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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

December 21, 2014

Run, run Rudolph

Run, run Rudolph. Santa's gotta make it to town. Santa make him hurry, tell him to take the freeway now. Santa's got him running, running like a merry-go-round.



I don't know about you, but I always stress out a week from Christmas thinking about all the presents I have to make or buy. I always aim too high. I then realise at Christmas Eve that I don't need to have a present for everybody, because for me just spending time with the family is all I need. Laughing, singing, hiccuping from eating too much too quickly, and reading the Christmas story together.

If I didn't have my family with me, I would be missing the greatest present of all.

My Grandmother and I having some lovely joulutorttu and tea together with my parents.

So know I understand that it doesn't matter about those impending deadlines that so many of us have. Christmas, I believe, is about being thankful for all that we have now in this moment.

This Christmas season let's spend it together. For love is what makes the world go round, not presents <3

Merry Christmas readers!!

Laura

xoxo

November 28, 2014

Day Sixteen: York to Cambridge via Stanstead

17th July 2014

I have to say, this was probably one of the worst nights I have ever experienced. The place we stayed in was, to put it lightly, definetely not what we had booked online. My brother Harri and I shared a double bed, and the room was so small that, in order for me to get out, I had to manouvre myself around Harri somehow. This was one practice which I happened to learn very well I think from the never-ending, sleepless night. To cut a long night short, my mum found me sitting up asleep on the coach downstairs in the morning.

To leave the negatives aside, the pub owner gave us a lovely complimentary breakfast, ladened with English muffins, fruit and cereals. After eating a nice breakfast, we were all very happy to take the bus to the train station, and say good-riddance to that accommodation.

Since I had a sleepless night, I had a wakeless day. If you can say that :) I don't really remember that much from the day, besides feeling grumpy, tired and fearlessly annoyed. Hence, I have asked Harri Badham (my brother) to write out the itinerary for the day. I helped him by editing it, and adding some highlights I found, so hopefully you enjoy it:

Cambridge was my highlight of the whole trip. A life's dream turned reality is a special thing. I had great expectations for this quaint but world-renowned town, and anything I had imagined was surpassed. However, as we got off the train from Stanstead and began to walk into the centre of town, we all said "this better be worth it". The reason that I said this was, not because I was not completely happy to be in my dreamed college town, but because the day that we happened to arrive was sweltering hot. I know that this effected the mood of the women, since they were happy to head towards the air-conditioned shopping center rather than the glorious buildings we were here to see. Nevertheless, we all pushed on. And as we turned the corner, the amazing college-filled streets captured my eyes, like a pendulum, putting me in a trance. From then on, the sweltering hot miserable day turned into an enlightenment. The old, but amazingly maintained architecture was illuminated with rich and bold shades of yellow, orange, brown, rush and maroon, which shimmered when rays of sunlight caught the bright colours, and swirled when the heat caught the building off guard. Another fascinating observation was how this small university town was half-filled with tourists, who were inspecting the individual colleges with their unique styles and layouts as if they were set displays at a museum. This added to the exclusiveness of the colleges as they were seen as precious artefacts that were not to be touched or explored too deeply but merely admired for their grand structures and pristine-cut grass courtyards where one could not tread.



Walking through the grand entrance of one of the smallest colleges, Corpus Christi College, was an experience where I felt a sense of belonging. This is a small, close-knit student community, where I imagine the draws of intertwining studying, living and spending free time as completely magical.



Each college has its own chapel, which is a great place to find peace in a hectic study environment. In addition, it represents one of the many amazing traditional aspects of the university that one can still seen today.



We then continued walking through a passageway between the college buildings that rose up like grand statues. Everywhere we turned a new piece of architecture would catch my eye, and I would have to drag myself away again, and again, and again.



The highlight of the day was punting (punting is basically pushing a canoe-shaped boat with a long pole) down the River Cam and seeing the beautiful Backs, which is the official name for the back courtyards of the colleges. I think what I loved best was being able to relax in the much cooler evening, in contrast to the boiling day. It was while punting that I could dreamily look in wonderment at all the colleges in the town that I hope may become my college town someday.

