Saturday, October 31, 2009


reformation day, halloween and birthday to john keats. so, so much to catch up on. we appreciate your patience.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The North

After a nine or ten hour megabu(mmer)s ride, we found ourselves in Glasgow, and eventually at the doorstep of our Couchsurfing hosts. Michael, James and Rose (Pickles!!) quickly sat us down with tea, conversation and stories about the knife wielding youth of Glasgow. These youth all call themselves young team, prefaced by some exotic African tribal name (more often than not. Like, the "Zulu YT" or something along those lines). Mogwai (glaswegians, all), you are so clever and we didnt know it for all these years. We slept soundly on rows of couch cushions that drifted apart during the night, creating comfortable crevices to settle and sleep in.

(rose pickles and james)

(Micheal and Ted)

The next day, James surpassed his hosting responsibilities and carried the additional role of excellent tour guide. He took us to the university of Glasgow:

And then we walked and walked and walked about the cobbled expanse of glasgow, most of it at least. so many bits of information to have and to hold about this lovely/ravaged city of the north. Museums and Mackintosh designs and buildings all about, Ms. Pickles lead us about her school, so as not to pay to view charles rennie's incredibly beautiful work.

The following day included more walking, exploring, and enjoying glaswegian life.
The evening concluded with two rigorous games of Articulate. This is like an English version of Taboo, without the buzzer. By English, i mean, it covers many a topic that we, as Americans, dont have the previous learning to know anything about. By the end of the night we accomplished properly describing pocket calculators, Bonnie Prince Charlie and aubergine.

(in the articulate dithers)
Our third day in Glasgow was spent eating at a top notch vegan cafe, the 78, that left me longing to return and sample every single item on the menu.


(Curry spiced chick pea burger with chilli mayo and chips!)

(Lemon and chili pasta with olives, capers, courgette and red onion, oh my!)

(Baba ganoush and date sandwich with carrot orange soup, that was so good that. . .)

(Ted got it the next day with salad and root vegetable crisps)

Shortly thereafter, Ted located the only thing we collectively knew about Glasgow previous to our arriving there and spent way too much time and money there.

(volcanic tongue!)

In the evening we met up with some other Couchsurfers. Although they weren't able to host us, they offered to meet up when we were in town. Kirsty and her parents took us to a lovely pub down a tiny, cobblestone road lit by christmas lights, and insisted on paying for our beverages. Before we knew it or could really have any say, Kirsty was planning to drive us to the Highlands after her classes the next day, and her mom was proposing to make us a vegan dinner. The next day, they proceeded with all the above, with much gusto and incredibly loud/fast/thick accents. Kirsty and her friends were hilarious. Even though it was a struggle to decipher what they were saying, we laughed most of the way to the Loch Lomond. Ted and I had a little hike around the loch, while Kirsty and her friends ate and drank in a cozy little pub. We returned to Kirsty's home, where her mom served us a delicious dinner of homemade cream of broccoli soup and some (vegan - bought especially for the occasion) cheesy pasta with vegetables. We met Alistair, their son, and had an even harder time understanding his mumbling teenage Scottish accent. The whole experience was amazing.

(the loch)

(the hike)

(a lochside romp. ted ran up and down this field several times so that we could get this photo just right.)

(the fam)

(more fam)

and then we shuffled east, to Edinburgh. The first couple of days there we wandered around what we thought was the whole city. We stumbled upon a free tour (which lasted four hours and was FANTASTIC. If you're ever in Edinburgh, and you see a guy working for New Europe giving a free tour with a name tag that says Owen, GO ON IT.) and learned all sorts of interesting facts about the city. With buildings two, three and four times as old as our (U.S.) country, there was so history to take in, much too much to list here. Pictures!

(Med and Telissa)

(Dolly, the first cloned sheep. She's on display in the ridiculously huge museum of Scotland, rotating for all of eternity in a glass box, emptied of guts and stuffed. much like haggis. We both had our fill of the stuff, the vegan version most often. Ted went for the traditional kind one night, and loved, LOVED it).

(Vegan haggis, jacketed.)

(Tasty tidbits of vegan haggis, fried.)

(Haggis! Neeps! Tatties!)


(The Scottish parliament. Amazing that more and more power is being given back into Scottish hands, not so amazing, though, is the design of the building they exercise that power in).

(Ted and Irn Bru number five of eight. Apparently, it grows on you.)


Hiked up Arthur's seat, found this gentleman at the top.

Also, we found the ever elusive Mary MACpherson!

So lovely, way too short of a visit with this lady.

Then we finally got a chance to spend some time, although, as per usual, not nearly enough, with Sir Dumas.

(Ted making his signature photo face.)

(Melissa trying to correct said face.)

The ten hour bus ride to back to London, by way of Glasgow, was even more punishing than the ride north. Alas, our bus driver cursed us back into London safely and we had a grand week in the city, taking advantage of as many free things as possible (mostly museums, which there seems to be a staggeringly large amount of).
What follows is some slices of life from said week, with some explanation.

(foraging for chestnuts in Kensington gardens).

(Ted* got reprimanded for trying to sneak this foto).
(*Correction: Melissa got reprimanded when Ted took this foto.)

(Ted y Pablo)

(Ted, Melissa, Ben)

(Where's Ted?)


(Oh Man!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

"theres so much left to know....

...but (we're) on the road to find out." -yusuf islam.

(waiting at lax after just finishing freaks and geeks. anybody else bummed on the ending? specifically on lindsey?)
a week at home and we resumed the search. across the pond, oscillating between viewing the hangover a second time (i couldnt resist/look away), watching our little animated plane creeping its way east across a few continents, and fighting the nausea that sets in in when involved in this sort of thing.

(hour nine and a half or so. iceland and faroe, descending upon the british isles)
a strong tail wind, perhaps, brought us into heathrow an hour early, which we then spent on the tarmac. aching, staring, waiting, we finally dis boarded on said tarmac, greeted by the early morning greys of a much awaited english sky. customs cleared somehow("a printed itinerary? no, its all up here" melissa motions to her head...) and soon enough we joined the morning rush into central london, wavering in the densely populated cars of the piccadilly line. the rest of the marathon not-sleeping-so-as-not-to-completely-crumble-under-jetlag day was spent meandering about notting hill and then finally finding rest at around eight thirty. the next morning, we found the way to a lovely veggie, full english breakfast (thanks to our gracious host nate rose) and then to the southwest to enjoy the company of friends and pizza (took the delivery boy an hour to locate us) in the ever lovely and vast environs of richmond park.

(leo and richmond park and STRENGTH)

(andrew and and richmond park and STYLE)
day three aboard this isle, we began the slow process of patronizing the myriad art galleries of london has to offer. the royal academy of art was our first stop. anish kapoor has deployed quite the show in those halls, on those walls and through those doorways.

(had to sneak the fotos, so those up top are about it. go here for more).
leaving with the euphoria of stimulated art nodes, we proceeded to eat something i couldnt find at all the last time i was here: burritos. now, there are some voices of dissent, but benitos hat on goodge street does sling some mighty fine burritos, especially since it seems to be one of a kind (maybe not. but close to it)among the bangers and black pudding. following up burrito feed, we made our way (eventually, meandering) to the east end for taco party. leo hosted this event, and twenty four tacos later, we were ready to ride the bus for nine hours the next day to glasgow.
(p.s. after learning a bit more about kapoor's work, he is none other than the creator of "cloud gate" or the bean, in lovely downtown chicago. ha).
(p.p.s. below, you will find the only photot i, ted, took on poster tour).