Friday, July 8, 2016

Back Home

Hello! We're back with another sky high fast moving blog post for you.

After an exciting week in Paris we were all looking forward to our journey back to London on the Eurostar. After an early start and a while packing everyone was eager to get some food in their bellies. We found a café right across from Gare du Nord, our train station. We all ordered what we call a Full French (like a Full English), which consists of a croissant, baguette, jam, butter, orange juice, and a hot drink. It was delicious! We had to wait a while for our train, as the previous one was running late. Once we were on the ride went fairly smooth. We were an hour late getting in to London St. Pancras because there were migrants on the tracks near the chunnel, so we had to wait for the police to arrive!

Once in London, everything was fine. We quickly dropped our luggage off at our hotel, The Premier Inn, then went right back to St. Pancras to get another train to Olympic Park. We had never been to Olympic Park, but have heard so much about it, so we were all very enthusiastic about this excursion. But it wasn't something from four years ago that we came to see, it was something kind've brand new, the Orbit Slide. Some of you may have seen pictures or videos of the Orbit, but it is so much larger in real life. This slide is the tallest and longest tube slide in the world. At first, we were all very scared, my mom especially, but once we finished it we all would do it again. This slide was more fun than ANY roller coaster I have ever done, and that is saying something. Here is a link to their website with some amazing pictures and where to book tickets if your going:  I would highly recommend it. After that we walked down the Orbit (we took an elevator up), and went to a playground. We were all soon tired so we had lunch and took a train back to our hotel. We got back just in time for the Iceland game, where they beat England!

The next morning, everyone was very sad because today was the day we would be going home. In the morning, we went to Pret a Manger for breakfast, then spent a while ensuring everything was packed. We called an Uber to take us to the airport, and surprisingly traffic wasn't too bad. At the airport we said our goodbyes to the "fresh" air of England, and hung out for a while. Before we knew it we were on our plane and coming home to America. We had an excellent trip and we can't wait for the next one!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Paris Part 2: "Let them eat cake"

"Let them eat cake." This was supposedly said by Marie Antoinette upon hearing that the peasants did not have any bread, in the early stages of the French Revolution. On our third day in France, we spent the day in the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, where Louis XIV, Louis XIV, and Louis XVI lived. Our exciting day started by taking a train from a station near our apartment in Paris, and when we got there, the Versailles station was just a short walk away from the Palace. The line to get in was incredibly long, so we had to wait about twenty minutes. Once we were inside, we took audio guides in order to learn more about the palace. First we saw the main chapel, which is considered one of the finest examples of French Baroque architecture and decoration. Next we walked through multiple drawing rooms/salons, all with a theme of a classical god or goddess. I was incredibly impressed with how intricate the decoration was, and the amount of gold used, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, considering what I've seen of Baroque Rome. Next was the most popular destination in the Palace of Versailles, the Hall of Mirrors. At the time (late 16 early 1700's) it was so impressive because quality mirrors were so expensive, and a room of mirrors to this scale was simply unheard of. In modern times, the Hall of Mirrors was where the Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending World War One.
 After the Hall of Mirrors, we finished our tour with a look at the King's bedroom and guard's accommodations before buying sandwiches to eat outside for lunch. We went outside, which although hot, felt amazing, and sat down with a spectacular view of the famed Gardens of Versailles. After lunch we took a "stroll" through the gardens. We walked down the steps to the Grand Canal, a huge man made lake in the shape of a cross, nearly two kilometers long from the Palace to the opposite end. After marveling in awe for a while, we walked to the Petit Trianon, the house that Marie Antoinette lived in prior to the revolution. After taking a brief tour, we went on a short walk to a little village that looked like it was taken out of a fairy tale. This little village, with a working mill and farm, was used by Marie Antoinette to play in during her time at Versailles. After that, we looked around the farm before a long and painful walk back to the Palace. During that walk, towards the end, we decided to rent a rowboat for a quick ride on the Grand Canal. That was one of my favorite parts, though afterwards the whole family decided we'd had enough for the day. We all wanted pizza for dinner, so we went to a decent pizza restaurant on the way back to the train station. After that we took a half hour late train back to Paris, a cab back to our apartment, and our legs to our beds for some well earned rest. We had an excellent time at Versailles and would highly recommend it to anyone traveling in the area!