Coincidentally our driver and tour guide was from Australia! He told us some interesting facts about the colleges, and the famous students that went there, from A.A. Milne to Prince Charles (who basically bribed his way in), Isaac Newton to John Cleese, and Charles Darwin to Emma Thompson.

This bridge is actually a replication of the well-known Bridge of Sighs in Italy.


While floating past the amazing sights of Cambridge, we came across my personal favorite, King's College. I had actually left an image of this college I had found on Google last year as my screen saver on my iPad. However, nothing could quite compare to being right outside the college. Luckily enough, there were fireworks being set up for some sort of celebration just on the river bed, which took me back in time. Hence, the most iconic Cambridge college happened to look like an antique picture!



The tour guide, who was also the driver, told us about a cambridge "tradition" where the thrill-seekers climb the Cambridge colleges for the thrill of it. In one case, a foolhardy individual placed a witches hats on the the steeples of Kings College as a joke but also as proof that someone climbed one of the most amazing colleges (in my opinion) in the world. There is something about its being a mystery, where no-one knows who climbed the building, that makes it quite magical. Like something out of a movie.

Hit a bit of traffic as tourists had a go at punting themselves.

The three hot and bothered passengers that I dragged here could finally appreciate the beauty of Cambridge (it being much cooler in the evening).

Overall this experience has opened my eyes to a window of opportunities that seem so much closer than ever before. The fact that it's a 15th century university town that has stood the test of time, and been the setting of the world's most accomplished names, says it all. Who wouldn't want to come here!



Harri loves the whole idea of Cambridge, while I myself am not too sure about the whole business of the area. While it is a lovely city, I think for university maybe it would be nicer to go to a city that is not just a university city. But ... everyone is different. That is what is so lovely about this world ;)

Oh, and we went via Stanstead from York because the hotels and hostels in Cambridge cost a lot of money, while the hostels in Stanstead were much cheaper. However, once at Stanstead we still had to pay for a taxi to the hotel and back from the airport (where the train station is), so I am not sure whether it was a saving really.

Signing off from such a magical town.

Now you are uptodate,

Laura

xoxo



July 24, 2014

Day Fifteen: Edinburgh to York to Scarborough

16th July 2014

"The best dreams happen when you are awake" as Cherie Gilderbloom says.

Today was definetely one of the best dreams I could ever dream. The higlight of the day for me was wading through the sea on the north beach in Scarborough, while Mum says the highlight for her was meeting some friends from Australia in York. Needless to say, we did do a whole lot in one day. No wonder I am exausted!!

The day all started when we woke up in our lovely hotel and ate a heart-warming Scottish breakfast. I felt like royalty, sitting there while a waitress came and took my request for poached egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, and hashbrown. I would definetely reccommmend this hotel called Ailsa Craig Hotel, and it was very simple then to just head from there to Waverly Station.

From the station I then quickly ran through the streets of Edinburgh new town to get to a souvenir shop before the train arrived. The previous day I had decided on a shirt I would like from Edinburgh, but Dad couldn't remember his pin code for his card at the time, and it happened to be the day I left my card in my suitcase;) So, I was rushing through the new town streets of Edinburgh, and it was then that I realised how much I really love Scotland. It is ironic, because the shirt says 'I love Scotland' :D

As we all found our seats in the train heading to York, we paid our farewells to Edinburgh. The train trip was around two hours to York, but Harri said it wasn't long enough:) He was trying to finish his book, but didn't quite make it. Too bad Harri...

After walking out the train station in York we were all bombarded with hot weather and sticky humidity. For me the heat was just bearable, untill we walked into the full sun, and only then did it felt like I was frying. In fact, I dont usually sweat, but on the top of my lip I could feel persperation... It wasn't pretty.

Finally arriving at our accomodation, I was very disappointed. In fact, we all didn't particularly find the accommodation incredibly inviting, as it was quite dusty everywhere, and it didn't seem like it had been cleaned for a while. I though it was very decieving, because in the pictures online the place looked much nicer with different furniture... That was a bit of a let down:(

However, learning of an impending deadline, we had to quickly walk back to the train station to meet some friends from Australia. After nearly melting of heat in the sun, and dying of thirst we arrived at the train station just as our friends had arrived from a nice cool air-conditioned car. Grr... It was awkward then when I said to them that it was boiling, and they said that it was nothing compared to Australia ... Grr...

