England & Scotland: 8/20 – 8/26

London >>> Port Sunlight [Housesit with Harry and Paddy] >>> (Scotland) Glasgow
8/20 – Prime Meridian and the Maritime Museum
8/21 – Travel to Liverpool and meet our Housesit in Port Sunlight
8/22 – Dog Sitting Day 2
8/23 – Liverpool Double Decker Bus Tour
8/24 – Explore Liverpool Museums
8/25 – Travel to Glasgow
8/26 – Cat Sitting Day 1

8/20
Prime Meridian and the Maritime Museum
+  We were excited to explore a new area of London today, this time further east than we’d traveled so far. So after some brunch and playing with Neala, we took off headed for the tube.
+ We took the metro over to the Greenwich area in a search to find the Prime Meridian. We got to see a lot of the city along the way and when we got off the train, the area we were in was really neat. It had a interesting looking old college and a huge old-timey ship that looked like a Pirate ship! After walking through the complex, we wandered over to the National Maritime Museum and inquired about finding the Prime Meridian. They instructed us it was further into the park located near the Observatory. So we hiked up the giant hill to the Observatory and straddled the line dividing the globe between East and West. It was only a few months earlier when we were in Quito, Ecuador that we visited the Equator so it felt like we completed the other half of the puzzle now that we’d visited this place. The other cool thing about this area was it provided excellent views out over London and the river Thames so we stopped to admire the historic city for a while.
+ With only about an hour left before the Maritime Museum closed, we headed back down the hill and enjoyed watching all the people playing in park with their dogs. We explored as much of the Maritime Museum as we could. It was a very interesting museum and we learned all about England’s past with it’s harbours and rivers, as well as the different wars that affected London.
+ From there, we walked underneath the Thames river in a very old tunnel called the Greenwich Foot Tunnel from 1902 that used to serve as a means for all the city workers to cross the river to get to work. Then we ambled over to the train station and rode it up to an area right along the river that had a cool cable-car called the Emirates Airline Cable Car. This place had been recommended to us by Corey’s friends Moneeba and Bejal a few days earlier. We boarded the cable car with a nice family from London and rode over the river, snapping great pictures of the cityscape along the way.
+ We’d completed our sight-seeing adventures for the day so we were headed back to the apartment. We thought we’d choose the over ground  train back this time instead of the tube as it looked faster on paper and had less stops. Boy, were we wrong. Not only did we barely miss our 2 connections (as usual, per our luck), but the train moved sooooo slow that the entire trip back took well over an hour and we were starving.
+ There was a restaurant called Wagamama that had been recommended to us so we visited the one right near our apartment and had some very tasty (and spicy) Curry.
+ Stomachs full, we went back to Neala and packed up all of our backpacks and tidyed up the house in preperation for our departure the next day. How had time flown by so quickly!? Neala had been warming up to us more and more and becoming more playful and now we had to say our goodbyes.
+ Before bed, we watched the Olympics including the Water Polo Men’s finals, Athletics Finals, Men’s Soccer Gold Medal Match, etc. So many great athletic events to watch! And they were all coming to an end very soon.
8/21
Travel to Liverpool and meet our Housesit in Port Sunlight
+ We always seem to have really early departures or really late ones as we’re traveling. Hardly ever a normal hour. Today was an early one as we left the apartment before 7 am and traveled on the tube to Victoria Station. Due to our laughably bad tube/train luck, by the time we exited the Victoria Station, we only had a few minutes before our bus departed from the bus station which was still a 15 minute walk away. So we walked/ran as fast as we could with our heavy bags to the station, making it there in only 10 minutes. After running through the station we found the bus and boarded literally seconds before it was getting ready to pull away. This was probably the closest call we’d ever had to missing our bus! But now our blood was pumping and we were definitely awake for our ride!
+ Rode the bus for 5 hours up to Liverpool and played a new sodoku-like game called Kakuro on Corey’s phone. We also managed to get seats on the top floor up front so we had some good views of the changing scenery. After each eventually taking a short nap, we arrived in Liverpool. (We chose to nap on the ride because there was a small boy a few rows back who was obviously car sick. He was by far the LOUDEST vomiter we have ever had the pleasure of sharing a bus with. Seriously, it was a remarkable talent.)
+ Once we disembarked, we strapped on our heavy backpacks and walked through the Liverpool One district, which is full of shops and restaurants. Got a quick bite at McDonald’s and used their wifi before hopping on the train to travel to our housesit. After only a quick 20 minute journey, we arrived in a little town just across the river called Port Sunlight. From there, we had only a 5 minute walk to our temporary home for the next 4 nights.