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Hi everyone! We're back with another blog post. After our long drive from Conwy, we finally arrived in a town called Aldershot, where Granddad Tom and Davina live. We went out to Nando's with them for dinner. It was very nice to see and go out to eat with them. Afterwards we drove to our hotel and went to sleep.
In the morning, Nan and Bob met up with us for breakfast at the Premier Inn we were staying in. After that, we headed straight to London. We were soon there, and we parked in Islington to see Sharon, a family friend. We went to Wahaca, a restaurant that serves Mexican street food tapas. It was great to see Sharon and the food was great too. After that, we drove to the hotel. We relaxed for a bit, then went to a playground by the London Eye to meet up with our friends, the Keelings. We played for a bit, then walked to Covent Garden to find a restaurant for dinner. Eventually we found a decent Italian restaurant. We soon parted ways, but it was fantastic to see our friends.
The next morning, Sunday, we got an early start, as we had plenty to do. Dad dropped us and Mom off at King's Cross, because we were headed to Welwyn, and Dad took the car back to the rental car company. We hopped on the train about an hour later, and soon arrived at the Welwyn train station. We walked to Auntie Tracy's house, and met her about half way. We were soon at her house, and some of the first things we HAD to do immediately was make a cup'o'tea (A.K.A Amber Nectar), as well as her knifing us. Now you may be thinking OMG, are you still alive, what is that? Trust me we are alright, but it is as dangerous as it sounds. According to the Feldmann Dictionary; Knifing: a method of measuring height against a wall by wielding a sharp and big knife by the measurer, then sliding it along the victim's head to place a mark in the wall at their height. Eg. The scariest experience of my life was when Auntie Tracy knifed me last week. After that, a cup o', chatting, and a small gift exchange, the 4 of us hopped in Auntie's Electric Blue Mini and headed into the Garden City. We toodled around for a bit then drove to lunch. We ate at The Plume of Feathers for the second time this trip, and we met up with Max there. I had steak and chips, which was incredible. After lunch, we had to part ways with Auntie Tracy, which was very very sad. We took a train back to King's Cross.
Once our train arrived, we met up with our Dad and went for a nice Father's Day dinner at a trending Indian restaurant. The food was spicy, but so flavorful and we all loved it. It was a delicious lunch in a lovely restaurant. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to play Uno and pack for Paris. We had a calm, relaxing evening. The next morning we got up, got ready, and got on a...
See you next time!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Paris Part 1

   Bonjour! We're back with another blog post, and this time it's about Paris. We started our trip to Paris by taking the Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, then checking in with our AirB&B. We made ourselves at home, then took a walk to Place de la Concorde, where Marie Antoinette was beheaded. It was at the end of the Champs Elysses, so we walked down that to get a stunning view of the Arc de Triomphe, which was built in honor of the soldiers who died in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. We stopped along the way to eat some excellent French bread from a bakery. After taking loads of pictures, we walked over to the Eiffel Tower, one of Paris' most iconic buildings. The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World's Fair, and it's named after the engineer, Gustave Eiffel. We walked along the river Sen, towards the Louvre after getting some pictures. 
   We walked towards the Louvre, which houses many pieces of art. It's actually the 2nd largest museum in the world! To get there, we walked through Tuileries Gardens, the massive gardens in front of the Louvre. The Louvre was originally a castle, then a palace, and now an art museum. After looking at the Louvre, we walked towards another Parisian landmark, the Cathedral of Notre Dame. First finished in 1345, more extensions were added on, such as the spire and the two towers. After admiring the cathedral, we headed to a classic Parisian café for a little snack. (Otherwise known as some bread and French onion soup.) From there, we took a taxi back to our apartment for a good sleep.
   The next day, we got up and went straight to the tourist office, while having a croissant on the way. We got tickets for a tour bus of Paris, and went to the nearest stop. We weren't too impressed with the bus, because a lot of it was music, and it went everywhere we went the day before. We did pass an interesting building called Invalides, which was a hospital for disabled people in many wars. We stayed on the bus until we got to the Pantheon. It was interesting to compare the facade at the front to the Pantheon in Rome. We walked to the top of the Pantheon, where we got amazing views of Paris. We went for a crepe, then walked to an old bookstore called Shakespeare and Co. Funny thing is, all the books they sell are in English! We looked around, then took a taxi to the apartment, relaxed, then went to an amazing dinner on the Eiffel Tower. We couldn't go up to the top, because it was too late. We then walked home, going to sleep at 1:00.
   This is where we leave off, and we'd say Paris is EXCELLENT!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

North Wales Part 8: Our Final Days

   Hey everyone! We've finished up our trip in North Wales and we're excited to tell you about it! On Wednesday, we got up early to drive to Llanberis, to hike up Mt.Snowdon. Snowdon is the tallest mountain in Wales, making it hard to hike up. Edmund Hillary and his crew trained on Snowdon to climb Everest. We drove to Llanberis in the morning,  and took a bus to a visitor place called Pen y Pass, where we started on a trail called the Pyg Trail. The Pyg Trail was only 5.5 kilometers, and we made it up in 3.5 hours. We got breathtaking views of the mountains of Snowdonia while we were hiking. When we got to the top, Snowdonia was in a cloud. We still went to the summit, and we were lucky enough to the train down. At the bottom, we were so grateful to have lunch after climbing 3.5 miles. We were so tired, that night for dinner we got Indian takeaway from a local Indian restaurant in Conwy. It was delicious. 
   On Thursday, we headed out to Anglesey, a large island on the North coast of Wales. It is the largest island in Wales, and the fifth largest island surrounding Britain. We went to a town called llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which is a small town on Anglesey. We then went to Beaumaris, a beautiful town looking over the Menai Strait. There, we bought tickets for a boat tour of Puffin Island. Puffin Island is an uninhabited island, but people lived there from the 6th century. We saw remains of the 12th century monastery on the tour. Puffin Island is a bird sanctuary now, and we saw lots of birds, including puffins. We also saw some grey seals. We had an excellent lunch of sandwiches inBeaumaris, then headed to the pub to watch a football match. We headed home to Conwy after that. For dinner, we went to a fancy restaurant called Signature's, which was voted best restaurant in Wales in 2015. The funny thing is, it's in a caravan park!
   On Friday, we packed up and headed to London. So overall, we'd say North Wales is EXCELLENT!


