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.
Are you looking to explore the world? I recommend:
"Have you ever been to Medicine Hat?" Abby Czibere from the Visitor Centre asks. I feel bad when I tell her no, unless you count stopping to fill up and grab fast food. In short order, I realize that's a big mistake as there's a vibrant food and arts scene and beautiful riverside parks to explore in this city of 65,000 people.
The Hat (the city's nickname; its residents are Hatters) has experienced a renaissance in recent years thanks to innovative entrepreneurs. Trendy eateries, indie coffee shops, and craft breweries have opened, attracting like-minded businesses, while enticing young people to stick around after college. Even the museums add to the up and coming feeling with their unique exhibits and events. Smell the smells of war at Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre, or attend a concert in a massive kiln at MedAlta Potteries (Tongue on the Post Music Festival).
I was recently asked if I preferred my time in Montreal or Quebec City more, and while Montreal is a gorgeous city, decorated with thousands of green copper spires, hosts incredible festivals, has some of the most fantastic food I have ever tasted, and is spotted with beautiful parks, there was just something about Quebec City that spoke to me. Being over four hundred years old, Quebec City is one of the last remaining "walled cities" in North America, and is the only one north of Mexico. Quebec City was the location of some of the greatest conflicts in Canadian history, including the Siege of Quebec by the British.
Belonging to three very different countries (France, England, and Canada) in its four hundred year existence, Quebec City is a mixing pot of old traditions, new ideas, cobblestone streets and modern architecture. Since there is so much to see in Quebec City, I figured I would narrow it down to a couple and let you discover the rest! Here is "8 Places to Visit in Quebec City".
Cemeteries are a place of solace. All people, regardless of wealth, status, religion or creed are equals within a cemetery. It's a place of remembrance, respect and reconciliation. If you visit a cemetery, you are visiting the graves of lost loved ones. These may be children, pioneers, rebels or everyday people. Every grave has a story, and all are longing to be told.
Because of this, cemeteries are a library of knowledge. They hold the lessons of our past, and the wisdom of our future. As the leaves change and the days get shorter, cemeteries attract a much different crowd than that of just historians and family members. With autumn crisp in the air, cemeteries fill with thrill-seekers and paranormal believers. There is a fine line between what is and isn't acceptable within a cemetery and those who dabble into the affairs of the afterlife know this all too well. Few people go into cemeteries looking to disrespect the graves; instead, most are just hoping they can answer their own questions about life after death.
Not all cemeteries are haunted, but each holds their own stories. Keep this in mind while you read this article. If you end up visiting any of these sites, remember to step softly, speak quietly and respect the surrounding graves. You might not be as alone as you think.