Friday, June 26, 2009


Wanna be startin' somethin' to be startin' somethin'...

Well he definitely started something and I think we're all ultimately grateful for what he started. He gave us something we could dance to. Even if we were six.

When I was six, we lived with my grandmother. Every day after kindergarten I would come home, grab my older brother's (Jason's) Thriller cap and MJ glove and my microphone and sing and dance to the entire Thriller album top to bottom. Then I would eat dinner. Every night. I practiced and practiced mamasaymamasamamakusa...mamasaymamasamamakusa...until I got it down...until I could do it in my sleep. Now, there's only one thing that comes to mind when I look at this picture:

Just exactly how high was I wanting those pants to be?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 9 - Nashville Bound.

You would think since this is day 9 that all that's left to do is catch our flights home.  Not so. Even though Brad and I were on different flights, it worked out well.  We left within one hour from each other from Heathrow Airport and arrived in Nashville within 20 minutes of each other.  We got back to Nashville around 5pm, were able to meet the Baders for a quick dinner, and then we all went to see COLDPLAY! What better way to end a trip to Europe (spent mostly in the UK) than coming back to our city to see the biggest band to come out of the UK in the last several years.  It was perfect!

It was an amazing end to an amazing trip. 

London, Nashville, and one great big rock show. Day 9.

Day 8 - Dreary Ol' London.

The 8th day brought with it raindrops and clouds and chills.  If this is what it's really like in England, then for the last 7 days we really had been experiencing a heat wave.  Brad kept asking for gray and gloomy London.  He got it today.  Even though it was chilly, we were good tourists and saw most of the sights.

Buckingham Palace.

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben and Big Brad in the SAME picture!!

Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament.

The Tower Bridge. I'm cold. I don't typically rest my chin on my fists.

Always time for a little coffee/dessert break!

Trafalger Square

The sun finally set.

Falling bridges, falling raindrops, and falling temperatures. Day 8.

Day 7 - Robin from the Hood.

Now, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but Nottingham is not exactly what I thought it would be. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we had just been in Edinburgh or maybe it has something to do with the fact that Robin Hood isn't actually real.  Oh well, the people were very friendly, and we did get to eat at the oldest inn in all of England, built in 1189AD. 

Ye Ole Trip to Jerusalem is the name of the inn/restaurant.  The word "trip" used to mean "a rest on a long journey," and the crusaders used to stop at this inn on their way to Jerusalem. Again, it was built in 1189AD.  That is amazing.

That's us.

Nottingham was our "olde trip to Londontown." We were really just passing through - we left after lunch and headed to London.  This was a much shorter drive - only about 3 hours.  We arrived London and met our sweet host, James.  James was awesome!  He had the best advice and travel guides for us.  We visited with him for a while that evening and then he walked us to the train station so we would have a good idea about where we were and the route we would take the next morning.  He lives in Harrow on the Hill, a northwest burough of London and home of the prestigious Harrow School.  Winston Churchill graduated from the Harrow School.  Yes, that Winston Churchill.  The school pretty much owns the entire burough, and all the boys live in dorms/homes up on the hill and they wear little straw hats. It almost didn't look real.  

This is the headmaster's house. 

Our first stop that evening was Abbey Road.

Abbey Studios.

We couldn't resist.

From there we went on to Picadilly Circus, where we enjoyed the lights and had a wonderful meal! 

We played with the flash on the camera while we were waiting on our food.

Food's here. :) Wow. Quite the platter of goodness.

Robin's Hood, London's lights, and a BBQ platter. Day 7.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 6 - Edinburgh to England.

I think I can technically say that Day 6 started while we were lost in Inverkeithing, Scotland, trying to find the train/bus station where we parked our car to take the bus into the city of Edinburgh, but it's a long, tiring story. See, we missed our bus stop on the way back and it was downhill (actually we spent quite a bit of time walking uphill) from there. One day it will be a funny story. For now, it is still tiring. So, I will end that story now lest you get lost in the details and stop reading altogether. Day 6 of this recap will start when we drove ourselves into Edinburgh and visited the famous Edinburgh Castle and walked part of The Royal Mile.

The castle was on a hill high above the city.

Look at these precious little kids in their uniforms! Made my day...they were on a class field trip.

Couldn't get his guy to crack a smile.

Here is a view of the city from the castle walls. We were blessed with good weather in was about 70 degrees, which was considered a heat wave by the locals.

Just thought these were pretty.

What if this was your neighborhood?

We left Edinburgh early in the afternoon and headed south to Nottingham.  When we got to the Scotland/England line, we stopped to get pictures of the flags and the stone.

The is a bit tangled.

Cool stone.  After all, a sign that said "You're now entering England" would totally ruin the vibe.

