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Trip Report Jordyn's Journal - 2008 UK Vacation

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Jordyn Whitbeck’s vacation to England, Ireland, and Wales with Grandma and Papa Davies, 8/22-9/6/2008

Day 1 8/22
I’m very excited. Mom and dad drove us to LAX at 5PM and dropped us off. We had a Chinese dinner at the airport and then flew to London England at 9PM on British Airways. None of us slept very much. The plane was VERY HOT. We watched movies and ate. Papa had the window seat! I sat in the middle of Grandma and Papa on the airplane.
Day 2 8/23
We landed at Heathrow Airport in beautiful London at half 3 (3:30 but that’s how they say it here). We took a taxi to the Comfort Inn Victoria. _ Our hotel is across the street from Victoria train Station. Our hotel is also across the street from St. George’s Tavern.
We had a room problem because instead of a “triple” they gave us a “double” with a tiny bed for me. Grandma and Papa were not happy and asked for a discount and a thicker mattress for my tiny bed. Grandma will write a complaint letter. The bedroom is small but the bathroom is okay. Grandma said, “At least it’s clean”. They served breakfast every morning. The elevator is tiny. We ate fish and chips at St. George’s Tavern and also had TEA and Papa drank his first Guinness (in England). This place served the TEA with warm huge cups.
After dinner we walked to Buckingham Palace.
This is one of Queen Elizabeth’s castles. Even though it was dark, we could see it and the guards pretty good. Outside of Buckingham Palace people were getting ready for tomorrow’s Olympic event/concert. London will host the Olympics in 4 years so the torch was being passed. We didn’t attend the concert. I already miss mommy and daddy.
Day 3 8/24
After breakfast we walked to the River Thames.
It was rainy outside, windy, and cold. Then we saw Parliament (looks like a castle), Big Ben (a tall clockand,
And Westminster Abby (a church)
Then we walked over the River Thames Bridge and I had an ice cream cone at McDonalds (near The London Eye). There is a huge 4-story arcade next to it. This is considered the Southbank area. Papa wanted to ride the London Eye so we went with him. This is a huge Ferris wheel. Each car holds about 20 people and it goes slow. You can practically see all of London. After that we walked in the park near the London Eye and saw street performers (the blue man, the gold man (with long arms), the silver man, the statue man that had a real pigeon on him, the pink lady, an African man who was balancing a ball on a stick in his mouth. He let me throw the ball to him.
We took a taxi to Harrods (a famous shopping store). We had a fancy lunch and TEA at Harrod’s Georgian Restaurant. Grandma was not impressed. “She expected more.”
I bought books (about horses, Romeo and Juliet, etc) and LOVED looking around the pet kingdom (they had expensive outfits for animals---like an Elvis costume for $400). I talked to mommy on the phone while we were buying tea. She wanted Mango tea. Grandma bought a lot of tea. After Harrods, we walked through Hyde Park.
They have a big lake and ducks. We took a taxi back to our hotel and then went to St. George’s Tavern for a snack (TEA), and to write post cards.
Day 4 8/25
After breakfast, we took the 10:06AM train at Victoria Station to Brighton in Sussex England.
Papa bought first class tickets. It took one hour to get to Brighton. It was cold, rainy, and very windy. We walked from the train station to the ocean. There is no sand---it’s all large pebbles/stones. Then we walked to the famous Brighton Palace pier.
The pier is like a circus with lots of arcades and rides and food places. We rode the bumper cars. Papa said it cost $18 US dollars for 3 tickets! He said the American dollar is not worth much here. One pound is equal to almost $2.00. We walked all over and back to the beach. We had lunch at the Plaza Bar and it took forever to get our food. My spaghetti Bolognese was not good. Grandma would not recommend it and said that Brighton is cute but it’s not too clean. It reminds her of Venice Beach California. On our way back to the train station, we went into St. Nicholas’ church and cemetery.
On one of the gravestones, this lady, Phoebe, was born in 1743 and died when she was 108.
That evening we took a taxi to Piccadilly Circus.
