Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lost, Lost, Lost, Sheffield, London.

On Monday Dan and I went to Sherwood forest in the morning.
The first thing we did was walk to Major Oak, where Robin Hood is said to have hidden from the sheriff at one point. The tree is really old now, and Natalie (who is from Nottingham) said she went as a kid she was so disappinted that she couldn't climb on it like Robin Hood, and she was annoyed at the fact that its branches are now held up by posts.

Then we went for a walk, and not knowing which path to take, or if we should go back to the visitor center for maps et cetera, or what, we stood at a crossroads. So I said, "Well, let's just go get lost." And off we went. And after a while we sort of did feel like we had gotten lost, but after a sit for to eat some packed sandwiches in the sun, we did find our way back. It was a beautiful place to get lost in. It was also very different from the forests of Japan, which made it interesting in other ways, too.

On our way back from the forest, we passed a maise maze (corn maze) and having an extra couple of hours, decided to give it a go. Some of the paths were a bit poorly marked, so I think I took a few shortcuts that weren't supposed to be paths. In fact I know I did. I ended up at the end right at the beginning and worked my way around the whole maze, but couldn't sort out where I was supposed to end up. It was pretty fun anyhow. The sun came out, which was nice.

That night we had curry for dinner, satisfying me desperate need to get some rice into me system. Mmmm... chicken tikka masala...

And I started downloading season 2 of Lost so that i can watch it and be in the know when I get home. We watched Pride and Prejudice in the evening, and it was pretty good.

The sun goes down so late here! It throws me. After three years in Japan, I feel like if the sun is in the sky, it can't be much later than six, ever. But the sun stays up until like past ten at night. So often its nine at night but I feel like its five. Of course, when I first went to Japan it was the quick sunset that drove me nuts, rather than the reverse now. Ironic.
And Nottingham is a little farther north than Winnipeg. Winnipeg is 49 degrees and 50 minutes north, but Nottingham is about 53 degrees north.

Tuesday Dan and I went into Sheffield in the morning, walked around, and then met Natalie for lunch at a pub, and then Dan got his football (soccer ball) which we kicked around for an hour before he had to run to the dentist. Sheffield was a nicer town than I had imagined, because of the way everyone seems to joke about it.

Yesterday Dan and I hopped a train from Nottinham station into London and walked around all day.

The station in Nottingham had a very different atmosphere from what I'm used to. And instead of reliable mechanical gates, they had people checking and taking your tickets! Crazy!

So we got into town, hopped on the tube, and started our day of walking around downtown London. We walked down to Trafalgar Square and saw Nelson's column. And while we were there, we checked out the National Gallery. I'm not so partial to much painting pre-baroque, and given our limited amount of time, we just did from 1600 forward. I'm sure it's tragic that I missed out on seeing some of the great stuff they surely had, but time is a limited commodity on a one day trip.

Then we walked to the parliment buildings and Big Ben, crossed the river thinking of taking the London Eye to check the city out, but summer tourism making the lines it makes dissuaded us from following through on that. So I posed with Winston Churchill for a photo, and after checking out Westminster Abbey, we continued on our way.

On the way to Buckingham Palace, we also stopped at the memorial for dead Canadian soldiers, as well as the Victoria Memorial.

There were lots of tourists outside of Buckingham, but it was interesting enough I suppose. Then we walked to Hyde park, and Speaker's Corner, which was set up hundreds of years ago for people to exercise their freedom of speach and get up on the metaphorical soapbox and speak against the government, or whatever. Not much to see, but interesting to have been there.

After that we hopped the tube to St. Paul's Cathedral, the main place for the Church of England (Anglican Church). It was really money. It must have cost so much to build that place. Not my bowl of fish, but worth the trip, I suppose. After walking around for a bit, I sat down in a chair and took a cat-nap. I was woken with a start when a choir started singing. It was really nice with the acoustics the building offers. Then a preist (or is he a reverend? I don't know) got up to lead in some brief prayer.
Then we went down to the crypt to check out where rotting shells of dead people are kept for some reason. Lots of names on plaques. We played the "walk around and see how many names you recognise" game.

Then we walked accross the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern Art Gallery. Unfortunately we only had time to do one floor of it (hour and a half) before it closed. But much good art was seen. Any good vacation includes a few trips to art galleries or museums, in my opinion. We were going to check out London Tower and the Tower Bridge, but it started raining. We retreated to a pub in hopes that it would let up altogether, but it was not to be. It only let up enough for us to make it to a station to get on the tube, to get to our station, to come home, to sleep the sweet sleep of people who have been on their feet all day.


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