France (Le Havre & Paris)

A bit late in the travel series from earlier this summer, this post is from our last stop on the trip, which was France.

Le Havre

Places visited

  • The ship docked at the port early in the morning and it was a very pretty sunrise.
  • We only drove through Le Havre on the way to Paris but it was an interesting city. There’s a combination of both new and old architecture since not much of the city was left after WWII.

Paris

Places visited and what I did

  • We drove up into the city to the Place Charles de Gaulle where the Arc de Triomphe is. The Place Charles de Gaulle is a junction of 12 streets and the traffic was crazy. I’m happy we were on a big bus.
  • The bus continued down the Champs Élysée to Place de la Concorde, which was very beautiful. It is home to an Egyptian obelisk and intricate fountains. It was also where many executions took place. The Hôtel de Crillon and the French Naval Ministry are behind the fountain and obelisk.
  • Drove by the Paris Opera and the Louvre (it’s so much bigger than I thought! Also, we were there shortly after Beyonce was recording there).
  • After a drive around the city, the tour stopped at the Seine (right under the Effiel Tower) to get off on a boat down the river for lunch.
  • The boat was almost full glass. We were served a foie gras terrine for the first course. The second course was chicken thighs (coq au vin, maybe?) and for dessert, there was a creme brulee type of thing but I had fruit salad because of allergies. There was the option of many courses of wine, but I had sparkling water. There was live music which felt very much like what one should be doing in France.
  • From the river, I saw the Musée d’Orsay, Hôtel national des Invalides, Notre Dame and many other beautiful buildings and bridges. Everything in Paris is beautiful.
  • After the river cruise, we were able to walk around under the Eiffel tower for a bit. There are a little carousel and cafe there. The bus took us back to Le Havre and we boarded the ship for the last time before heading home.

Tips

  • It was very hot that day in France! Apparently, it isn’t usually, but keep in mind it does get warm.
  • I would definitely spend one more day in Paris. Three days at most. It would be interesting to just walk around the city and explore that way, plus go to the museums (or just the Louvre) but otherwise, I’m not sure what else one would do there.

Photojournal

Next up on the series of posts from this trip will be deep thoughts on the trip/what I’ve learnt from travelling this summer.

P.S. It’s Peri

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Scotland (Glasgow, Orkney, Inverness & Edinburgh)

After Ireland, we spent 4 days around Scotland.

Glasgow

I have had a fascination with Glasgow for a little while and wanted to go there so it was a good experience to actually be in the city.

Places visited and what I did

  • The ship docked in Greenock and we took a bus from there into Glasgow. The city seems like it has a younger population and felt hip with lots of cute trendy looking cafes and thrift shops which the tour guide said most of the kids get their clothing from.
  • We drove by the University of Glasgow which looks like something straight out of Harry Potter. It was used for filming the show Outlander.
  • The tour took us to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The building itself was unlike any other I have seen. The museum was very diverse, rooms filled with artefacts from Ancient Egypt, another room with things from the Vikings, the halls were filled with paintings and statues/sculptures. Downstairs also had a natural history area with many animals.
  • The bus drove through George Square and off to Glasgow Cathedral, St. Mungo’s Museum of Religous Life and Art (I didn’t go in here, I don’t think there was enough time), Provand’s Lordship (which had very nice gardens), and Glasgow Necropolis. Everything was so old, it was crazy to be there and think about how long that area of Glasgow had been there.

Photojournal

Orkney

The cruise ship we were on had a population almost the size (or maybe even bigger) of all of Kirkwall, which is the main city in Orkney.

Places visited and what I did

  • I took a bus tour to one of the beaches. Orkney has a very empty feeling to it. It’s not very populated, it’s very windy so there are no trees, there aren’t very many buildings. It’s sort of peaceful. The beach is sandy but there are also rocky cliffs. Some of the very small islands have sidewalks between them and people get caught when the tide is in.
  • After visiting the coast, the tour headed into the town of Stromness. It was very cute and had a little harbour.
  • From Stromness, we went to Neolithic Orkney. The bus drove by The Standing Stones Streness and we stopped at the Ring of Brodgar. It was crazy to stand there by the ring of stones and see how vast the sky is at that point and imagine how long they’ve been there. On one side of the Ring the water is from the sea and on the other side, it is fresh water. This place was very purposeful. It’s crazy. There was also wild cotton in the fields which looked like pompoms.
  • After the tours, we ventured out into Kirkwall for free wifi at the library. There was a church from 1100 AD that we couldn’t go in because a concert was taking place. The town is very well kept and filled with small shops.

