Monthly Archives: October 2012

Check Out My Travel Videos!

What have I been up to this glorious October week? Well…

I started to study… wait, what? Yeah, that’s right! I actually go to school!
I’ve realized that after all the vast amounts of trips that I have embarked on… I NEED TO GET TO WORK! The non-existing pile of schoolwork has grown into has grown into this grotesque heap of essays and readings. Ew.

Besides actually doing work, I’ve been planning my christmas vacations and various other travels, which I will be keeping a secret for now… That’s a secret I’ll never tell! x

ALSO! I’ve finally edited my videos for my youtube channel, in which I will upload “vlogs” of my travels and for my family and friends to see what I’m seeing, and for them to live vicariously through me, if they wanted too.

So, if you would like to check out my videos on where I am, and what I’m doing in London, Oktoberfest, and Scotland: Check out my channel here!

INTRO VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD4d5R5Ayz4
LONDON DAY 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJPtGRovY-0&feature=plcp
L
ONDON DAY 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15P3kW_Q4io&feature=youtu.be&a

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Categories: Blog, Canada, England, London, Travel Sights, United Kingdom, Vlogs, Youtube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Falling For Autumn ❤ Fall Music Playlist

It’s that time of year where all you want to do is go on nature walks, watch the leaves change colour and cozy up to a warm cup of pumpkin spice latte.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, it is indeed the Fall season.

This is a change of season like no other, and it is indeed, my most favourite time of the year.

A time for cool, crisp weather, the crunchy sounds and feelings of leaves between your hands and feet. Days like these call for a jog through the park or nature walks with your family, dogs, or friends.

Personally, along with the change of colours and weather, comes a change in musical tastes; a autumn playlist if you will.

You can listen to my Fall/Autumn mix here: http://8tracks.com/ryanthomaswoods/falling-into-autumn

Tracks Include: 

1901 – Pheonix

Change Of Seasons – Sweet Thing

We’re Going To Be Friends – The White Stripes

Little Lion Man – Mumford and Sons

Paradise – Coldplay

Young Folks – Peter Bjorn and John

Farewell To The Fairground – White Lies

The A Team – Ed Sheeran

Demons – Imagine Dragons

Charlie Brown – Coldplay

~

Whether it’s going for a walk, or chilling at home, this is my favourite playlist for the Fall season.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE SONG or SONGS FOR THE AUTUMN SEASON?

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF AUTUMN? 
Leave a comment below!

~Ryan

Categories: Autumn, Blog, England, Fall, Music, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Next Stop: York, England

Seeing as how the beautiful and historical town of York is only a 45 mins bus ride away, my fellow Austrailian friends and I decided to take a last minute trip up to see what York had to offer.

I’ll give you a little historical overview of the town York:

York is home to a very rich and historical heritage, as well as significant and beautiful buildings, churches, and the wall. Surrounding York is a large medieval wall that was used to protect the city, government and inhabitants from destruction and many wars. Depending on the season, areas within York will have large floods, and although it looks really interesting to see roads and buildings engrossed by water, the floods lead to transportation issues and closing of shops and pubs. Overall, York was a very beautiful city with lots to offer in terms of history, culture and beautiful sights.

After a comfortable and quick bus ride to York, my aussie friends and I decided to walk around the city and begin our tour to see all the main attractions of York: The Shambles, York Minster, The City Walls, Clifford’s Tower, York Brewery, and The Golden Fleece.

Our journey began with a visit to The Shambles, which I must saw, looks like a scene from the Harry Potter films; it honestly looks like Diagon Alley. My favourite part was called “Little Shambles” and was filled with little interesting shops selling children’s toys to traditional English sweets.

There were old cobble stone roads that surrounded The Shambles and run-down, crooked, wooden buildings that leaned over the alley. I was extremely tempted to pullout a wand and tap the bricks and waiting for the bricks to move, creating an entrance into the magical world of Harry Potter; I was so tempted… if only I hadn’t forgotten my wand at home. This place is a must see for those who visit York; especially fans of Harry Potter.

