I've traveled more than most, but far less than many. Most of my travel was for a job I no longer have, but it gave me the taste and I hope to find opportunities to travel for many years to come.

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Vimy October 13th 2009

I was up bright and early with my nose out the window to see what the weather would be like. It was grey and overcast, but I wasn't going to let that get me down. This was a big day for me. One of the only two days on the trip that was pre-planned. Today I would be going on a guided tour of some World War I battlefields. Most important of them to me, as a Canadian, would be the site of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. While it had little tactical value in the over all conflict, it had a significant impact on the morale of the Canadian people as a whole. Some would say that the recognition the Canadians garnered on that bloody hill is what fueled our national identity. It's impact on ... read more
Grange Subway
Mother Canada weeps for her fallen sons
Notre Dame de Lorette Basilica

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Ypres October 12th 2009

The day started early, about 20 minutes before the sun came up. I took a quick shower, packed my toiletries and night clothes, then checked out. I reached Piccadilly Circus just as the sun came up and the early morning traffic began. I'd broken a cardinal rule of touring in London on my arrival: taking the tube during rush hour with all my luggage. It being a Monday I didn't want to do that again, so I'd left with plenty of time to walk to St. Pancras, where I'd be catching my train to Brussels. I must have arrived between trains, because going through screening and check in was very quick. We started to board a few minutes later than listed, but the departure was on time. Although I don't really handle tunnels or confined spaces ... read more
Cloth Hall
Menin Gate dedication
The Missing

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » London City October 11th 2009

For reasons that elude me, I was groggy, grumpy and sloth-like the next morning. Total mystery. I had an idea for what I wanted to do that evening, but not much on the agenda for the morning. Or mid-morning as the case might have been when I finally got up. I decided to head in a vaguely southern direction and across the Millennium Bridge. It was thankfully Dementor-free. The weather was less than favourable, and I decided to make my way to the nearby Imperial War Museum to get out of the imminent rain. I'd visited it on my previous trip, but a big section of the more interesting bits had been closed in preparation for the an upcoming anniversary. It was my hope that I'd get a chance to see more. For a geek like ... read more
Canadian Expeditionary Force uniform (circa 1918)
Small intimate tour group
Ripper's haunt

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London October 10th 2009

While I don't usually sleep well when traveling, the staying awake for 48 hours coupled with the beer flavoured nightcap(s) had worked together and I slept in until 8AM, which is exactly what I'd hoped for. I took a quick shower and then headed down to try the hostel's breakfast. They offered a traditional English breakfast for 2 pounds. It was pretty terrible. The sausage was half raw, half burnt and the eggs were pretty much the same, the beans were uncooked and cold. Only the tea and the toast were any good, which still makes the price a steal for this part of London. So, I guess economically I give it a 5, but foodie-wise it's a -1. Now I learned fairly early on that over planning can really hinder a trip, as you forfeit ... read more
Australian War Memorial
Royal Artillery Memorial
Crimian Memorial

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Soho October 9th 2009

The de-boarding went smoothly. I was in the second row behind first class so I didn't have to wait all that long for my turn and was soon making my way through the maze of corridors towards customs. I arrived and there were no more than 100 people in front of me. The timing was great because another 5-6 flights landed within minutes of mine and during my comparatively brief time in line another 1500 or so people joined the line behind me. Yikes. About 10 minutes and 3 questions later, my passport was stamped and I began my walk towards the tube station. I bought my ticket and boarded the tube for the 45 minute or so ride towards Piccadilly Circus and my London HQ of choice, Piccadilly Backpakers. I'd stayed at the same place ... read more
Old dude
Amber stein

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal » Dollard-des-Ormeaux October 8th 2009

Weeks of planning and hours of packing all came together on a chilly and cloudy October afternoon. It was gray and rainy enough to seem unpleasant but thankfully not bad enough to have an impact on flights which were running on time (or as close to on time as airlines ever run.) I arrived at the airport good and early, having long since made a promise to myself that I would never miss a flight/train/bus due to my own lateness. Sure, its extra time in the airport, but I find that interminably long lines are a lot more easy to deal with emotionally when I'm not worried about being late. Among the things I had learned in my research and experience from the recent business travel, was the ability to get everything I needed into a ... read more

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal » Verdun October 7th 2009

To start with, it has to be made clear that I'm a wee bit of a geek. And by wee bitI mean 'pretty much entirely'. My love of travel was ignited by, of all things, a video game. It was the late '90s and I was suffering through a long bout of unemployment. While big parts of my day were spent looking for work, my evenings were largely spent playing an online game that was at the time free. When it was released, it was called 'World War II Online', but now it goes by the name 'Battleground Europe '. It was basically a first person simulator based on the Second World War that focused on using real world physics. This lead to a lot of debate among the players of the game in its forums, ... read more

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