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Another Old Vlog

From a visit to the NRM in July 2011:

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Edinburgh, November 2011

I finally cleared off the video camera this morning and discovered videos taken LAST March. Oh my.

Here’s a vlog I made while we were visiting Edinburgh in November 2011.

As it turns out, I never actually blogged about the trip, either. Probably because I was waiting to edit the vlog! Whoopsie. So, let’s get back in our TARDIS and go to November 2011 when Tim and I travelled (finally!) to Edinburgh for a few days. I booked us into the Travelodge near Haymarket station for £20/night thanks to a room sale and we decided to go for two days over Tim’s autumn break, which also happened to be a few days after our wedding anniversary.

The train ride was long, and we didn’t arrive in Edinburgh until the early evening. After checking into the hotel, we decided to go on a wander to take some photos and wound up near the castle. We trudged back to the hotel and went to bed, for we had lots of plans for the following day!

We got up bright and early and after breakfast headed out to re-trace our steps from the previous night to visit the castle. After we toured all the buildings there, we headed towards the Royal Mile and walked down it as far as the St Giles Cathedral, which just happens to be the church of John Knox, the man who founded Presbyterianism, my family’s religion. I spent loads of time walking around the church and we were given permission to take photos, so I took plenty for my family back in PA.

The light was fading, so we made our way back to the hotel,had some dinner, and went to bed. The following morning we headed back to Haymarket station and the long trip back to Lincoln.

We had a fantastic time, and I look forward to spending more time in Edinburgh!

[Please click on the images to view them larger]

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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European Road Trip Day 3 – Kristallwelten and Innsbruck

[Finally blogging about our trip to Germany and Austria we took in September 2010!]

Tim and I decided to split our trip evenly – for every railway we visited, I got a day to pick something I wanted to see. Sometimes, things overlapped and we did both a railway and something I wanted to do because we needed the railway for transportation, but for the most part, we stuck to our plan.

Today’s trip was actually Tim’s idea for me, so kudos to him for knowing me so well! Swarovski, as many of you know, is a synthetic crystal made in Austria. They use it in all sorts of things from crystal figurines to dinnerware to jewellery…and I use Swarovski a lot in my jewellery creations. Tim spotted a brochure for Kristallwelten, and we headed out.

Kristallwelten was nothing like I had expected, but I still loved it. Kristallwelten is located directly next to Swarovski’s factory, but it is not a factory tour. Kristallwelten is more of an art museum with a twist – everything in the museum is made from Swarovski crystal or features the crystals in some way.

When you walk in, one of the first things you will get to see is the Kristalldom. You walk inside, and it’s like being in the interior of a giant Swarovski crystal. The panels reflect the room back at you, and it can get very confusing! One time I thought I was heading towards Tim, but it turned out I was walking towards one of his reflections!

Kristallwelten is based around a “giant” and his possessions – The outside of Kristallwelten is a giant head with a waterfall, complete with Swarovski crystals for eyes, and you enter the attraction through his ear. Inside, you can view his possessions, including a giant accordion, walking stick, and gloves. Outside the attraction, the grounds are an impressive garden culminating in a hedge maze in the shape of a hand. And even though it was a fairly “small” maze as far as hedge mazes go, it still freaked me out when I was in it and didn’t know where I was!

Kristallwelten is located in Wattens and is the second highest visited Austrian attraction, second to Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna (we didn’t go there on this visit, as I was there in 1997). Kristallwelten caries a hefty admission fee. Adult admission is 9,50 Euros, but children up until the age of 12 are free, so that’s a break for parents. I’m not sure Kristallwelten is very child-appropriate, though. Some of the sections are quite dark and scary, and we witnessed children running around, not paying attention to where they were going or what they were looking at, and then getting separated from their parents.

Attached to Kristallwelten is of course, a Swarovski shop. I was really looking forward to our shop visit, because I thought I might be able to get some beads to make a bracelet as a souvenir. Unfortunately, the prices directly at Swarovski were just as expensive as ordering online from Swarovski, and my online supply company came in as less expensive even with factoring in shipping to the UK!

Kristallwelten took up our morning. We packed sandwiches and sat in the gardens to eat and took a stroll through the gardens, where we explored the hedge maze and climbed up to a lookout point where you could see the entire maze.

