Give way, it’s Christmas!

Restoring faith in humanity, starting from the traffic.

It is first of advent! 🎄 🎉

That means it’s only 4 weeks ’til Christmas and it is officially time to start celebrating with no guilt or shame! Whoop-whoop!

Before we get to the celebrating part I have something on my mind, haunting me already quite a while now. Something that really bothers me. So, when else to talk about those things but Christmas time when people are (at least seem to be) in a good mood and willing to cooperate.

The other day I was cycling home from work and for the 4th or 5th time almost got hit by a car. Why? How? What? I was cycling on a cyclist lane and wanted to turn right. Before a turn i always check behind me to make sure the way is free. I lifted up my right hand as a sign as well to really make sure everyone behind me can see my turn. 2 years of living in UK has taught me to always check twice. So now with my right hand up I decided to check again behind me if I am free to take the turn right. As I was turning my head and ready to start taking the right turn a car overtook me from the RIGHT side. Yes! People really do that. Although I had my hand up, I was already in the middle of the road ready to turn, a car behind me could not wait 5 seconds and overtook me from the right side, exactly where I was about to turn. If I would have not checked twice he would have deffinitely hit me. Fortunately, this time I was lucky and patient enough to save my ass.

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Then another evening I was cycling on the cycle lane while a bus was trying to overtake me. Which I don’t mind, obviously. What I do mind is cars, buses taking over cyclist right before a crossroad, bus stop or a turn. Why? Because right after overtaking me, they need to push the brakes and stop. I have to now stop right behind them as they  occupy the cyclist lane and most of the road. Even though I can see them stoping I never know if the cars behind me can see that and do not try to suddenly drive into me or overtake us both. So here I am squeezed behind 2 vehicles, I cannot see anything behind the bus to prevent a hit and therefore need to wait behind it. Anyone who spends more than 10-15 minutes in traffic daily knows that no one, and I mean NO ONE, will take that time to wait behind you.

It rains a lot in Manchester. And by a lot I mean  A LOT. Despite the rain I still prefer to cycle to work as it is literally 2x faster than taking a bus. And as you can probably sense from the previous 2 paragraphs I am not really into driving in here either. One night when coming back from work, cycling my ass off in the rain I had to face the humanity failing again. I always rather cycle on the footpath or cycle lane instead of the main road. The drivers here do not care about the cyclist, passengers or other drivers and therefore it is always safer this way. Some claim you can get a fine for cycling on the footpath but I would rather pay the fine that get into an accident. So, there I was cycling in the rain, hoping to get home soon AND safe. On Talbot road there is always huge mud puddles when it’s raining. You would expect a city like Manchester to have a decent drainage system but no. So in order not to get covered by mud COMPLETELY I had to either hop on the footpath or turn on the road. As there are edging everywhere I cannot really hop over it, especially when it’s wet and slippery. So, as always I checked the road before even deciding what to do. There was no one coming for another 300m. So I decided to turn on the main road until the mud puddle ends. As it was a BIG ONE it took a little while to overtake. Now guess what the cars did when reaching behind me. Yeah, they started horning at me. Are you kidding? Are you blind? I am in the damn rain. Do you want me to go swimming with the bike or what? They do not have an extra 10sec to wait until I can turn back on the cycle lane, they need to let you know you are slowing them down for 10sec. Disappointing. Is that really how we see each other? An obstacle? An unconvenience? Even when you sit in your warm, dry car you cannot take that time to be a HUMAN.

I see patients after car accidents every single day. And 9/10 times it is because someone did not pay attention in the traffic. Either talking, texting, calling, changing songs. How many people need to suffer in pain, even get killed for us to take that extra time for each other, give way even if you don’t have to, let someone take a safe turn and not rush them. Those people I described are not just English, just foreigners, someone you don’t know. It is me, it’s you, your neighbour, your uncle and his best friend. It is US. Instead of pointing fingers, let’s just make a change starting with ourselves. Yes, we have rules in the traffic and sometimes slowing someone down can be dangerous as well. But I am not talking about motorways or highways here. I am talking about city traffic. All this  is preventable if everyone pays attention. It is a lot easier and safer to be prepared, be patient, be ready than just follow the rules, your eyes closed, braking at the very last minute, hit someone or make someone loose the control over the vehicle when trying to avoid the impact and situation YOU caused.