Grandma says it reminds her of Time Square in New York. It reminds me of Las Vegas. I saw a huge statue of bronze horses. We had dinner at “Little Italy”. We ate gelato right before we had dinner.
Day 5 8/26
After breakfast we went to the post office to mail postcards. There was a very long line and it took forever. We went back to Harrods to shop and then went back to the hotel to check out. We went to BMI airlines and flew to Dublin Ireland. When we landed, there were lots of people with signs waiting for the Irish Olympic athletes to come home. There was a lot of traffic so it took over an hour for the taxi to drive us to The Bewley’s Hotel in Ballsbridge
I love this hotel. It used to be a children’s orphanage. We were starved! We walked to Mary Macs Pub. I had Irish stew and TEA and then, of course, I had my favorite vanilla ice cream. I’m having ice cream and TEA every day. Grandma and I stayed up late checking email. I called my mommy and sent her email. Grandma emailed pictures of London.
Day 6 8/27
We slept until 11! Grandma heard the church bells and jumped out of bed. We had to hurry to check out at 12. We checked all of our suitcases at the hotel desk and then took a taxi to downtown Dublin We walked around the area by the Liffey River _HYPERLINK
and to the Temple Bar area.
I had Irish stew for lunch…and TEA at Gallagher’s Boxty House.
A “boxty” is like a filled pancake. After lunch we took a taxi to Hertz to pick up our rental car (a Nissan). This was our FIRST HERTZ adventure. Papa got lost and it took two hours to get back to Bewley’s to pick up our luggage. Grandma was grouchy at Papa. I told Grandma “Why don’t YOU drive and see how hard it is.” She said “No way!” You have to drive on the LEFT hand side of the road and the steering wheel is on the RIGHT hand side of the car. I have to sit in a child’s seat because “It’s the law.” I hate it! Grandma also doesn’t understand why Papa got a “manual” car instead of an “automatic”---meaning he has to shift gears and use the clutch making it more complicated to drive. She said it looks like he is going to crash into something on the LEFT side of the car (the front left tire already lost a hub cap). She doesn’t like to get lost and we had forgotten to take the GPS with us that day. Then Papa realized he’d left the camcorder at Gallagher’s so when we FINALLY got to the hotel, he took a taxi to get it. Grandma and I had a snack at Bewley’s while we waited for him. A nice lady in the restaurant gave me a mood ring.
When Papa returned we drove towards Avoca to the Best Western Wooden Bridge Hotel. We got there at 8:30PM
We visited the hotel pub and the bartender let me “draw” Papa’s Guinness…that means pour from the tap. I couldn’t draw a clover though. We took lots of pictures and wrote post cards. Grandma said that we are a half day behind schedule.
Day 7 8/28
We got up early and had a traditional Irish breakfast which today was: eggs, sausage, bacon, banana, toast, tea, and juice.
Then we walked outside. There was a river and a stone bridge. After our walk we checked out of the hotel and drove to Avoca.
Grandma and Papa used to watch a BBC show called Ballykissangel
and this is where that show was filmed. Grandma kept saying “I can’t believe I’m actually here.” I bought a teapot in one of the shops (white with little green clovers on it). We bought mushy peas in Hendley’s grocery store and had a coke in Fitzgerald’s pub. After Avoca we had a long drive to Blarney. On our way we drove through Kilkenny but there was too much traffic and no place to park so we didn’t stop. There was a HUGE castle right in the middle of the city
Grandma explained that in the old days the people built their houses around the castle and when the enemy attacked, they ran in the castle gates for protection. They would also help protect the castle. We stopped in Callen for TEA and I talked to a 5th grader named Ava. She was sitting in the pub doing her homework. She showed me her workbook. She said they don’t call it the 5th grade; they call it the 5th class.,_County_Kilkenny
We continued driving towards Cork. I see baby cows, baby horses, baby sheep, grown up sheep everywhere (mostly all sheep and cows), birds, dogs, cats, corn fields, flowers, old houses (Grandma’s favorite), a lot of big churches with tall steeples and they look like castles, pubs, stores, bridges, taxis, cars, clocks, gardens, gardas (police), hotels, parks, and kids in school uniforms. Finally we got to Blarney and checked in to our hotel, the Muskerry Arms.
