Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Well, yesterday was a wonderful day! We finally got to check out of our hotel on base and into our home here in St. Ives. It is BEAUTIFUL! The most quirky of spaces, it fits us perfectly! It was definitley an interesting day, Christopher had to return to work after signing the lease and accepting the keys, so I was left to wait on the chimney sweep to come and do our chimneys...until I realized as I was getting ready to take a walk around town that the front door lock was stuck and wouldnt let me out.

Long story short, I was stuck in the house all day yesterday waiting on the Locksmith. The chimney sweep, and one of the landlords, and myself (from the inside) tried with no avail to get me out. It was pretty funny. Christopher got home before the locksmith arrived and had to climb through a window to get inside. A memorable day to say the least.

We received our Express Shipment of things today and I am pleased to say that MY KITCHEN IS UNPACKED!!!!!!! Everything is up and in its place and it is lovely! It feels so nice FINALLY after almost 3 months without my kitchen stuff, to have it!

We wont have internet in our house until February 4th, so emails and updates will be scarce. I'm up at the highest level of the house right now stealing someone's wireless and only have one bar of service, so hopefully this goes through.

We love and miss you all and cant wait for everyone to come visit!!!


Jessica & Christopher

Friday, 23 January 2009

Good Morning

Good Morning to all on this beautiful, Friday morning. I figured it was time for an update, though there's not much to report.

We've been spending this week really trying to learn our way around and drive ourselves around. Christopher is really good at all the quirky driving things you have to do around here. I've driven around base, but havent braved beyond the gates to drive yet. But, I will.

We spent some more time in Cambridge, right around the time they celebrated their 800 year anniversary! 800 years! Isnt that amazing?!?! We're also discovering some amazing food out here. Everyone told us that English food was bland and had no taste, but they were wrong! We've had some of the best food out here so far! They use the freshest ingredients and its simple, fresh, organic flavors, but so amazing! We've also sampled the many desserts.... Sticky Toffee Pudding is our favorite so far!

We move into our house on Monday. Our express move things, so no furniture, but everything else will get there on Tuesday. We're having to basically "rent" a bed and sofa from the housing office til the rest of our things get here, but that's okay, we'll at least be out of the hotel! So, empty house except rented furniture, but only for a night! :)

We're trying to decide what to do this weekend. There are so many options for quick trips, Bath, back to London, Windsor Castle, Oxford, etc. Check back this weekend, and hopefully we'll have some new pictures up of our latest adventure!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Today we fell in love...

with London!

We rode the train in, it was about an hour ride, so not too bad. The first thing we did when we got to King's Cross is find Platform 9 3/4! For those of you who dont know....I LOVE Harry Potter and in the books, he gets to Hogwarts via King's Cross, on a magic platform between platforms 9 and 10. The King's Cross people are awesome and created a sign for platform 9 3/4 and even cut a cart in half and bolted it in the wall so it looks like its going straight through to the other side! For a Harry Potter dork, this was quite exciting!

We made our way to Picadilly Circus and walked around the streets and shops there and then headed into the Queen's Park and walked down to Buckingham palace. We personally were disappointed in the palace. I mean, its nice and all, but no where near the majesty you'd expect from a palace. But of course, it doesnt hold the age that most of the other sites we saw today did (Buckingham Palace was built in 1850).

After the palace, we walked down to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Parliament building, the River Thames, and the London Eye. It was AMAZING! That's what we were expecting from Buckingham Palace!

The building's are absolutely indescribable. It's so neat to see things in real life that you've only seen in movies and studied in books before.

After we walked around Old London, we stopped in for brunch and Christopher finally got a traditional English breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, chips (of fries), toast, and beans. He loved it!

Then we took the chunnel up to Camden and spent hours walking around all the HUGE markets and funky shops, seeing all the different people and things. It was awesome! We'll definitley go back there soon! We met an artist that was working his booth and we even bought one of his paintings of Montmarte, France. We're going to go back sometime soon and get one of his London paintings for our house too.

We left London this afternoon and made our way back to the base, but we've definitley decided that we'll be spending lots of time in London! Whenever any of you come visit, it'll be one of the first places we go!

Since we took so many pictures, here's the link to the album:

Friday, 16 January 2009


Today we didnt have any set plans so we asked the front desk at our hotel where some good shopping was and they suggested Peterborough. Its about 30 minutes away from the base, so we set out not expecting too eventful of a day, just some shopping.

We got within the city limits of Peterborough and were on the lookout for a shopping center when we came across a HUGE cathedral! We'd been told there were some older churches in the area to go look at, but we were not expecting this at all! We parked and made our way to the entrance of the cathedral which is open to visitors every day.

This is what caught our eye from the road

You walk through this archway and into a sort of courtyard in front of this massive gothic cathedral. It honestly took my breath away. I mean, I realize we're in a place where history actually happened, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect that on an ordinary day just out to do some shopping that we'd come across a church that was built in 1118. I mean seriously, 1118?!?!?! That is incredible!

