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Brians RTW

Montreal - Day 1

rain 21 °C

Am now in Montreal after a 7 1/2 hour flight from Heathrow, this is my first time flying with Air Canada, their seats very comfortable and quite roomy, however I did get told off for having my noise reduction headphones on while we were still on the ground, so then I just let them rest around my neck and got told about that as well,apparently under their law the only headphones you can have on until airborne are the ones issued by the airline...?????
Montreal is a beautiful city both above and below the ground, below street level, they have streets with shops and cafes, parking below that and then the railway below that, doesn't happen everywhere but there are about 32 kms of "streets with shopping and cafes etc below the ground. I went on a walking tour today, it was a great way to get used to the layout of the city. The tour was mainly around the old city and they have done it really well the old part of the town is kept separate from the new and so it prevents that whole mish mash of old and new together and keeps the heritage and culture of the city alive. It started raining this afternoon (but have been able to put the shorts back on) and I am hopingit will clear in the next day or so they have a mountain that I want to climb,apparently the views from the top are really great. Local custom prevents one from calling it a hill because that is what it really is....they also have a building standard that prevents any building being higher then the mountain and so the maximum height of any building is limited to 51 floors.
They also have a hop on hop off tour here and I am wanting to do that as well and once again a river cruise...I have enjoyed those in some of the other cities I have been to.
The bakeries here are quite amazing and have a huge range of breads and pastries and that is definitely one of the similarities to Paris and when youn talk to the tour guides it is interesting in that they talk about how the locals want to be like the Europeans........I don't know why and Brussels was the same they were so intent on being European that they seemed to forget their own identity.
It is fair to say though that Montreal is a mixture of London and Paris and they speak both French and English as well.
I was only thinking today how lucky Iam that I have been able to see so many different places and expereince so much and to have so many wonderful memories and often wish Angela and I could have done this together!

Posted by Brians RTW 18:42 Archived in Canada Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

RTW

Edinburgh

overcast 20 °C

Today is my last day here in Edinburgh, before I move on to Montreal, Internet time here is a premium six pound an hour so will make it brief. The highlight of my time here is definitely going to The Edinburgh Military tattoo last night, the weather was perfect and I had an excellent view of it all even though it was nose bleed territory!! The whole show lasted about an hour and a half and flowed with precision, they had highland band, a contingent from South Australia nd New Zealand as well as other parts of the world. Theyalso had the Highland fling dancers. Have been on a boat cruise and learnt some stuff about Scotland, I didn't realise they exported oil from the North Sea or that oysters ued to be harvested there as wel, they were basically destroyed by pollution of the ocean but fortunately there are signs that they may reestablish. Have also dodne the hop on hop off tour here and visited a number of historical places, including the Queens residence here in Scotland
The street shows here are fantastic and you can waste quite a few hours being entertained and if you like the program you donate whatever you feel is appropriate.
Went to a toy museum today, it was fun and saw some of the older toys that I can remember playing with.
Off to Montreal tomorrow and hopefully the hotel will have wifi.
The weather has been good just with a bit of rain this afternoon.l

Posted by Brians RTW 08:45 Archived in Scotland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Brian RTW

London

rain 18 °C

London is an exciting city and a place wher I feel very comfortable.....someone asked me the other day at breakfast what is my favourite place so far and I really can't say, because there is something I love about every place that I have been to, however if for some reason someone was going to say we are going to send you somewhere then I would probably say Rome, but London Paris Brussels would be right up there as well.
Yesterday I went to see the Tower Bridge and then the London Tower, both of these have such a rich history particularly the tower where people have been beheaded, people like Henry VIII lived there when it was used as a palace......all this stuff that I learnt about in English history at school all coming to life. I also went for a walk along the Thames and there was a cruise liner in so huge right in the middle of the city if you like....and also wa lked around the London Docklands area.
Today even though it was raining I went for a walk to Regents Park, it was so beautiful, a largish lake every where really green, ducks walking on the lawn and locals jogging, they have some very pretty flower beds they make me smile as most of the garden feature geraniums and I mentioned to one of the people I talk to at breakfast how they are almost a weed a home because they grow so prolifically (this person was from Devon) and she was saying that it is the thing to have in your garden here.
I caught the underground into London Central and went to the Dept store Harrods, I can say I have een there...had to stop myself from buying this really cool jumper priced at a cool 800 pounds and in the food section they had some yummy looking peaches for 31 pounds a kilo abd given current exchange rate makes the jumper about $1500 and the peaches $55.00 after that I went on to St Pauls chuch in London really beautiful but they didn't allow photos to be taken, then went for a cruise on the thames ...a lovely way to spend the day but I have to admit at the end of the day I feel a bit tired.
Have a five hour train trip tomorrow so that will be relaxing and give the ol legs a rest.

