Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 10, 11 & 12 – Cork, Ireland, Back to England & Home

            Our 12 day British Isles cruise was drawing to a close with stops at Cobh, Ireland and back to Portland, England. On July 31, 2019, we docked at Cobh in County Cork, Ireland, famous for being the last port Titanic saw before its disaster.

Cork County Excursion

Our last excursion in Ireland, Kinsale Village & Countryside Villages, left the ship at 8:30 am, so we up early and to breakfast.

Annie Moore Statute, Cobh, Ireland
Statute of Annie Moore and her 2 brothers!

In our walk to the tour bus, we passed a famous statute of Annie Moore.
           

“Annie Moore was born in 1877 in Cork City and left Queenstown (Cobh today) on the SS Nevada on 20th December, 1891 with her 2 brothers. On 1 January, 1892 (her 15th birthday), Annie was the first immigrant to be processed at the newly opened Ellis Island centre in New York.”

From Legend in the Heritage Center, Titanic Experience Cobh

Again, I enjoyed driving through the Irish countryside with luscious green checkerboard pastures edged with rock fences. We saw many castles during our cruise but saw a unique one traveling to Kinsale with a gold tree on top and an American flag blowing in the breeze!

I loved a stop we had before Kinsale–Charles Fort, situated on a hill overlooking the bay and Kinsale.

Charles Fort (IrishDún Chathail) is a trace italien fortification, a bastion fort with one section of the curtain wall built in star fashion. It is located on the water’s edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbour, County CorkIreland.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fort_(Ireland)

Kinsale was a beautiful colorful village. Sailboats drifted in the bay as we parked the tour bus. We had the opportunity to stop at the Actons Hotel for tea, but Lin and I opted to head downtown to shop and sightsee. Lin went shopping on his own, and I wondered through shops, enjoying the Irish goods.

We retraced our journey back to Cobh and saw the strange castle with the gold tree again.

We returned to Cobh and had three and a half hours to explore this lovely seaside port with its colorful square two and three-story houses, stacked along the edge of the bay. We walked a steep incline to St. Colman’s Cathedral, a truly breathtaking sight and toured this beautiful cathedral perched above the city on a hill.

We ended up in Kelly’s pub and savored a coffee and scone and wonderful Irish music. We stayed for a couple songs then continued our walk down the street.

Two musicians entertained a crowd on one corner, so we stopped and enjoyed the Irish music. We came to the end of the shops, so we ended up back at Kelly’s pub and enjoyed the musician there again. Lin requested some traditional Irish music he had remembered from his bartending time in an Irish Pub in New Jersey. The singer loved Lin’s tip in the shape of a free Guinness and Lin’s resounding enthusiasm.

On the way back to the ship, we quickly went through the Heritage Center to see the exhibit, Titanic Experience Cobh.

“Queenstown (known as Cobh today) was Titanic’s last port of call before disaster struck. The legendary ship has left an undeniable mark on this maritime town.”

ounty-antrim/belfast/articles/titanic-in-cobh/

We reluctantly boarded the ship, knowing we were leaving Ireland. As our trip was winding down, we became worried about our souvenir purchases and limitation of bags on our plane trip home.

When we boarded the ship days ago, they took our passports—that had never happened before. So, I stood in line to recover them with hundreds of other passengers; I read my James Joyce book, The Dubliners, as I waited. The time passed quickly.

Lin napped as we left Ireland, but I went up to Deck 13 and grabbed a fish cake for a snack and watched as we left Ireland—a country that has become a significant one in my life.

We had a delicious oriental dinner in Shogun’s and went to the 7:00 PM show of Elements which was a combination of all the entertainers. Then the show ended with the traditional finale with the crew coming on stage. Again, it was awesome!

Lin ended up buying an extra bag to carry onboard the plane—so many souvenirs! We stopped and listened to music in one of the bars and was in bed by 11:00 pm.

Back to England & Corfe Castle

On August 1, 2019, we woke up back in Portland, England and had one more excursion, English Countryside & Corfe Castle. We left the ship at 10:15 am and had another wonderful trip through countryside settings.

Corfe Castle was overwhelming and memorable. The other castles we visited were still intact—Corfe was in ruin. As we neared the ruins at the base of the hill, we walked through a Medieval Village with men dressed as knights educating families gathered around.

We had a serendipitous experience with an Oriental man. I asked him to take a picture of Lin and me, and from then on, he adopted us. At one place, he instructed us where to take the best picture, and he was right!

The place the Oriental man suggested!

After our tour of the castle, we had tea and scones in a Tea-room and shopped around the square.

Rabbit Identifying the thatcher of this roof!

While driving back, our tour guide educated us about thatched roofs and the images the builder put up to identify the thatcher, so we watched for different ones. So here’s the rabbit!

When we returned, we toured Weymouth, seeing the beach area teeming with swimmers, and then we went to Portland and drove up to where the Olympics symbol is now placed.

Wow! One of the jelly fish!

We arrived back at the ship and didn’t want to board because this was the end. We noticed a family looking over the pier into the water, so we went over and investigated—there were at least 20 jellyfish swimming around.

Last Night on Ship

After dinner, we took turns packing our suitcases in the limited space in our stateroom. Lin went first and did a masterful job of getting everything in, but he did need the extra bag he bought. My turn came, and I worked hard and succeeded but desperately needed the extra bag I bought. We showered and relaxed and put our bags out by the door to be picked up.

