Aloha, Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas

Pinkocto

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 22, 2011
I am glad that you like it. I am still on an old subscription package, which has been slightly modified. It used to be one themed pendant for every month, one surprise piece of jewellery and one pair of earrings. She discontinued the themed pendant part and now I get either two surprise pieces of jewellery and a pair of earrings or a pair of earrings and a larger piece of jewellery. She used to ship them every month, but they started to take forever to get here so now she just holds them until I come to the USA and then sends me a nice big package.
Corinna
I can't imagine how fun it is to open that package! :)
 

Flossbolna

Sea days are just so relaxing!
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
I use T Mobile. I did this in 2013 and it worked great. At the time there was a plan that was $2 for every day it was used and gave me unlimited texts and calls and a decent data allowance. They have now discontinued this plan, but it looks like there is a plan for $30 that is valid for a month and offers 5GB data, 100 minutes of calls and unlimited texts. This should work nicely for me.
Thanks for the info! That package sounds very similar to the one that I had. Where do you buy the SIM?
 
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    A Wander Around Newcastle and Durham

    Originally I was planning to do kind of an ongoing trip report for the little trips I had planned during the summer. However, I soon realised that I do not really have time for this at the moment. I still want to share some photos though.



    The Grainger Town area of Newcastle, which is pretty much the city centre, is full to the rafters with beautiful historical buildings. Out of the 450 buildings in this area, 244 are listed. As I am very much interested in both architecture and history, I had a field day.







































    Newcastle has a large number of beautiful churches. I visited three of them. The first and my favourite is St. Mary's Cathedral, which is the Roman Catholic cathedral of Newcastle. The church was built in the 1840s to a neo-Gothic design by architect August Welby Pugin, famous for his work on the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. It is particularly well known for its tiles that feature on the floor and also underneath the windows. I had to smile when I saw the name of St. John of Beverley undeneath one window as Beverley will always remain my spiritual home.



























     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Newcastle also has a Church of England Cathedral, called St. Nicholas Cathedral. The original cathedral was built in the late 11th century at the same time as the castle next door. The original church was destroyed in a fire and the building that we can see today comes from the 14th and 15th century. It is famous for its lantern tower, which used to be the main navigation point for ships on the river Tyne.





























    The third church I visited is called St. John the Baptist and is right opposite Graham's office. Part of the church was built in 1130 and a window arch from that original church is still there. The building was repeatedly added to. It is a real hidden gem.







    The Castle, Newcastle is a medieval fortification in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, built on the site of the fortress which gave the City of Newcastle its name. The most prominent remaining structures on the site are the Castle Keep, the castle's main fortified stone tower, and the Black Gate, its fortified gatehouse. The Black Gate houses the ticket office, a shop and a small museum about the history of the castle and surrounding area. The keep houses another small museum in great hall and you can visit a chapel, the dungeon, the cellar and a couple of other rooms. However, they are pretty much just empty rooms. The highlight are the views from the top of the Castle Keep.



















     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    What Newcastle is probably best know for are its bridges over the river Tyne, which connect Newcastle with its sister city Gateshead. They are rather impressive.









    Another area of Newcastle that is worth looking at is the Quayside. This requires a bit of effort as to get there, you have to go down quite a steep hill and of course up again when you are done. However, it is well worth it. Not only do you get a fantastic view of the bridges, but this area is full of pretty buildings with restaurants, bars and cafes.



    Something that deserves a closer look in future is Gateshead. This city also has a some interesting architecture ranging from the St. Mary's Heritage Centre, which is housed in a former church dating back to the 12th century to the very modern Sage Centre. On this occasion, I only got a quick look at both of them from the Hop On Hop Off bus, but when I get another chance to explore this area, I will have a closer look.





     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    When I first visited Graham in Newcastle, we decided that if get another chance this summer, we would add a day and use it to explore Durham. From the train, you can see the castle and the cathedral, which together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When I thought Newcastle was hilly, I had not seen Durham yet. We did a lot of mountaineering that day, but it was well worth it.

    Our first impression of historical Durham was the market place which is at the bottom of the rather steep cobbled hill that leads up to the castle and the cathedral.





    We had a tour booked for the castle. Construction of the Castle began in 1072 under the orders of William the Conqueror. Since 1837, Durham Castle has been home of University College, the oldest of Durham University's Colleges. This is the reason why Durham Castle can only be visited as part of a tour. During the summer months, the student accommodation is turned into a bed and breakfast.







































    Unfortunately photography is not permitted inside the castle so I had to borrow photos from the internet.

    The first thing we visited inside the castle is the Norman chapel. At one point during history this had been bricked up and was found again when the university wanted to build an alternative access route to the castle. This is still used as a place of worship, but also as a performing arts venue. The chapel and specifically the stone carvings on top of the pillars are one of the reasons why Durham castle became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.






    The other reason is this Norman archway, which was originally on the outside of the building and again got bricked up. This was discovered when the castle was extended and an internal passage way was added.



    Durham Castle also has a second bigger chapel with was built by one of the Prince Bishops, which is also pretty impressive.



    We also got to see the Great Hall, which during term time is the dining room for the students. During the summer months, it is used for special events and while we were there, it was being set up for a wedding. What looks like bells on the wall are actually suits of armours.





    The Green links the castle, the cathedral and other buildings that are part of the university.





    The cathedral



    Again, photography is not permitted inside the cathedral so I borrowed some photos from the internet.







    This clock amused me as it features a hidden Mickey of sorts.



    The are currently building a model of the cathedral out of Lego. I really want to see this when it is finished.



