The end is here

I am back at home. More pictures and stories later!

New Pix

There should be 12 new pictures up on flickr. Enjoy!

The Saga of Norwich

As with many of my travel stories, this is best described as a saga. So…for those of you blissfully unaware of my travel disasters, I have had several, many of them involving travelling to King’s Singers Concerts.

Disasters I have known:
1) Bicycling to the concert in Harrogate, Yorkshire (chain off bike, getting lost, about to twist ankle, out of shape, etc)
2) Road trip to the concert in Milwaukee, WI (car accident, snow storm, bus cancellations, laptop dissapearance, plane ride)
3) Conference trip to Salt Lake City, UT (hotel didn’t exist)
4) Not quite as high up as the others, but my recent Stansted to Wales trip (8 hours, 6 trains, running across platforms, wandering up hills)

So, on Saturday morning, I headed out from York. The plan was to meet up with Adam in Ely and then go on to Norwich, where I’d booked a concert ticket and a hotel room. Now, being the brilliant person I am, I forgot to look up the concert details in York. So, at Adam’s, I looked up where my hotel and the concert were. I forgot one vital detail: noting the time of the concert. I did stay longer than intended in Ely, but I was on the train around 4.15 or so, and we got into Norwich at 5.08. Still, in plenty of time to get ready before the concert. But, this is where I made my next huge mistake. I had looked at a map about 3 hours earlier and “knew” where I was headed. I did not stop to pick up a map. I did not go with my gut to get a cab. I decided to walk, mapless, to my hotel.

For those of you who are more visual, this is the route I should have taken: Route on Google

But I made a mistake early on. I took a left where I should have taken a right. Then I followed it. I knew I was on the ring road, hence I would arrive at my hotel shortly. It wouldn’t be more than 30 minutes, 45 max. At this point, I should also mention that my pack weighs about 17 kg and my feet were blistered. I should’ve taken a hint when the first lady I asked for directions told me that I should catch a bus. But I ignored her comment and kept walking. Finally I ran into some very helpful men who told me that I was still 20 minutes from the road that my hotel was on. This was at 6.05. Smartly, I called the hotel to figure out which direction I should turn on my road, preventing me from taking a long, long, detour. I got to the hotel at 6.30-still in plenty of time for my 7.30 concert. I thought it was a bit odd that doors opened at 6.25, but I ignored it. I had to take a shower and eat my three slices of apple and two strawberries. I took my time, and, headed out of the hotel around 6.55, hopped a bus, and got to the city centre around 7ish. At which point I got lost in a mall and finally stumbled into the Salvation Army Hall around 7.15…early. But alas, I was not early, for the concert had begun at 7.

I took off my jacket (for it had been pouring rain, so I was soaked) and at the end of the song, creapt into the back of the hall. The rest of the evening went much more smoothly, although, as typically happens, I didn’t eat…cause I really couldn’t be bothered. It was a fun evening and showed off an interesting collaboration between the K’S and the Salvation Army.

The next morning, I set off around 9 in order to DEFINITELY make it to the station by 10.45. I had a map this time as well, but a lovely couple from my hotel gave me a lift, saving me a long walk.

On this note, I think, I will head out. I might go down to the Science Museum (I hear you all screaming “geek,” but I am at a CS conference.) Then I’ll go back to my hotel – I forget what I need, other than a cd of pictures, but I will go back there, before returning to my current location, the Computer Science building at the University of Dundee, for our evening activities and more free internet.

For those of you curious about my future travels, I’m headed to Lanark and Glasgow tomorrow and then from Glasgow to London either overnight Wednesday or Thursday early. Thursday is London and on Friday I head home…hopefully in time to get the key to my new flat so that I can move in before I leave for SC on Wednesday. *Sigh* I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer…travel free and scorching hot. Well, not the hot bit…

Running Out of Time

My time is almost up on this computer…Just wanted to let everyone know that I am in Dundee and my talk is over (YAY). I’ll post tomorrow (when I have internet again) about my crazy adventures and a recent travel saga (involving, of course, the King’s Singers…whom I should NEVER travel to go see on my own). I think I might have an ear infection, but I am planning to ignore that for the rest of the day. In 45 minutes, our coaches leave for a castle where there shall be dancing. I am sure that my blistered feet will love me then.
More tomorrow.

Random Mini Post

Due to the inadequacies of American stores (i.e. NY and Company) and the outrageous cost of living in the UK, I only have one pair of jeans. They are sprouting holes. It is quite scary, when I sit on the train, contemplating how much longer they will stay together. I suppose that most of next week i can get by with dress pants and a skirt, but the holes are scary. Especially when that’s all I have to contemplate on my random cross-country train journeys.

