This is connected to my tumblr blog where I will be sharing news and updates on the Educate Me Project, Sashaland Productions, songs I want to sing, and general rambling thoughts as 1positivekat in this crazy world. Follow along if you want to and please share comments if inspired to. :)

@ positive kat

random thoughts from @positivekat aka the host of @greenestcitywalks  - greenestcitywalkingtours.ca  

Family fun exploring the past

Day 22 - Sept 29 2015

Now offically half way through our vacation time, we were on another journey by train, this time on our way to Telford to spend time with some family.

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We were picked up by our Aunt Chris at the Telford train station, and she brought us home for lunch and a chance to settle in, and spend some time catching up with Chris and our cousin Bob who we haven’t seen since their last visit to Vancouver a few years back.

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Then we were out for an afternoon adventure around Blists Hill, a Victorian heritage town where Bob works.

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The year is 1900 in this village, and it is a totally brilliant place to explore.

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On the window outside the Chemists shop (like our modern day pharmacies, only old-timey)  I saw a sign saying they would pay for your teeth. When I inquired about why they might want to buy teeth we found out that it was common to have all your teeth pulled out while they were healthy and turned into dentures, as this was cheaper than dealing with your teeth as they rotted with age. Men would often spend the money to maintain their own teeth, but girls would often have their teeth pulled and turned into dentures as a wedding present, or for their 18th birthday in preparation for their eventual marriage. One was really lucky if you could also afford the opium to numb your pain during the procedure! Can you imagine?!

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Enjoyed the horse-drawn carriage tour of the village.

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Then on foot we continued checking all the spaces out.

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They have an old carnival area with fun rides and games to play. As a workplace with old fashioned outfits, it was cute how Bob’s co-workers all gave him playful grief for not only wearing civvies, but also showing off his legs in shorts. lol.

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The swing ride was surprisingly super fast!

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Sasha was the only winner at the ring toss game, but she was kind and shared her victory popcorn treat with all of us. :)

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More exploration walking time. Every historical town has a small school building to check out.

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I loved this little stone cottage that was so cozy.

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Also loved how so many of the brick buildings look like surprised faces.

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There is a peaceful walk along the canal that brings one to this view, so nice.

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The candle stick maker gave an entertaining overview of how candles were made, and had some stories to share on hazards of life by candlelight.

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I love the old print shops and this one was great. The man who was working in the shop tried to tempt her to work for him, earning 1900 wages of course. That means sleeping in a space below the shop floor, being paid a dollar a week, and only seeing your family on Sundays for church & dinner time. Imagine our surprise when she thought that was a bad deal lol.

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mmmmm…pie.

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Of course we had to check out the candy parlour before we were ready to leave. :)

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A short drive away from Blists Hill village is the very first iron bridge ever built. This amazing architectural creation was designed in 1776 and unfortunately not completed before the architect who designed it passed away. Led to many engineering breakthroughs since then, and totally beautiful too!

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Sasha dancing at the center point.

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The view on either side of the bridge - beautiful.

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The picturesque little town up the hillside.

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Well, it all looks charming til you notice the nuclear power stacks in the distance.

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We finished the day with dinner at the Red Fox, a favourite restaurant for our family to get together.

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We were happy to meet our cousin Paul and his wife Sue who joined us for dinner. Since Paul has not had the chance to visit Vancouver yet, this was our first chance to get to know him, and we loved him and Sue right away. :)

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She was completely smitten with her new uncle by the end of the night and totally reluctant to leave his side when it was time to go.

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We had an abundance of gratitude at the end of this day for family we were able to reconnect with, and family we got to meet for the first time. A day full of fun, lessons in human ingenuity and great times to remember. :)

Posted 166 weeks ago

Explore & play in London for a day

Day 21 - Sept 28 2014

We were really looking forward to another adventure day with Diane and the kids. Starting with some morning play time. :)

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We took a wander through the neighbourhood en route to the tube station, and I loved this colourful home that we passed which really stands out on a street of subtle brick hues and white trim everywhere else.

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A handful of stops and then we exited at South Kensington to meander our way to our first destination of the day.

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The Natural History Museum.

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We joined the long line up and took in the beautiful architecture of this place while shuffling our way closer to the entrance. They take advantage of the captive audience to showcase their guide/activity/learning resource books they have for sale. We bought both the standard book, and the one designed for kids.

