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Friday, February 27, 2009


Last Tuesday we took a day trip with our visitors to Cambridge. What an easy trip. We took a train from Kings Cross Station (literally right down the road) straight into Cambridge, and the train ride was only about 1 hour long. We had decent weather - a little bit of drizzle here and there, but overall not too bad.

We had a couple of ideas of what we wanted to do and see, but without a strict agenda we stuck with wandering around for most of the day. We wandered around most of the college campuses, some of the buildings are truly breath taking! Like Oxford, Cambridge University is comprised of a collection of colleges, each specializing in a field or specific study. I had visited Cambridge while I studied in Newcastle during high school, so many of the sites were familiar to me. We went into the cathedral at Kings College, which is probably one of the most recognizable sites in Cambridge.

We had lunch at a pub called The Eagle, super traditional really old english pub that was recommended to us by a friend. The food was great, just what we needed to carry on the rest of our site seeing. In the back of The Eagle, there is a room called The Flying Room. The ceiling is graffitied by flight boys from the World Wars - they used lipstick and matches to make their mark on the ceiling of the room. Even after the pub was refurbished, the owners decided to keep the ceiling and maintain a piece of history, and to remember the soldiers that did so much for their countries.

We wanted to do some punting down the canal, a must-do if you are ever in Cambridge, but the current was too strong that day so the punting companies were only allowing guided tours. We settled into our seats and enjoyed a nice ride down the canal.

Overall Cambridge is a really nice, cute little town. Easily manageable to cover in an afternoon, a good high street with lots of shops and restaurants, and lots of sites to see. See the previous post for a link to all of the pictures taken in Cambridge.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Ceasars visit London

Hello everyone!
This posting is def overdo - my apologies!
Last week we had our first visitors of 2009! Chris and Jeanne came to visit for a few days last week, and we had such a great time during their visit! I'm going to break up their visit into a couple of posts, so its a bit easier to read.

Chris and Jeanne arrived around lunch time last Monday. After settling into our apartment and grabbing a quick lunch, we met up with Brian at Bank station for an introduction to London. We walked from Bank station (just north of London bridge) along the north side of the Thames to Tower Bridge. We actually decided to go in and take the tour of Tower Bridge while we were there. A little touristy, but well worth the few pounds entrance fee to explore the inside of the bridge. It was such a gorgeous day, how could you not enjoy the view?? Once we crossed the bridge we walked west along the south side of the Thames, all the way to the London Eye and then back across the bridge to Big Ben. We hit a pub or two along the way, and had a great time showing Chris and Jeanne around! Its such a nice walk - I highly suggest it to anyone visiting London!

When we passed by the London Eye, we noticed that there was pretty much zero line. That is a rarity and decided to take advantage! We bought our tickets and were high above London in no time! The entire trip takes 45 mins, one rotation around the eye. You get in a big pod with a bunch of other people and enjoy the sites from various heights. By the time we boarded the eye it was night time, but the views were still incredible, since it was a clear and mostly cloud free evening.

London and Cambridge

After walking all afternoon we took them to our favorite neighborhood pub and bar for some food and drinks. It was an early night though (well, for some of us) - we had to get up bright and early for our trip to Cambridge the next day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentines Day - a little late

Happy (belated) Valentines Day!

I know, I know - Im way late in sending this message. I had every intention of posting this on the relevant day, but of course I forgot. Oops. I hope you all enjoyed your Valentines Day, no matter how you celebrated it! I absolutely love Valentines Day - candy, chocolates, wine, flowers, pink and hearts every where - you name it I love it! For me its not about spending a huge amount of money, its just enjoying your day with the people you love and showing them how much you love them!

Brian and I celebrated by cooking a big steak dinner (he cooked, not me) - it was soo yummy! If you can see in the picture what looks like a bowl of mashed potatoes - thats actually Brians baked potato, cut up to fit inside the bowl. Im pretty sure his potato alone weighed in at at least a kilo. Good times. After dinner we had a reservation at a wine tasting venue called Vinopolis. Its on the south bank of the city, and is a huge establishment consisting of a wine tasting venue, rum\whiskey\absinthe\beer\gin tasting facility, a brewery restaurant, a wine restaurant and a bar. Its quite a place! My aunt and uncle got Brian and I a gift certificate for a wine tour, so we decided to use it on Valentines day! Well, so did a lot of other people! It was a little crowded, but all in all we had a great time! We tasted some good (and not so good!) wines, and had a great time exploring the place. Thanks Uncle Mike and Aunt LaRae!

