Allison and Ian in Manchester


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Allison and I made it over to Prague for a long weekend a couple weeks ago

The weather was amazing, and Prague is a beautiful city. As usual, we spent most of our time walking around checking things out.

Just walking around the historic centre, there are so many great buildings to see, like confections.


Like most great European cities, a river runs through it, and there are numerous bridges to cross whilst strolling along

and adorable old streetcars to ride when your feet get tired

And so many shady park paths when the sun gets to be too much

Allison approved


we saw many things we liked

some things we liked a lot

here is a totally candid shot of me


here is a photo I took of one of the adorable black squirrels right after it ran into a bush

whats up!! (it’s ok, we’re Americans)

so freakin’ scenic, it was like we were at Europe – the theme park

we ate wild pears in this park

the Cathedral looms


also not-photographed, but enjoyed: National Technical Museum, coffee, bagels, pilzner, donut things, faberge eggs, amber, gelato and cobble stone tired feet.


Back to the US soon, now what?

Written by Ian

10/09/2011 at 5:47 pm

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Our weekend got off to a quiet start with plans of possibly running some errands and/or strolling around town with vegetarian sausages in hand. Then our friends Howie and Mary called to say they were headed to a festival out in the Peaks and would we like to join? Of course!

We missed our train by only a few minutes, so we got sandwiches and ate them in the park in city centre.

Manchester looks quite nice when the sun comes out

Then, it was time for the train.

To the Peaks!

One good thing about the near-constant rain is that even in late August, everything looks lush.

By the canal in Greenfield

The festival was actually one for Morris Dancing and involved the dancers pulling a rushcart all over the county with pub stops and dancing.

The chosen Morris dancer climbing into the rushcart at the start

And they're off

Going up/down hills was a little tricky.

Morris rushcart

At the next village, time to dance and have a pint!


More dancing

The rain started up and as the dancers made their way to another village, we decided it was time to head back to Manchester.

We’re off to Prague for a long weekend on Thursday and we’re almost to our final month of living here in Manchester. Time flies.

Written by Allison

22/08/2011 at 1:09 pm

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Barcelona (2nd visit)

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We just returned from our second visit to Barcelona.

we went to meet our friend who was visiting Europe from the US (San Francisco).

It was a pretty fun trip. The weather was great, and we re-visited a few of the sites that we went to the last time around about a year and a half ago.

like the park over by the zoo

and the Park Guell, which was way more crowded this time around

We also actually went inside the Sagrada Familia this time which was really impressive

the stained glass in particular was beautiful

We also dragged our friend along to what is probably our favorite spot in Barcelona, the roof of the Cathedral.

you can see just about the whole city, and the fact that you can go on the roof is not particularly well advertised so even this time around there were only a few people up there

All the major tourist attractions were way more crowded this time around compared to our visit in March. It was also a lot hotter, around mid 20’s C as opposed to the high teens we experienced last time. almost too hot, but still really nice. We had plans to go for a swim but the Mediterranean next to a major working port like Barcelona was not so awesome so we abstained.

We did have a lot of time showing our friend around, but I think we wore her out a little with all of our walking. It’s always fun to see someone from home.

On our last day, we walked up to the MNAC for another city view and a picnic lunch followed by a bit of walking around the exhibits.

about 100 years ago, they started salvaging various wall paintings from churches in the Pyrenees and recreating the general shape of the churches inside the museum; it’s really neat.

Not a bad coffee view from the front terrace either.

After quite a bit of people watching this trip, I think it would be fun to have a photo blog of people taking pictures on vacation.

All cultured out

It was a really great trip, but as always, it’s good to be home. It was 27C when we left Barcelona and 16C and raining when we landed in Manchester a couple hours later, which was a little rough but to be expected. We returned just in time to have completely missed the riots apparently and we’re surprised and confused to come home to numerous emails and phone messages asking after our safety. Looks to all have settled down as of now, but I am glad to have missed it.

We have a couple weeks off and then we head to Prague at the end of August. The one last trip in September when we go to Woerden for the Nationaal Veteraan Treffen.

Written by Ian

13/08/2011 at 7:23 am

not slacking, I assure you

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As our time here in Manchester runs out, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay current on our blog — there’s just too much going on. I start to feel pretty lazy though, so here goes with a quick update since last time.

mainly, it’s been raining a lot.

