Europe 2015 – England

by Diane on 04/09/2015

A while ago Kai and I wrote an article on dinosaur mobile apps. One of the apps we discovered was an augmented reality app called ‘Dinosaur Island’, which allows users to interact with life sized dinosaurs. Downside of the app: it only works on the Isle of Wight in the UK.

I love dinosaurs. I love fun technology. We were going to be in Europe soon. Can you see where this is leading?

Isle of Wight

Yep, we had to go there. Entirely triggered by the augmented reality app. And since the Isle of Wight isn’t too far away from Canterbury (where JJ lives since she left New Zealand) it wasn’t even hard to convince her and Joe to join us there.

Kai and JJ before the fossil walk.

Kai and JJ before the fossil walk.

Obviously we visited the app locations and had a blast taking photos with virtual dinosaurs!

Fighting a virtual dinosaur.

Fighting a virtual dinosaur.

And we also did lots of other fun things. We:

  • learned how to identify dinosaur bones and other fossils that had washed up on the shore (after they had been washed into the sea in the first place) during a Fossil Walk
  • visited the Dinosaur Isle museum
  • had English pub food in St Helens (I don’t need that again)
  • played board/card games at night
  • explored the shore and searched for more fossils on our own
  • went for walks along the beach
  • looked for some geocaches
  • visited Quarr Abby Gardens
  • and Kai and I went flying.
Morning walk/morning coffee.

Morning walk/morning coffee.

St Helens from above.

St Helens from above.

Dino museum.

Dino museum.

We had such a great time, it was an awesome holiday inside our holiday.

Canterbury and rest of Kent

JJ had tried hard to convince us that Canterbury isn’t worth a visit, but we didn’t listen. Sure we wanted to see where she lived now! So right after Isle of Wight we went straight to Canterbury. And guess what? It’s absolutely lovely!

Cafe that makes decent flat whites in Canterbury.

Go here for a decent flat white in the UK.

We obviously got a very special tour by JJ and Joe, found a cafe that makes flat whites, saw a mummified cat at The Beanie and visited all the sights (Westgate Gardens, Towers, etc) we came across on our way. I even managed to sneak into a few opshops along the way – they are way better than NZ ones, with quality clothes and without the smell.

One of JJ's guinea pigs.

One of JJ’s guinea pigs.

Mummified cat.

Mummified cat.

While we were in Kent anyway we made Kai happy by visiting two aviation related museums: the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum and the RAF Manston History Museum. Because it’s British RAF stands for Royal Air Force, not Rote Armee Fraktion (which might be an important details for Germans reading this post). On the way back we stopped in Broadstairs for a walk and ice cream.

Ice cream in Broadstairs.

Ice cream in Broadstairs.

Saying good-bye to JJ and Joe again was really hard. :-(


Before heading to Austria we spent a day in London to see the Dinosaurs exhibition at the Natural History Museum. If you haven’t seen David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive you should do that now. I bet next time you’re in London you’ll go there too!

Diane and an Albertosaurus skeleton.

Hello Mr Albertosaurus!

One of my colleagues from my last contract had just moved to London, so we caught up with her at the museum and had lunch afterwards.

To keep things easy (we were flying out early the next morning) we stayed at a space capsule at the Yotel at Heathrow. That was an interesting experience.

Kai in front of our Yotel capsule room.

Kai presenting our Yotel box.

Definitely worth it if you need to be at the airport early in the morning, but definitely not somethings I’d like to do for more than one night. But for one night only it was super fun.


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