Monday, August 14, 2006

England, Part 1 - Warwick & Lincoln (Aug. 4 & 5, 2006)

Yes, so my last post was about the ghost hunt at Warwick Castle. Obviously, I will not go on about that here. This is everything else but that, and photos.

First, a crazy photo I took at Warwick. It was dark, and the original photo is mostly black, except for the faint outline of the castle. I played with the "Auto Smart Fix" and the "Auto Contrast" features in PhotoShop Elements, and got these two interesting results:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket (Auto Smart Fix)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket (Auto Contrast)

Anyway, Melissa (my friend who lives near Lincoln, England) and I left Friday morning for Warwick. We arrived around lunchtime. I had reservations at the Days Inn somewhere in Warwick, and as we discovered, it was located at a Welcome Break, which is one of those massive roadside rests boasting several eating establishments, a gas station, a hotel, and shops. It was too early to check-in, as it was about 1 pm, so we ate lunch at the Welcome Break - Kentucky Fried Chicken. Then we wandered over to the Days Inn to check in, only to find out that the one where we had reservations was actually on the other side of the motorway. Ah well. We went up to the next exit and turned around and went to the other (identical) Welcome Break, and checked into our hotel. I wanted to get some sleep, since I was going to be up all night. Melissa went to the castle, where they are having their medieval days demonstrations everyday this summer. She got to see jousting, hand to hand combat, trebuchet, and other things. I figured that since I had just recently been to a similar event in Germany, I wasn't going to miss much anyway. I gave her my camera, and she took pictures (which are included in the link below).

Melissa came back to the room about 6…I had about 3.5 hours of sleep, more or less. I had showered and changed, so we drove back into Warwick in search of dinner. It's a rather small town, so it wasn't particularly hard to find the main drag. We decided on an Indian restaurant, since I haven't had much experience with Indian food. I ordered chicken korma, since it's a mild dish, and it was very good. I had rice on the side. Melissa had chicken tikka masala with garlic naan on the side, so we shared the rice and the naan. We had poppadams as an appetizer with mango chutney, onion relish, and a garlic yogurt spread. Tasty.

After dinner, Melissa and I had to run back to the hotel, since I realized that I forgot my flashlight for the ghost hunt. Then she dropped me off. If you haven't read about what happened after that, see the post below this one.

The following morning, at 5 am, Melissa picked me up from the castle and we went back to the hotel. I slept a little, but I was too wired from the events overnight. Melissa did a much better job of sleeping than I did. Melissa woke up about 10:30. By that time, I had already written out notes about the ghost hunt, and had moved on to a book. We checked out of our hotel at 11 and then had breakfast at the coffee shop inside the Welcome Break. I had a croissant and tea.

Then the trip back to Retford. It took a little over 2 hours. We went into the market square, where the Saturday market was being held. Melissa bought some marinated olives for our dinner that night. Mike (Melissa's husband) met up with us there and we went out to lunch somewhere locally…I forget the name of the place. Then we went back to Melissa's place and she headed off to the store to buy some cheese, crackers, strawberries, and wine for our dinner that night.

Melissa and I planned to attend the Lincoln Shakespeare Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that night, which was performed outdoors at the medieval Bishop's Palace, right in the shadow of the cathedral. We packed up our picnic beforehand of all the foodstuffs mentioned previously, and enjoyed a "dead posh" meal out on the grass before the show ("dead posh" is Melissa's term...gotta love that English slang!). The play was wonderful. It was so hilarious and the setting could not have been more beautiful. The only problem I had was that a wedding was going on nearby and the music was very loud - jazz music - which didn't quite go with the ambience of the play. But otherwise, it was an amazing time. Afterwards, we walked down (aptly named) Steep Hill, back to Melissa's car, which was parked in a garage by the riverfront…a pretty good distance away. It was a nice walk though. A beautiful evening, and everything lit up all over Lincoln. Lovely.

Pictures (all mine, except where noted)

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