Saturday, October 28, 2006

Another post at sea

DAY 31
1517 Hours – Sat 28 October 2006

At Sea Day 7

OK. So far I am enjoying the cruise. More than anything I like the fact that I will soon be able to say that I have made a trans-Atlantic crossing by sea. It actually is pretty fun. They have a lot of activities and even though most of the people are older, they are still fun to hang around with and talk to. They are all very interested in my time in Iraq and asked me to put together a slide show of my photos from Iraq. I will. There should be about 20 people and they will all get to see some of my favorite shots.

Anyway, I am slightly up on the gambling side of the house. I was hoping to win 3800 to pay for some more art but I am starting to think it might not be possible. I did pretty well in the blackjack tourney but not well enough. Oh well, we have many days left.

So in 2 more days we will arrive at our second stop in the port of St. Marteen. I was going to book a tour but decided against it. I think I will just chill and maybe hit a few shops and then the beach.

Also, I thought it would be weird to be at sea 6 days without land but it is actually pretty cool. I sleep with my balcony door open and the cool breeze and sound of the wake makes anyone sleep like a baby.


Friday, October 27, 2006

More sailing posts

DAY 30
0040 Hours – Fri 27 October 2006

At Sea Day 6

Well this has been an interesting day to say the least. They had the first day of seas that were calm enough to allow them to perform the “Vegas” style show. It was pretty cool I have to admit. Lots of hot chicks on the stage and some good music and singing.

Anyway, the reason they did not use a helicopter to MEDEVAC the sick dude was because we had Gale Force 8 Winds and 20 foot seas. The US Coast Guard could have landed but not these hillbillies. So if they had real pilots, like ours, we would not have had to turn around. The dude is doing OK apparently, so much for his crossing however.

So I am fixing to play some roulette. Hopefully I can finance my trip with winnings on the table. That would be the biggest bonus of all.

The weather is nicer now. Low seas, moderate temperatures and easy wind. Tomorrow I will start to gain back the tan I lost whilst in the UK.

That is all I have to talk about really. See you all soon.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

At Sea

DAY 24
1904 Hours – Sat 21 Oct

At Sea Day 0

So I am now aboard the Legend of the Seas en-route back to the US of A. I am happy to be heading back to the States. It has been quite a long time since I have been home and I am excited to be returning. My cruise ends in Tampa or Miami or somewhere in Florida I think. Who cares? I will rent a car and drive home.

Anyway, it may be quite some time before I can make a new blog entry. It turns out that internet costs 25$ per hour onboard the ship. Consequently, I will not be downloading any porn, nor will I be surfing the net or blogging. I will try to make some posts when I get on dry land in Spain in a few days.


DAY 28
1640 Hours – Wed 25 October 2006

At Sea Day 4

The past few days have been remarkable. We are traveling in seas that are approaching 30 feet and the winds have exceeded 70 MPH. We are in the same seas as a major race where many of the racers have had to quit. At least 1 smaller cruise ship has been at port for 4 days awaiting calmer waters. I am on the 7th floor and waves have hit my balcony. That is a splash of at least 50 feet. Members of the crew are so ill that the staff has had to work extra to cover their sea sick coworkers. I think they are about out of bark bags. Anyway, all that being said, I am having a great time of it. I think it is really cool. I love the fact that most of the people are confined to their rooms because they are too ill to venture out. That just leaves more room for me.

There are not many kids which is nice. Both pools are closed because all the water keeps sloshing out of them. Tomorrow should be warmer, calmer and better. Hopefully they will open the pools and I can lay out a bit. I have lost 80% of my time after spending the last month in the UK and the rain.

Well here is my advice so far for anyone wanting to take a cruise. Don’t do it alone. Don’t do it on a trans-Atlantic. Don’t do it in the autumn. Don’t do it on a puny 75K ton ship. Don’t think that it is free once you get onboard. And don’t get a room at either the front or back of the ship. Get a balcony room but not a suite.

