The second part of our tour included also seeing Bath, which had Leone getting very excited about finally being able to see these locations after studying them and their histories for about 5 years. Unfortunately, my knowledge of places outside of Canada and part of the United States is extremely limited so I had never heard of Bath until we bought the Groupon to go there.

It turns out, Bath is quite famous and the tour guide also said that one of the flats was owned by Nicolas Cage at one point but had recently sold it, which was quite a neat fact but would have been cooler to actually have known which one it was.

The first place that the tour guide took us was to the the The Circus at the top of the hill in Bath which was really quite interesting to see and be in the center of it all. Afterwards she took us to The Royal Crescent which was about a 3 minute walk from the Circus and that was placed in a much more open area that lets you see over some of Bath

What are we looking at?

The main place that Leone wanted to check out though was the Roman Baths that still pump out their mineral rich waters. They provided more prerecorded devices so you could find out more information as you went along but we didn’t really pay attention to these ones either. The main bath was quite impressive and I was wondering how deep it is but the water is quite rich in something and you can’t really see through it.

There were a few other smaller baths inside but they do not let people near them as there really wasn’t anywhere to stand around them so we had to look through openings in the walls to view them.

What was really fascinating was seeing how well kept the structures were in some areas that showed how they distributed the water and also heated up rooms. The water also for the most part was really quite warm to the touch and near the exit of the Roman Baths has a fountain where you can grab a cup and drink the water if you want. We all tried a sip and it wasn’t too bad but warm water isn’t ever something that I like going out of my way for.

Bath is a beautiful city where the architecture is incredible and it sort of feels like we went back in time walking around everywhere.



Thanks to Groupon, we were able to visit Stonehenge rather cheaply I think considering we didn’t have to worry about getting there and we also had a tour guide that made the trip really fast as she relayed information about her studies and the sites around us. I can’t remember her name but she was very enthusiastic about it which made for a very engaging trip.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t as warm as we hoped it would have been because Stonehenge is in the middle of nowhere with no wind protection so it was pretty windy and it was a touch chilly.

A huge disappointment was that they didn’t let people go up close to the actual stones anymore as they said people were chipping away at the rocks to take as souvenirs for some reason. I suppose to some, having a piece of the actual stone means something but those people ruined it for the rest of us who just want to admire these awesome creations. I think the closest we were able to get was about 20-30 feet away.

I was also quite surprised at how small they were. I don’t know why but I thought they would be a lot bigger than they were. At most, I think they were about 15-20 feet tall and I was expecting that would tower over you casting it’s shadow wherever it pleases. Still awesome to see despite it being just rocks. They’re cool rocks!



After becoming friends and hanging out with Robin a fair amount, he offered to take us to one of his favourite places. Being the nice guy that he is, we even got to meet his parents and they made us a wonderful roast dinner and let us stay the night rather than a hotel.

The trip to York was about a 3 hours drive from his parents place which was about an hour train ride outside of London. I’ve never heard of York but I also haven’t heard of many places in the UK so that isn’t really saying much but York

I’m sure Robin mentioned previously before the road trip but it turns out that York was where he went to University to study and we also found out that he’s been to every pub and club in York which has over 300 facilities.

Josh! No! We are law abiding citizens…

Once we arrived, we checked into our hotel and Robin started us on our guided tour of York. I couldn’t tell you anything he told us as I’ve already forgotten everything about York but I do remember that York is a very beautiful city. One part of the tour had us go along the wall which was  pretty interesting and awesome to walk along.

We also discovered that York has a fair amount of churches and we checked out a handful of them but their Minster was huge. It was amazing to see in person especially after seeing London’s main cathedral, this one was magnificent.

Josh, get out of the picture…

York was a very beautiful city and a great place to visit. Also, after looking at rentals posted in windows, I couldn’t believe how cheap it is to rent outside of London. I suppose being in London is the price you pay for being so connected to everything.


If we didn’t end up going with our friend Robin who has been to Amsterdam previously, I think it would have been a bit more stressful getting from the airport to central Amsterdam as most of the signs and terminals start out in their native language.

Seeing their trains was bizzare as they had two levels so people could either go upstairs or downstairs into the train which was really interesting compared to the trains in London but these trains don’t have to go through an underground system that was built a long time ago. We of course went upstairs because that’s where all the cool kids sit.

Once we arrived into central Amsterdam, we made our way to our hostel called Durty Nelly’s Inn to check in and drop off our bags as we didn’t want to carry it around as we explored our first night in Amsterdam. The rooms require you to go upstairs through this stairwell with the smallest and steepest steps I have ever seen.

This is the top half

What I was wondering was the number of people that trip/fall/stumble up/down these stairs.

Having dropped off our stuff, we made our way out into the night to see what was around our hostel. It turned out that we were about a 2 minute walk from the red light district so we checked that out but unfortunately, you are unable to take any pictures while in the area. You can try and take pictures but if you get caught, the guys watching over the area will come and take your camera away to either break it or throw it into the canals so we don’t have any. The red light district was a lot smaller than I thought it was as we explored. Don’t know why I thought it would have been a lot bigger but I suppose there were a lot of girls looking through their windowed paneled doors pointing and trying to pull you in while a fair amount were also just sitting on their stools playing on their cell phones looking bored. Having filled our curiosity of visual boobs, we moved on exploring more.

