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Portsmouth is Fun

overcast 25 °C

By James

The last place we went in England was Portsmouth. When we got to Portsmouth we checked in at our hotel and went for a walk along the South Sea prom. We walked along the prom until we got to the Portsmouth castle. Then we decided to take a detour through town to the city center to have dinner.

The next day Joseph and Nora came to visit us in Portsmouth and we went to the historic dock yard and went on the Victory, Warrior, and the Mary Rose. We also went in the action station and inside were two climbing walls, a shooting game and two helicopter simulators.

By Arin

Portsmouth is the largest naval base in Europe and a great place to take kids. Our lot turned up when all the British kids were in school (did you know that they fine parents for taking kids out of school?) and that meant no lines and unlimited goes on all the fun exhibits. What James didn't mention was how very cool the ships were.

The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. Henry VIII’s favourite warship – raised from the depths of the Solent in 1982 and painstakingly conserved. The story of the Mary Rose is one of the most fascinating in naval history and the museum does a great job of telling the tale of battles fought against the French for over 30 years before it sunk off the coast of Portsmouth in 1545.

The HMS Victory was Nelson’s flagship from the 1860s. Best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar, the Victory currently has a dual role as the Flagship of the First Sea Lord and as a living museum to the Georgian Navy.

Finally, the HMS Warrior was Britain's first iron-hulled, armoured warship and pride of the fleet.

Of course, the kids only wanted to talk about the climbing wall...

Here are some generic pics, our photos will follow soon:
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Posted by Arin MacDyer 09:33 Archived in England Tagged boats james Comments (0)

The London

City of Clocks

sunny 17 °C

By James

When we first arrived in London we had to get on an underground train on the green line all the way to Green Park. Then we changed to the jubilee line and went all the way to St Johns Wood. Our flat was 1 minute from St Johns Wood underground station. Our flat was a nice four person condo with a fold out bed to accompany our grandma.

On our first day we had seen Big Bens clock tower Big Ben is the bell itself not the clock. We also saw Westminister abbey and the houses of Parliament. That after noon we went out to see Buckingham Palace or buck house. On our way back through St James Park we ran into a bunch of people giving out free bird seed and we got to hold pigeons while they pecked away at the seeds in our hands. The next day we went down to Green Park and then Liecster Square. We also bought tickets for my mom and grandma to go to a live theater. The next day we went to the Natural History Museam and the girls went to the V and A. The Natural History Museam had the fossils that triggererd the discovery of the dinosaurs. It also had the worlds biggest emerald and star saphirres.

The next day we went to the Tower of London and saw the crown jewels and the castle ravens, it is belived that if the ravens leave the castle England would fall. My favorite part of London was the Natural History Museam.

By Arin
London has changed a lot since we were here 5 years ago! Cleaner, shiny new skyscrapers have transformed the cityscape, and (wow) the trains were all on time. We nearly pounded our feet into bloody stumps as we covered the city end to end over four days. We ticked off all the tourist sites for my mom, made a whole day trip to Kew Gardens for me, and gave James hours to study the rocks at the NHM. Neve came along unhappily saying "I'm tired of history!". I think she's reached her museum/sight seeing maximum.

London was cleaner, greener and friendlier than we remembered It does seem that drinking and watching sports are the two most important hobbies over here. The kids enjoyed watching soccer fans boisterously celebrating their teams' trip to the finals outside a pub in Covent Garden then the next day crowds of celebrating the England cricket win over New Zealand up in St Johns Wood overtook us at dinner in the pub.
As we left London by bus (2 £ a person - thanks Andrew for the tip!) I noticed the the plethera of clocks in the financial district and then i loooked around and noticed clocks everywhere - from churches to shops have large time pieces. Simon tells me that the English conquered the world by showing up on time. I guess that explains the clocks.
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Posted by Arin MacDyer 10:20 Archived in England Tagged james Comments (1)

Boiling hot in Marrakech

sunny 42 °C

We are in Marrakesh in Morocco. We came here with Uncle Andrew and Auntie Lizzie.

When we got here three days ago we imidiately felt the heat. It is hotter than Asia. We took a taxi out into the city and saw that there were no buildings taller than a palm tree the only building taller than a palm tree were the mosques. Our hotel is very nice we have a plunge pool a roof top patio and our room has air conditioning. We are very close to the noisy street but we cant hear it. We are ten minutes walk from the market square witch is also known as the square of the dead because criminals heads were put on display there. The market square is very big and is fifty percent orange jiuce stalls. There is also lots of restoraunts, snake charmers and monkey trainers. The next day we met up with our friends from Edmonton and went to try some snails. The snails tasted like well muscle with gooey stuff in them. By the time we got back to the hotel it was ten.

The next day we went on a hike in the Atlas Mountains. It was so fun we had to cross tiny little home made plank bridges and scramble up rocks it ranks number one in all the hikes i have ever done. The next day we went to the tanneries and saw them washing goat camel sheep and cow skins in chemicles with their bare hands it must hurt it smelled so bad we had to have mint leaves in our faces at all times.

