seats. I think we lucked out!
I also visited ZSL London Zoo. It's a really nice zoo with a rainforest room, aquarium, butterfly conservatory, and penguin beach.
These two clown fish reminded me of Marlin and Nemo during the part of Finding Nemo when Marlin says, "and then we go out and back in...and then we go out and back in...and, sometimes, if you want to do it a third time..."
I've been slowly visiting the many markets that London has to offer. Last Sunday I finally checked out the Columbia Flower Market. There were more varieties of flowers than I realized existed! When I saw blue-dyed roses, I had to get them!
Thanks for following my adventures!
Adventures in Scotland
It seems like everywhere I go, I am progressively amazed by each country's beauty and culture. I almost always leave a place saying, "I loved it here, I want to come back someday." Rarely though do I say, "I really want to live here someday." Scotland though fulfilled that last statement , making it comparable only with my first visit to Colorado and London.
I've always been mildly interested in Scotland (Brave is my favorite animated film and I thought it was pretty in pictures), but my love and interest in England always overshadowed it. Scotland, however, proved to combine my favorite aspects of England (the quaint countryside, cobblestone, and the "culture"), Colorado (the mountains, waterfalls, and "Midwestern hospitality"), Pennsylvania (the colored leaves of fall and forests), and even Florida (there's an ocean) and wrap it up all with its own unique Scottish flair!
It was a three hour train ride between London and Edinburgh, but we passed through some of the most gorgeous scenery ever (cliffs above rocky beaches and cobblestone towns). On the first night, we briefly visited Edinburgh Castle, which had a spectacular view of the city.
The next day, we took a bus tour through the Scottish Highlands. We stopped several times to explore tiny towns and take photos along the mountains. It was seriously one of the most scenic rides I've ever taken! I can't get over how pretty it was!
Then, we briefly stopped at The Elephant House, where JK Rowling wrote the first book in the Harry Potter series. On the inside walls of the bathrooms, fans wrote their thanks and quotes from the series.
After that, it was time for a creepy ghost tour through the underground vaults of the city. I somehow got selected to hold the torch (flashlight) and go in first. I was not pleased when the guide pretended to lock me in! The tour went through some old rooms and storage areas as we heard creepy ghost stories. At the end of the tour, the guide turned off all the lights and a masked person jumped out at us. The guide said, "That guy has one job. He's the jumper-outer."
Before the long drive back, we stopped in Loch Ness and took a boat ride. We didn't spot Nessie, but the town itself was adorable and gorgeous!
After the return to Edinburgh, I spent the evening and the next morning shopping and exploring. I love how they play bagpipe music everywhere! I just really liked everything about Scotland and could actually picture myself living there long term!
Hi, I’m Crystal! I love to travel and am currently a graduate student in Scotland. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 27 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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