Autumn

Next Stop: Paris, France

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On the third night that Joey was in Leeds, we were sitting in my room, and I went over my bucket list. When I reached the bottom of the list (#33), I turned to Joey and I said: “Wanna go somewhere? Like fly to a different city?” and he said, “Let’s do it”.

I pulled out a world map on my Ipad and randomly picked a spot… it was the Atlantic Ocean. And so, since I didn’t feel like swimming in late November, I randomly picked another spot. PARIS IT WAS! WE booked our tickets, accommodations and other means of transportation 36 hours before our flight from Liverpool departed. I’d call that a spontaneous trip (crosses #33 off bucket list).

Journée 1

We arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport after flying with Easyjet from Liverpool. We arrived around 8:30pm. We took the metro (RER A) from the airport straight to our accommodations. Again, I strongly recommend travellers who are looking for cheap places to sleep to check out Airbnb.com! Joey and I stayed with this lovely Parisian couple who were renting out there futon for a really cheap price (compared to the rest of Paris). They provided us a map of Paris, showed us all the touristy places, and their  own personal recommendations. They lived in a very old-styled Parisian flat that had a key that was similar to the key in Hugo. Because it was so late at night, Joey and I crashed the first night in Paris.

Journée 2

Bonjour mon ami(e)! Ca va? Je suis tres bon!

Joey and I woke up to the restless streets of Paris around 8am and decided to begin our day with a trip to le Supermarche (the supermarket). We bought some food for breakfast as well as snacks and drinks for the day trip to the busiest parts of Paris. The only noteworthy thing that happened at the store was when Joey paid for his food. He gave the cashier a 10 pound note, instead of 10 euro note. He got so confused when she stared at him blankly, and returned his money with a “non”. Confused on the situation, I told Joey he gave her a British note, and that the currency is Euros here. It was his first blonde moment of the trip (among many, sadly). I couldn’t help but laugh and make fun of him for the rest of the trip.
I’m cruel like that.

Instead of taking the metro into the city, we decided to walk the entire way there (2 hours), and take a few detours along the way, including a stop at Starbucks. STARBUCKS IS SO EXPENSIVE IN PARIS. It’s probably the only spot with the most expensive drinks. Beware.

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Jardin des Tuileries
was the first place we visited. It’s an enclosed garden and holds the Musee de Louvre! It was pretty spectacular and was one the way to the Eiffel Tower: the main thing we wanted to see that day. As soon as we saw it through the trees and past the buildings, we got really excited and couldn’t wait to see it upfront!

And BAM! There she was…

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Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time was phenomenal! The whole time we were in Paris was mainly cloudy, but the one hour we were in front of the Eiffel tower, the sky cleared up and the lighting was absolutely beautiful. We were insanely lucky. After taking photos and video in front of the Eiffel Tour, Joey and I decided to climb the Eiffel Tower… it was on my silly bucket list. I pretty much had a heart attack, and Joey died halfway up. You had to pay extra to use the escalator and wait for a good hour to get to the very top of the Eiffel tower, and I just didn’t have the patience (or money) to wait in line… The view was probably the same; amazing.

After seeing the beauty that is the Eiffel Tower, Joey and I wandered around Paris for a few hours before night fell. We came across the Christmas Market and spent most the day walking along the Seine River. We made our way to L’Arc de Triomphe and walked along the shopping strip. Everything was all lite up for Christmas and really put you in the Christmas spirit.

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Journée 3

We began our morning with a walk through Pere Lachaise Cemetery where there were thousand and thousands of graves and monuments dedicated to very influential, successful and historical individuals… such a great start to the day! The cemetery was very beautiful and extremely old. The paths were all cobble stone, and you could walk for hours, not to mention get lost in the maze of dead bodies.

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After the cemetery, we took the metro to Funiculaire de Montmartre to see an extremely beautiful basilica as well as an even more beautiful view of Paris. Although it was an amazing place to visit, I had a really bad experience. I was approached by a guy that pretty much grabbed my hand and started making a bracelet, even though I told him i didn’t want one, nor did I have money. He continued to make the bracelet and then asked that I give him a payment. I told him I didn’t have any change, and he said that if I had a bill, he would give me change back. I gave him 5 euros, and gave me no change back. He then asked that I make a second payment to his boss that was watching both of us from afar. I had no other bills on me, and eventually found 2 euro coin… this dumb little bracelet cost me 7 euros… and I now I have it on my desk staring at me… It makes me angry every time I see it. No matter how rude it is, next time someone approaches me trying to sell me something, I will ignore them and walk away from them.
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Next stop on our things to see was Notre Dame! Joey was saddened when I told him that there is no actual hunchback that lives at the Notre Dame.
Near the entrance to the cathedral was an old man waving his hand in the air with about 25 tiny birds following his hand. He was giving people food and showed them how to get the birds to follow your hand. It looked so magical with 25 little birds moving with this old man’s arm waving back and forth.