I am not trying to put the blame on just drivers. I can see passengers walking around their eyes in the phone, earphones on, rolling around in their own bubble all the time. Crossing the streets without even checking what’s going on, stepping on the road or cycle lanes without paying attention, stoping in the middle of the street without realising they block the whole way. Can we just please either leave those damn earphones home or put the volume on a level that if someone behind you addresses you or tries to get your attention it is POSSIBLE. I cannot even count all those times when as a cyclist I have almost hit a passenger when they think they are the kings and they can just either run across the street with red light, stop in the middle of the road, let their dog on a lead occupy the whole road, keep their nose in the phone while crossing streets or simply do not respond to the bell, your voice or anything. To be honest I don’t understand this earphone trend. Why people need to have them on max volume 24/7. Can we at least be a little bit  interactive when in traffic. Again, it’s only for everyone’s safety.

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And last but not least cyclists. They are not the angels either. Especially on roads with no cycle lanes I can see a lot how they are driving between cars, overtake them from the wrong side, think that traffic lights do not apply to them. Again if the driver cannot see you, the accidents are easy to happen. As a cyclist I always try to keep as close to the left side of the road as possible so all anxious and impatient drivers can pass. But I have seen impatient and anxious cyclists as well. They tend to cycle on the right side of the road so when a car wants to make a right turn and they do not look in the side mirror they cut the way of the cyclist. The only accident I have been here was with another cyclist. I was standing in the middle of the road trying to make a right turn. I held my hand up, as always. I saw a truck taking off 100m from me so I decided to take the turn before him. As I was pushing off and getting ready to turn another cyclist came from nowhere and cut my way. As I didn’t have a high speed I managed to brake but he didn’t. He drove right into me. Fortunately with a low speed as he managed to brake. He flew over his bike right in front of me. Apparently he did not see me standing in the middle of the road and didn’t pay attention when suddenly rushing behind the truck. In that case I took the full blame as by the rules he was in right. Could it have been avoided? 100%. Instead of going full speed between cars with limited view, slow down and be prepared that there might be a passenger, cyclist or another car behind the truck in the blind corner.

I admit I have made mistakes in traffic as well. But as I have been a cyclist, a passenger and a driver, I believe I can understand all 3 parties. I’m calling everyone up, cyclists, passengers and drivers to pay more attention to each other, take time to really see and listen to each other, be humans. We want to get home as soon as possible but most importantly we want to GET HOME SAFE. Let’s give everyone a chance to celebrate Christmas!

Happy first advent!

When in England- funny moments vol 3

Continuing the series of “I was lucky I had a camera with”. More funny pictures from England.

I have put together another post with funny or weird moments from my life abroad. These are all taken in England.

So I guess no need for further introduction. Let’s just start.

 

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  1. This was taken from the White Cliffs in the South of England. You can see a tourist posing for the picture in a nice yellow padded jacket while at the background locals are taking a bath in the ocean. Temperature is contingent.

 

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2. This was from the same weekend. “When the importance of your job is just deceptive”.

 

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3. This one shows how inventive English people are. They manage the “unexpected kid” situation like pros.

 

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4. From the same trip and I guess no other words needed.

 

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5. I was tempted but that was not even in London but Windsor. Brothers, what you reckon?

 

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6. This may seem like an average holiday picture. Well it’s not. It’s taken in the center of Manchester in October before my birthday…. Did they change the date of Christmas Eve?

 

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6. This one I forgot to explain few posts ago. This was taken in Reading when we were trying out the canoe. 3 guys working across the river thought I am working for Vogue so they gave their best poses.

 

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7. Quiet workers in Arundel. Too lifelike? I think so.

 

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8. December in Hazel Grove. Okay maybe I failed with this picture because that’s not even funny. Remember, I am from Estonia. This is literally the most snow I saw all year (2017). Something to think about before moving to another country.

*This year has been a little better already! It’s March and it’s still snowing!

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9. Confused much? This is at my university campus. I have been living in a lie!

 

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10. Pictures are taken 9min apart. Within a half an hour it made the whole circle of 4 seasons at least 3 times. And not just that the snow stopped and sun came out, but the sky was completely clear like nothing ever happened (until 5min later it was a snowstorm again).

Thanks guys for spending time in here! Hope I either got you smiling or thinking hard before moving abroad. Enjoy sun, snow, rain or whatever else is coming down right now!