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Surprisingly it was only about 15 minutes before we were in, and the place was packed with families and tourists. We started with the dinosaur exhibit that had an interesting layout. First you were channeled up a stairwell to walk a long platform which takes you to the other end of the gallery. From up high you can see the skeletons that hang from the ceiling, while also seeing down into the maze of exhibit below.

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Everything dinosaur, from history, archaeology, variety of fossils to animatronic creatures.

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Then through the big mammals of the world exhibit.

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And the ecology exhibit to learn about natures secrets.

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After a couple of hours we were ready to move on and find some lunch. This is a place you could take a whole day to explore. The lovely thing about free entry to museums is you don’t feel like your wasting money if you only see some of the place. Plus, we have the books we bought to continue learning when we get back to Canada! :)

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Walking along to our next destination we saw a bike share station.

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We opted for the restaurant in the Science Museum for lunch. This pic makes me laugh every time I look at it. Alice just looks so puzzled by Sasha’s goofy enthusiasm for her cucumbers (she loves her veggies!). :)

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Spent most of our time in the area that is fun for kids to get hands on with exploring and experimenting. The first half of the time here Sasha played with Alice.

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Then Ben came with Thomas, who was now done with his friends birthday party and was ready for his turn to adventure with us while Alice went home with Daddy.

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After the kids had their fill of science play, we checked out the exhibit on history of medical science before heading out. I must say MRI machines looked even scarier in the early days.

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When we got back outside we found a master of bubbles entertaining the crowd.

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Then got some ice cream to energize for our walk to Hyde Park which was our last destination of the day.

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As we strolled through Hyde park, we ambled along the flower walk,

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walked past Royal Albert Hall,

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and the Albert Memorial, a very shiny monument,

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and Kensington Palace, the home of William, Kate and their kids. Wonder how it feels to live in a place that is half open to the public for tours all day, with lawns that the public get to picnic and hang out on, and has a statue of your royal grandma outside.

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Almost there…

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Finally we made it to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground - which had a line up to get in! Having reached maximum capacity they were only letting in one family for every family that left. Like an exclusive club for kids, and since Thomas loved this place, and the line was moving quickly we stayed to check it out.

There was this caged tree full of fairies, elves and woodland creatures in vignettes all around to investigate while we waited:

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This was the madness when we finally got in! Thomas went straight to the crows nest of the ship, and Sasha went straight to playing in the sand after losing him on the ship deck.

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After a long day of walking, and hangry time kicking in, Sasha ran out of patience with littler kids running through her play space in the sand (this playground was huge, with lots of areas to play, but it was all soooo packed there was no safe place to build anything without someone running through eventually) so she joined us on a bench until Thomas was ready to go too.

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Once we were out of the park, we walked some more til we found our bus stop to get back home.

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Diane made us a yummy dinner when we returned, and we all enjoyed a relaxing evening after a long fun day of family adventure. :)

Posted 166 weeks ago

Farewell Scotland

Day 20 - Sept 27 2014

5 days was not enough time in Scotland for me, and I would definitely like to visit this country again one day if I can, as there is so much more I really want to see. But we sure made the most of the time we had!

We began this day with a quick breakfast and packed up our stuff to go.

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We happened to be in Scotland right before the big vote of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to split up from the UK. Outside our window while we got ready to leave, we heard drumming as people started to show up in Hollyrood Park for a rally that was gathering for the ‘No’ side.

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Once our lovely host came by, we turned in our keys and were on our way, only a 20 minute walk to train station.

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Found Jacob’s Ladder along the way

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which was actually a staircase.

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I spy with my little eye, a castle like building up high. Turns out that is part of a wall around the Old Calton Burial Ground on top of the hill. (I looked it up once we were home.)

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Tickets, check. Snacks, check. Now which way to the platform? Train stations are place of sensory overload for me and I was thankful that Sasha became an expert navigator and sign finder to help us find our way when my brain froze. :)

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Settling in for hours of fast paced scenic views.

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I captured pics and video of the landscape as we sped past the fields and towns.

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We also had games and books to occupy ourselves on the journey. Sasha made good use of train ride time to use her imagination telling stories, play with us, read, or catch up on work in a grade 3 activity book which kept her prepping her math, reading, writing, socials and science for when she returned to school.

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So many windmills in the UK!

