Back to the UK

Well Daniel and I finally booked our tickets back to the UK where we are going to be spending the summer. In fact, Daniel is just finishing his booking online as I write this. Of course, instead of going from Madrid, we are taking cue from the same cheap Ryanair flight that I took a couple weeks ago and we are flying out of Valladolid. We are leaving sunny Spain on the 14th of July and will be shacking up in Reading, UK for roughly 2.5 months. Of course, during that time we plan to do some traveling and so we likely won't be there the whole time, but that will be our home base. Actually, my home base is going to be here in Spain, since I will be returning to do my project in the fall, and I will likely be leaving some of my stuff here so that I don't go over my weight allowance of 20 kg on my checked luggage. I'm only bringing one of my bags to the UK, so I hope I can get all that I need with me.

We just found out that the residence actually has an industrial use scale on the bottom floor. I'm not sure what its original purpose was intended to be, but it will allow us to weigh our bags here before we leave so I can know just how much I should leave behind. Of course, before we leave, I will need to say good-bye to those friends who are leaving before me. Q and Pablo are leaving the night of the 7th or early on the 8th, and Nenad is taking off on the 12th. It is going to be weird not seeing these guys for a while after living in such close contact for so long. But those things happen and life goes on. But it isn't time to say good-bye quite yet, we still have two exams left and they should at least get a bit of my attention. :)

4Jul
Location: FAM, Leganés @ 11:35

End of an era

End of an era
Camera
SONY DSC-W5
Taken
2006-07-06 23:26:49
Exposure
10/500
Aperture
f/3.5
ISO
160

Enrique, Sissi, Pablo, Nenad, Daniel and I share in one last laugh before parting ways (some of us) after our last exam tomorrow. While we will definitely all see each other again, we will not be studying all together any more. (Photo: Daniel's camera timer ;) )

Guys, you have made this experience one that I will remember forever. Thanks for all the great memories, and I look forward to those that are yet to come. Cheers.

6Jul
Location: FAM, Leganés, Spain @ 17:45

A quick goodbye from Spain...

This is just a quick note to say that I am all packed (except my computer) and ready to head out towards Reading. Daniel and I will be leaving at 9:30 local time to catch the metro to a station to get the train which will take us to the bus station where we will buy a ticket to Valladolid airport. Then we board our flight to London Stansted where we have to fork out as much if not more for a train ticket to Reading as we did for out flight from Spain.

In an case, when I next check in, it will be from jolly ole England. Cheers.

14Jul
Location: FAM, Leganés @ 1:39

Reading how I missed thee

Reading how I missed thee
Camera
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
Taken
2006-07-14 18:53:10
Exposure
1/60
Aperture
f/4.0
ISO
100

Daniel and I on the train from Stansted Airport into London. It was one of our more peaceful legs of our crazy day of travel.

I thought I would make it official that Daniel and I arrived safely back in the UK. We are currently ensconced in a couple of self-catered rooms in the same Bridges Hall in which we lived at the end of last year, a time which feels like ages ago. The room is unsurprisingly similar to other room that I had while I was here, only for the distinct lack of a sink. The sink I do miss — as someone who spends 20+ minutes shaving, it is nice to be able to do this in the comfort of your own room.

There are other subtle changes to the Hall, some of which are positive and other negative, but I guess that is how things usually work. Obviously one of the big differences is that most of the friends we made while here in the fall are now gone. Some may be back, but some are not going to be returning to Reading. Considering that I am only here for the next two months and a bit, that doesn't much matter to me. But nonetheless this is a difference that isn't immediately obvious but it does affect my mood towards the place. In general though, I like the ability to read and understand all the signs and be understood by those people I need to interact with. It is a bit of a comforting and unusual experience after 6+ months in foreign language countries. However, the British culture isn't really all that it is cracked up to be (or maybe it isn't cracked up at all), but I didn't miss the excessive drinking and general "hooliganism" that one can expect in towns and cities in the UK. Luckily it won't be so bad in the summer months on campus, but it still exists. After spending a few months in Spain, it seems there is something wholly unfriendly about the British population — even if I can understand them, it seems as though something is missing.

But the food is one thing that is better here. At least from my point of view I can now get meat and eggs for breakfast. Not only that but I am now in a position where I can walk to a convenience store or to a number of fast-food, Turkish, Indian and Chinese restaurants. I went to Istanbul Grill my first night here with Daniel and incinerated my mouth with the muy picante Shish Kebab. Last night a number of other students that I hadn't seen in a while were going to an Indian restaurant with a buffet, so I joined them. It was good food at a relatively decent price — and I hadn't had Indian food since I was last in the UK.

Long story short, I'm in the UK, all is well. Cheerio.

17Jul
Location: Bridges Hall, Reading, UK @ 6:19

New photos from way back

I just added around 19 new photo gallery pages today... it took the better part of 5 hours, but I feel it was worth it. Hopefully that will keep people satiated for the time being so I don't have to be constantly reminded that my photos are out of date. :)

But seriously I was way behind — I added photos from Greece even and that was over three months ago. I will make no promise that things will remain up to date from here out. I suspect I will be a bit better with it, but at the moment I haven't taken and photos around here yet. I probably should, but I've been too pissed off by the heat which is matching that in Madrid recently only now I don't have AC. Just this tiny little USB fan which is my salvation most of the time. Anyway. Enjoy the photos.

18Jul
Location: Bridges Hall, Reading, UK @ 16:44

Ich gehe nach Deutschland

Oh I hope I translated that properly. Should be close enough to indicate that I am, in fact, going to Germany. Not for very long, but from August 6 to 9 I will traveling to the Frankfurt area for some sightseeing. My primary objective was to get a chance to visit my friend Marie whom I met my first term in Reading and who lives in Germany. Despite needing to write term papers, she has generously agreed to give me a place to stay while I am visiting the area. Fortunately as well, RyanAir flies into Frankfurt which means I can save some money on my flights — in fact, it will cost me more to get to and from the airport here than it will for my flight to Germany. That concept doesn't exist in Canada, where the cheapest flight you can hope to find is going to cost $100, and if you are going international (ie. to the US) you will pay at least twice that.

In any case, I am excited — I was in Germany in 2000 and it was really great. Now that World Cup fever has subsided, I'm hoping that things will be a bit more calm. I'm not a football fan (soccer for those at home) and while the World Cup energy around me was a bit contagious, it would have made things a lot more crazy in Germany. Of course, some of my friends visited Germany for just that reason in June, but to each their own. :)

I'm also glad that I am making use of this time that I have off this summer to get a chance to visit some of these places. I found out that Canadians need a visa to get into the Czech Republic, so I will have to look into that before my trip to Prague.

Turns out that as of May 2004, Canadians don't need a visa to enter the Czech Republic — as that is when they joined the EU.
24Jul
Location: Bridges Hall, Reading, UK @ 15:02

What Now?

Well, it would seem that for the most part, my Europe Adventure is over. It has been an amazing time. Now, I am reviving the ailing colinbate.com and going to make a go of it over there. All the best.

Times

Nova Scotia, Canada
5:44 (Dec 2, 2020)
Reading/London, United Kindom
9:44 (Dec 2, 2020)
Thessaloniki, Greece
11:44 (Dec 2, 2020)
Madrid, Spain
10:44 (Dec 2, 2020)
Guatemala, Guatemala
2:44 (Dec 2, 2020)

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