Gryphon D'Or Tea Room

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Did I want to go here because it sounds like Gryffindor and I love Harry Potter? Maybe. Was the Afternoon Tea worth it even though it has nothing to do with J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece? Absolutely.

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Your first step is to choose a tea. JF chose gingerbread, while I went for Spicy Apple Pie, which sounded absolutely delicious, but I never got to taste, because they were out of it. I opted for the Gryphon Breakfast, which was pretty good, but not the dessert tea I had been looking forward to.

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Next came the scones and assorted toppings. The scones were warm, which I love, and had a very subtle taste that let the spreads shine through. We had the option of caramel, raspberry jam or an orange and apricot marmalade, with the traditional lemon curd, butter and clotted cream.

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This was JF’s first tea, so he went for the butter and jam, not overly concerned when I told him about the brilliance of clotted cream. He did try it, but it seemed more to make me happy than because it was a combination he wanted to try. As for me, I put clotted cream on all my halves, then tried one with raspberry jam and one with lemon curd. Both were absolutely delicious, and I would have done the same thing for my other scone, but JF pointed out that I should try all of the things if I wanted to be able to comment on them. So I put clotted cream on both halves (I’m a traditionalist that way) then put half lemon curd and half raspberry jam on one, with half marmalade and half caramel on the other. I am not a huge fan of the marmalade, just in general, nothing to do with theirs (I believe JF enjoyed it), but the caramel was delicious. Incredibly sweet, but delicious. Especially with the clotted cream.

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Ah, the food. When the waitress brought us the tiered plates, she told us that if we needed to have anything boxed up, to just let her know. JF and I both nodded and thanked her, but as soon as she was gone, I told him, “Just so you know, I’m finishing everything. Might be unattractive, maybe I shouldn’t, but there will be nothing left.”

“I know, I tried not to laugh when she offered to box things up.” he assured me. Clearly there is a reason we are friends.

File 2017-12-30, 9 44 52 PMWe started with the smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill bites. They were on a type of very soft pita bread. The other plate had 3 cucumber and butter sandwiches, and 2 egg salad sandwiches each. I like to try everything, then decide which is my favourite, so I can start with the one I like the least and end with the one I like the most. So once there was only one left of each, I did cucumber (why was there butter?), salmon (it was really good, perfect ratios of everything, and JF’s favourite) then egg. The egg sandwich did not

File 2017-12-30, 9 45 10 PM have onions in it, which is always a concern for me, but it did have a lovely hint of cinnamon, which I think is genius. Unexpected, but soooooo good! It was also cut out into heart shapes, which had no effect on taste, obviously, but it was pretty darn cute. Interesting to note that they used white and brown breads in every one, which in theory pleases everyone, but also kind of makes sure that no one actually gets what they wanted. I don’t really mind, but I do find the concept kind of funny. I wonder what would have happened if we would have had to fight for the brown ones?File 2017-12-30, 9 45 34 PM

Finally, we got to dessert. Not to say that Afternoon tea is an excuse to eat lots of desserts without people thinking you’re weird…but not to say that it isn’t. The shortbread cookie was probably the least interesting of the desserts, but it was really good for what it was, and I love the tea cup shape. I thought the sucre a la creme square (basically a sugar pie bite) would be my least favourite, so I ate it first, then immediately warned JF to save it for the end if he was also trying to save the best for last. The chocolate cheesecake was delectable, and I liked the touch of peppermint sprinkled on top. The lemon tart bite was very lemony, which I personally am a fan of, and I liked that there was kiwi on top. I saved the blueberry jar for the end, and I was right. Blueberry compote and a bit of cake topped with whipped cream and a blueberry…yum 🙂

It was my first official Afternoon Tea in Montreal, and I would deem it a complete success. Although I am not opposed to going to these teas on my own, it was really awesome to be able to go with a friend. We not only had enough to talk about all throughout tea, we also stayed around talking until they came to tell us they were closing. So, as far as Montreal Afternoon Teas go, I would definitely recommend it, and suggest you bring an awesome friend along with you 😉