It is a small town. We walked around the park that is in the center of town and across the street from our hotel. Grandma told me to run around the park because I’d been in the car for a few hours. I ran about 5 miles around the park! That’s long! We had dinner in the Blarney Hotel Pub.
After dinner we went back to the park and I played with a cute Sheepdog puppy named Lucky. Grandma and Papa sat on a bench. There are a lot of flying ants here and ants on the ground. The park is enclosed by old stone walls. Stone walls are everywhere and Grandma loves them. She likes anything that is OLD: houses, walls, churches, barns…EVERYTHING! She keeps saying, “Oh Jordyn look at that OLD house or door or window”. The weather was really nice (no rain). Next door to our hotel is a church that we could see from our bedroom window. We walked into it and took pictures. Our hotel room is big but the bathroom is tiny. We have five beds. I had my own room with two beds. Grandma and Papa slept in different beds so they could spread out. The double beds are too tiny for them.
Day 8 8/29
After breakfast we went to the Blarney Castle that was pretty close to our hotel. We walked up and up and up on steep circular narrow stairs all the way up to the top. Grandma and Papa kissed the Blarney Stone but after thinking looooong about it, I did not want to. I sat down by it for a picture but didn’t want to hang upside down to kiss it. And I can’t believe Grandma kissed it! YUCK! She’s always worried about germs and she kissed it! While we were in the castle I pretended that I was the princess, Grandma was the Queen, and Papa was the King. We saw the kitchen, dining room, great room, dungeon, murdering hole, dog kennel, caves, soldier’s room, garden, river (water bugs are in it), forest, bridge, war bridge, and lookout house. Outside the castle, there was a huge park and forest with creeks and bridges. Everything is very GREEN. One of the trees had a huge branch that was shaped like a horses back. I rode it while Grandma took pictures of me. It was fun.
We checked out of the hotel and drove to Waterford. We stopped at the Waterford Crystal Factory and I bought a crystal dog. It was very expensive and Grandma explained how I need to take care of it. A man engraved my name and 2008 on it for me. Grandma bought a crystal ship’s wheel. There was a crystal Cinderella coach and horses and lots of crystal chandeliers.
We ate in their cafeteria and I had potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, a muffin, roll, juice, and some of Grandma’s pork roast. I ate 3 sugar cubes. We spent too long in Waterford so now we have to hurry to get the car returned to Hertz in Rosslare. Papa called Hertz to get directions but he couldn’t understand the Hertz girl really well. She told us to cross the Quay (it’s a bridge). Quiz: How do you pronounce Quay? The answer is “Key”. The Hertz girl confused us with directions. She said they were by the “Ford Gorge”. She actually said “Ford Garage” but it sounded like Ford Gorge (or Gord) and we were all laughing a lot. Grandma had tears. Normally they pronounce “Garage” like “Gear-rage”. Also what she was calling a Ford Garage was a Ford dealership. It was very funny. Therefore Papa went too far and had to turn around. We finally returned the car to Hertz and a taxi drove us to the Best Western Rosslare Hotel. The hotel is right near the ferry dock where we have to get on the Stena Ferry to Fishguard tomorrow morning….early! We took a walk and then went to a pub for drinks. Grandma brought down my horse color book that I bought in London. I met three little girls: 9 year old Niamh (sounds like Neeve), her 6 year old sister named Caoinm (sounds like Queeva). They are actually from England but they live here. Later I met 5 year old Elinor who is also from England but was visiting Ireland with her mom and Uncle Donald. I was getting tired and grouchy and didn’t like that Grandma let the girls color a page in my color book. Uncle Donald taught me the JIVE (dance). When I talked to mommy that night I complained about Grandma (I don’t like sharing my color book!).
Day 9 8/30
Today I woke up at 5:30AM or, as they say here, “half five”. Right now I am at sea. It took off at 8AM. There are a lot of mosquitoes on the window near my seat. We are heading for Fishguard in Wales. We are crossing the Irish Sea on a ferry and are sitting at the back of the boat.