We headed back to the car and decided to go to Innsbruck, where we learned an important lesson: Don’t drive into a city without a map! We had our big Austrian road map, but nothing for the cities and we got lost several times trying to follow the directional signs. But we did get a spectacular view of the Bergiselschanze (ski jump) used at the Innsbruck Olympics! We planned to go to Schloss Ambras, but by the time we found it I wasn’t feeling too well and didn’t want to climb up all the steps, so we just took pictures of the castle and the gardens. Tim asked if we could instead take a ride on the trams up into the hills.

I thought this would be great fun and a great way to see some more scenery, but I was to be disappointed on the trip up. The tram was crowded and we wound up standing for most of the journey, which did not help my feeling ill. We also had to spend part of the time standing directly on the bendy part of the bendy-tram (like a bendy bus, only it was a tram), which really started to give me motion sickness.

But, the trip to the top was worth it, and we found a small cafe to get a drink and a bite to eat at. As we were the only patrons other than family at the cafe, we were treated very well and even were offered biscuits (cookies) out of their personal stash.

Fortunately, we were able to get good seats for the trip back down and were able to look out the window. Below you’ll find an edited video of our hour-long trip back!

[If you click on the photo once, it will take you to that photos page. If you click on the photo again, you will be able to view it full size. I have no idea why WordPress made it so complicated!]

[Photos taken by either myself or my husband, Tim and are all © Tim and Rebecca Lockley]

Next Up: Zillertalbahn!

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Vlog – Sneak Peek at Day Two

Post about Neuschwanstein tomorrow!

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First Videos

I’m starting to edit the videos together from our trip, and I have the first one up on YouTube.

We compiled this during an afternoon of steam train chasing — basically, we followed the route of the train and met it at different places on the line to take pics/vid. I was the videographer.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNpTjIu5QVk

This one was compiled at Amstetten while waiting for our train to Vienna – some freight and even a brand new passenger train being delivered!

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya-dDbQ1lyA

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Vlog: Garden Tour

Here’s the vlog I promised in my earlier entry:

Link, for those of you who can’t watch embedded video: http://www.youtube.com/v/vuuLwoL3MnY

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Camping in Our Garden

A few weeks ago, Tim and I went camping in our garden. One of his co-workers alerted him to a great deal at Halford’sa 4-man tent, 4 sleeping bags, 2 air mattresses, & 2 lanterns for £90 online marked down from over £200. We also tacked on to the purchase a cooking kit which has a burner, 4 pots/pans, 4 plastic containers, utensils, and a carrying case for £25, and then we picked up a kettle at Tesco for £6. We thought we ought to try to put together the tent – a) to make sure we knew how it went together before we book a pitch somewhere, b) to make sure there aren’t any defects with the tent or gear, and c) because it’s been on the warm side and last week I told Tim I wanted to sleep outside.

It was….

-Chilly. We unzipped two of the sleeping bags and used one as a pad for the air mattress and the other as a cover. But unzipped it isn’t quite big enough to cover both of us if we aren’t cuddled up, so I wound up covering myself with the spare blanket I grabbed last night (my Penn State stadium blanket) But it was also…

-Hot. Tim and I always are warm at night because both of us are human furnaces. It was difficult trying to sleep in it because if our bodies were touching, I felt sticky from the combined body sweat. But then when we weren’t touching/cuddled up, it was chilly!

-Small. The mattress, despite claims of being a double, is smaller than our bed upstairs. I wound up moving practically off the mattress close to the “bedroom” wall in order to try to put some space between us, and Tim rolled (in his sleep) towards the other wall. Another word to use might be…

-Cozy. Even though we have a huge 4-man tent, the side “bedrooms” are only large enough to hold the air mattress. It was nice when Tim and I were cuddling before bed, but once I zipped shut the door to the “bedroom”, it felt really small.

-Hard. The air mattress lost air overnight, but I think that’s fairly typical when using an air mattress. I’m wondering if we should get a bedroll/mat type thing for underneath it, since my back started to get cold from feeling it seep through the mattress. I think Tim has one already, but it might just be for a single mattress. Alternatively, since we have 4 sleeping bags, we could always line the floor with a sleeping bag, then put the mattress on top or even just get a tarp to add a layer between the mattress and groundsheet. I’ll talk it over with Tim and see what he thinks. (also, how did I manage to sleep on an air mattress at Mom’s for years*?)

-Noisy. Lots of wind that kept waking me up. I know at least twice I woke Tim up, too. Actually, I’m awake now at 5:30AM because I needed the loo around 4 and figured I might as well stay in here until I’m tired enough to go back to sleep.

