Posts Tagged With: England

A walk to the London Eye!

Moving on to the sight seeing portion of our London visit. Since I’m not volunteering during this stretch, I decided to introduce the hostel life to Mike and Hayden. With over 800 accommodations offered, choosing one could of been exhausting, but this time it was easy to narrow it down… Why? I found out prior to this trip that one of the gymnasts I used to coach was going to be here at the same time! (For those who don’t know, I taught gymnastics for 10 years back in my “earlier days”).

Due to my love for surprising people, I got in contact with her mom and found out the hostel she was going to be in and booked it!

Here’s a picture of sweet Ashlyn back in our days of coach and gymnast. Now, she’s a beautiful young lady that has maintained her kind nature and sincere smile.

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Introducing Hostel Clink 78.

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From our hostel, the London Eye was just a few miles away which made for a perfect walk! Here’s what you’d see just wandering the streets of London.

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Unlike the majority of the world, here in England they drive on the opposite side of the road (or as they say, “the correct side”). These fun little suggestions painted on the crosswalks I’m sure have saved many of pedestrian injuries.

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After a refreshing jaunt towards the river, the London eyes finally exposed itself. Although it was tempting to ride, at 25Euro per person, we chose to make it a handstand shot instead!

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The walk back presented itself with a few eatery options and bars getting ready for the happy hour in which business suits and locals show up for an evening drink.

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I was lucky enough to make a pit stop at a local pub to reunite with another friend! Remember my buddy Scott from the Peruvian cooking experience?

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Now, we meet again over 6,000 miles away! Scott, thank you for the perfect evening before our departure to Holland and I look forward to the next country in which we connect again!

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Time to pack up and say farewell to England as we head east to Amsterdam. Lets go boys!

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Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Notting Hill and Jerk chicken

The longer I’m on the road, the more fascinating people I get to meet. Through volunteering, hostel hopping or simply chatting with another passenger on a long train ride, friends are being made all of the time! Reconnecting with fellow travelers has become one of my new favorite pastimes, as it’s like nothing else I’ve experienced. Theres something to be said about bonding with someone by natural chemistry and to stay connected by choice. A neighbor is always there and you can grow to like a classmate, but to meet someone thousands of miles away from home and stay in touch for years to come takes energy and effort.

In the past, you’ve seen the follow up path crossings, however the next few chapters of this journey will have an abundance of these marvelous people that I’m truly thankful for.

With that said, time to reintroduce a new friend Sophie. Her and I met while volunteering at The Donkey Den in Santa Marioñita, Ecuador. After an easy conversation, we decided that linked travels were in our future. From there, we journeyed south together for a week and parted ways with the “hope to see you again” farewell. Here’s a collage from some of our South American excursions.

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During our time together, the talk of reuniting in her homeland of England started as a casual joke that turned into proper plans. 4 months later and a train to London, brings us together again!

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We spent the weekend with her and her friends as they showed what a holiday in London looks like. After checking out the view from her apartment, we dove into what is still my favorite thing to do in a new city…. the local market!

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A group effort went into the dinner of Paella and greens with dessert being a pile of typical candy for us to try. I’m sorry England, you have not peaked on my list for best sugar delights. Even though the sweet treats weren’t my favorite, this great bunch of eager locals did a fanatic job at adopting us in for their holiday weekend.

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This is a weekend in which London comes even more alive to celebrate Caribbean roots with the famous Notting Hill Carnival. Sophie and her friends took lead as our guides to experience the event. From the bus to the tube we blend with a crowd of participants shuffling shoulder to shoulder.

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Reaching the top brings a huge deep breath and just enough time to adorn my purse with my Barbados flag that was given to me in Barbados, thank you Mikie! Feeling proud to represent my new bag (see the story of my old bag here) and “Caribbean roots”.

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Heading into the festival you’ll see several stands offering souvenirs, drinks and food for sale. The parade really wasn’t what I had imagined as it was more of a group of people randomly making noise in costume as they tried to catch up to the next bunch. The street sights are visually stimulating and definitely a complement to the unique variety of styles that the attendees bring.