 

After a lovely walk through The Shambles and marketplace surrounding it, we ventured over to the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, which stands at the city’s centre: York Minster. The pictures below do not give the cathedral justice. York Minister was so big, that I couldn’t fit the whole thing in my camera to capture the beauty and entirety of the famous historical building. To go inside, it costed 16 pounds or so, and was highly recommended to go inside, as it is just as beautiful. However, I’m on a student budget for travelling expenses, so I didn’t go in; maybe another time. For now, I was just as amazed to see the exterior, as I probably would the interior.

  
Afterwards, we began our journey through the windy streets of York and explored the city by taking a look into the vast amounts of little shops and activities going on. We eventually came to the entrance to the City Walls; which was the coolest thing I’ve seen thus far in England. I find it fascinating that there are medieval walls still surrounding the city of York; not to mention the fact that you are able to walk on the city walls and literally circle around the city.


Every time I think of the walls, or see them, all I can think about is THE WALL from Game of Thrones. Back in the day, I’m sure the inhabitants would not want to leave the protection and safety within the wall or venture “North of the Wall”. The no dogs allowed on the city walls sign is also humourous to me, just as a result from references to Game of Thrones.

The walk around the City Walls was amazing, and the views of York were just gorgeous.

 

The Aussies and I decided to grab some food for lunch/dinner (or “tea” here) and ventured around the city some more for a good place to eat. We came across a pub called The Golden Fleece which was named the #1 Pub of the year, as well as a huge tourist attraction for it’s history and haunted stories. Apparently there are ghosts that inhabit the pub, and steal the menus and silverware (said the pub worker). The pub was really nice, and very dim lite. It definitely gave off the feel that it was haunted, but at the same time was a really cozy and interesting place to eat. The meals were somewhat pricey, but compared to other places, were extremely reasonable. The meals offered were humungous and extremely delicious. Therefore, the price was well worth it!

I had my very first English chicken pie; along side some chips and vegetables! It was extremely delicious and filling.
  

Once we finished our meals and relaxed for a good period of time, we ventured our way to Clifford’s Tower. This Tower is part of the York Castle, in which it was used as a prison and has an interesting history. The structure itself was so interesting to view as it sat on the top of a small hill.

  
Afterwards, we realized it was too late in the day to go anywhere else (there were a few more places I wanted to see in York, such as Castle Howard, but will have to wait for another day), so we decided to do what every British person does; have a pint at the local pub.

As we continued our journey through York to the bus station, I continued to admire the buildings, businesses, and interesting sights within the city walls. The city of York is one of my recommended places to visit while you are in England; it’s quite beautiful.

~Ryan

Categories: Autumn, Blog, England, Fall, Holidays, Seasons, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom, York | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Next Stop: Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

If I can only say one thing; it would be:
EXPERIENCE OKTOBERFEST AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFETIME.”

You can even quote me on that.

If you want to learn how to survive your first Oktoberfest experience in Germany, click here.

So you want to hear about all the crazy things that happen while I was in Munich, Germany for the weekend experiencing Oktoberfest?

Well… where do I begin.

DAY 1

After spending a marvellous couple of days in Edinburgh with my friend Savannah, we left Scotland behind and flew with Ryanair to Germany!
(If you want to know how I survived Ryanair – aka the cheapest airline company ever – click here)

We arrived in the afternoon an hour outside of Munich in a town called Memmingen. Basically, if you’re flying to Munich with Ryanair, you’ll end up here; in the middle of nowhere. We took the airport bus to the train station for 3 euros and took the one-hour train ride into Munich. I’ve come to realize that your only source of long-distance transportation in Germany are trains; don’t count on the cheap bus rides, as there aren’t any buses that will take you to far places. (Check out my blog on how to survive in Germany above).

As we hopped onto the train, all you can hear is the sudden noises of cans cracking open and the strong smell of german beer; not to mention men in lederhosens and women in busting, tight, coloured oktoberfest dresses. This became an enjoyable (yet extremely crowded) ride to Munich; especially with all the drunken singing.

We finally arrived in Munich (also spelt München) to a train station that was packed with people; conscious and unconscious. Oh the joys of Oktoberfest.
After a large amount of time spent trying to find a place with free wi-fi for me to use google maps for directions; we came to a complete dead-end. Night was starting to set and the nearest Starbucks didn’t have wi-fi (or at least maybe it didn’t work). We decided to get food from a grocery store, and then began a nightly search for a place with free wi-fi (My iPhone doesn’t work outside of the UK). Savannah and I ended up getting separated for some time with no way of contacting each other, and as I was about to give up on the search for her, I came across a wi-fi working Starbucks with her in it. Phew!

