Edinburgh for CNY

Written by Shuyi aka Lavender at 9:01 pm

I am writing this before my blog switches back to real time, to be publish later, because I want to put my memories down in words when it’s still fresh. You know, as age is catching up, my memory often fails me…

It’s Chinese New Year and it’s my first time not being home celebrating with my family. It sucks being in England for CNY because, besides being away from my family, you can’t find any CNY atmosphere here unless you travel all the way to London Chinatown.

Well, when life gives me lemon (hard and dry ones) I try to make lemonade even if the lemon offers few drops of lemon juice. So, for CNY, I’ve decided to visit my cousin and his wife in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was delighted that they would take me in when I asked! Thank you so much!!! :-D

So on the bus I hopped and conquered the 9-hours journey to Edinburgh to spend CNY with some family.

IMG_4213

Why did I use the word conquered? Let me tell you…

Things did not went well for me… I planned to catch the first bus to London from Hatfield which will take me to Buckingham Palace Road but I missed it by a few seconds. The bus came when I was about 10 steps away from the bus stop and it didn’t stop because there’s no one to flag it at the bus stop. And the driver just ignored me when I flagged it to stop when I was just 10 steps away, hulling a luggage and running towards it.

Luckily I’ve got Plan B. I called a cab to take me to Hatfield station and took a train to London.

IMG_4207_副本

What a bad start! What does a girl need to do to enjoy a decent CNY?!

Maybe it’s because I did not have my breakfast… But to get it I first had to travel from London Kings Cross to Victoria Station via Underground. From Victoria Station I had to walk a short distance to get to Victoria Coach Station. Somewhere in between I stopped by Pret A Manger for a proper breakfast to make my day better.

IMG_4211

The yummy-licious, super smooth, ultra-rich, cursed beverage – Mango Juice.

There absolutely nothing wrong with the juice. Every wrong is on me! *slap self* I was recovering from a cough and once I had this I almost coughed my lungs out, again.

Anyway, then it was the 9-hour journey to Edinburgh. Eh, 9 hours very tiring one ok! Although I almost slept through the whole journey.

When I’m not sleeping I do the next best thing to do to let time pass by – cam-whore!

IMG_4218_副本

Cam-whore means that there’s more than one picture so…

IMG_4224_副本

Ok, that’s it… I know I look like s**t.

After 9 hours I finally arrive at Edinburgh Bus Station. It was about 6.30 in the evening and it was drizzling.

I think my cousin was waiting for me at Waverly Bridge because I thought I could hop off there and I told him I would. It turned out that the bus doesn’t not make stops at Waverly Bridge and so I walked out of the bus station to meet him half way.

Once out I saw a Louise Vuitton Shop right next to the entrance and I later found out that I was on the High Street of Edinburgh.

We headed straight for his friend’s house for dinner. I had a splendid Chinese New Year’s Eve where there seemed to be endless supply of food, especially the dumplings, and it ended with games and chicken soup back at my cousin’s place. Oh, and cough syrup. haha~

Hmm… the title of this post should be renamed as My Journey to Edinburgh. But I’ll just put a photo of Edinburgh to make it up instead.

IMG_4954_副本

The tall tower-like building on the left is the Scott Monument, a famous landmark of Edinburgh. The slope on its right is the Princes Garden. In the garden there’s a sign which introduces the Scott Monument. It says –

Edinburgh in 287 steps

The Scott Monument is built to commemorate Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland’s greatest novelist. Scott’s novels includes Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Heart of Midlothian and Waverly.

The Monument is 200 feet and 6 inches (61.1 meters) high and there are 287 steps to the top.

The climb through the internal stairways is in four stages, with 360 degree viewing galleries on each levels.

The galleries provide unrivalled panoramic views on Edinburgh historic Old and New Towns.

One level is home to the Museum room where you can sit and discover more about Sir Walter Scott and the architecture of the monument.

9th February 2011

2nd & Last Day in Notts

Written by Shuyi aka Lavender at 4:15 pm

I realized that I made a mistake in the previous post about my Nottingham trip. Rightly speaking it should be 2days and 2night in Nottingham and not 3days and 2 nights.

Anyway, this is the last post about the trip! (gosh, my memory is starting to fail me!)

IMG_0764

That morning, we missed breakfast and hence we had to find some ourselves and had a real heavy one – Sunday Roast, erm… DInner?!

Not wasting any precious time, we made our way to the Galleries of Justice. The number one attraction in Nottingham according to the trip advisor.

IMG_0769

Here is where we learnt about all the grim and shocking history of crime and punishment that happened in Old England. The displays and the artefacts in this place is amazing!

