A Month in Europe

What an amazing chapter to the adventure!  First off, you may have noticed that halcyonhighway has entered its second year in existence and the tag line’s now “Road Trip 2011-2012”  which I’m very excited about.

January 16th I arrive in London and go directly to Karin, Darragh and Milo’s house and look who was there to greet me

“Hello I’m Milo, cutest baby in London, welcome to our house, it’s nice to meet you”

Karin, Milo and I spent lots of time wandering around museums and such in London, but not before Karin took me for a proper English fry up. Why  I look like a very happy Asian man in this picture I’m not really sure

Nothing like a delicious fry up to welcome you to London!

Then we went out to Surrey, to see Hiro Jen and their boys, much food and drinking ensued, it was fun.

Milo of course steals the show again

After that it was off to the Hotel Russell for nine glorious nights (there’s already a whole post on the hotel)

In London, I got to:

See 4 shows, 5 movies, 6 museums, 8 sets of friends and eat a lot of fish and chips!

One day I headed down to the panto in Greenwich to meet Isabelle, Julius and Lauren.

How cute does everyone look in their festive Christmas hats!

 Christmas Time at Isabelle’s!

Me and Franco enjoying a glass of holiday cheer

I saw Tower Bridge for the first time in 1983, 29 years later I still think its an amazing sight, one of my absolute favorites in London. I took this photo from the boat on the way down to Greenwich

Tower Bridge

 Soon it was time for a little culture at the British Museum, what an incredible collection and the Egyptian floor was simply amazing!

Atrium at the British Museum

After a swell time in London, it was off to Hebden Bridge for the annual New Years celebration. As usual it was a great party, with all the country neighbors bringing something to eat. We would call it “pot luck” but there it’s called a “Jacob’s Join” which no one really knew why it was was called that, but according to the WWW it has something to do with Jacob from the bible. Sarah and I fought for control as DJ each taking our turns getting everyone off their feet and on to the dance floor. I liked my playlist better and shockingly, Sarah liked hers better! The weather was dresdful for most of the five days I was in HB, but Paula cooked us lovely food and we did manage a walk or two, we also watched a lot of East Enders and Coronation Street.

Sarah and Paula looking lovely on an afternoon walk down near the canal in Hebden Bridge

Time for the Lake District, somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a long time. We were hopeful about the weather, we even had a rainbow greet us on the way down!

Somewhere over the….

Here we spent the next 5 days: Hiding from the rain, eating, drinking, hiking, laughing, wandering around and then laughing some more:

The beautiful lake in Ambleside

Me enjoying a very muddy hike on a grey winter day

The old stone wall along our hiking trail. Apparently since those stones aren’t rolling, they do seem gather moss

A beautiful view of the lake and surrounding hills

Hhhmm if I would have known that’s the route we took, I might have rethought it!

Jihadist or Sarah the Extreme Hiker, you decide

The lovely little town of Ambleside

Why in the world would you call a restaurant The Priest Hole!

Most of our hiking was done under grey stormy skies and pounding rain, however we did have ONE day of absolute beautiful sunshine and we made the most of it!

Ahhhhh the beautiful rolling hills of the Lake District

Rivers were overflowing due to huge amounts of rain. There is a stone path through this water that’s completely submerged. But SO beautiful to look at


These beautiful stone walls run all over the hillside, they’re hundreds of years old in some cases

From the hilltop on our hike

The lovely village of Keswick

So as soon as I saw the brochure I knew that I needed to go to this place, The Pencil Museum. Yeah, I wasn’t getting a groundswell of enthusiasm from the girls either. However I put my foot down and said ” I don’t care we’re going to the pencil museum” “grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble” “Alright darling we’ll go to the Pencil Museum”. I was very excited, after all it is home to the worlds largest colored pencil, now that’s something to be proud of 🙂

C’mon its home of the world’s first pencils!!!

The original Cumberland Pencil Factory

I love knowing things like this

Unexpectedly, our visit to the museum went in a different direction. There was a room for children with lots of colored pencils and paper to draw on. All of a sudden there were three rather large children giggling and drawing at the table.

We tease Sarah that the older she gets the more she looks like she’s entirely made up of teeth and long legs. I decided it would be funny to draw a picture of her.

Real Sarah

My drawing of Sarah, pretty good right?

Now you know the old expression “If you can dish it out you better be able to take it” there’s some truth to that statement. I think Paula knew that I was poking the hornet’s nest

Real me

Sarah’s rendering of me. How rude 🙂

Of course while this was going on we were: A) The only ones in the museum B) Probably worse behaved than any of the children who visited that week C) Laughing so loud that one of the museum workers sort of wandered through to make sure “everything was OK” The whole thing was hysterical. The thing is, I could actually trump her in this round but I’ll keep those pictures for a rainy day Sarah, for a rainy day. Be afraid, be very afraid.

And as always Paula “Jackie O” Sutherland comes through the whole thing having had just as much fun as the two loud ones but with her composure firmly in place and looking lovely as ever

She almost has a Mary Tyler Moore look about her in this drawing and at the same time there are similarities between her and the dead girl from The Nightmare Before Christmas, it might be the eyes

Wow this blogpost is getting long, but it’s almost the end.  I have to include one last place because its way too cool not to, Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

The stone circle at dusk

And I think that concludes this gargantuan blogpost. In all fairness it does cover a pretty long period of time, almost a month. I was going to include Jesteburg and Hamburg, but I think that needs to be a separate post entirley

One preview picture just for fun:

And now you’re wondering “What the hell is that?”

To be continued……..


Thanks to: Karin, Darrah, Milo, Hiro, Jen, Tyler, Dylan, Isabelle, Julius, Lauren, Franco, Mandy, Reef, Clare, Julian (all other Sporidi and significant others of Sporidi) Sarah, Paula, The inhabitants of Hebden Bridge, Peter, Erika and Luna for a very very enjoyable visit.


  1. janet on March 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I am enjoying following your blogs. You are taking me places I didn’t know existed. Keep me going. I noticed a blog for January and March. whatever happened in February? LOL Still enjoy watching those bears.

    • halcyonhighway on March 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks Janet, today I saw some wild boars on the side of the road in Texas, not as good as bears but pretty cool!

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