Travel Day Home

On August 2, 2019, our travel day home was uneventful, thank God! The Norwegian cruise line shuttle gathered us up at the dock, and we drove back to Heathrow in London. We flew back to Denver and returned to the hotel we had stayed in twelve days earlier. We spent the night and returned home on August 3, thankful for such a wonderful cruise and so many memories of the enchanting British Isles.


~$500 Black Friday Giveaway ending November 26! TWO DAYS LEFT—HURRY! Hey, here’s a chance to win a $500 Amazon eGift Card just in time for BLACK FRIDAY from The No. 1 Site for #Reader Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click the link and enter (everyday if you want). It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; giveaway ends Nov. 26, 2019. Click here for details ~> https://buff.ly/2NDNtRQ

~BLACK FRIDAY SPECIALS! Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 9 & 10 – Dublin, Fair City

We had two days in Dublin on our 12 Day British Isles cruise, and we were in excited! The first day we decided to tour on our own since we had been there two years ago. The second day we took an excursion out to Powerscourt Garden, rated by National Geographic as #3 in the world!

Day 1

            On July 29, 2019, we woke in Dublin, Ireland at 6:45 am, ate breakfast and were out to the pier to catch the shuttle by 8:00 am. Impatient to get to Dublin, we had to wait until 8:30 am before taking off. The shuttle took us to Merrion Square where there’s three statues celebrating Oscar Wilde.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde_Memorial_Sculpture

            Immediately, we bought Hop-Off-Hop-On bus passes for two days which included the night tour. We hopped on the bus and enjoyed a tour of the city heading towards the Guinness Storehouse. We sat upstairs in the open air and enjoyed Dublin. We circled around Trinity College, the Irish Whiskey Museum, Christ Church and the busy Dublin streets. I enjoyed the beautiful flowers decorating many businesses on the decorated city streets.  

We went to the Guinness Storehouse to buy something Lin had planned on for months—socks! When we were in Dublin two years ago, he bought socks at the Guinness Storehouse souvenir shop and wanted more.  They wouldn’t let us into the souvenir shop without buying a tour ticket. One of the workers there told us we could probably find them at any of the Carroll’s Irish Gifts souvenir shop, but especially the big one on O’Connell street.

            So off we went on the bus towards O’Connell street but again enjoyed the tour along the way. We went through Phoenix Park, seeing “the Wellington monument, the largest obelisk in Europe at 62mm high.”

http://bit.ly/37cJUed

The first Carroll’s Irish Gifts souvenir shop we visited didn’t have any socks, but the second one did. There I also bought a beautiful silver ring and a plaque of my favorite Oscar Wilde’s quote, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken!”

            From there, we walked to the Temple Bar Pub, enjoying being on the street with the people. We had hoped to eat lunch there, but they were swamped, so we took pictures and walked to the Brazen Head Pub, the oldest pub in Dublin, dating back to 1198.

            Notice our first stops in Dublin were either pubs or breweries!

            The Brazen Head Pub was too busy, too, so we crossed the street and ate lunch at O’Shea’s Merchant restaurant where we had eaten two years ago. I had clam chowder; Lin had lamb stew—gigantic bowls and so delicious!

  After lunch, we discussed our options for the afternoon and decided to ride the bus over to the EPIC The Irish Emigration museum. We had ridden by it in the morning on the shuttle from the ship, and it looked fascinating.

https://epicchq.com/

            The afternoon had gotten away from us, so we when we got there, we only had 30 minutes until the last Hop-Off-Hop-On bus would leave the museum, so we couldn’t do the tour—how disappointing! I grabbed a book about the museum, and we put it on the list for our next Dublin trip. Good thing we went outside quicker than 30 minutes because the bus came early.

            When we got back to downtown Dublin, we enjoyed a walk through a lovely neighborhood and found a delightful café, the Busy Feet & Coco Café. My stomach problems surfaced—severe stabbing pain, so this was a great time to stop. The wait staff was truly international (Polish and Brazil), friendly and talkative. Lin enjoyed hot chocolate and chocolate goodies, and I had a latte. We paced ourselves during our time in Dublin, and Lin was so understanding with my stomach problems.

Our break eased my discomfort, so we walked along the Liffey River and bought souvenirs. There are 23 bridges crossing the Liffey, and I took pictures of several!

            In the morning, we had stopped at a bookstore, and I saw a paperback copy of The Dubliners, had it in my hand a couple times, but finally I put it back. After our memorable day in Dublin, we went back to the bookstore and I bought it! There was a great statute inside The Temple Bar Pub of someone reading The Dubliners!

            We wrapped up the day in Dublin with the evening bus tour winding our way through the sights of Dublin at night. It sprinkled a little but only added to the atmosphere. The bus tour took us back to Merrion Square, and we took pictures of the Oscar Wilde statute. We caught the shuttle back to the ship and boarded about 9:00 pm—a full day of Dublin, Fair City!

Day 2

            Our second day in Dublin would take us out of the city to a beautiful garden. We slept in and enjoyed a leisure breakfast. After eating, we went up on deck 13 to try to find familiar landmarks in Dublin with our binoculars.

            Lin wasn’t feeling well, so he napped. I woke him at 1:40 pm, and he got ice cream.

            Our afternoon excursion was “Leisurely Landscapes & Powerscourt Gardens.” As we waited for the shuttle on the pier, it started to rain. When we arrived at the gardens, mist hung over the garden.

            The Powerscourt Garden was breathtaking in color and design. National Geographic has identified these gardens as number three in the world!