Yeah that face, the-mouth-wide-open-face, was pretty much my face of the day

Side View

Now, onto your history lesson for the day.

Peterborough Cathedral, dedicated to St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Andrew was once a Monastic Church founded by King Peada in 655 AD. The cathedral that is standing now was built between 1118 and 1238 after being destroyed once by the Danes in 870 and then accidently burned down in 1116.

Among the tombs in the Cathedral, Katherine of Aragon is buried here. Katherine of Aragon was Loui the VIII's first and arguably his only legal wife. She was born in 1485 to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain... they are the king and queen who comissioned the travels of Christopher Columbus. She was betrothed at a young age to Arthur, King Henry VII's son. They were married in 1501 and he died about 6 months later, probably of consumption.

For a tumultuous few years, Katherine's fate was unknown, until Henry VII died and Henry VIII took the throne. One of his first acts as king was to marry Katherine in 1509. Soon after their marriage, Katherine became pregnant, gave birth to a stillborn daughter. A year later, she gave birth to a son who was celebrated all throughout the kingdom, but died when he was only 52 days old. She suffered a miscarriage after the Prince and then lost another son shortly after that. In 1516, she gave birth to the only child of theirs that lived, Mary (who would later become Queen Mary I). Its also said that she had 2 more miscarriages after Mary's birth.

After 24 years of marriage, King Henry VIII petitioned to have the marriage annulled on the grounds that their marriage was cursed since he married his brother's wife. In reality, he'd fallen in love with Ann Boleyn who encouraged him to marry her so she could produce a male heir to take the throne, as by that time, Katherine was no longer able to conceive. After 4 years of debating it in front of the church, King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church to get what he wanted. And as we know continued to do what he wanted and ended up with many wives.

After she was banished from her court, she lived out the rest of her life, its said, in dark, dank castles, banishing herself to her room and to mass only, in constant prayer. And until the day she died, she still considered herself (as did many followers) the Queen of England. She died in 1536 and was buried in Peterborough Cathedral, but not as Queen of England, as Dowager Princess of Wales. King Henry VIII did not attend, and he did not allow Katherine's daughter Mary to attend either.

So there you have it, a little history mixed in with our adventures! Pictures to come soon! We only had our small camera with us, we are going to try to go back Sunday or Monday and take pictures with the big Nikon!

Peterborough Cathedral: http://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/

Monday, 12 January 2009

A house...

Well, today we went to a town called St. Ives and looked at a house I found on the internet. It was in a word; perfect.

Its a 4 bedroom cottage situated right on the great Ouse river (we even have 20 ft of mooring space, so Christopher wants a canoe...lol).

The house is so quirky! As soon as you walk through the door you just feel home. Its so cozy! Its got tons of character...from the exposed beams in the ceiling, to the 2 working wood burning fireplaces, to the spiral staircases, to the garden, to the conservatory. I could go on and on...

The link to the pictures and more info on the house is: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-10812914.html/svr/1005?pageNumber=1&backToListURL=%2Fproperty-to-rent%2Ffind%2FCambridgeshire%2FSt-Ives.html%3FlocationIdentifier%3DREGION%255E1251&locationIdentifier=REGION^1251&radius=0.0

We found out today that we move in on the 26th!!!!! Yay! No more hotel!!! :)

Now, onto the town... St. Ives. We spent about 2 hours walking around the entire village and fell in love! Its filled with pubs, restaurants, shops, a couple of old churches, a huge old library and museum, even a couple of flower shops, a cheese and olive shop, a bakery, and a few days a week they have a market that takes up the entire town centre! And its right on the river Ouse, so right by the house there are ducks and swans and its just beautiful!

I'm trying to upload pictures to here, but our internet connection, like I've said, is not that great, so it may be a bit before you guys get pictures... sorry!

Sunday, 11 January 2009


***After spending 3 hours on this stupid blog because the internet connection is so crappy, 5 of the 10 pictures I uploaded to it didnt show up... so click on the link at the bottom of the page to see more pictures from today***

Today, though our sleep schedule was still messed up (I woke up at 1:45am while Christopher got to "sleep in" til 3am), we made it to Cambridge early this afternoon.

We got dropped off at the city centre right in the heart of Cambridge. There was a small market going on so we got to walk around and see all the different things people were selling. We spent the afternoon surrounded by the most beautiful buildings I've ever laid eyes on.
We had lunch at a place called West Cornwall Pasty. We were walking along looking for a place to eat when we walked past this little shop and it was like a cartoon hand came out the door and pulled us in. So, we stood in the line that snaked out the door and it was well worth the wait. I had a steak and ale pie and Christopher had the Pork and Apple pie. It was hands down the flakiest pastry I've ever put in my mouth (sorry Mymom). It shamed my pie crust, that's for sure!

West Cornwall Pasty on the right

After lunch we walked around the entire city, over the River Cam, around the different college greens, did a little shopping (we HAD to get some long johns and I needed a hat...its COLD).