Photojournal

Loch Ness & Inverness

This day was spent looking for Nessie on the lake. It was also very cold and I wasn’t prepared for that.

Places visited and what I did

  • We drove through a little town and the countryside to get to Loch Ness. It was so lush and the colours of everything very intense. Again, it was a great day for weather besides being a bit chilly.
  • At Loch Ness, there is a little inn and gift shops. As part of the tour, we boarded a boat to take us along the Loch. The lake itself is very deep (and dark, it’s easy to see how they don’t know if Nessie is there or not) about 750 feet at its deepest point. It’s also very foggy, making it super mysterious looking.
  • The boat went to Urquhart Castle. Some passengers got off here but we took the ride back to the inn.
  • Next stop was Inverness. It was very pretty. There were flowers everywhere and the River Ness runs through the city. We went into the Inverness Cathedral which seemed so modern compared to the previous cathedrals on the trip. Still, it was very old.

Photojournal

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is everyone who is on Amazing Race’s worst fear. It is like one giant maze. I could spend much more than a day in Edinburgh. The city looked stereotypically medieval.

Places visited and what I did

  • The ship had to dock in South Queensferry so it was a bit of a drive out to Edinburgh. It was much darker than other cities, not because of the weather but the difference in architecture. It was more ominous than London or the other bigger cities.
  • We went down the Royal Mile which runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace where the Queen stays when she’s visiting. They were setting up for the Queen’s garden party so it was difficult to get photos of Holyrood. The Mile is filled with cashmere, sweets and other little shops like that for tourists.
  • In what seems like the middle of the city there is suddenly mountains and a park? Where people were rock climbing, hiking and walking their dogs.
  • After the drive around the city, we stopped at the National Museum of Scotland. A. Great. Museum. It was super diverse, ranging from animals to furniture. It’s also the home to the first cloned animal, Dolly the sheep. There was a fashion exhibit on so that’s where my time was spent. The museum itself is also very beautiful.

Photojournal

Next post will be the last day of the trip which was spent in France.

P.S. It’s Peri

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Ireland (Cobh, Cork, Blarney, Dublin, & Antrim Coast)

After travelling through England, we headed off to explore Ireland for 3 days.

Cobh, Cork & Blarney

The cruise ship docked in the town of Cobh, we then took a bus through the city of Cork to Blarney on day 1 of Ireland.

Places visited and what I did

  • We drove through Cork (I took some photos from the bus) and into the countryside to get to the village of Blarney.
  • Once in Blarney, we walked around the Woolen Mills, which is filled with lots of super soft sweaters and things made from the wool of the local sheep. Also, a lot of cute sheep stuffed animals.
  • We walked a little bit over to Blarney Castle where the famous Blarney Stone is. I did not kiss the stone because 1) it was an hour and a half wait in line and the bus left before that and 2) it seems kind of terrifying to almost hang off the edge of a castle to kiss a stone. Instead, I walked through the gardens around the castle and I also went into the castle’s dungeon. Much less scary than a stone?

Tips

  • You have to pay to get close enough to even see Blarney Castle. All around the castle is a park with beautiful gardens so you could spend awhile walking through the gardens if you’re not going into the castle. There is also a little cafe in the park.

Photojournal

Patrick Street from the bus while driving through Cork
Also in Cork
A church where a truck photobombed in Cork
Blarney Castle from many angles and a photo from being in the dungeon 
Blarney Castle and the gardens 
Geodes?? or just fancy rocks in the gardens at Blarney

Dublin

Places visited and what I did

  • In Dublin, we took another hop on hop off tour like in London. I think this might be my favourite way to see around a city since you have the freedom to get off wherever you want as well as have a bus tour where they tell you lots of history.
  • Dublin was one of my favourite places because it reminded me of where I live a bit and where I lived in Kentucky. Plus all of the people were very friendly and kind. It was also quite beautiful and we were lucky to have great weather that day.
  • We saw St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Wellington Monument, St Ann’s Church, Christ Church Cathedral, Spire of Dublin, and of course we had to visit Guinness (I did not drink any) and Trinity College. I did not know much about Dublin’s history before but it is a history-rich city and I think there would definitely still be more to see.

Tips

  • I would definitely take a hop on hop off bus tour through Dublin. It allows you to be able to see lots of the city and its famous points.