Year Of Yes

When I found out that Shonda Rhimes had a book coming out, I knew that I had to read it, even before I found out what it was about. I have long wanted to be a part of Shondaland, not just because it is where some of my favorite shows live, but because from my outside perspective, it looks like a family, where getting killed off of, or leaving one show just means you can come back and be on another show. It is also a magical land where you can spread your wings and try new things, like directing or writing, but also let your freak flag fly proudly, without fear of judgment or rejection. Her characters are strong and vulnerable, flawed and wonderful. Her interviews can make you feel inspired, or that you truly are not alone. So the book had some big shoes to fill, even before it set the bar so high, with a title like “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person”.


This post isn’t exactly a review of the book, more like me telling you that you should read it, while sharing how it made me feel, and affected my life. The premise of the book is that Shonda’s sister tells her “You never say yes to anything” so she decides to spend the year saying yes to everything. Not to prove her sister wrong, but because after all of the excuses and justifications that she defends herself with, she realizes that her sister is right. She went to an event and had an amazing time and realized that if she had been asked if she wanted to, rather than told that she had to go to this event, she would have said no.

There are a lot of differences between me and Shonda. Our stories, some of our wants and dreams greatly differ, but as I was reading this book, I kept thinking, “This is me.” I grew up writing stories and having conversations with my characters, sometimes in my head, but sometimes out loud. I didn’t exactly come up with magical worlds in the pantry, but I do remember using my grandparents’ old pill bottles rather than canned vegetables when I was little. And to this day, if you want to keep me occupied and out of your hair for hours on end, just give me a piece of paper and a pen. I’ll write as small as I have to in order to make that paper last me as long as it needs to.

Even more than our love for imaginary worlds, at the time of reading the book for the first time, I very much shared her fear of doing things and meeting people. I had just signed up for a semester at LAMDA, which would send me to London, on my own, to study something I had never learnt, while doing theater, which has always terrified me.

To this day, I will often find myself regretting missed opportunities, or the fact that the fear that I wasn’t good enough kept me from applying to any theatre programs after high school, where I could have learnt so much and conquered fears years earlier. At the same time, I know that I was nowhere near ready. Had I gone to theatre school when I was 17, I probably would have hung out in the back of the class, gone up when I was called upon and forced to, been constantly terrified, and hopefully made it through. I wanted to be different, but I was still too afraid to actually change.

After starting the book, I took to Shonda’s Year of Yes philosophy, and pushed it farther so that my time in London was incredible. I not only said yes when asked to do things, I volunteered for them. I am not bragging, because it was things that everyone else in the program probably considered routine or not that exciting, but I was amazed at all of the things I was getting myself into and accomplishing.

I reread the book when I got back and am pretty sure it is a book I will be rereading over and over again whenever I need to be reminded to say yes to life and new experiences and all of the wonderful things that the world has to offer. Because the things that terrified me before I went to London aren’t so scary any more. And since I kept up with this momentum, my comfort zone has grown exponentially, and continues to do so. This time last year, I was a couple of weeks into my semester and doing amazing by my standards. LAMDA was definitely the starting point of my journey, or at least putting the philosophy into practice, but even in the time since I got back, I have grown so much. If I went back to LAMDA right now, there are even more challenges and adventures that I would have sought out. More people I would have talked to in class and in hallways. Students from other programs I would have gotten to know.

The book is full of so many lessons and so much wisdom that I definitely needed to hear. Because it showed me that I truly wasn’t alone. That someone understands. It also terrified me to think that being Shonda Rhimes wasn’t enough to make all of the fears and insecurities go away. But there is no magic wand once you’ve ‘made it’. I don’t think it’s true that you need to love yourself in order for other people to love you, but I do think you need to love yourself in order to fully accept this love and believe it.

Through stories told with her magical flair for storytelling, Shonda teaches you to say yes to what matters in your life, to being honest (with yourself and with others), to loving yourself (whether that means accepting all of the imperfections that make you perfect, or finally putting yourself first and taking care of yourself like you deserve), to breaking glass ceilings, to compliments (just say “thank you”, don’t argue or explain it away!) and also to saying no when you need to.

