Weeks Five and Six and Seven

Trip Start Aug 03, 2011
Trip End Aug 03, 2011

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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Friday, September 23, 2011

Sorry it's been a while since my last travel journal update. I've been spending the majority of the past few weeks with two girls from Nova Scotia - Laura Stanford and Lynnette MacCormick. Lynnette travelled over for a two week vacation and Laura has been studying at the Uni of Lancaster for the past year.

We met on the 4th in Lancaster, which is in the north of England. It was pretty hard to believe that the sun actually shines here because all I saw was rain. And, hopefully temporarily, my rain jacket is in an unknown location. We had a fun night out on the town. It was pretty quiet as most of the students have gone home from the previous year and the new ones haven't arrived yet. Still, we were able to do some damage. Jaggerbombs anyone?

The next day we travelled by train into London. We have great accommodations in Covern Garden (always thought it was Covent garden lol) and we could walk from there to anywhere in the city...and we did walk! Luckiy, my first purchase being an umbrella, was only required for a short period of time. While it wasn't exactly boiling hot, I could manage with my sweater.

We did some sight seeing on this day that included a river cruise on the Thames (London bridge thankfully did not fall on us as we sailed under) and, of course, down around my favorite area: Westminster. We didn't go in the Abbey, but I've been there before and it's totally worth seeing again.

That night we saw something wicked: Wicked the Musical. Wow! Wow! Wow! What a great show! Not only were the actors and actresses outstanding, the writers did such a great job in creating this story that is a prequel to the Wizard of Oz. I thought it was fantastic, just like every other professional musical I have seen (shout out to Billy Elliot). if you are in London, this is a must see!

The following day we met up with another fellow Canadian who is currently living in Bristol, England - Christy Gillespie. She is a friend of Laura's and she met us to do some shopping. We went to see a concert that night of Kate Voegele. It provided entertainment, to say the least. However, the girl could work on her stage presence...either that or don't pause between songs as that shows the lack of intelligence...sorry did I just say that? The common thought was that she had a great voice and then got lazy. But, it brought us to this really neat studio in the heart if jazz and improve in London where a lot of artists get their start. It was a fun night overall.

Then we said goodbye to Christy and we headed south to Paris on the Eurostar. One word:fast! We were in Paris by train before we knew it! Three nights were spent here, or just outside of here. Our accommodations were actually outside of the city centre, but they were completely worth it with the nice apartment that allowed us to cook our own meals and have a swim in an indoor pool. On the first full day we climbed the Eiffel Tower, which gives amazing views of the city and did a bus tour. We took advantage of the cute french cafes, as we ate at two of them. The following full day we bummed around the cute French town that we were staying in Carriers Sur Seine. We were near the river, just up from downtown Paris. On a beautiful hot day, it's completely worth it being out of the city, in my opinion. We met some cute older people playing a sport similar to bochy ball as we were walking along the river and we ate at a small restaurant along the river. We also visited a tennis club to watch some juniors compete in what we determined was their year end junior tournament. We soaked up the sun really with enjoying some swims here and there in the pool.

Then it was off to Nice for two nights. We basically strolled around the town for the first night and then went to Monte Carlo during the full day we had. Amazing scenery here with the hills and the water and the cars and the boats, er yachts. That night, while back in Nice, we went to an Irish pub to
watch the US Open tennis final. It was pretty exciting to watch, but the three of us (or two and a half who were actually interested) were disappointed with the outcome. Met some good Irish boys through it, which helped to provide the entertainment for the evening,

After Nice it was time for Spain! Ola Barcelona! Day one was spent touring the city and soaking in more hot hot
sun on the one to bus tour. We got off at one point to see the Olympic stadium from the 1992 Olympics. I was 8 when they were on. (I can hear the groans at DNR as I write this lol). It was neat to see. We found some good food (subway) and continued on another line of the tour. We were saving the good Spanish food for our last night. We
made supper that night at our apartment that looked onto the segrada familia. Amazing structure.

Our final day was a lazy one spent at the beach and we soaked in the rays that day. We also enjoyed some services provided on the beach including massages and I bought a sarong that I couldn't pass up. We ate at a Spanish restaurant in our neighbourhood with amazing views of the Segrada Familia lit up at night.

Then it was the journey back to Lancaster to the cold, wet, depressing weather of England. I started to really question how people could live here, but then I was reminded of the English's friendly nature when I stayed at the Budges for a couple of days after helping to move Laura (plus 8 bags) to Bristol. I'm so lucky to have the Budge residence as a home away from home.

Sorry for the long blog, but that pretty much covers the last bit. I'm actually writing this from Prague where I start my next leg of the journey - a 9 day tour of parts of Eastern Europe. I'll be seeing sights in Czech Reoublic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Croatia. Then, I'm praying the warm weather will still be around while I spend a week in Croatia. Well, that's the plan for now, but we'll see what sways me over the next bit.

Missing home a bit, but eating up every minute of this adventure! Check back over the next few days for pictures that are slow to upload.

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Nannie & Grampie on

Dear Lauren, Thanks for your update, so interesting to read, and glad you are enjoying and taking advantage of your adventure. Thanks for the beautiful post card, guess everyone got theirs today. Sept. is going too fast.
JoAnn & Gordon were here for supper, Gordon wanted a lesson is cooking a salmon he caught in N.B. in June. He thought I did as good as Michael Smith, Chef at Home!! Guess that is a compliment!! You will certainly have some great pictures to show us. We are all fine and had some nice Sept days, but raining tonight, which is needed. Take good care, and we'll see you soon. Love always, Nannie & Grampie

Clare on

Sounds like the fun is definitely continuing! So glad to hear from you & we have been enjoying all the beautiful photos you've been posting. We miss you. Enjoy every minute! xo

mary on

Good to hear from you again lauren. It's so neat that you are meeting canadians along the way.

alberta on

Enjoy reading your blogs. Very interesting and glad you are enjoying your adventure. OMG pictures are lovely. Enjoy the rest of your adventures
Take care

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