By the way, people were actually executed and stoned during olden times on the very steps that led through the doors of today’s oh-so-popular tourist attraction! The thought that I might be standing on the very same spot where some man or woman was executed centuries ago aroused a strange feeling in me. It so hard to imagine that these steps which so many people walked on today, happily entering a tourist attraction, was once bloody, gruesome and maybe very much feared.

IMG_0903

If I recall properly and if I’ve done my research correctly, this is called a Gibbet. It is NOT a display but was once was to hang and display the corpse of a person called James Cook. If I’m mistaken then it should be William Jobling. It should be one of them because I remember the guide telling us that it is used on one of the last person to be executed and gibbeted in England. But it should be James Cook.

This device can clearly be seen hanging above our heads in the main hall increasing the creepy medieval atmosphere that surrounds the Galleries of Justice.

IMG_0802_副本

The tour is an interactive one and the Lady Justice in the blue robe is our guide. She is the typical bad guy that you see in Robin Hood cartoons or movies. Loves money, thinks that the peasants should pay more tax, loves to see people suffer while she enjoys her meals etc. Of course that is just an act. It is fascinating to see them playing their role and the best part is they involve the audience – US!

Oh, forgot to mention! In the Galleries of Justice you can visit the old courthouse and county gaol of Nottinghamshire.

We are at the old Courthouse in this picture. It was once a functioning court!

IMG_0803_副本

Doesn’t this look like a scene in the movies!

After the courtroom we were led into the gaol underneath the building. We had to walk down a narrow flight of stone steps to meet our next guide who is the prison guard (basically someone who is suppose to keep the prisoners in order).

The other interesting part is that we, the tourists, are the prisoner or convicts!

IMG_0808_副本

We were each assigned a convict number at the back of our tickets. I am Mary Brammir, convicted of theft.

We get to explore the gaol and hear stories of how it was run and how life in it was like. Can you believe that you have to pay for your prison/cell and food even when you’re thrown in prison , most probably unjustly!

IMG_0847_副本

Anyway, there is much more and it is a place definitely worth visiting!

Next we headed back to Nottingham Castle to visit Mortimer’s Hole like I’ve written in my previous post on Nottingham. And as we still had some time after the visit we popped into the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard which is just beside Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. The ticket into Nottingham Castle is joint with the Museum so why not?!

IMG_0936_副本

This place is filled with memories of old Nottingham life. How the furniture used to be like, how shops used to be like, old posters and adverts, old packaging of chocolates, biscuits etc…

IMG_0958_副本

Trying to play shopper and cashier with the old cash register machine but our act failed terribly! hahaha

That was the last place we visited in Nottingham and it was time to head home so back to the train station!

Fortunately for us, a bunch of people took our seats on the train and refused to give it back to us even when we approached them with our tickets! Why is it fortunate?

IMG_0965_副本

We get to sit First Class babey!!!

Complete with drinks! Many thanks to the kind train conductor!

With a surprise treat at the end our Nottingham trip had a wonderful finale!

23rd May 2011

Nottingham Day 1

Written by Shuyi aka Lavender at 1:24 am

Woke up early that day although, if I remember correctly, everyone woke up later than planned but it was still early. Err… I guess…

Went down to the first floor (our room was on the highest level) for breakfast which was included in the room rates.

The funny thing was, all we saw that was available was 2 or 3 types of cereal and a jar of milk and the only waiter asked each of us whether we preferred coffee or tea. We thought those were the only food they were serving and secretly thought to ourselves: “What?! Are you serious?!’” Since the rate was a bit high for the room and we wanted to save the money that we would have spent for breakfast we filled our bowls to the brim with cereal and milk like greedy little pigs.

IMG_0587

After filling our tummies with cereal and milk I asked a friendly waitress for directions. She was so nice that we chatted a bit. When I was prepared to thank her and say goodbye, she suddenly popped the question: “Are you ready for your full English breakfast?”

All of us were stunned! It turned out that we had a super heavy breakfast. We were so full that we couldn’t eat anymore in the Malaysian Food Fair. I’ll come to that later.

First stop of the day was the Visitors’ Centre of Nottingham which is situated near/at the Old Market Square, if I’m not mistaken.

P1110230

Asked for direction to University of Nottingham where the Malaysian Games was held and also collect brochures. Then we’re on our way to the Malaysian Games.

IMG_0604

Was looking at the map while waiting for the bus.

Having only heard of the Malaysian Games we, or rather I, had no idea what to expect. The only thing that was expected was the crowd. It’s like being back in Malaysian where everywhere you turn there’s the familiar Malaysian slang, the Malaysian tone and Manglish!

