Monday, November 8, 2010

On Friday we took a drive to the Ocean Front, where it was really cold so after a few photos of Neptune, we decided that we needed a coffee to warm up, then off to Walmart for some bargain shopping and the to the supermarket. Jenny's friend Julie came for dinner and bought along her puppy, Kagen. Charlotte was very excited to see Kagen!!! Saturday w
e went to Target - pretty much the same as Target in Australia...except that there is a Starbucks !! Sunday was an early morning for everyone, as we needed to be at the airport by about 9.00am for our flight to New York. Jenn and I managed to get ourselves, the two girls, 4 large suitcases, 1 carry on bag, a baby bag and a stroller from the carpark to the check in counter at Norfolk Airport - amazing!! Ted met us at JFK and we spent the next hour or so in a shuttle bus to the apartment. Our apartment was small, but the location was fantastic - just a couple of minutes walk to Times Square and Broadway. It is a really incredible place, we even ran into "Elmo" on the street corner! Monday we were surprised at how cold it was, and after a short walk caught the Hop on Hop Off Bus. We went to the Empire State Building, where the view from the 86th Floor was amazing, we went to the World Trade Centre, and then o Battery Park, where we caught the ferry to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty - Wow, she is much bigger that I thought she would be!! Some great views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the bus and then back to the apartment. Jenn and Ted went out for dinner while I looked after the 2 girls.
Tuesday, we were back on the bus and our first stop was the Museum of Natural History - lots of animals and dinosaurs, after a few hours we headed back to the bus with next stop the Cathedral Church of St John the Devine, where the poet Robert Frost, Mark Twain, Edgar Alan Poe headstones are, the off to Central Park, where Charlotte played in the play area. Time to feed Victoria, where is a Starbucks Coffee shop when you need one. We walked past Tiffany's, Prada, and Trump Tower. It was Ted's turn to babysit, while Jenn and I went to see West Side Story, which we thoroughly enjoyed, then to Planet
Hollywood for something to eat. How amazing that we were able to walk to the show and the atmosphere in Times Square is something I will never forget. !!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We returned from Washington fairly late on Monday night, so Tuesday was a rest day - that's if you can have a rest day with 2 children under 3 years!!! Wednesday we decided to do some shopping and then have lunch, but Charlote had other ideas, so after a few tantrums we headed home without doing much at all - not even coffee!! Thursday we had coffee ith Jenn's friends Katie and Toni at Panerra Bread, (coffee shop) then back home for a while before heading to Katie's house to do some Pumpkin Carving in preparation for Halloween. JT (Katie's husband) showed us how it was done and then Jenn and Charlotte carved a Dora the Explorer into a large pumpkin. It is quite a messy job, cleaning out the inside of a pumpkin. The orange pumpkins are grown especially for Halloween and apparently are not for eating. Once the inside is ready, the pattern is traced onto the outside and then carved out. You can see from the photo above that Victoria was really interested in the pumpkin carving!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We set off for Washington DC on Saturday morning. Our 1st stop was at McDonalds Williamsburg, so that Jenn could feed Victoria. After about 40 mins we were back on the road. The Interstate is lined with trees, and as the leaves are changing colour it is very pretty. Next stop was for fuel in Quantico, where we mistakenly ended up in a line of traffic heading for a Military Checkpoint. After a U turn between the witches hats, we found the Gas Statiion. Next stop Washington DC. The freeway interchanges are unbelievably huge, but I guess they need to be when there are at least 4 lanes of traffic each way !! On the way into the city centre we drove past the Pentagon. Wow, It is much bigger than I realised!! We stayed close to the city centre, only about 2mins drive from Dupont Circle. On Sunday, we caught the Hop On Hop Off Bus, and saw many of the sights in Washington - Union Station, The National Cathedral, The Capital, and The White House, all of which are amazing. Our last stop was in Georgetown. Monday we headed to the bus again, and spent the morning at the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial. Our drive home took longer than we expected - a 3 1/2 hr trip took us 5 hrs, due to a couple of unexpected stops - one on the side of the Interstate to calm Victoria, and to our surprise a safety car seemed to arrive from nowhere with its lights flashing!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Well, I am amazed at how big Halloween is!! I knew it was celebrated here, but didn't realise the effort that is put into decorating. A lot of houses are already decorated with scarecrows, and big orange pumpkins, flags, and wreaths on front doors. On Tuesday we went to the supermarket, which is also deceorated for Halloween, and the displays or fruit and veg are like you would see at the Royal Easter Show. We also went to the Military Base, which is just like another suburb. It has it's own supermarket, and a store similar to Myer/DJ's, but it's only for Military Personnel and their families, as it is all tax free.!!Jenn also took me to Michael's which is a large craft store, which has the most amazing Xmas Decorations (I managed to find a couple of Santas for my collection) lots of scrapbooking supplies, and at this time of year an extensive range of Halloween Products. Jenn bought this Haunted House, for us to make with Charlotte, however after the first 20mins of Charlotte's help, we decided it was best to do it without her. Yesterday (after doing a search online) we visited 2 shops, one very much like spotlight, except the range is 5 times as big, and another specialised Patchwork Shop. I have at least another couple of Patchwork Shops on my list for next week.