Like Shonda, I am not stopping after a year. And while I am maybe not saying yes to every single possibility, I am putting a lot more consideration into why I want to say no. If it is something that I really don’t want to do, or am just too afraid to hurt someone’s feelings, I will say no. If it is something that I am afraid of, because it is new or outside my comfort zone, then I will say yes, and 99% of the time, I am glad that I did.


“Ditch the dream. Be a doer, not a dreamer.”

-Shonda Rhimes

Le Continental

Twenty years ago, my grandfather discovered this gem of a restaurant in Quebec City. Since then, our family has frequently made pilgrimages to Quebec, often just for supper at the restaurant. When we went there this weekend, I decided it was time to share our love for Le Continental in a blog post 😉
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The restaurant characterizes itself as Franco-Italian Cuisine, and when you go, you want to make sure at least one person orders something flambé, because then your meal becomes a show. I peruse the menu every time I go, and although my parents and grandparents will often try something new, I always go with the exact same thing, because…why mess with perfection?

For starters, we always get Caesar Salad. They bring all the ingredients to a little tray at your table, and make it from scratch in front of you. My family is kind of fussy, so we always have them make one with anchovies and one without. The waiters insist that you can’t taste the anchovies if they do it right, so this time I decided to just order it as they intented, but my parents still got it without. My verdict is that I can’t taste anchovies, in the sense that there is nothing fishy, but it definitely has a kick to it that my usual salad doesn’t. Either way, it is an entertaining and delicious start to our dining experience, and one of the best Caesar salads I’ve ever had.
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While most of us had salad, a few people also opted for escargots, a french cuisine staple, which I like to forget means snails. I didn’t order any, but I did try one of my dad’s, and it was delicious, with the perfect texture (as in not rubbery at all), although slightly salty for my taste. I am not a fan of salt though, so I wouldn’t judge it based on me. I would judge it based on the 3 people who ordered it and used their breads to mop up the garlic butter left in their plates afterwards. My grandfather also had a misshap with one of the snail shells once, so the waiter had them take all of his snails out of the shells for him. That is what I call service 😉

My grandfather was the only one who didn’t order his meal from the flambé section, so we gave our waiter, Denis, quite a lot to do. The meals were Scampis Newburg and Filet Mignon en Boite, so Denis came to show us our raw proteins before cooking them in front of us, including the mouth-watering sauces, so we knew exactly what we were eating. My scampis had their fair share of butter and cream, but the end result makes all of it more than worth it.

Also, the waiters are completely used to you taking their picture, especially while they are flambéing. This is the only restaurant for which I have a repertoire of the staff on my phone. Plus, since our orders demand a lot of attention, we get a lot of face time and actually get to know them. I expect the meal to last more than a couple of hours, so it would be nice to go with people you like, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while and have a lot to catch up on.

The meals all come with a little plate of vegetables, and the scampi comes with rice and a beautiful tomato rose. My grandmother isn’t a fan of vegetables, so she asks for fries, and they bring her an entire plate that they put in the middle of the table. I am absolutely stuffed long before I have finished my plate, but I still have at least a handful of those fries, because not only are they delicious, they are perfect for mopping up every last drop of my sauce 🙂

After our meals are done, I feel like I don’t have to eat again for at least a week, but we came all this way and the dessert menu starts calling my name. I rarely order desserts in restaurants, but at le Continental, every single time. I personally alternate between Poires au Pernod (pears in a black licorice liqueur) or Fraises au Poivre ( Strawberries in Pepper). I am not a fan of pepper, at all, but this item isn’t written on the menu, and the first time they offered it, I misunderstood Poire instead of Poivre, and thought I would get stawberries and pears. I did not, but it was soo good that I have consistently ordered it every time they have fresh strawberries on hand 😉

