Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stirling, Scotland

Wednesday 31st October 2007. We started with a light breakfast next door to Travelodge in Livingstone. Guess where? At the food court at the factory outlets. hehehehehe! Got a few things from the shops. Mainly the GAP and Marks & Spencers. An Irish friend once told me when she studied with me in Perth, that the M&S in England, are like supermarkets. They are everywhere and I guess they could be considered our Giant stores here. Anyway, we wanted to head into Edinburgh again, but we made a decision not to because we were caught in an impossible traffic jam. So we headed the other way to Stirling to visit Stirling Castle, a typical Scottish castle.

All Hail King Benedict I and His Queen, Queen Shirley. This was taken at the Grand Hall of Stirling Castle. The views by the way, were amazing as the castle was built on high ground.



Ready..... FIRE!!



Finally a picture with Ming!!


Now, am I a King or a Bishop???


We went for lunch at a pub just below the castle. Ming said we had to try the Haggis appetiser. Well, I only took a little just to taste it. Tasted like corn beef. Shirley and Ming ate more of it.

Haggis: Scottish Round Sausage..... A Scottish dish made from chopped lamb's heart, lungs and liver mixed with suet, oats, onions, and seasonings, which is packed into a round sausage skin and usually boiled. Haggis traditionally cooked in a cleaned sheep's stomach, but artificial casings are now frequently used.

Hmmm... how delightful, isn't it??


After this, we went to the Wallace Monument. For those who watched BRAVEHEART, this monument was dedicated to him, or William Wallace. He sure looks like Mel Gibson!


Well, it was then a long drive back to Bacup for the night. Pizza was called for with some lamb I think and of course the wine!! Lovely!

Little towns of Northern England

Tuesday 30th October 2007. After a nice breakfast with Ming, Zen and Ethan, we set off with Ming to visit some little towns before we got to Edinburgh, Scotland, our final destination of the day.

We set off from Bacup where we were staying to Skipton first. A pretty place. The experience of these little towns was just great! Thanks Ming!

At Skipton

At Windermere, we chanced upon an antique car who got fined by the way!!

Ben with an old car, Windermere

We took a photo by the lake at Windermere. By the way, this is part of the Lake District. Lovely scenery and weather!!

Ben and Shirley, Windermere

This was taken at Ambleside. If you look in the background, you see a little building over the stream. That is a little shop. Really little!

Shirley, Ambleside

Another photo taken at Ambleside. Its so nice!!


I was starting to feel a little sick now. In fact I came down with a cold! Thank goodness it was a cold and not a flu. We finally reached Edinburgh, Scotland around dinner time. But we took the time to take some photos around the city centre and of course Edinburgh Castle.

Ben and Shirley, Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle at night.

Ben and Shirley, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

We had an Italian dinner and headed to Livingstone where we spent the night at a Travelodge.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Monday 29 October 2007, saw us traveling via the virgin train to Manchester. We had to lug both bags as they refused to let us store one at the hotel, due to security reasons (we were coming back to London). We got into Manchester on time. Our friend and one time colleague of mine, Ming came to pick us up. He was such a good host I must say and he has a lovely family! we had our lunch and headed off to Old Traffic. We had to, since we were already there, even though we were not into soccer!

We visited the Man U shop and got something for Kevin. So much merchandise, no wonder the club is so rich!!

Where else? Outside Man U stadium

Outside Man U shop, Old Traffic

Our day tour out of London

We decided to take a day tour out of London the Sunday we were there (28 October 2007). We visited Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath all within the day. Loved it, though it was drizzling/ raining at certain parts of the day.

Windsor Castle, the weekend residence of Queen Elizabeth II. Loved the place. Very well maintained. Better than the Versailles. Very aristocratic and "breeetish!"

Ben at Windsor Castle

On the grounds of Windsor Castle

The elusive guard

This house was just outside the Windsor Castle. Our Scottish tour guide for the day told us to check out this house. A good photo opportunity she says!

The crooked house

Off to Stonehenge we went. This place kinda intrigued me. Loads of theories about these stones. The initial stones were brought from Wales they say which was like really far away. Well, we got the book about Stonehenge, but I have yet to read it!!
Was telling Shirley that we don't really need to take photos as they have this as a background picture on the windows os on our computers at work!


Mrs Fantastic

Stonehenge, an artist's impression

Notice anything about the stones?? Anyone smiling at you?

Smiley face?

We then went off to our last stop. Bath. Specifically we visited the Roman Baths. Apparently, the Romans used the baths here when they were here a very long time ago. We could still see the steam from the baths today. Still warm. Unfortunately, the water is dirty as they have not treated it, but I hear the water is directed to a commercial spa/bath down the road.

Shirley and her kaki at Roman Baths

Shirley at Roman baths

Free cash???

Free cash???

Shirley and I were walking on the streets of London very early Sunday morning (28 October 2007), when I walked past an atm. Free cash withdrawals!!! I could not believe my eyes!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Saturday 27 October 2007.