After getting correct directions to use the subway station (we weren’t sure if we should take the bus, train, subway, or tram once we got to Munich), we hoped on the subway and found our way to our accommodations late within the night. We were drained and didn’t want to leave the house once we finally found our way there. However, we realized that we hadn’t eaten dinner, so our hosts let us borrow their bikes, and we biked to the nearest restaurant to have our first German dinner; it was delicious.

We drove the bikes around the neighbourhood after dinner, and came to realize that we were actually in Germany. And realized that we were going to be at Oktoberfest. It was a very surreal moment as we biked through the neighbourhoods in the outskirts of Munich at night; it became a great evening once we were able to relax and enjoy the moment of where we were, and what we were going to experience this weekend.

DAY 2

Savannah and I decided to sleep in, as opposed to getting up at the crack of dawn for three reasons: 1) We were extremely tired from flying, traveling and all the added stress that came with it 2) We decided that we were going to spend half the day actually exploring the city of Munich and visiting all the tourist places as well as seeing all the must-see sights and 3) The guys that we were staying with all worked at Oktoberfest so we never had to wait in line to get into the beer tents. BAZINGA!!

The guys lent us there bikes again for the day, and told us exactly what we should see, experience and explore with our limited time in Munich. So, we began our journey by biking through Munich: WHO DOES THAT?! We do, and I’m so happy we were given the opportunity to bike through the beautiful city of Munich. If you can do it, then I would recommend it to anyone. It was the perfect way to see the city and all its beauty. The bike ride was about 40 mins (including traffic at the time, as well as the fact that we had limited knowledge to where we were going), but eventually, we reached our destination.

Oh! Did I even mentioned the weather? It was early October and it was 24°C and sunny. YEAH, SUMMER WEATHER (well at least for Canadians). I could not believe how beautiful the weather was, along with how beautiful the city was during the autumn season. I don’t know if I can express how much of an amazing feeling it was to ride freely through the summer weather, yet colourful autumn setting that had fallen upon the city of Munich that beautiful october morning.

We reached our first destination, which was the spectacular and gorgeous building located in what is called: Marienplatz; which is basically the central square in the city centre of Munich. I would recommend that this be your first place to visit if you come to Munich; it’s beautiful.
🙂

 


After seeing the historical buildings around marienplatz,such as city hall, and walk around a little, our next stop on our self-served tour guide was a really interesting farmers market called Viktualienmarkt. There was lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and baked goods available to buy, as well as Oktoberfest-themed foods, beverages and souvenirs!

We ventured back towards Marienplatz and waited in line outside the Saint Peter Church (or SanktPeter or Alter Peter; it has a bunch of names). Basically, you pay 1 euro and you have access to climb to the very top of this church, and the view from the top is UNBELIEVABLE. On a clear day like it was that day, you can actually see The Alps. The view of the city was spectacular. If you don’t believe me, just see for yourself. Hopefully my pictures do it some justice.

 

After the 306 steps up to the top, and 306 back down to the bottom, Savannah and I walked further away from city centre to another city square called Odeonsplatz. It was named after a former concert hall and was now home to a very musical scene. There was a music festival/show going on for local musicians and bands. The buildings surrounding the square were very stunning.

After making a few stops to grab food, visit the Munich apple store, and see a few more buildings, we eventually followed the crowd of drunken lederhosen-wearing people towards Oktoberfest. If you don’t know what Oktoberfest is, it’s basically a 16-day festival during late September to the first week of October, in which the germans celebrate an amazing invention: beer.

With such beautiful summer weather on the second last day of the festival, Oktoberfest was packed! I swear, there were millions of people; sober, half-sober and wasted. It was a glorious sight to have witnessed. With my surprise, there wasn’t just beer tents and beer gardens; there were amusement park rides, games, and so much more! It was literally like a huge amusement park! There were children, babies, elderly people, and just people of all different ages and ethnicity’s. (Not to mention little babies in lederhosen’s, which were the most adorable things ever).

