Hi, all! 🙂 Where am I now, you wonder? Well, the title of this post says it all. I’m in Belgium staying with Terry Milien, one of my besties. I’ll be here until Thursday when I head off for Germany, the final destination in this whirlwind adventure of mine. Today we have plans on visiting a dolphinarium. I ❤ dolphins, and I know they have other cute sea creatures like seals and sea lions, so I’m looking forward to checking it out!
Since I last updated, I went on a tour of Bath and Stonehenge. In Bath, Sue and I met up with Josephine Myles, who after our official tour of the Roman Baths, gave us a more unofficial tour of the town itself. We’d had lunch with her shortly after we arrived, broke for the tour of the baths, and then we walked around with her a bit. Knowing I’m a major Jane Austen fan, she showed us to one of the houses where Jane Austen had lived, took us past the Jane Austen Centre, and then showed us a couple of spots any Austen fan might recognize from the books/movies — the Circus and the Royal Crescent (pictured above). It was a lovely town and I enjoyed it very much, and being in the Roman Baths left me in awe thinking of the people who had first built it thousands of years ago. A bit surreal. Stonehenge was even more so after that, especially with all the speculation surrounding the actual use of the stones. We’ll never know, it’ll all be conjecture unless someone finds a magical, as-yet-undiscovered answer. Mysteries like that intrigue me. I must have taken a hundred pictures, one of which you can see below.
The day after our Stonehenge/Bath tour, Sue and I headed down to Brighton with Marie Sexton. We met with Chris, a Brighton Greeter, who took us through the town and showed us various sights while giving us some historical background. For a volunteer who claimed not to be an “official” tour guide, he was certainly very knowledgeable, and he made our visit that much more enjoyable.
After parting with him, we did lunch, and then we left Marie behind in the center of town to shop while Sue and I went to have our tattoos done. You can see mine to the right. It’s Harry Potter inspired and also serves to commemorate this trip, as a part of it I was most looking forward to was our visit to the Harry Potter studio at the beginning of the month.
Being friends with the tattooist who did my work, Melanie Tushmore was waiting for us at the tattoo parlor. She stayed for our tattoos and then helped us get back to the town center via bus, where Sue and I went down to the beach to dip our toes in the English Channel (And, man, was that beach rocky and killer on our feet! I don’t get how people were lying on those rocks bare-skinned, lol). Then we hung out with Tush and a friend of hers for a little bit before heading back to London. It had been a long day with lots of walking around, and we were tired.
That was on the 10th and the last of our official tours. Below, to the left, you can see a pic of the Royal Pavilion, which was one of my favorite buildings in Brighton, and I just loved its back-story. Then on the 11th, our last day in London, Sue and I split up for a bit. She went to check out the Natural History Museum while I met up with Marie Sexton at the London Dungeon. For those who don’t know, this isn’t an actual dungeon, but a haunted house type of attraction that blends history/folklore with trying to scare the hell out of you. As Marie said to Rowan later that day, we didn’t know each other very well at the beginning of our visit, but we did by the end. Clinging to someone in terror will do that to you! lol. Some of it was cheesy, it has to be said, but there were a few scary moments that had me screaming and holding on to Marie’s arm for dear life. I don’t feel too bad, though, because there were moments she grabbed me too. Hehe.
The day after the London Dungeon, we took a train to Manchester for the UK Meet Up. It was so great meeting new people and seeing some familiar faces. I got to meet some peeps I’d been talking to on Twitter and FB for a while, which was awesome, and the adorable Ashlyn Kane, who wrote one of my favorite M/M rocker romances, which was an unexpected pleasure, as I hadn’t realized she was going. Also saw some of the Dreamspinner crew, which is always a pleasure. Mainly we ate, drank (well, I drank pop/juice/water, the others mainly had wine :P), and talked and laughed. I enjoyed the panel discussions that went on throughout the day on Saturday, and then on Sunday, we only hung around long enough to have breakfast with Susan, and sit in on another couple of panels, and I got to chat with Kay Berrisford for a few minutes, who I’d been looking forward to meeting and had spoken to briefly the day before. The signing on Saturday evening went well. I had a few people stop by, managed to sell all my books, and even picked up a few books and signatures myself! JL Merrow was there and she wrote what is probably my favorite humorous M/M romance to date, so I was thrilled to meet her and have her sign my book, and I also bought books from Henrietta Clarke and Julie Bozza, which I am really excited to start reading!
Well, I must go off and shower so we can begin our day over here. Hope you are all having a beautiful summer. This time next week, I’ll be back home. Much as I’m looking forward to seeing my friend Carolin in Germany and spending a few days there, I’m also anxious to get back home. This is the longest I’ve ever been away from my family, and I’m really missing my son.
Hey, all! Later today I’ll be leaving for my first trip overseas! Needless to say, I am BEYOND thrilled. 😀 I’m making the trip with Sue, my best friend and sister cat. ❤ First stop is Rome, where we’ll be from 6/22 to 6/27. We’ll be hitting up the major sights in that city and taking a day trip to Tuscany while we’re there. Then on to Paris from 6/27 to 7/1, where we’ll be meeting Terry Milien and his husband. Terry is another of my best friends, and we’ll be meeting face to face for the first time in Paris, which is just awesome. We’ll be celebrating Pride together, and then Terry and his hubs are coming with us to London, where we’ll be visiting the Harry Potter studio on 7/2.
I’m staying in London from 7/1 to 7/12. While in town, we’ll be doing some touristy stuff with Marie Sexton and Rowan Speedwell, and I’ll hopefully get to meet Melanie Tushmore in person for the first time. We’ll generally try to see as much as we can before heading up to Manchester on the 12th for the UK Meet (if you’ll be there, come say hello!). After the Meet, I’ll be heading back to France, where Terry will be picking me up. I’ll spend a few days with him in Belgium before taking a train to Cologne, Germany. There, I’ll be staying with my friend, Carolin, who I haven’t seen in over a decade. My family hosted her for a school year when I was in high school, and now I’ll be hanging with her family for a few days before I head back home.
As you can see, it’s going to be a whirlwind trip. I’m equal parts nervous and excited, but I’m hoping everything will go well! I’ll have my laptop with me, and all of my hotels have wifi, so I’ll likely be able to update occasionally. Be on the lookout for pictures and news of my traveling exploits.
Hope everyone is having a great summer!