Wednesday, September 30th

TravelBlogue Days 9, 10, 11 - forthcoming

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: sleepy

Back in London for the night. There wasn't really any easily accessible wifi in Whitby (there's less open wifi in the world than one might think) but man what a fantastic town. We really didn't want to leave. In fact, I just wrote out half a blog post about it but I realized that I wasn't even coming close to doing it justice, and not all of my pictures are off the camera, so I think I'll have to devote a longer post to it when I have the time.

But: Dracula, ghosts, kippers, fossils, ancient ruins, fish n' chips, telescopes, and more...

Didn't get to do much in London today, just popped in to Harrod's, then had a really good curry. Back to Brussels tomorrow. Then one more day there and finally back home. Home doesn't sound too shabby just now.
Matt on 09.30.09 @ 03:36 PM PST [link]  [No Comments]

Saturday, September 26th

Travelblogue: Day 8

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: sleepy

Hmm, notice how these posts are getting shorter and shorter, and also less frequent? I'm pretty sure that's fatigue setting in. So once again, York is cool, not enough time here, etc. Today we walked around the entire (ok, well we actually missed a small section) city walls, did a bit of shopping (Lynnea found multiple cutie shops, as we call them), and went to the York Brewery. We were going to do a ghost walk tonight but the one we picked already had a crowd of 200 people or something like that (I guess it is saturday night after all) so we skipped it. That's just way too big a crowd for a proper ghost walk.

The York Brewery is awesome by the way. They're really friendly folks and the beer there is past tasty. Got a bit of swag from there, including a cool little jug/pitcher thing that I really hope makes it home. We really weren't sure we wanted to do a brewery tour (let's face it, if you know how to make beer, most brewery tours are not entirely fascinating) but it ended up seriously being the high point of the day.

Anyway, assuming we can find the right bus, we're off to Whitby in the morning. Don't know if we'll manage to find wifi there, it's a rather small town (13k or so), but you never know.

Now is time for the sleep.

Matt on 09.26.09 @ 03:12 PM PST [link]  [No Comments]

Friday, September 25th

Days 6 & 7

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: train-ridey once more

No time for a full post... or at least no time for pictures. Once again we didn't have internet in Edinburgh (well, actually we found out as we were leaving that our B&B had internet down in the lobby and we didn't know it). Edinburgh was fantastic. We went on a few tours of the supposedly haunted vaults (didn't see any ghosts, but it was still creepy), saw the castle, the camera obscura, ate a ton of haggis.

By the way, haggis is absolutely delicious. I've got to try to find it in the states.

Anyway, mostly we just did tourist stuff, but it was a kick. The only disappointment is the scotch. It's pretty much twice as expensive in Edinburgh as it is in the states. So I didn't buy any and didn't even really drink any. Sad sad sad, but what can you do.

Anyway, we're on the train to York right now, hopefully I'll get a chance to post again later today.

Matt on 09.25.09 @ 03:15 AM PST [link]  [2 Comments]

Tuesday, September 22nd

Travelblogue - Days 4 & 5

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: train-ridey

(Currently writing this on the train from London to Edinburgh - free train wifi is awesome)

Aaaaa! Why the heck did people tell us that London wasn't any good?! London's quite possibly the best city I've ever been to in my life. I could totally live there, it's pure fantasticness. Instead everybody was just like, eh, London, don't know why you'd bother going there. So we only got a day and half there when really a week wouldn't have been enough. Hey, a tourist picture!

Me in front of Ben Big - real original.

Still, even with only a day and a half we managed to squeeze in quite a bit. Saw Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment and Westminster (just the outsides, you understand), Trafalgar Square, a bit of the National Portrait Gallery, Hyde Park, a tiny fraction of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Library's treasure room (First Folio! Magna Carta! Codex Sinaticus!). Plus we had a pretty good curry, and quite a bit of pub food, and several pints of cask ale. Not too bad for a day and a half.

Me and Churchill, we hang.

We've decided that we're going back for at least week someday, someday sooner rather than later I hope. The only two drawbacks were our horrible hotel (avoid the London House Hotel, unless you want to sleep in a small closet in a basement with a bunch of builders outside shouting at 7am) and the lack of easy to find free wifi. Which is why I'm posting this now.

Anyway, Lynnea's looking at me like "when is he going to let me use the laptop", so more later.
Matt on 09.22.09 @ 03:32 AM PST [link]  [No Comments]

Saturday, September 19th

TravelBlogue - Day 3 - Brussels

Listening to: lobby music
Current mood: content

Well, last day in Brussels until we come back in a couple weeks to fly back home. And much to my dismay, we still didn't manange to get to any of the museums (We'll have to skip the day trip to Bruges and catch the muesums when we get back). But that's ok, we went somewhere better - Brasserie Cantillon! Hey, it's us in the Cantillon tasting room!