Greetings from Selby

I’m in Selby at the moment. It’s a bit south of York and I’m staying with two Glee friends. I went with Clare to the Glee Concert last night and then we went to the Glash. It all made me feel quite old, really. The funny thing is that most of my MN friends are at least 3 years older than me, most of my KY friends are at least a few months older than me, and most of my Glee friends are younger (if only by a few months).
This will not be a deep post. I’m watching the British version of Jerry Springer at the moment. It’s much more sophisticated (i.e. no throwing things…people just walk off when they’re mad).
I am putting more pictures on flickr right now though. Tomorrow I’m heading down to Norwich for about 24 hours (or less) before heading up to the conference. Yesterday I went to Scarborough for 15 minutes. It was highly amusing, my friends I met up with for lunch thought that it was really funny. Then we played the computerized pub quiz for several hours. We really need those machines in the states. They are loads of fun.
I should probably go and get something done now though. There is no sword of Damacles here in Selby (i.e. I have more than 30 minutes on the computer) so perhaps I can finish up this presentation before heading into York for lunch.
More, hopefully, later…

Addendum and York

Some of my 3 readers may question my crtisism of the kids invading the youth hostels. So, to fight off the most hardened readers, I present you with numbers.
There are over 150 beds in this hostel. Tonight there are two rooms for non-school people. One 4 bed mens room and one 8 bed womens room. That’s right. A maximum of 12 beds for non kids. Less than ONE TENTH of the beds are for travellers. Tomorrow night they had no room for me (which is fine, because I was planning to stay with friends anyways, but…).(If you wonder how I am writing, I will tell you that my ipod is cranked up to max to drown out the kids waiting in line for dinner.)

I wandered about York today. City center and University mainly. York Uni still smells the same 🙂 It looks a bit different htough. Even in Goodricke, the mailboxes have been moved. We used to have slots in the wall. Mine was the PQ slot. Then you look in the slot to see if any of the mail is actually yours. Apparently, according to Holly, they decided that perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to just leave the mail out where anyone could get it. They also now have microwaves and toasters in the kitchens in A-block AND they have key card access, instead of having to type in the 5 number code. Quite amusing. I ran into Holly on the bridge between Goodricke and Wentworth and, perhaps more surprisingly, she recognized me. We chatted for a bit and she said that I should come to Glee tonight, so I’m planning to go, although I don’t know if I’ll go for rehersal or just for the social time.

Anyways, I’m off to track down lodging for Saturday night.

Deep depths of despair

Why is it that I can’t work a reception desk bell? (Other than reid’s answer that I am a bad ta…)

Youth Hostel, where is your youth?

Just to inform you, this will be a slightly whiney post, primarily because it’s that time in my travels, and I have no one to vent to privately 🙂

I generally think of myself as a fairly tolerant person. I have many friends from many backgrounds, I enjoy conversations with young and old alike and diverse perspectives interest me.

On this trip, I am staying in Youth Hostels. In Italy/Switzerland, I stayed in independent hostels and now I’m in Hostelling International Hostels. In England and Wales, it is called the YHA (Youth Hostel Association). When I think of Youth, I think of folks between, say 15 and 25. I don’t think of my grandparents and I don’t think of 10 year olds. But, that is not to say that they are not the primary clients of the YHA though.

This is the second hostel on my trip where I have yet to see anyone within 3 years of my age (either direction) who is travelling on their own (aka not a leader of the school group). Most of the independent travellers are in their late 50s, early to mid 60s. Not that I am generally social in places like this, but the older folks are just downright anti-social: either because they don’t speak to others or because once they open their mouths they will not be quiet. I’m not sure why this is.

The other end of the spectrum though, is the children. The screaming school children. I don’t quite know why they are here, I suppose for the history. But they scream. And then you try to get away from the screaming…but you can’t, because everywhere you go in the hostel you can either hear the screaming children, or quiet children have taken over (like the TV lounge) or there are no seats.

In other news, I am in York. It is quite odd walking around, not a stranger, but not exactly at home either. Things have changed since I was here last. Shops have moved, shops have closed, shops have opened. There is massive construction on campus and I don’t fit in there any more. Hopefully, when I go by tomorrow, the CS building will be open and I can sit on a computer for free and write my presentation and do email, etc etc.

Tomorrow night, I may go to a concert. I know at least one person in it and it sounds quite random… I think it’s a musical about Herod dating back to about 1300. I’m off now. It’s amazing how much sitting on a train for 6 hours can wipe you out!

No pictures today, hopefully more tomorrow 🙂

Exeter Public Library

I am very sleepy. I am trying to not write a crappy essay, and, I believe, failing. The computer won’t let me check gmail (although I can get on flickr), and CS email is down. On an up note though, it’s getting brighter out and is no longer raining.

Some new pix are up…check them out. Possibly more later.

Florence at Night

Florence at Night

Italian Rice balls are GOOD!

Deep fried rice balls…mmmm!

Fried veggies and fruit salad

Fried veggies and fresh fruit (the cantelope was perfectly ripe!)