Photojournal

The Spire of Dublin
General Post Office 
A fancy bridge made to resemble a harp I believe. 
Trinity College which was very pretty. And another candid photo of strangers
Dublin is famous for its multicoloured doors
From top left to bottom right, me outside of Guinness, Ha’penny Bridge, Dr Steevens’s Hospital and Jeanie Johnston a replica of Irish emigration vessels

Antrim Coast

The ship docked in Belfast and we took a bus ride to Glenariff park.

Places visited and what I did

  • The bus tour took us along the Antrim Coast. The ocean was extremely blue, the coast is black and white because it is made up of basalt stone and limestone. It looked almost fake the colours were all very intense.
  • We stopped at the little village of Carnlough, walked around the harbour and admired the ocean. If it is clear enough, you can see Scotland’s coast.
  • The bus tour continued into Glenariff Park in the middle of the Glens of Antrim. It was very beautiful. There is a tea shop in the park where we stopped for tea and scones (I did not have the scones because of possible allergy contamination).
  • It was a very lush drive back to the ship. All of Ireland is so green. And filled with sheep.

Photojournal

Driving through the glens and all the sheep 
The harbour in Carnlough 
Sheep on the coast and Scotland very far off in the distance to the left
Black beaches 
At the tea shop in Glenariff park. Everything looked almost fake. 

Next up on the trip is Scotland!

P.S. It’s Peri

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England Trip (London, Southampton, Guernsey)

In June I went on a 2 week trip around the British Isles starting with England!

London

We spent 2 days in London before boarding the cruise ship (more on this later!) to adjust to the time zone and explore London.

Food eaten, places visited and what I did

  • Flew into Heathrow Airport and took the Heathrow Express into London close to the Gresham Hotel where we stayed for 2 nights. The Express took us to Paddington Station which was beautiful and hard to get around. We couldn’t figure out how to get out of the station for the longest time.
  • Ate at Pret a Manger for the first time which is the best place. We need them in Canada. They have prepared, healthy foods that you can just grab and eat. And good coffee!
  • Walked around Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens. Saw The Peter Pan Statue and Italian Gardens. Beautiful gardens, lots of people walking around, dogs kept jumping in the Italian Garden fountain (??), chairs were set out for people to sunbathe in. It was quite a nice place and I could walk around there for a while.
  • After walking around, we had dinner at a little cafe down the road from the hotel. I had an omelette and salad since after travelling I wanted something not too fancy.
  • The next day we were surprised with an English Breakfast at the hotel, then headed out on the Hop On, Hop Off tour.
  • We saw all the major landmarks of London (Big Ben though it was being renovated, London Eye, Parliment, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London etc.) and got off of the bus at Buckingham, Trafalgar Square/National Gallery, and Tower of London to go on a cruise down the Thames. It was a long day but we saw so much and it was crazy to take in.
  • Ate at Pret (of course) and had dinner at a little Greek restaurant close to the hotel. They surprised us with fruit after dinner. A day full of surprise food.

Tips

  • The Hop on, Hop Off tour is great. We rode the full route through once to see everything and decide where we wanted to get off. They sometimes come with extras, like this one had the Thames River cruise included.
  • The tap water was pretty gross. I brought a water bottle filter and you could still taste it. So hydrate lots when you can and bottled water is probably better.
  • The Galleries admission was free but special exhibits were more.

Photojournal

Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens

Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Gardens
Paddington Station

I accidentally took a photo of this guy but it looks very purposeful. 
Piccadilly Circus 
Parliament and the River Thames
Tower of London
Cleopatra’s Needle
Buckingham Palace, the Queen was in that day. 

The National Gallery

Southampton & Guernsey

In order to board the cruise ship, we had to meet at the airport and then take a bus down to Southampton. The first full day we spent in St. Peter Port, Guernsey.

Places visited and what I did

  • We only drove around Southampton a bit, but it was a cute city. There were ancient ruins of the Town Wall built in with the more modern parts of the city. The city has a rich history since it is a port. It was where the Titanic departed, not comforting when you’re about to board a cruise ship.
  • Most of the day was spent waiting to board the ship, then exploring the ship and unpacking once our luggage arrived.
  • The next morning we boarded tenders to take us into St. Peter Port. It is the definition of quaint. The town is colourful and looks straight out of a painting.
  • We took a bus from the port, through the island and to the Little Chapel. The Chapel is made up of bits of old broken china and shells. It sits in a pretty garden up a hill. You can go downstairs in the chapel so it’s almost two levels? There are many little alters in the chapel.
  • We went back to the ship where it was the first formal night. We had dinner (which I forgot to take pictures of, so I forgot what I ate that night) and saw a show onboard.