This is the part of the meal where you might not want to watch as the ingredients go in, but maybe wait until the flambé part, because there is a lot of butter and cream and sugar that make these desserts so heavenly. They are meant for 2, but you can also get a half order, so my dad got Crepes Suzette, my grandparents shared Cherries Jubilee, and my mom and I had the Fraises au Poivre.
We stuck to regular tea and coffee this time, but if you are a fan of Specialty Coffees, you get a whole new experience with very tall flames and delicious beverages. My grandfather recommends the Brazilian Coffee.
When you think of the location, the taste, the presentation, the preparation and the experience involved with a meal at le Continental, it is no wonder that this is our favorite restaurant in the world 😉
Disclaimer: The prices do reflect the awesomess and prestige of the establishment. I went on a road trip with some friends from high school right after we graduated, and everyone thought it was more than worth it, but be prepared to splurge.

Baglioni Afternoon Tea

To finish off Easter Weekend, Molly and I went for tea at the Baglioni, a nice hotel right at the bottom of Kensington gardens.
They have the option of a traditional afternoon tea, or one with an Italian twist, and we both went Italian. We also chose the Earl Grey Darjeeling, which was lovely to not have to choose between the two, and it was paired with our glasses of Bellavista.
The sandwiches were absolutely delicious. We both went for the warm focaccia bread first, which was filled with grilled vegetables, like peppers and mushrooms. There was a small panini with parmesan, rocket and bresaola (a crispy italian meat), then 3 finger sandwiches: tomato bread with ricotta cheese and sun dried tomatoes, spinach bread with egg salad and tuna, then a brown bread with salmon and sour cream. They were definitely interesting. I do very much prefer cream cheese to sour cream, but the tuna and egg combination was not as weird as I was expecting it to be, and was actually kind of nice, giving the traditional sandwich a kick.
We asked for our scones next, but they make them when you order them, so they didn’t come until we finished dessert. I also forgot to take a picture, which clearly makes me a terrible blogger, since they were not your traditional scones. They were much denser, kind of a very heavy bread, and sort of dry, but I think that’s because of the kind of bread it was. I was very excited that it came with nutella, clotted cream and 2 jams, with a berry in each. I especially enjoyed the clotted cream melting on top of the nutella, but I have to admit that I did not finish the scones, which was probably a first for me.

The desserts were clearly Italian, and excellent. I am not a fan of tiramisu, but theirs was pieces of cake between two layers of a creamy substance, which was nothing like the soggy cake I don’t normally go for. The lemon tart had the marshmallow topping thing that I adore and the beignet was filled with hazelnut cream. The sfogliatella napoletana was heavenly, the vanilla bean tartlet had a weird texture but tasted really good, and I even enjoyed the soggy white cake, which seemed to be dripping with syrup rather than alcohol or coffee. The cannoli filled with ricotta and chocolate chips was not my favorite, but I think that’s because it might have been dark chocolate.
The atmosphere was lovely and the staff was very nice, getting us a refill on desserts so we could each try everything, even when they weren’t supposed to, but I will have to give this place a 7. The sandwiches and desserts deserve a higher score, but we were disappointed in the scones, which is really a pivotal part of the meal.

Castle and Cliffs of Dover

Although we were making a solid effort to spend Easter weekend seeing plays and working on our scenes, Molly, Sydney and I decided to spend Saturday in Dover.

We took the train over from Charing Cross, then walked the half hour from the rail station to the castle, which offered amazing views of the beach and the water. It was an interesting castle, but we only saw the keep and surrounding walls.

This was because Molly and Sydney were very anxious to get to the White Cliffs of Dover. We had to walk another half hour along a country road with absolutely no footpath to get to the cliffs. Once we were there, it was more than worth it. Pictures never do it justice, but the 45 minute walk to the lighthouse was breathtaking. Not just because it is so beautiful, but because the wind literally takes your breath away. It also either helps give you a push in the back so your steps take you farther, or makes you fight for every inch. I am pretty sure I could have let myself fall backwards and the wind would have kept me upright.
The tea room at the lighthouse was full, so we took a bus from St Margaret’s back to Dover, and failed in our search for an Afternoon Tea. We did, however, find ourselves at Brunch, which had an amazing mac and cheese. I am also told that the burgers and chai latte were delicious.