Posted by Brians RTW 12:35 Archived in England Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Brians RTW

London- Croydon and Brighton

all seasons in one day 18 °C

Today I went to C roydon to visit where Angela grew up, first up I went to Kings Cross Station to organise my ticket to Edinburgh on Sunday as I only had the voucher at this point, I then caught the subway to Victoria station and then a Southern Rail train to East Croydon. I got a map from the tourist office and surprisingly enough managed to find my way to what use to be their house...okso it wasn't that diffcultbut I am sure Angela gave me a helping hand. Their house is still probably one of the better kept ones and there was a rose bush in the garden and I wondered how long it had been there because Nanny(Angela's mum) always liked Roses. I spoke to a couple of the residents of the area but they had moved in about 5-6 years after mums family had migrated to Australia, they did show me where the local primary school was but also pointed out that the original had been knocked down. I felt quite emotional after this and so took a slow alk back to the station...I am so glad I did it, my regret is that I was not able to come here with Angela. After lunch I caught another Southern Railways train to Brighton where great Nanny lived and where I remember Angela saying they used to go for some holidays. Brighton is on the coast but the beaches are so different they are all pebblesand not all that small, but nice and clean and you can hire deck chairs to sit on the beach ( in some of the Parks here as well you can hire deck chairs to use cost is around one pound 50 and hour). I went down Brighton Pier..it is just like I have seen in some movies. and bought some Fish and Chips cos everyone does and while they may not have been the best fish and chips that I've had I acn say that I have done it!! I spoke to a local couple who had lived at Hove which is bout 5minutes away from Brighton, for most of their lives and they filled me on all the changes that would have happened over the years since mum migrated to Australia.
I hope you have had a chace to look at the few photoes I have put up I will try to put some more up know.

Posted by Brians RTW 12:53 Archived in England Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Brian's RTW

Paris and London

all seasons in one day 18 °C

I have done so much since I last updated this, I have see the Eiffel tower at night and all lit up OMG how beautiful was that, I have climbed to the top, well not exactly climbed caught the lift (2 lifts) one to the first level where I almost chickened out because I thought it might just betoo much with so many people up there etc. but I did it I went to the top and the views were just amazing, it was a fairly clear day and you could see for miles and miles and once you were there you kinda just went with the flow. I also went to the Arc de tromphe on Avenue Des Champs Elysees, the Avenue itself is a beautiful tree lined avenue and the Arc stands there so proud. I did climb to the top of this, literally some 300 odd steps but once again so worth it, my thighs were a little sore by the time I was on top and I saw the grave of the unknown soldier...it has an eternal flame burning and speaking of heights I went to level 57 of the Montparnasse Tower and this day we were amongst the clouds but still a great experience. While I was in Paris I had breakfast with a mother and daughter couple we used to swap stories about what we had done the day before...it was great to be able to do that and to speak to someone that understood what you were saying, the staff at the Hotel in Paris were good as well and had some interesting conversations with themabout life in Paris and the people and government of France ....their gst is 19.6%. to be eligible for and assistance at retirement they have to work a certain number of years and one of theguys I was talking to had been to university 3 or four years I think and so those years are added on to 65...an interesting concept.
I had a meal of snails and they were so scrumptious.....the hardest part was getting them out of the shell, because of my policy on not eating or drinking in the same place twice I was not able to go back there for a second lot but I would not hesitate in ordering snails.
The train trip from Paris to London was everything I hoped it would be, the staff on the train were so good and the meal and drinks were served on proper plates and in glasses and they brougt the main course around after you finished the first course I had a small bottle of white wine and a glass of Champagne. The layout of the train was a row of two seats and then a single row, I had a seat in the single row and there was a group of 4 sitting opposite me, they were from England and we talked about travelling and how this was the way to go. It was a 2 and 1/2 hour trip that went so fast and was so enjoyable, the scenery good...except when we went under the English Channel ofcourse.
London is a wonderful city and I feelquite comfortable here......I am lucky my hotel albeit a little old and pokey sized room it is the good part of town about 15 minute walk to London's West End and 15mins to Regents Park probaly about 30 to Pall Mall oh and by the way yu see all the Monopoly icons and I took a photo of a hotel on Park Lane....as did a 100 other people at the time and I have been to Euston Station, Leicester Square Kings Cross Station all familiar Monopoly names.
Buckingham Palace is very grand and I saw the Changing of the Queeen's guards,
however she is away at present, Westminister Abbey...what an amazing church, I did a tour of that, I didn't realised that so many were entombed there and dating back so far and it really makes you wonder how they managed to build these icons so many years ago with all the fine detail. Big Ben is another ...so beautiful.

Posted by Brians RTW 12:16 Archived in England Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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