Today’s Saturday Edition (actually on Sunday) is Kamel’s 6th installment! Woo hoo!
Last week Lauren posted a blog about her trip to Paris alone. This reminded me of the time I went to the UK back in 2007 where what was supposed to be a week long work trip turned into a Two and a half month stay. The majority of the time, I was in Knutsford, England. A tiny, middle of nowhere town that reminded me of Hot Fuzz. This was the first time I ever met my friend Kellam too. After months of being in this purgatory together, we became great friends.
So during this time, I had a total of 4 days off, not counting travel days. So what would you do if you had a day off after working 16+ hour days for 2 weeks in a row in the middle of the UK? Stay in your hotel room and sleep all day? (That’s what Kellam did!) Nope. I got my ass up early in the morning and took the Train down to London.
I only had a few hours to walk around and explore since I had to catch the afternoon train back and had to work the next day. But this first day, alone in London was EPIC. I saw so many things, I didn’t even know what they were! So I learned as I wandered into new areas. I walked into Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, took the underground “tubes” left and right and finally went back to the station to get back to Knutsford.
For the next 2 weeks I was antsy to have another day off. I couldn’t believe that I was in the UK for the first time ever and I was wasting time working and eating and eating and eating. My friend Kellam did as well, to the point where half way through we had to buy new clothes. 🙁
In these pictures I am about 220lbs (I’m 175 now). Kellam also gained her share of weight, to the point where half way through the trip we had to buy new clothes. 🙁 In a two month period of time I ended up gaining 20-25 pounds. And, as you’ll see, I used to think I was cool by not smiling in any of the photos, so I’m dead serious in everything. However, I was incredibly happy and having the adventure of my life during all of this! So yeah…
Oh and, Lauren wants me to make sure I tell you that she did not marry this guy. The guy who doesn’t smile in photos and when he does, looks like a total creeper. (She asked me to bold this)
In fact, every place I went to had amazing Ice Cream booths with the most delicious ice cream you’ve ever had! While going through photos, I was excited enough to document, many times, my ice cream obsession. Instead of, ya know, taking pics of say, the Tower Bridge behind me.
Anyways… 2 weeks later was my next day off and I did the same thing. Woke up at 5am and was on a 6am train. This time though, I decided to go north to Edinburgh, Scotland. I didn’t know anything about this place other than what Kellam had told me and from what I’ve seen in Braveheart. But man, this place was AMAZING.
Again, I had just a few hours to walk around and try to cram as much as possible before having to board back and return to my purgatory. The day was super sunny and full of people. I saw Edinburgh Castle, walked down the Royal Mile, sat in some Park whose name I don’t remember, and even got a ticket for “Terrorism”. I didn’t want to leave. In fact, I was tempted to check into a hostel and call in sick the next day. But I had no cell phone or computer, so LucasArts would probably think I ran away with the expense monies or died. So I went back to Knutsford and worked, worked, worked.
Lucky for me, just a few days later we had another window to take a day off. So boom. I’m back in Edinburgh. This time though, it was cold, windy and cloudy. But I still had an amazing time.
SMILE KAMEL, YOU KNOW YOU WERE HAPPY! ughh….
Again, I could not refuse the tasty Ice Cream at the Castle.
By the end of this day I was exhausted from all the walking. I had seen King Arthur’s Seat, The ruins atop the hills, Mary King’s Close (a creepy, and possibly haunted underground area of the city where people with the plague went to die), churches, downtown and I even saw a wedding. I almost fell asleep on the train ride back.
Many weeks later, we were finally done with work on a Thursday and my boss gave me two options as a reward. One, they would pay to fly me back home that very night (I was scheduled to fly back on Sunday.) Or, stay until Sunday BUT this time in London and at a really nice hotel – on them. Ha! What would any sane person pick? So back to London I go to check into my new Hotel, The Leonard.
This place was so much larger than my little shoebox room in Warrington. I made plans to see as much as I could of London during the next 2 days. And boy did I go nuts.
This time I was able to go inside the Tower of London, where I saw some really impressive things, like Longshanks’ bedroom (the evil king from Braveheart), the carvings on the walls that high profile prisoners made while awaiting their beheadings.
I also finally got a chance to see one of these dudes.
And towards the end of my last evening there, I even got a chance to ride the London Eye! AHHH! I was so scared, but so excited. Riding this made the last 2.5 months of hard work feel worth it just for the pure happiness I felt while seeing these incredible new cities.
So happy, that I accidentally let a smile, with teeth go through.