[personal profile] tavariel
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The Adventures of Mace and Courtney
England/Venice Style

Warning: Image Heavy

LOTS to cover this time. Probably my biggest update yet. To start off, my mom wanted to see what my living accomodations are like, so here are some boring pictures of the house I live in and the things I see every day.

3-7 Queen's Gate Terrace, Room 18

These are the stairs I climb every day to get to my room on the second floor. I'm lucky - there are six floors all together and the elevator is dodgy.

This is my kitchen, where I make my various ramens and soups, and the occasional cake. When we make nice dinners, which we occasionally do, we go up to the fifth floor because their oven works better.

These are my dresser drawers were I keep my clothes and other various things. Snape, books for class, my Harry Potter calendar, picture of my family, etc.

This is my closet/cupboard where I keep my food and my clothes. That's a recipe book I made in elementary school that mom sent me, full of my favorite recipes from home. Yay!

More food! This is the refridgerator we have in our room. Mostly full of my roommates food. I prefer soups. All of those bowls in the middle are mine, because I made too much pasta sauce. One batch lasted me a week! I think that cake on the top is mine too, a lemon one I made a few weeks ago. That could be Hailey's homemade bread disaster, though.

My bathroom...I dunno, my mom wanted to see it.

Around London

Hailey and I went to see Mary Poppins, and she made me take a picture in front of the sign. The show was all right - it just wanted very badly to be Disney's Mary Poppins, and it wasn't. I think I would have preferred to stay home and watch the movie.

I've seen a lot of shows since my last update - Spamalot is hands down my favorite. It was hilarious. IT's basically a musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The version I saw had Tim Curry as King Arthur! Yay! I didn't expect to like it so much, because I usually like the serious, more dramatic musicals - but it was just so entertaining and so funny. Go see it, if you can.

I'm seeing Phantom of the Opera and Wicked in a couple of weeks. I'm expecting those to be my favorites of the trip. Phantom of the Opera is already very close to my heart (I literally have it memorized), and I've heard great things about Wicked.

We took a ride on the London Eye, which is basically a giant ferris wheel with glass carriages next to Westminster Abbey and Parliament. I got this great picture near the top. London is so pretty.

The obligatory "Mace and Big Ben" picture. I also took this from the London Eye.


I took a trip to Venice with my friend Caitlin October 28-30.

Hooray! Venice was...fantastically beautiful. I can't even describe it. It was like being a part of a dream or a fairy tale. It really does have canals for streets - there are no cars at all. We didn't realize this, and tried to take a taxi to our hotel. We eventually realized we had to take the water taxi. xD

This is taken from the Rialto Bridge, a bit pretty bridge right in the heart of Venice. Our hotel was about 2 minutes from here. See how pretty it is? There are no modern buildings, or even brand name shops. In London, they often have McDonalds in old buildings, or sometimes brand new buildings with brand new businesses. But in Venice, it is all old world, like going back in time.

The main site in Venice is San Marcos Square. We did that in the first hour (it was only about 5 minutes from our hotel). It was probably my least favorite part of the trip - it was swamped with tourists and didn't feel anything like the rest of the city.

Mace in the main part of the square. Note all of the pigeons and tourists. One of the things I learned on this trip is that I am afraid of pigeons. Pretty irrational, but there you have it. They are pretty big, compared to most animals that roam around freely, and they aren't afraid of you, and they're dirty, and flappy, and squawky, and have sharp little beaks...I think they're scary. ;_;

We found that there weren't many places to "visit" in Venice. Venice is more of an experience and less of a place to sight-see. We would sleep late and take long lazy walks, shopping for souvenirs and presents and what not, and then have loooong lunches and dinners by the canals. We spent most of the time eating, really. A 3 hour lunch and then a 3 hour dinner. The food was SO good.

We lost our minds one night and ordered lobster - but I am telling you, it was the best meal I've ever had in my life. The dessert was this berry mix - cranberries, raspberries, blueberries - covered with gelato ice cream, which is ice cream but WAY better, but somehow better than gelato, too (Caitlin said it had some sort of white wine over it or something?) and then a little bit of cream, and it was the best thing I've ever tasted. It was amazing. I'd go back to Venice just for that dessert again.

This it Caitlin and our waiter at that amazing restaurant. You can see the canal behind it - see how the water shines at night? Venice was unbelievably beautiful.

When we weren't eating gelato at restuarants, we were eating it on the street. It was so good and inexpensive, we couldn't help it! This was just a random street I thought was pretty.

There are bridges all over Venice. In a city, there are crosswalks when you need to cross the street, right? Well, in Venice, there are bridges whenever you need to cross the canal street! Every bridge we came across was prettier than the next. In this picture, Caitlin decided to focus on the big ugly wall, rather than the pretty buildings on the other side, but it's the best I have of me in Venice. Sorry. I was and am very frustrated that no one will put any effort into pictures. I suppose I have been spoiled by costume photographers, who always try really hard to get the best possible shot. Normal people don't do that, I guess?

