Don’t call me Shirley

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Buon Appetito a Boston

As always when I travel, I seek to experience a new place through its best culinary offerings.  I had superb curry in Chinatown; delectable spinach ricotta brioche; homemade ice cream; homemade frozen yogurt; stupendous Italian food enjoyed by the window overlooking the North End (wish I hadn’t eaten so much so that I’d have had room for Mike’s!); long, delicious Easter brunch of apple brie omelette and sweet potato fries (I have to admit here that the service was TERRIBLE, but the food was outrageously good); savory pub food; and scrumptious chocolate treats towards the end of my journey.  YUM!!!  Thanks, Boston!  And thanks, of course, to my fabulous tour guide!

Funny Story

After Monica has been in grad school at BU for almost two years, I finally booked a flight to go see her during my first day of spring break.  The snow didn’t know this.  My first day of break (Good Friday) turned out to be a regular teaching day…  So after some groveling, my principal allowed me to sneak out a bit early and get on the road to Charlotte to catch a direct flight.  I allowed myself a few extra hours ’cause traffic would be horrid on the Friday afternoon before Easter, right?  Nope.  Happily, no delays.  I arrived early at Nancy and Randy’s house to–much to my surprise–sit and relax for a minute!  The pressure of the journey started to mount in my imagination, however, so I asked if we could go ahead and head out early since the airline had advised that Easter traffic would be heavy.  6.2 minutes to check in, check a bag, get through security, and arrive at the gate is not my definition of heavy, but I’m no transit  expert.  Hmm… What to do with oneself in an airport for two unforeseen hours.  This is not the funny bit, so let’s skip to Boston arrival after an uneventful (yes, army dude trying to hit on me, you were a nonevent) flight.  I arrive at the baggage claim and call Mosie.  She’s a prompt little lady and declared that she was also at the baggage claim.  Haha, funny story:  I bought the flight and received confirmation from United, but the whole sha-bang was actually US Airways, so my baggage claim was not where Mo expected…  Whoops.  No worries, she can easily walk the “0.4 miles” to Terminal B.  If it was 0.4, that must have been according to our old friend Mr. Flying Crow, because it took her twenty minutes at a good pace.  Finally, she arrives at Terminal B.  Supposedly.  I tell her, “Listen, Bub.  I’m here.  I don’t see you.  You are mistaken.  I am at door ‘B103,’ so I am clearly in Terminal B.”  P.S., thanks, Boston, for labeling the doors.  “Oh, no problem,” she says, “I’m at 113, so I can walk towards you and you walk towards me.”  Sounded logical at the time…  I made it to door B106–a dead end.  Monica made it to door B107–a dead end.  We peek outside.  I have a dumpster area and a giant parking lot where Mo claims to be.  Mo has a bank–again, a dead end.  Through some dark magic, wishful thinking, and a Hogwarts Express train later, Mo appeared out of thin air, and my transit karma really kicked in.  We waited less than 60 seconds for each leg of our public transport journey to the Theology Fun House.  Success!

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Girls With Glasses are Sweet Like Molasses

Aren’t they just?  I spent the past five days with my best friend, Monica, up in Boston where she is finishing her second year of seminary.  The post title above was shouted at us by a creepy Boston Red Sox fan as we tenaciously shoved our way through the crowd at Fenway for some delicious local frozen yogurt down the block.  Monica swears she heard a less polite word that also rhymes with “glasses,” but then the quote would not accurately sum up my trip.

I stayed with Mo in her delightful unair-conditioned room at the Boston University Theology House, and remembered all of the reasons that I loved living with her.  Her room overlooks the Charles River and is situated on the 3rd floor of a strikingly charming (read “old”) mansion with enough crown molding and architectural features to make any HGTV host wet themselves.  Unfortunately, I always failed to remember to take pictures seeing as how I always wound up light-headed after climbing the 7 flights of stairs to reach Monica’s room.


Windsor Castle

Sadly, the Union Jack was flying here instead of the royal standard, so the Queen was out to lunch at one of her other residences.

Nevertheless, it was a remarkable experience!

The following entry is pieced together from an email I sent on December 24th at 2:00 PM:

It was another cold, gray British day today, but I have a good coat and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves regardless. Today we visited Windsor Castle. It wasn’t as lovely as some of the French residences I’d seen, but seeing as how the Queen still lives in it on the weekends, I could definitely tell it felt more like a home. (A ridiculously lavish and ceremonial home, but a home nonetheless.)

We were lucky that there weren’t any state visitors in the country, so we were able to view the state apartments (where foreign nobles/royals/important people still sleep!). We also got to walk up the red-carpeted entryway where these same important people would enter. It was really wild just to be there.

Windsor is also home to the world’s most famous doll house complete with miniatures that I can scarcely describe. The house has working electricity, plumbing, and miniature works of art recreated by the artists themselves in some cases!

We also got to see the changing of the guard, and the band that led in the new guard was playing Christmas carols, so the crowd sang along, and it was delightfully corny! 🙂

It was a delightful trip, but we came home exhausted, so we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in front of the telly and working on Robin’s new jigsaw puzzle.

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Feelin like a queen

So now my first conscious day in London is coming to a close (I slept for almost the entirety of yesterday minus an AMAZING meal in SOHO at a great vegetarian restaurant), and aside from being exhausted, I’m having a marvelous time.

This morning we took a tour of the Tower of London, and our tour guide was hilarious. He told a lot of specific stories about historical people that really made it possible to imagine yourself there hundreds of years ago. He took every possible opportunity to make fun of Americans, but it was enjoyable. It was so entertaining that I almost forgot about how dreadfully numb my toes were!

Inside the tower we got to see the crown jewels… and damn. That was just crazy! The tour guide told the women to look down at their left hands…. then at the jewels… then back at their hands. 😉 One of the scepters held a 530 carat diamond! (No pressure, Michael. 😉 )

We really haven’t seen anything that I would classify as beautiful, but I am loving how old everything is! We are tracing the footsteps of history! Robin told us that even one of the tube lines we rode was first used in 1906! I’d never been interested in the history of British royalty, but seeing the places where they’d lived, married, and beheaded one another (yeah, welcome to London) made it much more interesting.

We ate lunch in a classic English pub. The “chips” (=fries) were delicious. Then we popped over to briefly walk around a modern art museum, but we didn’t care for it much, so we left early to get our daily groceries and return home to make dinner in our nice, warm flat. It’s great to be out of the cold!

More soon! Cheerio, loves!

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