19/9/15 – Welcome to the lost world

Got up around half five, which was actually an improvement on yesterday morning (starting work at six always sucks, but Fridays also means we get cakes from Lynn, so silver linings, yo). Straightened my hair and packed up the little things we’d unpacked last night. Found our packed lunches waiting – nicely more than basic with fat cheese sandwiches, extra size bags of Quavers, Wispa bars and little cartons of apple juice. Well done, Roebuck. We approve. We moved everything back to the car and headed to Lymington.

We’re definitely in some backwards country area. We had to drive through some creepy misty marshlands, which immediately put me in mind of Silent Hill, mixed with that scene from Lord of the Rings. We realised we could actually see the mist moving over the top of us, so of course it switched to Harry Potter, as that could only mean Dementors. There weren’t really any other cars about – just a very menacing looking lorry that was following us through the mist. Great. Now it’s turned into Duel as well.

With the help of Kel’s Aussie satnav Bruce, we found the ferry port pretty easily. We double checked what we were supposed to do about boarding with some very nice holiday-makers, then grabbed some hot chocolate from the Costa’s inside, before getting back in the car. Didn’t have to wait long before we could board. We left the car in the parking bay and headed up onto deck for a bit. Not for long though, as it was cold and too bright to really see much without sunglasses. We retired to the lounge instead to break into our packed lunches/honorary breakfasts. Thanks again, Roebuck.

The ferry was nice, uneventful and only took about half an hour. Then the drive to Flick’s from the port wasn’t even ten minutes. Oh, we realised that her house happens to have giant dinosaur models outside. I’d seen pictures of them before, but hadn’t realised they were actually in her garden! There’s a Stegosaurus, a baby Triceratops and two Pachycephalosaurs that look like they’d being rudey dudey with each other. Of course I appreciated all the prehistoric types lurking around.

Well these would certainly stop drunk people from trying to break into your house. Not sure if this is a problem in the Isle of Wight though

Well these would certainly stop drunk people from trying to break into your house. Not sure if this is a problem in the Isle of Wight though.

Finally got to see Flick. Had some happy hugs and then she showed us around on a grand tour. Her house is feckin’ huge! Her little apartment within it is absolutely lovely. Me and Kel are sharing a twin room downstairs, so we didn’t have to lug cases very far. We even have our own en suite! Settled in a little, said hi to the rest of the family, then went through some options on what to do. We decided on Seaview Wildlife Encounters and headed out.

It’s a cute little place. Not exactly big, but it offers very hands on experiences with the animals. Most of the animals you can feed, particularly the millions of ducks that are roaming around (there was quite a hilarious moment when Kel was feeding some and then a gaggle of geese came screeching and waddling over at high speed). You can also walk through a lot of the enclosures, where the animals just wander around and you can stroke them if you like.

Wallaby friend!

Wallaby friend!

We watched the various feeding displays – I skipped on some of the feedings myself, mostly the birds as I’m not a big fan, but I did feed the wallabies and a macaw. We got to fuss a lot of the wallabies too, as they really didn’t mind the contact with people, and I also stroked a white and pink macaw that clearly loved getting attention. We broke for lunch in between. I had some very lovely sausages and chips, as well as a strawberry slushie. I do love slushies. The weather got surprisingly good as the day went on. I’d started the day in a jumper and ended up way too hot in just my Deadpool party t-shirt. Kel even sunburnt the back of her neck! Apparently the Isle of Wight is even crazier than England for not being able to decide on a temperature.

Once we’d seen everything we wanted to, we then headed to a donkey sanctuary instead, which Kel had wanted to visit. Apparently when they first moved here, there were two new donkeys called Felicity and Jenny (which are the names of Flick and her sister), so of course that was an amusing coicidence and we had to try and find them. Didn’t see Jenny, but Felicity was there and being very antisocial. Flick was not impressed with her namesake. One donkey decided it absolutely wanted to be my best friend and came trotting straight over for some fuss, practically trying to get through the fence. Sadly it was one of the only ones who didn’t have his name displayed anywhere, so I guess I’ll never know the name of my new friend.

Donkey friend!

Donkey friend!

After donkeys, we came back to Flick’s for a little while to have some food. We had a cheese pizza and something called bean burgers. I’d asked why Flick had so many of them in her freezer and she said it was because they were amazing. And they really were. Spicy, Mexican kinda tasting breadcrumb patties made of different beans and cheese. Yum! We got some brownie bite things out of the freezer too so they could defrost, then drove out to the beach to walk Twiggy and go fossil hunting!