The first stop was the Powerscourt House. Looking out towards the gardens and the Triton Lake, statutes of Greek gods circled the walk. We saw the Italian Garden, Pepperpot Tower Valley, Japanese Garden, Triton Lake, Pet Cemetery, Dolphin Pond, and Walled Garden. At first, we walked with the guide through the garden and admired the flowers.

Then we took off by ourselves and wandered in the woods. We walked to the top of the Pepperpot Tower and took pictures of the area. I specifically enjoyed the Pet Cemetery and the names of the pets. Again, we didn’t have much time after the tour, so we did no souvenir shopping.

            On the drive back to the ship, it poured. As the ship pulled out of the port, we sadly waved goodbye to Dublin. We ate dinner in Windows restaurant and celebrated our wonderful time in Dublin!

Molly Malone Statute

You can’t go to Dublin, Fair City and not celebrate Molly Malone and this song. Enjoy for a moment!

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=tightropetb&p=dublin+fair+city+%2B+lyrics#id=2&vid=bd90f7c9b001c15faed913ed4f1b3b73&action=click


~$500 Black Friday Giveaway ending November 26! Hey, here’s a chance to win a $500 Amazon eGift Card just in time for BLACK FRIDAY from The No. 1 Site for #Reader Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click the link and enter (everyday if you want). It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; giveaway ends Nov. 26, 2019. Click here for details ~> https://buff.ly/2NDNtRQ

~BLACK FRIDAY SPECIALS! Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 8 – Holyhead & Conwy Castle: Exciting to See!

            Lin and I woke up on July 28, 2019 to a rainy day of drizzle and clouds. It wasn’t that bad but set the atmosphere for the day. This was our only port in Wales, and we were headed to Conwy Castle!

            I loved the drive through the countryside and the small towns, and again we had a fantastic tour guide, Sara. The roof lines in the cities fascinated me with chimneys and angles, and then what did I see—a McDonald’s sign! Again, sheep grazed lazily in luscious verdant pastures in the countryside.

A unique sight on the drive along the coast caught my attention, a beautiful cottage on an island,

“Ynys Gorad Goch, Private Island Coastal Cottage, Menai Straits, Anglesey.

: http://www.walesdirectory.co.uk/holiday-cottage-s/S8425.htm

            Back at home, Lin and I had researched, and Conwy Castle was our first choice for this port, but when we booked our excursions, it was sold out because of its popularity, so we went ahead and booked a tour to Penrhyn Castle & Gardens. Our Norwegian cruise line agent told us to go to the Excursion desk as soon as we got onboard to see if we could change tours. To our amazement, they created another tour to Conwy Castle, and we made it easily!

As we came into Conwy, the street views captivated me—so I took several photos. Sailboats drifted lazily in the bay along the road.

First View of Conwy Castle

As I first saw Conwy Castle, it didn’t look the same as the pictures on the Norwegian excursion website, but quickly I saw the beautiful setting. The touring of Conwy castle was awesome. When I wended my way up one of the towers, the small steps and dark staircase concerned me about possibly falling. A wonderful young man from Florida helped me by using the flashlight on his iPhone. I never thought of using mine because I had trouble accessing it on my iPhone 7. With his help, I didn’t fall.

We went through the many parts of the castle: West Barbican, the Northwest Tower, Great Hall, Prison Tower, and Inner Drawbridge. We saw a well 91 feet deep that still has water in it.

A seagull with an attitude

On top of the towers, we had breath-taking vistas of the castle, the city and the bay. Three bridges connect Conwy Castle to the city: a highway, a walking bridge and a suspension bridge. The seagulls entertained us on one tower with their insistent nature.

When we finished the castle tour, we enjoyed part of a walking tour Conwy with Sara. We stopped at St. Mary’s & All Saints church and saw an unusual grave sign, “We are seven” which referenced a Wordsworth poem:

http://www.greatorme.org.uk/conwy7.html

At one point on the tour, Lin and I quit to stop at an ice cream shop, the Parisella Ice Cream Parlor. Lin loves his ice cream and had to sample Welsh ice cream. I had Welsh Honey and Honeycomb ice cream that was beyond delicious. We had a delightful break visiting with a multi-generational family from Florida and enjoying our treat.

Street view of Conwy

Conwy’s streets fascinated me!

After the ice cream parlor, we stopped at a souvenir shop, Conwy Gift Shop. Our time was running out. Lin still had part of his double or triple scoop of ice cream, so he couldn’t go inside, so I went into the shop and scouted out possible souvenirs. I ended up buying bright red polo shirts with the colorful Wales’ flag on it for both of us.

Leaving Conwy, I took this picture of the Llewellyn the Great statute:

“This is a statue of Llewellyn the Great, grandfather of Prince Llewellyn, the last native Prince of Wales, who led the people of the mountains of Snowdon against Edward the 1st of England and swept the English from Wales in 1256. This statue stands in the town square of Conwy, North Wales.”


https://www.flickr.com/photos/bmott/1386358542/

On the trip back to the ship, we went through the city with the longest name, the tour guide said, Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch

 After researching it, I found:

“The long form of the name, with 58 characters split into 19 syllables, is the longest place name in Europe and the second longest official one-word place name in the world.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfairpwllgwyngyll

            Here’s the translation of the name:

When we got back to the Holyhead pier, we looked for shops to continue our souvenir shopping but didn’t find much. Boarding the ship was quite a trick: the tide was way down, so we had to crawl onboard! Being short, it wasn’t that difficult for me, but the taller people had quite a time!

