Thursday, July 24, 2008

Travel Frenzy

One of the local cheap airlines was having crazy, low sales to the Scandinavian countries today.
RT to Oslo plus taxes, fees, and other stupid charges? £26
RT to Stockholm plus taxes, fees and other stupd charges? £25

Crazy. One trip is the weekend before I depart for Seattle, and the next the next trip is the weekend I get back from Seattle. Oh, and the following weekend, I leave for Dominican Republic for two weeks. Crazy. But, for those prices? I couldn't *not* book the tickets!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bound for Brussels!

Well, the wanderlust was just more than I could handle! :) I've booked a trip to Brussels with Simon for the second weekend of August. The rate was just too good to pass up: 3 nights in a 4 star hotel, plus Return on Eurostar for only £175. Yes, I realize I just used the word, 'only' with '£175.'

It's been ages since I've been to Brussels, and Simon has never been, so we're looking forward to a nice, long weekend getaway.

Any suggestions on what we should do/eat/drink/see/etc...while we're there?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Favorite Place in London

Welcome to Borough Market. The 'Pike Place' of London. This is my favorite place in London (Tate Modern runs a close second..).
It's become quite the Saturday ritual for me to get up and head to Borough Market to buy yummy, fresh produce, meat, cheese, have a cup of coffee and a croissant, and just in general, wind down and enjoy 'just looking.' I like this place so much, that last weekend, when parts of the Tube were shut down for weekend work, I actually went completely out of my way and took almost an hour to get there. That's how much I love this place.
Borough is only open Thursday-Saturday-go figure-and with work out in Sluff, Saturday is really the only day I can get there. Fine. It's a great Saturday ritual I hope to continue for a long, long time.
So, today I took my camera (I felt like such a tourist!), and took a few shots of my favorite things at Borough. Hope you enjoy.

Monmouth Coffee-best drip (and cappuccino) I've ever tasted. Here. Seattle. Anywhere. Darned good stuff. They grind the beans and individually pour a filter for each order. Can't beat that level of freshness! You can see the white filter lined up in the bottom left, and the dude in the striped shirt is pouring water into them that will drip down into cups under the filters.

Tower of brownies at Flour Power Bread Co. The picture says it all. :) This is the place I buy my crossiant or Pan au Chocolat from.

Neal's Yard Dairy-probably my favorite place inside my favorite place. Neal's Yard was actually started by an American-they even
export cheese to the US-and it can be found at Beecher's at Pike Place. Free samples galore, their staff are super knowledgeable, and the cheese? Well, let's just say, I've probably already consumed more of their cheese in the past four months, than I did of Beecher's in the past two years!

Today, I got a little gung ho. Usually, I'll purchase enough veg, fruit and cheese to get me through the week (or as a treat), but today, I added pork to the mix-bacon and chops. If there's one thing the Brits do better than perhaps any other country, it's pork. So, I figured, I couldn't go wrong. I may have spent 15 pounds more than I normally do, but it's a small price to pay. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sprucing up the Blog

For my many, many regular readers (kidding. i realize there's only two of you...;)), you'll likely notice some changes to my blog that have happened over the past week.

Last week, I spent a lot of time puttering around the web looking at different websites for work (honest!), many of which were blogs. That's when I realized just how boring mine was in comparison to others and decided to do something about it.

So, over the next few weeks, you'll likely see some changes-I'll add things, take them away, move stuff around, change templates, etc...just to try to make it more enjoyable for y'all.

So far, my favorite new widget is the 'Where Are You' widget. It tracks where my readers come from. It's no surprise that folks in Seattle, the South, and London are accessing, but who the heck is in Australia!?! Seriously, leave me a comment-I'd love to know who you are! :)

If there's something specific -a widget-template-anything-you'd like to see on my blog, let me know!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wimbledon-Failure and Success

As you all know, we're in the final days of Wimbledon, here in England. Until poor Andy Murray was crushed on Wednesday, there was actually hope that a Brit would make it to the semi-finals. But, alas, he was buried from the start by Nadal. Not that it was much of a surprise-even to Andy.

Anyhoo, I digress. I was having a chat with the MD of my company on Tuesday, and he asked if I was going to see any of the matches. I lamented my ability to get any tickets for under £200 at this late of a date, and he suggested that I should just show up late one evening (meaning I'd have to take off work early...), and try to buy tickets from someone as they leave early. His daughter had just been successful at getting centre court tickets for £5 on Monday-and was able to catch the the last two hours of the Andy Murray match. Not too shabby.

So, I took off work a little early yesterday (perhaps my first leave early-ie before 4p in my year and a half at Amazon. lame...) with a co-worker, and we headed down to Wimbledon. Unfortunately, just as we get to the gate where folks would be departing from, we realize that people are getting busted for doing the very thing we were going to try to do. Apparently, they really take the concept of 'non-transferrable' very seriously at Wimbledon. poo. Failure.

But, it is Friday at 4.30p. July 4th. My country's birthday, the sun is shining, and I'm in a great part of town. So, we head to a pub (Dog and Fox) in Wimbledon Village and settle in for a few pints. Get ready. Here comes the 'success' part of the story..

At about 5.30, we're just sitting there in the outdoor area, having a beer, and guess who strolls by with her 'people'?!?! Venus Williams. WOW. Makes sense-we're only about a 15 minute walk from the tennis grounds. She was stunning. More sizeable than most of the group she was with-but not nearly as large (read: muscle-y) as she appears to be on TV.

We were the closest to her as she walked by, and a few guys at our table actually said, 'Look. It's Venus!' and when he did, eveybody started staring, and clapping and cheering. Good fun. She actually seemed a little embarrassed by it all. Humble, even.

Success! My first official celebrity sighting in London-and I actually knew who it was. There were also apparently some big name rugby players in the pub last night, but I sure as heck had no idea who they were...

A Lazy Sunday

Last Sunday, Simon and I spent a lazy day tooling around. We were planning to go see a cricket match (my first!), but the state of the weather-at the time-suggested we should do something else. So instead, we headed over to the East side of London-Farringdon and puttered around. Had brunch at a great place called Tid Bit, and then strolled the area stopping occasionally for a drink.

It was closed, but we came across this one pub that just had the best sign I've ever seen:

Three Kings. Get it? King Kong ,Elvis ('The King'), and King Henry. Hilarious!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Missing Seattle

Funny how these things happen..

Got in to work an hour ago, feeling pretty happy with the day-and contemplating going to Wimbledon on Friday...simply working away, listening to my tunes, and while listening to The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (by The Postal Service-a great Seattle band), it hit me: I miss Seattle.

It took four months, and some silly song that I've heard dozens of times since I've been here. But suddenly, it hit me.

Funny how these things happen...