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Finally arrived at Kings Cross station in London. Now time to finish our trip back to Diane & Ben’s home by transit on the tube and bus.

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In the train station concourse,

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there was a very long line up to pose with this Harry Potter set up. Someone even holds the scarf so you can make it look like you are running with the wind through the wall. But not a photo op any of us were willing to stand in line for over ½ hour for.

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Made it easily onto the Piccadilly Line and this time got out of the tube station on the right side!

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Views while waiting on the bus, which took a while due to loads of traffic, worse from nearby construction.

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Made it to our friends and Sasha got in some play time before we got the kids off to bed. Then we walked with Diane to the local pub for a drink.

Cheers to good times with friends and another London town adventure the next day!

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Posted 167 weeks ago

The Royal Happy Day

Happy birthday Mark! Woke up to a perfect day for family adventure time in Edinburgh, and the sun is shining as we start his happy day. :D

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Our airbnb host had left us the morning necessities like bananas, cereal, milk and coffee which was particularly awesome as there wasn’t any food store conveniently close by. A quick coffee and breakfast and we were out the door.

Just around the corner from our front door was the short cut path to the park.

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They went back to the apartment for something, and I took the chance to capture a short clip to showcase the 360 view in the park:

Let’s go climb a hill and see how close we can get to Arthur’s Seat, the peak of the hills that watch over Edinburgh city.

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This was the peak we were aiming for (the highest is significantly to the left and much higher) but Sasha was not keen to climb further as it got windier and windier the higher we went…so we didn’t quite make it.

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Still a nice view from this high up! (panoramic from the left to the right)

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Back down the hill we went on our quest for brunchy lunch, and passed the parliament buildings on our way to the Royal Mile.

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Around the other side I was taken with this quote out of many etched into the walls:

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Up the Royal Mile we go:

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We took a left after a few blocks and went into the university area to try out a place I had read about that was good for brunch eats. The food was great, and I even tried blood sausage for the first time (won’t go out of my way to try again, but not as gross as I thought it would be), but the downside to this place, especially traveling with a child, was no washroom at all. Fortunately the fitness centre across the street let us use theirs.

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Back on the Royal Mile we were now at the beginning of the cobblestone road.

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Which eventually becomes all pedestrian road! Yay!

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They are total gamers these two.

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I love how there are these little secret passageways everywhere leading to other worlds off the main strip.

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There were many street performers to entertain along the way.

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Spent a while exploring the beautiful St Giles Cathedral.

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Then back out to the street to carry on our walk.

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We reached a fork in the road, and the return of cars, so stayed to the pedestrian road which continues to the right.

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At the end of walk uphill on the Royal Mile we found the Edinburgh Castle.

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A view including the hill we tried to get to the top of that morning.

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Having decided this was a castle worth checking out, we bought our tickets and crossed through the gates on our way in.

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From one of the viewing pulpits this is the scene from left to right:

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The castle actually has quite a few stand alone buildings that have served various roles over time. This chapel was probably always a chapel though.

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The entrance at the base of this clock tower leads to a historical timeline of royalty in the UK (and their connections to Scottish lineage) and is also the home of the Scottish Crown jewels.

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The Great Hall has a historical sword that you can pose with, in the midst of a large collection of armour and swords through the ages.

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Another fancy room bringing Britannia back to mind again! ;)

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After a few hours of exploring the site and the Scottish National War Museum, and the exhibits that covered prisoners of war, and the army barracks of the 1800′s, we had our fill of history and now needed to fill up on some grub! Back down the Royal Mile hill to see waht we could find.

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The World’s End had appeal, but kids not allowed soon after our arrival and we didn’t want to rush…

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so we happily found a table at Whiski. Excellent food and service!

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Energized for the final leg of our walk home.

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At the bottom of the hill we were back at the parliament building. This building is fascinating architecture, but I didn’t get any good pics to capture how cool it is.

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Walking by the Palace of Holyrood which was right in our backyard, I snuck this pic through the fence that was now locked.

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Around the corner and we were on the cobblestone path that would take us back to our apartment for one more night.

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Sasha finished the birthday treats for the day with a song just for dad! :D

Feeling grateful while saying cheers to Mark and a royal happy day.