The shopping in Venice is the best I've seen so far in my adventures. They had really neat stuff - Venetian glass, crazy feathered/sequined/painted masks, Italian wool, all for really cheap. I was surprised - usually touristy places are expensive. I HAD to stop and take a picture of this window display. If you ever cover a French gown with all sorts of Venetian masks. *sighs happily* I wish you Undergrounders could have been there with me to appreciate it. Caitlin wasn't impressed.

We did take one little excursion out to an island called San Giorgio. I wanted to go to Lido because of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, but Caitlin hadn't read it and wasn't interested, so we trekked out to Giorgio to see some Roman ruins, which were closed. The only place they let the public was a semi-interesting monastary. So we just took some pictures of the Venetian coastline and moved on.

Me standing at the coastline...the sun was in my eyes.

My favorite picture from the entire trip (meaning England/France/Netherlands/Italy, everything) so far. I love the way the sun is shining on Mace's head. He just looks so peaceful, like he's pondering the view. It's funny - this really old world city, with beautiful architecture, but the picture is focusing on an awful media-pushed Star Wars action figure...I dunno. I think it's a great picture. I like the juxtaposition.

Guy Fawkes Day

I posted an entry about this already, so I'll try to post different pictures. Guy Fawkes Day celebrates the day a Catholic named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Parliament in protest of the Protestant government. It's a celebration because he and his companions were caught and executed - so they celebrate that he failed, I guess? It seems a strange thing to celebrate, but they make quite a big deal out of it. There are fireworks, bonfires, burned effigies, and the like. Apparently they used to burn images of the pope, sort of an anti-Catholic thing, but understandably changed to simply burning effigies of Guy Fawkes.

We went to a big carnival that had fireworks, rides, and Brazilian donuts (churros), visited Parliament, made Guy Fawkes masks, and burned a little Guy Fawkes made out of toilet paper.

My roommate Hailey at the fair. You can see the rides in the background.

The moon was full and really spooky. Perfect for Guy Fawkes Day!

The ghetto masks I made for myself, my roommates and my friend Christie. Muslin and Sharpie, hooray!


We visited Oxford with my British Life and Culture class. I was totally excited to go, because it is where large portions of the Harry Potter movies were filmed! Squee! I brought along my Harry Potter costume (sort of. This isn't up to the calibur of most of my costumes, because it is simply various pieces I've aquired over the years, rather than a planned and executed costume effort. I have two awesome Harry Potter costumes I'm planning for 2007, but they aren't finished yet, unfortunately! So I had to go a little bit ghetto. Oh well.)

Yeah I said it, whut?

Oh that's right, I brought my scarf with me! Quick, Courtney, try to look serious rather than excited.

This one would be my favorite, if those filthy Muggles hadn't walked in to my picture.

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy-watty Hogwarts, teach us something ~ please! I'm actually reading Alice in Wonderland - don't tell Professor Snape.

I'm in the Great Hall! I'm in the Great Hall! *passes out*

I was so caught up in the Harry Potter-ness that I didn't take a picture of anything else while I was at Oxford. My friend Christie and I want to go back to Oxford again - there is so much to see that we missed. I want to eat lunch at the Eagle and Child, where Tolkien and Lewis used to eat together and discuss their stories. Christie wants to wander the Oxford gardens and look for more Alice and Wonderland inspiration (she's a big fan, and Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland based on things in Oxford. We found the cheshire cat trees and the stretched necks, but there's more to see!).

The school itself was fantastic. It made me wish that I had studied harder in school. I am intelligent, but I never set lofty enough goals. Cal State Fullerton was good enough for me - so why get straight A's in high school? I hadn't decided if I even wanted to go to graduate school, so why get straight A's in college? But jeez...I really, really wish I had, so that I could have more options for graduate school. I would love to go somewhere amazing like Oxford, and really get an education, rather than be passed through the wheel of ignorance at a school for mediocre Orange County kids. I know I fall into that catagory presently, and it makes me sad.

The Lake District

Finally, up to recent events, my British Literature class took a field trip up to the Lake District, which is way up north near Scotland. It was beautiful - the water and clean air of Seattle mixed with the autumn trees of the east coast. I loved it. I think Wordsworth's house, Rydal Mount, was my favorite. I stood up on a hill in his "back yard", which is a wild rambling forest overlooking a lake, and read "Daffodils". It was very satisfying.

I forgot Mace and my camera, so this is only picture I have of the trip, from Caitlin. I might add more later if I can get a hold of Christie's camera. She's in Wales right now.

Sewing Projects

Bonus points for whoever can tell me what this embroidered velvet is going to be for! xD It's maybe 5% done, so it is probably hard to tell. I know the embroidery isn't perfect or symmetrical, but I've never done it before, so...yeah. ^_^


WHEW! That concludes this third update. Way too many pictures! I'll try not to get behind like that again. Thank you for reading, and see you all soon!
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