McKenzie's Travel Journal

A journal of interesting places and things I encounter by traveling the world

My 1st Riding Lesson at Hyde Park

Two days ago, I took my first horse riding lesson at Hyde Park Stables in London. The stables are right in the middle of the city so we had to ride through traffic to cross over to Hyde Park.

I was scared when I first mounted Dell, my pony, but my instructor calmed me down and I was confident to ride by the first minute.

On the first lesson, I was taught how to mount and dismount a horse, and hold the reigns and use them to ride. When you ride you have to wear proper attire too so you will be comfortable. My mom got me jodhpurs, and the school lent me riding hat and boots, I will get my own when I start my beginner riding course this summer. It was pouring rain but I didn’t mind, it was so fun. I’ve always loved horses but I learned how caring and sensitive they really are. After my lesson I gave Dell a hug and he gestured and gave me a kiss back. I’m looking forward to my next lessons.

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Central London

Here’s pictures in and around London πŸ™‚

M&M World

The London Eye

me and my brother driving through the city

Hamley’s Toy Store

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

Picadilly Circus

famous london phone booth

Big Ben

sitting at the lions on nelson’s square

countdown clock to London 2012 Summer Olympics

tower bridge

St Katherine’s Docks

Tower of London

Harrod’s Department Store

the big faberge egg hunt

finding our way on the london underground

london chinatown

The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace

browsing shops on Bond Street

the line up at Buckingham Palace

London Cab


river thames with big ben in the background


at the London aquarium


patriotism at the jubilee celebrations


found Mr. Bean and his bear



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The Science Museum

We visited the Science Museum today. It is world renowned for it’s awe-inspiring exhibitions. I loved the Making the Modern World gallery.Β  We found the first Ford car, and the first computers. They also had an Imax theatre. We learned fascinating facts on genetics, there was a machine where you can see how you would look like years from now, it was scary and cool. They had on exhibit the rescue capsule that was used in Chile to get the miners up. It was a very interesting and engaging museum.

earth hologram

transport exhibit

old cars

the first computers

the first ford car

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GO Ape: Forest Adventure

We went to Black Park Park in Buckinghamshire today. In class, we learned about biomes, and my mom thought what better way to observe and experience being in one than actually being part of it. At Go Ape Parks, you get to explore the forest on a segway or climb and swing on trees. I was too short for the segway so my dad and brother got on it while me and mom walked the trails and got on the courses. It was a work out but really fun! We will surely do this again.

this branch better hold up

check the size of this

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The Natural History Museum London

Another amazing place to visit in London is the Natural History Museum. This place is massive! The museum is divided into zones (colors) so you can find your way easy. The Museum’s grand entrance hall includes the Diplodocusskeleton, a 1,300-year-old giant sequoia tree, Darwin’s statue and the coelacanth, a prehistoric fish still living in the Indian Ocean. There was also a gallery of diamonds, mostly from jewelry maker De Beers. We marveled at the beautiful historic artworks, and modern images of nature. There was so much to see, like the world of massive mammals; you can observe a blue whale, the largest creature ever from above and below. Again, there was so much to see. The good thing is they have online exhibitions too so check it out.

Medusa, don’t look!

see the scale of that?

blue whale

entering “earth” at the Natural History Museum

gigantic fossils

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Day Out at the London Zoo

In almost every country we visit, we come to see the zoo. London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It opened in 1828. At the zoo they try to recreate the animal’s natural environment. My favourite were the Penguin Beach, Squirrel Monkey enclosure, the Butterfly paradise, and the petting zoo. You can really see the animals up close; the squirrel monkeys roam around the enclosure with the visitors, they were so cute. The butterflies fly around you too at the Butterfly paradise.We listened to the zookeepers explain what the animals were, their original habitat, and how they are looked after.

Butterfly Paradise

squirrel monkey

petting sheep πŸ™‚

taken after reading Darwin’s theory


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Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle







Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the Official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen. Its rich history spans almost 1000 years.

The Castle covers an area of about 5 hectares (13 acres) and contains

β€’ Magnificent State Apartments furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection
β€’ St George’s Chapel (one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings in England and the burial place of 10 monarchs)
β€’ Queen Mary’s Dolls House, a masterpiece in miniature
β€’ The Drawings Gallery featuring an exhibition

We walked around the town as well, it is pretty.

river by the castle

walking around town

the crooked house near the castle

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My Journey to Scotland

Last month my Grandad drove us to Scotland. We took a journey back in time and went to the places and homes my Dad grew up in. They kept moving a lot so we went to a lot of cities and towns all over Scotland. We drove past the schools and play grounds my Dad went to, really cool.



My Dad was born in Inverness Scotland. Inverness is famous for the Loch Ness monster. People say that the Loch Ness monster is a creature that lurks around lake Ness or Loch in Gaelic, Gaelic is an old language the Scots use. There are so many tourists in Inverness, just to experience going to lake Ness searching for “Nessie” . There are so many websites dedicated to this legend. We went to lake Ness ourselves to catch a glimpse of Nessie but there was no sign of Nessie : ( .

Lake Ness

Loch Ness, Inverness Scotland

where are you Nessie?

Someone actually made a sculpture of Nessie and put it under water and a scuba diver thought it was real! XD.

On the way to Inverness, we stopped by for a quick tour of Tomatin whiskey distillery . Scotland is famous for fine Whiskey production. We learned about the process and looked at the machines used to make Whiskey. They say the older the whiskey, the better it tastes, we saw one as old as my Dad.

this is where the malt gets processed it’s made of copper

whiskey barrels

me inspecting the malt!