Fortunately, the tent is a “two bedroom” tent. Our plans are/were to use the second “bedroom” to store gear, but I might suggest we take along the second mattress and set it up for moments like this. If I’m going to be awake well before Tim, I’ll need somewhere to go/something to do. I could keep a book in there and just move my pillows and a blanket if I couldn’t sleep, that way I wouldn’t disturb Tim trying to read until I felt tired again.

We still need to get a folding table (for dining/food prep), and some kind of cooler and then we might have everything we need to go camping. Our first big trip is scheduled for this September, when we’ll be camping in Germany & Austria! I’m really excited. Originally, we were going to take the train the whole way and stay in B&Bs and things, but even with adding in the cost of petrol, camping will save us money. The average campsite cost is €6/night, and with making our own food, we’ll even have money leftover for a few nights out at nice restaurants or for some souvenirs!

I practised cooking with the gas stove, and while I completely trashed the pan (fortunately, I was able to clean it!), I still managed to cook breakfast 2 mornings – the first morning I did scrambled eggs and sausage, and the second bacon & fried eggs. Tim even bought a device for making toast on the stove that works pretty well!

The tent we purchased IS kind of big for just two people, but the hope is that this will be a long-term investment even after we have kids. If we can keep the tent in good condition, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t be able to use it in the years to come.

….now to find a place to store it! I’m hoping it will fit in the loft after we get the flooring laid in there, but for now I guess we’ll have to store it in one of the bedrooms, since the workshop and shed are a bit full of workshop/shed stuff!

There also is a video, but youtube is taking too long to upload it, so I will have to post it later, as I’ve had this window open for THREE weeks…..

*Long story short – when I moved to Michigan in 2006, I told Mom to sell my bedroom suite because it was a four-poster twin sized bed and I knew I wouldn’t want it in the future. I had an air mattress (with bedframe) to use in my house in MI. After I broke my foot and had to move back to PA, my old bed was gone, so I set up the air mattress. The plan was to eventually buy a new bed, but I just never had the money for it, so I lived on the air mattress until the bedframe finally broke and then I yanked the mattress off the sofabed and used that on the floor.

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Jamie Oliver is my Hero

On our first trip to the library when I got my library card, I borrowed Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food. I had watched his Christmas cooking specials this past December and loved his recipes and his style of cooking, so I thought his cookbook(s) would be worth checking out. I decided to borrow this one from the library that way if I decided I didn’t like it, I wasn’t out any money.

And I love it.

I learned how to make poached eggs!

A few weeks ago, Tim asked me if I could make poached eggs for breakfast. I did a bit of umming and ahhinng, because the only way I knew how to make poached eggs involved a three-piece special pan. But as I was leafing through Jamie’s cookbook, he had a whole section devoted to cooking eggs, and I learned that poaching was pretty easy –

Bring water to a boil, and gently drop the egg into the water (Jamie recommends putting the egg in a cup first). Boil for 2 minutes for a runny yolk, 4 for solid. Remove with a slotted spoon and boom – you have your poached eggs.

Jamie also taught me how to make a British staple – Yorkshire Pudding.

Again, this was one of those recipes that to read it, you’d have thought the author was insane and you’d write it off as something a bit too complicated, but it really wasn’t bad at all. See?

Jamie’s recipe:

Set oven to it’s hottest temperature possible and pre-heat your muffin tray in the oven. Whisk together: 285ml milk, 115g flour, eggs, and a pinch of salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. Spoon vegetable oil (his original recipe called for 1tbs/cup, but I plan on reducing it in the future to 1/2 tbs) into the hot muffin tray and place it back in the oven for 10 minutes to heat the oil. Quickly spoon batter into hot oiled cups (best to do this while the tray is still in the oven). Bake 15 minutes. Don’t open the oven door to check on them or they won’t get puffy. I then removed the puddings from the trays and placed them on a wire cooling rack with a paper towel underneath to drain off some of the oil (since I really think I used too much!). I even checked other recipes online to see if I really had to do the pre-heating thing, and you do. The only difference between this recipe and others out there are the amounts of flour/eggs/milk.

I also learned how to make roasted potatoes that are crispy. This is something that is a staple for Tim’s family instead of serving potatoes mashed, so I wanted to learn how to do them (though I probably can’t do them with a roast until I get a double oven or bigger oven) – boil potatoes for 10 minutes, drain and shake colander. Bake in a roasting pan drizzled with olive oil for 1 hour. Pretty straight forward and the potatoes were good. Not as crunchy as I had hoped to make them, but it was still good for my first try!