I made Red Velvet cupcakes for Brian as a surprise...I have to say they came out quite good! As usual I had a few complications while baking them - for one I couldnt find cocoa powder in ANY of the supermarkets in our neighborhood. Apparently brits dont use cocoa powder for anything. And then when making the cream cheese frosting something went terribly wrong. In my first attempt the frosting turned to liquid (what??), the second attempt it turned into whipped cream (seriously??) and then FINALLY my third attempt produced something closer to traditional frosting. I started out with a 2 KG box of confectioners sugar, and now have about 1/4 of it the end though, they were a success!

What did you do for Valentines Day?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Trip from hell

While we had a fantastic time in NYC for Brians birthday, our trip back to London was not as pleasant. Little known to us, Britain was getting a "major" snow storm. We arrived at Heathrow about an hour later than we were supposed to, but didnt really think anything of it. Once we had landed we couldnt believe there was so much snow on the ground! The last time we saw snow in London, it barely stuck to the ground. And I had just got done telling all my friends in NYC how it hardly EVER snows in London! Looks like the big guy upstairs wanted to prove me wrong. Since there was so much snow, they werent letting any flights take off from Heathrow. In fact, we were one of the last flights that were allowed to land...many flights after ours were redirected...some were sent as far away as Scotland and Paris!

Then we got an announcement from the pilot. Since no flights were allowed to take off, all of the gates were filled with planes, and there werent any open gates for us to use. They werent sure how long it was going to take to free up a gate, but the first guess was around 2 hours. 2 hours. 2 hours would have been a cake walk. SIX HOURS LATER we drove over to the cargo hanger where we were met by buses that had to take us to terminal 5, where we were originally supposed to disembark. So, instead of getting out of the plane at 730 am like we were supposed to, we finally stepped off the plane at 2pm. Turns out the airport was completely closed, and wasnt expecting to open until 5pm. After a quick trip through customs, we learned that all of the buses and trains were shut down due to the weather. The tube was running (which on a good day would take us 45 mins to get from the airport to our apt.) but on limited service. Over 2 hours later we finally arrived back at our apt. What a fantastic way to celebrate Brians birthday.

Heres the greatest part. The "major" snowstorm that they got produced what they considered a lot of snow. I think London was reported to have gotten 12 cm....and Heathrow apparently got 6-7cm. Yes, youre reading that correctly - CENTIMETERS. It was seriously a little more than a dusting. Very frustrating for two people who grew up with winters 100x's snowier than that. But, c'est la vie, brits aren't experienced with dealing with snow. It completely crippled the public transportation system for a day and a half, and was all over the news for much of the week.

Now that we have seen how terribly they can handle a little bit of snow, I think I prefer the rain :)

Brians Birthday - Back to NYC

Hey everyone!

So sorry I have been MIA lately. I have been searching high and low for a job, and Brian has been super busy at work...thus, we have been pretty boring lately :) If anyone has any job connections in London, send them my way!

Brians 30th birthday was on 2/2. We were originally going to go on a ski trip to celebrate, but we never ended up booking anything. I threw out a couple more celebration ideas (austrian beer hall...all day pub crawl...) but Brian didnt really want to do any of those - weird, I know. All Brian really wanted to do was go home and celebrate with his friends. So, thats what we did! The idea was mentioned at 1130 on Thursday, and by noon our tickets were booked! 36 hours later we were on a flight back to New York!

We arrived Friday night and pretty much headed straight out from there. We stayed with a friend in Brooklyn on Friday night....and after a long night out in BK and too few hours of sleep, we headed into Manhattan on Saturday. We went to Hill Country for lunch, where our friends could come and go whenever they wanted to. Major thanks to hill country for not rushing us or pushing us out! We spent most of the afternoon there eating, drinking and catching up with our friends. The rest of the day and night were spent much of the same way...but with more drinking. Sunday was spent, surprisingly, back at the bar catching up with more friends. We both had such a great time, it was so fun to see our friends. Even though we have only been in London for 3 mos, sometimes it feels like forever!

We'd like to give a big THANK YOU to all of our friends and family who were able to make it out last weekend to see us, and to help celebrate Brians birthday. Considering we only gave you guys 24 hours notice, we were so happy to see how many people were able to come out and help us celebrate!

pictures from the weekend...they get a bit sloppy at the end :)