Tomorrow we are driving to Washington DC, which is about 3 hours away, where we will stay for the weekend. Can't believe that I am going to see The White House!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I arrived in Norfolk, Virginia approximately 45 mins ahead of schedule ( not quite sure why, maybe a tail wind, who knows??), so I was ready and waiting for Jenny when she arrived to collect me from the Airport. I was only expecting to see Jenny, but instead Charlottte was with her, and I was greeted with the biggest hugs and kisses, whilst being told "I Love you Nanna, I miss you Nanna", I was the most amazing feeling. Anyway after a few tears and some more hugs, we headed for Virginia Beach to see Ted and meet Victoria for the first time. She is the most adorable little baby, so of course there were lots more hugs.
Sunday lunch time we drove Ted to the Airport, where we had lunch before he headed to Sydney via New York and L.A. The rest of the day was spent just catching up with Jenn. Today we spent the day doing normal everyday things e.g washing, talking, playing with Charlotte, cuddling Victoria, more talking and more washing and folding. The area here seems lovely, the house is great and as you can see from the photos there are lots of trees, and as it is the beginning of fall, the trees have started to lose their leaves. Although this is a very bushlike setting, the water is only minutes away.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Well, here I am in New York, after approximately 26 hrs. Flight from Sydney to Los Angeles was long but uneventful. In a conversation on the flight, I said that I was visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in Virginia, and the guy sitting behind me, just happened to say, "That wouldn't be Ted and Jenny Seymour, would it?" as you can imagine I was amazed!!!As it turned out Chris, lives in the same units as Jenn & Ted did in Carlingford and has known Ted for quite a while.....what a small world.
Immigration and Customs in LA took about 2 1/2 hrs to get through, and I thought Sydney was bad!!luckily I hadabout 5 hrs before the flight to New York. It appears that all flights here are overbooked, one announcement yesterday asked for volunteers to take the next flight, and in return you get $200 worth of vouchers, and a guaranteed seat on the next flight !!!
It was about 1 am (local time) when I arrived at the hotel last night. I have a late checkout today, as my flight to Norfolk isn't until 4.20 this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting really excited now.....only 2 sleeps before I leave!!! Bags are packed (lots of chocolate) hope they don't weigh too much (haha) Still can't believe I'm going, especially by myself!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Well, Baby Bud has arrived - Victoria Maree Seymour. I know can't wait to get to Virginia Beach to see them all, and have lots of cuddles. It is only 10 days till I leave and am getting really excited. Jenn and I hope to spend at least 1 night in Washington, and we are spending 3 nights in New York. Jenn has already booked our tickets to see West Side Story on Broadway - I'm sure it will be amazing