 

UK- To be or not to be?!

An anniversary post about living in UK. Should you or should you not?

HAPPY 1 YEAR TO ME!

Yes it’s already over a year that I have been living in the Kingdom. A YEAR! Time flies so fast that it is ridiculous. I have been super busy lately and, to be honest, have not felt like writing. Not that I don’t enjoy it any more but I simply have not had time to do much fun stuff to write about. Now I am BACK, though. I decided to dedicate this post to THE UNITED KINGDOM and give you my honest opinion about the stay so far.

I have written bits and bobs here and there in the past but I figured I am missing an overview for people who might really consider living, studying, working here. I actually got this idea already back in October at my school reunion when people asked me about UK and few of them were seriously considering coming here.

First of all, the most important thing- food. In one of my previous posts I wrote about the packaging craziness and processed food obsession they have. By a coincidence I now live near an organic shop and my opinion of local eating habits has slightly changed. Not all the people eat that processed thing they call food. A small grocery shop, UNICORN, is the cutest shop I have ever seen. Yes, you have to pay a penny or 2 extra to eat organic and clean food but let me tell you, the taste is worth it. I have even noticed that it is cheaper to buy diary free things from there than from supermarkets and the shop is constantly  fairly busy, to be honest. Not just it is super simple for vegans and vegetarians to find veg substitutes but you get the best possible quality. I do not consider myself as a vegan but I do eat mostly vegan at home (in UK). Oh you didn’t know? Well this is a long story and I need a separate post for just my eating habits and lifestyle now. All you need to know right now is that there are very good options in big cities like Manchester to eat well. What is more, the amazing shop Unicorn Grocery, has always a box of veges for free. That means people who maybe cannot afford even basic food can take salad material just for free. How amazing is that?! In my opinion all supermarkets should have that option. Not just that there would be less starving and hunger but big chains would throw away less food.

What is next… Oh, transportation. Unlike the opinion about food, this has not changed. If anything, it has gone even worse. I do not drive or use public transportation in Manchester because it is simply too slow and expensive. I have an old bike here and I cycle to work, gym, school, shop, where ever I need to go. Unfortunately, I must admit I have had quite a few accidents here already. The first ones were back in Reading. I already sensed then that drivers don’t really care about cyclists. Right now when working with patients who have experienced traffic accidents it seems like drivers don’t care about other drivers either. There have been few times that I almost got hit and one time that another cyclist did hit me. Touch the wood (ptuiptuiptui), so far all the “accidents” I have been in were without any injuries or damages. But I am super careful now. I have reflectors everywhere on the bike, on me. I have lights on the bike and a high visibility vest on. I do look like I just got off from the kindergarten but at least I am doing everything I can to be safe. Some cyclists prefer those blinding headlights that in my opinion make the accident risk even higher as it is seriously disturbing for the vision and therefore, you cannot pay proper attention on the surroundings. So, traffic is something that I am not very pleased with. Until you are very careful yourself you should be fine, though. If you are thinking of bringing your own vehicle here then DON’T. We learned it the hard way. Basically if you do not re-register it to UK number plate, the car will be taken and you will be given a certain amount of time to do it. Unfortunately, in real life that cannot be done and as you do not have the registration by the due date they will simply scrap it. So, just don’t bring your own. If you need a car and you don’t have any money problems, buy one here. If you need one for short period of time only and you have money problems, rent it. As simple as that.

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Now, the part that probably everyone is wondering about the most. Is the salary and living really better? 2 months ago I started a job in a private practice. As I already had a local experience as a physiotherapist, the interview went smoother- I was confident and less nervous to start a new job. I already knew what they expected and how to manage my time at work. Although, the client base is completely different (from Reading and the Estonian working experience), and I see twice as many patients as for example in Estonia, I feel a lot more appreciated as the salary reflects my hard work.  I am not working full time because of the university, I live in a quite expensive house, buy organic food, travel, and am still able to save enough to pay for my Estonian student loan and current university tuition fee. So, in my field I must say I do get more than in my home country (something for Estonian employers to think about). For other fields, as much as I have heard, it seems similar. It might be a little difficult in the beginning but as soon as you have already a local experience to show on your CV (even if it’s short period) you are going to find a job and good salary faster. Of course, it ain’t La-La Land. You need to plan your time, work hard, and have motivation to manage everything. But it is doable. I must admit I have to give half of the credit to my amazing other half who helps out and supports me on the way. I am not sure if I could manage it all alone.