We arrived in Fishguard (Pembrokeshire, Wales) around noon and were met by a man from Hertz. He brought us the wrong car. It was too small so he took us to Hertz and we switched to a bigger car---a VW Passat. Papa still has to drive on the left side of the road but this time he has an “automatic” car. Grandma still keeps thinking he is going to hit something on her left and keeps waving her hand at him to move to the right! The road is narrow. It looks like we are driving in a ditch. There are high walls of dirt/grass on each side. If two cars drive down the road, one has to stop and move over, waiting for the other to pass. It took about 30 minutes to drive from Fishguard to St. David’s.

We are staying for a week here in a timeshare. It’s a two-story apartment. The living room and kitchen are downstairs and there are two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. It’s cute. I have my own room with two beds with pink bedspreads. The closet and cabinets are wood. The ceiling is slanted (like an attic) and the one window is on the ceiling. To open it you pull down. Daddy would like to see this window. All the windows are like that upstairs and it makes it really bright. I put all my clothes away and put my souvenirs and books on the shelves. We had lunch at a hotel in St. David’s and then went grocery shopping. We bought fruit and vegetables from the produce store and then bought other food from the deli downstairs from our timeshare. Grandma made potatoes (which she loves because they taste better here), ham and carrots in a cream sauce for dinner. We went to bed early.
Day 10 8/31
I slept until 10:30AM! Grandma made oatmeal for breakfast. We walked to the Really Wild Food and Countryside Festival and had so much fun! We watched a ferret race (I bet on two of the ferrets but they didn’t win). There was a “Wang a Welly” contest to see how far a Welly can be thrown. A “welly” is a rain boot. Since it rains a lot here, people wear them often. There was a huge tent where vendors were selling meat, bread, jams, ice cream, wine, cheese, and other things. I bought a heart necklace and a lady painted “Jordyn” and a “horse face” on it. We watched two funny ladies that had a fruit and vegetable stand. They cut up fruits and vegetables and displayed them on a table, they sang, played an accordion and banjo, and read stories (about fruits and vegetables of course). They are really funny. When they took their break, me and Annabelle (a girl my age from Wales) watched the table so that no one would eat anything. They were gone for about an hour and it was freezing cold. When they returned we played musical chairs---kind of---. We walked around the table and when the music stopped, we got to eat as much fruits and vegetables as we wanted. A TV man was there and said that he was taking pictures for next year’s festival and that we should watch the website for pictures of me (in about six months). When we came back to the timeshare, we had TEA in my teapot that I bought in Avoca and we ate. We were starved! Then we walked to St. David’s Cathedral. It’s GIGANTIC and 1500 years old. We attended the Sunday night 6PM service and it was interesting. The choir sang. After church, I walked around the graveyard. The church will be closed for a couple of days because they are electing a new Bishop. Papa said the other one was fired because of “matrimonial issues”. They have three days to elect a new one. We found a pub and had a snack and, of course, vanilla ice cream and then went back to the timeshare. There are a lot of “Davies” here (because that’s a Welsh name) and there are a lot of dogs.
Grandma has been washing clothes forever. It takes a long time to wash and dry them here. They don’t dry well and she has to hang them in the bathroom to dry. I read for an hour in the book I bought at the festival. It’s called “Sianni Shetland” It’s about a 9-year old girl who gets a Shetland pony for her birthday. She’s lucky.

Day 11 9/1
I slept until 10AM. Grandma made bacon that we bought at the festival yesterday. It is really good. Grandma repaired my horse nightgown while Papa helped me with my math work. It’s raining outside---the people here call it “drizzle”. We went to three beaches on our road trip. First we went to White Sands Beach where we took a long hike almost to the end of St. David’s Head. We were really high up on the cliffs. Then we drove to Abereiddy Bay.
This used to be a slate manufacturing area. Next we drove to Porthgain where we saw boats sitting on the sand.
This happens every day when the tide goes out. It takes about 6 hours for the tide to come in and then the boats are in the water again. I found some shells, a tooth and rocks. Papa stuck a live clam-type shell on my hand! We had TEA, fish and chips and scones at a restaurant. When we got home, Grandma made soup and Papa and I walked to the store. We were all very tired and went to bed early.