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I understand that when you over crowd popular streets with music, food and drinks, a little waste is to be expected. I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve been to festivals, carnivals and holiday events around the world, but this was the first time in which I watched the trash develope into mounds along the roadside. Is suppose this just encourages the eyes to keep focus on the happy people and vibrant festivities.

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Due to the Caribbean influence, the main dishes are ones you wouldn’t typically find in England but more so in the islands. The drinks included but aren’t limited to Jamaican beer, coconut water and Rum Punch.

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Thank you to Sophie and new friends. Our first weekend abroad was filled with quality memories that are still being smiled about! Cheers to tiger suits, Curly Wurly’s and Jo-Jo’s dancing skills (my rib still thinks about her everyday).

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Categories: Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Travel talk | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stonehenge

Time for a quick background on the two faces you’ll be seeing a lot of in the next few weeks of posts. First, Hayden should look familiar to most you “experienced followers” as he was just with me in Peru and Costa Rica. I take partial responsibility for giving him the travel bug… I’ve heard it can be contagious!

Here’s a fun collage of some of our last trips abroad together.

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Then there’s Mike. A fellow friend that I would describe as having supreme intelligence in the subjects he studies and an open mind that welcomes intriguing conversation at all times. We grew up with Hayden and all have remained to be a close friend throughout the years. Here’s a photo of me and Mike from 15 years ago (before the sweet dreads)!

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Now, the three of us connect to for a mini Eurotrip. They’ll be joining me as I visit old travel friends and I’ll get to watch them experience the lifestyle of over seas for the first time.

We met in the New York City airport before boarding our flight to our layover in Iceland. I’ve been told that Iceland is beautiful, but I had no idea how tempting it would be to visit after just a quick transfer! The flight crew, the videos of what they offer and the inviting airport was enough for me to look into volunteering there.

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The weather was a bit shocking to us after leaving Summer in the states and landing here. (Side thought: I feel like this poster might suggest that some may think 40 years old is old. Silly thought right?).

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Finally landing in London, we jumped on a direct train to Salisbury which will be our overnight stay before seeing Stonehenge. Our hostel of choice was an adorable family owned bed and breakfast with great location and welcoming hosts. For more info, check out the Spire Bed and Breakfasast.

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A couple quick pics of our room and the breakfast stand.

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Check out this cute little city holding traditional pubs, tourist shops, historic cathedrals and a unique formation that makes for an entertaining handstand shot!

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First dinner for the boys in England? They went with fish n’ chips and a juicy hamburger with veggies. Dessert made up of a sweet fruit cider.

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Waking up early to catch the first bus to Stonehenge was highly suggested by the owners of the bed and breakfast. Thankfully we listened as our bus wasn’t nearly as packed as the ones to follow!

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Im not sure anything can prepare you for the “wow factor” that hits your attention as you approach the massive boulders of Stonehenge. Most of us have seen pictures and some may have even studied it, but it’s incredible to see first hand. How did they get there? Where are the other stones? What did it all represent and for what purpose? Although I could go on and on about the religious representation or the human burial beliefs remaining here, I’ll let you research the history on your own. Amazing to think that it’s believed to have been built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC!

Although you’re not allowed to touch them, a walk around the scenery is definitely enough to give you a proper idea of the entire property.

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Why is everyone on the phone? No, that’s just the informational audio device that is complementary as you walk in. I just thought it was funny that it always looked like everyone was just chatting away at such a historic site.

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Lets pause for a minute and bring back some photos that have now made there way into a tradition. First Machu Picchu, then Yosemite…

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…and now, Stonehenge!

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Finishing up brings us to a nice grass area that allows Mike and I to have some crystal talk about our favorite stones and let the magnitude of this place be fully absorbed.

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Creative photo of the day!

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Now it’s time to take another ride, this one is to the big city of London. I felt the need to bother my boys for a bit of “time eating” fun on the train. I’m assuming my abundance of energy came from the excitement knowing that our next set of accommodations happens to be with another familiar face (to be exposed in the next post)!

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England… To be continued!

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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