Friday, June 17, 2016

North Wales Part 7: Caernarfon (Again)

Hello everyone! We're back with another blog post... About Caernarfon! We loved this town so much that we knew we had to go back on Tuesday. We first went to meet up with our tour guide from last week, Emrys, for lunch, at a restaurant called Blas. Just so you know, Blas means taste in Welsh. Anyhow, we met up with Emrys mainly so that he could help us with our Welsh pronunciation and maybe learn a few words. He helped a lot. In addition to that, we also had an incredible lunch. I had a Ploughman's Lunch, which traditionally consists of bread, butter, cheese, ham, pickle, and ale, but I passed on that. My Dad said it was the best restaurant and meal we've had in Wales, and we'd have to agree. 
After lunch we went into Caernarfon castle, which we didn't get to go in last time. I was very impressed, and we probably would've stayed for a lot longer. A cool thing we did was go up to the top of the Eagle Tower, the highest point of the castle. Then we went into the museum about The Royal Welch Fusiliers. They were an infantry regiment in the Prince of Wales Division of the British army. Matthew wasn't too interested, so him and Dad left a little ways through the museum. Mom and I found it fascinating, and we took so long that they had to kick us out when we were only a third of the way through because the castle was closing. After that, it was raining very hard, so we tried and failed to find a cafe, so we got in the car for a drive. We bought a few sweets and just drove around for a bit until 6:30, when we could visit Auntie Gwenyth again. It was very nice to see her again. After that, we went out for a quick dinner then went back home. Our second trip to Caernarfon was excellent! Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

North Wales Part 6: Blaneau Ffestiniog Slate Mines

Hi everyone. We had an awesome day yesterday and are excited to tell you about it. But first, here's a rundown of Sunday. We slept in, relaxed, and went to the movies. But at 8:00 pm, we went to a Welsh male voice choir concert, which was beautiful. So after our day of rest and relaxation, we wanted to do something exciting. We headed out around noon to go to Blaneau Ffestiniog, a Victorian town that boomed in the slate industry. We found a cafe to have lunch in, sandwiches for us, before we headed over to the slate mine. This mine was huge. After purchasing tickets, we walked around and downs a little playground, that we played on for about half an hour. We also found a few pieces of slate we wanted to take home. After that, it was time to go to where our tour started. We all got helmets with headlamps, for safety. Then we took a col car down the track 350 feet into the mine. The tour was interesting, and it was so cool to see the equipment the miners used, and also the utter scale of the large man made caverns. A few things I found interesting is that a boy would first go down to mine aged 8, and would start work at 12. The lifespan of a miner was sadly only 40-45 years. Lastly, considering how dangerous the work was, only 9 miners died in the first 20 years the mine was open. Below is a picture of one of the giant caverns made to extract slate.
The way miners make the caverns is that the would dig holes, put gunpowder in them, and blow the gunpowder up. We got to try using the tools to dig the holes for the gunpowder. It was so heavy, and it hurt! We also got to try the way miners extract slate. They put a chain around their thigh, and let go to pick up slate. We also learned about a special job called the danger man. He would go up on a ladder to the top of a cavern and knock down any loose rocks. It was scary, but cool! Lastly, we saw a guy whose job was to split the slate. It's amazing how thin they got it with such basic tools!
   Overall, we'd say the Slate Mines were EXCELLENT!

Monday, June 13, 2016

North Wales Part 5: Hiking

Hey everyone! We're back with another exciting and totally exhausting blog post.

Last week, on Thursday, we didn't have any plans, so that morning we decided to go on a hike. As our cottage was in Conwy, hiking up Conwy Mountain was a priority. At first, we didn't really know what we were doing, so we went to the tourist information centre to get some direction and a map. Our hike went fairly smoothly, except it was practically all uphill. But once on the summit, the view was totally worth it. We could see for miles. It was beautiful! After summiting, we were all exhausted, so we turned back and did a total of just under 5 miles. After that we had a relaxing evening around Conwy.

