Saturday, 30 January 2010

Snowed in in North Carolina


After two weeks of sunshine with the occasional slightly colder day we arrived in Carrboro (North Carolina) to news that snow was on its way and the town was getting ready to shut down. As we are perennial doubters we laughed it off only to find a white winter land last night as we walked home from the pub.

Its still snowing, temperature is about -1 so its not melting either. The town doesnt have a snow plow so I think we are not going anywhere fast today. Fingers crossed we will be able to get our flight tomorrow ok.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Charlston


Its very nice. Everyone is very friendly. Its sunny but windy and cold so we are layering up. Mum's favorite type of road found over and over (example to the left), all trees heavy with spanish moss.

Today we went to the plantations nearby and admired a house that magically didnt get razed to the ground in 1865 but instead left almost in the same condition as it was built back in the 18th century. Then we admired a fantastic garden in another plantation whose house got razed but garden somehow survived. Lots and lots of camelias. Unfortunately for us the main flowering season are a few weeks away so we didnt see it in its prettiest state.

After a nice low country lunch we went to Mount Pleasant and checked out USS Yorktown, and aircraft carrier built in 1942 and used in WWII. We also checked out the submarine next to it, very cool to be allowed to walk through both ships and look and touch and feel.

Tomorrow we head northwards, to Raleigh, NC. Its supposedly colder than here so I am going to have to go shopping for a warmer jacket. Ah, what a shame...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Recommendation


We can thoroughly recommend the Old Charleston Tours - we did the Civil War and Slavery tour and it was excellent!

New camera

Loving our new camera. It eats batteries but takes great pictures. JD has spent lots of time adding titles to the photos so take a look on flickr.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Reading books and going places



Warmer today so we went to the beach on Tybee Island. Not quite that warm... But nice all the same. We checked out the local graveyard as well. As you do. It was lovely! I just finished 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' - I read it years ago when it came out but didnt remember it well enough so decided to re-read it before heading to Savannah. It has made it extra fun walking around looking at the houses and admiring the squares.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Brrr


Its cold in Savannah. We are wearing all the layers we have brought. I think its the change from lovely warm Florida that is making us so cold as the actual temperature isnt that low...

We spent yesterday walking around town, admiring the squares and lovely buildings. And some less lovely buildings. In the evening we took a paddle steamer boat for dinner and thanks to some great other guests on the boat it was a lovely evening, they all volunteered to dance when the compere asked for assistance, whereas we, in true European style, didnt budge from our seats. We went to the local brewery/bar after dinner and tried their beer which was interesting. The best bit? You get plastic cups to transfer your beer over into if you want to take it with you as you walk to the next bar. Nice!

Today we have decided to drive around a bit to check out the areas around town. Oh and then back to the bar we found the other night for the football (American dito) and some chili. Mmmm...

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Bye bye Florida, hello Georgia


Sun shining when we left Orlando but 1/2 way to St Augustine the clouds started gathering and suddenly the skies opened. It was interesting. Driving at 3o mph trying to make out the road markings. But we made it and found the hotel, albeit with duckies swimming all over the car park.

Today we had sun again! So strolled on the beach, then headed into town for some sightseeing and drinking from fountain of youth. Then just as it started getting cold (and very foggy) we set off north to Savannah. Hotel all new so all shiny and nice. Found a bar not far from hotel serving lots of beers and great crab cakes. Happy!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Orlando





Off we went, I have a large suitcase full of stuff, JD has a small suitcase that is half full. I am sure I will run out of clothes before him but am putting my trust in the shopping malls of the south.

Orlando - hotel was worn but ok, for $50 a night you cant be too picky. We immediately found an ale house across the street where we started off by drinking bud light (5 for $10 - that is good value) and watching football. The next day we took the complimentary shuttle to Magic Kingdom. Well actually we had breakfast with a couple of nice guys who tried to sell us a timeshare ("oh no its not a timeshare, its a vacation program and you get a deed") so we got 1/2 price tickets.

Magic Kingdom. Its January. Should be low season. OMG. I do not want to know how this place looks like in high season. We managed to do 3 rides. That's it. We spent hours queuing. We did see both the show and parade and the Presidents show. Overall impressions: Space Mountain is good, its all very pretty, all female dancers have wigs (Walt must have loved the straight bob - not a curly hair in sight...) and there is no beer. One day was plenty.

We spent the next day (next two days in JD's case) at Kennedy Space Center. LOVED IT! The space shuttle experience was very cool, the tour of the area (and seeing the shuttle scheduled to leave early Feb up and being made ready) was amazing! We saw alligators, bald eagles, armadillos and turtles.

I then spent two days in a conference, which was surprisingly good. Being there with Courtney did help, we had a good time together and as the only two blonds (and a minority as women) stood out quite a bit.

Today we finished off the Orlando visit with a swamp tour in Kissimmee. Just JD and I in a swamp boat, with a guide driving us around showing us all the birds (white and blue heron, white and black ibises, egrets, wee running birds, eagles, vultures etc) and lots of alligators who were lying in the sun trying to warm up. From babies (2 1/2 years old) and medium sized to very large ones. Luckily they didnt care about us so we sneaked up on them, took a look and left them to keep sunbathing.

Driving up to St Augustine we hit a massive rain storm so at one point JD was driving 30mph and wasnt able to see the side lines but luckily with straight roads it was ok in the end. We are staying on the beach but havent been able to enjoy it yet due to the rain. But we have had gator for dinner, well I had while JD chickened out and ordered tuna.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Holiday!

On Saturday we go on our official honeymoon. Flying to Orlando and then driving via St Augustine, Savannah and Charleston up to Raleigh where JD's cousing lives. Here is our plan - we might not have time for all of it but will give it a try for sure:


View Jan Hols in a larger map

Friday, 8 January 2010

Dec 31 1999- Dec 31 2009

Ten years. Had to start from new years eve as it was too much fun to not include. At EL and J's apartment in Uppsala and with lots of friends, lots of food and lots of booze. Clearest memory being standing by Carolina Rediviva in snow (-20) watching fire works and drinking waaay too cold Bolly.

2000-2009 - moved to Brighton, met JD, moved in with JD in a little cottage, got our own little house, moved to the US.

Worked a lot, travelled quite a bit, made some new friends and managed to maintain most of my old ones. Had a great time. Loved this decade. May the next one be even better!

Friday, 1 January 2010

NY in NY


I found a hotel last minute so we could relax and stay in New York over night at New Years Eve.

We went down in the morning and met Heidi and Stu at Grand Central. We were booked into a tour at the Tenement museum (well worth visit!) and then strolled to Katz's deli and had lunch (I had a pastrami sarnie, JD brisket and Stuart corned beef). Yum!

After a short nap in the hotel we tried the hotel bar GT (mmm approved) while waiting for H & S. They were not allowed into the street as the police had put up barricades. We met them on the corner and then tried a few times to work out where we could and couldnt go. In the end we gave up and went straight down to 40th street where we managed to catch the raising of the ball. Its not very big...

Drinking, food, more drinking at Jack's followed. Its managed by some Belfast boys so JD made friends and we were allowed to stay in our cosy booth the whole night. At 11.55 we went outside to the corner and saw the ball drop and the confetti and general shouting and hullaballooing. Fun! Straight back to bar at 12.05. Turned out only people who had been there earlier in the evening were let back in. We stayed another hour or so and when we walked back through the emptied streets the clean up operation had already started.

Today we mooched over to MOMA and saw the Tim Burton exhibition. Great and free thanks to my blessed employer. Then lunch and a stroll through Central Park before heading back home. Ah! Another year starting. Now time for a nap I think...
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