We made it to our first beer tent by about 4:30pm and didn’t have to wait in line because the guys we were staying with worked in the beer gardens. The name of our tent was Bräurosl, where they served HackerPschorr beer; and boy was it good. I’m not the biggest fan of most beers, but this beer was so smooth and tasted so pure; you could almost drink it like it was water, it was that good. Not to mention the fact that the Oktoberfest beer is 2% stronger in alcohol than normal beer percentages and served in 1 litre beer mugs called steins. In addition, 1 litre of beer is equivalent to 3 normal sized cans/bottles of beer. Each beer went for about 9.40 euros, but you usually gave a 10 euro bill as you wanted to tip the people well so that they serve you again. 


In our surrounding table, we met some italians and turkish people, as well as became good friends with some germans! We spent the whole evening with them, talking, drinking and teaching us more about Oktoberfest, Munich and the german language. It was a great evening and I limited myself to only 2 Litres of Oktoberfest beer (2 steins) as I forgot that we would have to bike home in the pitch black through the unfamiliar streets of Munich. That was a journey and a half. We eventually made it home and found the buzzed ride home enjoyable and extremely relaxing; again, it was feeling like a wonderful summer’s night.

 

DAY 3

We woke up at a decent time and found that the beautiful, sunny, warm weather had vanished, and sudden, cold, rainy, october weather had taken its place instead. Savannah and I were not going to let the weather rain down our parade… I mean… festive activities.

 
We took the train into Munich and arrived at Oktoberfest before noon. The crowd wasn’t as packed as yesterday (thanks weather), and seeing as how it was the last day of Oktoberfest, the atmosphere felt more relaxed and mellow. Savannah and I decided to pick up a few souvenirs now, before the beer took control of us and could have potentially forgot about getting some; fair enough.

Afterwards, we decided to venture into our first beer tent of the day, which was called Hofbrau Festzelt. The beer was average, but the tent was much more lively and crowded with so many international people. We met some really nice Italians that didn’t know barely any English, and saw an old german man finish his 10th stein of beer of the day (and it was noon). I had much respect for that old man.
Cheers to the drunken old german man!

 Making our rounds, we came across some really cool Brits, who at first kept calling us Americans, even though you told them numerous times that we were Canadian. One guy said that Canada was apart of America and that he had been teaching geography for 10 years. They were pulling our legs hardcore but Savannah and I were starting to get aggravated because we thought they weren’t joking. They were completely pulling our legs and we came to realize how nice and funny they actually were. They told us that they were all part of a group for one of the guys’ bachelor party. If I ever get married, I want my bachelor party at Oktoberfest; hands down. We also met a South Korean, who pretended he was from South Korea, but was actually from Austria, and a professional chef; he was also very funny and nice. There were just so many genuinely nice people at Oktoberfest & everyone was just there for a good time.


After a good amount of time in the Hofbrau Festzelt beer tent, Savannah wanted to go on the Ferris wheel; I did not. As a waited for Savannah to go on her ride, I sat there and just watched the people; watched how much joy and laughter this one festival brought to everyone. It was a very surreal moment. I was also laughing  consistently over all the drunken people falling, tripping, and making complete fools of themselves; it was a grand ole time!

As the evening began to approach, Savannah and I decided to go back to our favourite tent that we had gone to the very first night. The atmosphere was incredible and the beer was fantastic. We ordered a chicken dinner, which I highly recommend when you go to Oktoberfest. It’s a tad expensive, but completely worth it. It was the juiciest, freshest, and most delicious chicken I have ever had (sorry mom)!

 After a few more litres of beer, a giant pretzel and some crazy table dancing, the night was coming to an end. At the end of the very last night of Oktoberfest, there is something that happens in the tents that is one of the most magical and awe-inspiring moments I have ever witnessed. Basically, they shut off all the lights in the tent, and every person is given a light, and as a trumpet plays this happy and majestic tune, thousands and thousands of people raise there hands with these lights and sway back and forth. It was almost like being at your favourite rock concert, except better, because it was Oktoberfest.


Of course, the night wouldn’t have been complete without everyone coming together, singing and drinking to the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” Savannah and I spent that whole evening with an amazing german couple who lived in Munich. They were a happy, and loving married couple that were a joy to have around, talk with, and share such a remarkable night with.