Flick basically does guided tours along the beach to teach people about the paleontology based history of the island and to look for fossils in the process, as it’s a total hotbed for it. Since I’m a total dinosaur buff and being a paleontologist was my dream job growing up, this was just heaven for me. Flick taught us about some of the dinosaur fossils that were discovered here and showed us the historic levels in the cliff-side, as well as some genuine Iguanadon footprints in the rocks along the beach. It was really interesting and so cool to see Flick technically at work. She really knows her stuff! The whole time we were walking, I tried determinedly to find something awesome, but sadly I was being overoptimistic with it. All I managed to find was a rock with some seashell fossils in it. Not the giant dinosaur bone or arrow head that I’d hoped. We had to come back when the sun set, because it quickly got too dark to see anything, but I’m still determined to do better next time!

When we came back, we had our yummy brownie bites (after Flick had some fun trying to microwave them for the right length of time), then retired up to Flick’s apartment with Jenny in tow to play games. We played Cards Against Humanity first, which I wasn’t sure if they’d like too much because they’re nicer people than we are, but I guess nobody can resist the humour of it unless you’re really easily offended. We had ten rounds of that and had a real laugh over it – Flick even won! I came second. I’d been trying to play tactically, but not soon enough. As Flick said herself, “I like this answer too, but you used David Bowie on me!” I get how she works. After that, we played our Harry Potter trivia game for a while. More laughs, this time mostly over Seamus Finnigan’s impossible to understand accent in the films.

Kel was starting to fall asleep by this point, so we retired downstairs to bed. This was where I was trying not to freak myself out. Flick’s told me a lot of stories about her house being haunted, though I think she now knows not to let on about stuff like that. I have an overactive imagination when it comes to paranormal things, so it’s really better if I don’t know. It takes a lot for me to stay somewhere after knowing it has spooky history. Thankfully, Flick is that ‘a lot’. If no ghosties get me in the night then hopefully we can just forget about the whole thing.

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8/5/15 – Come on, baby!

Our next trip is go! This time it’s more for visitation purposes rather than a holiday, as we’re going to see our friend Emi in her Bulgarian homeland. If we get to add a new country to our list (and hopefully discover some awesome Bulgarian foods) in the process then that’s fine with me! The taxi driver picked us up at half eight in the morning. Most talkative taxi driver ever! I’m not sure why every Asian person seems to claim a personal connection to Slumdog Millionaire. Is there a British film that we do that with? Maybe I should start telling people I was an extra in Harry Potter. Or that Neville Longbottom was based on my clumsy-ass life.

We got to do self check-in when we got to the airport and had some initial distress when it looked like they hadn’t sat us next to each other on the plane, followed by confusion when the second lot of seats were then three-by-three instead of two-by-two. Sitting me in a different row is one thing, but I certainly don’t wanna be on my own plane! But it turned out we were just being stupid, as usual. Both seating plans were for one person – the first for our flight into Germany and then our connection to Bulgaria. Oops. Drama over. Of course my priorities once we’d then gotten through security (why do I always forget they make you take your shoes off? I couldn’t have been wearing brighter socks than my Flash one) were to grab some Burger King and a can of Red Bull. Necessarily in that order.

We had a quick nose in the arcade – never as good as I remember – then started heading towards our gate once the board told us it was open. On the way we found a big inflatable igloo type thing called ‘the Pod’. It was clearly for kids, so of course we had to have a mooch inside and see what was going on. It was dark inside with a circle of lights on the floor and a small screen on the wall to choose different options. We found out from the first option we picked that if you blocked any of the lights it’d make a different sound effect. There was one that sounded like a depleted horn/fart. Obviously that one was our favourite. We then picked the ‘groovy’ option and found ourselves turning into master DJs when we discovered that each light played a different layer of funky music or a woman singing things like “come on, baby”. I felt like I was playing Twister, trying to reach as many lights as possible at one time. Very amusing, though we probably pissed off the staff outside who likely have to hear it all the time. We walked away with our own funky masterpiece stuck in both of our heads.

We boarded and then took off all very quickly, leaving at about eleven in British time. I watched an episode of Psych on my iPod and we were given some drinks and extremely weird chicken and feta cheese sandwiches. I ate most of mine before giving up and turning to my Red Bull, which I was more interested in. Managed to fit in a little bit of writing and then suddenly we were landing, half an hour early! The journey only took about an hour and a half, making it half past one in German time. Munich airport was quite big, but eerily subdued. Apparently there’s some truth to Germans not being particularly happy people. As we saw the taxi rank outside we noticed that all of their taxis are a quite horrible cream colour. The Magnolias of Munich. Lovely.