Posted 167 weeks ago

From Findhorn to Holyrood

Day 18 - Sept 25 2015

Before we left this northern edge of Scotland, we wanted to visit the Findhorn Foundation school, Cluney Hill. Mark’s dad was the administrator for years while they lived at Findhorn, and I was curious to see this old hotel turned into a school, that engages people in learning the principles and practice of sustainable living and many other things.

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As soon as she walked into the Great Hall she took off her shoes and ran around dancing.

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Sasha led is in a moment of gratitude in the sanctuary.

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On the road south from Forres, back down the highway I couldn’t see anything on when we drove north to Findhorn. Random passenger view of hay field. Wish we had gotten a few nice pics of the National Park forest scenes. Gorgeous. But rolling hills of farmland are always nice to see.

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We stopped for lunch in another quaint little town off the highway (only decent pic I got in town was this one). In this town I drove down a street that was way too narrow (with cars parked on both sides) and ended up scratching our car again on someone’s side mirror which folded in as my car passed it. I couldn’t believe I caused more damage to our rental…but at least it wouldn’t cost us more now that we had already lost the damage deposit. Oy.

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And on to Edinburgh.

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Cross the bridge and we’re almost there!

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I was so happy to get out of the car and not be driving anymore! Found out how lucky we were to have paid a bit extra for insurance: my little accidents would have cost us another £1000 without the extra coverage! omg!

Now we were in another city, with a bit of time before meeting our host at our apartment, and looking for some place for dinner.

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The place we chose was an Italian restaurant “Vittoria”, which happens to be the name of one of my supervisors - another Britannia reminder!

Super friendly owners and staff, exceptional service and the food was great. They found a home for all our baggage while we relaxed and enjoyed. Perfect! :)

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Great place to rejuvenate from the road trip.

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We walked about 30 min to our apartment from the restaurant, around the Royal Terrace Gardens and across the tracks.

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At the end of the road was our flat on the second floor.

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And here are a few pics from our 2 night home:

View up the street.

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View out the back is the corner of Holyrood Park nearest the Palace of Holyrood (which is just beyond those trees ahead).

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And another place with the comforts of home.

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This is a great place to spend a couple of nights in Edinburgh! We had one day to explore this city on foot, and we happen to be near a lot of things to see - our next day exploration walk is going to be amazing!

Posted 167 weeks ago

Down by the Bay & Across the Loch

Day 17 - Sept 24 2015

We had a leisurely morning, and enjoyed cooking another meal for ourselves. Breakfast to give us energy for our day trip adventure!

Before heading out, we went wandering and retraced our path from the night before, but by daylight.

A couple of outside pics of our eco-cabin and a one room cabin.

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The one room cabin has a table that lifts up or down within a booth area, turning a dining/hangout space into a platform bed space.

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Being a fan of alternative ways of dealing with natural problems, like waste management, I was particularly keen to investigate the Living Machine.

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I had not thought of potential tours on site when planning the days we’d be here (our calendar had worked around when was best to be where, and then we looked for things to do during that time) but I do wish I had planned our visit to coincide with a tour of this place! We did get a verbal tour of the system from a Findhorn resident who had been a part of the whole project from day 1. Listening to his stories and experiences made up for missing out on the tour, and I was grateful we found him!

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He did encourage us to peek our heads in, though we wouldn’t be able to wander around in the greenhouse as there were students working in there who would not feel comfortable is we started asking questions. They did let us peek though! :)

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Outside there is this hill which is a part of the process.

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And this contraption.

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And this project can treat up to 65 cubic meters of waste water per day!

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When we exited by the southern corner of the property, we found ourselves at this road which has the peaceful community of Findhorn on one side, and an air force base on the other. Could you get any more yin yang than that? ;)

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Down by the bay where no watermelon grows, but a safe place for the birds to go.

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Though there is a large grassy area, the line of logs (some of them huge) show that the waters can get really high sometimes.

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With the tide being super low at this point she ran out as far as she could, beyond the tree laying submerged in the bay.

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There were planes using the runway of the decommissioned air force base for touching down practice. They fly and just touch their wheels to the tarmac before pulling up and taking flight again.

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These jets were loud!

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One plane that never took off while we were there.

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With a nice leg stretch in for the morning I was ready for the drive to Inverness and beyond for a boat tour on the Loch in search of Nessy.

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We signed up for a boat tour that also included some time at Urquhart Castle, and we were on our way once everyone had boarded the Jacobite Warrior.