Tips

  • Always be prepared for rain! Even if it says it’s not going to rain, it probably will because it’s Britain. Luckily we were very fortunate and it only sprinkled a little rain. It was still cooler outside than in Canada at the same time of year so I would’ve dressed more warmly if I had known.

Photojournal

The cruise ship in Southampton 
The Little Chapel in Guernsey

Next up on the trip will be Ireland!

P.S. It’s Peri

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Boulder, Colorado Travel

If you’ve noticed I’ve been a little M.I.A on the blog this is the explanation why. I’ve been in Colorado and it’s time for the second (read the first travel-ish post here!) travel post here! I’m still a newbie for writing travel so eventually, it’ll find its grove.

Travelling

I haven’t been on a plane in 9 years and was a little too freaked out by the fact that I was flying (and it wasn’t a pleasant flight in general then) to actually appreciate how cool airports and flying are. Airports early in the morning are especially cool because it’s very quiet and people are sleeping on benches and reality feels altered. And with flying, YOU ARE IN THE SKY!! That’s crazy.

Sunrise over the runway while waiting for my flight. Featuring somebody’s juice bottle in the window??

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Food eaten, places visited and what I did

Between the 9 days (I think?) of travel, I have been to Toronto, Denver and Boulder. Also between the 9-ish days, food was eaten, things were done or not done at all I did lay on the floor staring at the ceiling for a bit. So I will condense it all down into points to avoid this post going on forever.

  • Stayed in an Airbnb. Benefits of this are that we had a kitchen, (didn’t have to eat out every meal), felt more local and had a backyard which seemed to be a lure to wild animals and a random poodle.
  • Went up Flagstaff Mountain. The mountains are just *there* and they’re beautiful. It makes you feel very small when something so big exists. Travelling up the mountain was slightly terrifying because heights, but spectacular to see the views from so high up.
  • Walked down Pearl Street Mall, ate at Locale,  Next Door and had coffee at The Cup. I didn’t take pictures of any of the food somehow. But I took pictures of basically everything else. Pearl Street Mall had many performers and always had lots of people wandering through.
  • Everything is organic, everyone rides bikes (legitimately bikes EVERYWHERE), the city is super pedestrian friendly. This was good so one doesn’t require a car while staying there. It’s stereotypically hippie and healthy and it’s kind of funny. This might be why National Geographic called Boulder the Happiest City in the USA. 
  • I was able to meet another one of my online friends on this trip which was exciting and another accomplishment! It’s one of my goals to visit as many of my friends as possible.
  • The weather was super dry compared to Canada. Which was nice but also not. Not nice because felt a bit like a dried up raisin and nice because it didn’t feel so hot out since there was pretty much no humidity.
  • Ran on trails through the mountains which was super peaceful and meditative.
  • Also enjoyed Amercian things like Dunkin Donuts (I hadn’t had a doughnut in 5 years), Cheez-its, Target and discount shopping. I impulse bought dresses at H&M. If you’ve read my Summer Clothes Haul you know I like H&M but the one in the US is even cheaper and has more selection.

Photo journal

Visiting poodle.
Overlooking Boulder from Flagstaff Mountain.

Pearl Street Mall.
View from The Cup cafe.
Latte from The Cup because latte art makes me very happy.

All photos and videos were shot with my iPhone 6 S. Photos were edited in VSCO.

First vlog (ish) video!

Should I make more Youtube videos? Would you like to see vlogs of future travels and other things?

P.S. It’s Peri

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I Met An Online Friend And It Wasn’t Creepy + Niagara Falls Travel

This accidentally got posted on Tuesday, but I was busy and had forgotten to fill it in (AWKWARD) so now it’s the legit post! Sorry, about that! Now on to the actual post.

Homeschooling and online friends

Often with homeschooling, people are concerned about socializing and how it is done when kids are not in a traditional school. (you can read my post where I talk more about socializing here!) Just because it’s not the traditional way doesn’t mean we don’t make friends. We make friends everywhere from homeschool groups to communities classes, one just has to be creative.

A big source of friendships for me has been online. It allows for a broad range of friends and people around the world who you can interact with at any time (or not interact with if you don’t feel like it!) as opposed to if they were friends from school who you would just see during school hours or when you hang out after. This is good for homeschoolers, too, since they can interact during the day. I will definitely talk more about online friendships in the future, but for now, this is on meeting one of my close friends for the first time!