Then we had fun taking promotional photos for our 2020 New Mexico Square and Round Dace Association festival. First, we tried to take one from our cabin through the window, but it didn’t work, so I went out to the pier and took one.

When we got back on board, we ate a light lunch, took a nap, woke at 5:00 pm, dressed up for once and ate dinner at Windows, one of the nicer restaurants. After dinner, we went to the Excursion desk to talk about our next port—Dublin. Also, I bought two deposits for future cruised and saved $250 off of my onboard bill.

We had some time before the 9:00 pm show, so we gambled in the casino and had a fun time—not winning millions but I stayed ahead. The evening show was the “Beatles Invasion” and it was great!

Our next port excited both of us—Dublin which is our favorite city! Lin and I had spent several days there two years ago and were looking forward to our two day return on this trip! So, next week it’s Dublin!


~$500 Black Friday Giveaway from November 4-26! Hey, here’s a chance to win a $500 Amazon eGift Card just in time for BLACK FRIDAY from The No. 1 Site for #Reader Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click the link and enter (everyday if you want). It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; giveaway ends Nov. 26, 2019. Click here for details ~> https://buff.ly/2NDNtRQ

~BLACK FRIDAY SPECIALS! Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 7 – Belfast, Northern Ireland – We Saw Giants!

Day 7 – Belfast, Northern Ireland—We Saw Giants!

            Back to our British Isles 12 Day Cruise and up to Northern Ireland and the capitol of Belfast! We ended up spending little time in Belfast and more in the countryside on our way to the Giant’s Causeway. I walked in the footsteps of giants!

Port at Belfast, Northern Ireland

            Our day started early with breakfast, and I made a quick clothing change from leggings to jeans because a woman warned me in the elevator that it was cool outside—I was glad I did! The port was right next to the ship and disembarked on Deck 5, a boon for us because our room was on that deck.

            Again, we had an exceptional tour guide on our excursion, Kathleen, who entertained us with her vast knowledge of the area and the folklore. We wove our way through the edge of Belfast to the countryside and beside the sea. I took lots of photos.

            We drove through Ballycastle, “. . . a small seaside town in County AntrimNorthern Ireland. It is on the north-easternmost coastal tip of Ireland, in the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballycastle,_County_Antrim

            Dunluce castle loomed majestic on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. As we drove by, I wondered about the remains and found this out!

  “Dunluce Castle (from IrishDún Libhse)[3] is a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland, the seat of Clan McDonnell. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim (between Portballintrae and Portrush), and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunluce_Castle

“The romantic remains of Dunluce Castle lie teetering on the craggy headland. This 14th-century stronghold was abandoned in 1641 after part of the kitchen collapsed into the sea during a storm. Small wonder this place is said to have inspired C. S. Lewis to create Cair Paravel in The Chronicles of Narnia. Is that epic enough for you yet?”

       
https://www.ireland.com/en-us/destinations/northern-ireland/county-antrim/articles/a-giant-journey/
Our First Glance at the Giant’s Causeway!

            When we arrived at the Giant’s Causeway, we decided to walk and didn’t take the shuttle. The walk was downhill and gorgeous. Plus, we each received an audio tour of the Causeway, and the stories told by the narrator were priceless, entertaining and hilarious—so much Irish blarney for sure! The narrative added to our hike!

            The brochure we received spoke of the stories: “The Giant’s Causeway is steeped in myth and legend. Carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool, who left behind an ancient home full of folklore.”

            It also said about the science: “It’s not surprise this place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A geological wonder with over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the Giant’s Causeway is the result of intense volcanic and geological activity.”

            We marveled at the sight, took pictures and enjoyed the sight. Lin hiked farther up the coast, and I opted to stand in line for the shuttle—walking up the hill wasn’t an option for me. Again, he timed it right and arrived just as I climbed onto the shuttle and joined me.

            We shopped in the souvenir shop and boarded the bus to return to the ship.

            On the way back, my camera’s battery died, so my photo of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge isn’t great.

“Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge – suspended across a 20-metre chasm, this precarious bridge was initially erected by salmon fishermen, but is now one of the highlights of the Causeway Coastal Route.”

http://www.laterlife.com/travel/visit-irelands-causeway-coastal-route.htm

            When our excursion ended, we decided not to go into Belfast butto eat instead. We had a delightful fish and chips lunch talking football to another Philadelphia Eagles’ fan (my husband is a life-long fan) and other football enthusiasts. Lin and I played Cribbage and I won, then we napped.

            I woke up first and worked on a couple of ongoing projects of mine. We went to the late show and saw a violinist. Afterwards, we went upstairs to Raffles, the buffet, for snacks, and here we had one of those memorable experiences!

            Seated at a table next to us with her parents, a little Italian girl greeted us enthusiastically, and her mother told us she spoke no English yet talked to everyone. She spied two little American girls several tables away and ran to greet them with a hug. She scooted back to her parents, seeing a little black boy eating with his Dad. She stopped to hug him on her way back to her table.

            After her greeting, the black boy played peek-a-boo with through a chair and scared her. She squealed with delight and gave him a kiss.

            Her mother explained her daughter had been in daycare all day with the three other children, and she pleasantly described her daughter, “She’s always like this.” What I saw was friendship across the world! Skin color didn’t matter.

            My husband talked to this friendly little lady as we left, telling her Mom to translate, saying, “you have a wonderful life ahead of you!”

            What a glorious ending to a great travel day–the Giant’s Causeway and scenic northern Ireland and an international ambassador who demonstrated what true diplomacy looks like! I went to bed with a smile on my heart! Have you had a travel day like this? I’d love to hear your stories!