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Heading south on Loch Ness and the sun is peaking through more and more.

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First glimpse of Urquhart Castle.

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We found a toilet older than Canada! Minus the metal grate, this hole was once the dumping ground for the Constable of the castle. Mission accomplished for Mark, lol. (this makes sense if you read about his quip to the customs agent at London airport. heheh)

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Done with ruins.

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Hey! Your boat is here!

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The monster has the munchies.

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Snippet from our boat ride on Loch Ness…with bag pipes!

Back to the dock and a stop at the Clansman up the hill for postcards. One of the staff asked Sasha if she had seen Nessy, and of course, like all the children (so the staff said) she sure did!

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Sasha took a great random shot passing through Inverness.

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Before heading back to Findhorn for the night, we wandered Forres in search of dinner.

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Stumbled upon some live action theatre outside this church. The audience was following the actors, and they happened to stop here with loads of dramatic flair that caught our attention. Thankfully the murder we witnessed wasn’t real. ;)

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Found Memory Lane.

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But it was a trap as it was locked on the other side too.

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What a lovely Scottish town.

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As we are book nerds this restaurant hooked us. “Chapter One. Let the story begin…”

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Cheers to another day of good times!

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Posted 167 weeks ago

Wandering and Whiskeying

Day 16 - Sept 23 2014

Woke up and looked out a window to this view of Findhorn Bay at low tide.

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By the light of day, this place was absolutely lovely.

Took a bunch of pictures around the cabin and enjoyed the space. It was nice to have room to move around after a few nights together in one room, and all the comforts of home!

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And look! We found Nessy!

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Now that I’m totally relaxed - time to check out the damage from the night before. Note the missing piece of silver from left side of bumper…

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Thankful for the extra insurance coverage; sad to know we’ve still lost 100£ for the deductible. The pic doesn’t show the real depth of the dent.

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The wall i hit…needs some kind of light nearby for dark stormy nights, right?

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Since we had no groceries, and the shop on site was not open til later, we chose to walk to the village to the north as a distraction from hunger.

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When we got to the town, it was still too early for anything to be open, so we just kept on wandering around this sleepy village.

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We devoured our tasty brunch at a place where the locals line up early, and we can vouch that their fresh baked breads and all other goodness we ate - totally worth your time!

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With full tummies we made our way back and enjoyed more exploration time on our walk.

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Back to the community we were camped out in for another couple of nights. Findhorn Foundation, and the college and property that is run by the community, is a place I became intrigued by ever since I first met Mark’s dad  and stepmum, who lived here for 5 years many years ago. I am drawn to the notion of intentional community and sustainable living, so love to learn about communities that have grown within these values. Findhorn is kind of a wise elder in the global movement of intentional communities. I was really stoked to be here!

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Picked up some fresh produce, grown in Findhorn’s gardens, and other supplies at the general store.

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We met our neighbour kitty who looks just like our neighbour kitty Coal back in Vancouver!

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Back to our cabin for a little break time

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One thing we knew we had to do in Scotland was go on a whiskey tour, and there were many to choose from in the area. We decided to check out a smaller distillery that was fairly close by, so Benromach was our out-trip for the day.

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Once we went inside no pictures were allowed. Was a very interesting tour, especially for brew master Mark, and the tour host was very good at keeping Sasha engaged in the group as well.

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Examples of barrel sizes they use.

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We picked up a bottle of liquid gold to share with friends when we got home and then drove back to Findhorn. Here are random shots from the back seat a la Sasha.

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We wanted to take some time to wander around the Findhorn community to see more of what it was like to live here.

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There is whimsy everywhere. Fun art, things to engage with, and little personal touches found in just about every home and garden you walk by.

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The Universal Hall where the community gathers for meetings, spiritual ceremonies, and whatever else brings people together. It s also home to a nice cafe.

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The community is full of homes that are large, small, square, round, wooden, cob, stone, colourfull, and all of them looked like inviting places to visit. Here are just a few:

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No surprise to find car sharing going on here. :)

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We used the fresh produce we bought earlier at the store to cook ourselves some yummy roast veg, giving huge thanks for this whole experience. Another bliss moment right here.

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We decided to go for another walk after dinner to explore some more before it got too dark. We wandered as far as the waterfront at the bay and took in big breaths of the crisp fresh air before making our way back for a peaceful sleep.