On Saturday, things got a little more interesting. We were going to go on another hike, only longer. A lot longer. Because of this plan, we had a fairly early start leaving the house just after 9:00 a.m. This time our destination was another village by the name of Llanfairfechan. The estimated mileage was 13 miles, which certainly seemed a little daunting at first. Anyhow, the hike went smoothly the first few minutes, until my dad realized he'd left his phone at home. Mom went back to the house to get it, while we explored the surrounding area we were in for a few minutes. After that incident, we headed to the trail we'd taken only two days prior. We soon passed the point we'd turned off of to go to the summit, while we continued on the trail going on the side of the mountain. The trails were pretty easy to follow, and I'd say we made pretty good time. As time passed and with it the miles, we took in the beautiful views and landscape.
Our next major landmark was a big mountain where a large wildfire had completely charred it the previous weekend. Although the fire was out cold, it was still amazing to be right next to an incredible display of Mother Nature's power. Next was a valley with a crazy steep and narrow trail running through it, that I doubt anybody had used in a while. We then were a little confused about the trail, so we asked for some directions from a group of guys who looked like they knew what they were doing. After that, the landscape changed from mountain to more hills, covered with grass and sheep. It started to rain on and off, but never too hard. After a while, we sadly came across a dead lamb, which looked to be the victim of a dog attack. We avoided it but I nearly stepped in what looked like it's lung! Then we came across some horses, and we started getting tired. Our hopes and spirits were lifted when we came across a sign with a You Are Here dot on it, letting us know that sadly we were only about halfway through, but at least we knew where we were. From then on the hike was tiring, and even a little bit boring! Our next stop was a sign letting us know we only had 3 1/2 miles to go. Yay! We soon got to a modern slate mine, on a hill with a view of Llanfairfechan, our destination. Our terrain soon changed, with trees and plenty of annoying midges to keep of company. We arrived at another confusing intersection, and at first we took the wrong trail, but soon "corrected" ourselves. However we soon found ourselves in a field with no exit except the one we came through, so the only logical option was to climb over the locked gate, which at least I found fun. After that we were on a road in the town, which we followed to the seafront. We ate a splendid lunch and took a cab back to Conwy. In total we did a little more than 12 miles, and got back around 4:00, in time for football. We had an excellent hike, in my opinion at least! See you next time.


North Wales Part 4: Conwy

   Hey everyone! We've been spending some more time in North Wales, and we love it. Last Thursday we went for a hike up Conwy mountain, relaxed in our cottage after our hike.
   On Friday, we spent some time walking and touring places in Conwy, the town where our cottage is. The first place we visited was Conwy Castle. The castle was built by Edward I of England and it was finished in 1289. It cost Edward £15,000, but that much money back then is equal to £45,000,000 today. Below is a picture of the front of the castle. You can see the many towers of the castle, which we went up.  
   While we were at the castle, we saw the many ruins of it. It's amazing that the castle survived the siege of Madog ap Llewelwyn, and being held under the rule of Owain Glyndwr. 
    After we were done with the castle, we went to an old Elizebethian townhouse  called Plas Mawr. Finished in 1585, it was built for Robert Wynn. We took an excellent audio tour of the house, learning about the ornate decorations and rooms of the house. An interesting fact about Plas Mawr is that it had a simple doorway as an entry, until Robert Wynn built his own gatehouse at the front. Below is a picture of the house taken from the gardens,
   Overall, we'd say Conwy and North Wales is EXCELLENT!

  Posted by Matthew

Thursday, June 9, 2016

North Wales: Part 2

   Hey everyone! We've spent some more time in North Wales, and we're super excited to tell you about it! After going to Llandudno and the Great Orme on Monday, we stayed in Conwy on Tuesday while our grandparents visited. 
   To start of the day on Tuesday, we went up the Great Orme again in the morning to video something for Teddy. We came back to Conwy, and waited for our grandparents to arrive. Matthew had an excellent sausage sandwich while we were waiting from our local butcher, Edward's. When our grandparents arrived, we did some errands at our post office and bank. We then went to an excellent fish and chip place for lunch. After lunch, we went up to the old city wall, where we got great views of the town and castle. We walked the city wall to the other end, then walked back to our cottage because it started raining. We later went out for another walk up Conwy's high street, and we went inside a toy store, a bookstore, and an arts and crafts store. Back in our cottage, we relaxed a bit. After that, Matthew went to the pub with the adults while Teddy stayed home. For dinner, we had some excellent bangers and mash which our mum made.
   Overall, we'd say so far that North Wales is EXCELLENT!

North Wales Part 3: Caernarfon

Hey everyone! We're back, and excited for another post. Yesterday, Wednesday, we headed over to Caernarfon. We had a fairly rushed morning, as we had to be there to meet Nan and Bob at 11:00! We met them in a nice little bookshop, before walking to a cafe with a view of the castle for a drink. This castle, like Conwy, was built by King Edward I, and construction began in 1283, by replacing the original motte-and-bailey castle. After a nice relaxing drink, it was time for lunch, we looked down a popular street with the bookshop we went in earlier on it, and we found a nice pizza restaurant. I had an incredible cheese and pickle sandwich, and everyone else got pizza. It was all super delicious! After lunch we walked around until 2:00, when our walking tour started.

We (our family and Nan &Bob) were the only people on the tour, which made it very fun. Our tour guides name was Emris, a local who'd lived in Caernarfon his whole life. He took us on the tour by the city walls, the many gates, and a few important buildings. Here are a few things I found interesting. Pubs are called so from the name public house. Property is cheap. Somebody bought the huge old Court House for only £100,000! And finally, the prison is haunted by the last guy to die there, in 1910. After the one and a half hour walking tour, we went down to the pub by the sea, with an amazing view, but to my Dad's disappointment, no Welsh beer. After 2 rounds of drinks, we headed to a very very very old pub called The Black Boy, which has been around since 1522. Matthew and I had veggie burgers, my parents and Bob had traditional pies, and Nan had ribs. Everything was delicious and amazing!

After dinner, we went to visit Auntie Gwineth, our

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

North Wales: Part 1

We're back! And we have another excellent blog post for you . After a great time in Manchester Saturday morning, we drove about 2 hours to our rented cottage in Conwy. Conwy is a beautiful town in North Wales, on the coast of the Irish Sea. Saturday night, we met up with a lot of our family, including our cousins, at a Premier Inn pub. I wasn't feeling too hungry, so I had a salad, but Matthew had incredible Bangers and Mash, in a giant Yorkshire pudding. After that we went back to the cottage to go to sleep.

