Posts Tagged With: travel

Visiting the Canadian Battlefields of Vimy Ridge in France

Monument de VimyLocated just over 10km from Arras in France, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial (monument et parc commémoratifs du canada à vimy) is a MUST SEE for someone of any nationality to visit to get an insight on a significant part of Canadian history.

The 250 acres of land where the Canadian National Vimy Memorial resides constitutes as a memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian soldiers and other military forces killed during the First World War. The land was not only given to Canada by France, but it was earned after an excruciating and disadvantaged battle against the Germans. Thus, it is interesting to point out that once you enter the grounds of the Vimy Monument and Park in France, you are actually on Canadian soil. In my case, it was a[boot] time I set foot on Canadian grounds again. Even though I was still in beautiful France.

Canadian Trees
914181_10152742665445032_22136078_oThe Battlefields of Vimy Ridge are extremely well-perserved with modifications made for safety reasons, and unforgettably beautiful. Thousands and thousands of beautiful Canadian trees (all 11,285 of them) surround the area that was once blown out of proportion [one may say], with all the dugged up trenches and giant craters caused by explosives. Once an unbearable and toxic area, the battlefields are now filled with copious amounts of awe-inspiring trees, bright green grass, and well-preserved trenches. Not only does the area create a Canadian environment, but the staff who provide information, tours, and assistance are all Canadians as well. This is a special element to the trip, as it really makes you feel at home, or at least gives you a feel of Canada if you’ve never been.
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From going on a historical and informative guided tour of the trenches and grounds, to visiting the extravagant
Vimy Memorial that stands erected at Hill 145 (the highest point of Vimy Ridge), this is one historical sight that can’t be missed when touring around France. 
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is one of Canada’s most important overseas war memorials.
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One can learn so much about Canadian history, and even Canadian identity, just from a visit to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial near Arras, France. Therefore, I encourage any traveller who is visiting France, who has a Canadian relative  or who is a history fanatic, to visit the Canadian battlegrounds of Vimy Ridge.
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It’s worth the visit, especially since it’s extremely beautiful, informative, awe-inspiring, fun, free, and did I mention FREE? All paid by the Canadian government, the grounds and staff costs are all funded by the Canadian government and even provides free access to toilets (unlike anywhere else in France).
If you’ve never heard of the Battle of Vimy Ridge / need a refresher, here is a summary from an online:
“The First World War is known for its destruction, massive slaughters, and countless offensive failures. Few battles were clear successes; most became large scale chaos and butchery. The first real Allied  success was the battle of Vimy Ridge, fought by Canadian troops with British support. Between the years of 1914 & 1915, the French lost 150,000 men trying to take the ridge. In 1916 the British took over the fight and continued the ineffective tactics of repeated shelling, mining, raiding, and skirmishing by night. In 1917,  the Canadian Corp, under the First British Army, began to formulate plans for taking the ridge from Germany. The element of surprise was effectively used in conjunction with careful planning by the Canadians. Four divisions of the Canadian Corps began their assault on Vimy Ridge on April 9th, 1917. Usually artillery would pound enemy lines for days or even weeks before troops would be sent “over the top” or out of the trenches to attack the enemy soldiers. Canadian gunners used wind information, provided by weather planes and balloons, when targeting (a very rare practice at the time). They wanted to be sure not to accidentally drop shells on their own people so they carefully calibrated the guns to shoot just ahead of where the advancing troops were to be. This exceptional cover fire allowed the Canadian troops to reach the German trenches, though many casualties were sustained. By using innovative strategies, Canadians took the ridge on April 14. The 6 mile area, containing numerous trenches and tunnels,  was very important for tactical reasons; one could see far into the German area from the top of the ridge. Of the 100,000 Canadians who took part in the battle, 3,598 were killed and 7,004 wounded. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a success while  showing that careful and intelligent military planning could be used to win battles with minimum casualties.”
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As the anniversary of this historical battle was in the month of April, I was extremely lucky to visit the battlefields of Vimy Ridge at this time with my family while visiting Paris.

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HOW TO GET THERE?

We took the train (TGV) from Gare de Nord in Paris in the morning and arrived in Arras in less then an hour. The total cost roundtrip can cost less then 40 euros if booked ahead of time. Once we got to Arras, it is suggested that you take a taxi to the Vimy Memorial site as there are no bus services and walking there could take hours. The number I used to call a taxi was (06 69 34 74 75) and costed roughly 25 euros each way, but we split this cost 3 ways, since there was 3 of us. In some cases, it may just be easier to drive to the Arras from Paris and follow the road signs to the Vimy Memorial. If you haven’t seen a red Canadian maple leaf symbol, then you’ve gone to far. The area closes at 5pm, so make sure you give yourself a few hours to take a guided tour of the grounds and a visit to the beautifully designed Vimy Memorial that took 11 years to build.