You get free food and free water, but about everything else is at a fee. There are a shitload of old people on these things. Pretty much everyone is nice, but old. If you like playing bridge or listening to elevator music, you will be in heaven. I have never seen suck a concentration of bald heads, canes and wheelchairs in my life. This could almost be a floating retirement home. Some of the people lay out on lounges at the indoor pool fully clothed with towels draped over their bodies! What is the point of that I wonder? Stay in bed for crying out loud. Anyway, to each his own I guess.

So also bring some dough to buy art at the auction. I hadn’t thought of it before but they have a huge selection of nice art. I got a cool piece by a dude named Rut. It wasn’t cheap, but oh well, it is nice.

We are now on the second day of 6 days without making a stop. We just passed the Azores. It was cool. Anyway, I also met a nice blonde chick. She is the only other single person within 35 years of my age and I like her so far. We hit St Marteen in about 4 more days and then a few days later, USA!!! I am going to take a tree-top tour in St Mart.

So far I have won 400$ at roulette but I think I have spent 800$ on booze. I also got to see the DaVinci Code. It was ok I guess. Tonight I may try my luck at bingo of all things. I am #2 at the onboard trivia contests. They have some cool comedians and singers and whatnot. All in all I would have to say that while it is a touch boring, it is worth it so far. I cannot say yet if I would recommend it to a friend or not.

Anyway, it is so hard to blog on here but I will try to get something up soon. Also, I will not be posting pictures until I get back as they are too hard to upload and take way too much time.

Oh yeah, the food isn’t bad, but the dining room reminds me so much of the room in Poseidon that it is funny. So many people are scared but I think it is great. Bring it on!


Update to the last. Someone, probably 1 of the many old people, onboard the ship has taken ill and needs to get to the hospital. So now it is 2230 and we have turned around to head back to the Azores to drop someone off at the hospital. My question is this… If the person is so ill, why not send a helicopter to pick them up?!? Why turn a 75000 ton ship around and sail back 4 hours to an island when you could just dispatch a MEDEVAC helicopter? Anyway, so we are headed back to the Azores and should arrive at like 0200. It doesn’t really matter to me, I paid for 14 nights and if this delays us, they can’t very well charge me for extra nights can they? Anyway, I hope it is a huge delay and I am able to get off on in San Miguel. So anyway, I will now try to post these entries. I hope it works.


Friday, October 20, 2006


DAY 23
1800 Hours – Fri 20 Oct

OK. So everything worked out in Ireland. I got my passport and I actually made it to the plane on time. That is because I took a taxi. After today, no more busses, ever. Busses are for freaks or locals or both. You have to be a glutton for punishment to want to attempt to transport yourself by bus. It is way too confusing and it is basically hopeless. If I am on the Amazing Race and they say that I can only travel by bus, I will quit because it is just impossible and basically not fun. The busses are clean and all and nobody messes with you, it is just boring and a waste of time. Pay 5 times as much and call a cab so you can just be done with it. After all, you are probably on vacation so time is limited. Why waste 1 hour on a bus when you can pay a few dollars more and be there in 20 minutes? You just made yourself an extra 40 minutes of vacation.

Today my concierge told me to go to the bus stop 100 meters away and ask the driver for a ticket to “City Center”. I am in Southampton so I would assume that City Center means the center of fucking Southampton! Nope, the bus driver said OK and then dropped me off 45 minutes later in the “City Center” of Winchester which is 2 train stations north of where I need to be and I was going south to Wool to see Monkeyworld. So I had to pay more for my train ticket and it took way too long. Apparently I needed to be on the east side of the road rather than the west. Had I been on the east, I would have gone to Southampton city center. Thanks for the heads up Mr. Concierge! Anyway, what a friggin joke.

So I still have not made my mind up entirely about trains. I am actually starting to get it. You have to have a map first of all, that helps a lot. And you have to ask people. Ask anyone. So far, I have pestered more than 1.3M civilians to ask them what I am supposed to do. All of them have been helpful. I expected these guys to be all snotty and not want to help, but EVERY person I have met in the UK and Ireland has been extremely nice and willing to help. A problem on the trains is that not all of them announce the next stop. So if you are not sure where you are going or where you need to change, you will be screwed. I just find some guy or gal going to the end of the line and ask them because they know all the stops. Also, if you sit in First class you have an attendant that knows the stuff pretty well. Sometimes I will get off the train and ask the dude that control the platform to make sure then I will hop back on.