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wow, I didn't think that I would be using our travel blog again so soon, but seeing that I am going to visit Jenn, Ted, Charlotte and Baby Bud in Virginia Beach, here I am. I already have my E Ticket, and have completed my Visa Waiver, which will hopefully allow me entry to the USA.
I am really excited to be going, but it is also a bit daunting, as I have only travelled within Australia by myself......hopefully the transfer in LA will be easy.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our time in Singapore was very relaxed - we actually didn't do much at all. After a good nights sleep we caught the hotel shuttle bus into China Town, where we had some lunch and strolled around the shops for a while, went into a temple and then the humidity got to me, at which point we went straight back to the motel and spent the rest of the afternoon in and out of the swimming pool, whilst enjoying a couple of drinks. We caught a cab to dinner, asked to be taken to China Town, but the driver took us somewhere else, which was good - but I think we would have enjoyed China Town more, as we ended up there anyway just looking around. There was a great atmosphere as most of the shops were still open.
The next morning morning after a sleep in, John went to breakfast and I went for a swim, after which we went to Raffles and had a Singapore Sling. Raffles is an amazing hotel - would love to stay there, but think it might be out of our budget!! Once again the humidity got to me, so back to the hotel to collect our bags and off to the airport. And so our holiday of a life time comes to an end. We have had an absolutely amazing time.....and other than the fact that we need to see our family & friends, and we also need a rest and some more money!! we would have loved to stayed away a bit longer.....hopefully we will get the chance to do it again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Today was our last day in London. We had all day as our flight wasn't until 10.05 pm. We decided to do a Canal Boat trip, so we caught the bus to Camden Town, as we had heard that there were markets there. The bus trip took us through quite a few London suburbs that we otherwise wouldn't have seen. When we arrived we were amazed at the size and atmosphere of the markets. They go on for ever, and are very different. After wandering around the market, we headed off for our canal boat trip. Our journey was to take us to Little Venice which took about 45 mins. Once at Little Venice we had 11/2 hr before the return trip to Camden Town, so strolled around and then had morning tea in a canal boat that has been made into a Coffee Shop. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and would now more than ever like to have a holiday on the Canals (was one of our original ideas, but there wasn't enough time). It was a really lovely way to spend our last day. Earlier in the day we received a text message from Singapore Airlines, saying that our flight was delayed by 3 hours, luckily I decided to check again later in the afternoon, as it was rescheduled again, this time back to its original time. We were sad leaving London as there was so much more to see and do. We arrived in Singapore at 6.05 pm Monday after about a 13 hour flight, were the temperature was about 29 deg and humid - just a little different to the UK.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Today we started off at the Churchill War Rooms. The rooms are as they were left at the end of the 2nd World War, combined with that is a Museum on the life of Winston Churchill. It is very well done and well worth a visit. It is incredible to think that people actually worked and then slept in the same place for the entirety of the war. When we came out of the War Rooms we were able to see the Household Cavalry pass on the way to their stables as they came back from Buckingham Palace. A little later we saw a troop of Army, Navy and Airforce Cadets march past, with the same precision as the professional soldiers. On to the Royal Mews - when you walk through the gate from the chaos of London into the quadrangle of the Royal Mews the hustle and bustle disappears - it's like a different world. As these are working stables you can see the residences of the people that live here around the quadrangle. Then you see all the magnificent carriages, the last of which is the Carriage used for Coronations....really spectacular. Next stop the London Bus system, which we think we have just about worked out (just as we are about to leave). We got off a bus at St. Paul's and walked across the Millennium Bridge to the Globe Theatre, which is in the round and the centre is open air, as it was in originally - which makes it interesting when in rains for the actors and those standing in the pit. We went on a tour, which was really good, and found ourselves in a rehearsal of McBeth. It would have been great to see a show. Maybe next time!!Back onto a bus and eventually (between the fact that the London Marathon is on tomorrow, so lots of roads are closed and buses are being diverted, and the fact that the Tower Bridge opened), we did a river cruise back to Westminster, which we did last time we were here, but was good to do again, and we needed to sit down for a while. Back onto a bus to Victoria Station, where we had been at least twice before, (which was a good thing) and onto the bus to the home, stopping in at the local for a drink and dinner. John doesn't understand how we went from our English/Irish heritage (with regard to pubs) and got it so wrong!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today was a big day. It is after 11pm and we have just arrived back at the unit. First thing this morning we caught the bus into the city (as most tube stations have a lot of stairs) and collected our London Passes we then walked from Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square to the Half Price Ticket Booth, where we purchased tickets for a show. We then caught a bus and got off at St. Paul's Cathedral, where there was a celebration of St. George's Day. We spoke to a policeman, who was riding a 17.3 hands high Shire/Clydesdale cross. St. Paul's is truly amazing. and different from others we have looked at, but then it is only a baby compared to Salisbury, and Notre Dame, as it is only 300 yrs old. Back onto the bus and off to the Tower of London. We had fish and chips here last time, when it was quite cold and windy, and they were really good - so decided to have them again. They were still really good only today it must have been around 20 deg - much more pleasant!! Into the Tower, with all its history, we saw armoury, statues of horses, but to me the most impressive was the Crown Jewels. The largest diamond in the world is here, along with a huge gold punch bowl, that is used at the Coronation. The Coronation Spoon, which of course is patterned gold dates back to the 1200's. There were Beefeaters and people in costume and character wandering around. By this time my knees were feeling all the stairs, so back onto another bus to Trafalgar Square, where we walked to Buckingham didn't seem that far when we looked down the Mall so decided to walk - big mistake, it seemed to go on forever! When we got there, we realised that the Royal Mews is closed on Fridays, !!!!!!so went to the Queen's Gallery and will go back to the Mews tomorrow. We then went for drinks at The Bag of Nails Pub, which is the Queens local - it's right next door!! It was then a reasonably short walk to the Apollo Victoria Theatre to see "Wicked". The show has been running since 2006 and was fantastic, we really enjoyed it (even John did). Since coming home I have been on the Singapore Site and checked in for our flights from London to Singapore on Sunday night - it's hard to believe that our wonderful trip is almost over