   

Fall Giveaway: Here’s a chance to win a $200, $100, (2) $50 Amazon eGift Cards from The No. 1 Site for #Reader #Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click on the link and enter the Rafflecopter on the giveaway page. It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; #giveawayends October 31st.

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Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

I HAVE 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Scotland · Travel

Day 1 & 2- Flight Day & First Day at Sea

Lin and I left Albuquerque on Friday, July 19 and flew to Denver. On Saturday, July 20 we flew to Toronto, Canada and started our flight to London. We arrived at Heathrow on Sunday, July 21 at 11:50 AM! Whew! If you didn’t read my blog last week, you need to catch up and read that harrowing experience.

When we got off the plane (in travel lingo, is that deplaned?) and gathered our luggage, we had trouble finding the Norwegian Cruise Line representative to catch the shuttle to Southampton. As you actually enter the Heathrow airport, multitudes of travel companies, tours, etc. stand with signs designating their company on each side of a walk-way that passengers must pass through. We experienced this two years ago trying to find our transport to our hotel.

So, I stopped with our four cumbersome bags, and Lin wandered around one area and had no luck, then he went the other direction—again no luck. I asked someone standing near me, and they pointed out where NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines) reps usually stand, so we crossed over to the other side of the walk-way and still no NCL rep.

Again, I asked someone standing near the walk-way, and the woman said, “He’ll be right back!” So, we found him. Overwhelmed the NCL rep rushed in like a whirlwind and let us know he was short-handed and many flights had been delayed, so he was doing the best he could. Lin and I were just relieved to find him. The responsibility of transport was on Norwegian now, so we could relax.

I found some snacks for us. We hadn’t come prepared on this trip with foreign currency, and it just now dawned on both of us! We came with American dollars and would be in places in countries that didn’t accept our money! They did accept it at Heathrow though, so I returned to Lin, and we waited patiently.

Finally, the NCL rep herded our group out the door to the bus. At this time, it had grown to a sizable crowd. We found our bus, boarded and headed towards Southampton. I was so exhausted from our flight but so excited to be back in London again!

Yahooooooo! We made it!

The one hour and a half trip went smoothly, and we arrived at the Norwegian Star at 4:30 PM. Usually when we board the ship, the terminal overflows with people and activity—only one or two Norwegian people worked behind the desk. That was it! No picture of us boarding the ship!

One thing they did that was strange: they took our passports and said they would stamp them and return them to us later. Really?

Lin and I boarded the ship, found our room–#5078–and relaxed a moment but heard an announcement that we had to attend the “Emergency Training” in the Stardust theater on Deck 7! We took a breath and ran up to the training. The review of what to do in an emergency reminded me of the danger of sailing on a ship, and interestingly enough, we learned on this trip that the Titanic sailed out of Southampton on its fateful voyage, just like us! We found our designated spot to go to in case of an emergency and went upstairs to the buffet, Raffles, for our first meal of the day.

When we got back to our room, we unpacked and relaxed until the entertainment show at 7:30 PM, fully aware we hadn’t left port yet. We were supposed to leave at 5:00 PM, so we thought the cruise director would explain our delay at the show—she didn’t.

The show was an overview of the talent we would see on this cruise and they all were exceptional! Lin and I especially like the magician.

After the show, we slipped back to our room quickly and went to bed—exhausted from this marathon day.

On July 22, I slept until 8:00 AM. When I’m onboard a ship, I always look out the window first thing to see what I can see—we were sailing. We found out later Norwegian crew worked in scuba gear for hours, and the cruise was almost canceled, but we finally left port about 4:30 AM. Lin and I were so exhausted we never heard the ship pull away from the port. Lin was gone when I woke up—out walking the deck and enjoying the sea. I never heard him leave!

When he returned, we had a leisurely breakfast in Raffles, the buffet on the deck 12, one of the complimentary restaurants on the Star. In wandering around deck 12 and getting oriented again, we found the Game Room, so we played a couple Cribbage games, and Lin won. We continued our tour of the ship and had a delightful lunch in Windows, one of the complimentary restaurants onboard ship.

Lin’s $20 Chocolate

Anyone who knows Lin knows he loves chocolate. We went by the Tourist Shop onboard, and Lin bought a HUGE bar of Lindt chocolate. Shocked after he bought it, it cost $20. He rationed it out the whole trip, and we finished it in the airport in London waiting for our flight home.

At about 2:00 PM, we participate in one of our favorite onboard ship activities: Deal or No Deal. Neither one of us was chosen to play, but everyone who participates has a chance to be a winner, and Lin won a free 8 X 10 photo.

Afterwards, we went to the Excursion desk to put our names on a waiting list for Conwy Castle at Holyhead, Wales. It was sold out when we booked our excursion, so we signed up for Penrhyn Castle & Gardens as a second choice. The agent told us they would create another tour if enough people asked—we both really wanted to go to Conwy Castle because of the pictures we saw, and it all worked out!

After all this activity, Lin and I retired to our room, and he napped. I experimented with getting on the Internet and had some problems. I also worked on my current book project: the authorized biography of Marshall Flippo. Yes, I took Flippo with me on this cruise.

We ate dinner at Shogun’s, another complimentary restaurant for certain dishes, then went to the early show and saw Danielle Williams—energetic pop music singer!

Lin had heard they had coconut ice cream up at Raffles, so we ventured up to see. They didn’t have it, but they had a piña colada that was delicious. We went by the lounge for a short time and listened to the band, Hot Wire.