Anyway, the trains are not toooo bad, but I am still reserving judgment for later. My train today was about 4 hours round trip and cost me about 40 bucks for first class. The key is buying early and traveling during off-peak times. If you book a week out for a strange hour trip, it isn’t that bad.

So anyway, I went to Monkeyworld finally! I was so happy to go there. I have been wanting to visit the place for so long. I have to say that I was a tad disappointed. After watching Monkey Business for so long I guess I had an unrealistic expectation of the center. I am not upset with it, I just thought I would be able to see more monkeys. They had tons of them, but they were hard to see. Also many of them were holed up in their shelters and sleeping. They should keep them awake during visiting hours or something. They can sleep when the park is closed, but they need to frolic and play when it is open

Anyway, after that I had to kill 45 minutes before the train back to Southampton. SO I hit a pub. Bad mistake. The dudes in this pub were freaks about darts. They were also very upset to hear a “yank” commenting on the match. I just keep to myself and try to speak as little as possible so as not to draw unwanted attention. It seems that almost anytime they figure out that you are an American they want to talk politics and they want you to defend any action that any American has ever made or mill make. Anyway, these dudes were all about watching and playing darts. It was like a dart museum in there more than a pub. Anyway, I chugged my pint and went to the train station.

Now I am back at the Hilton. I am not impressed with this Hilton BTW. You know I love Paris Hilton so I will say this; this Hilton is more like a Christina Ricci Hilton. Not bad, but not that great either. Not recommended. Stay at the Novotel. It is closer to city center and it, well that is enough.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chilling in Dublin

DAY 22
0032 Hours – Thu 19 Oct

Today was a very slow day. It was cold and rainy so I just stayed in and didn’t do much of anything. I did help the gardener load some tree limbs he had cut into a waiting van. As tonight is my last night in Ireland, I am planning a very nice meal to celebrate. Tomorrow at 1140 I fly to Gatwick and then I have to take a train to Southampton.

So I went out and now I am drunk so I will leave it at that.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dublin Zoo

DAY 20
1907 Hours – Tue 17 Oct

Today I visited the zoo. The zoo was very small but nice. They had the animals arranged in such a manner that you could get very decent shots and because it was raining most of the animals were inside so you could see them very easily. The way they laid out the zoo was pretty cool as well. They used the pond to contain many of the animals and you could get really close. I got to pet a bunny, a pig, a donkey, a rabbit and a peacock. I think you should be able to pet all the animals and feed them as well. That would be cool.

Anyway, I have been out of Iraq for nearly 3 weeks now. It really doesn’t feel like I was even ever there. I was a bit scared to leave, but now that I am gone I couldn’t be happier. Iraq sucks.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Howth Castle

DAY 19
1849 Hours – Mon 16 Oct

Today was a great day. I finally got my passport fixed and it only took 6 days to get it. It is amazing how fast they can get those things when you are abroad. So now I am good to go with making my reservations for my flight to Gatwick. From there I will take a doggone train south to Southampton where I will link up with my cruise. There is no Sheraton hotel there but there is a Hilton so at least I wont have to stay in a bed and breakfast or anything like that. It is also only about 15 minutes away from MonkeyWorld so I will finally get to see the place in person. I have been wanting to go there for so long. Anyway, so I have like 3 more days in Ireland to go kiss the Blarney stone if I want to. Tomorrow I think I will head to the zoo.

Today I went to some town called Howth to see some castle called the Howth Castle. Talk about boring. You can’t even go in the place, all you can do is snap a few pictures and wander off. So I had to take some train called the DART to get there and then when I got there they did not have a sign to show you where the castle was. So I decided that I would exit the train station and head to where the best place for a castle would be. I saw some high ground with the sea on 2 sides and I figured that would be the best place for a castle. Wrong. I went the wrong direction for like 2 miles. So I walked back towards the train station and spotted a church tower. Lots of castles have churches nearby so I went that way. I was right. The thing is though, this “castle” is in a horrible spot. No moat, no cliffs, not on the high ground, not defensible in any way. Whoever picked that spot to build a castle must have been a moron. The doggone lighthouse is situated more strategically than this castle. Anyway, here are some shots.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Uncovering Dublin

DAY 18
1516 Hours – Sun 15 Oct

Many apologies for the delay. Things have been so fast paced that I have not had time to blog.

