Coventry

In an effort to combat the winter blues we set a goal at the beginning of the year to regularly go out and do something new or stay in and get together with friends. Some of our Saturdays have been spent in Birmingham City Centre, a few at home, and a few on days out. One recent day out was to nearby Coventry.
Coventry is famous for a few things; Lady Godiva, the Coventry Blitz of WWII, and for being a manufacturing hub in England.IMG_5503 The city has a few museums, the cathedral that was famously bombed out in the blitz, and a nice little town center. We went to the Herbert Art Gallery first. Our main purpose there was to learn a little more about the Lady Godiva legend. IMG_5468 Continue reading

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My Mom & My Sister: Southwest (ish) England

With my mom and sister visiting for two weeks we had to get out and see more of England than just Birmingham and London. The first stop on our road trip was Salisbury Cathedral, where we got to see one of the original copies of the Magna Carta.IMG_3029 IMG_3041IMG_3033The highlight of the day though, was Stonehenge. We went to Stonehenge when we had family visitors last year, but there’s a new visitors center and exhibits with neolithic houses. IMG_3049IMG_3043We weren’t strong enough to pull one of the blue stones. Props to you, prehistoric man!
Prehistoric Huts CollageDaughter likes to get up close and personal with history. Walk a mile in prehistoric man’s moccasins, stamp out a fire, sleep in a hut; she takes it all in stride.
In addition to the huts and the visitors center, the set up for parking and getting to the henge is also new (I’d recommend buying tickets in advance since everything is more structured now). You park at the visitors center, see the exhibits, then either walk or take a shuttle out to the actual site. We chose to ride halfway and walk the other half. This meant we got to gradually get closer to the stones and we walked past some long barrows (prehistoric burial sites). The long barrows are the grassy lumps behind Derek:IMG_3055 IMG_3125 Continue reading

Ma Mère & Ma Sœur: A Weekend in London

For our first weekend with my mom and sister visiting we headed down to London. We started off with some classic sites: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square.Big Ben Collage As we walked from Big Ben/Westminster to Buckingham we stopped in St. James’s Park for an ice cream cone and a rest. Continue reading

Europe’s German-Speaking Countries

Can you name them? There are three countries where German is the only official language and two where it is the majority language. Of those five we were just in four.
We flew into Munich, Germany (I know you knew Germany was one of the five), drove to Salzburg, Austria a few days later, then back through Germany, into Liechtenstein, and on to Switzerland.
IMG_0714A few things I learned or re-learned:
I may love the Rockies, but the Alps are more gorgeous than I ever expected.
It is worth it to spend some time to learn a few phrases, if only to sound less American and touristy.
Teething gel is a necessity.
My German accent is pathetic.
Deer goulash is pretty great.
I will never be able to fathom the devastation of WWII.
Sleep is another necessity.
Daughter is a travel trooper.
Zurich is crazy expensive.
I love family time.

München (Munich) Continue reading

Dover & the Southeast

Like our trip to Scarborough, we spent a few weeks in London because Derek was working on a client there. Since we were already two hours further south, we took a train from London to the southeast thereby saving us some time, taking advantage of our situation, and giving us the chance to see something we may not have seen.

IMG_9740The white cliffs of Dover are stunning, but I’m pretty sure on top of them wasn’t the best view. However, our little memory-building family hike in the sun by the sea was great. Continue reading

Worcester

Last weekend our little family took the train to Worcester. Yes, like the sauce. IMG_9101We toured the cathedral (a really big and historic one for the size of the town) and saw where Prince John (of the Robin Hood tales and signer of the Magna Carta) is buried, walked in Queen Elizabeth I’s footsteps, heard some amazing church bells, and appreciated the sunlight from the cloisters. IMG_9097IMG_9105We also did a little shopping along the main street, had a really good lunch (thanks to trip advisor), walked past the Guild Hall, and popped into the Worcester Art Gallery for a bit.IMG_9111IMG_9112It was a quick and easy day trip. Derek has worked at a client’s office in Worcester, so he wanted to actually see the city instead of just the train station. I think the cathedral made it worth it. In more important news, this little crazy pants is a year and a half! To celebrate her half birthday I made her favorite meal (nothing-fancy-spaghetti, but this kid loves her tomatoes!) and tried out those 2 to 3 ingredient cookies that have been all over pinterest. Hence the tomato and chocolate all over her face! IMG_9095It sure is a lovable face though!

Travelogue: Siena

This is really less of a travelogue and more of a here’s-some-pictues-of-us-on-our-trip. With only a week in Italy, Siena seemed such a random stop for us, but we wanted to see at least one smaller town in Tuscany. Ultimately it was one of our favorite days.
IMG_7453It was mostly a day to just be. No agenda, just the three of us and Tuscany. We did see the cathedral and the cathedral’s museum that had unexpected gorgeous views. But other than that we walked around the city, ate the best gelato of my life, ate some excellent pizza (maybe Siena was about food for me…), bought a cool olive wood cutting board, saw another church and walked a bit more.IMG_7214Daughter was most excited about the stairs leading up to Siena’s cathedral,IMG_7435but I liked the marble-striped columns and starry sky-ed interior.IMG_7420IMG_7443IMG_7438Seriously love these two. Isn’t her cheesy smile great?IMG_7452Hiking off the pizza… can you tell I’m leaning at almost a 45° angle?IMG_7249IMG_7468Our best meal in Siena was at Osteria la Mossa on the edge of Piazza del Campo. The gelato that was so good was from Brivido Gelateria on the corner of Via del Pellegrini. I don’t remember the name of the flavor, but the pale blue gelato is amazingIMG_7245