When we got back to the room, we tried the Internet again. Lin had a lot of trouble, and it was slow for me, so we gave up and went to bed.

The next day we had our first experience in Scotland—Edinburgh and the castle! We were both excited about the four ports in Scotland! Also, the next day started our marathon of ports and excursions—ten ports, ten excursions and no at-sea days in-between to catch up and rest! None of our previous cruises had this intense schedule!

So, next week I will share our Edinburgh adventures! Stay tuned!


Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

BACK TO SCHOOL SAVINGS END AUGUST 16, 2019: 50%off of ALL MY DIGITAL BOOKS at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft.

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

Be the 200th to pre-order the Marshall Flippo biography! You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like? Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42s

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Why Is It So Hard to Travel to London?

Two flights to London in my lifetime: once in 2017 and now again in 2019–each time a nerve-wracking experience!

On July 19, 2019, Lin, my husband, and I started the first leg of our trip to London for a twelve-day cruise of the British Isles and flew from Albuquerque, NM to Denver, CO. We got our flight through Norwegian cruise lines, and the one catch was that it had to be through a major airport, so that’s why we had to go to Denver.

We live in the east mountains above Albuquerque and the drive to the airport takes about thirty minutes. Most of our travel is on I-40, and there was an accident in front of us, but –thank God—we saw the slow down and ducked off the Interstate at a nearby exit. If we had been further down the highway, we would have been caught there and possibly missed our flight. After breathing deeply, we both sighed and realized a near miss.

We both flew to Denver on Southwest Airlines for free which always makes the flight sweet. Also, we flew at 5:50 PM which meant no getting up at O’Dark Thirty to start our adventure.

We arrived in Denver at 7:00 PM, wondering if we needed to eat at the airport before finding the shuttle to the Microtel Hotel near the airport. So, I called the hotel and got a strange response when asked if there was a restaurant within walking distance.

 “There should be!” Lin and I both laughed and decided to take our chance there because food is so expensive in an airport. We maneuvered our bags to level five, island three to wait for the shuttle.

The warm Colorado evening invited us to sit and enjoy the beginning of our travels. It took the shuttle over thirty minutes to arrive, but we relaxed and anticipated our trip. We had originally planned a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands in November but had to cancel it because of the death of a dear friend. We reveled in the fact that nothing could go wrong this time—Norwegian cruise lines had booked our flights and they were professionals. They would allow enough time between flights–nothing to worry about!

When we arrived at the hotel, we saw a restaurant within walking distance, so we registered at the desk. I peered at the guy who had given me such a strange response, and he told the person in front of us that there was a restaurant within 10 seconds of the hotel. I laughed to myself at both responses. We ditched our bags in the room, ate dinner, and had a relaxed, restful night. We had come into Denver a night early so we could catch our flight easily the next day.

When I got up the next morning, I planned on wearing the same clothes, but I could smell BO on my top, so I hand-washed it and then dried it with the hair dryer.

The night before we had reserved a shuttle back to the airport at 12:30 PM and went downstairs to check out about noon, and the shuttle was already there, so we took it. We grabbed lunch at Pandora Express and enjoyed the leisure atmosphere.

Lin and I aboard the Air Canada Flight for Toronto–Excited about our adventure ahead!

Our flight to London started with the first leg to Toronto, Canada leaving Denver at 5:25 PM. Yes, we were early, but we found our gate, and I used the time wisely to work on my current writing project of the Marshall Flippo biography. Great uninterrupted time to work!

Before leaving home, Lin had checked the weather in Toronto, and thunderstorms threatened the area, but no one from the airlines had said anything, so we let it go.

We boarded the Air Canada plane and then sat and sat. For thirty minutes,  a flight attendant walked through the cabin counting the passengers, then one came and asked the person sitting across from us to move at takeoff to distribute the weight more evenly—I had never heard that before.

Awhile later, the pilot announced that they needed to check the air in one of the tires—oh, no! Here we go again! We just lost over thirty minutes!

When it finally took off, I relaxed and worked on my book project. We were to arrive at 10:29 PM and the flight to Heathrow took off at 11:50 PM—plenty of time, I thought. I hadn’t done the math. Lin kept his eye on the flight monitor on the TV and kept calculating and recalculating our arrival time, getting more nervous the farther we went. He shared his concern with me, and we talked to the flight attendant about our possible peril. She assured us there would be plenty of time.

When we got to Toronto, we had to go through customs. Then we had no idea where to go, no idea of the gate number for our flight, and no signage to point us in the right direction. We walked down a hall desperate to find help.

Then we found an Air Canada employee who told us to go to level three to security, so we found level three but had trouble finding security. The lights were dimmed and the only people there were the cleaning crew. Somehow, we found security. He let us through a back door and all I saw in front of me was a long corridor.

The corridor went on and on!

Lin started walking, half-running down the corridor, and I had to run to keep up with him. It went on and on. I tripped once and almost hit the ground, but I steadied myself and kept going. Now he was nearly out of sight rounding a corner. So it was a full-out run now.

When I caught him, we stood at an intersection; only two people were there. Lin ran over to a counter and asked where to go.

“Gate 75.”

The other two people yelled, “Go straight through there and turn right.”

So, we did, and the workers at that gate waved and yelled, “Are you the Millers? They are closing the door right now!” We sprinted over; they checked us in and we walked on the plane and they closed the doors behind us!

