Today we have a very special guest post for you - from our excellent friend Pat who recently travelled with Captain Poprocks to Paris and the UK!
Greetings! You haven't met me before, but recently I and my partner Deniz were granted the privilege of escorting Captain Poprocks on his European tour. The Captain couldn't wait to get going, and insisted on helping me pack.
First stop was Paris. We stayed at a little hotel on the Rue de Saint-Andre-des-Arts, a 13th century street in the 6th Arrondissement. We stayed on the top floor, and the Captain wasted no time in planning a parkour escape route, should the need arise.
While we were in Paris, we made sure to see all the sights. First stop: La Musee du Louvre (The Louvre museum). It was high season in Paris, and crowds were huge. Luckily Deniz had heard of a little-known side entrance, the Porte des Lions (Lions' Gate). No crowds here, so we just walked right in!
Another bonus of the side entrance was that you enter very close to the Italian Renaissance painters, and that means you're very close to La Joconde aka The Mona Lisa.
After a few hours exploring the enormous museum, it was time for lunch. As we were in Paris, we naturally got baguettes and pastries and ate them in the park.
Another place we went to was the Conciergie, originally a palace and then a notorious prison during the French revolution. The fireplaces in La Salle des Gens d'Armes (Soldiers' Hall) were huge - more than enough to roast an entire hippo!
The Captain, with his natural good looks and charisma, obviously stood out wherever we went. The fact that he is a hippo meant he was forever being followed by a crowd of enthusiastic fans. Blending in proved extremely difficult. But every now again he was able to camouflage perfectly, like this time at the Jardins de Luxembourg:
We had purchased Paris Museum Passes, which includes entry to many Paris attractions. It really is worth its weight in gold, however, because it allowed us to bypass the queues. Well, most of the time. At Sainte-Chappelle, we had to wait in line. The Captain was not impressed - he's used to the VIP treatment!
Luckily, the wait was definitely worth it!
After a few days in Paris, we headed north, where we met up with friends Sam and Emma in Edinburgh.
A highlight of the Edinburgh trip was a ghost tour, which included exploring the underground vaults of the old city, and Greyfriars Kirkyard. Deniz was a little scared, but the Captain's bravery helped a lot.
After a few days in Edinburgh, it was time to head further north, to the wild Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland. The Captain did his best to navigate, but ultimately it was Deniz who led us to our destination.
The Orkneys lie off the north-east coast of Scotland. Although they are incredibly remote and incredibly cold, they have been inhabited for thousands of years. They are home to a number of stone circles and ancient sites from 5000 BC. As the people who built these ancient structures were illiterate, we don't know much about them. But didn't stop the Captain from trying to uncover some of their secrets.
Even though it was the middle of a Scottish summer, the weather here in the Orkneys was more like Kangaloon in winter. We visited the village of Skara Brae, the best preserved neolithic village in the world. It was rediscovered in 1850 when an enormous storm stripped away the earth that was covering it. It was a fascinating place, and it's hard to imagine that these old stone huts are older than the pyramids in Egypt!
We also visited Skaill House, an old manor very close to Skara Brae. Both Deniz and the Captain were intrigued by the secret compartments hidden in the library.
After finishing up in the Orkneys, it was time to head south, back to Edinburgh and then all the way down to London. Travelling first class of course.
Everyone enjoyed the British Museum, which includes such treasures as the Elgin Marbles, Lewis Chessmen, and of course, the Rosetta Stone. Without this artefact, archaeologists may never have translated hieroglyphics, the script of the ancient Egyptians.
The spring that feeds the baths produces more than a million litres of water a day, and it shows no signs of stopping. Ancient peoples believed the spring to be sacred, and the waters to have healing properties. I decided it was best to try some, just in case:
After a few days in the country, it was time to head back to London, so that we could go back to Paris. We had a lovely dinner with Catriona, who then took us out for a very Parisian dessert: crepes with nutella.
After a whirlwind two and a half week tour of Paris, Scotland and England, it was time to bring the Captain home. It's hard to pick highlights, as there were so many fun experiences and amazing things to see. Wherever we went, he had people coming up to us and asking about the Captain - without a doubt, he's a great conversation starter!