- making wonderful new friends
- the ease of an Oyster card
- Konditor and Cook's delicious sweets
- St. Paul's library (thank you Mr. Wisdom!!!)
- viewing multiple First Folios
- sticky toffee pudding in Stratford
- the British Library (thank you Mr. Mehmet!!)
- the spiral staircase at St. Paul's
- the view across the Thames of Big Ben, Parliament, and St. Paul's
- Holyrood Palace
- celebrating birthdays with Chai and Nicole
- watching Kendra become a world-traveler
- the library at the V and A (WOW!!!)
- generosity of librarians of their time and knowledge
- a terrific professor (thank you, Dr. Welsh!!)
- Harry Potter at the Odeon
- the macaroons at Paul and Laduree
- Carnegie Library in Edinburgh
- Museum of London lecture and tour
- and much, much more
Friday, 14 August 2009
We all agreed that a "museum free" day was in order after our visits to a number the some of the finest museums in the world! Oxford Street beckoned with great shopping at TopShop, Uniglo, and more. While London doesn't get too hot too often, this was one of those rare 80 degree days where air-conditioning would been a boon. We managed to forge on despite the heat and found lots of great clothes and shoes for us all.
Our rainy day in London began with our final class meeting. What a great class this has been in every way! The course work has been interesting and stimulating, and my classmates have been delightful. Under Dr. Welsh's tutelage we have had experiences that would gladden the heart of any librarian. I think I can safely speak for all of the class and say that we all feel lucky to have had such a wonderful and truly once in a lifetime experience.
It was time to leave Paris so we packed our bags and prepared to head out of town. We had just enough time for one more quick trip to Bon Marche to look around and then pick up some of their scrumptious macaroons for the trip home. This store is a mecca for shoppers, and I especially loved their shoe department. It was a disappointment, then, when the shoes that I requested to try on just "could not be found". The salesman gave that famous Gallic shrug and suggested that I come back later to purchase them! Since we were on a tight schedule, that was not to be. A quick lunch, then a cab to Gare de Nord to board the Eurostar for London.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
After a happy reunion, we strolled down to the Queen's Walk for lunch. There were loads of performers on the street like this funny guy in the dog crate. He would sing and bark along to a song when folks tossed money into his dog bowl. There was a guy moon walking to Michael Jackson music, several human statues, a guy dressed like a chameleon on a bike, plus more.
Our day ended with a nice dinner at the Wagamama noodle bar close to the river, then back to the Mad Hatter. We packed up in preparation for our trip on the Eurostar to Paris the next morning.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
While at the library we viewed a wonderful exhibit on immigration. The focus was on actual people and the stories they told as they migrated to other countries and left Scotland behind or immigrated to Scotland. Exhibits included suitcases filled with letters, diaries, clothing, and other items that immigrants would have used or taken with them. A touching and poignant way to gain insight into the immigrant experience and some of the travails that they may have experienced.
Since we had a bit of time to visit Edinburgh we strolled along the Royal Mile up to the Castle. Due to time constraints we were not able to tour the castle but did look around a bit and were able to enjoy the view from this high point above the city. As we walked back down the hill we came upon the historic St. Giles' Cathedral. We spent some time wandering through this beautiful cathedral enjoying the gorgeous stained glass windows and interesting architecture. We located the cafe downstairs and enjoyed a delicious lunch before heading to the Edinburgh Central Library. This Carnegie library was founded in 1890 and still occupies the original building (though renovations and alterations have taken place throughout the years). The gracious librarians there provided us with a wonderful tour. One of the librarians, Ian Wright, showed us around the lovely old building. We even got to see the stacks where many of the titles (including duplicates) are tucked away and retrieved when needed by patrons.
A wonderful renovation of the ground floor reading room had been recently completed. The room has been restored to the original color scheme and superfluous additions have been removed. The room features beautiful egg and dart molding, grand wooden columns, and even a bit of gilding. We toured the departments housing the children's and music collections and then retired to a meeting room where we were treated with tea and cookies. Colm Linnane of the Reading and Learning Team shared interesting experiences with us about his time working with young adults in group homes. His practical tips and information were appreciated by us all.
Jessica and I decided to hike back down the hill towards Holyrood and visit the Palace where the Queen stays when she visits Scotland. My sister had visited Holyrood on a previous trip to Scotland and had mentioned what a wonderful experience it had been. I'm glad we had time to tour the Palace because it was well worth the trip. I'd have to say that it was one of the highlights of the trip and hope to be able to visit again and spend more time there. The rooms were beautifully appointed and the audio guide that accompanied the tour was well-done and full of interesting history and tidbits. Walking where royalty has trod and seeing where Mary, Queen of Scots lived made for a memorable afternoon.
After a yummy meal of Scottish Salmon and new potatoes at a pub along the Royal Mile, we took the bus back to Dalkeith. We missed our stop initially and had to switch buses. The passengers and driver on the bus were most helpful in pointing out our stop on the next go-around! I spent a quiet and restful evening at the County Hotel in central Dalkeith and even watched a bit of Scottish television!
Our day started early with a trip on the Tube to St. Pancras Station to catch the train to Edinburgh. The trip on the fast train was quiet and relaxing after our busy time in London. We arrived in Edinburgh late afternoon to overcast skies and much cooler weather. We then boarded a coach which took us to our home for the next few days, Dalkeith Palace. Located about 30 minutes outside of the capital, this beautiful palace was a quiet respite from the bustle of city life. After checking in and receiving room assignments we headed up the lane to a walk into Dalkeith and dinner at a local Italian restaurant. We all had fun celebrating Chai's birthday in style. Her birthday serenade by the waiters, along with a Peach Melba parfait topped with a sparkler, made for a memorable celebration. We strolled along the cobbled streets back to the quiet of Dalkeith. After exploring the palace a bit we settled in to watch a movie in our historic surroundings.