In the morning, we had a quick breakfast at home, before driving to Treaddur Bay. This was for the scattering of my Mom's brother David's ashes, with all of our family there. It was very sad, but also beautiful. Matthew and I read a Scouting prayer. Afterwards, we all got an ice cream and sat down by the beach for a while. After that, we had a very long and confusing drive back to Conwy for lunch. It was confusing because Bob's car said it was nearly out of gas when it wasn't, so that complicated things. The lunch restaurant was called the Mulberry. I had an amazing chicken tandoori sandwich, and Matthew had a vegetable pizza. We stayed after lunch to talk to Bob, before going back to the cottage, for a calm and quiet evening.

On Monday, we had a fairly late start, but once ready we headed out to Llandudno. We did a little looking around, before buying sandwiches at Marks & Spencer for a picnic lunch. That picnic lunch was atop the Great Orme, a huge rocky hill that juts out into the sea. From the top, you can see for miles, on a clear day like yesterday. After our picnic, we hiked around the Orme, seeing the sheep and getting some great pictures. Then Matthew and I played on one of the coolest playgrounds ever, while our parents had a cup of tea, before it was time to go. After a bit of rest at the cottage after our hike, we walked about 15 minutes to what was our favourite restaurant for a day, The Mulberry, where we had eaten lunch just a day prior. This time, our experience wasn't as good. The food was absolutely incredible, but we waited over an hour until it came! After that, it was time to head home to bed. Stay tuned!


Monday, June 6, 2016


  Hey everyone! A couple days ago we were in Manchester, and we're really excited to tell you about our stay there. 
   The night we got there, we took a walk up to the end of Salford Quays. On our walk, it smelled pretty bad. We thought it was because of the bird poop, but when we looked across the canal we saw Old Trafford, the stadium of Manchester United, one of Arsenal's arch rivals. At the end of Salford Quays, we saw the Lowry Museum. The Lowry is an art museum, which you can probably tell houses a lot of L.S. Lowry paintings. The Lowry does also have a theater where can go see shows, but we didn't do that. You'll hear about this later. After taking some pictures and deciding what to do for dinner, we had an excellent dinner at Pizza Express. Teddy wasn't feeling too well after dinner, Teddy went back to the hotel while Matthew went to the hotel bar for some pudding. 
   The next day we slept in, and went to the Lowry for a bit. We looked at some interesting paintings by L.S. Lowry. Lowry is famous for his paintings of industrial scenes of Northwest England. After some time in the Lowry, we walked across to the other side of Salford Quays to see the Imperial War Museum. The IWM housed many artifacts from the two world wars, and told us a lot of history about them. The IWM was created to record the history and sacrifice of Britain in WWI.  It later expanded to collect artifacts and record history for all wars with British involvement. A cool fact we learned there was that the British had a system of blimps and balloons in the sky so the Germans couldn't get close enough to bomb important buildings accurately.
   After the Imperial War Museum, we went back to the Lowry for a tour of the galleries with Lowry's paintings. The most interesting painting we saw was a painting called Going to the Match. It is of people walking towards a football stadium, almost at kickoff. Lowry also added an industrial mill to the painting. Did you know that Lowry started to make  a good bit of money after he started painting industrial mills? 
    After the Lowry, we had an excellent lunch at Nandos. After, we drove off to Conwy, Wales. Overall, we'd say Manchester was EXCELLENT!


Matt&Ted and the Chocolate Factory

Good morning everyone! We're back with another exciting blog post sure to make your mouth water. After a fabulous time in London, as we've posted previously, we were enthusiastic about continuing our travels. Thursday morning we were up as early as the birds, heading up north to Cadbury World. Yes, you heard me right, Cadbury World. The drive was nearly 2 hours, but Matthew and I slept, so it didn't feel too long. We arrived at Cadbury World just before 9:00, the opening time,and we were some of the first people to enter the exhibition. The first part was about the discovery of chocolate and how it was brought to Europe. The next part was about the beginning of Cadbury. Even in the beginning, everyone loved Cadbury's chocolate, even the doctors. There were numerous health articles about the benefits of eating chocolate, especially Cadbury! Next we watched a video about how chocolate is made, and then finally what we all have been waiting for, a glimpse inside the factory! We weren't actually allowed inside the factory, but we were able to walk around the outside in a walkway, and view through special windows. We saw many different processes including mixing, packaging, and quality control, the job I'm after. Every 20 minutes a bar is pulled off the line to be weighed, measured, and finally eaten, to make sure everything is going well. Did you know that there are 2 byproducts of the cocoa bean, cocoa essence, and cocoa butter. Cadbury chocolate is so creamy because of the high cocoa butter and milk content. Afterwards, we went in the giant chocolate shop, where we bought enough chocolate to last us a few d... Oops, I mean a lifetime. Before we go here's one last incredible fact; Roald Dahl used to work at Cadbury. What do you think that gave him the inspiration for? Cadbury World was excellent! Stay tuned!

Alton Towers!