     
    Last edited:

    PrincessInOz

    Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2010
    Thanks for sharing your pictures of Newcastle and Gateshead. The churches are beautiful and there seem to be a LOT of interesting buildings and architecture in Newcastle. I love the tiling!
    Looking forward to Durham!
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    The pictures are very nice. The architecture is so interesting. I'm loving all these folks in your neck of the woods posting pictures. Between yours and another's I'm getting England and Italy!
     
  • jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2005
    I love all the pictures of the cathedrals. Very beautiful. The architecture is really stunning.

    Jill in CO
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I will come back and answer later when I get home from work. I just wanted to add the Durham instalment. Unfortunately Flickr was very slow yesterday.
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    Corinna, thank you so much for all those gorgeous pictures!!! It has really driven home to me the fact that I MUST get back to the U.K. for a long trip.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Thanks for sharing your pictures of Newcastle and Gateshead. The churches are beautiful and there seem to be a LOT of interesting buildings and architecture in Newcastle. I love the tiling!
    This really surprised me. Newcastle has the reputation that it is a bit grim. I am sure like any big city, it has places that are not so lovely, but on the whole it is a very beautiful city.

    Looking forward to Durham!
    This has now been posted.

    The pictures are very nice. The architecture is so interesting.
    We are very lucky in the UK. Sure, I sometimes which I could live in California or Dubai for the weather if nothing else, but we are absolutely spoiled with history and architecture in the UK.

    I love all the pictures of the cathedrals. Very beautiful. The architecture is really stunning.
    There are so many gems in this country and some of them were you least expect them.

    Corinna, thank you so much for all those gorgeous pictures!!! It has really driven home to me the fact that I MUST get back to the U.K. for a long trip.
    You definitely should. A lot of people from the USA "do" London, Windsor and maybe Stonehenge, Stratford on Avon and Bath and think they have seen the UK. Those are all nice and fascinating places and I would not discount any of them, but having lived both in the South of the UK and now in the North, I think a lot of the true beauty is actually up north from the cities of York, Durham and New Castle, historical market towns of Beverley, Whitby, Hebden Bridge and Scarborough; the stunning countryside of the High Peak National park and the West and North Yorkshire Moors. Of course, my hometown Manchester is not so shabby either. If you ever make it to the north of England, let me know and you will have a guide.

    Lovely pics! The Great Hall reminded me of Hogwarts!
    You are actually not far off. Quite a few scenes involving Hogwarts were actually filmed in Durham, but at the cathedral rather than at the castle. Durham cathedral’s cloisters became the snow-covered quadrangle, where Harry sets the owl flying in the first film and is also the scene of Ron’s slug vomiting in the Chamber of Secrets. The cathedral chapter house is the venue for Professor McGonagall’s class teaching the young wizards to turn animals into water goblets.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    A Wander Around Dubai

    This was something that absolutely was not planned. I found out in May that I have to go to Dubai for some training and this then evolved into Graham joining me after the work part and us turning this into a bit of a mini vacation. This was my first visit to Dubai since March 2013 and the very first visit during the summer months. I was very worried about this, but although we had daytime temperatures of 43 degrees and even at night the temperatures did not drop below 37 degrees, I was actually OK with this.

    The first three days were taken up by the training. The colleague I went with and I did however manage a dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe the first evening.





    On the second evening during the training, we did a tour on a Zodiac speedboat around the marina, Atlantis and Burj Al Arab. We had booked as 18:00 tour and this was perfect. Half way through the tour, we got treated to a sunset and then we were able to cruise around the marina when all the lights came on. This was a great tour and I would recommend this to anybody who is visiting Dubai.

























     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    The second big highlight of the trip was another tour. This one was very much based on land. It is called Iconic Dubai. After being collected from our hotel and picking up our guide and some other customers on the way, we headed to the Atlantis first. We started our time there with High Tea. The tea was served in the hotel part where you normally can't get to unless you are staying there. I have to say that this was the biggest pull for me. They have a Chihuly glass statue in the hotel lobby and I have been desperate to see this for a number of years.











    The tea was rather lovely as well. We got finger sandwiches. Two of them were fish (tuna and salmon) and Graham kindly swapped mine for his cucumber sandwich and chicken wrap. We also got an assortment of mini cakes, scones with clotted cream and jam and some tea. It was all rather lovely.



    We also got to have a quick look at the aquarium, but I did not take any photos there as the light was quite difficult.

    We then headed over for quick photo stop at the Burj al Arab.



    We also did an unscheduled stop where they exhibit and sell crafts produced in the UAE. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos in there as some of the pieces were stunning. My favourite were carpets embroidered with spun gold thread and embelished with semi precious stones. Here is something very similar.


     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    After this stop we headed to the Burj Khalifa, which is still the highest building in the world. They have slightly changed the setup of the observation deck. This used to be only on the 124th floor and consisted of an indoor area and a balcony. They still have this, but now added the 125th floor as well, which is completely indoors. That suited us just fine as none of us is all that good with heights.























    The last part of the tour was the 19:00 show of the Dubai fountains. This was impressive as ever.



































    The photos from the Dubai fountain were taken with a new lens that Graham has surprised me with. I rather like this lens.

    Once the show was over, I took some more photos and then we headed back to the hotel.









    We spent some time moongazing on the pool deck, but my attempts to take photos through the telescope did not work out. For the rest of our stay, we did one of the famous Dubai Friday branches and spent Saturday in the waterpark at the Atlantis, but I do not have photographic evidence of this.
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    What a stark difference between the photos in the UK and Dubai. I thought of the same thing with the Great Hall how much it resembled the dining room at Hogwarts! The fountain show looked very impressive.
     







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