I woke up at 4 AM today and was brushing my teeth around 4:30 when my hotel phone started to ring. It was my mom! She was calling to make sure I was awake. It was really nice of her to call, even though it was an ungodly hour. I think she really misses me.
I checked out of the hotel and went down the Russell Station. The station wasn't open yet so I had to wait for about 10 minutes for it to open up. It was then I realized that this was the same station where the 2005 London subway bombings took place.
There were a bunch of us waiting for the station to open and there was a group of people from America there, that wouldn't stop talking about how they "couldn't wait to get back to good ol' America". I wonder what it's like to travel across Europe with a group of friends...
I caught the Piccadilly Express and did my transfer at Green Park. I then rode the train to Victoria Station, and after a bit of searching, I found and got onto the Gatwick Express. While looking for it, I thought maybe the 2 hour-long train ride I took around London almost 3 weeks ago was the Express, but no. The Express was a beautiful train with soft cushioned chairs, which sold snacks and beverages.
I got to the Gatwick airport safely and checked into Thomas Cook Airlines. Then I went through security. The guy in front of me "won a free bag search", said the security guy. I'm glad he won it because I'm the one that normally does!
After security I found my Gate and waited for 2-and-a-half hours. Right before they opened my Gate, a Gatwick survey lady asked me to complete a survey for her, so I was was the last to get onto the plane. The whole journey from Imperial Hotel and onto the plane to Calgary was easy and thankfully, uneventful.
Right now we are flying over the Davis Strait between Greenland and Baffin Island. The screen on the back of the chair in front of me says we should get to Calgary in 4-and-a-half hours.
This time around, I'm sitting beside a British couple. The girl offered me some candy before we took off, as silly as that sounds. They're nice people but I'm so tired that I really don't want to talk. I bet they think of me the same as I thought of the Romanian when I first came to London.
I'm going to go back to my book some more. I'll write later. There really isn't anything to report except that I finally mastered the London Underground.
Now I'm in the Calgary airport. I forgot it was Saturday and that it was the beginning of Spring Break, and the airport is crazy!
The plane ride here was nice, though. I sat with two English people -- a woman from London and a man from Wales. The man had a very thick accent, but the woman didn't. They said they were going to Calgary to go skiing and next month they are leaving to Mexico -- both to go for a wedding, and to stay away from the Royal Wedding. The man said, I believe, that to accommodate the city for the vast amount of tourists that week, they city of London plans to start canal trips down the Thames, as well as opening the ancient canals throughout the city that have been closed for over 100 years.
Security went well in Calgary and I got a warm "Welcome home." from Immigration. However, one thing that security did confused me. They asked me if I had any sharp or fragile thing in my luggage and I said, "Just a mini-Eiffel Tower and two coffee-mugs." but all security wanted to see were the coffee-mugs. If anything, the mini-Eiffel Tower was the dangerous thing! The only damage a coffee-mug can do is break in my luggage. And even then, only my ego will be hurt.
I'll write when I get home for my final entry. Goodbye until then.
I got home safely. My mom, dad and my girlfriend all met me at the airport. They had all these questions to ask me and we talked until almost 1 in the morning about it.
How can I ever describe what I saw and experienced in Europe? How can I describe my life for the past 18 days? I'll tell them to read this, I guess.
Thank you all for reading this. I hope my story was worth the read. I hope I inspired and educated, or at least entertained you.
Take care, until next time.
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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Part 12 of my cross Canada series takes us to the smallest province in Canada, Prince Edward Island. However, don't let the name confuse you: PEI is actually 232 islands!
PEI also happens to have smallest population of any province in Canada, with only 146,300 people as of 2014. This means this province has less people than my hometown Regina!
Being so small, however, it was difficult to find images on Instagram. That isn't to say there's nothing there worth seeing! Quiet the quandary, actually. PEI has a few very unique locations that drive their tourism. One of them is the gorgeous themed village of Avonlea, named after the village in the hit novel "Anne of Green Gables" published in 1908. This story, and the subsequent stories, follows Anne, a red-haired "fiery" orphan who grows up on PEI. The story is an international bestseller, and is strangely very popular in Japan (or so I've been told)!
About a year and a half ago I visited Kyiv, Ukraine. As I walked down the millennium old streets and gawked at the towering cathedrals, I saw the beginnings of a new country, one that was slowly rebuilding from a much darker time. The process of what I was seeing had a name. It was called decommunization.
Decommunization includes renaming architecture, changing laws and protocols, and even tearing down monuments. People's Friendship Arch in Kyiv, for example, which symbolised the friendship between the Communist East and the Capitalist West, was torn down. Some statues, like war memorials, are exempt, but there is still talk of making modifications to them. Anywhere you go throughout the former Soviet Union, the hammer and sickle are being removed – not from history, but from modern society.
The following is a guest article by Sally Elbassir, the owner and food taster of Passport and Plates, originally titled "The Tapas, Taverns and History of Madrid: A Food Tour". Be sure to drop by her blog for culinary treats from around the world!
I've always been a foodie. Long before the term "foodie" ever existed, I was that kid who was always eager to try something new.
Things haven't changed much in the last couple of decades. My palate has expanded, and I discovered that my dream job does exist; it just happens to be occupied by Anthony Bourdain. Now I satisfy my foodie obsession by writing on Yelp, and on my blog... there's plenty more where that came from.