  Hey everyone! We were just at Alton Towers, an amusement park in Staffordshire, and it was excellent! Alton Towers is built around a stately home and gardens, which used to be a castle. When the castle opened as a visitor attraction, fair rides were opened around it. When John Broome, a millionaire bought the park, he added the park's first ride, Corkscrew. From there, the park grew into a major amusement park.
  While we were at Alton Towers, Matthew came up with a list of top 5 tips for Alton Towers.
1. Wait in long lines for big rides
We had to wait in hour long lines for our favorite rollercoasters, Galactica and the Smiler. It was totally worth the wait. Galactica was the world's first roller coaster fully dedicated to virtual reality. We were also on our stomachs, which made it even cooler. You might tell from the name Galactica, but you were flying through space in virtual reality.
2. Go early to the park
On the second day we were at Alton
Towers, Matthew got to go in the park early. The only big roller coaster open was Oblivion, the world's first vertical drop roller coaster. Matthew got to ride it twice, with barely any line to get on. Also, Matthew got to line up for a roller coaster called Rita. You do this to get a good spot in line for when the roller coaster opens. Rita is a roller coaster that blasts you from 0 to 60 mph in 2 seconds! It was so fun! It felt faster than the fastest roller coaster that we have been on, Fury 325, which goes 95 mph. The fact that you reach 60 mph in 2 seconds explains that!
3. Use the single rider line
  On our second day, we used the single rider line, which some rides have. The single rider line places people riding alone in empty spaces on carts. You may be thinking that we're not alone, but the single rider line is for groups willing to split up too. The single rider line reduced our wait time on the Smiler from 1 hour to 15 minutes, and on Oblivion from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. It was really quick, which allowed for more fun!
4. Ride the best roller coasters first
  On our first day, we rode the Smiler as our second roller coaster. We wanted to make sure we did that in case there were even bigger lines the next day. We did make the mistake of riding Galactica later  in our second day, because people had rushed to Galactica, which was new for 2016. Like we said before, it was worth the wait still. 
5. Have fun!
  Make sure you ride your favorite roller coasters, for the maximum amount of fun. If you go to Alton Towers, you'll sure have fun. We sure did. 

  Some other roller coasters we went on were Thi3teen, Nemesis, and the Spinball   Whizzer. Thi3teen, or Thirteen, was the world's first freefall roller coaster. Built in 2010, it made park attendance have a record of 3,000,000, even though it got a number of mixed reviews. Nemesis, an inverted B&M roller coaster, has an interesting statistic of a height of only 43 feet, but because of the terrain, has a drop of 104 feet. The Spinball Whizzer, opening in 2004, was originally called Pinball Wizard. It was later rebranded in 2010 to Sonic Spinball, with the park's partnership with Sonic's creator, Sega. It became the Spinball Whizzer for the 2016 season. It was really cool riding it because while you were on it, the cart rotated, making you backwards on some of it, and forwards on some of it.

  Overall, we'd say Alton Towers was EXCELLENT!

Posted by Matthew

Friday, June 3, 2016

A New Adventure

    Hey everyone! We're back in Europe again and excited to continue our blog over the next month. Our journey started on Monday night at the Charlotte Airport. Our plane journey was smooth with excellent food, but the major problem was that our TV screens were broken. When we landed in Heathrow Tuesday morning, we were all exhausted, so we didn't do much. We went to Welwyn Garden City, near where we used to live, to run a few errands. We ate lunch at the Plume of Feathers, one of our favorite pubs, but sadly they were out of sausages, so no bangers and mash for us. In the afternoon we all had long naps, then went out for a delicious Indian dinner with our grandparents, Nan and Bob, and our friend Max. After that we were exhausted and went straight to sleep.
    This morning we woke up, got ready, and ate breakfast downstairs in our hotel. Soon after we hopped on a train to King's Cross, where we took the tube to South Kensington, on the west side of London.
From there we walked to the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design.
Inside we saw art ranging from Renaissance to Modern Architecture, sculptures to glasswork, and from places like England to the Middle East. These are a few of our favorites:
-glasswork by Dale Chihuly
-a statue of a healthy man
- a sculpture by our favorite Baroque artist, Bernini
-Matthew's new twin, a cow
-plenty of guns
-architectural models
-and finally, the Great Bed of Ware

After the V&A Museum, we ate a quick lunch at Pret. Teddy had the best cheese and pickle sandwich of his life, and Matthew had egg. We continued walking and we went in Harrod's , a humongous store that sells anything imaginable. Teddy could spend all day in there, but we had to limit ourselves to a short amount of time. After that we split up. We went with Dad to the Science Museum, while Mum went to the Courtauld art gallery. In the Science Museum, we saw huge steam engines, and could see them moving. Some of the areas reminded us a lot of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, with the planes and spacecraft. Also in the museum, we saw an IMAX film, called Under the Sea. In the gift shop we saw this funny T-shirt and card.
After our brief visit in the Science Museum, we hopped on the tube, packed in rush hour, a few stops to Covent Garden. Right near Covent Garden is a 218 year old restaurant called Rules, where we ate dinner. The interior is lavishly decorated and very formal. Teddy, Matthew, and Mummy were very adventurous, having Duck, Pigeon, and Lamb. Father on the other side stuck with a chicken pie. After an incredibly delicious and rich dinner we were all full, and we cabbed back to King's Cross. From there, we took the train back to Stevenage, and we're now relaxing in our hotel. Our first few days have been EXCELLENT, and we're looking forward to what is to come!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Final Day

Hello everyone! We are on our last day in England and are getting ready to say goodbye. Here are some pictures of our beloved village, Welwyn. The first is St. Mary's Church, and the second is The Wellington, a pub from the 1300's.