Since we had a good five or six hours before our connecting flight we decided to make the most of our first time in Germany and do a bit of exploring. Kel had picked up a leaflet that said if we got the train from the airport to Oberschleibheim we could check out some of the fancy palaces. We left the airport, which opened up into this really wide space that was circled by shops and overlooked by a crazy high canopy. All very fancy. For some reason they also had a load of Mustangs parked out front. Of course I was enthralled – I don’t expect to see good Mustangs like these outside of America (sadly the only one that’s finally being imported into England as right-hand drive is a crappy new one. Boo).

We cut down into the underground and hit the ticket machines with our leftover euros from Greece last year. Kel managed to switch it to English, but we were still uncertain of whether our ticks would class as returns and which would be the cheapest option for us to get. Whilst we were faffing a very nice German man who was using the machine next to us finished up and then helped us to find the equivalent of a group daysaver, all on his own accord without us having to ask for help. I respectfully take back my unhappy Germans comment.

We’d been waiting for a while and not seen the train that we seemed to want, so we asked a German woman if we were looking for the right thing. She pointed out that we should check out a timetable as she wasn’t sure how often our train would be leaving from the airport today. After looking into it more on one of the timetables we learnt that none on the trains were departing from our station. Well, Kel figured it out. I don’t even understand English transport timetables, so I entertained myself by finding funny place names on it like Poing, Grafrath and Abfahrt.

We decided to just get on the next train and follow the crowd and get off anywhere that looked popular. Let’s just hope we don’t get lost. I only know three things in German – guten tag, danke schon and ich dein gesicht, oma. The last of which most likely won’t come in use, though it’s still hilarious (translation: shut your face, Grandma. Thanks for that one, Impractical Jokers). We got on the next train that showed up. Germany is surprisingly very green and also very flat. Kinda like the English countryside, only minus the many hills. We stayed on for about half an hour before we got bored, then got off at somewhere that may have been called Orleanzplatz. Maybe. As long as we can find our way back to it, who cares?

We had a little wander around what seemed to be a cute little town. It was surprisingly sunny. I obviously love the sun, but I wasn’t pre-warned to dress for this! We passed a lot of places that we couldn’t tell what they were. I’ve never felt so hindered by a language barrier before. It’s a good thing we’re only visiting for a few hours. We managed to find a bar with a semi-readable cocktail menu, so we stopped for a drink and a chill. I ordered a Midori something-or-other after I established that it was rum, triple sec, midori and various juices, including pineapple. Yay. The guy who served me sounded oddly like Robin Lord Taylor. My cocktail was very nice – very sour. Now I feel like I’m on holiday!

Our brief experience of Germany was very green, very sunny and very pleasant. Well done, Germany!

Our brief experience of Germany was very green, very sunny and very pleasant. Well done, Germany!

We headed back to the train station after that, feeling cautious about leaving enough time before our flight. We learnt upon getting back there that we were actually in Ostbahnhof. I clearly invented the other name. Was feeling ridiculously hot by this point and really hoping my foundation wasn’t going to melt off. Now wouldn’t that be attractive? Thankfully the journey back seemed much quicker. Probably because we got to sit down this time. We breezed through check-ins and customs. Had a wander around two floors of the airport in search of food, but couldn’t really find anything ideal. Looks like it’ll be the 24/7 pizza place that Emi promised us when we get to Bulgaria.

I got a little happy in duty free, but told myself it was fine because I’d completely forgotten about the leftover euros I had anyway. So technically it’s like free money (using the word technically very loosely here). I got a mini bottle of Grey Goose vodka – partly because I’ve always wanted to try it and partly because it was cute and I’m clearly the kind of person that minis are aimed at – and then a little Flash figurine from the toy shop. I’ve been needing something superhero for my toy corner. Makes sense that I fulfill that with my all-time favourite. I also got some mini tuc biscuits and some Kinder Bueno type chocolate for on the plane, to fill the void until we get to Bulgaria. Oh, and more Red Bull of course. Hey, I’ve done a lot of walking today.