It turned out to be a lot colder than we thought it would be but we came prepared bringing our Canadian fall jackets and gloves. I think one of the nights actually went down to -15c but we later found out that Amsterdam hasn’t been that cold for almost 12 years and that the canals froze over letting people to go on them. We didn’t try during the night as it was pretty dimly lit over the canals and we couldn’t really tell how safe they were but the next day we found a place where there were lots of people going onto the ice.

It was nice seeing some snow and frozen waters during the winter period as we completely skipped out on our normal winter back home.

We also discovered that the places you buy coffee from are called cafe’s while coffee shops are where you buy other goods which was really confusing and doesn’t make sense to me.

We did a lot of walking around and exploring of Amsterdam and even saw an Anonymous protest of ACTA going on in front of the Royal Palace.

ACTA makes me sad

While exploring we found an optical illusion museum which has one of those classic room illusions where if you stand on one side opposite someone else, one will look a lot smaller than they normally will be.

Puny Leone

Overall, Amsterdam is a beautiful city. All the buildings are unique and each have their own odd shape to them. It was nice that it was less crowded and the snow was a nice touch. Definitely would head back there again sometime in the future.

All Photos of our February 2012 Amsterdam trip

London: The beginnings

As time to leave to London came closer and closer, I never found myself thinking along the lines of “I’m moving to London in less than 2 weeks” and then come the day we arrived, it still hasn’t really hit me that “hey, I’m in London.”

It’s now the third day that we have been in London and I still doesn’t really feel like anything has change much other than where we are living. It feels as if we just moved around the block to a new house and the fact that we are on a different continent hasn’t been a factor. If it hasn’t hit me now, I don’t think it’ll ever really hit me. The only things that just come to mind is that I just find things weird and different but more on that later.

We arrived at around 10am on October 21st at the London Gatwick airport flying with Thomas Cook Airlines and I’d have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at our flight. I was dreading the flight to London as it was going to be an estimated 9 hours and 40 minutes to arrive. All I kept hearing was how bad the seats were and the service and just about everything. Josh described it as imagine sitting in a wooden chair facing the wall with your feet against the wall for the entire flight. Fortunately, when we actually got on the plane, it really wasn’t that bad and I would say it was comparable to WestJet. Everybody on the plane received a small pillow, blanket and water bottle for the flight. We also got lucky with the fact that since there was an extra 100 seats not being occupied by people, the person beside us switched seats to a different spot giving us 3 seats to ourselves to spread out rather than being cramped into the 2.

The plane ride was smooth and I think they arrived ahead of the scheduled 9 hours and 40 minutes, which was nice. Unfortunately, once we walked about 10-15 minutes to the customs gate carrying our ridiculously heavy carry-ons, we saw the line and it wasn’t a short wait. I think there must have been at least 400 people on the non-UK passport side while the UK passports side had the same amount, their line was moving twice as fast as ours. We waited about 2 hours before we finally got through. We took so long to get through customs that by the time we got to pick up our luggage, workers have moved them from the carousel to the ground and there was only ours.

Josh said he was worried that he missed us from arriving at the airport that when he asked a services desk to page us and was asked what flight we arrived on, the person only laughed and said that they were definitely still back there.

Taking the trains from the airport to our apartments was exhausting and tiring. The first thing I noticed was that it must be extremely hard for people in wheelchairs to get around as there are mainly stairs everywhere and when there is a ramp, it’s extremely steep. There are people at all the stations that help with that by putting the ramps onto the doorways but still, not quite as wheelchair friendly as Canada is. I only noticed this because we were carrying our luggage and mine alone weighed about 70lb and after travelling all day and then being up while you should be sleeping, doesn’t make for the best of times.

Arriving in our apartment was a nice sight to see after travelling for so long but as soon as we got home, we had to head out to get supplies so we could sleep that night as our bed linen did have sheets and a duvet but I wouldn’t trust them as they had stains on them. Josh took us to a place where we got to experience what people do all over London and that is people set up stalls all over the street to sell their wares. This one that we went to is located by Woolich Arsenal and it’s not the best market as we soon learnt the very next day when we went to Greenich market but it’s where we got enough supplies to get us set up in our new home for the next while.

The way people live in London sometimes doesn’t make sense to me. Things like our bathroom sink has the hot and cold water taps seperated from each other so to get warm water, you either have to use the hot water tap before it gets too hot or plug the sink so it fills up and pour both hot and cold water into it and fill it up to use. The fact that it’s rare to have a dryer in the place is really odd to me as it takes about a day and a night to dry your clothes or that windows don’t have screens on them so if you keep them open, bugs and other stuff can get into your house easily. Just odd I find and doesn’t make any sense to me.

We stayed up about 26 hours travelling from Vancouver to London before sleeping and I think I was pretty much adjusted to the time here the very next day. Go me!

More to come soon as we have hardly spent any time at home as we constantly go out and when we get home, we’re exhausted from being out all day that we just want to sleep. I have pictures to post but being on an internet stick, it’s pretty bad for uploading big files, like pictures.