Here is the deal. I have been way too busy to blog. There is a ton of stuff to do and see in Ireland. I took some pictures and stuff though. I also bought a ton of crap. I am not sure which is worse; mailing it back or carrying it back. Oh well, it is good stuff so I don’t mind.

So I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. That is a really cool looking church but you know it seemed more like a military memorial than anything else. They have banners as well as tombs to quite a few fallen comrades.

After that I went to Christ Church Cathedral. Another really old, really cool looking building.

The highlight of the day was supposed to be the Dublin Castle. It was not very impressive. I kept walking around looking for a castle but all it really was, was a huge mansion. I don’t want to see a mansion, I want to see a castle with a moat and dungeons and stuff. So this was more like a museum than a castle. Anyway, it was still very nice to look at and to wander thru. I wish they would have opened more rooms to visitors however.

I also went to the Guinness Museum. That is a cool place to visit for sure. They give you a free pint of the freshest stuff in the world. The brewery is just a few feet from where they brew the stuff.

In addition to just walking around and seeing a bunch of really cool buildings I also went to the Malahide Castle. That was a lot more of a traditional castle than the Dublin Castle.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More from Dublin

DAY 13
1726 Hours – Tue 10 Oct

Today was devoted to obtaining a new passport. I have to get a blue one in order to get on the boat. So I spent all day filling out the form and getting photos. Fortunately for me, the process should only take about 7 days which is more than adequate to allow me to make my cruise.

Yesterday I went to dinner in town with my friend and her 2 friends. They were all cool. We had some dinner at an Italian place and it was very nice. Before that we went shopping. It was so nice to shop for groceries. I could have spent hours in there. You do not know what it is like to not cook for 3 years or shop. The selection, as poor as it was, was overwhelming. I bought 3 different types of olives and I can’t wait to eat them. I also made some water with mint leaves and slices of lemons and limes. It is so simple, yet when you have been eating KBR food for so long…

It turns out that chewing tobacco is illegal in Ireland. Smoking isn’t, snuff isn’t, prostitution isn’t, and gambling isn’t, but chewing tobacco is. What a joke. So I bought some snuff and gave it a snort. Bad mistake that was. I felt like I had inhaled wasabi. What a mistake. Why anyone would snort snuff is beyond me. Well I won’t be doing that again.

Anyway, tomorrow I will begin the tourist stuff. I hope to see Dublin castle and the Guinness museum of course. Here are a few pics from yesterday and today.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Dublin, Ireland WoooHooo!!

DAY 11
1434 Hours – Sun 8 Oct

Ok, Saturday I just chilled around the hotel. They have wireless internet in the whole building including right out front. So I met a girl and we sat around watching people and drinking some brew. I had to get to the airport and had to take yet another bus. I have almost sworn off busses, but not to beat a dead horse here, but taxis, along with everything else are just way too expensive. I know I sound cheap as hell, but I can’t emphasize this enough. I just can’t in good conscience spend 40$ for a 3 mile cab ride. I just can’t. And here is the worst part; Edinburgh is just as expensive as London. I was hoping it would be a bit cheaper, but nope. So anyway, I paid the 3 pounds and took a bus to the airport. I caught a flight on a small airline called RyanAir. RyanAir is the same as EasyJet and can best be compared to JetBlue or SouthWest in the States.

The difference with RyanAir is that they offer seats at various prices. Also it is all open seating. The way they work the prices are complex. They offer a certain number of seats at .02$, yes, 2 cents, and some at 9$, 30$, 50$ etc on up to around 400$ all for the same seat on the same flight. So depending on when you buy your ticket it may cost you 1$ or 100$. I ended up getting my seat for 19$. So this leads me to my next point.

