Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nottingham - Sheffield - Manchester

The past week and a bit have been so busy with work. The hours haven't been all too bad but I wasn't getting home until at least 9-10pm each night so this weekend I was really looking forward to getting away! Not that we were going anywhere really far but we stayed within the UK and just went a few hours north. The first stop was Nottingham. It was about a 2 hour train ride but strangely enough, I really looked forward to the train ride haha. Something about being a passenger on a long road/train trip that is so relaxing. I listened to music, napped a bit and read my book. It was the perfect time out. Anyway! Nottingham is also known as the home of Robin Hood. We went to see the Nottingham Castle (it really wasn't that extravagant). But it was worth while going up and seeing it anyway.

We were only in Nottingham for maybe 5 hours? After that we hopped on the next train to Sheffield where my friend had a martial arts lesson. Originally I was expecting a small town that is mainly industrial but it turns out that it is far from that! It is a small town for sure but it is far more modern than I expected. The structures, the buildings, the feeling of the area... it seemed more like a North American city than anything I've seen in London haha. My friend made the point of comparing it to New Westminster in Vancouver. It kind of made sense... Anyway, funny story though... we got lost going to the hotel (we went to the wrong location) so we ended up walking twice the distance. When we finally got there, we made sure that they confirmed that we would get a cot as a second bed... well, you can probably sense how surprised I was when I walked into the room and saw a baby bed. I even volunteered to sleep in the cot before we had realized that it would be for a baby. Needless to say, I took that back right away. Not much to see in Sheffield though so I chilled out in the hotel room at night before getting some sleep while anticipating the train ride to Manchester the next day :D

Sunday was a day for Manchester. I was really looking forward to this because I was going to meet up with a flickr friend, Bhawi! It's always a lot of fun meeting up with fellow flickr-ites and it was great meeting up with her. The rain came pouring down in the morning when we arrived but we some good fun in a nice restaurant for lunch. The food was fantastic (I had the Beef and ale pie with chips mmmm..). After that, we walked around the city with the guidance of Bhawi and visited the Manchester Cathedral before going to the home of the Manchester United football team! We took the tour and it was well worth it. It was sweet seeing the inside of the famous Old Trafford Stadium and sitting in the stands. Even though there was no game going on, you could tell that the atmosphere would be electric during any game night. Thanks again Bhawi, it was a blast seeing you and the city :D I could tell that Manchester is more my kind of city by the way haha (less congestion and busy feel to the city compared to London).

Needless to say, I cannot wait to go and do some more traveling. This was just a taste of it this weekend. I know what I want to do here in Europe. Listening to the song, "Driving in the sun" already has me anticipating it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

d a y i n t h e m a r k e t

Those of you who know me, know that I am a huge foodie. I may not be the most knowledgeable about all things food but I am always up for going out to eat, drink, etc. Nothing is a better past time for me than to eat... well that may be an exaggeration but it is certainly up there with the best of things!

The sun came out for a period of time today so I decided to make the most of it take a walk to Borough Market. It's a market that is basically for foods of all kinds. I really wanted to come by here the first time I arrived in London for vacation in 2009 but just didn't have the time. But am I glad that I got a chance to go this time...

Borough Market is FILLED with tourists and it is jam packed but the variety of foods and the smells... It is a feast for all your senses, believe me. All kinds of meats were available for sale from your prosciutto, different types of salami, to venison, to ostrict, to... basically anything you could think of. I had to really pick and choose which things I wanted to try. Definitely have to come here really hungry or famished in order to really appreciate it :)


Did I mention that I had the best Chicken burger ever? It was amazing and I'm not sure what herbs and spices that they put in this thing because it was just an explosion of flavor, but wow!


There was also this enormous lineup outside this place called, Monmouth. Since there is a huge lineup, it must be worthwhile seeing right? So I lined up and ordered a cup of coffee. It was easily the best I've had since I came to London. Up there with the best in Vancouver too but what is up with the one size only thing?


Overall, Borough Market is well worth visiting. I will definitely be back here. The only draw back is the crowds but in the quest for good food, that is a worthwhile sacrifice. It reminded me of Granville Island, only 5 times bigger and with better food!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

d a y o f f i n l o n d o n

First of week down. Only 2 more months of the busy season to go! It's been hectic but I am gradually getting more used to it. The client's that I work with back at home are so, so much smaller than those that I am already working on here. London really is a capital in the business world.

The mornings here are interesting. I used to love the tube (I've always thought that it was such a simplistic yet genius system) but then I experienced rush hour. Every morning, waiting as 5 trains go by before I can find one with even a sliver of breathing room is interesting - and a good test of your patience :) Oh... and did I mention that I love the excuse, "signal failure" for the reason that the Jubilee line was down for several hours on Friday morning? hehe. In one week, I've taken the bus, the tube, the overground train, and the DLR.

Oh and another thing, people in the morning in London are so... alike. It's like the march of bankers and accountants as I make my way to work. Everyone is in their suits, overcoats, shirts and ties. I've also never seen so many people reading their newspapers than here.

Anyway, no pictures from the bars and pubs that I went to this week but I did get a chance to take out my camera today as I went to Saint Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Too bad they didn't let you take any photos in doors... the architecture was absolutely amazing... It's incredible how people in that day and age can create a work of art like that... in that scale... This is what I love about Europe... So much history and culture here. These are some pictures from today. 





[279/365] Day off in London


Oh and below is a picture of my neighborhood. Typical London outside of Notting Hill and Chelsea? :)