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Posted 167 weeks ago

Road trip to remember

Day 15 - Sept 22 2014

The car rental agency was having a driver pick us up in the morning, so once we were packed and had breakfast, we waited for his arrival. Time for another cheesy photo-op. Yes, the lobby already had lots of Christmas stuff on display.

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The driver had to pick up one more passenger on the way back to the office, a woman who had recently been in an accident and getting back in a car for the first time since the collision. When she found out I was driving a manual transmission (haven’t driven standard in a decade or so, + from the other side of the car), in the UK (on the other side of the road than I’m used to) for my first time…she said she’d stay away from me on the road. ;)

We took the advice of the rental guy and purchased an extra insurance deal (for all the reasons above) and then he showed us our set of wheels for the next 5 days until we’d arrive in Edinburgh.

I managed to get comfortable fairly quickly to everything being flipped on me, but I do not like being lost behind the wheel - and Mark accidentally wiped out the navigation I had mapped out the night before. D’oh!

He made up for getting me lost by finding an awesome person to ask for directions. The guy drew us a map that easily got us onto the main highway heading north.

We were officially on our way to Scotland!

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Random road trip view from the passenger side (normally my driver’s side).

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By dinner time we had made it more than half way to our destination, so we picked a random exit to search for food and landed in Pitlochry.

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Cafe Biba knew how to reel people like us in. :)

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Perfect little place for us, and Sasha got right into storytelling with sugar packets.

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I wanted to get some pictures of the town before it got too dark and went for a quick stroll. Also to stretch my legs before being stuck behind the wheel for a few more hours.

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The character in the doorway gave me the creeps when I walked by!

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Full on comfort food and calmed from the first half of the drive (frazzled a few nerves getting out of Manchester lol), we were back on the road.

Beyond Pitlochry, the highway was through Cairngorms National Park, so the last leg of the trip was on very dark road. Soon it was not only very dark, but it became very stormy as well. When the lorries came whizzing by at top speeds it also became very scary, especially when we were on the little rural roads between the the national park and our final stop.

More than 10 hours of driving and I was totally exhausted by the time of our arrival. Before we made it all the way, Mark had to knock on a strangers door when I got disoriented and lost faith I was heading in the right direction anymore. We just had to keep going a little further up the road, almost there.

Finally we made it to Findhorn!

Mark went in search of the person who could let us into our cabin (we were much later than anticipated!) and I thought he’d have to walk a long way, so backed out of the parking spot in the dark stormy parking lot to follow him, and next thing I knew I smacked into a small garden wall behind us that I couldn’t see in the dark.

I was stunned. I got us there alive after a long (and somewhat terrifying at times) drive, and then, backed up into an effin’ wall to damage the car?!?! Aaaaaaaagh!!

Yep. Had a meltdown.

But it was dark and stormy, and we were tired, and Mark found the key master for the night who could let us in, and in few more moments we were in.

Oh wow! Look at our awesome cabin!

Breathe. Settle into new digs. Happy again. Get some sleep.

We’re waking up for adventure time in Scotland!

g’nite

Posted 167 weeks ago

Manchester - Whittam-style

Day 14 - Sept 21 2014

Another full day for exploring in Manchester and we set out bright and early after breakfast to enjoy the day.

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The Gallery of Costume is found in Platt Fields Park which was just up the road from our hotel, so we decided to start our day with a walk in the park and visit here.

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Once upon a time it was a mansion for a wealthy family, but today it showcases the fashion trends of the past few hundred years. I’m thankful women no longer have to where get-ups like this, unless we want to.

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Also thankful to be a woman who has the right to vote.

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Also determined to prove Dior wrong; women don’t need to be saved from nature.

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Sasha’s fave pair from the room of shoes.

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Once we had explored the whole museum we hopped on the magic bus to get to the city center, and when it hit traffic and stopped moving, I remembered it was the day of the global Climate Justice March! Of course, we got off the bus to go join the masses on the street! :)

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Hunger took over after a while and we knew exactly where we wanted to go: right out front of the Manchester City Hall.

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For the Food & Drink Festival!

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Once we were full and happy again, we made our way to the Art Gallery.

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She was far more interested in making up her own story and visualizing her characters in the doll house - she can create a story anywhere, with anything. Love it. :)

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When we switched to the collections of artwork spanning many periods of art history, this is the position Sasha would be in after a few minutes of browsing the art in each room.