You always hear Europeans moaning about how Americans never travel. That is just a ridiculous statement. Us stateside folks travel across the US all the time. We visit family and friends and attractions from one side of the country to other. After all you can fit Europe into the States like what, 5 times? Anyway, for Joe Schmuck in Dallas to fly to France he would have to allocate a minimum of 7 days including travel time. Not only that but he would have to allocate a ton of money for airfare. A discount rate might get him to CDG from DFW for about 800 – 1000$. Maybe a tad less but not much. If you fly a major you are looking at twice that. Well Joe Schmuck in London can hop a 30 minute flight on Friday afternoon, spend the weekend in Paris and be back late Sunday evening and only pa 30$ for a plane ticket. No missed work, nothing, just a quick weekend in France.

That also brings up the fact that Europeans get 3 times more paid leave than we do in the States. We might be lucky to get an average of about 2 weeks vacation a year. They get a minimum of 25 days but most companies give more than that. So they in Europe are free to travel all they want, cheaply and conveniently while for us it is very costly and huge pain in the ass basically. Besides who would want to go to France anyway?

So I flew RyanAir. Nice new 737-800s. Very cool Blue and Yellow bright interior. Short flight from EDI to DUB. Landed and found the first bus to town. I didn’t care which bus route it went on, I just needed to cover some distance to get closer to the city center without paying for a cab. So I took the Express. After I got off the bus I looked around a very vibrant street and decided that it was late and I would take a cab. SO I found one and asked him to take me to the Westin. He didn’t know where it was. I was like, are you serious? How can you not know where the most prominent hotels are? So then I asked another cabbie and he didn’t know either. I was scared that I had booked a Westin in another city but I didn’t, I just managed to find the 2 dumbest cab drivers in Ireland. So I finally ended up at the Westin and they didn’t have a porter. Granted it was late, but when you are paying 350$ a night for a stinking 5-Star hotel, you expect a porter right? Anyway, the jury is still out on this hotel, right now I am halfway impressed. I am fixing to check if they have a pool. If not, they are getting at least 1 thumb down. We shall see. Oh well, I am checking out of here tomorrow anyway to stay with my friend.

Also, Ireland may be more expensive than the UK. I had a single pint of Guinness at a small pub. It was 4.8 Euros or 6.04$!!! For a damn pint of beer. What a joke.

Some buildings downtown:

Here is a cool bar. I am always interested to se which flags people choose to fly when they do stuff like this. Notice all the American flags. I think it is because of the Ryder Cup.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Loaded up the bus and went to the zoo

1835 Hours – Fri 6 Oct

I have to make this a short post. I did not bring my battery charger because it adds about 6 pounds to my load. So I am bit low on juice.

Today I slept very late and then set off for the zoo. I had to catch a bus which is never easy, but it only costs 1 pound versus a 30 pound taxi ride. Maybe I am a bit cheap but I aint paying 60 dollars for a ride to the zoo. So anyway I finally get there and the admission is 20 dollars. A bit steep but not if the zoo is worth it. This one was almost worth it. My biggest problem was that they tried to make the animals so “at home” that you could not see them. What is the point of having exhibits if you can’t see the animals? Anyway it was still pretty cool. They have a really good lion exhibit.

Anyway, here are some zoo pictures.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Last days in Scotland

1633 Hours – Thu 5 Oct

Today I had to go check into a hotel. And just so COL L knows that I am not cheap, I decided to upgrade to a junior suite with castle view at the Sheraton Edinburgh Resort and Spa. It is beautiful. So I have decided to not go out all day and spend some time chilling at the pool. Tomorrow I think I will hit Lock Ness and after that I will visit the Royal yacht and the Concorde. I also have to go on the underground haunted tour as well.

So today was pretty uneventful. It is good to be out of my buddies house because now I can bring chicks home. There are a lot of really hot girls in Scotland, way hotter than England and they are cooler. I will leave it at that. Anyway.

So these guys sure know how to “line up” here. I swear, they are anal about it. They actually line up at the bus stops. You know when you go into a McDonalds how you pick what you think is the shortest line and go stand there? Well here form a single line and wait for the next register to open. They are very polite about not cutting in front of you and are so orderly that it is a bit disconcerting.

