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Posted by Tim on Oct 27, 2005
48 hours in St. Albans

We met Becky and Andy in the Galapagos, aboard our beloved Samba. They had travelled the world together, and gave us an exciting glimpse of what Southeast Asia would have to offer us. We spent the first half of our eight-day cruise mistakenly thinking that they'd been married in January, and had been travelling ever since. Eventually, we realized that they had returned home from their travels to get married, only a week or so before. They were in fact newlyweds, and the Galapagos was their honeymoon.

On our last night together before leaving the Islands, Becky and Andy invited us to stay with them in St. Albans when we got to England. Touched, we happily accepted. The next day, waiting at the airport, we discovered that they already had an entire itinerary planned for us when we visited them.

We arrived in St. Albans in the early afternoon of October 1st. Becky picked us up at the train station, and whisked us back to their house where Andy was cooking us something heavenly. (Andy's secret method, he revealed to us, was to cook up a vegetarian dish and then throw meat into the mix. Having tasted the fruits of his labor, I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of this approach.) We made them show us their wedding photos (which were just adorable), and the lion's share of their photos of Southeast Asia (which were breathtaking), and the four of us told each other travel stories into the early hours of the morning. Warm, full, and content, we all retired to bed for the night.

The next morning, after a good solid English breakfast, we set out for a full day of sightseeing. St. Albans was originally a Roman settlement, and we visited the remains of buildings that had been abandoned a millenium and a half ago. We also visited an absolutely magnificent cathedral, established by William the Conqueror in 1066 (that's the photo at the top of this post). Surprisingly, though, perhaps the highlight of our tour of St. Albans was the small local museum, which somehow managed to be just about the most well-though-out, engaging, interesting museum I've ever been to.

After that it was down to business. St. Albans, as it turned out, was hosting its annual beer festival that day. Surely such a fortuitous conicidence could not be squandered. Andy and Becky arranged to have two friends meet us there, and off we went to luxuriate in the libation.

At the festival I dedicated myself to two very noble goals. First, I wanted to find and consume the beer with the strangest name (my personal favorite was "Rape and Pillage"). Second, I wanted to find and consume the beer with the highest alcohol content (the winner, whose name I can't recall but had something to do with the devil, was basically liquor masquerading as beer).

Their friends Ivan and Karen arrived, and much intoxicated merriment ensued. Eventually, we all departed the Beer Festival and headed off to a Greek restaurant that Becky and Andy were particularly fond of. Jessica and I had not had Greek food since our final meal at our beloved "Effie's", the day before we left Philadelphia, and were thrilled to once more find ourselves in the presence of grape leaves and feta cheese. Several bottles of wine were consumed at dinner, and at some point (just before we were about to leave) a birthday party broke out to our right. They were singing and dancing, and the waiters (in traditional Greek fashion) started smashing plates on the floor. Ivan and Jessica, whom we all discovered were prone to egging each other on and should never have been left in an unchaperoned conversation, started smashing all the dishes on our table as well. Andy returned from paying the check, surveyed the carnage, and declared it was time to go.

We made our way next to Karen's flat, where she proceeded to prove herself the best hostess in the world. For the rest of the evening (well, perhaps describing the wee hours of the morning as "evening" is mildly inaccurate) she would relentlessly lay out new platters of food and bottles of wine for us to enjoy. It has been rumored that one or two of us may have gotten a bit drunk, but that is of course only vicious slander. My memories primarily revolve around Andy's obsession with a monster called "dark scary dog", but that is a tale for another time. Eventually, the five of us left Karen's flat to stagger back to Becky and Andy's house. Ivan, who spent the night on their couch, may or may not have urinated on an ATM on the way while exhuberantly announcing that he was "making a deposit".

All in all, it was a most memorable evening. The next morning (after we all got past the "what the hell did I do last night?" stage), there was a momentous breakfast, followed by hugs and goodbyes. Ivan drove us to the train station, and we were off again!

Amie a.k.a. Koreen's sister
October 27, 2005 at 11:30am
Sounds like a great party! Im am going to be suspicious of all street ATM's now!
Philsie
October 27, 2005 at 4:29pm
No 2#
Philsie
October 27, 2005 at 4:31pm
Timmy you crazy beer drinking fool, Did you see Gordon Lightfoot there ?
Broken Weeble
October 27, 2005 at 10:04pm
Something tells me that the next time you two vist I should 1.) give you all paper plates and plastic silverware and 2.) keep you the hell away from the booze! It's kool-aide and ho-hos from now on young man! Jessica can take over my DJ-ing duties… Just make sure the boom box doesn't get hit by any volley balls! I think that's what really broke the darn thing, but don't tell Mom… I have her convinced that Amber did it. > ; o } *I'm so evil!*
Shana
October 27, 2005 at 11:47pm
good times, good times. heh.
other jess
October 28, 2005 at 9:04am
I'm trying to come up with a clever way to use the phrase 'piss poor' when referencing deposits to MAC machines, but it is morning and I'm not awake.

mmm beer.

Janet
October 30, 2005 at 7:14am
I think I will great the tellers from now on.
Philsie
October 31, 2005 at 10:10am
"This MAC machine is "Piss Poor" when I am trying to make a deposit, and I'm getting really Pissed Off
Broken Weebel
October 31, 2005 at 11:37am
Something tells me that this whole conversation is going completely down the toilet, and that pisses me off, for I know that we could be talking abut better thnings…
other jess
October 31, 2005 at 6:10pm
yeah, the discussion is totally half-assed at this point.

sigh.

Andy
November 3, 2005 at 12:00pm
Sigh. Those 48 hours are simply lost to me. I'm only just recovering. Scary Dog will get you though…
Broken Weebel
November 10, 2005 at 11:46pm
Thanks to you guys I now have a fear of English ATMs. > 8 o P

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