Again the plane started moving pretty soon after we’d boarded and again took only an hour and a half – half an hour less than expected. I watched a few episodes of Fullmetal, did a little more writing and then we were already landing in Bulgaria at ten o’clock their time. Finished off the rest of my Red Bull in between customs and baggage claim, then finally Emi was there waiting for us just at the end of the airport! Of course we just had to sod everyone else for our reunion and tackle hug in the middle of everything. She was there with her mom who doesn’t really speak much English, but she was able to gather that we were very excited of course.

We had a little natter with Emi whilst she helped us with a taxi and then came down to our hotel with us. We were told we were in room sixty-six on the sixth floor. Oh, come on… Me and Emi exchanged a very knowing look over that. Kel, of course, didn’t get it. We agreed on a meet-up time for tomorrow morning and Emi promised to bring us her spare phone so we’d have an easier way to keep in touch rather than just relying on the wifi in the hotel, then left us to it for the night.

We had a bit of a horror when we unpacked and realised there’d been a shampoo explosion in one of the cases. Thankfully it’s very nice smelling Aussie shampoo and the only victims were a pair of my shorts, one Skecher and one of Kel’s bras. We tried to clean things up as best as we could, so hopefully they’ll survive the rest of the trip – maybe just smelling mildly like bubblegum and coconut. I finished off the rest of my tuc biscuits and did a little more writing whilst Kel was showering, then we slowly wound down for what felt like our well-deserved beds.

The view from our hotel room in Sofia. It looks like Greece and America got together and had a wonderful baby.

The view from our hotel room in Sofia. It looks like Greece and America got together and had a wonderful baby.

10/11/13 – Help is on the way, dear!

Up early to make sure we had plenty of time to get down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Finished off my yummy rice and watched a bit of Chamber of Secrets. America have a serious problem with re-sharing the same set of films. It’s worse than ITV2 with The Mummy! We got different trams down to the Wharf. We had breakfast at Maccies – word of advice: don’t ever have McGriddles. They’re weird as fuck! The pineapple and mango smoothie more than made up for it though.

We then had our movie location tour. It wasn’t quite as great as we’d expected, probably not helped by the fact that we were both young and British – we hadn’t even heard of most of the films mentioned, let alone see them, so about ninety-two percent of it went straight over our heads. Annoyingly there was a parade going on down one of the streets so we couldn’t see the apartment from Interview With A Vampire. One of the two places I was most excited about! We did get to see the other one though, which was the house from Mrs. Doubtfire. We also saw locations from George of the Jungle, X-Men 3, Star Trek and Dr. Doolittle. Our guide Whiley was very knowledgeable, though it wasn’t too surprising seeing as he was an actor too. He was apparently in a TV series about Alcatraz and an extra in the new upcoming Tim Burton film!

The big-ass tree kinda ruined our shot. Where were you in the movie, tree!

We went to Applebee’s again for lunch and then went to catch our cable car. We had to wait for over an hour which was annoying, but it was fun going down the big hills. We had a bit of a mishap with some tickets we’d booked, so we then got the tram back to our motel. Guess what was on TV? Chamber of Secrets. Again. Come on America, there are other Harry Potter films. There are other films in general! We showered and watched some Yes Man early on, ready for bed before nine o’clock. God, I won’t miss these early flights.

A nice man took this for us! Though it was only fair, since he then shoved his bum in my face during the ride.

31/10/13 – So no one told you life was gonna be this way

Early start and quick Skype with Mom so we could make our tour on time. Apparently Star had to have eight teeth out! Poor baby! We got two shuttles over to the Warner Bros. Studios and fangirled over the merchandise for a little while. Got two Central Perk magnets – one for home and one for Amy! We watched a short film first of great Warner Bros. TV and movie moments, then got in the little golf buggy thing to start the tour. First we drove round some outdoor sets that have been used for Shameless, Gilmore Girls and the old 60’s Batman, amongst others. There were a couple of park sections that were used in Friends too – where Ross played rugby and where Phoebe and Rachel went jogging. Too cool!

The corner of ‘Central Park’ where Rachel ran into the horse on Friends!

We saw the studio where they film Big Bang Theory, but couldn’t go in because they were rehearsing right then and there! Instead we got to see the inside of the Two and a Half Men studio. I’m not really a fan, but it was at least interesting to see how much smaller the scale really is in person. We went round a props room and also one with the genuine cars used in movie productions – including the Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and all the various Batmobiles! Then whilst we were driving between locations I spotted William H. Macy chilling in a buggy going the other way. How awesome?! I loved him in Sahara and Wild Hogs!

