July 27, 2011

UK Edition: It Must Come to an End

The time has come. Today is my last day of work. My temporary change of residence is coming to an end. I fly out tomorrow. I'm sad. And happy. All at the same time.

It just doesn't seem like it should be time to leave yet. I'm not sure what it is exactly, I know there are probably many reasons.

Its almost time to say good bye to my newest home...

...and my front door step.

Its just like moving out of your home. This place has become my home. Not just the physical apartment home that I live in but my friends here are part of "home." That's the part I'm going to miss, the home I (and my coworker from the US) have made here. And yes, I cry about it. Multiple times already and probably many more.

Things won't be the same if I don't have to use my key fob to get through the front gate (or sneak through between the gate and the hedges near the grit box) and into my apartment.

Don't get me wrong, I will enjoy being home! I'm just not ready to leave here. :) No worries, I'm going home anyway.

See you soon! Probably on the other side of the world.

July 25, 2011

UK Edition: One Last Shopping Spree

All in a days work. Oops?

No, I don't think so. :)

UK Edition: Curry

Oh, how I love a good curry. It was my new found love before coming to England and now it has grown into an all out, well, I don't know, but I love it even more. If only restaurants in the US had as many curry dishes as they do in the UK. Most every restaurant or pub here has a curry dish of some sort and boy oh boy, they are scrumptious.

Bengal Spice in Harrogate was the first curry dish we had during our stay. In fact, it was on Day 2, not that I was counting or anything.

I have told some people about my new love but to the others - look forward to many more curry dishes to be prepared in our homes. :)

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is!

July 24, 2011

UK Edition: Just Another Walk

My time here is coming to an end and I leave for my real home in Wisconsin in less than five days. It has been such a fun experience in so many ways, I don't know how to put words to it. Its bittersweet knowing I'll be leaving this week but I am excited to see my family and friends when I get home!

The scenery is brilliant, maybe because it is different from the normal back home. I can't stop looking at it and enjoying what I'm seeing. I took pictures of some of the sights on the way home from work the other day. If I lived here forever I would not tire of being surrounded by these sights. Most of these pictures are from Cold Bath Road in Harrogate (you know, in case you want to see them for yourself one day).

Brick buildings, green trees, iron fences, flower gardens. You will be missed but I'm glad to have met you. 

July 19, 2011

UK Edition: Baking with Foreign Appliances

I made brownies! While living in the UK! How many people can say that?! Ok, besides citizens of the United Kingdom. Seriously, I think its incredible.

It took me a few weeks to work up the courage to bake something (other than warm up curry in the microwave) but I finally did it. The temptation to make brownies came after the best dessert (and one of the best meals when you factor in location and conversation) I've ever had - a warm, freshly baked brownie with ice cream from All Bar One in Leeds, England.

My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Sorry, I'll stop now.

Back to my baking experience. I bought this box of Cadbury brand brownie mix partly because Cadbury chocolate is delicious on its own but mostly because the box came with its own baking tray. Hooray! I didn't have to figure out what size pan to use, which turned out to be awesome because I didn't have any pan close to the size it came with.

The recipe was simple. Combine the brownie mix, add water and one egg. Mix well. Prepare the baking tray by folding the corners and inserting the tabs through the slot, ensuring the tabs are on the outside and the shiny side of the cardboard tray is on the inside. Easy enough, right? Yep, no problems there. Honestly, you thought I would mess this up? Guess again. Its fool proof. I make myself out to be a horrible chef but that is definitely not the case. Though this might be debatable after nearly two months out of a "normal" kitchen.

Eighteen minutes later, for a soft, chewy brownie...

...and beep, beep, beep! The timer went off and they were done!

Delicious brownies. Not quite as good as my inspiration brownie but definitely not bad considering they were made of powder, water and an egg. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) no pictures were taken of anyone devouring these. Probably a good thing.

I'm going to attempt to make no bake chocolate drop cookies and chocolate chip coconut cookies in the next couple days. Wish me luck!

July 18, 2011

UK Edition: Edinburgh and Zizzi Ristarante

Our journey in Edinburgh, Scotland (I've shared bits and pieces of our trip - a bit of the countryside, the castle and a view of the sea - but need to share more!) included a delicious lunch at Zizzi Ristarante. It is a stylish restaurant serving delicious Italian delicacies. I photographed our meal (ok, just my meal) because I'm weird like that and food is delicious, so why not capture the moment.