Day 12 9/2
Grandma said I had to get up earlier this morning so we could “get on with our day”. We ate oatmeal for breakfast and then walked to town---which is right out our door since St. David’s Vacation Club is on the main street. We found lots of little stores to shop and bought souvenirs: a turtle and horse made of Welsh coal, small dog figurines that we found in a thrift store. It began to rain just as we were returning to the timeshare. Grandma fixed lunch. She’d brought Lipton soup from home so we had that for lunch with vegetables and cheese. Then we left for a road trip to Solva and Nolton. Both towns are on the ocean. Solva is another spot where the boats are sitting on the sand waiting for the tide to come back in.
We stopped at Nolton so I could pet 3 horses. They have a horse stable and that is where we are returning tomorrow so that I can go horseback riding on the beach I bought a sweatshirt while we made reservations. We drove back to the timeshare and I finished another math page and wrote post cards. It’s cold and windy outside.
Day 3 9/3
It’s Emma’s Birthday today and we have to remember to call her before we go to bed.
This morning Grandma made ham and potatoes and soft boiled eggs for breakfast. She also made me TEA and cinnamon toast. We took a drive to the Solva Woollen Mill where Prince Charles (the Prince of Wales) visited in June of 2008
I bought a rug, a blue purse and a pink sweatshirt (both have a horse on it), and a hand-made rug made at the woolen shop---but I call it a horse blanket. Grandma bought Mandy a purple purse just like my blue one. Mandy loves purple. Then we drove to a pottery shop and I watched a lady make a bowl. Grandma bought a bird candle holder and a plaque to hang on her wall. We also drove to another small beach and walked down some steep steps to get a closer look. We had a little lunch at the Mariner’s Inn in Nolton Haven (not a very good place) and then drove to Nolton Stables. I rode Dusk (a black horse). I had an English saddle. I rode with some ladies and some guides. I was the only child. We rode for 1 ½ hours along the road and down to the beach and along the beach. It was a little rainy and very cold and windy. Grandma and Papa took lots of pictures of me and followed behind us in their car for as far as they could. They went to Druid’s Haven Inn to wait before driving back to the stables to meet me.
Grandma said a “Druid” pushed her down some steps…or was it just the wind?
I had so much fun! Before we left the stables, I bought a mug with Dusk’s face on it.
We drove home and cleaned up and dressed up and then walked across the street to Cwtch (pronounced kootch) for a yummy dinner.
I ordered Pork Belly (it’s actually pork roast) but I didn’t like it at all so Grandma shared her steak with me and Papa ate the pork belly along with his fish. Grandma set the alarm clock for 11:45PM so we could call Emma at her time (3:45PM) to say happy birthday. She’s 5 today and today was also her first day of kindergarten. She got her first American Girl doll for her birthday. Grandma said she tried to wake me up but I was grouchy and wouldn’t wake up….sorry Emma.
Day 14 9/4
This morning it rained but now it’s nice outside. This is how the weather is here. Today we are packing because tomorrow morning we will drive to Salisbury, England. I worked on my math for a couple of hours. Papa is trying to be patient with me. Grandma made turkey sandwiches for lunch and we ate “crisps” that taste like chicken. After lunch we took a walk to St. David’s Cathedral
It is so clear today that you could see the ocean behind St. David’s Cathedral. On our way, we stopped into the chocolate shop and bought ice cream cones. The cathedral is open because they elected a new bishop. We walked through the remains of the Bishop’s Palace...which is basically a castle. Then we went through the entire St. David’s Cathedral…which is huge. The bones of St. David are in a chest. There is a huge organ. We found little gardens and I pretended I was Juliet. Grandma MADE me climb the stairs with the pointed hat on and say “Romeo Romeo, where art thou Romeo”. Grandma took hundreds of pictures of OLD things. We had TEA in St. Davids refectory before walking back to the timeshare.
Day 15 9/5
We checked out at 9AM after a quick breakfast and drove to England. We crossed the River Severn.