Just chilling with the bat tumbler. You know that’s right! (And ruining the cool image by holding my sunglasses like a weirdo to avoid fingerprints)

The last stop was a costume and prop museum. Sadly we weren’t allowed to take photos in there, which sucked because they had some really awesome stuff! There were costumes from Man of Steel, The Hangover, Harry Potter (which we’re an old hand with now but they had the twins’ Half-Blood Prince suits, wooo!) and the Big Bang Theory. We got to try on the Sorting Hat too, which actually spoke! I got Sorted into Hufflepuff… I’m doomed to be an idiot. There were also costumes from Friends, including Ross’s red sweater – which I just thought was awesome! Best of all were the Batman Nolan costumes. I totally could have stole the Scarecrow one. And to top all that off we even got to see the inside of the retired Central Perk set and get photos on the actual couch. Serious dream come true!

Not like we’ve waited fifteen years for this moment or anything…

We didn’t have time for eats before our next tour but I grabbed some Red Bull on the go instead (the real stuff, not the Zero crap). We got another shuttle and then got into a topless bus for our tour of the movie star homes. I also nearly wasted precious Red Bull by almost spitting in out in excitement when I saw a huge Justice League mural on the side of one of the buildings as we left the Warner Bros. Studios. We drove up into the mountains and round the famous provinces like Beverly Hills and Bel Air, spying on all the celebs’ houses. We saw both Robert Blake and Larry King out and about – neither of whom we knew who they were, but they were both nice enough to wave back.

A better daytime view from the Hollywood Hills!

We went back to Piper’s for food afterwards. I had more soup and some crazy loaded fries with cheese, chicken, BBQ sauce and ranch – a whole pound’s worth! (That is too many fries, Gaston!) And then we went for a wander down to Hollywood Boulevard for a few hours to nose on people’s Halloween costumes. On the way back we had a drink stop. I grabbed a ball of what I thought was some kind of alcopop, which then turned out to be 20% proof flavoured vodka. Gave my mouth a bit of a surprise! So I had fun mixing it with my Powerade whilst we watched bits of School of Rock and some Conan mash-ups (including him dubbing an anime, too funny!)

A pound of fries! If you want size context then look at how much the plate is bigger than me!

Also a fun fact that we learnt today: It only rains 25 days a year in L.A. Like I didn’t want to live here enough already!

30/10/13 – When you wish upon a star

Skyped the oldies before leaving this morning. They said Star’s op went well but that Izzy was mopey without her, aww! We went down onto the main strip so that we could do the Hollywood walk of stars. We got pictures of some personal favourites including Walt Disney, Buddy Holly, Patrick Stewart, Drew Carey, Nathan Lane, Kenny Loggins, Adam West and Leonard Nimoy. I found a John Wells too. How funny, Johnny’s famous! He’d love that too. (Yes, I talk about my characters like real people). There was an area outside Grauman’s Theatre where celebs had left hand and feet prints, along with messages. We found the Harry Potter trio, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Chris Nolan, Michael Caine and Tom Hanks, amongst others. There were some cosplayers loitering around for paid photo ops, including the best Jack Sparrow I’ve ever seen – who gave me the creepiest/campest little wave – and an awesome Freddy.

Sorry Emma Watson, there were only two of us and you drew the short straw.

We grabbed lunch before heading back, then had a walk down to see the Paramount Studios. I started having qualms about my dress because several people beeped me on the way (I never know if that’s a good or bad sign). After that we went to a renowned shop called Whimsic Alley, which was full of Harry Potter stuff. They even had all the individual wands! They didn’t have the character names on them – to make it more fun they all had code names. Since I’m an uber geek I was able to pick out the twins’ wands without names or code names (though I appreciated that Fred’s was ‘joker’ and George’s was ‘skiver’). Of course I had to get them both. Fred’s for me to keep and George’s as one Christmas present down in the process! We then drove past the Disney concert hall on the way back.

We went to Piper’s restaurant for tea. I had beef vegetable soup (surprisingly good and easily the most veg I’ve eaten since Boxing Day’s bubble and squeak last year!) and chicken parmegian. Very good but again too much food, Gaston. After eating we went up to the Griffith Observatory. We looked through some of the super telescopes and saw part of the constellation Cygnus. It was really fascinating – just so unreal. Plus seeing all the city lit up was simply stunning.

