London Town

London is the city that captivated me first when I was 19 years old leaving home to live on my own for the first time. It was the first time I had the opportunity to really travel alone, and it was really eye opening.

London is a spectacular place. It’s rather safe for women, compared to most megacities, and I certainly find a similarity in St. John’s, and London customs. Though, I’m really into the brown leather shoes and navy suit combo in London moreso than the overalls and mucked up boots in St. John’s.

London definitely didn’t disappoint when I was 19, and it has never ceased to amaze me since. This is my second time in London in the past three months – so eveidently, I have a love for the city.

This time when I was in London was a little different because I was attending in part for a conference (post about that to come later), and in another part to visit some amazing friends I had made while there for three weeks in august who were returning to Australia soon.

I stayed at the astor hyde park, and honestly, not really a fan. It was directly on a 24 hour tube line, which was great for going out on the weekends, but, it was pretty darn dirty. I needed a shower after taking a shower kinda dirty. Plus, the staff were awfully rude.

After the conference ended Thursday, I met up with some friends and we went out to a party at fabric. A must go to if you’re interested in the night-life in London. It was a special party for some DJ, which went on til 7 am. My friends and I left around 4, as 7 was just not happening for any of us. Of course, after getting the drunken McDonald’s, taking the underground to the right stop, and chatting with someone special back home, It was nearing 6am when I hit the hay

The next day was sadly wasted mostly on sleeping, and when I did meet with my friends again to go to Winter Wonderland, the line up was so long we were going to miss the comedy show at angel comedy we had planned on checking out. But of course, we were also late for the comedy show, and we had plans to meet with some other friends around 10 to eat food, drink and listen to music at their apartment in Canary Warf – a place I’d definitely recommend checking out if you’re interested in checking out the suburbs of London.

Though, I did treat myself to a Lunch and Gym date and got to see St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was absolutely phenomenal. There’s really something about seeing the images we google searched as kids in real life. The fact that people get to live and work near there, is even more phenomenal. My eyes would hurt with the vast richness of art and beautiful architecture I’d be taking in.

London is interesting in that there is so much to do but so little time. While there for three weeks over the summer, I didn’t even get to see Kensington palace, Buckingham palace, or the tower of London.

I could never encompass the things you should do in London in one post, often, ive missed out on the mega touristy things in London just for the opportunity to check out a few of the small things and explore the town on my own terms.

Of course, going to see the imperial war museum, or Camden market, or the church street market, or any of the plethora of things that lonely planet will tell you to do is exactly something you should do  – I want to tell you about the real London. The one I experience most everytime I come back. It’s tantalizing and intoxicating culture, its 24/7 party vibe, it’s big spenders, and its residents.

Last time I was in London, I was single, and had plenty of party to attend to. Now, it’s a little different, but that doesn’t mean it’s not all of the things I just described. I have been blessed to meet so many amazing, phenomenal people, from all over the world – right here, in London.

London became an especially strong place after all of the terror attacks it’s been feeling threat of. Over the summer, I met a group of young Londoners who explained that before the attacks, they felt safe to wander the streets alone any time of day or night after any amount of drinks. But, after an increase in both acid attacks and terrorist attacks, there’s a real concern for many young women who want to partake in the London after hours life.

Returning this time, it seems as if there is less fear of acid attacks, but still the same sense of community that doesn’t like to see any one of their own, or anyone who is visiting get hurt. I am always reminded when I come to London, that being a global citizen IS possible. You’ve just gotta go to the right places, and hopefully, meet the right people.

My global community started in London. With friends scattered all across the US, Europe, Australia, and god knows where else because they all cannot stand to be in one place for longer than two seconds.

London is far more than an overnight stop, or a weekend trip, it is its own world that can never fully be discovered.

 

ManCity

If you’ve been on a backpacking trip, or even just a really busy conference trip, it’s really hard to find time for yourself and to do the things you love. Which is why I so ridiculously booked off two weeks in the middle of the semester, right before final paper season, during my last year of my Masters.

Manchester is a place of refuge for me. It’s where a good chunk of my family lives, and it has become almost in a way, my second home. Or at least, my home away from home. Walking into my Great Aunt’s house is both refreshing, exhilarating, and like a piece of Newfoundland in the third largest city in the United Kingdom.

When I lived in England with Andrew, you’d often find me catching a last-minute train from London Euston station to go visit my family at all hours of the day and night – once even, for two weeks in the middle of the semester. When will I ever learn?

This year, has been particularly hard for my family. Without giving too much away, a family member of mine was caught in the Manchester arena attacks, and since then, it’s really shown me the importance of staying connected even when 3,000 km away. So now, I always make it a point to come to Manchester for at least two days on these whirlwind tours.