The napkins were a paper-ish material, but they were so thick! I loved that they had a quote written on the bottom. I was "this" close to saving mine (unused, mind you) and taking it home with me but decided I would probably have enough trouble fitting everything in my luggage that I decided to forgo that decision.

Nothing like an ice cold Coke in a chilled glass with lemon.

I dislike green olives but these, my friends, were incredibly scrumptious. I'm now in love with them and can't wait to find my favorite selection back home.

Italian pizza. You haven't had real pizza until you have had it the Italian way. Thin, crispy crust, olive oil, fresh, delicious toppings. Oh my heavens I want some right now (good thing we are going to Casa Romana in Harrogate tonight for tasty pizza!!).

Not the world's greatest picture of the three of us (maybe because I cut out over half of one of us) but I think it does a pretty good job of capturing the moment. Nothing is ever perfect anyway.

Can we please get a Zizzis in the US?? Soon?

July 17, 2011

UK Edition: Arriving at Scafell Pike

Got the boot all packed up, snug as a bug, ready for our big camping trip! We are lucky everything fit!

I'm amazed at the scenery here. Every time we drive to a new place on our next adventure, I can't help but stare out the window at what I see. Jaw dropped. Drooling, just a little. I'm guilty of taking pictures through the window, its that incredible.

First view of a mountain - it means we are getting closer.

The roads became even narrower and surrounded by trees after we got into Keswick and were on our way to the camp site and Scafell Pike. Once again, it means we are getting closer! Kind of trippy, isn't it? Try riding in a car on these roads, whizzing around corners, squeezing past oncoming cars.

We arrived at the site and, great news! I was the first to get my tent set up! Oh yeah, score one for team Rachel.

To be fair, the tent pops up on its own and all you have to do is stake it down. I know, getting my tent set up first doesn't quite mean the same to you now does it. All in a days work.

It was a bit rainy the first night we were there but we coped quite well. Nothing you can't handle while camping. After realizing we just bought tins for dinner (also known as canned food) and forgot to pack the can opener, we asked a neighboring camper if we could borrow his. Once again, thank you to kind people! Though its hard to say no to two people holding cans asking to open them so they can eat a meal in the freezing cold rain. Dinner was meatballs and potatoes, hoops (spaghetti o's) and hot dogs. Yum, it was delicious. We didn't know if it genuinely tasted amazing or if we were cold and hungry. Regardless, it was incredible.

Here we are, ready for the big next day ahead of us. What a crew, wouldn't you agree?! I think we make it look like we camp in the mountains all the time.

Cheers to camping and hiking up mountains! I really am ready for my next hike. :) More pictures to come.

July 13, 2011

UK Edition: Touring with Friends

I really appreciate these two men. Coworkers with both - one from the United States, one from the United Kingdom. Friends with both - one old, one new.

Thank you to the one who has been leading us to all these adventures while in England. Our trip to the United Kingdom would not be the same if you had not spent the time to share it with us!

We spend a lot of time together. Can you tell?? Most of my pictures of people include the three of us.

July 12, 2011

UK Edition: Cloudy or Foggy is Good

It means we are getting closer to the top!

Note to future hikers of Scafell Pike near Keswick, England: its realllllly cold at the summit! Bring a windbreaker or waterproof clothing. Both is best! And an extra pair of socks to wear as mittens!

Whether you take my advice or not, its totally worth the hike. Believe me in that at least.

Looks like a bit of a PDA, I realize, but its totally not, believe me. You need all the body warmth you can get up there...
Ready to climb your next mountain?! I'll get you psyched.

July 11, 2011

UK Edition: Bottom Looking Up

Here is a preview of our weekend near Keswick, UK when we climbed Scafell Pike, the highest point in England. Words don't do much for describing the pictures so I'll try and let them do the talking. I took over 600 pictures this weekend. I know. Looking through them all makes me want to go back. Or become a professional hiker. Or a fell runner (but more on this later).

Hope you enjoy the photos. You'll be seeing plenty more in the near future. And I'm sure distant future as well.

If you click on an image it will enlarge so you get a better view.

Scafell Pike is incredible.