We both wanted to shower and have an earlier night before our tour in the morning. We watched some Friends and a greatest movie villain countdown. I was kicking myself for not even thinking of Hannibal Lecter. I’d been forced to get Red Bull Zero earlier because Walgreens was out of the regular kind, and apparently Zero is always better than light… Heads up: it’s not. It is in no way an acceptable substitute. Give me the sugar and calories please!

The L.A. night-time view from Griffith Observatory!

12/10/13 – The witching hour

Skyped Mom and Dad this morning. Got to see both Star and Izzy on cam. Izzy’s getting so big! We’re hoping we’ll be able to Skype Nan tomorrow too. Had some pizza for breakfast and it was still so good! Still only eaten half of it between us though – hoping the maids don’t throw it away whilst we’re out! Actually dressed in layers for the first time in forever today. It feels so weird wearing jeans again! But Boston has been the coldest place yet, so we needed to be prepared to head into the heart of the city.

We liked Boston instantly, despite it reminding us weirdly of Birmingham. We walked back and forth through the park a little, which was lovely, and followed part of the Freedom Trail. I’ve been hunting for a city to set my Argo series in during my travels and Boston is currently topping the list. We even found ourselves in a place called McKinley Square (McKinley being the name of my main character) – it must be fate! I’d like to hold off on deciding until the end of the trip though, as I feel San Francisco and Chicago could be contenders too. We got down to the wharf and found out that our whale watching was cancelled because of rough seas. Absolutely gutted! There’s a chance we’ll be able to do it in the morning tomorrow instead, but again it’ll depend on water conditions. Fingers crossed!

Feels scarily like home… Isn’t Pigeon Park just up there?

Kain, you’re famous in Boston! I’m such a proud character momma…

Because our plans were so cocked up we decided to head into Salem earlier so that we could get a good look around. I felt like I was going to a convention. A horror convention. There were so many people dressed up! We even heard someone playing ‘Sally’s Song’ on some kind of wind instrument. Safe to say that’s been stuck in my head since. We saw inside one of the buildings that there was actually a month-long convention going on for the whole of October! That certainly explained a lot. We then went for a late lunch at Thai Place. I’ve never eaten Thai food before but I will most definitely be doing it again! We shared a starter of wonton type things filled with onion, potato and curry powder, served with pineapple sauce. I then had BBQ chicken with steamed rice and sweet chilli sauce. It was all gorgeous! I feel this was an experiment that turned out very successful.

We had a wander around some shops afterwards. There was a Harry Potter themed shop where I was totally tempted to get a golden snitch aerial topper for my car, but then was worried it’d get nicked (oh the woes of living amongst British hooligans). There was a pretty awesome Snape standing outside too. We also visited one of the cemeteries. It’s the second oldest cemetery in America (and also seemingly the most popular – never seen so many live people in a cemetery!) A lot of the grave stones were broken and you couldn’t see the writing anymore. The oldest one we found was from 1790, wow! There also seemed to be a hell of a lot of Abigails back then.

We then finally had our witch walk tour on the evening. By then it had gotten completely dark, which made it even more awesome. Our tour guide Tom looked like Russell Brand and Tim Minchin got together and had a baby. This is by no means a bad thing. He was totally cool – he really knew his stuff (Kay would have been impressed), he was funny, fun to watch and made the whole thing much more interesting than it already was. I even found some of my old knowledge from learning about The Crucible coming back. Tom went into quite a bit of depth on how Salem was never really a home of witches and that it had only happened more recently as it gained popularity for the idea, which I’m sure Kay would have been pleased about.

Me and Kel were the nerds who stuck at the front of the group the whole time (though mostly it was because we got frustrated being stuck behind all the snail people when we were moving from one place to the next. Why do most Americans have no sense of urgency about them?!) At one point Tom even started playing ‘This Is Halloween’ on a little cassette player as we were walking. Needless to say me and Kel were both singing along. An awesome touch! During the witch walk we participated in a Wiccan ritual and also all joined in blessing pieces of rose quartz that we’d be given as a group.

We had a drag of a journey back, consisting of a half hour train ride and then two separate subways. And we got stuck with all the teenies coming out of a Selena Gomez concert (though at least it wasn’t One Direction or I would likely have been forced into punching someone). We were happy to find that our pizza was still in our room and hadn’t been chucked out by the maids, so we had another munch and watched some of Zoolander. I put my rose quartz into my makeup bag, because you’re supposed to keep it in a pink bag to improve your love life. Ha. Good luck, little rose quartz. If you actually work then I promise I’ll turn Wiccan.

The busiest cemetery you’ll ever see! And the only one where there’s more live people than dead.