A typical trip to Manchester includes my Great Uncle cussing to the high heavens about how the city of Manchester always changes its roads rules, and how he can never figure it out – for context, he’s lived here for 55 years and almost has a British accent; though I’d be crucified for saying that if he knew.

Uncle Tommy & Me, making silly faces because no one can be serious in my family for more than two seconds flat.

Once I arrive in the smaller community outside of Manchester, I have a great big Irish/English breakfast, eat enough for the rest of the year, and then we gossip. About everything and nothing all at the same time. Once the first day of gossip is over, we usually go to my favourite store ever – PRIMARK. It’s got everything a girl would want, for about ten times less than I’d purchase it in Canada.

It was so cold in Manchester this time, that I dressed properly for the weather – which if you know me at all, is quite shocking.

I was especially grateful to go to Manchester this time, because it’s uncertain when I’ll be able to afford to come back again; when I start working full time in May, I’m not sure I’d be able to do things like gallivanting across a few countries and a continent or two when I’m in the middle of a busy work season.

I sincerely believe that no trip to Manchester to visit my family is complete without eating like absolute “rubbish”. But, I swear the calories don’t count here. I don’t even feel guilty about eating so much here. It’s always such a blessing to have a place like this to return to.

What’s even more phenomenal about Manchester is the history of my family here. My great uncle tommy left Newfoundland when he was 19, after confederation to Canada, in search of a better life. He settled in the UK, bouncing back and forth between Manchester and London for years. He eventually met a girl, my Aunt Helen, so I guess the story’s a little spoiled – though worth telling anyhow.

Of course, her family was petrified about the idea of her dating a Canadian man. Thinking he’d lived in Igloos, I was even told that her family believed he could’ve been a serial killer, “FROM CANADA!!” Who knew? He had no ties to this country, and certainly no one to vouch for him.

Sadly, they even broke up for a few years and he returned to London to paint houses. It always makes me wonder why or how each great love story has a tragic period of separateness. My Aunt Helen is a true believer, in love and romance. It is refreshing in a time of ghosting, tinder, bumble, the two-night stand, and god knows how many dating apps I’ve not kept up on to see someone believe so deeply in my goals and in the potential for finding my soul mate – but not even just my own; in everyone’s.

Manchester is far more than a city for me – it is an almost life; a life I dream of, long for, and wish for. And it’s always my back up plan. Spending time here feels like I’m in a time warp or another realm, like I am who I’ve wanted to be or who I could be in the future – but this only exists in Manchester. It’s unique to my identity, I believe everyone has a city like this.

This isn’t my first time to Manchester by far, so this isn’t your typical “top ten things to do in Manchester” type of blog post. Though, if I were to give you a conglomerate of the things you must do, here’s a few:

Carribean District – there’s this amazing bar and restaurant here that has 2 for 1 cocktails, and when I went here in August after spending hundreds of pounds on drinks in London it was both reasonably priced and as good (if not better) than the cocktails you’d get in London for twice the price. Plus, there was a super handsome and friendly bartender to that I sincerely regretted not giving my business card to.

The Traford Centre – while it’s a mall, it is more of a work of art. It’s beautifully decorated with European-esk art; of course, the vast choice in shops isn’t horrible either.

China/Asia-town – I’ve not actually been here, but it’s always crowded with people and looks like a great place to gorg oneself with dim sum and other delacacies I can’t access in my hometown in Canada.

Manchester United Stadium– okay, so many would say that you’ve not even been to Manchester if you’ve not gone here. Hate to inform you all that I’ve never been, nor do I intend on going; BUT, I do recognize the importance of this for cultural value of Manchonians.

Since the attacks in the Arena, there’s been an increase in the Bee symbol around Manchester and it would do a tourist well to pay attention to those little Bee’s. Manchester has an interesting history of being the alternative to London, but in a better more whole-some way. People are friendlier, though I’d argue that Londoners are amazingly friendly when in need or trouble, the accents are more understandable (mostly) and people are generally more approachable. Further, if you’re a student, or if you’re on any sort of budget, Manchester is much nicer on the wallet than London. Transit is slightly more expensive here, and less developed of course, but food, shops, and activities are all less expensive than London.

I’d never suggest that you go to Manchester over London, and if I had to choose between the two, I’d choose Manchester for the reasons I’ve explained earlier in the article. If the two existed in a silo and my family could easily be imported to either, I’d always choose London.

London –  in itself – is a hundred cities in one, and something worth exploring for at least a few weeks at a time if it’s your first time in the city.

Manchester is like home, London, well…that’s something different.

 

Me in a huge Christmas bulb in Bury.

Follow along on snapchat: emilybonia, Instagram @emilybonia, and of course, Andrews travel blog to hear about the Christmas markets, curries, conferences, fabric, and clubbing with my favourite aussie’s this week.