They are also way into eating healthy. Well some are. I doubt that haggis is particularly healthy as well as blood sausages. Anyway they have all these organic food stores and shows about it and all. And they are all earthy people. I met a chick who hates GWB for no other reason than he refused to sign the Kyoto agreement. Oh well, some people cant be helped.

Anyway now I am sitting at a restaurant called the Office. It is really cool because it has free internet and the net at my hotel is 50 dollars for 24 hours. Screw that. I can drag my POS Alienware here and sip some brew and get free internet.

Well that is about all. I didn’t take pictures today so let me see if I can find any cool ones to post. Stand by.

Here are some cool old Iraq pictures.

This is me with some dough…

This is what happens when you let a 1SG or SGM make signs.

This is one of my favorite pictures from Iraq.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Exploration Continues

1819 Hours – Wed 4 Oct

Today was a little less high stress than yesterday. I started out at about 1130 and headed to the National Gallery of Scotland to see some art exhibit. This one was actually cool. They had some Monets, and Rembrandts, and some other famous dudes. You could also look at marble statues and terra-cotta statues. I started trying to see if I could identify whether or not something was oil on canvas or panel. It is pretty hard at first but I soon became an expert.

Anyway after that I went to a small café. It was nice and my 3 slices of bread, 4 slices of meat and 1 pint of Heineken only cost me 31 dollars. What a bargain.

After that I walked down to the Dynamic Earth exhibit near the Parliament House. I have to say that it was pretty cool, but it was a bunch of green environmental wackiness. They really are convinced that they are doomed and it is their entire fault. I will give them some credit because never once have I heard anyone blame the US for their environmental troubles. They think that the 20 million tons of garbage they produce is part of it. Rhode Island produces more than that I bet. Anyway, they really believe in global warming, more so than little kids believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. What a joke. Anyway, they sure believe it and they are doing everything possible to prevent it. Good on em. Waste your time all you like.

Here it is from the outside...

So I am sitting in a pub now. Have I been gone too long? A ton of the pubs and restaurants have free internet in them. Is that common in the States? Anyway, it is common here. You can have a pint and surf the net at the same time. Pretty cool if you ask me. Just make sure you don’t have an Alienware to lug around.

SO anyway here are a few pics.

Here is a shot from the gardens...

And another...

Here is a shot of the Balmoral Hotel from the south side of the Waverly depot.

That is all.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Exploring the city

1850 Hours – Tue 3 Oct

Today was 100% tourist day. I got out relatively early and headed to the Waverly train station. It was there that I picked up one of those double-decker bus tours. The price was 18 dollars. The ticket is good for 24 hours so I don’t suppose that is too bad. But I went to a few exhibits and museums today and pretty much everything costs a lot.

So the first places I visited were the Caledonian Hotel, St. John’s Church, and St. Cuthbert’s Church. All of those were free and were very stunning. This place never ceases to amaze me with its stunning architecture. After I walked around those buildings and the cemetery between the 2 churches I grabbed some lunch. Bangers and mash. In English that means sausages on top of mashed potatoes with in this case red onion gravy. It was nice.

Here is Cuthbert.

Then I hopped back on the tour bus (they come by every 20 minutes here) and headed towards the Edinburgh castle. I didn’t stop there because I visited that place yesterday. My next stop became the Museum of Edinburgh and the People’s Story. Both museums were very interesting. The coolest thing I learned was that different craftsmen had labor unions and were issued small badges. For example, only a certain number of people could be beggars, and those “privileged” few had to have an official badge and he would have to keep it on him. Basically it was a small pressed piece of metal with embroidery on it that designated who the bearer was. So far, all the places have been open at no charge. I then marched further down Royal Mile to see the Scottish Parliament building.

The Parliament building is very cool. It is much more modern than many other buildings. I felt like I was back in baggers because I had to be put thru security checks to get into the building. I have to say, security was light. Also, the standoff capability of the building is negligible. I wouldn’t call it a soft target, but definitely not very hard for a dedicated insane person.