“To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.”

-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

BB Bakery Afternoon Tea

While Chelsea was still in town, we went for afternoon tea at the BB Bakery in Covent Garden. We slightly cheated the system in order to get in, because you need to reserve 24 hours in advance for their afternoon tea (there are, however, loads of delicious sweets and beverages that you can order without such a thought out commitment).
Before any decisions were made, we were each brought a glass of freshly pressed orange juice, with an ice cube because the orange must have been room temperature. I never order orange juice and don’t really drink it normally, but I love freshly squeezed orange juice, and I could use some vitamin C, so the OJ was a very welcome treat 🙂
Chelsea is on an English Breakfast kick, and she keeps talking about it, so I decided to go for the traditional blend as well. One thing we both loved was that the china was different. The cups from the saucers, mine from hers, and even each level of the cake tray.
This tea is one of the more affordable ones I have gone to, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that half our ‘sandwiches’ were hot. There was a possibly cheese, chive and leek quiche that was delicious, and a warm bready thing with egg and peppers and cheese inside. I realize that if I want to keep doing these blogs where I talk about food, I will have to do more research into what I am given, and find better descriptions than delicious and heavenly. I apologize and will try to do better next time. The other two sandwiches were cucumber (with dill) and a chicken sandwich, which was more of a mini foccacia with grilled chicken and tomatoe. Not your typical afternoon tea sandwiches, but they were exactly what we needed on that chilly day.
Desserts, I am finding out, are not everyone else’s favorite part of tea, which is surprising for me. I love the sandwiches, yes, but it’s the sweets, and being allowed to try each one that is the real treat for me. I thought the cupcake looked like dark chocolate, so I went to eat it first, but put it aside after one bite. It was moist and not bitter and exactly what a chocolate cupcake should be. The pistachio macaron was also perfect, as was the whipped cream and berry pastry. The crunchy top, soft bottom, cream filled one on the left was soo good, but the marshmallow topping on the lemon tart was pure heaven.
Scones were brought to us at the end, since they only cook them once you are ready for them. They were interestingly shaped, and kind of smaller than most other ones, but also very tasty.
I would give BB Bakery Covent Garden an 8, mostly because I feel like I can’t just give every place the same score. For the price, it was definitely incredible, the food was delicious, the staff was really nice and it was really cute.

Delaunay Afternoon Tea

Last Thursday, Molly and I had the afternoon off, so we decided to have tea at the Delaunay. Since the afternoon tea was under 20 pounds, I assumed there would be no refills, and wasn’t expecting much. I was wrong. Very wrong.
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We walked in to the Counter at the Delaunay, a little pub-like-cafe-restaurant and said we had a reservation for afternoon tea. The waiter then brought us to a different, fancier restaurant with coat check and a humungus booth.
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Once we ordered our teas, we quickly got the drinks (Earl Grey and Assam) as well as the 3 tiered food tray. When we saw there was only one of each dessert, Molly asked if we could get free refills, and they assured us that we could get as much as we want of everything. Color me impressed.

It is a Viennese afternoon tea, so I knew it would not be my traditional fare. There was an interesting eggplant spread with peppers, smoked salmon with cream cheese, cheesy crackers with cream cheese and then a kind of scone topped with jam, cucumber and meat. Different, but yummy. And that black bread is obviously incredibly healthy, right?
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When asked, Molly and I both opted to try both the traditional scone, and the Poppy Seed Gugelhupf. It was recommended that we pair the Gugelhupf with the apricot jam and whipped cream, and the scone with the clotted cream and strawberry jam. The scones, especially the second order, were warm and buttery, while the Gugelhupf was so incredibly soft and moist and I am a huge Poppy Seed fan, so it was amazing.
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The desserts were excellent. My favorite would be the pistachio square with lemon icing in the center, but the rhubarb tart, cheesecake and battenberg each held their own. I even tried a bite of the chocolate mint cake, and the coffee cake, and though they are not flavors I enjoy, they still tasted pretty good 🙂
Molly wanted more sandwiches, and I wanted to try the Battenberg cake that she’d had, but the waitress misunderstood, and we ended up getting refills on all 3 tiers. We tried our darnedest, but we just could not finish it.
I would also give this place an 8, because it is the most incredible value for your money, a very fancy atmosphere, and the food, albeit non-traditional, was delicious.