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Again, the Vimy Ridge Memorial grounds and Monument in France is a must see historical war sight that can’t be missed when visiting and traveling around France!
 
Have you visited Vimy or do you plan to visit?
What did you think of the historical WWI sight?
Leave a comment down below!
Categories: Arras, Autumn, Blog, Canada, Fall, France, Holidays, Seasons, Spring, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, Vimy Ridge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Stop: Liverpool, England

With a love for The Beatles and spark of interest to visit such a historical city, I was finally able to cross Liverpool (or “Liverpewl”) off my Places To Go list.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning when my friend Caroline and I arrived in Liverpool. We didn’t go with a tour company and had all the free time to do whatever and go wherever we wanted.

Because it was so sunny and beautiful that morning and didn’t know what the weather would be like later on, we decided to journey to Albert Dock, which is one of the most touristy places in Liverpool; mainly because of the shear beauty of the docks, but also due to the fact that the Beatles museum  as well as other museums that are located in the vicinity.

   

Albert Dock was the first place I visited and the last place I visited; it was my most favourite place about Liverpool. It was so incredibly beautiful and full of history. They had the Beatles Story Exhibition, the Tate Liverpool, International Slavery museum, and so many restaurants, shops and cafes. They even had a Yellow Submarine at the docks; if only I had gotten a chance to ride on it.

After a beautiful morning at Albert Dock, Caroline and I decided to venture into the heart of the city and see the three main cathedrals and churches that were of immense significance and beauty. We travelled through Chinatown to get to our first cathedral on our list: The Liverpool Cathedral.

  

Words can not express how beautiful this cathedral was, and most important, how huge it was. This Anglican Cathedral Liverpool of is the largest in the United Kingdom and the fifth largest in the world.

The exterior was just as beautiful as the interior; except this cathedral was free to see the inside, which makes things much more epic! The inside was awe-inspiring and even just the staircases reminded me how beautiful architecture is (and this was all because of a staircase). The photo to the left just reminded me of a scene from Harry Potter within Hogwarts. I wonder if these staircases move? Probably not. They were still magical to see none-the-less.

I rarely go to church, but I would most definitely go to a service if it was held in this magnificent cathedral.

   

Our next stop consisted of this run-down Church called St. Luke’s. It was located on the top of Bold Street and was significantly destroyed from bombing during the 1940’s. It is commonly now known as “the bombed-out church” and is quite interesting to see.

As we ventured through Bold street, which is known for there vintage shops and cafes, and finally came to the third and final church on our list: the Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral.

This cathedral looks like a bloody spaceship. It was actually really interesting to see and to take a look inside. I felt like I was in space or at least in a futuristic setting.

What I liked most about all three of these churches was the fact that they were all free to see and go inside; those are my favourite types of churches.

Caroline and I began to walk towards Mathew Street where The Cavern was located. The Cavern was where the Beatles first performed at a club during the 1960’s, and is now a huge tourist attraction.

      
After we hung out with The Beatles, we journeyed through the more industrial and busy area of Liverpool until we came to the World Museum. This was the start to journey of seeing all the museums in Liverpool.

Seeing as how time was limited, we decided to only go into two of the three museums on our list. The World Museum was not one of the two we really wanted to see.

Instead, we made our way back to Albert Dock to see the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Inside this museum, the had free entry to see the Titanic exhibition, as well as entry to the International Slavery Museum.

  Both the Titanic exhibition and Slavery museum were extremely interesting and knowledgeful. Both the history of the Titanic, as well as the history of Slavery interest me in a mixture of ways, and I learned a lot from both exhibitions.

After viewing the two exhibitions, we decided to head to Liverpool One, to see what it was all about. Basically, Liverpool One is like a giant shopping mall, except that its outside. You can climb this giant hill to reach the top floor of the shopping centre, and when you look below, you feel like your in an indoor shopping mall, but you’re not. It was really interesting to see, and there were lots of interesting and fashionable shops.

We realized that we had a few more hours left and decided to go to the Tate Liverpool. They had a Monet exhibition going on, but it costed a large amount of money to see it, and since I’ve already seen a lot of Monet paintings, I decided not to go. Instead, we were able to view some works of art on 2 floors of the Tate museum (because it was free). The works of art on these two floors were very contemporary and fairly odd pieces of art work; interesting, but questionable. I wasn’t as pleased by the art works offered at this museum compared to most of the free museums I visit, however, when I came to the last piece of artwork available, I was completely satisfied. They had one of the most recognizable, controversial and questionable pieces of art that really questioned “What Is Art? Who defines what is it?”: Fountain 1917 by Marcel Duchamp. I flipped when I saw this in the Museaum… but under close inspection, I realized that it couldn’t have been the real thing. Then I looked at the description block available on the wall, it backed up my hypothesis; a replica. Dang.

