Last days in London – by Riley

Piper already told you about the Museum of Natural history.   I am going to talk about Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Science Museum, Buckingham Palace Change of the Guard and Covent Garden.

Westminster Abbey is huge. It is where all the royal family got married. We couldn’t go inside but the view from the outside was good enough. After that we saw Big Ben. We looked at the big clock ticking. Behind Big Ben we saw the eye. The eye you say is a big ferris wheel right on the side of the river.

After that we were very interested in the Science Museum. It was the coolest. In the Museum there was different exhibits. We went to the flight and the beginning of math. The flight museum was very interesting. We saw all models, new and old, army and racing. People have wanted to fly for centuries.  We saw sketches and models of these flying machines. The math exhibit was cool too. It showed optical illusions and much more.

The next day we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. There was thousands of people there. The change of the guard is a big parade that happens in front of the Palace. It was amazing.  We ended our perfect last day in Covent Gardens.  We really enjoyed the street performers.  Piper was chosen to be a part of one of the acts.  She balanced a spinning basketball on the tip of a knife.

We did a lot of walking and also took the London underground, known as the tube. I had a great time in London on my last few days.

Riley

 

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Natural History Museum, London – by Piper

The Natural History Museum was AMAZING. It was also very big and when you entered it looked like a castle. It was so big so we could not see every thing in it, so we went to the mammoth exhibit first, and that is what i am writing about today.

 

In the mammoth exhibit there was a glass box with a mammoth trunk and a string with a tube on the end of it. On the outside of the box there was a up down and grab button. It was a little game you tried to wrap the trunk around the tube. There was another little thing where you tried to lift a big metal cube it was to heavy for me. But a paper beside it said a mammoth eats 10 times that what a day. The most extraordinary part of the exhibit was Lyuba the baby mammoth. We could not take any photos of her because we had to preserve her body. She was amazing to see, because Lyuba is the most complete mammoth yet discovered. This makes her valuable to scientists, since we can tell much that we didn’t know before.

Mammoth dung was found inside Lyuba’s intestines. Elephants feed dung to their calves to introduce bacteria that will help digest plants– apparently mammoths did the same thing.

That was an amazing museum and I learned a lot.thank you.

Piper

 

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Home

We returned home safely on June 6th.  We have been busy catching up with friends and family, and settling back in to the house.  The girls are finishing up some homeschooling and I guess it’s time to finish up the last few posts of our trip!  Better late than never!

French Alps and Hiking by Riley

Chalet in VerchaixIt was lovely staying in the French Alps which borders Italy and Switzerland. We stayed in a small town called Verchaix. We stayed on the bottom floor of a house. We had wonderful hosts named Benedicte and Boris.

They had 3 small adorable children. The house was on the side of a mountain and the back yard was a large hill that Piper and I made a waterslide on. The next day we went on the most beautiful hike in the world.

It was called Sixt Fer a Cheval. The trail followed a river in a valley between two large mountains. Once we started our hike we saw a snake! It made us all jump. It was perfect weather for a hike because it was sunny and warm.

We hiked for about an hour and then we found a perfect place to eat lunch. It was along the river. After lunch we found this huge waterfall and we had to jump across a river to get to the base of the falls. We climbed up to the rocks about 3 meters away from the waterfall.

We played around for about a half hour trying to get closer and closer to the waterfall. Finally it was time to turn around. When we got home we decided to watch Nemo! What a great day!

We stayed in the Alps for 3 days and then went to Switzerland to meet friends. Then we decided to come back to the beautiful area.  See you soon, Riley

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Kent by Sasha :)

 

Apart from the train we took what seems like a lifetime ago in Vietnam, I had never taken any trains, and excluding the little kiddy ones at the local zoo. That’s one of the reasons that taking the EuroStar train from Paris to Kent, England was so amazing.

Kent is near London, and over 340 kilometers away from Paris, and the speedy train ride was only 2 hours long. As outstanding as it may seem to go from France to England within a couple hours, the part that fascinates me the most is that the train didn’t take a bridge or fly over the English Channel, the train goes under it.

Arriving in Kent, we met Bruce at the station. We stayed with him and his wife Sara, who we met on the Mekong River Cruise in Laos. We stayed with them for four days in their home in Hawkhurst, and we had a great time getting toured around and playing Croquet and having amazing meals.