Anywayz, we had a nice walk through York to find a cafe to sit down and chat. York is a very old town, and full of elderly it seemed. Although it could just be that all the kids weer still at school, as it wasn't school holidays in England yet. It was then nice to stop at a cafe and sit down with green tea in air-conditioning. Our friends had brought with them their daughter's family who lived in Edinburgh, and they were very homely to talk with. So, we arranged that if we are ever in Scotland we can go over and stay with them. I also have a potential uni accommodation :D

After we said our goodbyes, we left for the train station in a start\stop kind of jog. We had planned to go to Scarborough that afternoon, which is on the Eastern coast of England. I had originally planned to get to Whitby and Goathland (Aidensfield from Heartbeat), but it is practically inaccessible by train, so the next best thing I could find was Scarborough. In Heartbeat, a crime TV show that everyone in our family loves, there is talk about Scarborough, so at least it was somehow related :D After a half-hearted jog from the city to the railway station we just made it to the train and boarded the one hour trip to Scarborough.

Once we arrived in Scarborough Dad and I instantly thought of Cleveland in Australia. We walked out of the station and everyone was wearing short-sleeved t-shirts with shorts or a dress, it was just like home:) The sound of sea-gulls skwarking, and the lovely breeze cooling the hot temperatures, was all the place needed to feel like I was in Cleveland. We weren't exactly sure where to go, but we followed a sign saying Harbour. Then, out of nowhere a vintage like sea side landscape entered our line of vision.

Scarborough beach, with Scarborough castle ontop of the hill.

Scarborough beach.

In Sacrborough two beaches are seperated by a hill that houses the castle. All in the name of curiosity we walked all the way around the mountain from one beach to the other. Not to say that it wasn't a lovely walk, it was just a very long walk. As we finally saw the other beach, Harri and I waded through the water on the beach for a while. We then had a very hearty fish and chips :)

On the train back to York from Scarborough. We all weren't looking forward to returning to the accommodation, but it had to be done...

Walking to our accommodation we passed York Minster, which is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. It was really nice with the sunset reflecting off the windows.


That was basically the longest day we have had so far I think on record;) Well, maybe not, but I was definetely ready to delve into the blankets in sleep... Little did I know...

Now you are uptodate,

Laura.

Xoxo

July 23, 2014

Day Fourteen: Edinburgh New Town

15th July 2014

The thing that I most enjoyed about waking up in different beds each morning was the thrill of a new day of travel. The thing that I most don't like is moving our lugagge. Today we had booked another little hotel nearer to the New Town of Edinburgh, so up we got and lugged our lugagge to the new accommodation just like every other tourist:) There was no breakfast in the old accommodation, so along the way we were all pretty much dead till we found a nice cafe to get a breakfast roll. However, even then I felt I had no energy:( Hence, I think we need to get accommodation close to the railway station from now on (grumpy Miss Laura).

Anyway, it was a very lovely day. Although it was spitting in the morning, it was sunny in the afternoon. After leaving our luggage at our new hotel, we headed down to the new town of Edinburgh.

A view of Edinburgh from our walk to the new town.

Princes Street gardens, overlooking Edinburgh Castle.

Grandma, this is the exact sight you were ten years ago! The clock is awesome, and Dad thinks that it actally moves towards the time. I never saw it move though:)

The amazing Edinburgh Castle.

The end to our day was shopping on Prince's Street. While Harri got his Iphone screen repaired, I bought an awesome bag that reads 'This is Scotland'.

Now we went to sleep and dreamt of being queens and kings ruling Edinburgh from the Edinburgh Castle.

Now you are uptodate,

Laura

xoxo

Day Thirteen p.2: Edinburgh Arthur's Seat

14th July 2014

It was the most beautiful panorama I have ever seen! Near the Holyrood Palace there is a steep cliff called Arthur that is great fun to climb, and the scenery is truly astounding. Mum and Dad didn't believe me when I notified them that we would be climbing the thing, but they mostly follow along with the things I plan for them to do:)

On the way up Arthur's Seat.