Here is inside the parliament building.

So then I went and saw the Palace of Holyroodhouse which is the home of the queen when she is in Scotland. Now this is a cool place. I couldn’t take photos whilst inside, but I still got to see some cool stuff. More to follow. So I got suckered into seeing the Queen’s galleries before going into the Castle. Look, I like art and all, but I do not care for small pencil drawings. Actually I can’t really stand those. They are boring and a 4 year old can do them. SO anyway, I pay 6 GBP and all it is like 50 drawings by some guy named Canaletto. I can tell he isn’t bad, but I wasn’t impressed. So I left and went to the palace.

This is going into the palace

You have to visit this place. It helps to see it after you have seen quite a large number of other palaces. For example, the palaces in Iraq are more similar to Graceland whereas this palace is more similar to Versailles. It is stunning. The portraits of all the old kings and queens, the detail in the masonry, the ornate tapestries and the rich furniture combined with the historic atmosphere is quite impressive. You begin to see why the Brits tolerate the monarchy. It is actually pretty cool.

The old abbey

Anyway, so then I went off for another walk to Burns’ Monument. Cool, but nothing remarkable so I pressed on to the Old Royal High School high on a hill overlooking the city. I didn’t go in, just looked at it. Cool. Then I got to see Nelson’s Monument. This was my favorite. I have an affinity for Lord Nelson and it was good to see his burial place in London and now his monument overlooking Leith in Edinburgh.



Well, that was my day. Tomorrow will be a little less busy but I hope to see some more and get in some shopping as well.


Monday, October 02, 2006


DAYS 1 - 5
2130 Hours – Mon 2 Oct

What a fantastic past few days I have had. So much stuff and no way to remember it all. Well I made it to Edinburgh with no more real dramas. I met up with my buddy and am currently staying at his house. I was here a while back for his wedding but only briefly. This time I am getting a good chance to really explore the town. Yesterday I went to Rosslyn chapel. It was really cool. At first I was not impressed. You know that feeling when you first see something like the Alamo? You have waited so long to see it and when you finally do, it is just not so impressive. The chapel was like that because it is undergoing restoration and has scaffolding all over it. The good news is that once you get in, all that apprehension vanishes. It is so beautiful in there and there are so many intricate details it is easy to see why there are so many people that draw so many conclusions.

Well I will post my pictures later. Edinburgh is the coolest city on Earth. It is so beautiful. You really have to come here.

All that being said, the UK is the most expensive place on Earth. Everything costs exactly what you would expect to pay, but everything is in Great Britain Pounds. For example, a beer is 6 (POUNDS). My Gap jeans cost me 55 (POUNDS), a hotel room is 180 (POUNDS). Essentially everything here cost twice what you would pay for the same thing anywhere else. I don’t know how people make it. They don’t earn twice as much. Look, a small (puny) 2 bedroom apartment costs 300,000$. Some people make payments for 30 years just to cover the interest. It is just crazy here.

Here is an example of a "flat".

2 The Still House, 11/1 Easter Dalry Wynd, Edinburgh, EH11 2TB
Offers Over £210,000

A two bedroom apartment finished to an exacting standard and occupying the first floor of an A-Listed building, formerly the Caledonian Brewery. Furthermore, the property benefits form two parking spaces. The property comprises: Vestibule, Entrance Hall, Living Room with Open Plan Kitchen, Master bedroom with Ensuite Shower Room, Further Double Bedroom, Guest Bathroom and Balcony.

This ugly crap costs nearly half a million and all you get is the ground floor and no yard. That is the actual image. Who would want that? Frankenstien? What a joke.

Well I am going to go to a pub and drink a pint or so of Guinness Extra Cold.

This is the cellar of the Rosslyn chapel. Pretty cool.

Here is 1 of many small details in the chapel.

This is a statue outside the back of the church.

This is a self shot at the side of the chapel.

Another self shot.

Cool shot across Edinburgh.

Gay, but well kept, French car

Edinburgh Castle

Well, that is it for now. I hope to go to Loch Ness in the next few days as well as the Harry Potter castle and a few other places. More to follow and then I will be in Ireland.