If you are planning to come for just studying then I do highly recommend that. I just finished the first semester of my studies and couldn’t be prouder of myself. If you are Estonian you might be used to good grades but here they expect as much from you as from locals. That means you need to push yourself twice as hard. Your English on paper and on examinations need to be as good as native speaker’s. But don’t worry about English too much, it will improve tremendously while living here. Based on my own experience and my coursemates’ English level, with the level of B2 there should be no language barriers. The only thing is that some universities ask for C1 at least. As a credit for the University of Salford I must admit they give a lot of support and feedback for foreign (and local) students. You have a personal supervisor and one for each module (at least in physio). Whenever you are in trouble, don’t know what to do, you have plenty of people who care and will help you. Here you go, come and have a degree in foreign language! Not only does it sound great when saying it out loud but it is highly rated by locals (hopefully at home as well) as many of them know just English. Now the money part. I decided to pay my tuition fee by myself because I already have one loan. However, there are student loans available with very reasonable criteria. If I am not wrong there should be even one (around 20 grand) that you don’t have to pay back until you start earning yearly more than around 18 grand (in pounds). Knowing the average salary in Estonia then it might be that you don’t even have to pay it back at all.

The health system here is similar to Estonian. They have an association called NHS that provides the basic help. All students and people that are working have the basic healthcare and do not have to worry about it. When arriving you just need to register yourself in one of the surgeries in your area. Some employers do offer private healthcare as well and in that case you probably can go to dentists and private doctors for free (or for less money) as well.

What else? Weather. In the South I think it was a lot better than I expected. Summer was hot like summer is supposed to be and I even got a tan. Up here it is raining every other day. Seriously. As the temperature doesn’t really drop below 0 right now I don’t think there is a winter in here at all. It is more like a constant autumn. So who is into that you are welcome to come and enjoy. I for sure am not. I miss snow, cold wind to freeze the tip of your nose, and wearing winter boots. I am not sure how bad is it going to be in the summer but what I’ve heard of, it ain’t a dream either. So if you are thinking of travelling for the weather, don’t! Or stay in the South.

Last but not least, people! Locals themselves say that people up in the North (midlands) are more opened and friendly than in the South. As I don’t really remember meeting too many angry or rude people in the South I am not sure what kind of position to take. There are always people that either have a bad day or simply don’t care about the others around. Based on my experience I wouldn’t say it is worse in the South or better in the North. All my colleagues, patients, coursemates, etc have been reasonable and lovely people. Colleague-wise I would probably even say that there is less “competition” and tension in the clinic than back at home. Or at least I don’t sense it as much as when working in Estonia. Everyone is willing to help and teach you. After all, the clinic/business is as good/strong as it’s weakest worker. So in order to keep the good quality you need to invest time and knowledge in new workers and English do understand that. Generally I reckon we all have bad days and I wouldn’t generalise the population based on those few rude ones. I think local people do care (even when you are foreigner) and they take time to explain themselves when you cannot understand the accent (especially the one in Manchester). Even though, the political situation may leave another expression.

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In conclusion, if you don’t mind constant autumn, would like to learn authentic English from natives, and are willing to make an effort to build your success up, I believe England could be the place. But I reckon you should do it before Brexit because you know, no one really knows what happens after!

Before I end this one I wanted to discuss another idea I have. So, far I have been writing about 3 things- travelling, hiking and living in UK. At some point probably I am finishing the UK series as I am running out of things to write about. So, instead of that I was thinking of starting a new part/series that will be about healthy and active lifestyle and my opinion/stories/experience related to that- beauty, exercising, food, shops, products, money etc. I will continue with the hiking and travelling posts of course as well. Let me know what you think!

That is it for now. I have few blog suggestions and ideas waiting already. I appreciate you letting me know what you like to read about and giving me feedback. That is  PERFECT. Keeps me motivated! I hope I will manage to write more often from now on.  But now, crab your Earl Grey, a bisquit, sit back and enjoy Ed!

 

South of England aka the hardest biking ever

Me, camera, my bike and the Sun.

Hei, You, You and You! I have been promising a review of my Southern England trip already for a while and for some reason life has taken over and it is still not done. Well now I am sitting down to talk about the most difficult biking I have ever had to do.

