Monday, 30 August 2010

Accidental finds..

The Palace
Today I had to leave my swanky hotel in the West end.  So after breaky I headed out for one last walk down to Buckingham Palace, then gathered up my things to head to the hostel.

Constitutional walk
No sneaking into the Queen's gardens!

I arrived at the hostel long before check in time so decided I would take a walk. Pretty much flipped a coin and turned right out the front door.  Wandering the road I had no idea what I might find. There was a creepy guy on one corner so I crossed the street and picked up the pace. Now I'm on a bridge... interesting but that happens often aournd here.  Then I realized I was on the London Bridge! (Wow, I'd been meaning to visit this anyway, funny how things work out).

Tower Bridge in the background
From the London bridge I could see down the Thames (no big deal) to the Tower Bridge. So I made my way across the bridge and headed along a waterfront path-thingy and ended up at London Tower (had also been meaning to visit this, what a day).  This is probably the one thing that I have seen so far and actually thought "wow, I expected it to be bigger".  But still impressive knowing how old it is and how many 'traitors' were executed there!
Tower of London

Made my way back across the Thames (no big deal) on the Tower Bridge - an impressive bridge! Along the water on the other side and eventually arrived back at my hostel (bonus). Got all checked in and discovered I don't have wifi at my place (not cool).  This hostel is one of 3 sister hostels, so I have to come a few blocks down the road to the main building for internet... so pics will follow later.

Now I am in house hunting mode, because walking 3 blocks every time I want to use the internet is going to get old fast! Off to find dinner...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Tour Day!

Slept fairly well last night trying to slowly overcome the jet lag from the 8 hour time difference.  The Hotel provides a "traditional English breakfast", which was interesting.  Consisted of eggs, sausage, bacon (aka slice of pan fried ham), cooked tomato, canned beans and toast. Holy protein!!
Changing of guard heading to inspection

After that hearty meal I was ready to journey out on the streets. Headed to the Wellington Arch where a free walking tour began.  The 2.5 hour tour took us all over the West end including sights like  Constitution Hill, Buckinghman Palace, changing of the guards, St. James' Place, Horseguards, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, etc.  It was great, definitely recommend it!

Big Ben

Houses of Parliament

London Eye
On the tour I met a girl from PEI and we then went to the London Eye but the line was much too long.. so we jumped on the tube and headed to a 'festival' I had heard of in Notting Hill.  Turns out this is the Nottin Hill Carnival and it is TOTALLY insane!! Not exaggerating, I'm talking about a couple million people wandering around Notting Hill which has been completely closed off for the occasion.  I should mention that it is legal to drink in public here, so the majority of the crowd was drunk and wandering the streetrs with drink in hand.  It is a Carribbean carnival with big floats blasting music, food everywhere, garbage convering the streets and drunk people dancing amid it all! Definitely an experience.

Notting Hill Carnival, people as far as the eye can see!

Finally made my way back to the hotel feeling exhilirated and exhausted.  Another great day in the city :)

Saturday, 28 August 2010

First day in the City

Spent a good portion of the day struggling with jet lag until it was late enough to call home and let the rents know I suvived the trip (8am for them, 4pm for me). Then it was time to face the streets on my own! Headed out the door and realized after about 3 blocks that I had gone the complete opposite way I was trying for...
After a quick loop around the block I was feeling even more disoriented.  I really wanted to get my bearings before meeting for a free walking tour tomorrow.  So I grabbed some fruit and sat on a bench to figure out the map. Saw a city worked, pointed over my shoulder and asked ``Is that the Marble Arch?`` he said `yes`` and I was on my way!
Worked my way around Hyde Park (which  I have totally mastered now) and was even asked for directions, and could give them! haha
After some strange glances figured out maybe I should walk on the lft side of the sidewalk.  Couldn`t help but stare at the guys walking down the road drinking beer.. but otherwise really didn`t feel like I was on the other side of the Earth :)
just bought the umbrella when the rain came down!
Bridge over the Serpentine
Even found my way back to the hotel at the end.  All in all a successful day.  Now it is 7:30 pm here, 11:30 am at home... and I am sooo ready for bed!
Marble Arch


Goodbye Canada
I'm in Freaking LONDON!!

Said my goodbyes Friday afternoon in rainy Vancouver, made my way through security etc and got on my plane to London. It was a long and squishy flight. The flight actually took less time than expected, only about 8.5 hours, and went well. The food served was actually quite good and even got some sleep in. Arrived in London around 7 am local time, and it is a bright sunny day here :) Got picked up at the airport (thank god) and after trying to get in to the wrong side of the car (damn) enjoyed the scenic drive to London to find the hotel. Took the road through Hyde Park and it was beautiful. Now waiting for my hotel room to be cleaned so I can rest a bit before setting out for the day.

  1. Good morning England!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Almost D Day

Tomorrow is D Day (departure day). Feels surreal. I've been planning this for so long didn't think it would ever really get here!! But after some (very) tearful goodbyes, it is now sinking in that the day has come.

I am happy to say that I am leaving behind some great friends. Not happy to be leaving them, but happy that I do have great friends who support my decision to go on this crazy adventure, and who I can share my experiences with. And of course who make me want to come home at the end of it all :) I am going to miss you guys like crazy but can't wait to tell you about my adventures and hear about yours!

Counting down the hours,keeping myself awake so I can sleep on the plane and who am I kidding, there's no way I could fall asleep anyway!!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Countdown is 10 days until I fly out of Canada and begin by journey abroad. Spending time with family and friends trying to jam a summer's worth of "we should's..." into these last 2 weeks as it finally dawns on everyone that I am ACTUALLY leaving the country!

Let's see how this goes... Carpe Diem :)