Us at Cantillon

Now, it just so happens that my favorite beer pretty much ever is Cantillon Gueze. (It's sold as Cantillon Classic Gueze in the states, and it goes by Gueze 100% Lambic Bier over here). It's sour and funky and completely amazing. I often liken it to drinking a glass of cheese. The only possible problem with it is that it goes for about $16 a bottle back home.

So you can imagine that getting to actually go there was pretty darn exciting. Basically what you do is you pay 5 euro to get in and you're given a tour book and you give yourself a tour through the brewery, then you get a glass of the gueze and a glass of the kriek at the end. Sort of low impact, but it was really cool just to see everything. And let me also add that it smells fantastic in there.

Some of the many, many barrels

The other perk was that if you want to take some beer home with you (or back to the hotel as the case may be), it's vastly, vastly cheaper than getting it back home. We opted for the case containing a 75cl bottle each of the gueze, the kriek, and the framboise which was about 14 euro. If you just wanted the gueze it was 11 euro for three. Fantastic.

Anyway, that's it for Brussels for now. Tomorrow it's on to London.
Matt on 09.19.09 @ 02:16 PM PST [link]  [1 Comment]

Friday, September 18th

Travelblogue - Day 2 - Brussels

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: cheerful

So, day 2. Actual awake day in Brussels. Seeing as we slept 13 hours, we didn't get a start on the day until a bit after 1pm this afternoon. As a result we didn't actually get as much packed in to the day as I'd hoped. In fact, we didn't really do anything of substance.

We mainly just wandered around down by the Grand Place, and by the time we got to any of the museums they closed. C'est la vie. We did go see the Mannekin Pis (see Lynnea's Blog for details), eat some frites and a waffle, and take a bunch of pictures. Hey, here's me in the Grand Place.

Me in Grand Place

Oh, and we also went and saw the Notre Dame d'Chapelle, a 450 year old chapel which was very cool and full odd statues and carvings and the like. No wonder M.R. James was always having old Catholic stuff be creepy, it can be somewhat creepy. Absolutely beautiful though.

Anyway, after all that walking around and such, we had some dinner at a little pub type place that consisted of... hmm, I think mine was called Carbonnade a la ... something. Stewed beef in gravy with frites. Mmm. (All Belgians eat is frites, by the way). Lynnea had Chicons au Gratin which was essentially a bowl of cheese and mashed potatoes with ham-wrapped chicory in it. Hers was better than mine, but not by much.

And now we're back at the hotel and it's now. And we've got to go down to the hotel lobby so I can post it. More tomorrow.
Matt on 09.18.09 @ 03:03 PM PST [link]  [No Comments]

Travelblogue Day 1-ish

Current mood: recovered

Well, it's actually day 2 as I'm writing this, day 1 was too exhausting to actually post anything. We made it into Brussels just fine, landed at 8:15am local time (aka 11:15pm our time) managed to get lost on our way walking from the train station to our hotel, eventually found it and ourselves, ate stompe for dinner (which was delicious, though the less said about the service of the place we went, the better - they basically accidentally forgot about us and it took an hour to get our food), passed out around 9 local time and slept for 13 hours.

I haven't even had time for any beer yet. (Though we did buy a couple small bottles at a nearby market... .80eu each. Awesome.) Anyway, it's already 1pm on friday and we haven't done anything yet, so we're off. More later.
Matt on 09.18.09 @ 02:57 PM PST [link]  [No Comments]

Tuesday, September 15th

Travelblogue: Day 0

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: excited/apprehensive

Tomorrow morning I'm getting on a plane and traveling 6,300 miles to a country where I don't speak a word of the language.


So begins our long-planned, long-awaited, I-didn't-think-it-was-actually-really-ever-going-to-happen trip to Europe. The trip is as follows: Flying to Brussels for a few days there, chunnel up to London for a couple days, from there up to Edinburgh for a few days, back down to York for a couple days there, then over to Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast for a few days, then back to London, back to Brussels, perhaps a day in Bruges, then back home on October 3rd.

To say that Lynnea and I are very excited is an extreme understatement, but we're also a little freaked because neither of us has ever been to anywhere. I mean, Maui, Baja a couple times, and I went to both Canada and the east coast when I was a kid, but nothing like this. I know it's not a big deal to most people, but there's definitely a part of me that never thought I'd make off this continent.

Anyway, I'm going to try to blog every day of the trip if I can, post a few pictures here and there. I've never managed to keep that sort of thing up in the past, but then, I've never taken a trip this interesting before.

Tomorrow (or actually more like Friday I suspect): San Diego to Brussels

Matt on 09.15.09 @ 09:54 PM PST [link]  [1 Comment]