We visited my Aunt Emma and her family in Kinross. From their house you get a good view of Loch Leven, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in 1567, in Loch Leven castle.

At my Aunt Emma’s house we played, sang, and spent time with my cousins Thomas, Arran and Benjamin and of course Uncle Allan and Aunt Emma.

singing with Arran

view of Loch Leven from Aunt Emma’s house


We also went to Glenrothes, Perth, and, Dundee, where we met my Aunt Dawn, she gave me one of

Nana’s bracelets which I will treasure forever.

Inverness with my cousins and my brother


with Aunt Dawn


After tracing Dad’s roots, we went to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It’s beautiful! We went to Dynamic Earth first. They have 14 interactive galleries that take you back in time form the Big Bang to what the future may be. My favourites were:

Time Machine:

You board the time machine to begin your journey back 15,000 million years. Historical events pass before your very eyes, back 50 years, a thousand years, millions of years, before the life of the dinosaurs and even the formation of the universe, back to the time of the Big Bang.

time machine

Time Machine at Dynamic Earth

Shaping the Surface and the Volcanoes:

At this exhibit, the floor shakes mimicking a volcano eruption, and on the next room, you move through into the cool blue light of a craggy ice cave. Take a flight over glaciers in and around the icy and dramatic landscapes of Norway and Scotland. The power of natural forces are revealed as you discover how our landscape has been shaped and erodes by the power of ice.

ice sculpture

touching ice from the Ice Age exhibit

Casualties and Survivors
Here you begin the exploration of the planet and the creatures within it. In Casualties and Survivors you follow the precarious path of evolution and come face to face with some of the winners and losers in life’s struggle for survival. We discover how mass extinctions occurred and what the dinosaurs might have looked like if the meteorite had not struck. Really fun seeing the exact size of the extinct Dodo bird.

they were short back then

The Tropical Rainforest

Here you see, smell, and feel the Rainforest.

Rainforest at Dynamic Earth

I also liked the show dome and the 4D theatre which was so cool.

Next we went to the National Museum of Scotland. This is the biggest and best museum I’ve ever been to. It is massive and there is so much to see. It showcases Scotland’s bright minds too like Alexander Graham Bell, James Watt, James Clerk Maxwell, Alexander Fleming, to name a few. It made me proud of my Scottish heritage, half of me πŸ™‚

The exhibit on Natural World was so fascinating. The animals were life size and a lot of them are taxidermy, so so cool to see it. There were exhibits on Scotland, World Cultures, Arts and Design, Science and Technology. We saw Dolly, the famous cloned sheep. We all wished we had more time to view the museum, but it really was so big, you’ll need 2 days!

Later that night we ate at Rabbie Burns pub. When we travel, part of the adventure is trying out the local cuisine and Scotland has unique dishes. In Inverness we had Scottish Haggis with chips. Haggis is oats mixed with sheep heart, liver, lungs, and spices, and onions. It gets boiled, seasoned, rolled in batter and fried, then eaten with chips (french fries). It was surprisingly yummy if you’re brave enough! At this pub in Edinburgh, they put it in Nachos and it was awesome. My brother won’t try it, but I did. I should probably tell you who Robert “Rabbie Burns” is, he is regarded as Scotland’s national poet. He is a poet and lyricist. You have probably heard of the song Auld Lang Syne which is often sung on New Year’s eve; he wrote that. Hogmanay (the last day of the year) celebrations started in Scotland.

The next day we went to see the Edinburgh castle and then watched a football match.

enjoying my haggis nachos

watching Scottish football in Edinburgh


The last city we visited is also the biggest, Glasgow. At Foundations Glasgow, we watched an interactive video on how Glasgow came to be the city that it is now. It showed how the city was built and rebuilt. Shipbuilding used to be the main industry, today it is one of Europe’s top financial centre and home to Scotland’s leading businesses. It is home to many museums as well. We went to the Kelvingrove Museum at the University of Glasgow. Their collection had a fascinating collection of Art and Science.

at the Kelvingrove Museum


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My trip to the British Museum!

The British Museum is about the world, for the world. The Museum was built so everyone can engage themselves in different cultures, so despite their differences they can understand each other. It’s a BIG museum about the history of the world, spanning about 2 million years of human history. It was founded in 1753. My favourite part was looking at the ancient civilizations’ artifacts and sculptures from Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Mesopotamia.

The British Museum


Massive Sculpture at the British Museum


Parthenon Sculpture


Egyptian Hieroglyphics



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A Visit to the Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection Museum


We recently visited the Wallace Collection which is located at Manchester Square in London. It has one of the world’s private collections of art. It’s a former family home of the four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace.

One of the highlights of the visit is seeing the works of Baroque painters Rembrandt and Rubens, who are two of the most famous artists of that time. Baroque is an artistic style that uses exaggeration of motion and detail to produce drama, exuberance and grandeur. It uses a lot of play of light and shadow, a style called chiaroscuro.

At the collection I saw Peter Paul Rubens’ massive painting called ”Landscape with a Rainbow” which he painted in 1638. I like the painting because it is very colourful and very detailed. And it’s also very realistic. It made me see what life was like back then when he painted this.

My dad and brother looking at the ''Landscape with a Rainbow'' by Rubens

The Wallace House has been refurbished to showcase their collection of intricate porcelain and furniture. Everything was so beautiful, including the detail on the ceilings, the walls, it was so grand everywhere. the courtyard was also transformed into a restaurant where we had brunch. Go to to plan your visit.

One of the rooms where the ornate furniture and porcelain were displayed


beautiful detail on the ceilings


having brunch at the courtyard of the Wallace Collection

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