Tea at Sketch

Chelsea was in town this weekend, and she was a little jealous of all of the amazing teas I have been going to, so on Saturday we decided to go to Sketch.

You can reserve for tea in the Gallery, which is the pink room, but I believe it fills up pretty quickly. Luckily, they do not take reservations for the Parlour, nor for the Glade. The doorman said it would be at least a 40 minute wait when we got there, and he suggested we come back, so we went to check out Liberty, then came back and were seated after a short stint at the bar.

Now, we chose the Glade, and the room itself is painted like a forest, and the light in the middle of the ceiling is made with branches. I am not sure how the red lights and mirrors fit in, nor did I really enjoy the few seconds per hour or so when the red lights ended up right in my eyes, but the overall effect was pretty awesome. Not to mention the space pod bathrooms, which you definitely need to check out when you go. The stalls are basically little space pods where you hear communications between Houston and some kind of space station. Unlike any other toilet I have been in.
The really great thing was that the food was not only on a level with all of the awesome decor, it was pretty amazing. Chelsea took the Champagne Afternoon tea, and I simply opted for the Darjeeling second flush.
The sandwiches and pastries come on the same tray, with the promise that scones and another cake will come later.
The waitress explained everything in detail, telling us which were her favorite, and suggesting that we eat the cheese panini first, since it is hot. It tasted like a delicious grilled cheese. From right to left, we have the panini, the quail egg and caviar egg salad sandwich, the cucumber and ricotta (which tasted sooo fresh!), salmon and cream cheese with salmon egg on top, and finally, coronation chicken with corn and peppers on top. Everything was absolutely delicious, and although I am not one for fish eggs or quail, I did try everything and it was really good. Everything except for the champagne is completely refillable, but we chose to wait until the desserts were done to see if we had room for more sandwiches, and we did not. We did discuss it though, and could not settle on which sandwich was our favorite, we would have wanted seconds of all of them.

Next, we got into desserts. I always try to go from my least favorite to the most delicious, which I often get wrong. I had the coffee tiramisu cake first, which was incredibly soaked in alcohol, then the chocolate mint cake, which the waitress said was her favorite. I was right about eating the tiramisu first, but the cake was actually not as dark as it looked, and very tasty. The mango/passion fruit round (can’t remember which) was so yummy, as were the marshmallows and meringue that came in a little cup. Sooo good. My favorites of the desserts were the pistachio cream puff and the cassis cheesecake.

They asked if we wanted a plain or sultana (raisin) scone, and we both chose sultana. They made it for us fresh, and brought it over hot with clotted cream (the creamy, delicious kind) strawberry and fig jams. I wasn’t sure about fig jam, so I tasted a little bit first, and it was amazing! The scone was also really well done 🙂
Chelsea took chocolate and I took vanilla rhubarb for our trolley cakes. We were so full at this point, but I made an effort to eat every last bite because it was just that delectable. Chelsea wants me to start rating the teas I go to, and if I had to rate Sketch, I would give it a 9/10. Not sure if I will go back and rate the old ones, but I will try and put a score from now on.


Last Sunday, I felt like I should have something more to do than just saying goodbye to my parents, and so I took a day trip to Wales. Cardiff to be precise.
The bus ride was about 3 and a half hours long, but I was dropped off right in front of the castle at 11:30. I was slightly in a time crunch with lots to do, so I went straight into the castle and booked the house tour that started in a half an hour. You see, there is one admission fee for the castle as a whole, but if you want to see the rooms, the clock tower, or get the inside scoop on what movies and tv shows were filmed where, you have to pay extra. My favorite part of the castles is seeing where the people lived, so I had to do it.

