There and back – Always (Part 3)

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Conwy Castle, Wales. Summer 2013.

If you’ve followed along the last two weeks, you’ll know that we’ve been listing my favorite spots for every country that I’ve managed to visit. Last week I covered my quick stops but now I’m looking at the four countries that I actually have covered extensively and for much longer ranges of time.

So jumping right in:

1. England

I visited England in 1993 (though it totally doesn’t count), 2013, and 2016, but I lived in London from 2014 to 2015. Living in a place is so much different than just visiting it and makes my connection that much deeper. I’ve seen so much of this country, especially London – to the point where I think I’ve walked just about every area at least once – so it’s hard to pick just one place that makes me want to come back and visit time and time again.

In the end, with some help from my mom, I settled on Hampton Court Palace – though ‘settled’ seems the wrong word for it. Hampton Court is lovely and I would love to get my camera in there but more than anything I believe it is the interactive aspects of this palace that makes it worthy of multiple visits. Depending on when you go, they will have a rotation of historical story lines and scenes going on throughout the day that you can follow along and interact with. These stories lead you around the castle and through history.

When we visited, the scenes were from the point where King Henry V was trying to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn. We got to see these chief characters as well as varied named and unnamed courtiers who surrounded them. At one point the ladies separated from the gentlemen so this trip is great for groups who can get together between scenes like this to exchange notes.

2. Scotland

Scotland is one of the places I will never turn down a visit to. I was there in 2013 and again in 2014 but it feels like I have been here ao much more than this. I may have lived in London, but Edinbourgh is probably my favorite city in the world. I’ve had so much fun and cemented friendships here. In 2013, this city was a real turning point and it’s effected my view of this city forever.

Every time I visit I climb Arthur’s Seat. I’ve gone the long back way as well as the direct and both have been brilliant. It’s easy enough to climb in a dress and converse or workout gear if you really want to push yourself. You can do a quick 30 minute climb or spend the whole days picnicking and climbing through the different points.

3. Wales

I’ve been to Cardiff more than anywhere else in Wales and I was there in 2013, 2015, and 2016. Still, the place that sticks out most in my head – despite my Whovian tendencies – is Conwy Castle. This ruined keep was a brilliant day where I climbed over and over, up and down every tower and rampart parapet. Parts of these walls are not accessible but following along the great stones you can always find your way back up. Next time I visit, I want to stay longer and explore the area more. There are beach areas along the castle grounds as well as the town inside the walls.

4. France

Besides England, France is the country I have explored the most. I’ve visited with both family and completely by myself three times from 2011 to 2016 covering large areas of the country each time. Where I’ve written many love letters to Lyon and always recommend passing through if a person is at all able, old town ended up being my number two location in France.

In the end, Mont Saint Michel in Normandy is my top pick. I loved exploring and climbing through the old monastery but there is so much more I want to do here that I would happily go back to France just to come back here. I want to walk around the cities base as well as see area at high tide when you get to see the real inspiration for Disney’s Corona.



And that wraps up all the countries that I can actually count as having visited. In some ways, it feels like I’ve been everywhere but, in others, it’s more like I’ve been nowhere at all. While I’d give a lot to go back to any of these countries  – the areas I’ve been to or not – obviously I’m hoping to add many more to this list.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

There and back – Always (Part 3)

A Year Ago Today…

It’s been a quicker year than I ever expected!

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Grey Cardiff, Wales. January 2016.

Since the weather in LA has been decidedly grey, I’ve been missing and reliving my time the UK in equal measure but both parts have me reminiscing.

A year ago today, I was traveling by train from London to Cardiff with my parents during my Masters graduation trip. We spent the day running around Doctor Who themed sites (including the soon to be closed Doctor Who Experience) and the night searching for a pub that served food late – this was surprisingly difficult since it wasn’t really late at all!

I had been in this city twice before but walking through parts I hadn’t visited before and letting myself get lost in the city (we got turned around quite a bit) was such an adventure and a pleasure.

While most of my travel this year has been localized – as in California with a few jaunts out of the state – just like that last trip to Cardiff, it’s really been about pushing what I’ve done before in every place I’ve visited.

I’ve visited new LA lookout points; I’ve gone to events like marches and camp outs; I’ve visited new beaches; and I have photographed them all. In some ways, This year has wavered but mostly remained the same; in others, I’ve grown so much.

So take a look at your past year: what do you think?

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

A Year Ago Today…

Hello, Sweetie

Cardiff revisited: a nerdy day trip

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Did someone call for the Doctor? Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff, Wales. January 2016.

As I wrap up my nerd-tastic week following Gallifrey One, the annual Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles, I feel it is only fitting to revisit another geek-centric trip I recently conducted: a quick day trip to the Doctor Who mecca: Cardiff, Wales.

If you haven’t been, this is in no way an exaggeration.

The amount of questions which started with “As you may or may not know, Doctor Who fans regularly make pilgrimages to Cardiff…” And if you are a Doctor Who fan, this is a trip you will truly want to make.

A few years ago, during Matt’s time as the eleventh Doctor, I was able to go to BBC’s walk through show and exhibition- The BBC’s Doctor Who Experience – which was great fun for fans of all ages.

But for our older fans (well, fine, the young one’s too), the tour has stepped up its game. As the twelfth Doctor has taken over our screens, Capaldi has taken over Doctor Who Experience, making it a darker and much more sarcastic ride through all your favorite monsters.

I won’t write much more than this here as I don’t want any spoilers slipping out, just get here and trust me.

TXAV9005As a fan of fashion and cosplay, I am also a huge fan of the museum half of the tour which is currently flooded with Clara Oswald costumes. This is the half where you can take as many pictures as you want and get great cosplay ideas – trust me the pictures and first hand viewing helps – for a variety of characters.

And again, for us older fans (and this time I mean it!), find and watch Torchwood then give yourself some time to wander the varied locations across Cardiff Bay, especially Ianto’s memorial wall. This is one stop we hit every visit as the memorial changes constantly – as a fan, it really is quite the experience.

If you are interested in the other Doctor Who experiences – the unofficial kind like filming locations – there are a million and one lists of Who universe  locals to search out, however, you will need a car to get to many. For some ideas check out my other Doctor Who posts where I detail other locations.

But until next time, keep your nerd flag high.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Hello, Sweetie