And of course, my recipe last week for cranberry muffins also came from Jamie Oliver.

My beloved Betty Crocker might have to share some limelight with Jamie Oliver.

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Touring Dublin by Bus

[This is a recap of a trip taken in September 2009. A post had bot been previously written on the subject]

On a recommendation from Tim’s mum, my mom and I decided to take the Dublin Bus Tour on our first full day. There is more than one bus tour company in Dublin. All stop at mostly the same places, but the tour we took was operated by the Dublin city bus company, and our driver explained to us that they rotate drivers – a driver will be a regular route driver for 2 weeks, then he’ll go and drive the tour bus for 2. Our driver explained this was mostly because they’d lose their voices if they were tour bus drivers constantly, but also told us that all the drivers absolutely LOVE being the tour bus driver.

The bus is “hop on/hop off”, which means that as long as you hang onto your ticket, you can ride the tour bus as many times as you want from 9 in the morning until around 5PM in the evening. The busses go in a continual loop, reaching stops every 10-15 minutes, so if you get off, chances are you’ll have a different bus driver on the next bus. The full length tour is about an hour and a half, not counting stops.

We boarded one of the first buses of the morning and decided to ride it the full loop before making any decisions on where to stop. We rode up on the upper deck so we could see better and it was fantastic. We saw loads of things we had passed on the airport shuttle, but hadn’t paid attention to. On our second loop around Dublin, we got off at the Guinness Storehouse. I purchased a ticket online before we left the US, but Mom wasn’t interested in seeing the brewery. She had a book tucked into her bag though, and planned on finding a bench to sit on while I did the tour. Fortunately, there was a really nice person working at the entrance, and he let Mom through so she could go up to the cafe to sit and wait for me. As it turns out, the cafe was on the third floor of the exhibit, and if we had been dishonest, Mom could have toured the facility for free!

The Guinness Storehouse was incredible and well worth the trip if you’re a fan of the beer! You even get free beer at several stops throughout the tour as you go through a tasting room (where you can have as many as you want), learn how to pull the perfect pint, and finally up at the top where you get a complimentary pint of Guinness and are treated to a 360 degree view of Dublin and the surrounding countryside.

After the Storehouse, we boarded the bus again, and decided to get off at the Writer’s Museum. Our plans didn’t quite go as we thought, however, when our bus driver received a message that there had been a major bus/train accident along the main shopping street in Dublin…which also happened to be the street many of the attractions were on, and where the bus needed to go to get to the rest of the stops! Our bus driver was incredible, and told us that we could all get off at the next stop and do whichever attraction it was and hope the mess was over by the time we were done OR we could stay on the bus and he would do his best to get us around Dublin and promised to show us “areas of Dublin not included on a typical tour”. Mom and I decided to stick it out and see where the driver would take us.

Direct Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOshnFiUbWo

True to his word, he took us through the more residential areas of Dublin and told us stories about the city and buildings (and about himself!) that we would not have heard otherwise. He finally reached a point where he needed to discharge us, and we were directed to find the next bus that would (hopefully) resume the route and get us back. Unfortunately, we got a little mixed up, but did finally find a tour bus stop in the end.

We never did make it to the Writer’s Museum, but I think our adventure was well worth it. We certainly got our money’s worth out of the tickets!



For more pictures, please see: http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/index.php?album=Dublin+Bus+Tour

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Video from Black Country Museum

Tim walking the boat:

Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFYNl5MnksI

It *does* get brighter at the end, I promise!

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There’s a frog in the living room!

I don’t want to take a picture of it and scare it with the flash, so I tried taking a video. I can see him if I look where he is, but I’m not sure if he’s visible on the video or not.

I texted both Tim and his sister, S, because I wasn’t sure what to do and sometimes Tim can’t reply to me from work. S told me how to catch it, but the darn thing crawled behind stuff and I don’t want to scare it if I move the bag he’s hiding behind.

Tim told me he’d take care of it when he gets home from work….unless Prudence (the cat) “gets to it first”…so I’ve been keeping an eye on the kitty and chasing her out of the living room. I’ve been trying to get her to go outside, but she won’t so far.

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More Snow Vlogs!

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More Snow Vlogs….

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Vlog: Snow!

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More London Vlogs!

I promise a real entry soon!

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More Vlogs….

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More Vlogs from London

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Two Vlogs from London

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Happy Christmas!

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Vlog: Around the House

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