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We started from Watford with the directions from the Motel and managed to get to the Avis Car Return without taking so much as a wrong turn......we had thought it would be difficult, as Heathrow Airport is so big. After dropping the car, we went to the Singapore terminal to get an update for our flight on Sunday night, and were told that as our seats are confirmed we don't have a problem. We then got a little black London Taxi to our apartment near Paddington. After we settled in, we decided to go to Portobello Road, and wandered among the antique shops and looked at things we either couldn't afford, or couldn't have because they weighed too much. We stopped for a beer and Pimms and Lemonade in the Duke of Wellington Pub and then caught the tub into town to Harrods. We decided that we would cook our own dinner tonight, as we needed a break from pub food, so got some lamb & salad, and of course some red wine and had a relaxing night, reminiscing over some of our photos so far. Booked our London Pass tickets for tomorrow and then I chatted to Sue on Skype for about 1/2 hr

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We had a busy and interesting day today, which started in Salisbury. After wandering around this Medieval City drinking hot chocolate and eating sausage rolls, we went in the direction of the Cathederal. We did a guided tour of the Cathedral, which took longer than we thought it would, but was well worth it. It is a really amazing Cathedral, quite different from some of the others we have seen. From here we drove for about 30 mins to Winchester Cathedral to find a small exhibition on Jane Austen. We were not aware that she actually died in Winchester and is buried under the floor of the Cathedral. She was only 41 when she died. After having a what we would call a Devonshire Tea (scones,jam & cream), here it is called a Cream Tea, we walked through some parts of Winchester and found the Great Hall, which has the Round Table (King Arthur) hanging on the wall. John didn't believe that it existed, but then he doesn't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or Robin Hood - how silly is he!!!!Anyway, again after spending more time than we thought, we set off for Windsor Castle....only to get there just as it closed. We are hoping to do a day trip from London back to the castle. It is so impressive to see as you drive around. Today the Queen must have been there as the Royal Standard was flying. Tomorrow we have to return the car to Heathrow, and make our way to Maida Vale, near Paddington, where we will be located for our last 3 nights in London - we think!!. Planes have started flying here, but who knows what the backlog of passengers is. ??????

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We didn't travel as many miles today as we have over recent days, but nevertheless our day was still full. On leaving Stroud we took the back roads all the way to Bath, which once again meant that we saw some spectacular scenery. As we drove into Bath, I saw the Jane Austen Centre, so we spent some time there at the exhibition. We the walked around the town, checked out some of the housing prices, and decided that we couldn't afford to live there !! Some of the properties were 1,800,000 GBP - they must be really special. From Bath we drove to Avebury, which is a 5,000 year old megalithlic site, similar to Stonehenge, but a village has been built around Avebury. Next stop was Stonehenge which is really amazing. To think that these huge stones were moved with only man power!!! Our last stop for today is Salisbury, where we are staying in a Tudor Style Hotel which was built in 1220 and is thought to be the oldest purpose built hotel in Europe and possibly the world. On a different note, the Volcanic Ash which has grounded all flights into and out of the UK and Europe is hopefully getting better as British Airways and some Irish Airlines allowed some planes to take off from 1pm today. However, it is possible that they will stop again at midnight. I guess all we can do is wait and see what happens over the next couple of days.