+ We met Sandra and the dogs- Paddy and Harry and the 5 of us went for a walk all around the neighborhood and visited their favorite parks. After throwing around the ball for a while we headed back and got caught in the rain for the last 15 minutes of our walk. Although we were all drenched, the dogs didn’t seem to mind at all and each got a good rub down dry when we got back.
+ Back at the house we hung out for a bit and watched the men’s U.S. Basketball team take the Olympic Gold. Then Sandra went above and beyond her hosting duties as she prepared us a delicious salmon dinner! It was very tasty and we even had ice cream afterwards! The dogs were jealous! lol
+ The rest of the night we just hung out and talked and then watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics before bed. Can’t believe they’re all over but maybe we’ll have the opportunity to attend the games in Japan in 4 years!
8/22
Dogsitting Day 2
+ In the morning we all had breakfast (Sandra again was a wonderful host!) and then took the dogs on a little walk before Sandra left to go catch her bus. We’d almost forgot she was leaving we were all having such a good time together. It’s a shame we wouldn’t get to see her again as we’d be gone before she came back home. Hopefully we’ll reunite again one day!
+ During the afternoon we hung out and did some work on the tablet and computer. As it always seems to do, time flew by and we realized we needed to take a break before all the daylight was gone.
+ A trip to the local Aldi grocery store helped us get meals for the next few days and then we took the dogs out for another walk when we got back.
+ We quickly learned that Paddy was the rambunctious one who refused to listen to us when we were throwing the ball around. Harry was the good boy who would come when called and he would even go steal the ball back from his brother and bring it to us!
+ So as became our twice-a-day routine, we would walk about 15 minutes to the park, throw the ball around and chase after them for 30+ minutes, then walk back. We’d repeat this again in the evening just before dark to burn off as much energy as possible so they weren’t begging for playtime when it should be bedtime.
+ In the evening we continued our cooking bonanza and made some delicious burritos and then spent the rest of the evening doing research and planning on our devices. Although not the most exciting of days, we needed days like this to plan out some upcoming travels and catch up on pictures, social media posts, and the blog.
8/23
Liverpool Double Decker Bus Tour
+ Each morning we would be woken up by the dogs whining in the hallway just outside our bedroom. Although it was a little irritating, it was a good method to get us up and going in the morning.
+ We thought the whining meant they had to go to the bathroom or something but we found out that wasn’t the case, they simply wanted our attention and to play! We found this out when they were whining at the back door, so thinking they had to pee we let them into the yard where they promptly just grabbed their tennis ball and brought it to us with wagging tails. Those tricksters!
+ After some breakfast and their walk, we planned out some things to do in Liverpool and then caught a train into the city.
+ We’d bought a Groupon for a sight seeing bus tour so we made our way over to the dock area and hopped on that. They had these tour buses in pretty much every city we’d been to in Europe, but we hadn’t done any yet because they were too expensive and we had already walked most of the city anyway. But this one proved to be well worth the price and we got to see a lot of stuff in a short period of time. We rode it around the circuit 1.5 times learning new facts and history of the city before hopping off to explore by foot.
+ We did a little bit of shopping (but mostly window shopping) and ate at a popular chain restaurant called Nando’s for a late lunch. We’d skipped it previously, but were glad we’d finally given it a try because it was really early good! And spicy. Corey’s favorite!
+ We eventually ambled down towards Liverpool’s famous docks and strolled along those for a bit. This place was one of the most important shipping harbours in the world and had a fascinating history. Famous ships such as the Titanic left from here on it’s way to America.
+ Liverpool was also home to The Beatles and as such had different statues and tributes to them scattered around town, of which we took obligatory tourist pictures with.
+ When we’d finished exploring, we rode the train back to our Pet sitting home and took the dogs out for another walk.
+ Then it was back to the computers for another 5-6 hours to plan out upcoming places and details for our trip. Liz updated our blog for the first time in months and Corey planned out driving Itineraries for Scotland and Ireland. He also found a great relocation deal for a campervan for only 5 pounds a day!
+ Although we really wanted to just relax and watch a movie or some shows, we had way too much stuff to do so we labored away instead until our eyelids became too heavy to continue.
8/24
Explore Liverpool Museums
+ The morning routine took place again with another fun walk with the pups and enjoying the cool weather. Knowing the sweltering heat we were missing in Florida made us appreciate this weather so much more!
