Sunday, July 28, 2013

Singapore Reunion - London Style!


As most of you know, The Singapore Lizard was named for my adventures in Singapore, in 2006-2007, where I worked with, met, spent time with, and traveled with some of my best friends. So, although we all live in different pockets of the world, and someone seems to move every year or two, every time we have a chance to meet again, I dedicate a short blog post to our reunion. 

Well, as luck would have it, Kristin came to visit me for a weekend at the end of July for a quick tour of Oxford and a night at a fabulous hotel near Westminister Bridge in London. Spontaneously, we sent a few texts and voila, our mini-reunion included Joelle and Arno! Wow, what a great weekend!   

The pictures below show the four of us, and a view of  The Big Ben from our hotel window.
Here's to more Singapore reunions in the very near future!!!




Arno, Joelle, Kristin, Sapna

The Big Ben!  LONDON!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Bath - A Gorgeous, Luxurious & Literary (Jane Austen) Break

A gorgeous day trip to Bath was the perfect end to Anna and my mid-July road trip. After returning to London and then Oxford for an interview, finding ourselves with an extra day left with the car, and portending the long, crammed, sleepless nights ahead to frantically finish a dissertation by the end of August, we decided to take advantage of the day and have a "luxury day" touring Bath. 
 Bath is a beautiful, historic town, and one of the places Jane Austen and her family lived. History and literature in one beautiful day! In fact, Anna and I were so determined to make the best of our last day, after our visit to the Jane Austen museum we stretched our budget and took the Twilight Tour of the Roman Baths. (To be honest, our "hotel on wheels" for three nights  of the week before took care of the slight budget issue). Yes, it was a total tourist trap, but it felt great! While I didn't snap a photo of the dinner (a mozzarella and tomato tart with rocket salad), it was delicious. Check out the close-up of my Raspberry Pavlova!
Raspberry Pavlova @ Twilight Tours, Bath
 Check out the slideshow below for a view of Jane Austen costume fun, and the stunning architecture at the Roman Baths. Another highlight was the gift store, in which I purchased a REAL quill pen and ink! Oh, and the tiny book that Jane Austen wrote when she was eleven years old ---"The History of England - by a Partial, Prejudiced, & Ignorant Historian". Too funny!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Roadtrippin' UK: York, Durham, Edinburgh, Keswick, Whitehaven & Roman Ruins!

As much as I love blogging, the last two months have been a panicked blur of thesis writing and job hunting, and so I'm sorry to say, I have to *gasp* retro-blog. That's right, it's the beginning of September, and I've labelled this post July. I really despise doing that - but I'd rather tell my stories late than never.

So...for the next five posts (yup, I'm FIVE posts behind!), I will be retro-blogging about the summer. For a quick preview - it'll be about my week long roadtrip mid-July, day trip to Bath, Singapore mini-reunion, a wedding and  end-of-thesis celebration. And then - I'll catch you up on my current adventures.



July 2013

York 

History, walking among Roman ruins and a night checking out the little town's "nightlife".









Durham

A brief stop in this picturesque town was not nearly enough to explore it - but it gave us a glimpse! By the way, Harry Potter fans, parts of the film were filmed inside Durham's cathedral and dining halls in parts of Durham's college (Durham University, like Oxford and Cambridge, has a collegiate system)  We had Fabio's Pizza for dinner, which was definitely some yummy pizza! Like almost every food place I've been in the UK, it looks so original, but is a chain! 


 

Edinburgh

Since I'll be returning to Edinburgh shortly (with Janice!), here's a brief slideshow of one of the highlights of the trip Anna and I took there - Arthur's Seat.  This is a beautiful mountain to climb, and we had a lovely time taking photos on the cliff-like mountain that overlooks the city. Since we were on a very low budget trip, we decided to park half an hour out of Edinburgh, in a village called Duddingston (for free!) and then walk up and down the mountain and back into town. What a scenic workout! 



Notably, I'd like to try Spoon  - a brunch place that's supposed to be good for breakfast when I return.  I must admit I'm not a fan of the British breakfast we had several times - grease, grease and more grease. Ugh. Veggie sausages, as well, are rarely tasty. 

Also, interesting historical fact - in 1836, archaelogists found 17 small coffins in a cave at the summit of Arthur's Seat, with little wooden carved figures inside. Some  believe they are associated with witchcraft; others believe they are a memorial to the victims of the Burke and Hare murders - these were 17 murders committed by two Irishmen, Wiliam Burke and William Hare in 1828 in Edinburgh.

Keswick, Whitehaven & Beaches

Since Anna and I had to come back early from our road trip for my interview for a marketing position at a college (which I didn't get, sadly), we decided to take a scenic route back. Little did we know that we would be having dinner on a lovely beach, taking windy country roads (it was a little reward for driving a manual car for the first time, on the left hand side for the first time, and on miniature roads for the first time). 

Keswick, pronounced Kes-ick is a picturesque mountain town that reminded me of Banff, Alberta (click here for post)  with more hilly, rather than snow mountains. We had breakfast at a cute little "tearoom" (those seem to be very popular!). Scones and jam, of course. Yum! 




Hardknott Pass - Roman Ruins!

WOW. On our scenic route through the mountain (literally, windy, country roads through the mountain) we decided to pull over for a break (driving our little rented manual Citroen was definitely not fun on those roads)...and discovered that we had actually decided to rest in a historically important place, that had Roman ruins! Hardknott Pass --- I wouldn't really recommended driving this unless you love that sort of thing ---but if you DO decide to take this way on a road trip,stop here! 





Intense driving in a manual car


Mountain Goat @ Hardknott Pass!