Our good friend Howie has moved back to Chorlton after a year in Geneva, and we’ve got to hang out with him a few times which is great

We went to a beer festival with a bunch of his friends and had a great time in the sun. The night ended late at a city centre DJ tent with a bunch of middle aged folks which was both strange and fun

We enjoyed some garden leisure time

We made it down to London to visit some friends that moved down there a few months ago

It was really fun, but I ended up with a pretty gnarly cold that is still hanging on three weeks later

one of our students graduated, so we did a group photo

last week we went down to Vertou with our soon to be married friends to tag along while they finalized arrangements. Mostly this involved getting spoiled rotten by her parents, and maybe a little work (very little)

We ate so much delicious food and drank so much delicious wine, all produced nearby, I will never be the same

their neighbor drives an amazing van, i wish i had managed to get him in the photo — he looks exactly like you would expect

We walked along the river in Vertou one afternoon

france in general is such a feast for the eyes

it’s a difficult life, but . . .

sweet chateau

there were lots of picnics

and lots of sunflowers

i am a huge fan of sunflowers

we went to the beach

tide out

tide in

I even went swimming in the Atlantic for the first time

it was very pretty

we also explore Nantes on day, it is pretty incredible

we approved

there were some really good gargoyles

we walked over to check out les machines

seriously amazing stuff, steam punk fantasy

even something made from a chopped up Motobecane

everything was meant to be ridden

these two were amazing hosts and showed us an excellent time!

happy campers

tomorrow were flying to Barcelona to meet up with a friend from the US for a few days, then it’s back to work for a couple weeks. We have plans to go to Prague, and Woerden in the next couple months and then some time around the first week of October we’ll be moving back to the US for good. Hard to believe it’s already been two years. . .

Written by Ian

06/08/2011 at 8:25 am

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Lots goin’ on

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Not so many posts these days, plenty of adventures have been happening all the same.

We made a trip out to Broadbottom for a BBQ with some friends

Our friend Ben, who lives off Gibble Gabble

tasty food and pyromania

I managed to convince a friend to buy a sweet moped

It was delivered on a tiny trailer

Wii part and delicious Thai food with some more friends from the University


We made a trip with friends out to Jurassic Park

Actually, Monkey Forrest

ahh, look, a baby monkey!

I went to a bike race

One of our students graduated (the happy looking one)

We’re going down to London to visit here in a few weeks and I am excited for that.

And another somewhat stormy BBQ

These two (the skeptical looking ones) are taking us to France, near Nante at the end of July while they finalize wedding plans — should be awesome.

Today I sat in the warm grass while supervising my friend working on his new moped

Busy busy.


Allison has been back in Seattle for the last two weeks, so I have been trying to keep busy. She gets back on Tuesday, so I am in the home stretch. Starting to look for a job back in the US — just a few more months left. How has it already been two years?!

Written by Ian

03/07/2011 at 9:35 pm

Posted in Adventures, Deets, Weather

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Fridays at the Ducie

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Probably my favourite ritual is our weekly after work friday pints with these jokers

good times

Written by Ian

05/06/2011 at 9:41 am

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fun with friends

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We spent a nice couple of weekends with friends these last couple weeks.

Last Monday we made a trip to legendary Blackpool with Scott and Lina.

Blackpool is a once popular holiday destination which has gone downhill quite a bit since the proliferation of cheap air travel. It’s a beach side promenade packed with gambling and gaming halls, side shows and take away shops.

Scott generously drove is all over in his vintage Nissan Micra and we spent the afternoon strolling around, taking in the sights, and people watching.

There is also sizable amusement park called the Pleasure Beach.

Built in the early 1900’s, it hasn’t been maintained much since then which gives the various roller coaters and rides and extra aire of excitement.

The sun was out and we all got a little sunburned, but it was nice to spend some time by the sea

low tide

We also got to spend some time with one of our friends that was in town from Geneva for a job interview (hope he gets the job, it’d nice to have him back in MCR, even just for our last few months).

This weekend was really nice as well and we went out to Broadbottom on the train — about 20 mun outside MCR — to visit Ben and have a BBQ

These two came along which was great

have I mentioned that Ben lives in Broadbottom off Gibble Gabble lane? I love the UK sometimes

it’s not often you can sit outside in shirt sleeves in Manchester and not be freezing

grilled haloumi is the nectar of the gods

our host, his mustache is looking pretty good

roasted sweet potatoes,

we ate for about four hours — so delicious — Ryo knows what she is doing

then Egor got a little crazy with the fire and it was time to go back inside

We caught the next but last train to Manchester and braved the Saturday night craziness in city centre to get to the trusty 86 back to Chorlton. I’m looking forward to a lazy Sunday.

Written by Ian

05/06/2011 at 9:39 am


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