Wales is on one side and England is on the other. We stopped at the Bell Inn once in England (near Trowbridge and my Grandma Cathy’s maiden name) for lunch and then found our way to Stonehenge. It is sooooo cooool. Lots of tall rocks that a shaped like doorways. Some are lying down but they are all in a circle. We listened to the history using hand-held recorders. It was raining off and on and it was very cold and windy so that our umbrellas turned inside out. The stones are sitting in the middle of a green field with lots of open green fields all around. They are thousands of years old (BC old). Papa and Grandma bought me a book that tells all about it.
Then we drove, not far, to The George Hotel.
It’s very old and has lots of eating and pub rooms. Our room is on the second floor. The hallway floors are crooked. There are no elevators so Papa had to carry all the suitcases upstairs (again). It was so funny…he AND then Grandma turned on the bathroom sink faucet and it sprayed all over them. They said I’m “next”. We quickly walked around the little town of Amesbury but there weren’t any interesting stores and it started to rain. Grandma loves the OLD buildings (again). Some of the cottage roofs are thatched/woven (like Snow White’s cottage). She just looooves them. Now we are sitting in the pub and I’m reading my new Stonehenge book and will work on my math. Grandma is actually typing this for me and will email it. She’s happy that we have internet access. Well tomorrow morning we will drive to Heathrow Airport. This is our last night of vacation. We spent it in our hotel pub. I did lots of math, we had dinner and then had lots of fun playing cards: Spite and Malice, Fish, and Concentration/Memory.
Day 16 9/6
We got up early and had breakfast (traditional English Breakfast which today was: sunnyside up egg, sausage, ham/bacon, beans, mushrooms, toasted white bread, tea). We drove to Windsor to see the castle.
It’s huge and very pretty. This is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite. Her other castle is Buckingham Palace in London. Then we drove to Heathrow Airport in London and got there 4 hours before our flight! That’s okay…we had lunch and then were off for home. We didn’t sleep much, watched movies and ate. I worked on my math too. Roadrunner shuttle drove us home and we were in bed by 10PM. Grandma sure has a lot of laundry to do. Tomorrow they will drive me HOME! I can’t wait to see my dog Roxie…and my mommy and daddy.

Books I finished reading on this trip:
A Leg At Each Corner (complete guide to equitation) by Thelwell:
Siani Shetland by Anwen Francis about a 9 year old Welsh girl who gets a Shetland pony for her birthday.
Romeo and Juliet by Andrew Matthews and Tony Ross:
Laura’s Star and the Special Pony by Klaus Baumgart: About an English girl.
Chips: French fries
Crisps: chips (like potato chips)
Boxty: Like a pancake filled with food. Grandma had a seafood Boxty and Papa has a lamb curry Boxty.
Brown soda bread
Scones, Welsh Cakes
Mushy peas
England and Wales: pounds (pence)
Ireland: Euro
England: tea, tea biscuits (shaped like bears), books, taxi, pen for teacher
Ireland: doll, teapot, crystal dog, items from Blarney Castle (stone, shot glass, magnets), hat
Wales: purse, rug, two sweatshirts, red/white Welsh shirt, blue “Animal” shirt, Welsh coal turtle and horse, small dog figurines, love spoon, thimble, heart necklace, miniature horse jumping gate, Dusk mug, feather pen
Half five: 5:30PM
Lift: elevator
Mate: friend
Ring me; Telephone me
Bean: as in “Been”
Cheerio: hello/goodbye
Guinness (beer that Papa drinks)
Garda: Irish police
Bobbie: English police
Heddlu: Wales police
Roundabout, 2nd exit (GPS talk)
Rod: Road (GPS talk…as in Castel Road)
Gear-rage: Garage
Boot: Car trunk

Things Grandma and Papa were impatient with me about:
That I don’t “walk”---I trot, canter, skip, etc.
That I don’t always answer when they ask me a question
That I don’t move quickly enough when Grandma wants me to (as in “run across the street NOW! Or STOP!)
That I procrastinated (put off) doing my math school work (6x8 = 48!)
Other than that…..I was an angel and they LOVE ME very much!

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