Before my tour, I went down to the Firing Line museum, up for the short video (which was for kids, not sure if it was advertised and I missed it, but if you don’t have children, don’t go to the video), and then even more up to the Battlement Walk. I even had time to wander around the Wartime Shelters and across the lawn to get to my house tour.

It was definitely interesting, and since I wouldn’t have been able to see the rooms otherwise, I would recommend paying extra for the tour, if that is something that interests you. If it isn’t, the grounds were beautiful, and you will still have plenty to check out, even if you don’t see the apartments.
When I was done with Cardiff Castle, I walked outside, right onto a hop on hop off bus. If you also plan on doing both of these, buy your bus ticket first, as they will give you a coupon for 10% off at the castle (as well as the Dr. Who Experience) which I didn’t get to use.
The bus I got on was live commentary, and there were only 3 of us, so he basically sat beside us and told us about the town, trying to cater to our interests, which was lovely. And pretty much a private tour of a lovely city.
After my bus tour, I tried to get to Caerphilly Castle, but the buses are very infrequent, so I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I really wanted to see the castle, or if I would rather just have lunch at Mermaid Quay and call it a day.
In the end, I was waiting for so long on the hop on hop off bus (tours start every half hour), so I decided to bite the bullet and go to the castle, like I had originally planned. (I might have googled it and been reminded how absolutely stunning it is)
I grabbed a bite to eat at the indoor mall, then took a bus to Caerphilly. You save a lot of money if you get a return ticket instead of two singles, and they appreciate you having exact change, if possible.

As soon as I saw the castle in the distance, I knew I had made the right decision. Even if I never went inside and just sat by the lake all afternoon, it would have been worth it. Absolutely gorgeous.

Admission is less than 5 pounds for students, so I went for it, even though I had less than an hour, based on their bus schedule. I powered through, seeing the dragon from Merlin, the leaning tower, and more breathtaking views. I didn’t make it to the hidden passageway, so I guess I will have to come back 🙂
I had some pasta when I got back to Cardiff (since the bus tour also gives you 25% off at Bella Italia) and then got on the bus for a slightly shorter ride home.

Stonehenge and Bath

On Saturday, my parents and I ventured out of London to gaze upon the wondrous Stonehenge and the beauty of Bath.
We left around 9 am with Anderson tours, for the hour and a half drive to Stonehenge. What started out with apartments and the city quickly turned into vast expanses of green before we spotted the circle of stones.

The tour included an audio guide, which explains a lot about where the stones come from, how they were brought, what the whole thing might have been for…It was really interesting, and kind of surreal, seeing something that I have seen so often in pictures, but in person. I took pictures of it from every single angle, but I am only going to put a few of them here. Definitely worth visiting if you are spending time in London.

We had just enough time to see what we wanted to see and try a rock cake before the bus ride to Bath. As soon as you approach the city and see all the houses with the landscape…it is sooooo beautiful.

We only had two and a half hours in Bath, and about 30 minutes was spent waiting to get into the Roman Baths. The audio guide tour reveals a bunch of interesting information, but my highlight was still the Baths themselves. Also, we tried the water, which smelt like a warm hard boiled egg, but actually just tasted like hot water.

Since we had so little time before having to get back to the bus, we rushed across town to the Royal Crescent, getting a picture of wax-Jane Austen as we ran, then to the Pulteney bridge, which I believe is the only one with covered shops like that on both sides. We also tried to get some Sally Lunn buns. Unfortunately, they don’t do take away, and we didn’t have time to sit down and eat it there, so we went to the museum and bought a bun with cinnamon butter and ate it on the bus on the ride home. We arrived back in London around 6:30.

As far as recommending Anderson Tours, the guide was really nice and helpful, giving us some commentary on the bus, and Stonehenge and Bath were absolutely lovely, but I do wish we could have left earlier or come back later in order to have more time in Bath.