  

We spent the rest of our evening getting some Subway for dinner (YOLO!) and walking around the city and docks some more before we head to catch our ride back home to Leeds.


The sights and sounds of Liverpool were very beautiful and interesting. Even though Albert Dock was probably my most favourite thing about the city, I’m unsure whether I would have another reason to go back; it seems that Liverpool is just one of those cities that you only see once in your life and probably never go back. For me, it was missing that wow! factor…

I loved the churches, and found the museums very interesting, and would recommend the places I visited to those who have a desire to visit Liverpool. The air rings with Beatles music wherever you go, and if you get to visit Liverpool on a beautiful, sunny day; then you’re in luck.

~Ryan

Categories: Blog, England, Liverpool, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Stop: Glasgow, Scotland

Go to Scotland, they said, They speak English, they said. 
You’ll understand the locals, they said. 
~ True Words from my wonderful friend Charlotte.

          
Why hello there Scawtland… we meet again! (Click here for last trip to Scotland)

This time, I decided to visit my wonderful Queens friends Charlotte, Ian and Jennie, who are all currently on exchange and attend the University of Glasgow.

Because I only have classes Monday and Tuesday, I decided to book a train ticket to Glasgow for Wednesday, and return back to Leeds on the Monday (for my class, urgh).

This 5-day weekend was AH-MAZING.

The first day I was there, Charlotte showed me around the city center (which looks very similar to Leeds) and I finally got a picture with a tardis! If you don’t know what a tardis is… well… google it. It’s something pretty awesome from a pretty awesome British television show, Doctor Who.

The rest of the night was spent meeting Charlotte’s classmates and catching up on our personal life stories. So much has happened in two months; it’s cray cray.

The following morning, or should say.. afternoon, was spent sleeping in til 2pm (I was sleep deprived mmkay?) and meeting up with Charlotte to go for lunch, and meeting up with her friend Naomi from the previous night. All we did was discuss films, and show our films to each other. We had a very film-ie afternoon and it made me extremely happy. My life is lacking in filmic aspects, and exceeding with traveling.

Charlotte and I then met up with her friend Johan, who is swedish, and his friends who came to visit him from Sweden: Kim, Sofia and Jimmy. They had very swedish names, and so this was their english names. I had no idea that these four people would later become really good friends.

We all went to Ketchup for dinner. Ketchup is this really great burger place, but with awful ketchup; suriously. It doesn’t make sense, but it honestly tastes abnormal. After eating at Ketchup, The two Canadians and Four Swedish Berries (as I called them all weekend) all went out for drinks at a few different pubs and bars. It turned into an amazing night where I got to get to know a lot of people, especially my new swedish friends 🙂

The next day/night, we woke up insanely late, ate dinner and went out to a club in downtown Glasgow. Charlotte and I were clearly extremely productive that day/night (sarcasm). Oh, Charlotte did read a passage from “Fifty Shades of Grey” while at Tesco. HA!

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I spent my saturday with my Queen’s friend Ian in the beautiful hills of Perth, Scotland. This city was my home away from home, as I generally live in Perth, Canada. Check out my adventure and beautiful hike up a summit in the 7th city of Scotland!

I spent Saturday evening at another club where everyone was dressed up for Halloween (even though it was the 27th of October), so Charlotte decided to go as a sexy vampire, and I decided to go as a Hollister model (lolz). That evening turned out to be an amazing night in Glasgow; surely a night to remember. It was also the last night that my new swedish friends would be in Glasgow. I was super sad to them leave, although I’m really happy that I got to meet them and probably visit in the near future!

Hello Sweden! I’ll Be Seeing You Soon I’m Sure!

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Sunday was spent recovering from the night out, and a tea & biscuit (minus the biscuit) date with my other Queen’s friend Jennie! It was lovely seeing her since I haven’t seen her since the summer began. Too many awesome people in Glasgow; I need to visit more often (hint hint).

Charlotte is the biggest stalker I know.
“Oh I know exactly where the tour bus is located for every band that plays here” Love this girl.

Sunday night was spent going to see Owl City in concert. It was amazing! I’ve been waiting for many years to see Adam Young play live ever since I found him on Youtube years ago (before he became famous on the radio for his songs Fireflies & Good Time). We were also major creeps and chilled near his tour van before the concert, but that’s a secret I’ll never tell. Opps.

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Sadly, this was the end of my 5-night stay in Glasgow, Scotland, and although I didn’t get to actually see Glasgow and do all the touristy things, I was happy to just enjoy being in the company of good friends, new friends, and experience some fun-filled nights. I will definitely be seeing you soon Glasgow!


Check out my Youtube Channel For My Vlog of Being in Glasgow! 🙂

Categories: Fall, Glasgow, Liverpool, Night Life, Scotland, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Stop: Dublin, Ireland

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Ireland, here I come!