+ We’d decided to go into Liverpool again to visit some of the museums we didn’t have time for yesterday. So after another quick journey on the rails, we first went to the Mersey Maritime Museum and learned more about the extensive history of Liverpool’s ports. Our favorite exhibits were the Titanic display and the Border Control exhibition. At the latter, they had stories and evidence from all the crazy things people tried to smuggle through customs, and the strange and clever ways they attempted to do so.
+ Next up was The Liverpool Museum and unfortunately we only had less than an hour to visit here. So we headed straight towards the Beatles and Soccer, I mean, “football” areas. We saw a cool presentation about the fierce rivalry between the Everton and Liverpool football clubs and saw lots of artifacts belonging to The Beatles. Before long, they were closing the museum so we were forced to move on. Oh well, we’ll have to come back another day. At least both of the museums were free!
+ Before going back to the house, we redeemed another Groupon at an Italian place and munched on some surprisingly tasty pasta. Then we headed back and took the dogs out for their nightly play time.
+ In the evening we did laundry and organized our things for our departure tomorrow. For dinner, we made Fajitas (Liz’s specialty) and then did a few hours of work before we were practically falling asleep at the downstairs table.
8/25
Travel to Glasgow
+ Today we had to say goodbye to our new furry friends and continue up north to do another house sit in Glasgow, Scotland!
+ So we enjoyed one last long walk and play time with lots of ball and stick throwing. Then once we returned, we packed everything up and tidyed up the house. After a quick lunch of leftover Fajitas, we headed to the train station only to miss our train by about a minute (like usual). So we nervously waited for the next one (which of course was late) and then rode it into Liverpool. Here, we had to run through the station and up 3 different escalators to our next train towards Glasgow. Luckily, we made it with 2 whole minutes to spare and we settled into our seats, breathing heavily.
+ The almost 4 hour ride north that followed was nice and we saw more sheep than we could possibly count along with rolling Scottish hills and the typical gloomy rainy weather.
+ We were very excited to be going to Scotland and experiencing the Scottish culture! Our upcoming housesit was going to be situated right in the middle of Glasgow and we’d be only steps away from all the action.
+ On our walk from the Glasgow train station to the apartment, we were blown away by how cool and unique the city looked and all the restaurants and pubs it had to offer! As we were staring up at some neat looking clock towers, we noticed a woman waving to us from her balcony 4 stories up. It was Belinda! She’d somehow spotted us in the street (don’t know how as we’re so inconspicuous with our humongous backpacks on our back and regular-sized backpacks on the front, making us each look like a giant walking ball) and came down to let us in the apartment building.
+ She took us upstairs to show us the apartment and meet all 4 cats. Their names were Mr. Kitten, Dita, Madison, and Lola. The thorough description she’d written about them on the Trusted Housesitters website was hilarious and very accurate. Mr. Kitten was a bit of an old chap who liked to boss about the ladies and as we quickly learned, each cat had it’s own very unique personality. But they all had 1 thing in common: they loved to eat. And poop. Over the next few days they probably did more of each than any cat we’d ever seen before!
+ As we sat around and chatted about our travels, Justin came home and we met him. Then we all sat down for a huge dinner Belinda had prepared of Morroccan chicken and a bunch of sides. These house sitting hosts were going above and beyond with such generous hospitality!
+ After reviewing some info on the cats that Belinda had in an impressively well-organized binder, the rest of the night was filled with drinks and laughter. Belinda and Justin were both very funny and had lots of good stories for us. Justin was also an avid Craft Beer lover like Corey and he generously offered Corey beer after beer from his tasty collection while Liz and Belinda drank wine.
+ Eventually we called it a night as they still had some packing to do before their early flight the next morning.
8/26
Catsitting Day 1
+ Today was our first day of cat sitting in Glasgow and we planned to stay inside the whole time and do some research and planning.
+ For lunch, Corey went downstairs to the Subway that was almost directly 5 floors below us and picked up some subs. All the Subways (and McDonalds too for that matter) are about 90% similar, but each country always has some unique menu items or toppings that are fun to try.
+ We thought we’d relax and watch some tv or a movie, but we had way too much stuff to do so we worked up until dinner time when Liz decided she wanted to become a professional chef and cook a whole chicken! (Belinda had a whole chicken in the fridge and it would go bad before they returned home. She asked us to eat it so it wouldn’t go to waste.) Although it might sound silly, we’d never cooked and entire chicken before but what better time to learn?! So after finding a recipe online involving potatoes and a bunch of spices, Liz cooked us up a chicken dinner that would’ve made Colonel Sanders himself jealous!
+ Then we went right back to work on the devices until the wee hours of the morning when it was time for bed. Overall a productive day though and we were beginning to put the finishing touches on our Scotland and Ireland plans!
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