The plane had been delayed ten minutes because of a rain delay—oh, my God! That’s what saved us!

We found our seats, sat down and breathed. Sweat dripped down my back and I panted now because of the race we just did. Trembling, I said to Lin, “Why is it so hard to get to London?”

We did make it, and I will take you on our twelve-day adventure cruising around the British Isles over the next few weeks in my blogs.

Have you ever had a travel experience like this? Share yours in the Comments section below.

Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

BACK TO SCHOOL SAVINGS UNTIL AUGUST 16, 2019: 50%off of ALL MY DIGITAL BOOKS at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft.

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

Do you want to pre-order the Marshall Flippo biography? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like? Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42s

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 23 Twenty-six Hour Trip Home

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Lin’s sad face as we wait for our flight at Heathrow

Travel lovers! This is the last blog about our Ireland/England trip. I hope you have enjoyed it.

We were up twenty-six hours coming home–why I did that I’ll never know. It was the only way to travel without a lay over in New York City or Chicago and then losing two days of our trip. As long as it was, it didn’t match our first day on this trip at all.

We ran into another storm in Chicago that delayed us out of La Guardia and Midway. We got home about midnight, so we were delayed about one hour.

Our connection at Heathrow went smoothly. We got up at 5:00 am, showered and dressed. We ate our last big traditional English breakfast in the hotel. We went back to our room, gathered our suitcases and waited for the taxi.

Lin was convinced my suitcase was over fifty pounds–it was only 46! So I could have bought more souvenirs. We weighed it at the Concierge’s booth at the hotel so I could repack in a second bag if need be.

The taxi came early at 7:00 am, so we left & that We gave us ample time to get through security. We boarded one hour early–Lin went to the bathroom right then, so we were some of the last to board, but we had assigned seats, so it didn’t matter.

I had someone sitting next to me that drank alcohol the whole way. I watched two movies: Hacksaw Ridge and Collateral Beauty–two movies I wanted to see. I couldn’t sleep, so I read, journaled about the trip and played games on my iPad.

Somehow at Midway airport in Chicago, we got confused and ended up running to our gate which ended up being the farthest away. We came sailing to our gate and passengers there stopped us–there was a delay.

We boarded but sat for nearly an hour on the runway because of a storm. I did sleep on this flight.

We were beyond exhausted when we got home, and driving on the right side of the road seemed strange now.

I wore a St. Christopher medal the whole trip and I’m sure we received his care along the way.

My husband, Lin, is a blast to travel with anywhere we go. This trip will go down as one of the best.

I didn’t write or read once on our three week trip–usually I do three pages each morning of “Morning Pages” suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist Way, but I did write this summary of the travel events of that long day home from my Morning Pages.

We’re now planning our next trip back to England and Ireland–our hearts were captured by the people, the scenery and the history.

Have you ever had a travel day like this? What happened?

Visit my web site for more information:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

Visit my Etsy Shop for specials: Larada’s Reading Loft

Ireland & England · Travel

Day 22 Moyses Museum & Back to London–Oh, no!

After a hearty English breakfast once more, we checked out of the hotel and spent the morning enjoying some last moments in Bury St. Edmunds. We walked through the Street Market one last time savoring the colorful variety of the wares.

We took pictures in the St. Edmundsbury cathedral where they were renovating it.

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St. Edmundsbury Cathedral During Renovation

Interestingly enough, the Moyses Museum in Bury St. Edmunds is not on wikipedia, but I did find this:

This beautiful medieval museum in the heart of Bury St Edmunds houses rich and eclectic collections and changing exhibitions, and hosts events ranging from themed craft workshops for all the family to historical talks and lectures.

Steeped in history, Moyse’s Hall has looked out over Bury St Edmunds market place for almost 900 years.

The landmark 12th century building rich and varied past has included serving as the town Bridewell, workhouse and police station, first opening as a museum in 1899.

Today the museum offers a fascinating view into the past with collections that document the foundation of the early town – from the creation and dissolution of the Abbey of St Edmund to prison paraphernalia, plus remarkable collections relating to the notorious Red Barn Murder and fascinating insights into local superstitions and witchcraft.

https://www.visit-burystedmunds.co.uk/directory/moyses-hall-museum

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We continued our last morning tour around Bury St. Edmunds by going through this fascinating museum on the square. We had passed it several times in our trek around Bury—I’m so glad we spent the morning there.

Early in our stay at Bury St. Edmunds, we did a tour of the Abbey, and the guide told us about a book we needed to read: Suffolk Summer written by John T. Appleby who was an American Serviceman who toured Suffolk County during World War II on a bicycle. The royalties from this book were devoted  to maintaining the Old English Rose Garden on the Abbey grounds.

We looked for this book in the local bookstore and all around but could not find it. In fact, many of the townsmen knew nothing about it. Someone told us it might be in the museum and that’s where we found it.

This ended our stay here and we headed for London on a rainy afternoon to turn in our rental car and spend our last night in England–both us of sad to see this fantastic holiday come to an end.

We ate a delicious dinner at the hotel, exhausted from our 3 week trip but so satisfied with all that we had seen.

We repacked to make sure that all the souvenirs would fit–my suitcase was bulging at the seams.

Sleep was easy that night because we were so tired, but we both dreaded the next day.

Have you ever been to England? If so, what did you enjoy the most?

Visit my web site for more information:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

Visit my Etsy Shop for specials: Larada’s Reading Loft

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 21 Lavenham

Back to the last three days of our magical trip to Ireland and England.