Got into London in the early afternoon. After lugging our luggage all around their tube, we finally got to "OLD STREET" station where our hotel was. We checked into the Travelodge, a budget chain of hotels which you can also find in the USA. Hey! It was still not cheap by the way!!

Anyway, we dumped our stuff and made our way to Oxford Street where all the shops were. We were walking along and we saw these signs. Shirley found it amusing that these people were hired to stand around the whole day and they cannot move anywhere else because of the arrows. Have a look!!!

The sign!!!

Another sign!!

Eurostar, high speed train to London

Saturday 27 October 2007.
Finally we leave Paris for London. What I dreaded was taking our luggage onto the Paris Metro, changing trains and all just to get to Gare Du Nord station to get on the Eurostar. We had bought the tickets in Singapore. Boy, were they expensive. But we were damn lucky as the first class tickets were just a few dollars more than the economy ones. So we jumped at the opportunity!!!

It was an experience I guess. But I think we were so used to trains already. But we did get a meal, wine and champagne, which was nice, though I would not rave about the food. We were watching "High School Musical" all the way from Paris to London Waterloo Station. The whole trip only took 2 hrs 15 min.

Ben, Eurostar train in background

Ben with his red wine

Wine and Champagne, Eurostar

Shirley in First Class, Eurostar

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More of Versailles

I loved the scenary here at the Versailles. But of the course inside the Chateau was also quite impressive. For example, this hall:

Ben at the Versailles

The land the chateau was on seemed to go on and on into the horizon. Was just massive. I took a photo of part of the chateau from the outside:

Outside on the property of Versailles

Arc de Triomph at night

Arc de Triomph at night, originally uploaded by benkenobi_lim.

I was standing at the middle of the ave champs elysees when I took this photo. We were crossing the road and we stood on the small pavement in the middle. Thought this was a nice shot of the Arc.

Champs Elysees

Shirley with the Champs Elysees in the background, originally uploaded by benkenobi_lim.

Photo taken from the Arc de Triomph to see the Champs Elysees in the background. Of course we all know that this avenue is where all the high end shopping can be found. LV, Mont Blanc, Mercedes Benz, high end cafes etc., can be found there.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, originally uploaded by benkenobi_lim.

I found out about this Chapel from my granny. She told me that it was in Paris and that I should check it out. I researched it on the Internet. This Chapel is a place visited by mainly pilgrims rather than tourists. When we were there, we noticed many pilgrims and not that many tourists, which suited me fine. We went half an hour before the mass, which was to start at 10.30am on Thursday 25 October 2007.

It all began because a lady by the name of Catherine Laboure, now a saint saw Mother Mary 3 times in 1830. http://chapellenotredamedelamedaillemiraculeuse.com/

St Catherine's life is such an inspiration to me. she did not want to be in the limelight and she did what she had to do with the poor, the sick and the old. She also had a vision of a medal that she told a priest about it. He did not act on it at first, but it was only when Sister Catherine rebuked him, did he bring it up to the archbishop of Paris who saw no reason why the medal should not be struck.

I have attached the website for those of you who would like to read more about the history. All I can say is that, it was really great being there at the spot where the apparitions of Mother Mary took place. And the amazing thing is. St Catherine Laboure's body is at the front of the church to the right side of the altar. She had died in the year 1876. She was laid to rest. in 1933, her body was found still intact, and is now underneath the Virgin of the globe on the right side of the church when one enters the church. Her body is still intact! So amazing!!

We said our own prayers, rosary and bible reflection and stayed on for the French mass. It was great. So serene and peaceful. I wished I could have gone back again, but I believe that one day I would be back again.

The stain glass in Notre Dame

Stain glass in Notre Dame, originally uploaded by benkenobi_lim.

One of the many stained glass in the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

Visit to Notre Dame Cathedral

Model of Notre Dame, originally uploaded by benkenobi_lim.

We took the open tour bus and one of the stops was Notre Dame. We hopped off (something like our hippo bus in Singapore) to visit this catholic cathedral. It was quite crowded with many tourists inside. We stayed a while, saying our own prayers. Was nice, but not as peaceful as to the next day's visit to a chapel.

The stain glass of course is amazing! And to think that they managed to build such a magnificent building and create the stained glass so many years ago!!

Eiffel Tower by night

Eiffel Tower by night, originally uploaded by benkenobi_lim.

This is the Eiffel Tower by night. Such a splendid sight. They had lights flashing only at certain times of the night. We managed to see it just as we got off the open tour bus that we were on.

Eiffel Tower by day

Eiffel Tower by day, originally uploaded by benkenobi_lim.

So we saw the Eiffel Tower by day. I told Shirley that we have to go back at night and especially go up when it is dark, so that we can see the night view of Paris

Monday, November 12, 2007

Shirley with a Frenchman at the flea market

Shirley with a Frenchman at the flea market, originally uploaded by benkenobi_lim.

Will post a few more photos of our trip to Europe. But let's start with Paris. We had just checked our baggage into our hotel Pavillon Nation and decided to go get some breakfast. But before that, we chanced upon a flea market. Here, this Frenchman decided to pose with Shirley. See that smile!!