Harri taking a picture of the view in such an awkward position. Edinburgh view of the Scottish Coast.
Finally at the top I took a selfie of the view. I wasn't sure if it would work cause the afternoon sun was very bright, but it seems like it did :D

The walk down from Arthur's seat was much easier than going upwards, thankfully. The thistle is a national flower of Scotland.

We conquered Arthur's Seat!! This was the last photo I took on my camera before it notified me that the memory was full :D

After such a climb we were ready to hit the sack and call it a night;)

Now you are uptodate,

Laura

Xoxo

Day Thirteen p.1: Glasgow to Edinburgh

14th July 2014

Waking up early on a bed made of roses is illegal. It has to be :) So needless to say, when mum woke me up at around seven I was not happy. We had to wake up to pack, because the hosts were coming at 9:30 and we needed to be pasked and ready to leave to Edinburgh.

After checking out with the hosts, and assuring them that our stay was amazing, we hopped on the train to Glasgow Central. From there we then took abother train to Edinburgh.

The train trip to Edinburgh from Glasgow took just under an hour. It was a very comfortable train, and the scenery was again gorgeous:) Then, when we arrived and emerged from the train station, we were bombarded with an assortment of old black/grey buildings everywhere. It was like walking into a movie set or painting, where everything is perfectly straight and defined. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture, so you will just have to use your imagination.

Our accommodation for the first night was a couple of miles out of the city center, and I wanted to take a bus. However, dad insisted that we walk. I was a bit annoyed for a while, but then when we arrived at the accommodation I had a power nap and was fine. That really helped, a power nap, because then you can sort through your feelings.

After a couple of hours spent walking to and from our accommodation (all in the name of saving money) we finally entered the Old Town. The old town in Edinburgh is situated around The Royal Mile, which is a street lined with older houses, museums and shops. At the top of The Royal Mile is Edinburgh Castle, and at the bottom Holyrood Palace, the royal residence of the Queen in Edinburgh. Hence the reason for the word 'royal' infront of mile.

A story about Holyrood Palace: David the first King of Scots was riding around the nearby forestry with trees streaming by on either side of him. As he was going he was hunting down male deer, who were giving him a good chase. The story goes that he inevitably hit one of a tree root and fell off his noble stallion to fall prey to one of these (by now anger-striken) male deer. He was then fearful for his life, till a bright cross was seen illuminated in the sky. He then wished to honour this cross by creating Holyrood (Holy cross) Palace on the site of his near-death experience.

Along The Royal Mile there are also these cavities going downwards from the road to the New Town called a close, where people of Edinburgh used to live to save space before the New Town was established. However illness was soon spread through the closes, so the New Town was built. I personally love Edinburgh for such an amazingly untouched history.

Walking up The Royal Mile.


Machinery used to weave traditional Scottish tartan clothing.

Harri taking a picture from a close.

We were walking along and found a handprint of J. K. Rolling. Harri loves Harry Potter, so that was a nice surprise.

-continues in p.2: Edinburgh Arthur's Seat

July 17, 2014

Day Twelve: Glasgow

13th July 2014

My brother Harri has kindly donated a post for this day to his tired sister:) Here it is:

Today I experienced an awakening to what the UK has to offer for a young person like me. Glasgow is an old city that has flourished into a modern metropolitan to create a wonderful balance between old and new.

The day got off to a slow start as the washing did not dry in our cool but comfortable Victorian a townhouse. Located in a beautiful classic British town our location allows us to experience the true British life. What a dream!

We started in the modern part of the city as we explored Laura's (hopefully) future University, Glasgow Caledonian University (shortened by the Glaswegians to "Cally"). The friendly people really overshadowed any negatives of the university, as they expressed great interest in Laura and our trip.

By chance we found an impressively sleek and immaculate high street, called West End, where the large almost car-free streets and amazing views of the park and city blew us away.
Even though it was raining and our non-waterproof shoes were giving way to the wetness, it created a very magical atmosphere; the wonder of a typical British rainy day.


West End was the beginning of our journey through Glasgow wonderland. I want to live here!!!


The beautiful and peaceful Kelvingrove Park; fantastical.