So we thought it would be a good idea to spend a long weekend in South of England WITH BIKES. At first Tom planned it as a 2-3 day biking trip… Khmm. I am everything but a biker. My ass gets sore after first 40km and then I don’t want to even see those 2 tires for a month.

So we drove to the South with the car, left it in a parking place, threw our bags over shoulders and put up a tent. I think it was the most romantic night in my life. Full moon lighted the whole empty beach, night was warm and calm. Perfect time to spend the night under the stars.

Yes this is Moon shining bright like a diamond. We even had shadows?! At night?!

The next day we were supposed to start the “long” biking trip. From the map the cliffs don’t seem as steep and high as they are. So for our surprise they were damn difficult to cycle. 70% of the track I was pushing my bike. I managed to bike downhill with brakes on, but that was about it. The first day started with clouds and for sure not as hot as the previous night so I didn’t really think of even getting my sunscreen out. Before leaving my mom had left me a message to be careful with the sun… hah.. which sun?! But MOMS ALWAYS KNOW BETTER!

It was about mid day when the sun came out and was shining damn bright. I am such a fan of sun so I never mind. The cliffs where AMAZING. The views are just fantastic. So you can imagine how many people were walking around there. The closer you got to some hut or a resting place, the more crowded it got. Although, taking a bike with was still a bad idea. After like 2-3 hours of pushing my bike uphill with the sun burning as hell, I was sure I am not going to sit on that bike tomorrow. My shoulders were burnt, couldn’t even touch them. And I don’t get sunburnt…. ever. So how did that happen I don’t know. Even my nose was peeling days after.

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When ask other people to take a picture…. Let’s say it’s okay.

As I said, I didn’t hop on the bike net day. We drove the car a bit further and put the tent up on the beach again. I experienced the perfect morning for me. I woke up at 7am… just like that. Put my bikinis on and went swimming. The water was cold enough to need time to go in, but warm enough to stay there. After refreshing and cooling swim I decided to try to meditate as this was the perfect surrounding. I sat there for about half an h… just me and the ocean breeze, thinking that I want to wake up like this every single morning. If I only had a good cup of coffee right there as well…. that, my friend, would have been a paradise.

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So peaceful, so calm.

So we didn’t bike this trip any more. We decided to go home sooner as were both red as crabs. On our way back I insisted on going to 2 places. First stop Arundel castle. This giant castle looks exactly like from a fairy tale. I didn’t want to pay half of my salary on simply getting in, so I bought a ticket to the gardens only. I had seen some pics of it and I wanted to create my own. Tom didn’t come of course, so this view was just for me and my camera. First time I remembered to take my tripod with and for some reason, people think that this shows that I know what I am doing…..Well I don’t. At least 2-3 people asked me to take a picture of them….. cause it would be professional…. Sure. I did tell them that I am not a photographer, but…. You know people. I tried to stay in shadows the whole time because by that time my skin was on fire. I don’t eve remember the last time I felt so much pain because of sun. If it hurts then it loves?

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Can You believe it?! I do need to buy some equipment as  taking picture in sunlight is way too much for this camera. Maybe I don’t know all the tricks, but long exposure is out. Check rest of the pictures of the garden from my photography section.

The last stop, but not least was a lavender field. Another thing I saw on the internet and wanted to experience by myself. We picked a field in Lordington as it seemed that they do not ask too much money for the visit. When arriving it came out that the “season” is not even started and the farm is closed. The field was available only for photo shoots with photographers. I believe in kindness and we decided to ask to stay anyway. For a pleasant surprise they didn’t mind me taking few pictures from the other corner of the field while photographers were calmly giving introductions for kids running around on the field. I was amazed. Who doesn’t know, then purple is my damn favourite colour and there was a loooooot of purple. One little ginger girl even wanted to pose for me. As I can see from my pics, I need to take more pictures of people, cause I am not pleased. Yet, how cute is that.

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And that was about it for the this time. If you are thinking of visiting England then the White Cliffs are worth it! 😉 P.S The pictures of other places are up as well!

I have to find some time to write, cause I have already another trip to tell You about. 4 days ago I came back from Ireland and I am soooooooo excited to tell You about it. After a long time we tried the hitchhiking again and man, how easy it in Ireland. I cannot wait to write You about it. But his time, cheers, for everyone who still keeps reading my blog ;). I really appreciate it!