Yesterday we also went in to London to celebrate my Mum's Birthday. We went to a very old restaurant called Rule's, where we had game, pheasant and rabbit.
We also went on the London Eye.
We would say that our adventures in England and Europe were EXCELLENT!

Harry Potter Studio Tour

Hi everyone! Just before Christmas we had an excellent time at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden. This was where most of the Harry Potter movies were filmed, and we can't wait to share about it with you! To start, we walked into the large, but not so large area where the dining hall was filmed. It was a lot smaller than we thought, and the movie makers used lots of camera tricks and editing to make the hall seem bigger. We saw a lot of other Hogwarts rooms, and they were actually very spread out. I really liked Hagrid's motorbike, and this is one of the many used in filming.
 As many of you know, we both love cats, so Crookshanks, Hermione's cat, stuck out to us. Did you know that there was not one cat used, but four. The animals are tested and trained a lot before they ever come on set, and these four passed.
 Outside, we saw lots of larger objects and sets, including the Knight bus. We were surprised by how big it was. The Set Designers had to combine 3 London Buses, then paint it purple to make the Knight Bus!
 Next to the Knight Bus, we saw Privet Drive, the street that Harry lives on. The filming set is only made up of 3 houses, not a whole street. Of those 3 houses, only 1 has an interior, the others are just fronts.
After that, we returned inside to the creature design area, where we saw all of the creatures and mythical species in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The creature below is Buckbeak, Hagrid's Hippogriff. He is controlled by a remote, which we saw an interesting video about.
Lastly, we saw an incredibly detailed and scaled model of Hogwarts Castle. The model was added on to for the filming of each new movie, as new areas of the castle were explored. Each of the turrets has 1000's of shingles on them, each hand laid.
We'd say that the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden was EXCELLENT!


Hey everyone! We just got back from an excellent trip to Edinburgh and we're so excited to tell you about it! At New Year, Edinburgh holds a three day event called Hogmanay. Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year. We participated in an event of Hogmanay that was a torchlight procession, where people sign up to process through the streets with a real torch in hand. It was so fun! Below you can see people with torches, at the end.
On our second day in Edinburgh we took an excellent bus tour, and learned about this statue of a dog called Greyfriars Bobby. There's a controversy now over it because one blogger wrote that if you rub the dog's nose, you would have good luck. The dog is hollow, so anytime someone rubs the dog's nose, it could collapse. We're doing the exact opposite of what the blogger did by telling you that rubbing the dog's nose does nothing!
The same day we took the bus tour, we went to Edinburgh's magnificent castle. The castle was built in 12th century AD, and people have lived on Castle Rock since 9th century BC. Edinburgh Castle has the Scottish Crown Jewels, and the oldest standing building in Scotland, St. Margaret's Chapel. The Castle holds the giant cannon, Mons Meg, which was built in 1449. The cannon fires cannonballs three times the size of your head, for up to two miles.
On New Years Eve, we planned on staying up to midnight. We did, and we got to go to see the excellent fireworks display. It was amazing.
All in all, we'd say that Edinburgh was EXCELLENT!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Portsmouth, Southampton, and Winchester

Hey everyone! We took a trip to Portsmouth, Southampton, and Winchester, and we're really excited to tell you about it. First we went to Portsmouth, a city on the Southern coast of England. There, we went up the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. The Spinnaker is 560 feet tall, and it is designed after a boat sail, which is supposed to reflect Portsmouth's maritime history. The structure of the Spinnaker is similar to the structure of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
In the Spinnaker Tower, we went on the glass floor on the first observation deck. The glass floor is the largest in Europe! It's 328 feet of the ground. We got great 350 degree views of Portsmouth. On the top observation deck, there was only a wire mesh roof! So it was extremely windy. Below is the view down on the glass floor.
That night, we went to a restaurant in Southampton. The type of restaurant was a tapas Thai. You may be wondering what the picture is of below, but they are crickets. And yes, we did eat them. But they were grilled and spiced. The crickets were delicious.
The next day, we went to Winchester, and it's excellent cathedral. Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in England, having the longest nave and being the largest Gothic cathedral in England. In the cathedral we went on a tour of the crypt. There is a statue in the crypt by Antony Gormley of a person looking down. Antony Gormley also designed the Angel of the North, which is a large sculpture on the side of the motorway going to Northern England. Usually the crypt floods in the winter, and water goes up to the statues knees. Also, did you know that there are no tombs in the crypt because it floods?
Overall, we'd say Portsmouth, Southampton, and Winchester were EXCELLENT!