I honestly couldn't believe that this was Glasgow University when I first saw it. One of the most imposing buildings I've ever seen, standing on the hill, showing off its medieval charm to be seen from all over the city. We literally saw it from about 10 different views! It's extraordinary Harry Potter-like charm (along with the beautiful surrounding parkland) placed it at the top of my prospective University list. Let me say that the inside did not disappoint. From the array of rounded pillars, that flow like waves under the building, to the simply stunning courtyards will guarantee to impress anyone.



One of many amazing views of Glasgow University.


Mum losing herself in the arches that flow out of the ground like giant springs.

Our minds still in awe of what we had just witnessed, we continued to another impressive building that offered more than just pretty architecture. Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery was very "educational" (quote dad) as for each section and every single piece of art there was a description of the piece itself along an explanation of the technique.


A perfect little big museum that showcased famous Monet and Van Gogh paintings.

(big painting)
This great big painting (located in the museum and art gallery) contains more than 200 real people (including Queen Victoria) who all attended an art exhibition in Glasgow.


My favourite car standing in contrast to the victorian street backdrop. i noticed these all over Great Britain. It must be a sign!

And finally we arrived back to our quaint, and cozy townhouse where I started to write this blog on the comfortable couches in the living room.


The cute entrance to our victorian abode.

Now you are uptodate,

Laura and Harri:)

Xoxo

Day Eleven: Loch Lomond

12th July 2014

The first day that we arrived in Glasgow was a Sunday, and we thought that it would be nice to go to Loch (lake) Lomond. It is the second largest lake in Scotland, and since it was a Sunday it would be better that not being able to go into any attraction in Glasgow. Lake Lomond is an hour trip away from Glasgow, and we wanted to make the most of the britrail pass ;)

So, we left in a drizzle of rain from our apartment. The area where we have an apartment is very scenic, with old houses lining the roads and a lovely park nearby.

Mum and Dad walking along our apartment's road. Dad won't use an umbrella unless it is pouring, and even then not unless he has to walk a long distance;)

The Commonwealth Games 2014 sign for Glasgow. We were wallking towards the Queens Station, which heads to a station near Loch Lomond called Balloch.

The amazing scenery that greeted us in Balloch of Lake Lomond.

We went along a park leading to a castle apparently, and many people were walking dogs. I went 'awww' every couple of seconds, because the dogs were so cute!

The Castle in Balloch. We were walking along a park, and it suddenly arose from the masses. It was just like a scene in Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth first sees Pemberley House from the carriage.

The castle was unfortunately having repair works, but it didn't bother us...

We walked up the hill to the castle, and here we are sitting down on a bench catching our breath and eating bananas and scones from Marks and Spencer (our grocers here in the UK).UK).

Around the castle there are lovely gardens, and we found a walled in garden in the middle of nowhere. I couldn't help but think we had gone back in time to the Victorian period, and would notice a lady and gentlemen in long dress clothes emerge from a path:)

After going to the castle we walked around another side of the lake to this gorgous area. We were considering getting a four-people canoe, but it was a bit nippy. Maybe next time?

We then stayed up late watching the Fifa world cup finale :))

Now you are uptodate,

Laura.

xoxo

July 14, 2014

Day Eleven: Cardiff to Glasgow

12th July 2014

Our Cardiff mornings have been all sunny and bright. This morning was no different, at at the prospect of our long train journey, we were keen to get going. Our breakfast was filling, and after we packed we started the short walk to the central station. We had bought a britrail pass, and so we just needed to get it stamped. It was very easy then, and while we waited for the train we went to a magazine store. There I bought a book, which was great on the six-hour train trip we would be taking:)

On the train we saw amazing sceneries, full of different shades of green and gold. The pastures we passed were very quant, with herds of sheep and cows.


Dad was happy to read The Telegraph newspaper:)


We passed through The Lake District, which was really amazing!

In this photo you can see the sea, after leaving The Lake District towards Scotland.



We all had seats together, which allowed us to talk more freely.


After arriving in Glasgow we got on another train to our airbnb housing. It was one stop away, and it was a very nice suburb. Our host Lisa has a lovely dog called Poppy, who ran up to meet us straight away:)

It will be lovely to go to sleep :D

Now you are uptodate,

Laura.

Xoxo