I admit, being in a place so full of Malaysian, I was frantically searching for familiar faces. I failed terrible but it found me instead!! There, by the basketball court, someone came up to me, I looked and it’s my primary tutor’s son!! I haven’t seen him since when I was Form 2! I was delighted that we live in such a small small world!

IMG_0610

Lots of games were going on when we arrived. The main one that we saw was basketball and netball. We didn’t linger for long as we didn’t have much time. About an hour or so we’re off to the Malaysian Food Fair which is held in another campus.

IMG_0622

See how much Malaysians miss Malaysian food?! Lots of stall have sold out their main product when we arrive.

The crowd there that day was triple or more than the crowd in the photo. The place was so packed that the organizers had to block the stairway and let people in by batches.

I bet every Malaysian will go crazy in this place. How is it possible to keep a clear mind when there’s –

IMG_0617

and

IMG_0618

more!!

IMG_0619

Too bad all the walking did not burn off the heavy breakfast we had earlier.What a shame… But it didn’t stop us from fighting over a cup of cendol!

IMG_0624_副本

Just kidding… We bought some food to share to satisfy our taste buds. It’s not bad but nothing bets the authentic ones in Malaysia – the taste of home.

Oh, did I mention that Nottingham is beautiful?

IMG_4028_副本

I’m not sure if this is still part of University of Nottingham or not but it is very near it. Just imagine laying on the grass on a sunny, breezy afternoon with packed light lunch, fruit juice and a book (preferably not a textbook). Ahh~ heavenly!

IMG_4044_副本

Pretty isn’t it? The bus took awhile but there’s no complain. Time wouldn’t be waste in such a beautiful place.

IMG_4049_副本

Next stop is Nottingham Castle.

IMG_0659

Statue of Robin Hood near the castle. This place is filled with tales of Robin Hood. If I just had the time…

P1110341_副本

Nottingham castle – the view from the entrance.

IMG_4062_副本

View of Nottingham from the castle. It’s not spectacular but the fact that there’s no tall buildings disrupting the skyline produces a clam and peaceful atmosphere.

In my opinion the castle itself has lost its magic. Maybe it is due to that face that it has been rebuilt for a few times. Inside the castle is a museum and a café. There an art exhibition on the top floor when I was there.

The main attraction, to me, lies beneath the castle – Mortimer’s Hole. Mortimer being Roger Mortimer, the lover of Isabella of France.

IMG_0908_副本

We actually came back to the castle the next day for this tour. When we got there we found out that the afternoon tour was cancelled! The staff there were so so kind that they kept scratching their heads to help us so that we don’t have to leave with disappointment.

The gentleman in black at the gate was our kind tour guide who offer to take us down the passageway. It was like a personal tour! We were so blessed!

It’s a funny story of how the passageway got its name. Edward the 3rd fought back and took hold of the castle and threw Mortimer down the passageway and sent him rolling all the way down! Mind you, it’s quite a long way down.

IMG_0915

Besides that story, this passage holds many interesting stories of the past. How I wish I could learn history this way…

For instance, this place (the picture above) was a station to stand guard and defend the castle. The holes that were craved on the walls were once thought to be for storing cannonballs. However another theory suggests that they were actually craved in hopes to attract birds to nest there. That is because at one time they had difficulty getting food supplying so this was done so that they can have birds or eggs when there’s no food left but the plan failed.

IMG_0916_副本

Inside Mortimer’s hole. Of course, the railings were added later in time.

The castle is built on sandstone which easily to craft. I am told that in olden times people craft their homes out of these stones. Man-made caves are made out of these stones to brew wine and ale too.

IMG_0928_副本

The foot of Nottingham Castle and the end of Mortimer’s Hole.

Not far away is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – the oldest inn in England. Or according to Wikipedia, one of the oldest among 20 drinking establishments in England.

IMG_4093_副本

This place is also craved out of sand stone. It is like a like maze with small stairways leading you from one stone chamber into another. A very unique place indeed. I have never dreamt of such a cute place although cute is not really appropriate for a drinking place.

IMG_4099_副本

We are exhausted and in need of a break from all the walking so we decided to have our dinner there.

IMG_0719_副本

Pictures pictures while deciding what to eat/waiting for food!

and yes, apparently, this old inn is on Facebook. Not so old after all huh? haha…

IMG_0722_副本

Food still not here yet… and yes, I don’t get grumpy when I’m hungry. ^^

I’m not done with the camera yet! and yes, there’s no such thing as too many pictures of me.

IMG_0723_副本

This almost wrap up the whole day.

At night we strolled along the streets of Nottingham, watched Paranormal Activity 2 which was a no-no, attempted to search for a place to chill but ended up being back in our room playing cards. By the time we hit the sack we could sleep as long as Rip Van Winkle! haha~

12th February 2011

?>