A lot of people have been asking about my trip so I think it would be best to explain with a my take. My sister and I had a ten hour flight from Oakland to London. It took about a half hour longer than it should have because when we were boarding, no one really seemed to understand the words, "the physically disabled and families with small children will be the only ones boarding at this time."
This was my first time on a plane and it was a good flight. Flying on a plane reminds me of being on a roller coaster. The flight crew was clearly efficient and knew what they were doing and even though my sister and I were in economy seats, they treated us like we were in first class. About an hour into the flight they passed out dinner. We had a variety of choices for dinner. I chose chicken with marinara sauce over ravioli sand steamed zucchini on the side. I also got pasta as a side dish and some chocolate cake as dessert. They also had screens built in all the seats in front of you, so my sister and I watched one of the Hobbit movies. I only got jet lag when I first arrived to London not on the way back. The plane we flew on is called Norwegian airlines. I highly recommend them.
We arrived in London and all we really did was go to Westminster Abbey. Which was completely beautiful and I was in complete awe. I did notice that the British are very proper. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The people who worked there said they would be happy to have us back. An employee pointed to a rowdy group of people and said, "they're not." I saw the graves of Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, and the graves of a lot of British monarchs. After that we were too tired. So we went back to the hotel, called our mom, later ordered room service, and went to bed early.
Day after that we went to Buckingham palace, took pictures of that and of Big Ben. We also went to a great sandwich shop that seems to have places all over the UK. It was called Pret a Manger.
Because we were so jet lagged that was all we really did in London other than see the Harry Potter play but that was after we came back from Scotland.
After a few days in London we went further north to Edinburgh. We took a ten hour bus ride to go to Edinburgh. Which was nice. We saw the coast of Scotland and the bus driver meant business so we got to Edinburgh early. When we first started the bus ride, the bus driver explained that we couldn't use the bathroom until we were out of England because the chemicals used in the bathroom are outlawed in England. The bus driver made a few jokes about how the English are uptight. They were good jokes but the British were not laughing. Again, this was a ten hour bus ride, we had a 30 minute break around noon but that was it. There was at least 6 children no older than 5 on that bus. And they were all incredibly well behaved. And none of them were on any electronic devices. Plus the parents were attentive and were playing with their kids. It almost made we want kids. And then I thought no thanks, I like my independence. Whatever we are doing in America to discipline our kids it's not working. Also, in Edinburgh I tried haggis and it was delicious. It tasted like stuffing you get around Thanksgiving.
I loved Edinburgh. We went to Edinburgh castle and saw where the black dinner took place. For my fellow game of thrones fans, the Red Wedding was inspired by the black dinner. It wasn't just the black dinner that inspired the red wedding. George R.R. Martin also had inspiration from the Glencoe massacre which happened in 1692. You can read more about it below. Also we saw where Mary, Queen of Scots was held under house arrest until she was executed. We also saw the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Scone. Or at least scholars think it's the Stone of Scone.
After Edinburgh castle, we went to the Elephant House this was where JK Rowling wrote the first two Harry Potter books. I got myself a coffee cup that says the birthplace of Harry Potter and has an elephant on it. You also get a good view of Edinburgh castle. This was also where I had my first alcoholic drink. It was a hard apple cider and I thought it was disgusting. Mainly because I have never drank alcohol before because I skipped the party stage. I also joined the thousands of fellow Harry Potter fans and wrote a note to JK Rowling. We also climbed Arthur's seat, went to Mary Kings Close, and did some shopping in Edinburgh. I now have my own authentically Scottish kilt.
After Edinburgh, we headed further north to Inverness. We went to Leakeys book shop. I didn't find anything because it had little to no organization and I was looking for something specific. My sister also got 3 bottles of whisky. One for a friend who loves whisky, one for my parents, and another for herself. Even though she doesn't really drink whisky and neither do my parents, but we got it anyways because we thought it would be good to have.
After Inverness we took an all day tour to the Isle of Skye. Which I think was my favorite part of the trip. The isle of Skye looks like the real life Lord of Rings. Our tour guide knew a ton of Scottish history and was hilarious. We also stopped by Loch Ness. Didn't see Nessie though. The Scottish clearly aren't offended by the idea of Nessie. No one will deny her existence.
After we got back from the Isle of Skye tour, we spent one last night in Inverness and had our bags ready to back to London the next day. We were taking the sleeper train so we didn't have to waste an entire day traveling back to London. I am a deep sleeper so I slept fine. Once the train gets moving, it rocks you to sleep.
After we got to London, the only thing we really did was go see the Harry Potter play and go to Platorm 9 3/4, and got a picture. I loved it and I especially loved the specialty effects. Don't read the script and criticize it, if you haven't seen the play. A script is far less descriptive than a play or a book. The only thing that was irritating about the play was that there was two teenage girls behind us who talk in annoying valley girl voices and one of them used my chair as a place to rest her feet. By the way, I don't care what anyone says black Hermione was perfect for the role of Hermione. Hermione is a bright, level headed witch. The actress who played her, did a perfect job portraying her. I also felt the actors for Ron and Harry were great. Harry and his son, Albus have a real father/son relationship. Ron is clearly making Hermione happy and supports her in everything she does. Also I really appreciate that Ginny in the play was fierce and bold like book Ginny and didn't have the personality of a brick like movie Ginny.
The flight back home was wonderful because we flew on Norwegian airlines. After we landed in Oakland, we flew home through Southwest Airlines. They need to step up their game. They didn't tell us our flight was late, my sister had to talk to an employee and told them we were supposed to board 20 minutes earlier and they just said, oh yeah your flight is about an hour late. And then they got on the intercom and told the other passengers. They also made us get a boarding pass even though you could pick any seat. On Norwegian airlines we got a full meal, could order food from the snack bar, and could watch movies and television even though we weren't first class. On Southwest we got to pick any drink but the only food we got was peanuts.
All together, I loved the trip. Even though I missed my family about four days into the trip. Most people assumed we were European, because our last name is Dutch. Which we are Dutch but our nationality is American. Plus, 99% of people pronounced our last name correctly. My mom says its because we were home. But even when they heard our American accent, they still didn't care that we were American. The best part is that no one mentioned Donald Trump thank god. Also, traveling is extremely tiring. No one told the streets of Edinburgh are steep as hell. That gets worse when you are carrying 15 pounds of luggage on your back. Europeans are also very heavy eaters. We spent a ton of time walking, and I still gained almost ten pounds.