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Inside the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris was spectacular. The architecture, paintings and feel of the cathédrale was absolutely exquisite. We both lit a candle for a our grandmothers and made a donation. To make matters funny, they had lots of signs that said “Silence” and “No flash” said in various languages. What was most humourous was the fact that they had separate large signs in chinese or japanese around the church that said “No Flash” with a picture of a crossed out flashing camera. Clearly they had to emphasize and get a message across to a certain cultural group of people.

IMG_3638We ended our second day in Paris by going to the first museum I wanted to go to while in Paris: Musee D’Orsay. They had an exhibition on impression (one of my favourite types of artwork), and fashion (something Joey would like). It was nice to try out my art history skills after a year of studying the subject in first year of uni. I was a little rusty at first, but eventually could have given a guided tour and take about the works of art, especially impressionism. The last painting that I saw in D’Orsay was Whistler’s Mother. Although it shouldn’t have, it reminded me of the Mr. Bean movie that I used to watch a lot when I was younger. It was so cool seeing the actual painting in person. Not many people have the same opportunities as me, and this makes me thankful of the amazing opportunities that I have been given.

Journée 4

Basically, we slept in and Paris decided to be very rainy. Bad Paris.

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Due to the late start and rainy afternoon, we decided to spend the entire day in the Musee de Louvre. This was a dream on true for me, seeing as how I could spend an entire day in an art museum, especially one that had an amazing Raphael exhibition, and showcases one of the most famous paintings: The Mona Lisa. The Musee de Louvre was also located beside a shopping centre which was all decked out in Christmas spirit.

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OH hai there Mona. It was nice to have met you. Although, I must say, you’re tres petite! (The painting is very small)

Musee de Louvre is now my absolute favourite museum in the world. I absolutely fell in love with it (not the price tho…)
Loved the Raphael exhibition, loved seeing the Mona Lisa, and loved how humongous it was. You could literally spend the entire day in there and still not see everything. We did end up spending the rest of the day there as well as portion of the night. After getting a quick sinner with another Canadian guy that we met at Musee de Louvre (I ALWAYS FIND OTHER CANADIANS; No matter where). After we went our separate ways, Joey and I decided to walk around Paris, at night, in the rain. So romantic…

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Journée 5

Being the last day in Paris (I know, so sad right?), I really want to splurge a little and drink coffee at a really fancy french cafe and read my art history novel. Because I’m classy like that. One of my good friends recommended that I check out Angelina’s Cafe, and so, on our way to the airport, we made a pit stop and enjoyed a delicious (and classy) lunch at Angelina’s.
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Yes, I actually did read my art history novel while chilling in a fancy french cafe with delicious sandwiches and croissants available.

This is the life.
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On our way to the metro station to catch our plane, walked through the Jardin de Tuileries and crossed the “love lock” bridge. This bridge was literally filled with thousands of love locks! Each lock had two names or initials of the people who locked their love for eternity and threw the key into the Seine River. Afterwards, we said our last good-byes to the Eiffel Tower and travelled to the Ryanair airport which was an hour outside of Paris. It’s much easier to fly with EasyJet if you are planning to come to Paris!

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In the end, this spontaneous trip to Paris (which wasn’t even that expensive seeing as how we booked 32 hours beforehand) turned out to be an amazing weekend with my best friend joey. We had such an amazing time staying with the lovely Parisian couple and we both fell in love with Paris. It makes my top 3 favourite places in the world.
Can I live here? Pretty please?

Til my next adventure, stay classy folks!

~Ryan

Follow me and my travels on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanthomaswoods

Check out my Youtube videos on Paris: http://www.youtube.com/user/BorderlineForFools

Article: 10 Things to Do and See in Paris, France

Any comments or questions, please leave a message above! If you have any other suggestions of places you highly recommend in Paris, then leave a comment below!

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Categories: Autumn, Blog, Easyjet, Edinburgh, England, Fall, Flights, France, Glasgow, Liverpool, Night Life, Paris, Ryanair, Scotland, Seasons, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lincoln, England – Things To See And Do In Lincoln

332715_10152460692440032_627498020_o Last week I got the oppourtunity to go on a day trip to the historical and quaint town of Lincoln, located in Lincolnshire in England.

My Top Five Favourite Things To Do and See in Lincoln ==========================================================

1) Steep Hill 289715_10152460696330032_2076567264_o READY FOR SOME EXERCISE? Good! Because that is indeed what you will get by walking up this well-known hill! Named after it’s steepness, this hill contains a variety of little shops selling a variety of used books, homemade chocolates and sweets, as well as restaurants! Steep hill is a lovely old street that is easier going down it, then up it! However, to get to the Lincoln Cathedral and Castle, one of the ways is to go up Steep Hill (or take the bus up… but that’s a secret I’ll never tell).

