Well it's been an appallingly long abscence and I'm sure everyone has given up checking this website for info, but here is an abbreviated version of my travels to this point.
25 April - Dublin - visited the Natural History Museum (never seen so many stuffed animals in all my life!), National Gallery of Ireland and Trinity College (where the book of Kells is kept - but we decided it was too expensive to go in and see).
26 April - Dublin - visited Phoenix Park (with huge War Memorial) and theÂ Decorative Arts & History Museum at the Collins Barracks. Incredible musem, so interesting especially for an ignoramus like me who knew nothing about Irish history and about the various conflicts.
27 April - Dublin - day trip to Malahide. We heard it was nice, but to be honest it wasn't all that interesting. Seaside place without a beach.
28 April - Drive up north and stay in Magherafelt (Northern Ireland).
29 April - Northern Ireland - visit north coast including the Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-rede. Assisted by the absolutely beautiful weather, had a wonderful day by the ocean enjoying the Irish coast.
30 April - Belfast - taxi tour of Belfast. We were driven around Belfast by an extremely interesting man who showed us the important sites (especially the wall murals and the checkpoints) and talked about the two sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Brilliant.
1 May - London - rest day.
2 May - London - visited the Tate Modern art gallery and the Imperial War Museum. Discovered that Rodin is my favourite sculptor when I saw his work "le baiser" or "the kiss". A stunning piece of modern art. Didn't have enough time in the War Museum and vowed to go back as it was fascinating (clearly I like to experience history, esp. of war via interactive museums).
3 May - my birthday- caught the train down to Lewes (near Brighton) and stayed with Gulliver. After cake and birthday cards at his mum's, we had Japanese for dinner and went out dancing - a perfect birthday or what?!
4 May - Lewes - rest day.
5 May - Bath. Spent most of the day getting up and getting there.
6 May - Bath - Jane Austen House and guided tour of Bath. Fantastic on both counts. The Jane Austen House was a little small, I would have liked to see more, but it was great anyway, and the tour was just brilliant. Also free, which I liked! Now i could tell you a great deal about Bath and its architecture.
7 May - to Swansea, Wales.
8 May, 9 May - Swansea - rain, rain, rain. We went shopping and generally lazed about Gulliver's Aunt's place.
10 May - to Leeds, Yorkshire. Played 5-a-side football with Tony and got beaten up (by the aussies on the field, no less!). Had great fun though. I am so unfit!
11 May - Leeds - Tony had to work so I just mooched around Leeds and we had lunch together, not much happened this day.
12 May - York - day trip with Tony to York. Saw lots of cool things like the wall around the city (even walked along it for ages, despite the fact that after football I could hardly move), Minster cathedral, the Shambles (a famous street where the houses lean so close to each other that people in houses on the opposite sides of the street could reach out and touch each other), Clifford's Tower (built by William the Conqueror a long, long, long, long time ago).
13 May - Middlesborough - went to the football to watch a game between Middlesborough and Fulham. M'boro won, thanks to Mark Viduka scoring 2 goals (woo hoo!).
14 May - Leeds to Windermere. Caught the train from Leeds to Windermere, in the Lake District. Got there very late and went straight to the hostel.
15 May - Windermere - walked to Troutbeck and back, then caught the bus up to Ambleside. Beautiful countryside, rolling hills and sheep, etc. Lakes were beautiful too, especially since I caught the only day of sunshine for ages (yay!). Went to the visitors' Centre in Brockhole, where Beatrix Potter used to go a lot. I can see why; this was just about my favourite place of all. Gardens, lake and mountains. Stunning.
16 May - Windermere - day trip to Keswick, on Derwent water. visited the Pencil Museum (yes, this is where Derwents come from) and Castlerigg Stone Circle. Despite the rain I took a boat around the lake and it was very nice, although it might have been better without the rain.
17 May - in transit. Back to Leeds for a night.
18 May - train down south, back to Lewes.
19 May - Lewes - visit Arundel Castle. Very impressive and interesting castle, built in various stages over hundreds of years. Medieval part of the castle especially interesting.
20 May - Lewes - visit Hever Castle, the family home of Anne Boleyn. Played in the maze (and tore my shirt in the process), walked around the gardens, and took a tour of the house, where I learnt all sorts of things about English history. Thankfully Gulliver's mum is particularly knowledgeable on this subject (as she should be; they're related a long way back!).
21 May - London - visit Victoria & Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum. V&A museum very cool for display of fashion history, Natural History Museum is the most impressive and amazing building. The dinosaurs aren't half bad either!
22 May - London - Imperial War Museum (again). Still didn't manage to finish it! Saw "In Extremis" at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. It's been ages since I saw live theatre, it was great to do it again.
23 May - London - visit Tower of London. Took a tour of the Tower which was very interesting, enjoyed the Crown Jewels but didn't see the Star of Africa. Had a few dramas at the station but made it to the airport to catch the plane to Stuttgart, where I am currently.
Home soon, see you all then!