If only I could have frozen time and stayed there for a little bit longer; it was an amazing experience and highly believe that everyone should at least experience once in their lifetime.


Sleep deprivation, cuts from broken beer glass and moments of feeling infinite; Oktoberfest was a moment I’ll never forget. Good beer, great friends and an experience to cross off my bucket list! Couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

~Ryan

P.s. Also check out Savannah’s blog for her experience & photos of Oktoberfest here.

Categories: Blog, Flights, Germany, Munich, Oktoberfest, Ryanair, Survival Guide, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How To Survive Oktoberfest In Germany

Tip #1 – Wear checkered shirts if you want to blend in.
A checkered shirt of any colour! The majority of the men wear them with the traditional lederhosens, and the woman wear checked pattern shirts/dresses at Oktoberfest. Don’t buy any traditional Oktoberfest outfits unless you plan to come back again, regularly, or have the cash to afford them; they’re quite expensive to wear for a weekend.

Tip #2 – If you visit the city centre of Munich, you need to visit Old Peter Church!
You have to pay 1 euro to go up to the very top of the church tower and you can have an entire view of Munich! As well as the Alps on a beautiful day that we were lucky to have! It was so worth the 310 steps we had to climb to get to the top! Magnificent view!


Tip #3 – Most of the streets in Munich end with StraBe and instead of pronouncing B, you actually pronounce the s sounds.
The B is actually a “double s”! This is useful if you are trying to look for a street and ask a local where “HofbrunnstraBe” street by replacing the B sound with a double S sound; they may look at you funny or look confused when you ask them where Hofbrunnstrabe is and not Hofbrunnstrasse (speaks with fake German accent).

Tip #4 – If you get the opportunity to ride bikes through Munich, do it!
Munich is one of the few cities in Germany that have created bicycle paths within the city limits, so you don’t have to worry about getting hit my cars; most of the time! Riding through the city is beautiful and an amazing opportunity to see the city.


Tip #5 – Maybe I have just gotten use to driving on the left side of the road, but I was surprised to see that the vehicles drive on the right side of the road, as they do in North America. I think I just assumed that the rest of Europe drives on the left side of the road; but they don’t. So that’s a good tidbit of information.

Tip #6 –
If you don’t like the taste of beer, then order a drink called a Radler.
Basically, its beer and lemonade mixed together, and it tastes extremely good. Typically, its designated for woman who don’t like the taste of beer, and can tolerate it with the mixture of lemonade. I’m being honest when I say that it tastes good; so don’t NOT go to Oktoberfest because you don’t like beer; they have other options, often tastier ones.

Tip #7 – It’s extremely useful if you know some of the German language seeing as how most things are in German and not English. You would think that a vast amount of things would be in English, but it isn’t.

Tip #8 – If you get lost, or need help find places, ask younger individuals; as opposed to elderly people, even if they look like they can be of help.
Most older people who I came across didn’t know an ounce of English, nor were they nice enough to help English folk out. Avoid old people and ask for help from people your age.


Tip #9 – In terms of Transportation, Ryanair seems to be the cheapest way of flying to Munich, Germany (outskirts, remember), and taking the train into the city centre. My ticket from Edinburgh, Scotland to Munich, germany (including round-trip) was £100 and it was a last-minute trip. *Ryanair is not sponsoring me in any way; this is my personal opinion on saving money. From the airport to the train station, use the website for the Germany train system (http://www.bahn.de/) and take a train into Munich. This seems to be the cheapest way into Munich.

 

In terms of cheap accommodations and without using hostels, or couch-surfing, I would recommend using Airbnb to find a place to stay the night. Great customer service and excellent prices.

Tip #10 – Other places in Munich to visit include: Marienplatz, Alter Peter, Odeonsplatz, Old Town hall, Viktualienmarket and basically exploring the rest of the area around these beautiful locations. However, the highlight of the trip should revolve around Oktoberfest.

P.s. Although it’s called Oktoberfest, the festival actually begins in Late September and ends the first week of October.

~Ryan


Check out my other blogs here:

Next Stop: OKTOBERFEST in Munich, Germany

How I Survived Ryanair

Next Stop: EDINBURGH, Scotland

Categories: Blog, Germany, Munich, Oktoberfest, Survival Guide, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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