My Australian friend Freya and I arrived in Dublin early in the morning and began our day with a nice Irish breakfast in a cozy Irish pub. We then went on a “Free Tour of Dublin”, which is highly recommended for those who want a tour of Dublin and want to know the history behind the sites and monuments. Although it is technically a free guided tour, the guides earn their wages based on tips, so you can pay the amount you think the tour guide deserves.

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We visited the Dublin Castle, O’Connell street and O’Connell’s monument, as well as the “pointless thing” (which has many names and is literally a metal spire), city hall, Trinity College, a few parks within the City, and the most popular area of Dublin: Temple Bar.

For those travelers who don’t know what Temple Bar is, it is not actually a bar, but the area in which many amazing bars, pubs, restaurants and shops reside. There is an actual Temple Bar in the Temple Bar area, which most tourists go thinking that’s where the best pub is, Photo 08-12-2012 16 39 05however, I’d advise those to go to The Auld Dubliner or The Storehouse as recommended by a local.

After the free walking tour, we checked-in to our hostel (which was Paddy’s Palace), and had dinner. We ended getting together with Freya’s Aussie friend Jen, who is studying on exchange at Trinity College, and spending the rest of the night in a bar with a vast amount of Irish people and no tourists.The bar was called Flannery’s and I had a blast getting to know and dancing with the locals! I also had my first Guinness in Ireland here! It was actually image_1356002789923081quite good!

Because I spent my first night with all the locals and majority being Irish, I had an amazing first night in Ireland!

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The second day we were in Dublin, we met up with some friends we met at the bar last night for a delicious brunch at the Elephant Castle. Afterwards, I went to a famous jail on the outskirts of Dublin called the Kilmainham Gaol.

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There was a guided tour throughout the historical site and walking around the dungeons and jail cells was extremely eerie. I highly recommend those who visit Dublin to check out the Kilmainham Gaol.

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We then took a stroll afterwards through a very picturesque driveway towards an art museum. It was too late for us to visit the museum but I was able to get some nice pictures.

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By the end of the night, I walked around the city all lit up with Christmas decorations.

Because we had to wake up at 8am, we went back to our hostel and had an early night. Absolutely loved my time in Dublin!

Here’s to 12 days of traveling Ireland!

Categories: Blog, Dublin, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Seasons, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bucket List Achievement: Take a Spontaneous Trip Anywhere


Well… This was a spontaneous trip! My best friend Joey from Canada (who flew me to England in September for school) decided to come visit me on during his holidays off work. We decided that we wanted to go somewhere spontaneous and where we’ve never been before in Europe. We downloaded a map of Europe on my iPhone, closed my eyes and my figure landed on… Well… you guessed it… Paris!

We booked a flight to Paris two nights before departure on the Tuesday and our return to Scotland for Saturday. 1) That means we have 4 days and 4 nights in Paris! 2) Joey also wanted to see Scotland before he left back to Canada, hence the return in Scotland.

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We left Leeds after my French class (I know right?) around noon and got a bus to the Liverpool where we would be catching our plane at the John Lennon Airport. Our flight left at 5:45pm England time and landed in Paris 8:15pm France time! This is taking into account that there was a 1 hour time difference . We flew with Easyjet and it was just as cheap and decent as Ryanair. I was content and didn’t have as many advertisements.

 

We arrived at Charles de Gaulle which was the Paris airport (among many) and we had to take the metro from the airport to the center of Paris where we would be staying. We got to our accommodations around 10:30pm and were welcomed with a friendly smile and kind greetings from a lovely Parisian couple who let us rent their living room for us to stay for a cheap price!

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Those who rather save money and stay with locals, as opposed to expensive hotels or somewhat more expensive hostels, check out Airbnb! Great website for saving money on accommodations and getting tips and advice about the city and attractions from local people.

We talked for an hour or so, and the couple told us of all the interesting (as well as touristy) places to go in Paris and even provided a map of how to get to all the places. They were absolutely lovely.

There wasn’t much of a language barrier, and we learned some more French and I’m sure they learned some more English as well! They even said we were there first English-speaking guests, so We were quite honored to be there guest for the 4 nights!

Joey and I unpacked, showered and decided that the next day we would somewhat wing it (since it was a spontaneous trip) and walk around Paris and (hopefully!) come across as many attractions and touristy sites as possible! Then, we slept in our bed, in an old Parisian flat, which had old large keys like from the movie Hugo, and fell asleep to the natural sounds of Paris.

Check out my youtube channel for my Paris videos! http://www.youtube.com/user/BorderlineForFools
Check out my other Paris blogs here: https://cometraveltheworldwithme.wordpress.com/

Categories: Blog, Easyjet, England, Fall, Flights, France, Leeds, Liverpool, Paris, Scotland, Seasons, Travel Sights, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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