So now that we've settled into the beginning of the school year I feel ready (guilty) enough to revisit our summer pics and tales. And to celebrate the twins joining middle school, I've included some off-color humor/humour below.
We crisscrossed the isle of Great Britain in multiple directions, took a few classes, and hopped over to "the continent" for a week, but I'm getting ahead of myself. First we had to escape Bonnie Scotland which we did via the beautiful and wonderfully efficient (at least from an American's perspective) British Rail.
First stop: the medieval walled city of Old York. (The locals still seem to call it just "York," but you and I know that without the clarifying adjective it might be confused with its namesake across the pond.)
The wall at times seemed impregnable (the two gaping holes in it illustrated above notwithstanding) but the Schnackitos managed to penetrate its defenses.
The view from "the best walk in Britain" wasn't too bad either.
After our jaunt we dropped off The Eldest (he was feeling under the weather) at our Airbnb on a canal in a former sugar factory...
...the rest of us headed for Evensong at the York Minster (that big cathedral-looking cathedral a few pictures ago). The music and gothic-ness were indeed astounding.
Day 2 included a visit to the Jorvik Viking Centre which has some serious shit*!
* or faeces, if you will.
Sarah and I have fond memories of visiting York when we were young and carefree; it was great showing our kiddos the gorgeous abbey ruins, narrow twisting streets, and weird retro sweets of this wonderful town.
Speaking of fond memories, on our way south we stopped for a few days in the "Paris of the West Midlands": Birmingham! (And you always thought the "Paris of the West Midlands" was Wolverhampton!)
Those of you who know the intimate details of our courting history are well aware that Brum is where the missus and I fell madly in love with one another. And those of you who know your British architectural and industrial history know that it was ugly even before it was decimated by the Luftwafe and "redeveloped" in the harsh style of the 1960s (though some in the city are fighting to save their brutalist past). We thought it time to show the kiddos the ol' U. of Birmingham campus (where the magic happened!) and a British city without hordes of tourists.
But first we went to Cadbury World in the planned suburb of Bournville to ride a psychedelic chocolate-themed kids' ride.
I often enjoy heading out for an early morning jog when on vacay, thus scratching my exploration itch whilst allowing the rest of my family a lazy morning. Birmingham's city centre was mind-blowingly different since we lived there in 1996-97, mostly in a good way (prioritizing pedestrians over cars, wacky curvy modern architecture), but I admit it was tough to get my bearings.
Then it was off to Warwick castle.
The Eldest was super excited when he saw the huge trebuchet on the other side of the river since he had built one for science class a few months back. But by the time we walked down to it we learned that island it was resting on was closed. Luckily we were able to convince some employee to convince the "trebuchet master" to show it to us on a private tour!
Enough of this small town stuff. Next stop: the Big Smoke.