Dearest England...we're back!  To our surprise the majority of the trip to Nottingham was on a 2-lane highway.  We went through villages, saw TONS of beautiful countryside, and unfortunately, witnessed one wreck.  Luckily, no one was harmed.  The trip was beautiful and it took almost 8 hours. Not exactly what Google Maps suggested.  It's ok though...we were able to take it all in.  Below are just a couple of things we learned on this portion of the trip:  

1. A lot of restaurants only serve food at actual meal times.
2. England has very few radio stations.
3. Said radio stations tell the same news stories every 30 minutes. We heard countless times the following 4 news stories (in this order):
a. Susan Boyle has been admitted into the psychiatric ward of a London hospital and is being treated for exhaustion and she wants her cat. *It's worth mentioning here that Susan recovered and was in good spirits once she learned that, even though she did not win Britain's Got Talent, she was being offered a record deal.  She was also delighted to learn that she was a YouTube phenomenon in the USA.  I guess a spoonful of fame is what the doctor ordered.
b. The Air France plane crash 400 miles off the coast of Brazil - this one is tragic and I was very upset about it.  At this point, they had not even begun to locate the wreckage and had no idea what caused the plane to go down.  I do not like stories like this one...makes me nervous and sad. At this point, they only knew of one British passenger on board, an 11-year old boy who was flying back to boarding school. :(
c. Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown was being encouraged to step down, and there was quite a bit reshuffling going on in Parliament.  I'm not sure why exactly. We did learn that the expense reports of several members of Parliament were being audited and things were not looking good for them.  On another political note...President Obama is on lots of buttons and t-shirts in the UK.
d. And finally, some great soccer (football) coach got a job that everyone expected him to get. Brad can elaborate on this one.

We arrived Nottingham safely and sleepily.

The Great Castle, 8 hours of highway, and countless segments of the same BBC News stories. Day 6.

Day 5 - On The (insert: opposite side of the) Road Again.

I have to admit - by the time we left Liverpool, I was already tired. We've packed a lot in 4 days. Now, we're driving from Liverpool to Edinburgh, Scotland. Day 5 was spent mostly on the road, driving through the English and Scottish countrysides. We learned quickly that a camera hardly captured the beauty or dimension that was all around us, but we took pictures anyway. I'm glad we chose a car over the train. We could go at our own pace. It was great.

Just near Edinburgh is Sterling, Scotland, home of William Wallace.  We stopped there first to see the William Wallace monument.  The sword he wielded was almost 6 feet tall or something crazy like that.
William Wallace's sword (well, one that looks like it at least)

Here we are at the top of the monument with the view of Sterling below (we had to walk up a very steep spiral staircase to get here)

Coming back down and holding on. Tightly!

A very foggy view of the Sterling Castle from the William Wallace monument

Once in Edinburgh, we went to the home of our hosts, Kate & Bill. They were very sweet hosts and had a beautiful flat. We went downtown Edinburgh that evening and back again the next morning before we left to head to Nottingham. Tonight we just wanted to see the city in lights. Tomorrow we would visit the Edinburgh Castle and part of the Royal Mile.

Look closely...that clock says 10:00pm!! Still so bright outside.


We were so hungry that night...Brad was very happy to find this restaurant (most of them were already closed).

Countryside, Braveheart, and another sunny evening. Day 5.

Day 4 - Penny Lane and Strawberry Field.

We met our friend Sean (also from Nashville) in Liverpool on Day 4. He had been just outside of Nottingham the week prior on a missions trip. Brad + Sean + Liverpool = 2 kids in a candy store. We went straight to the Cavern Club (where The Beatles played regularly). I did read somewhere that when The Beatles (who were actually called The Quarrymen at the time) first played the Cavern Club in 1957, they performed Elvis Presley songs. They weren't crazy. They knew who was king. In short, I guess we can thank Elvis for The Beatles. Anyway, I digress...on to the photos.

Brad and Sean in front of The Cavern Club on Mathew Street

We went to a pub in the middle of town for lunch. Tried to drink some Guinness like good tourists. Hated it. Good thing we ordered back-up Cokes.

Brad and Sean strolling down Penny Lane.

Do they not know that tourists come to this street to get their pictures made alongside this street sign? The banner above the sign ruined the picture. I mean seriously people, come on. But that's us...on Penny Lane.

Brad in front of the home where Paul McCartney was raised.

Strawberry Field

St. Peter's is the church where The Quarrymen (pre Ringo...maybe it's pre Ringo and George...Brad will have to weigh in on that) played their very first show. I think it was at some sort of community event.

John Lennon's home until he was in his early 20s.

John, Paul, George, Ringo, Brad, and Sean. Day 4.