The River Cam

With the phone booths

When we got back, we were sitting here in our room talking about Cambridge and everything and it hit me, we get to check something off our bucket list! We had originally planned to at least visit Europe by the time we were 30 and it hit me today, we're HERE!!!!! And we're not just visiting! Its hard to realize sometimes that we're really here because we've been spending a lot of time on the base... which is why we're going tomorrow after Christopher takes the driving test and getting our first right hand drive British car! Well, if we find one we like! So, yay! We'll definitley get out tons more when we dont have to hail a cab all the time to even get to the rail station.

Ooh, also tomorrow, Christopher's off work, so we're going to try to get out and do a little house hunting! So, fingers crossed that we have goodluck tomorrow!

Here's the link to our whole Picassa web Album so you can see more pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/JessicaKoenig827/Cambridge?authkey=I30vYls1KR4&feat=directlink

Friday, 9 January 2009


Today was Christopher's first day at work. He didnt do much other than check in and see the place he'll be working, so he was home by 9:30 this morning.

This afternoon we went to the housing office and found out that with the amount of Overseas Housing Allowance that we're alloted that we'll be able to get a 3 or 4 bedroom HOUSE!!!! No more apartments!!!! Which is AWESOME!!!!!!!!! So, among our favorites are 2 houses located in St. Ives (yes like the lotion) on the river Ouse and a 350 year old house. The old house is probably a no go, it looks like an amazing house, but the housing guy told us it wasnt in the greatest area, so, eh, not so much.
Tonight we hailed a cab and made our way to Huntingdon. Its the closest town to the Alconbury base where we're at. It was really nice. Most of the stores and things were closed for the night, but we ate at a wonderful restaurant called "Pop Bellies". I had a wild mushroom risotto and Christopher had bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes). Okay, so I hate sausage, unless its in sausage balls, of course, but these bangers were srumptious! And in the course of walking a mile to the base gate to get picked up by the cab, we realized why the Brits drink so much tea...because its FREEZING cold outside! So, we both had pots of tea with dinner to thaw out a bit.

After dinner we walked around the town centre and found an old church, St. Mary's. It was breathtaking. I missed it at first and turned around to find it looming behind me. That moment combined with driving past old, ivy covered buildings made me realize that we're here...we're really in England! Its amazing the history you can feel from just an old church or building...how much character seeps out from just a moment's glance. Now, I love America, but she aint got nothing on the history and old world feel of this place.
A sign we saw in the town Centre
St. Mary's Church
After walking around, we did some very not old world stuff...we went to the British equivilent of Wal-Mart---Tesco's. I have to say, we had a good time walking around the store looking at all the different things they had to offer. Its neat to see the similarities in the different foods (like the potato chips HAVE to be made by Lays...they have the same bags and everything, but they're called something different.) but also the differences... like lots of Indian foods, tons of different pastry's, cheap beer, and such. It was really interesting...but then again, I'm a foodie, so I loved it. :)
Dad, this picture's for you...its Christopher with all the British beer!
Well, I'm off for now! We're probably headed to Cambridge tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll post more pictures and stories!

Oh, if you've got Skype, look us up...our name is JCKoenig827


After an exhausting 24 hours of travel from Hickory to Charlotte to Chicago to London to the Alconbury base near Huntingdon in the Cambridgeshire, we have finally arrived in England!

The flight was a long one and we hit quite a bit of turbulence over the Atlantic, but we made it in one piece. It was probably the largest plane I've ever been on, we didnt even get to see the first class section because of where we boarded on the plane. We did walk through business class and let me tell you, WHEN you come visit (notice I said "when" not "if"), if you can afford it, splurge for business class! They had so much space and huge, reclining seats with foot rests so you could stretch out. Coach wasnt too bad. We were on the outside aisle with just 2 seats, so that was nice. In the headrests of the seats in front of us there were touch screen tvs and you could choose your movies and tv shows for the trip. They also had flight trackers on the screen so you could see where you were at any given moment.

Flight Tracker

Flight Info

Though a little foggy yesterday morning, the countryside is beautiful! And despite the fact that it's January and there was snow on the ground, everything is still green! It's a definite change from the warmth and dryness of San Diego, but a welcome one.

We ventured out last night at to a pub in the Stuckeley Country Hotel. It was about a half mile from the base gate and we had a nice walk there and back. Christopher had a beer called "Hobgoblin" and no it wasnt warm...lol We both had the fish and chips and they were amazing! The best I've ever had!
A road sign on the walk to dinner

Not the best picture, but our dinner!

We havent taken many pictures yet. After we checked into our hotel, we crashed for a few hours and by the time we got up and out, it was dark. But today, we're headed out to snap a few shots! We're kind of on Japan time I guess though...we went to bed at 9:30 last night and were up and about by 3am. So, the time difference (8 hours from San Diego, 5 from NC) is definitley going to take some getting used to!

Well, I'm signing off...check back every couple of days for new pictures and updates...I'm going to try hard to keep this blog up and running so everyone can read about our adventures!

Posted by Picasa