For the song of the post I chose something that makes me feel good, makes me want to dance, makes we want to jump into the ocean.

Weird pictures from England

8 moments in England when I felt glad to have a camera with.

I thought that this week would be fun to just go through some of the pictures I have taken on my trips. These are not the exact “tourist” pics or beautiful landscape pics, but rather funny moments caught when walking around in England.

In this post I will show you the pictures taken in England only. So these are the newest ones. I will make a part II with pictures from other places, as well.

*By the Way the featuring picture is taken from Estonia. This curious sheep is my dear friend’s.

  1. Everyone knows those red boxes. What they probably didn’t know is that locals have found new ways how to use them as (let’s be honest) noone uses them as a phone anymore.

Even the red British phones are smart nowadays.

2. This one is taken from Cornwall. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I find British people to be quite wasters. No picture, no proof? Here you go!

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It is middle of the day, sun is shining but street lights are on…. Only in England.

3. This one I took when hiking in South of Wales. I think it is quite clever considering it is a house on the coast.

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So this wrecking ball is meant as a swing. Yeah not that safe but looks cool.

4. Those guys I caught when visiting London in the beginning of May. They were making this really weird noise and it was so funny.

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In the park there was a black swan who was trying to start a fight with them, so those two just kept screaming and running around.

5. This one is also taken from London. Apparently there are not too many original names to choose from.

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Small Chinatown, but big enough to fit Royal and Golden right next to each other.

6. This one I took from Cornwall. The very first trip around England. So this is supposed to be…. welcoming.

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Friendly indeed.

7. In Cornwall, waiting for the waves…. that never came.

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This guy was sitting in the water with the board for over half an h. The problem was, that there were no waves, no wind. We left him there to wait.

8. And last but not least those sheep. There are sheep everywhere. All the hiking tracks go through their “gardens” and sometimes you can find them enjoying their meal right next to the road.

 

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Funny little fellas.

So these were the 8 moments in England when I was lucky I had my camera with. More pictures coming soon, I promise. Next time I will probably show you the rest of Europe’s highlights.

All those new memories make you think about the old ones. Lately I have been thinking about different stages and times of my life, people I have met, and people I have shared a living with (there are quite many of them, btw). Always puts a smile on my face. This song reminds me good old times and fun people. Enjoy!

London, baby!

My weekend in London: crazy people, architecture and overly brave animals.

I don’t know where the time flies. It is already way too long since my last post. That means it’s time to let you know what I have been up to. I have been busy working, so nothing much to say about that. I did have a little city tour which I am going to review in a second.

As 1st of May was a day off, we decided to go to London. I wanted to go already sooner, but as we didn’t have that much time, then the guys were running around with knives, so…. we didn’t make it before May. One of my best friends from Erasmus is currently living in London so we had more than one reason to go.

We spent in London 2.5 days and in my opinion it is more than enough. We didn’t manage to see absolutely everything, but probably the most important things we did. And the last half a day we didn’t even look around, but just spent time with friends. So,  We had walked for about 2h when I felt, damn…. my kneepain is back and BIG TIME. Oh yeah, btw, I have been having terrible kneepain from time to time. It all started after my first hikes in mountains, so obviously it is related to just weak muscles and too much load at once. Lately I had the pain also at night and randomly during the day. It is damn difficult to diagnose yourself, but I think I found the main cause. Since then I have been actively training my muscles and dealing with the problem. I must say, haven’t had the pain after London. Yey!

Anyway. I had terrible knee pain the both 2 days walking around London. It started already in the beginning so we had to redo our plans as I wasn’t able to just walk anywhere. Our tour started with Tower Bridge. Hmm… I am in between with the feelings about it. I do liked it, but it wasn’t really as I expected it to be. As it is so hyped, I was expecting something…. special? It wasn’t though. It was pretty and all the people going crazy around it, but nothing shockingly beautiful. As it is a “must see”, then of course, you should visit it when in London.

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After Tower Bridge we started walking by the Thames river towards Big Ben. I must say, the way there goes so fast as there are so many “crazy” people doing their things. Like a circus without animals- sounds good, right?!

Like that musician.

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Like those people. Some of them more inspiring than others.