In the four days we had, we visited the town of Rye, where we climbed to the top of a church and went to an English pub. I love the old pubs that we went to because of the feel they gave off. The one in Rye called ‘The Mermaid’ was rebuilt in 1420, and going inside was different from any bars in Canada. The houses in Rye were also very unique; if it had two front doors the house was named ‘House with two front doors’.

Even after seeing man castles in Europe, Bodium Castle was still different because it’s the only castle we’ve been to, with a full moat. We also went to Go Ape, and parks and pubs in Kent. I loved the towns and everything we did there. I’d love to go back someday.

I think that the girls will be doing more posts on everything we did in our first days in England.

Special Thank You to Bruce and Sara for letting us stay in their home, cooking amazing food and showing us around, and so much more.

Thanks for visiting our blog

-S

 

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French Alps and Near Death Experiences -By Sasha

I’ve been climbing a lot throughout the past few years, we’ve done rock climbing in Canmore, mountains near home, and even in Laos; but after a climbing excursion in the French Alps, I have to say it was my favorite place to go.

We got to go on different routes of the cliff, and Riley and I belayed for the first time. It was hard work, but easy to get the hang of. My last climb was my favorite, because I got up so high, that you could see for miles over the mountains and a few small villages close by. I waited for Riley to come up with the camera so we could take a few photos. It was hard to pass the camera since we were strapped in, but we took a video that I’ll try to post.

Now that I think about it, my favorite part of the day was when Riley was belaying me for the first time. As I was coming down, she let the rope out faster and faster until I was literally running backwards down the mountain. I ended up tripping and falling backwards. I hit my head and everything in my view was blurry, but I thought I was going to die. My heart stopped for a few seconds and I’m surprised that Riley caught me. Thankfully I didn’t, but I still went down pretty slowly for the rest of that climb. The next few times Riley got the hang of belaying me perfectly.

I loved being able to see the view of the Alps from up above, and my climbing skills have improved. I would have loved to do more, but we didn’t have enough time.

Thanks for visiting our blog.

-S

 

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Verbier, Switzerland by Piper

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A week ago we went to Switzerland to visit a friend of my Dad’s for 2 days.

Dad’s friend Rob had two daughters. One was 5yrs old and her name was Sophia.

The other one was 7 and her name was Elizabeth. I became good friends with Lizzie.

 

The first day we were there we went to Champez Lac, which is a place with an alpine lake. When we were there we went on a hike that was nearby. The hike was on a mountain and it was very beautiful and steep. At the end of our hike we came across a little river that ran around an island and drained into the lake. It was a beautiful day.

 

We stayed up late watching James Bond in their cinema room and all slept together with sleeping bags. The next day we went on a hike right out the back door of their house. We hiked up really high and almost got to the top. The view was spectacular.

A little ways up there was a moat that was used to divert water to a town in the valley hundreds of years ago. We also saw big cows with giant cowbells around their necks. I had a great time there and wish we could have stayed there longer.

 

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Milan by Sasha

Milan is basically the city of shopping. Of course, we didn’t actually shop at all except for at the local grocery store down the road from our apartment. We did go to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and went in all of the fancy purse stores like Gucci. The sales people were all dressed up like they were going to a royal wedding and they offered the actual customers sparkling and flat water. I think they knew based on the muddy hiking boots that Dad was wearing that we weren’t in the store to make any purchases.

Since we weren’t able to do the shopping part of Milan, we wanted to go to some famous museums in the area. The first day, we winged it by taking the metro to a city square, to browse around. After browsing in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, we didn’t know what to do. We found the Leonardo Museum. It was a new modern museum that showed life-sized versions of Leonardo de Vinci’s ideas for flying contraptions, war weapons, etc. There were screens showing what the painting Mona Lisa would look like when it was painted, and how the colors were deeper and brighter and the lines were more defined. I loved the display, and I’ve always had an interest for Leonardo de Vinci. I have a big 500 paged book on him at home.

