Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Brussels, London, Edinburgh

This vacation has been very busy and non stop.  I have enjoyed every minute thus far...even the not so good moments. Last time I wrote, I was on my way to Brussels. Well now I'm on a train to Normandy to see the beaches of D-Day. I am beyond excited about that but ill post about that later. When we arrived in Brussels, we hopped on a train for a short ride to Gent. It is a small town outside of Brussels. It is absolutely gorgeous and less touristy. We went in a beautiful cathedral and a castle. We climbed several sets of stairs. I think one set had close to 300 in it. This was just preparing us for the stairs we were going to climb in London. We went on a canal tour in Gent. We met this couple from Denmark. They were very nice and our tour guide was hilarious. 
We went under this tree during our ride. I felt like I was in The Little Mermaid during the "Kiss the Girl" scene.  At night the city of Gent lights up. Unbelievably gorgeous. We spent the night in Gent. The next morning we at a real Belgium waffle. I mean you're in Belgium so why not??  After breakfast we hopped a train back to Brussels to tour that city. Brussels was very touristy and loud. I wasn't a huge fan of Brussels. Around 5pm we got on a train and road about 2 hours to London. As soon as we arrived, we got in a cute taxi and rode to our hotel. London is pretty overwhelming when you first arrive. There is a lot to take in. Kaitlin and I are GINORMOUS fans of the royal family!!! We woke up early the morning of the Royal Wedding to watch it. We have been following Kate throughout her pregnancy. We were hoping she would have the baby while we were there so we could see the announcement on the easel but sadly that didn't happen. We walked around London for a little bit the night we arrived but decided to head to bed early since we had a busy day ahead of us. We pretty much covered all of London in about 20 hours. We walked all over the place, climbed 526 stairs in St. Paul's Cathedral, rode the metro around, walked through Westminster Abbey, and then walked around some more. That night we were soaked in sweat and our feet were throbbing. Apparently London was under a heat wave while we were there. It was only 85 degrees there but still hot. When we would tell people it would sometimes get up to 100 degrees back home they looked shocked. I liked London but I do not know if I could live in a busy city like that. 
Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

We left London Saturday afternoon and rode a 4-hour train to Edinburgh, Scotland. This by far was my favorite city. It was touristy but very welcoming and calm. The weather was in the upper 60s and felt amazing. We bought a ticket that allowed us to ride the different tour buses around town. Although most of the tour guides on the bus said the same stuff, it was still fun to hear the different guides talk. All of the buses were hop on, hop off buses. We could get off at any of the various stops to tour the city and then get back on at another stop. I think Scotland was my favorite place because my family comes from a Scottish background. One of my ancestors made one of the stain glass windows in the St.Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. I tried to see which one it was but it was hard to read the writing on them. So I just took a picture of all of them...I'm bound to find it. :) Monday morning Kaitlin and I decided to go hike the Pentland Hills. It was very foggy and muggy that day but the 2 1/2 mile hike was awesome. The view at the top of our trail was breathtaking. 

The view from our hike. 

On our final day in Edinburgh, it poured down rain. Luckily we only had a couple of hours that morning before we had to leave for the airport. We decided to kill time in this department store. We found this section that had fascinators in it. Of course we had to try on several. 

A small collage of some of our hats!! After our fun in the store we headed to the airport. We had to catch a plane to Paris for the final stretch of our trip. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we are on a train to see the beaches of D-Day at Normandy. I will most likely post when I get home about our Paris adventures. 

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