Saturday, July 18, 2015

Returning Home

Canada, my home. While my heart will forever be scattered in pieces all over the world, I have reason to believe that the more you open your heart the more love you gain in return. I have opened my heart to the world and gained so much more than I could have imagined.

It was a heartbreakingly hard decision to move home but in the end the right one for me. I was torn for so long, stay in the UK, try my hand at another country or Canada. My family, my friends and my pets along with my desire for Canada has pulled me home.

Travel has helped me grow so much and I will be forever thankful for the opportunities I have received, the people I have met and everything along the way. I will never truly give up travel but I will be making Canada my permanent home base….well for now at least!

Thank you to all of you who have followed along my blog, read my adventures and been inspired to try something new. I hope to continue writing and will be sure to let you know where to join me.

Goodbye London.

Erika Christine xx

Beach Day in Brighton

It was rainy in London so I headed to Brighton for the afternoon on a whim with a friend. A first for me since I thoroughly enjoy planning out my weekends! I had an amazing lunch at Lucky Beach, hands down one of the best burgers I've had. Plus my second attempt drinking Pimms, I'm sold. We wandered around, played air hockey at the arcade, a few tries at the coin drops, and an ice-cream of course.

Coach Adventures

One of my favourite things about the Uk is how amazing their transportation system is. Back home everything is so far and the public transportation is so expensive. It basically forces you to drive everywhere. I've been using the coaches to my great advantage, megabus and national express are so cheap. I've been able to cross Cambridge, Bristol, Bath and Stonehenge all of my list!!

Cambridge was beautiful, it was a nice rainy english day when I visited. There were bikes everywhere, the university is so incorporated into the city itself that you would really need the bikes to get from one college to the next. I loved the old architecture and green spaces, beautiful parks!

Bristol was another rainy day… getting a theme here! I went with an English friend and we made the best of it, walking across the suspension bridge, enjoying a weather spoons lunch, wandering around the markets, and by the river. We even attended a church service!

Bath and Stonehenge were part of a day trip together, I met a lovely American couple and another young Canadian. I definitely thought the Bath's were going to be similar to the hot springs in Alberta Canada that I had been to before. Sooo useable, but these ones definitely hadn't been used since the time of Bath being popular for the nobles to go to. Even then I would have thought it to be old! I did dip my hand into one of the pools, to hopefully capture its magical healing powers. Stonehenge was gorgeous, very very windy but massive. Some tours allow you to go inside but I was stuck behind the ropes, still relatively close considering how massive they are. It's neat to hear the different theories of how they got there and where the rocks are all from. I'm still going with witchcraft.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Days Out

I love when I can take the boys for a day out. They are so well behaved….well most of the time. Usually it's an excuse for me to do something childish and I have the perfect excuse with them tagging along. We had so much fun going to the London Zoo and to the Natural History Museum. It is so much fun to see their reactions and hear their questions as they begin to learn about something new. There are always some interesting observations as well!!

They are both growing so fast, I love having the days out to spend time together. Our routine gets so boring and repetitive for all of us!

Showing Off

One of my favourite things to do is explore my city. London is amazing and full of surprises, such as visits from 3 friends from home. Exploring and showing off the city I live in is always a pleasure.

 I had so much fun meeting up with G and her cousins, I took them out for fish and chips at my favourite Sherlock Holmes pub, which tied in perfectly to end their day as they had just come from the Sherlock Holmes museum. We met up one more time for an amazing curry in Shoreditch on Brick Lane.

An old friend toured London with his band. I was delighted to see Double Experience play! It's been more than a few years since I had seen I but it was like nothing had changed. The show was amazing and I was so happy that I had the chance to see them before they continued their European tour.

My friend A and I met up while she had a flight delay between flights onto her amazing Africa adventure. We climbed up the Monument and had an amazing lunch. She blogs as well and I'm more than happy to point you all towards her very aptly named blog, Adventurous Ames.