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An impressive array of beautiful pieces, but my fave corner was this corner in a gallery showcasing the private collection of some person; here is a portrait of the first black actor to play Othello on a stage, and a piece by Banksy.

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Back outside, she chose to do some quiet reflecting while we figured out where we were, and which direction we needed to go in next.

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We eventually found our way to the next destination - the John Rylands Library.

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This piece is call Lost in Literature and represents the response of a group of artists from Manchester School of Art who were overwhelmed by the information and knowledge found in the library. The history and contents within the library created an abundance of inspiration and this expresses the chaos they felt.

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There was also an art exhibit called  Echo and Narcissus which featured a collection of mirrors dedicated to literary heroines.

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The mystery was figuring out which books they came from.

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When we arrived in Manchester our cab driver had recommended Lal Qila as his favourite place to eat on the Curry Mile, and we decided to give it a try for our last dinner in the city. And it was the best curry I’ve ever had in my life! Totally tasted heaven right here.

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One of the most epic days of our epic adventure was complete and time to retreat for our last sleep in Manchester.

Posted 168 weeks ago

A Day in Leeds

Day 13 - Sept 20 2014

Mark is a big football fan (the soccer kind) and I was determined that he get to see a game while we were in the UK for his birthday, and made it happen by planning a day trip to Leeds where he could see his favourite team play a live match!

On our way to the train station found a tiki bar under a bridge across from a pub (and alcoves not pictured that had lights for night time smoker gathering), and I imagined the space full of people having a pint before catching their commuter train home after work.

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Random view from the train.

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Made it to Leeds!

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We had few hours time before the game and used it to explore the river pathways on our way to the Royal Armories Museum.

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Public art with a message I hope nobody followed!

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A wonderful thing about many museums in the UK is that they are free, and therefore can be worth checking out for a short while if that’s all you have time for. The Royal Armories Museum was totally worth a visit, though we only had time to view a few of the exhibits, and really you would need at least a few hours to explore the whole museum. Huge place full of expansive history of weaponry and curated to showcase different eras of war and hunting from around the world.

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This is where my cell phone camera became our main camera once Sasha accidentally knocked the camera out of my hand where it shattered on the hard floor. So sad. :(

But still had my cell phone…let picture taking commence!

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Had a quick lunch in the museum cafe before heading back to the city center where we would catch the shuttle to the stadium for game time! Check the long line!

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We were all excited by the time we reached the stadium, and waited outside with all the fans for the stadium to open. Time for a photo with Billy Bremner who Mark tells me was a “Leeds United Legend”.

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Before the game started it was a bit misty,

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but the rain cleared before the game started and it was a great match to watch - they won 3-0! Way more audience engagement then I’ve experienced in Canadian games, the chanting is endless.

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When we came out of the stadium after the game the streets were closed for the crowds (like they had been at Chelsea stadium on game day), and we had no idea where to go to catch the return shuttle bus! We just moved with the flow of the crowd, and one nice man that Mark started talking to informed us that it was only about a ½ hour walk into town, and we’d get there easily if we continued to follow the flow of people in that direction. He continued to tell us about life as a Leeds fan for many decades in this area until he turned to head home. Shortly after parting ways with him, we approached a carnival set up in a community park!

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We didn’t stop to go on a ride as we didn’t want to get lost without our crowd,

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but Sasha got her bag of treats that we didn’t end up getting at the stadium. The concession lineups had been too long at one point, then they closed earlier then I expected, oops. This goody bag was a much better deal, and the memory of stumbling upon a carnival and receiving this is far more exciting. :D

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The treats also energized us for the rest of the walk.

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Once we were back in the center of town we had a long while until our train back to Manchester, so the hunt was on for somewhere to eat dinner and relax a while.

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We wandered around and realized there were too many options for our hangry selves to handle.

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Until we opted for a lovely place that was exactly what we all needed: a place with warmth and yummy food.

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After we fed ourselves we walked to the train station, and still had some time to spare, which Sasha used to run off all her late night energy doing laps around the concourse, and the up & down escalators. Enjoy.

Just as she ran out of energy, our train arrived and we relaxed for the ride back.

A transfer to a magic bus and we were back at the hotel and ready for bed. G’nite!

Posted 168 weeks ago