I guess when you have been reading  and seeing the pictures from something so many times that you have a certain imagination how it looks like, you are quite likely to have a little.. hmm how to say… reality check/disappointment when you see it in real life. It doesn’t apply to all of the things/places, but in my experience it does to buildings. So there it was, Big Ben…. and again I wasn’t sure if I love it or I have been taught to do so. I did like it more than Tower Bridge, though, but it for sure was not my favourite part of the city. You could really see the nice small details and all that makes it worth it to go there personally. Another place I was expecting to be wowed by was Trafalgar Square. Sounds fancy, right?! Well guess what…. it is nothing. There was literally nothing. I don’t know what I was expecting… but for sure it wasn’t nothing. I am sorry if I offended anyone who has been there and loved it…. I just didn’t- at all. Might be just my particular taste as for me it was a square like any other.

The day ended with meeting my Erasmus friend in the downtown and grabbing some beers. If you must know, the beer costed over 5 damn pounds…… Huh. We need a moment here. If you are used to 2pound beers in the pubs and suddenly they ask… double!! Yeah. After long day of walking, 1 beer was totally enough and after hearing the price, even more so. We walked around the center a bit and decided to have a dinner in Chinatown. If you imagine a big city like London, then you would expect quite a big  Chinatown as well. Well, it was just few streets. Which in my , to be honest, is super cool, because I don’t really fancy when they bring in foreign culture so much that you forget about the country you are in. So that was a nice surprise. We went to a Chinese restaurant where you have to pay 12 pounds each and can eat then as much as you like. Of course I tried everything…. which means later crawling out of the place, but still worth it. Food was okay, nothing wow, but I did try some new things, so I was pleased.

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On our way home we walked by Buckingham palace, which was the biggest disappointment of the trip. I didn’t even take my camera out, because there was literally nothing to take a picture of. That’s a shame as teachers in schools really hype it (for other reasons though). Again, I am sorry, if you really liked it.

The next day my lovely Erasmus friend came with us and showed us some places she thinks are worth to visit. So we went to Harrods. Tom didn’t enjoy that at all, but I LOVED it. I know it is just a mall, but it is so damn fancy that you could ride with the escalator all day long. Didn’t buy anything there, but we just walked around and visited a fancy toilet (weird, I know). Have you ever been in a toilet where there is a Chanel’s or Hugo Boss original perfume on the table for free usage? Yeah, me neither.

After this super expensive mall we decided to go to a natural environment again and visit some parks . We went through the Hyde park and then took some pictures in the Regent’s park. Again I guess I was expecting something….. different of  Hyde park. It was nice, made you forget about the fact you were in a big city, but that was it. It was just a field of grass. And as people are used to feed the birds and animals there, we met the most human-friendly squirrel. Usually they just escape as soon as they see you, but this one basically ate from your hand. The same applied to birds. The swans were holding a bit back, but if they showed food in their hands, they came really close. When it comes to bird feeding, then I don’t think it is good, though. Swans in the park were literally eating garbage, because they trust whatever they are given. So sad. The Regent’s park was a bit different. Instead of grass fields, there were flowers and fountains. For sure less natural than the Hyde park. I liked that one as well as I got some good pictures in there- that’s why.

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That crazy squirrel.

We finished our little city tour with having a bite in some street restaurant area. There were literally tens of different street retsaurant that were offering food from all kind of places in the world. There were some French cuisine, Indonesian food, Italian, Chinese, Caribbean.. you name it. I decided to try a French burger…. which I didn’t like, but as I did like the idea of the place so much, I wasn’t too sad about it. And it was sooooo many people that you could barely walk through it. In that situation I found myself discovering that I am out of that stage in my life when I enjoyed the crowds. I for sure don’t anymore. But from time to time it’s still nice to get out of home and comfortzone.

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Street food introducing the world.

That’s about it. That was LONDON. I still suggest to go, but in my opinion it doesn’t need more than few days. It has it’s nice big city life features. So if you are into that, this is a place to go!

P.S As always, check out my pics as well!

 

Easter in Wales

Easter roadtrip around South of Wales

It is so nice to be abroad at Easter, because unlike in Estonia, you get 4 days off. This time we decided to make a little roadtrip around South of Wales. Well at first we thought we are going to make it a hiking trip, but as the weather again didn’t want to cooperate at all, we hiked only on one day for few hours. So, i guess you cannot even call it a hike.

