Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I again apologize for the delay.  I'll get around to explaining that soon.

After yet another ridiculous experience with the airplane, Camille, Jacqueline, and I arrived in Dublin to be met by my mom's friend, Linda.  By the time we got to her house, we were all so exhausted (and I was starting to get sick), we just stayed in, ordered a pizza, and watched Friends.
The next day, Linda graciously offered to take us to New Grange and Monasterboice.  New Grange is the oldest burial site in the world-even older than the pyramids- and it was incroyable.  After a quick lunch, we headed off to Monasterboice, and got lost twice on the way there.  Monasterboice is a cemetery with the most beautiful Irish crosses I have ever seen.  On the way back to her house, Linda dropped us off at the bus stop and we went to Dublin.  By the time we got there, we were very hungry and night was falling, so we headed to Temple Bar for dinner and drinks.  Let me just say, Irish pubs are probably the most exciting and fun environment ever created.  There is live music at every pub at night, and each one is so packed you would think you were at the Paris Disney store at Christmas.  Let me rephrase, you would think you were in a mosh pit.  We headed upstairs, where there was a very attractive bartender who let us try different beers before ordering, and ate dinner.  I know there are some people who absolutely love Guinness, but let me say this: Guinness is the most disgusting drink I have ever tasted.  I only ordered a half pint, and was determined to finish it, which I did eventually, but not without gagging.  We did some shopping in that area, went to another pub to listen to music, and then headed back to Linda's. 
On our last day, we went back to Dublin and made it there in time for breakfast.  We did some sightseeing, had coffee at Bewley's (thank you to my sister for sending me recommendations), and went to see the Guinness factory.  It was a whole lot of walking, so when the time came to go back to Linda's to make dinner, it was very welcome.  We made dinner for Linda and that evening watched some of her favorite shows with her.
Overall, a lovely trip to Ireland, and a wonderful fall break.  And now, some photos.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Sorry for the delay, my life has been awfully crazy the past few weeks.  So, back to Chester,

Chester was marvelous.  I loved spending time with Drew and Saz, and I even got to see Mr. Robert Marshall!  The first morning there, we were awoken with quite a surprise: the fire alarm at 6am.  It was a drill, but we were up in the attic where there was no light, I couldn't find my glasses, and we had to climb down steep stairs to find a number of security personnel and other bleary-eyed confused college students (by that, I mean Saz's housemates).  We went back to bed and then got up to meet Drew for an early lunch.  We walked around the town, which is the last English town completely surrounded by a wall.  Cool, hey?  Drew was an excellent tour guide and explained the importance of various towers along the wall as well as the newly-found arena.  A family was digging in their backyard and found an old Roman coin.  So, they brought it to the historical center, and then they found more, and eventually the historical center starting digging and they found a gladiator atrium.  They could only uncover half of it, because otherwise, they would have to tear down a building built in the 800s, I think.  Such a young building comparatively!
After lunch, we did some touristy shopping, and I bought a book called "Six Creepy Sheep".  It's a kids' Halloween book about sheep who go trick-or-treating.  How could I pass it up?  That night, we had dinner with Saz and I ordered my first beer.  It was a Carlsburg's with black currant.  It wasn't bad, but I couldn't finish it.
The next morning, Saz and I took Camille and Jacqueline to the bus stop so they could go to London for the day.  After we dropped them off, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast at Caffe Nero, and then Saz headed to class.  I spent the morning figuring out the Ireland itinerary and watching chick flicks.  So marvelous.  Drew and I met up to go to Wales for the afternoon, and let me tell you, that may have been one of my favorite parts of the trip.  Here's a quick summary:
We started in Rome

Then, we hopped a train past some sheep

and ended up in a North Carolina beach town.

We then went to a carnival on a pier, which made me feel like I was in a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Then, we climbed a hill to go to Duidia.

and went further up the hill to Wonderland, complete with carved figures of the Cheshire Cat, the White Hare, and the tea party.

Further up, we found a door in a wall, so naturally we went through it and found ourselves at an Alpine ski lodge.

The line was too long to do the luge, so instead, we followed a goat we saw roaming around a hill.

We ended up in Narnia.

Filled with child-like energy, we sprinted down the hill and up another to find ourselves in the land of the free-roaming goats and sheep.

And this concluded our trip to Wales.  We had dinner in Llandudno (the Welsh town) and then headed back to England so I could catch an overnight bus to the airport to meet Camille and Jacqueline.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Sweden was just beautiful.  We got to Linnea's house a bit after midnight, and when we got there, Richard was already at work making dinner for us.  The next day, we slept in, had breakfast (oh how I have missed granola!) and then Linnea and Richard took us to an old part of town.  Everything was still set up as the daily life, which of course I found wonderful.  Plus, all of the doors were Abby-sized!  We walked about there for a while, spend time in the glorious gift shop, and then headed out to a little cafe in the country for Fika.  All of the girls were smushed into the back seat, which made for an interesting half hour drive.  The cafe was beyond cute, and right across the gravel parking lot (I always love those) was a yarn store!  Here are some pictures of that day.

Les filles- we were making different faces throughout the whole thing, and I look least like a fool in this one.

 Spice organ.

Candy in the gift shop.

The lovely Linnea.

Old school phone booth.

Cardamom roll break.


Pastries at the cafe.

Lunch- Goat cheese, tomato, and cucumber sandwich and Almond coffee.

Dessert- chocolate cake.

Poorly assembled panoramic shot from the little pier.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Swedish Train Rides

Well, this trip has started off pretty poorly.  We've had so many problems with transportation, it makes me want to cry.  We took the bus to the first train, and it was going fine.  I ended up sitting next to a Swedish guy who spoke English, and we were just talking about Sweden, where we were from and things like that.  He was a very amiable fellow and even offered me a beer, which I declined.  He liked making jokes, which weren't always funny, but he laughed at them.  Once or twice, I turned around to ask Karl a question and the guy (Lawrence?  Something like that, only in Swedish) kept saying that I was a very nice girl and petted my arm.  In the half hour or so that I was with him, he probably polished off a beer and a half.  At one point, he said that my friend was very lucky.  I then had to assure him that Karl was just a friend, not a boyfriend.  He laughed and said "Yes, there are 'just friends' but that doesn't mean they don't f*** around!"  I didn't laugh and explained to him that things like that were offensive, not funny.  He apologized sincerely and said that he misread me.  What that means, I don't know exactly.  We kept talking and he asked what I was studying and what I wanted to do.  Once again, I got to face the confused looks that accompany my explanation that I'm a BTS and French major and want to have a bakery.  He asked if baking was something the church required.  I didn't totally understand what he meant, and I told him that I want to have a bakery because I want to care for people.  I guess he meant "Is caring for people something required by the church?"  I started to explain that yes, it is the point of the church, when he said "This is a very good conversation.  But, excuse me, I have to use the toilet.  Don't drink my beer while I'm gone."  Unfortunately, he didn't return before I had to get off the train to catch the next one.  It was quite an experience.
Right now, I'm sitting on a train (not moving) and it's the second to last one before I get to Linnea's.  The last train had to skip our train station and they took us on a bus to the next train stop.  We had to wait in the cold for almost 45 minutes, and we still have to take another train after this.  If there ever was a time to have a teleportation device, this would be it.