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At Meghan and Mike’s wedding, we were asking locals about sights to see around Bury St. Edmunds, and someone suggested Lavenham, “noted for its 15th-century church, half-timbered medieval cottages and circular walk. In the medieval period it was among the 20 wealthiest settlements in England.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavenham

They also said it’s only about twenty minutes away, so we took a winding road from Bury St. Edmunds to Lavenham–what a delightful time we had.

The looming architectural presence on arrival was St. Peter and Paul’s Church.

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St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church – Lavenham

The grounds are covered with crosses and graves. A sign greets you at the door: “Welcome to this Holy Place where people have worshipped and prayed for over 600 years.” The inside was massive and beautiful. I loved the stained glass windows and handcrafted cushions on the pews. The grandeur of the place was overwhelming and took my breath away.

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In the corner by the front door, Lin and I were surprised to see an American flag. This plaque explains its presence there:

IMG_4708.JPGAfter parking the car, we walked through this amazing town with medieval buildings and modern cars side-by-side.

IMG_4721.JPGOur next stop was the Guildhall of Corpus Christi – “By the late 15th century, Lavenham was at the centre of the East Anglian wool trade and had become one of the richest towns in England. To reflect this prosperity, four guilds were established in the town by the local merchant families. The most important of these was the wool guild, which founded the Guildhall of Corpus Christi in 1529.[2] Given the dominance of the cloth and wool trade, the guildhall soon came to function as Lavenham’s principal meeting place and centre of business, situated on the town’s thriving market place.

With the decline of the wool trade and Lavenham’s prosperity, the guildhall’s role changed. By 1689, and until 1787, the guildhall was in use as the Bridewell (a prison for petty offenders such as a reform school), and was then used as the workhouse.

It was restored by Sir William Quilter around 1911 and in 1946 given to the people of Lavenham. In 1951 it became the property of the National Trust for England and is today open to the public.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavenham_Guildhall

Here we saw our first preserved cat–the British have a belief about cats.

Afterwards, we went to the plaza and found a hidden tea room, the Lavenham Blue Vintage Tea Rooms, for a full British Tea and scones. We relaxed on the patio and enjoyed the respite.

Our next stop was the Little Hall – “One of the oldest buildings in the best preserved of the Suffolk wool towns, this 14th century house was built for the Causton family of clothiers and its subsequent development has mirrored the changing fortunes of Lavenham.

Little Hall was restored by the Gayer-Anderson brothers who filled the house with art and artefacts collected during their extensive travels.”

http://suffolkmuseums.org/museums/Museums/little-hall-museum/

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Lavenham Little Hall was an Evacuation Centre for children being moved during World War II, and the children slept in the dormitory. Here are two portraits of children saved there.

The end the day we did a walking tour of Lavenham, seeing many examples of medieval architecture–the most notable to me was the Crooked house.

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Crooked House – Lavenham

We so enjoyed this step back in history.

Have you ever visited a medieval village? Do you like history? Let me know your thoughts.

My web site : https://www.laradasbooks.com

My Etsy shop for Father’s Day Specials : Larada’s Reading Loft

Ireland & England · Travel

Day 20 Train Trip to Cambridge

Our family met at the train station in Bury St. Edmund’s and rode the train to Cambridge–about a 45 minute trip. I loved looking at the lush green countryside as we whizzed by.

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Train Station in Bury St. Edmund’s

On the train ride, we passed by Newmarket, famous for “Newmarket has over fifty horse training stables, two large racetracks, the Rowley Mile and the July Course and one of the most extensive and prestigious horse training grounds in the world.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newmarket,_Suffolk

This was exciting for me to see–a country girl at heart!

After we arrived in Cambridge, a group of us walked to the main part of Cambridge and others rode the bus. Seeing all the beautiful buildings as we walked was awesome. Again as in Oxford, there were bikes everywhere.

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Bikes–The Preferred Means of Transportation

Look at how narrow the streets are!

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Narrow Streets

Cambridge is made up of several colleges, like Oxford.

Here’s Trinity College:

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We continued our walk and saw other colleges along the way. Then part of our group decided go “punting.”

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Our Group Punting

“A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, designed for use in small rivers or other shallow water. Punting refers to boating in a punt. The punter generally propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole. A punt should not be confused with a gondola, a shallow draft vessel that is structurally different, and which is propelled by an oar rather than a pole.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punt_(boat)

“The River Cam runs through the heart of Cambridge enabling you to enjoy fantastic views of the world famous Cambridge College ‘Backs’ from the comfort of a traditional Cambridge Punt.”

https://www.visitcambridge.org/things-to-do/punting-bus-and-bike-tours/punting-tours

While the group was punting, Lin, my cousin Meghan and I roamed around Cambridge and had a delicious lunch.

When the group got back together, part of us did a walking tour of Cambridge and saw more of the colleges: King’s College, Corpus Christi College, and Christ’s Church College. We were across the river from Christ’s Church College–what a spectacular view!

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Christ’s Church College

The tour guide told us that Steve Hawkings was often seen around Cambridge, and I would have loved to see him, but we didn’t. We did see Claire College and Trinity College a second time.  We also saw St. John’s College. We ended the tour with the historic Church of the Holy Sepulchre, known as the Round Church, and was built in 1130.

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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

After a stop at a pub along the way for refreshment and relaxation, we walked back to the train station and made it back to Bury St. Edmund’s safely. What a memorable day in Cambridge!

My web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

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Have you ever been to Cambridge? If so, what was your experience? I would love to hear about your experience there!