Hey everyone! We recently got back from Athens, Greece, and we are very excited to tell you about our trip! When we got there, we went straight to the Acropolis, a large stone hill which the Parthenon was built on, the famous Greek temple dedicated to Athena. The Parthenon was finished in 438 BC, and it replaced an older temple to Athena, which was destroyed by the Persian Invasion. On the Acropolis we could see great views of Athens, and many old structures. Below, you can see a picture of the Parthenon, which is undergoing major preservation.
Below you can see a picture of the Acropolis, and the Parthenon with the cranes around it. The word "Acropolis" comes from two Greek words:άκρον, which means edge and extremity, and πονις, which means city. The Parthenon and the area around it was extremely damaged during the Morean War, when it was being used for gunpowder storage and a cannonball hit it.
Below is a picture of the Acropolis, built out of Lego! You can see more of the Acropolis in this picture, and the area below it. The Lego model is in the Acropolis Museum, which holds many artifacts from the Acropolis. In the Acropolis Museum, we saw a model of the Caryatids on the Erechtheion, which were six draped female figures used to cover up a 15 ft beam used to support the Southwest corner of the Kekropion.
In Athens, we also took a Segway tour.  A Segway is a two wheeled battery powered vehicle. On the Segway tour, we rode all around Athens, and went the hill where democracy was born. At the first meeting on the hill, many people paid no attention to what was going on, because they were distracted by the beautiful view! Talking about hills, did you know that Athens was built on seven hills, just like Rome? Riding around Athens on the segways was so easy, and so much fun.
Overall, we would say that Athens was EXCELLENT!


 Hi everybody! While we were in Italy, we got to go to Florence, and we can't wait to share about that with you. As many of you know, Florence was the center of learning and the arts during the Renaissance. And this impressive Cathedral certainly shows that off! This cathedral is called Santa Maria del Fiore. The dome, also called the Duomo, was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. When designing the dome, Brunelleschi studied the Pantheon in Rome, which we also saw. He built the outer dome out of brick, because it was lighter and easier to shape than stone. We got to walk up the dome, which was so much fun, and we got a good view of the Florentinian landscape. The dome is still the largest brick dome in the world.
Along with the Cathedral, there are 2 other buildings that make up the complex, the Baptistery and a bell tower called Giotto's Campanile. In the Baptistery is a beautiful painted ceiling, depicting many scenes from the Bible, such as the creation of man. Also, on the exterior, are beautiful panelled doors, made out of bronze. They were designed by a young man named Lorenzo Ghiberti, who won a competition for his design to be put in to use. He managed to beat Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Jacopo della Quercia.
Whilst in Florence, we also went to the Museo Galileo, a museum which houses a large collection of scientific instruments. In the museum are 2 large collections, the Medici Collection and the Lorraine Collection. The Medici Collection contains many of Galileo's instruments which we saw, and the collection dates from the 15th to 18th centuries. In there we saw the map below, which is of the world, but is not very accurate. It does look better once you turn it upside down though, with Britain in the upper left hand corner.
We think our trip to Florence was EXCELLENT!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Rome Part 2 and Vatican City

Hello everyone, we are doing awesome and would like to share more about our excellent trip to Rome. To start, below is a picture of Ara Pacis, an altar in Rome dedicated to the Roman goddess of peace, Pax. The monument was commissioned by the Roman Senate on July 4, 13 B.C., to honor the return of the Roman Emperor Augustus from 3 years in Hispania and Gaul. Restoration of Ara Pacis started in 1938 under Benito Mussolini, a Fascist ruler of Italy at the time. He built a protective building for the altar, in part of his attempt to build an "Ancient Roman Theme Park", to glorify Fascist Italy.
This is a picture of Altare Della Patria, commonly known as the Wedding Cake. The Wedding Cake is a monument built to honor Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a united Italy. It was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885, inaugurated in 1911, and finished in 1925. The structure is huge; 443 feet wide and 230 feet high. We were amazed by the utter scale of it. The base holds the Italian Unification museum.
We also went to a bunch of art museums, including the Capotiline Museums and the Galleria Borghese, where we saw the sculpture below. Some of you may recognize this sculpture, and it is one of our personal favorites. It is Bernini's David. Bernini was an Italian sculptor and architect in the 1600's, and was a leading figure in the Baroque style of art. Baroque art used very lifelike figures and showed the motion, for example David's muscle's flexing and him about to fire the slingshot.
We also went to Vatican City, the smallest country in the world where the Catholic Pope lives. We took an amazing tour, and saw many amazing sights. The most notable of these would probably be the Sistene Chapel, painted by Michelangelo. Since we were not allowed to take any pictures, we can't post one but I highly recommend you look it up. It gets it's name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it in 1480. The picture below is of St. Peter's Square, named for St. Peter's Basilica in the center, which is named after St. Peter, the first Pope. The dome in St. Peter's Basilica was redesigned by Michelangelo in 1547. He constructed it using 2 shells of bricks for support. St. Peter's Basilica is the largest church in the world.
In addition to the dome, Michelangelo designed a sculpture inside St. Peter's Basilica, called the Pieta. The sculpture is of Mary holding Jesus after he died. Michelangelo used a variety of techniques here. He made Mary a lot bigger than realisticly possible, in order for Jesus to be sprawled across her lap. Michelangelo also made his Pieta out of marble, rather than wood, unlike most earlier versions. In addition, Mary's face is youthful, though sorrowful, representing the youth and eternal life of God.
We had an awesome time in Italy and would say that this adventure was EXCELLENT!