The next day we went to a water park with our friends Kioshi, Taro and Kaito. The water park had 4 slides witch we spent most of our time on. One was called the boa and was so fast you barely had time to take in a breath at the end before you hit the water. There was also a wave pool that ran for five minutes every half hour. The next day we had henna at one o clock with our freinds they were a bit late and me and Neve were already done by the time they got there. Everybody got non natural except me and Neve because when you got the natural your whole arm stung. The non natural henna was black and the natural was orange.

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Posted by Arin MacDyer 02:56 Archived in Morocco Tagged james Comments (3)

Coming to England

sunny 24 °C

We were staying in La Fleche for two nights. And then we were going on the Eurostar train across the channel to england. The channel tunnel was 280 baguettes depth under sea level that is 120 meters below sea level. There is not one but three tunnels one in the middle for service and one for each way. When we got here at the station Grandma ,Granddad and Joseph, auntie Hannah, and Norah were waiting for us with a big welcome sign. After we had gotten back to my grand parents house. We were all very tired. So we only had one hours play. The next morning me and Neve were up at six o clock playing with all my dads old toys.

To our surprise granddad and grandma had bought us scooters so we rode around the block for half an hour. Then we went for a walk down to the sea wall. When we got there me and neve were eager to go crab catching we flipped over just about every rock that wasnt in the black mud. On our way yhere our dad pointed out all the old skeletons of viking ships. We also walked along side the shipping yard. We saw ships of all sizes and ages my favorite was an old fishing boat that was set on a platform a little ways out. The next day we went to the big park in molden we brought our scooters with us. Most of the trails were bumpy and my front wheel kept twisting round we went out to the memorial of the soldiers waiting for the incoming vikings. Then we scootered all the way down the muddy beach to an ice cream place there was a swan on a nest with six eggs there was also a water hen nest in the reeds with six babys crammed in it. We got an ice cream each and we bought some bird feed for the ducks and swan.

The next day we had a four hour drive down here in Bath where Joseph and Nora live. It is not as much a treasaur trove as grandma and granddads house. But it does have a lot more toys. Bath was named after the roman baths. It is the only hot spring in england. The roman baths to the romans was a place to relax and worship the goddess of war. The most freaky part about the baths is that after the romans got out of the baths they would go into a steam room to sweat off the dirt. Then they would go into another room and their slaves would cover them in wax and olive oil. And then scrape it off their bare bodies with a metal utensil. And guess how much you got paid if you were a slave? Nothing!

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Posted by Arin MacDyer 01:39 Archived in England Tagged james Comments (3)

Being a caveman

sunny 25 °C

When we first arrived at Niaux Cave nobody was there because they had just left on the 11 30 tour and we still had 2 hours before we went on the 1 30 english tour. So we thought it woud be a good idea to go and have our picnic lunch. At 1 30 when we got back and it was time to go and see the cave paintings. it was a long and spooky walk, in it was an active cave so everything was dripping and there was puddles everywhere i was the only one that didn't step in any. Our guide told us that the cave paintings were 14,000 years old. She also told us that the artists had to be very quick painters because the torches they used for light only lasted forty five minutes. But when we got to the black room the only part of our tour that had animal paintings we saw there were everywhere goats buffalo horses but no reindeer their prime food source. The main theory is that the animals that are in the caves are sacred.

After we went in the cave we drove down to a cool outdoor museam called Prehistoric Park. We went there because our guide recomended it to us and said we could throw spears. When we got there we went directly to the spear throwing i was a bit better than everyone because our chimney sweep in Nordegg taught me how. After that we went to do painting with the exact formula that the cavemen used. Next we went to the demonstration of how to make fire from scratch with no matches. First he put some powder made from those big mushrooms that grow on dead trees. Then he cracked flint and iron ore together he said you can not create fire with flint on flint because it produces white sparks that are not hot enough to make fire. Then the mushroom powder starts to smoke he told us that the mushroom powder was so extremely flamable that even one spark woud make it burn then he added pine needles and then made a nest of hay and then he stuck the fire in it and it lit.

After that he also demonstrated how to make fire by rubbing wood together. First he took a bow strung with fishing wire. Then he wrapped the wire around the stick placed the stick in a little nick that he had just made in the wood. And started to move the bow from side to side and the stick whirred round and round. Amd smoke came out of the nick. If you ever try to do this at home use a cherry wood stick and a conifer wood plank and dont forget to make the nick in the side of the plank.

The park also had stuffed cave lions, mammoths and bison.

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And finally, in the middle of the night here yesterday i was woken up by a giant bang and shake. Neve and i hid under our covers. In the morning e found out it was an earthquake!

Posted by Arin MacDyer 04:34 Archived in France Tagged james Comments (3)

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