How we met online and meeting IRL

We met each other in 2016 (I think??) on a game and the first day she invited me to join in on a Skype call with a few others from the game to chat while we played. A little while later I created a group of a bunch of people that I liked and wanted to get to know better and since then we’ve had many calls where we do things like try to recreate makeup looks, watch movies (usually Disney Channel classics that I haven’t seen because I failed at Disney Channel watching besides Phineas and Ferb), cook or sometimes just talk. From calling and the amount of time spent together we had gotten to know each other for awhile before the meeting, just needed to get that in so it doesn’t sound too creepy. We found out we didn’t live too far away from each other and decided we would plan a trip to Niagara Falls together on my birthday!

  Niagara Falls has an amusement park where for a pretty good price (about $30) you get tickets to 6 attractions, which were a lot of fun. It’s a good idea to have something to do when meeting so it doesn’t become too boring or awkward, plus it’s in a public area for safety.

We found each other and took pictures right away and got some food before starting with the attractions. It would seem like meeting someone for the first time in person after years of knowing each other would be weird, but it felt pretty normal besides that fact that we were in an amusement park.

The first attraction we did was the Movieland Wax Museum, quite creepy to be honest, but fun to take pictures with all of the celebrities. There was a haunted hallway (I’m not actually sure what it was but it was like a haunted house as part of the museum) that we walked through and I was absolutely terrified and screamed like crazy when there was a loud noise. We tried to get out fast. Next was Ghost Blasters which was built into The Great Canadian Midway. It sort of reminded me of the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disneyworld only in 3D. I did not win at that and also jumped at anything that was coming towards me in 3D. I have the best of nerves. After that, we rode the Wild West Coaster, which is a 3D movie in special chairs that make it feel like a roller coaster. With the Fun Pass, you get arcade tickets so we played there and won 2 matching bracelets (which we both ended up losing).

There is a giant Ferris wheel over the falls also included in the pass. It provides good photo opportunities of The Falls.

Next on the pass was glow in the dark mini golf which was very fun and a 6D zombie ride similar to the coaster but with lasers shooting the zombies. After we had finished the pass we walked down to the falls then got tea before heading off. All in all a very fun and memorable birthday.

Have you met any online friends before? Have you been to Niagara Falls before?

P.S. It’s Peri

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Young Adult Travel Bucket List – European Tour

In my young adult years, it’s my goal to gain as many experiences and learn as much as I can, mostly through travel and whatever path of school and work I will be in. The schools I’ve applied to are nearby so I will be living at home, which will provide me with a good home base without having to have my own place to worry about ( or the added cost of living ) so I can travel more freely. The schools also offer several different programs for travelling abroad:

  • Co-op where you can be hired abroad for a school term and get to work as part of your education.
  • The exchange program where you can take some of your courses at a school abroad.

With the opportunities the school provides and on my own, there are lots of places I’m hoping to explore in my young adult years. This post will be about Europe!

 

Where to?

I’ve been working on a list that is more in detail but right now I just have a bit figured out.

European tour

First stop – Iceland on the way to Europe.

It seems to be not too uncommon to stop and stay in Reykjavik for a day or 2.

Screenshot 2018-02-20 at 3.45.46 PM.png
From reykjavik.com

What I would do

  • See around the city
  • Go to the Blue Lagoon Geothermal pool. It’s naturally very warm water and they have places where you can swim in it. Even if I wasn’t swimming, it’s very beautiful.
  • Take an Icelandic pony tour of either the volcanoes or some of the historical sights. Pretty much anywhere just as long as I can ride one of the ponies.

 

The UK

What I would do

The list for the UK could go on forever, but these are the things I would want to do the most.

  • Explore London, maybe take a bus tour.
  • Go to the baths in Bath.
  • Explore Edinburgh.
  • See some of the major historical sights.
  • Visit Buckingham Palace.

 

Amsterdam

  • Probably bike throughout.
  • Visit some of their cool coffee shops.
  • Explore the city because it looks like a really interesting place.
  • Go to the Van Gogh Museum
  • Visit the Rijksmuseum Library

 

Spain

  • Learn to Salsa dance
  • Visit a colourful market
  • Explore the place

 

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Picture off of Pinterest

 

Italy

There is so much to see in Italy I would be happy to go anywhere. So far the list is just one thing, though.

  • Spend a day in Rome.

 

Greece

I would probably only want to spend a weekend at most in Athens and that would be it.

  • Take a tour through Acropolis
  • See all of the famous ancient places
  • EAT!

 

Where would you go in Europe?

 

P.S It’s Peri

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All pics from Pinterest unless otherwise noted.