Today we continued our drive through Wales, and found some of the smallest roads we have come across. We started off at Cardiff harbour, which seemed at lot more modern than other cities. Up through the hills and across to Stroud. We spent the afternoon walking around the township, mainly in search of a Thimble for my collection.....but there wasn't one to be found. We had dinner at the hotel, and spent the night talking to a fellow from Cambridge. We are heading towards Bath and Stonehenge tomorrow

Monday, April 19, 2010

We sadly said goodbye to Ireland, and caught the ferry from Rosslare to Fishguard, with what seemed to be hundreds of walk on passengers, who all looked very tired. They were actually sleeping in the corridors on the ship. (no flights due to volcanic ash), We drove to the Village harbour, which was very picturesque. John says if we can't get home, that's where is going to live!!
We headed on into the Welsh countryside, and came across a burial site that is said to be 3200 BC, from here we went on to Cardigan, and then to a mill town, Cenarth and stopped for a beer in a tiny pub that is over 350 years old. Off into the hills again, and through some really pretty countryside and some really depressing towns. We stumbled across a Steam Railway, but unfortunately, got there to late for a ride. Back towards the coast again looking for accommodation, we came to Swansea, which seems scruffy!!! so decided to keep going and ended up at Bridgend.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We started our last full day in Ireland by driving to Dublin, about 1 1/2 hrs from Kilkenny. We used the freeway, as we had very limited time. John was hesitant about going to Dublin, mainly because of the traffic in the city centre, but I really wanted to go if only for a flying visit, which it was!! We parked the car and walked to the Tourist Centre and then to the mall. Even though it was quite early (not many shops open or people about before 10am)there was a great atmosphere - there were buskers, and human statues, and a lovely flower stall, coffee shops, and the closer it got to midday more people. Unfortunately, we could only spend the morning there, as we needed to be in Rosslare tonight as we need to be at the ferry before 8.00am tomorrow. We are sad to be leaving Ireland, it is so lovely and the people have been so friendly. We took the back roads from Dublin to Rosslare, and came across a cycle road race, and were diverted by the Gauda (Police) which got us wonderfully lost, and we ended up in Hollywood !! Finally made it to Rosslare to the B&B, and headed off to the Pub for Dinner.
We left Killarney and drove to the Dingle, missed the turn and the trip ended up taking a lot longer than we expected. We found a farmers market where we bought some cheese, olives and bread and started back towards Killarney, along the coast road. about half way along we came to Inch Beach, a pretty spot, so we stopped for lunch. As we were running behind time we used the freeway and headed towards Kilkenny, driving through Tipporary, which we found a bit shabby and disappointing. When we arrived in Kilkenny the city was in the mist of a huge traffic jam, as they are changing the trafffic system. Fnally we found the B&B we were looking for and then headed to the Pub. It was built in 1253 and was really amazing. The Irish music started at around 10pm. We weren't going to stay for long, but the music was so good, we ended up not leaving the pub until after 12.30. Anyway we have a long day in ahead today, as we head for Dublin, and then back down the coast to Rosslare

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our day began in Oranmore with a good breakfast. We changed our mind and didn't go back to Athenry and instead headed straight for Galway. It took a while as there was traffic everywhere, so just drove down along the foreshore of the bay and around the city. From there we started south towards Limerick. We went to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, which was really good. It showed life as it was in 1850. We are both glad we don't have to live in a Castle, the stairs are horrific!!! Onto the back roads again, and managed not to get lost today, found ourselves in the village of Adare, which we have since found out was voted the prettiest village in Ireland - no wonder we were impressed. After afternoon tea, it was about 3.30 and time to find our accommodation for the night, which we had decided would be down in Killarney, about 1 hours drive. We are staying in a Hotel tonight and at present are in the bar, where the TV is on - the 1st news we have seen since leaving Sydney, we have seen plenty of Soccor though! Apparently all the airports over here are closed, due to volcanic dust from Iceland. We are having dinner here, then going out to another Irish Pub, complete with music.