 

Across the pond we go

Author: Emily Bonia

While I travel plenty, my passport has been seriously lacking in the stamps department. I set off on a goal, read: competition, to beat my best friend in reaching every continent by the age of 25. I am now 24, and I am farther behind than I had hoped. Of course, for logistics purposes, we haven’t included Antarctica or Greenland as continents, not because they don’t count but because they’re incredibly pricey to get to as I’m still a student.

 

This week, I’m incredibly blessed as I have the opportunity to return to the United Kingdom, a country near and dear to my heart. In September of 2013, I attended Harlow campus with Andrew (the owner of this blog), and with the help of some amazing people (Dr. Chris Dunn and friends) I found a second home in the most unfamiliar of places.

 

I’m not only returning because I love the UK, but also, because I am attending an amazing conference called Trust; a conference about ending global slavery. A conference I’ve been daydreaming about for years to attend. As it’s my last year (we hope) in graduate studies, it’s my last year to avail of cheaper student rates for events such as this.

 

So, without giving too much away, my week will be a little hectic. Travelling from the north of England, back to London, and even to the “far east.”

 

Follow along for updates, add me on snapchat emilybonia, and follow me on Instagram emilybonia.

Welcome To Emily

I’d like to welcome my Friend Emily, who is going to become a contributor to my site.

Stay tune to her blog posts about her various on going posts and stories from her past travels.

Thanks for being a contributor !

England and Wales and Ireland -Day 2 and 3

It’s been a busy couple days I’ll break it down by day.
Wednesday May 10th 2017

The day  started out busy, we left London early in the am.

We had to have our backs out by the door for 6am. Our day was made up of a trip to Stonehenge in the morning and then a visit to the Roman baths in the afternoon. Late afternoon we made our way to Wales, to the city of Newport.

Thursday May 11th 2017

To day we visited. Cardiff castle, which was very interesting. It actually was a summer home for the Marquess of Bute. He was extremely wealthy , and when he built it the story goes money was no object.  His family’s wealth came from the coal and steel mines.
In the afternoon we headed to the ferry , which we are currently on. Its 4.5 hours total , we are about over half way though the crossing.

The pictures are from the view of the window and a picture of the lounge.
That’s all for now. Tomorrow we head to in to  Waterford, and then head to Dublin.

UK and Ireland Adventures Day 1

The first day of our trip is over and it was a great success.

Myself and my travel companions left St John’s at 10:00 NST time, the plane only had 38 passengers . I was able to have an entire row to myself . The flight was uneventful with a little turbulence but over all a smooth flight.  International flights are always better for food, they fed us a sandwich, and then breakfast in the am . Heathrow is as busy as always but we had no  delays getting off the plane or going though immigration. Our ride in to London took an hour, as we arrived right in the middle of rush hour.   The hotel is most impressive , staying at the Hilton near Edgware Road, beautiful hotel and service has been fantastic, the stay are their to help you do what ever it is you need. We had a rest once we got checked in, so a short nap was in order.   After our nap we went our exploring and ended up eating in this local diner , the food wasn’t to bad. After exploring the neighbourhood a little more , we  quickly realized that the standard maps app for the  iPhone is absolute rubbish. After a late lunch we headed back to the hotel for another break, to recharge my electronics and to download google maps which is so much better , its like night and day. After another rest and some chatting about possible plans for tomorrow we headed out again and had supper at a lovely pub.  I had a meal of fish and chips ,and a pint of Kronenburg 1664.  After a late supper it was time to call it a day. Tomorrow is a free day, with the exception of a  themes river boat and pub tour tomorrow night.
The adventure has just begun .

Coming Soon

Now that I am working full time, my travel time is very limited. However I still and will be forever had the travel bug, nothing will ever change there. I have decided to write profiles on all the countries i’ve been to. I have also decided to write about each different trip that I’ve been on. It will primarily focus on my trips to Europe.

-Country profiles will focus on talking about the country its self, the cities, food, currency and other interesting facts.

-Blog posts will talk about the different countries i’ve been to and my experiences  there.

Winter Vacation Day 4-Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is by far the best theme park I have ever visited.

It’s really a park that is for an older demographic , I would classify in the age group of 16+, although their is lots to do for younger kids, I think the older teens and adults would appreciate it the most.

It has shopping, rides , attractions and lots of places to eat.
Like every park it has it’s different areas. My favourite part was an area called Streeets of America .

It had a different street done up from the early 20th century, New York and  , San Francisco are the two that stood out the most to me. What I like about what Disney does is, they make all these fake type shops but with store front widows, it’s really pretty cool.

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Winter Vacation-Day 3

I don’t have much to report or any pictures to report. Our third we went to the Premiem outlets malls.Lots and lots of stores. They have everything you can possibly imagine in terms of shopping. They also have a food court which includes Five guys burgers and fries, which we had for lunch We went to a really good Itilan restaurant for supper. I had a really good pizza and a delicious Itilan beer.


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