The next day, we went to The Sforza Castle Museum. The interesting thing about the castle is Leonardo de Vinci worked there for over 20 years, and he has painted lots of the ceilings. We didn’t have time or the endurance to go into all fourteen museums in the castle, so we only went into two of them, Museum of Ancient Arts, and my favorite, Museum of Musical Instruments.

The Museum of Musical Instruments was amazing, especially being a violinist. There were so many different violins and violas that we saw, some even dating back to the seventeenth century. The bow used to be made with horsehair and the baroque style of the bows I had never seen before. I have always known that the baroque bows were shorter and looked different, but seeing real ones was really amazing as a musician.

It the exhibit, we also went into an old recording studio. It was huge and all of the wires and buttons and switches made me dizzy. Nowadays we can fit the whole huge thing into one free app that can be downloaded to a tiny smart phone.

In all, I really liked Milan, even if we didn’t do the shopping portion of it. The exhibit on Leonardo de Vinci made me realize how much of an imagination he really had, and how he was probably from the future or another planet. I liked walking around the city, and finding a live band playing on a side street and going into a small costume shop. The small market we went to was good for desserts and getting a new bright green soccer ball. I recommend Milan if you like museums, or can afford expensive hand bags, or even if you like looking around the first indoor mall, and biggest open-air mall in the world.

Thanks for visiting our blog!

-S 🙂

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Cinque Terre by Riley

 

We were in Romita Magra, Italy, which is very close to a world heritage site called Cinque Terre. Cinque Terra is five spectacular towns along the Mediterranean Sea.P1100288

The area can only be accessed by train or by boat. We decided to go by train. It only took minutes to get from town to town and most of that was through tunnels.

 

On our first day we arrived at Vernazza by train. We decided to look around the shops until we found the trailhead of the hike to another town called Monterosso.IMG_7665 IMG_7677

The hike was beautiful because it was along the seaside. We were very high up and some parts had no fences. It was the perfect temperature because it was not too hot and not too cold. We had clear blue skies for our hike and it took about an hour and forty minutes. Many of the hikes between the towns were closed because of damage from flooding.

 

Once we were done the hike it was lunchtime. We went to the first restaurant we saw because it had a big stop sign that told us to stop for a drink! The food was amazing and we had a view of the mountains, beaches, and Mediterranean Sea.

 

After we were filled up we walked the boardwalk and saw all the shops. Then we got on the train to Corniglia. The town was high above the train station so we had to walk a long way straight up to visit the town. We were rewarded with Gelato at the top! I had lemon and mint chocolate chip. After our treat we went down the stairs to catch the train. Along the way we met an artist doing original paintings. We bought a small watercolor of the town on the cliff.IMG_7710

 

On the second day we went to the remaining two towns called Manarola and Riomaggiore. There is a famous hike between the towns called La Via dell’ Amore.IMG_7788 P1100281

Translated it means the road of love. Lovers come here to propose marriage or their love for each other. Our relatives Claudio and Andrea came here and proposed, and there is proof of their love because of a lock that they locked on a fence. We weren’t able to see it because the Via was closed due to the damage from flooding.P1100296

 

We walked walked around both towns and enjoyed the views and the shopping. I was able to buy a Cinque Terre cooking apron.

 

Cinque Terre was really unique and I hope I can come back one day with someone special.

-R

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Last day in France at the Castille de Pierreclos By Piper

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Castille de Pierreclos was a great castle to visit. The roof of the Tower was  typical for Burgundy but not typical for the rest of France.

In the castle there was a room that had chain mail armour, swords and weapons that you could use and try on. The chain mail armour was the heaviest. You had to put it on wen it’s on

the table and when you have it on it almost weighs you down.IMG_7538 IMG_7540 IMG_7542

There was also a metal helmet which was hard to see and breath in, so imagine what the kninghts felt like when they tried to move!

There were alot of weapons so my dad and I had a sword fight.

There was a special cooking room were they let peasants go and cook there own bread, even though they had to

pay, it was less expensive then owning an oven or buying bread. There were hooks on the roof

to hang the bread so animals wouldn’t get it.IMG_7546 IMG_7547

The last room we visited was the dungeon there were just 2 jail cells which were small, dirty and dusty.IMG_7552 IMG_7554IMG_7519 IMG_7521 IMG_7523 IMG_7526 IMG_7536 IMG_7560

 

Piper