2) Lincoln Castle One of my favourite sights, and the place where I spent most of my day was the very beautiful and historic Lincoln Castle. The castle is also steeped in history and is located straight across from the cathedral. It’s around £4 for students to enter and £6 for adults and the pass is good all day. Within the castle walls, they have a beautiful court building which is still being used today, as well as the Lincoln prison! Not only can you walk along the historical castle walls and get amazing photos of the Cathedral and the town of Lincoln in general, but you can also get a free guided tour of the castle that was extremely informative of the castle and of Lincoln in general. One of the castle’s largest attractions would be the exhibition where one of the four remaining Magna Carta’s resides. It was really interesting to learn about the Magna Carta and the history surrounding the important document, and not to mention, actually seeing it! The Castle was one of my favourite places to visit in Lincoln and I highly recommend it! 798192_10152460691455032_1648737385_o 3) Lincoln Cathedral of St. Mary Standing on top of Steep hill stands the magnificent and well-constructed cathedral of Lincoln. This is a must-see when visiting Lincoln as the inside (as well as outside) is carved in enormous amount of detail. The rose windows and stained-glass is also a beautiful sight to see. You get to see the majority of the cathedral, however, you unfortunately have to pay to see the front alter, choir and chapels, however, you can attend a service and avoid paying the 6 pound price. The cathedral is very atmospheric, and darkening. This cathedral is steeped in history and have been told it’s well worth paying for the audio guide. 287066_10152460696340032_2081610415_o 553021_10152460691860032_1657876103_n4) Museum of Lincolnshire Life As explained by a few locals and highly recommended by others, this museum located next to the Ellis Mill, and in the close proximity of the Cathedral and Castle, is a gem for vistors! In addition to it’s very historic and informative journey of the Lincolnshire life, it also comes at a cheap price of FREE. Yes, that’s right. Free museums are the best, especially if you have a family and have to pay those often ridiculous museum prices! ~Beware that the museum is closed on Sundays.

5) Ellis Windmill Located behind the Museum of Lincolnshire Life is Ellis Windmill! Dated back since 1798, this unique windmill is still in full working order and ran by a group of devoted volunteers! It’s a sight to see, especially since this was the first historic windmill I have seen in England.

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Honourable Mentions To Do and See in Lincoln

The Usher Gallery

Medieval Bishop Palace

Jews’ House and Jews’ Court

Brayford Waterfront

Royal Air Force Museum

Do you ever plan on visiting Lincoln or have you already been there? If so, what was your favourite part of Lincoln? Any recommendations for future travellers?

Categories: Autumn, Blog, England, Fall, Holidays, Lincoln, Seasons, Spring, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home Away From Home: Perth, Scotland

One of the main reason why I came to visit the city of Perth was mainly due to the fact that I wanted to send a postcard of Perth, from Perth, Scotland to Perth, Ontario, Canada; where I usually live. I thought it would be humourous to do so.

Like my little town, the city Perth in Scotland is quite small, with not much to do or see. Apparently the city recently became somewhat of a tourist attraction once Perth become Scotland’s seventh city after winning a UK competition marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It wasn’t actually a “city” until this year, even though the Scottish people named the town “the city of Perth” in spite of its previous status omission.

The city is small and contains many interesting little shops, but instead of shopping, my friend Ian and I spent our day hiking and nature walking up Kinnoull Hill. We went with a tour guide for the day who lead us up this adventurous summit. If you are ever in Glasgow, check out this guy’s tours; he was one of the best tour guides that I’ve ever had.

 

As the season changes to autumn, I was lucky to have spent the day in Scotland without rain. The weather was gorgeous, and the changing colours of nature were awe-inspiring. Fall is my absolute favourite time of the year, and to go on a nature walk that reminded me of being back home in Canada was exactly what I needed. The air was crisp and cool, the falling leaves and calming sounds of nature led me to be in a very euphoric mood.

The weirdness of this tree was fascinating to me.

 

The nature walk and hike up to the summit of Kinnoull Hill was relaxing and a workout at the same time. The view from the top was just phenomenal though. Why is it that the view from the tops of mountains/hills are always the best views in the world? I need to become a professional hiker/mountaineer, as opposed to amateur blogger and film-maker.

I was really happy I got to spend the day with my friend Ian who is another Queens University film and media student (such as myself), and had Gary as our awesome and humorous  tour guide; he makes my top fav 5 Scottish people I know.

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All in all, I had an amazing Saturday afternoon enjoying the autumn weather by hiking up a Scottish hill. Perth was my home away from home, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Check out the rest of my weekend in Scotland here

Check out my Autumn/Fall Music Playlist here

Categories: Autumn, Blog, Fall, Scotland, Seasons, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

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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

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