We started already on Thursday after my work, but as we arrived to Littledean so late, we stayed there for the night. After good sleep and rich breakfast we took our bags and hit the road towards Cardiff. As it was 3 of us this time, we had 2 tents. Well, let’s say my Estonian friend didn’t enjoy sleeping in the tent too much, as she was basically sleeping under rain. She had a tent that had just one lair which means all the humidity in the tent fell on her as soon she moved around in there. In the morning she woke up almost soaking wet. And probably it wouldn’t be a problem if the nights would have been warm… but they weren’t. I was fully dressed and in 2 sleeping bags, so I didn’t feel cold but I can imagine how bad sleeping in wet tent was. During the day the temperature didn’t rise much above +10. Yes, local people were wearing shorts and t-shirts, but that didn’t make me want to take my skiing jacket, gloves and hat off. I am such a warm lover, I cannot help it.

So the 2 cities i was really looking forward to visit were Cardiff and Swansea. Unfortunately, and I really feel it’s unfortunate, because I had such high hopes, I didn’t really like either of them. It was not bad, but nothing special either. I did like the little “port” in Swansea, I think it was lovely. Especially at night with all the lights. Rest of the city, on the other hand, nothing to see, really. How disappointing. In Cardiff we visited the castle, of course, which was okay, I guess. But that was about it. We made a 4-hour walk in the city and besides the castle… I don’t think I took my camera out even once. And that is a big thing. So I don’t know… not my kind of cities. And I guess in general I have to say that the cities/towns in there are for sure not the reason to go to Wales. So, I am not going to really talk about them.

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One of the few pics I took from Cardiff. Big door but small lock (if you try to look at the lock, then it’s normal door’s size). Apparently size doesn’t matter.

Rest of the trip we focused again on the coastline and searching for amazing views. In Rhossilli we even had a small 2-hour hike. Which turned out to be amazing. The sun came out, we even managed to take the jackets off for few hours, and burn our noses. As soon as i got out of the car, I smelled coconut. Of course there are no coconut trees, so I was super suspicious. The more I walked around, the more I was sure I can smell coconut. After pointing it out to my friend she agreed with me, but we couldn’t figure out what was it. An hour, or so, later Tom came and asked if we can smell coconut as well. He has quite bad nose, so now I was sure, that I am smelling it right. Apparently some yellow bushes were giving out the smell. And especially when you found a spot with no wind, you could smell the coconut so clearly. And I love coconut!

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Next stop was a nice small town St Davids. They have a huge cathedral there, which at Easter time is obviously full of people. I must say I am not very cathedral/church-person. I do like the architecture, but it is not that often that I take out my camera for that. In St Davids I did. And this time I didn’t even take pictures of the architecture, but I was amazed about some patterns they used on the floors/ceilings. That “interior lover” side of me came out instantly. I couldn’t get carried away too much as someone was practicing organ at the same time. I find clerical music a bit creepy in such big cathedrals anyway, so doing the same lines all over again several times didn’t help. Probably I am the only one.

Is it just me, or those patterns are really nice indeed?! My favourite is the floor (on left). And have you ever seen wooden ceiling in church??

Almost by accident, Tom found and amazing blue lagoon near Fishguard. It was very nice beach with an amazing view. But right behind the beach there was an artificial blue lagoon. If anyone of you has visited Rummu in Estonia, then this was something like that. The water was super cold, but sooooo blue that you couldn’t even believe it. Yeah, I took like 2000 pictures. I think it is so cute and mysterious that it was hidden right behind the little hill. Most of the people would probably just settle with the view from the beach, not even knowing what’s waiting behind the hill. That’s didactical, right?!

After the lagoon we drove further and stopped in few other small towns, but as I said before, it was really nothing special. If you want to see the beauty of South-Wales, you need go to the coast! Hopefully in summer we will have a chance to visit Snowdonia as well. I am so excited and cannot wait! If the weather would cooperate just a little more than so far…

That was my Easter weekend. We managed to make  a nice 1000km roundtrip (from the map small stops missing). Check out some extra pictures, as always, from “photography”.

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Time flies, soon it’s June and guess what, I AM COMING HOME! Yes, I really hope I will get the tickets and I can spend few days in Estonia. I miss my friends and family already, and as my little brother is about to graduate, I want to be there for him as well.  So all my Estonians, hopefully see you in June! If you want to meet up, let me know!

As my thoughts are already “flying over” Estonia, Curly Strings can have this post. One of their older, yet one of my favourite songs.