It was a long drive to the ferry station. I ended up sleeping when we drove through the Somme, but I was awake when we drove past the Vimy Ridge Memorial. Although it was on the horizon when we drove past it, I still tried to take a picture of it -- and it didn't turn out half bad!
We had to go through security again to get onto the ferry, much like we did when we first entered mainland Europe. On the ferry I had a few bloomers and watched the remaining Japanese tour members try fish-and-chips for the first time. After, I went onto the deck and took some pictures of the Cliffs of Dover, something I tried to do the first time but failed because of the fog.
We arrived in London and all decided to go out for supper together around 7. It was Flip's idea, actually, although she won't be joining us. We learned at this time that her real name wasn't Flip either: it was Jannelle. And Muffin? Roan.
When we arrived at the Royal National Hotel a tour representative came onto the coach. She told us that the meeting spot that was under repair when we left on our tour, was now open for business and we could go there to get discounts to go around the city and for a tour of Stonehenge.
I got my luggage, and after saying goodbye and hugging those who weren't coming to supper, I walked down the street, turned the corner and didn't see many of the tour members ever again.
I got to the Imperial, checked in and went to my room. I'm so used to staying in different hotels every night that it seems weird I'll be spending three nights in the same bed.
Well, 7 is approaching now and I have to get ready for dinner. I feel awful for missing last-nights at O'Sullivans, although from what I heard, had I gotten up at 2 instead of going back to sleep, and headed down the street, they would have still been there.
I'll talk to you later.
So ends the tour. I met up with my fellow travelers outside the Royal National Hotel and we walked down the street to Nando's and had chicken with different levels of spicy sauce on it. I had the less-hot one, but Tom had an extremely-hot one and we all watched his face become a dark shade of red and tears roll down his cheeks. I also had a bottomless coke for £2.25, which is pretty reasonable! The meal was really good, but I only recommend it for people who like spicy food.
After dinner, we walked down the street and went to The Marquis Cornwallis, a bar with a really fancy name. The bar was a very happening place. There were people on both floors, and outside on the street, all dancing and drinking. I didn't check out the alcohol but judging by the regular beer, raspberry beer, apple cider and sprite at the table, the bar sold many types of drinks. We sat around for a couple hours and discussed out favorite city on the trip and what we planned to do once we got back home. Flip said the feelings we were all experiencing was called "Post-Contiki Depression" which is a feeling of dread towards going back to our boring 9-5 lives. Speaking of Flip, both her and Muffin came to the bar. They said they have a 10-day vacation between tours and were thinking of going to France during it.
Around 9:30 I grew tired of the noise and drinking so I said goodbye to the group of people with hugs and handshakes from all around and I left with just a single glance back.
I was a bit lonely knowing I was on my own again so I called my parents when I got back to the hotel. It cheered me up a bit. It's sad to know that you may never see the people who you just spent two weeks with ever again.
And thus, so ends my journey with the tour group. Of course, I'll still record tomorrow's events around London and the next day's plane-ride home, but my Contiki trip around Europe has come to an end. If you have read all of this, thank you for your time. I hope I inspired and entertained you with my stories. Thank you for traveling with me.
I hope I do something exciting tomorrow to end my trip off with a bang, instead of a tearful goodbye, but for now, I am exhausted and may just sleep.
Goodnight Journal. Tomorrow may be boring, but it could also be an exciting trip to Stonehenge too! Only time will tell!
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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Get Your Complete List of What to See & Do in Regina!
It took a while, but summer has finally arrived! With any city, these three precious months of summer bring their fair share of activities, and Regina is no different. There is a lot to do in Regina so let me know in the comments if I missed anything!
This should be obvious for anybody living in Regina, but for tourists Wascana Park offers a plethora of activities. From fireworks on Canada Day to festivals to just enjoying a quiet stroll, there are countless things to do in the park. Being three times larger than Central Park in New York, the park is full of pathways, bridges, tunnels and islands for you to explore. Self-guiding walking tours are also available, which showcase the monuments, statues, architecture, history and natural flora and fauna that is in the region. Sections of the park are protected for wildlife so you may see foxes, rabbits, raccoons, weasels, beavers, turtles and, if you're lucky, goats. There's also a swimming pool, bird sanctuary, a habitat conservation area and marina. Speaking of the Marina…
Wascana Park is beautiful from the land, but it is even more gorgeous from the water. Imagine floating in the heart of the city, surrounded by nothing but the silence of water. Motor boats aren't commonly found on the lake, so renting a canoe with a loved one can be a personal and private experience. If you're more of a physical person you can also rent a kayak or try stand-up paddle boarding, which recently opened up thanks to Queen City Sup. The marina is also home to the Willow on Wascana, a beautiful outdoor lakeside restaurant. If you're into brunches or wine tasting, or just enjoying eating outdoors, this is a place you must visit!
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.
Had history been different, this article would probably be written in French. New France, the birth child of French colonialism, once spanned the majority of eastern North America, dipping feet in both Hudson’s Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It was only after the British captured the city in 1759 and opened the port of the St. Lawrence River did the once promising dynasty of New France cease to exist.
Although New France is long forgotten throughout most of the continent, Quebec City still embraces the same French language, culture and identity as it did nearly four hundred years ago. Visiting this city will bring you back in time to an earlier Canada – one of cobblestone streets, narrow houses, clanging church bells and horse drawn wagons. Quebec City is a unique location unlike anywhere else in Canada, being a slice of Europe seemingly untouched by the modern world. It is for these reasons and more that Expedia.ca asked me to write about this incredible city.
There are many ways to get to Quebec City, such as by plane, train, bus, car, bike or boat.