Honestly they all came within the same two weeks, it was a craze! I loved every minute of it and it reminded me how much I love my home friends. Thank you all for making my month of May so amazing!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mon ami dans Madrid

I know what you are thinking….uh Erika they don't speak French in Madrid. Funny thing though that when confronted with a language you know nothing of that your brain reverts to anything foreign that you do know…so in my case French. It was definitely a laugh!

One of my very best friends moved away to travel just before I did, two years ago and we hadn't seen one another since. It's crazy because with the internet it means I can call her, Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, message, email, everything and I can talk to her everyday. It honestly felt like nothing had changed. I will admit that I did cry a little at the airport when I saw her though!!

Madrid was everything I imagined it would be…so basically like house hunters international. Everyone spoke Spanish, I spoke English and French; I did manage to get out gracias once or twice haha. One of the first things I definitely noticed was the amazing blinds for afternoon siestas and the heat. Ohhh the heat! I've lost my tolerance for heat and my skin is white as an english rose. I may have blinded some people walking around with shorts on.

I made it my mission to try everything, some of the things I don't even know what they were but I did it. Far cry from my peanut butter days, right Dad! At first I didn't understand what tapas were, I assumed that tapas were the name of a meal but actually its a general name for the different appetizers that you can order or get free with your drinks.

I quite enjoyed the spanish siestas, fireworks for the festival that was on, meeting lots of new people, seeing all the touristy sights and basking in the glow of meeting up with one of my best friends after two years!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Feels like Home

Sometimes when you are travelling you find a place that feels like home, that you fall in love with and grow further in love with the more times you visit. Edinburgh has made me feel like this. I just had to return, I suspect I will keep on returning my whole life.

I took an overnight bus from London to Edinburgh and woke up at 6am to the beautiful sun over the hills. In that moment, I was thinking of ways to return again.

If I'd fallen in love in the cold, wet and miserable rain, the sunshine on the hills made me want to forget life and stay right where I was. 

I spent my morning with a hot chocolate, wandering around. I ate lunch at a cute cafe, called City Cafe. It had a fifties diner feel and I just had to go back for breakfast another day. I invited myself over for tea at Holyrood Palace but sadly the Queen wasn't in. I got a lovely tour inside and around the gardens as well.

My delightfully sunny day turned cold and windy with rain of course so I continued my Edinburgh explorations indoors by going on the Scotch Whiskey Experience. I've actually tried whiskey before and in the moment vowed never again. This time I was able to learn how whiskey is made as well as the different areas of Scotland that produce different tastes. I picked a Highlands Scotch to taste and was instructed on the proper way to taste a whiskey, breathing, swirling and sipping allowing it to sit in my mouth before swallowing. I didn't have the same extreme reaction as last time but I wouldn't say I'm a whiskey drinker now. 

The best things about staying in hostels in meeting new people and hearing their stories. I grabbed drinks with a guy from Poland and traded views on everything. Edinburgh's grass market has some great pubs. I quickly realized that I know nothing about Poland or life there. But what was more interesting was that most people leave to travel for the same reason, needing to experience more than what is at home. 

I took advantage of sleeping in the next day, and grabbed an amazing lunch at the Larder Cafe. My lunch was not only huge but delicious too. The place was full and there were people waiting for tables but luckily just being only me I was able to get a table quickly. 

Another rainy wet day but certainly no reason to sit inside when there were buildings to see and graveyards to visit. I walked for hours around Edinburgh exploring up and down streets. The architecture is a big part of why I love Edinburgh, all the buildings are beautiful. 

My last day in Edinburgh I finally tried Haggis and Black Pudding which conveniently came with my breakfast at the City Cafe. I who used to hate trying anything new, willingly tried both. I wasn't a fan of the spices used in them so didn't eat any more after the first bite. 

I was so lucky on my last day that the sun came out again, in full force for my hike up Arthur's Seat. The views were stunning to say the least. I took my time going up taking pictures of everything and just soaking it all in…..oh and trying to breathe because walking around London and hiking up a hill are two completely different things! 

 Another happy place found