united kingdom

A little trip to Pwllheli, Wales…

Pwllheli, Wales

Whilst digging through my exchange photos, I came across some that I had taken during my exchange in 2013. As many of you know, I studied abroad (at Leeds University in England) during the 2013-2014 school year. I didn’t blog much (too busy traveling), but luckily I still have a backlog of photos that I can share with you.

I was invited to stay in Wales with my aunt and uncle since I wasn’t returning home for Christmas during my exchange. As my aunt and uncle typically live near Cardiff, it was a family tradition for them to stay at a seaside holiday home in Pwllheli, located in north western Wales. So, shortly after returning from a trip to Northern Ireland with my friend Lindsay, I took a train from Leeds to Manchester Piccadilly, to Chester, and then to Bangor.

 

Yes, I saved all of my train tickets from my 9 months in England… I’m getting quite nostalgic now haha. I arrived back from Northern Ireland on the 21st. Unfortunately my residence had turned off the heating as most students had returned home for Christmas. I was the only person in the building, which was very cold… Naturally, I caught a cold that lasted for 3 weeks 🙁

Most of the photos I took were quite personal. I spent that week with my cousins (in their 30s – 40s) and their children (aged 4 – 9), and I’d like to respect their privacy… instead, I’ll be showing you the beautiful landscapes!

The Welsh landscapes are absolutely gorgeous… lots of rolling hills and beautiful seasides. Our house looked out onto the sea, so beautiful….

Many of the nearby houses were painted! A nice touch for the seaside… Also, Welsh Christmas weather is beautiful! Feels like a Canadian April, haha. It was lovely not having to spend it digging myself out of 5ft snowbanks.

The inside of our house was very comforting…The English sure know how to do Christmas! Lots of decorations, sweets, and someone was always cooking!

Despite being surrounded by family, I did feel quite lonely. It was my first Christmas away from home. All my cousins were much older than me, and their kids were all quite young. Nobody my age, and a weak wifi signal… (Nooooooo!!!) I spent a lot of time taking walks or playing on my 3DS haha…

The children were very lucky! Santa was very generous this year…

 

On Christmas day, we drove up to a nearby town called Criccieth. My cousins participated in a rowboat race whilst the children and I cheered from the stands…

 Criccieth castle in the distance.

 

 The weather suddenly picked up and the waves doubled in size! Crazy crazy weather!
These photos are actually taken a day or two after, when we visited another port. I can’t remember the name, but it was beautiful.

Hope you liked this post… I’ll see if I have any other photos that I can dig up for a travel diary!

Have you ever been to Wales?

Thanks for reading!

xox,
Sachie


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york

Hiya lovelies!

Keepin’ in the swing of blogging with all of these travel posts! On Saturday, Lindsay, Christa and I took a little day trip down to York. I was talking to one of my flatmates about places to visit in England and she highly recommended it, so we bought a round trip, anytime off-peak ticket for only £8.10 (with out student rail cards). 

 

We ended up missing our first train by only a few seconds (but it’s ok because out ticket was an anytime ticket!) so we sat in Leeds station and enjoyed some ridiculously overpriced Starbucks. I think my new drink is definitely the Caramel Machiato!

The train ride to York was only 20 minutes! The weather was terrible (of course) – grey skies, very windy, random bursts of rain.

 

Both views of the bridge we crossed.
(Behind the scenes of me taking the photo, haha! Thanks Lindsay :D)

 Since York is a super touristy city, there were maps and information booths everywhere!
 Rememberance day is coming up – there was a statue and these crosses set up outside. People were also selling poppies. (The poppies here are different than the ones we have back at home – these ones were cardboard, whereas the ones I’m familiar with are felt.)
York Minster! We lined up to go inside but soon found out that the line was to a counter to buy entry tickets. (We assumed it was free, haha.) So we just stayed near the entrance and took photos. High ceilings and stained glass – beautiful!
Lindsay said something along the lines of “Constantine was here” except I heard “Constantine the Wizard”. It became a running joke for the rest of the day.
Headed down the little streets nearby known as the ‘York Shambles’. Took a walk down through Fossgate. The weather had took a turn for the worse so we decided to duck into a pub called ‘The Lion’s Head’.
It was dimly lit, so please excuse the bad photo haha! Surprisingly enough, this was my first time having a meal in an English pub (and I’ve been here for a month!) It was nice to have some home-style cooking.
 Clifford’s Tower. Again, we walked up to the top thinking we could get in for free (must be the student mindset) but there was an admission price. So we just stood up at the top for a while and looked out onto the city.
Across the street was the Castle Museum. We actually went inside (haha) because we wanted to visit a museum in York. Student tickets were £$7.50
 Exhibits showing toys from the 50s / a typical 50s style living room.
 Coffinmaker’s book of orders.
 Inside the museum, there was a replica Victorian street! The main street had replica shops that you could explore. There was also a back street that showed the living arrangements of the poorer folk. Photo on the right shows candles made of animal fat. One of the information guides said that those were candles made with the same method as back then. The room smelled sour and weird 🙁

 

There were also dungeons further inside the museum!
There were lots of cool exhibits – if you’re in York, I highly recommend going!
Decided on our next activity by flipping a coin – a tour of York’s chocolate history! York is the city where many large chocolate companies were founded, such as Terry’s Chocolate, Rowntrees, and some others who I can’t remember at the moment.
There were different stations that we were led through by a tour guide. At each station, there were tastings for the different methods chocolate/cocoa were prepared throughout history. At the last station, we got to make our own chocolate!

Prooobaably the nicest chocolate I’ve ever tasted. Super smooth and silky, we got to put our own toppings on it!

They decided to save their chocolate for after dinner but I couldn’t wait, lol
 Chocolate making demonstration where a chocolatier showed us how chocolate is prepared.
Makin it rain (chocolaaate) – We got to taste the chocolate he made as well! It had a dark chocolate shell with marshmallow and popcorn filling. So good.

Before heading back home, we passed by some of the ‘Illuminating York’ exhibits! Judging by what we saw, it looked a bit like Leeds Light Night. We probably would have stayed around longer to look at the exhibits but the weather was acting up and it was getting really cold. Walked back to York station and took our train back to Leeds!

York is beautiful! Hoping to go back again in the spring. 🙂

liverpool pt 2

Heyo lovelies! 

This post is a continuation from my last post! When Naomi and I booked our trip to Liverpool, we knew that we had to go on a Beatles tour! As recommended to me by somebody on twitter, we decided to go on the ‘Magical Mystery Tour‘.  Tickets were £15.95 each!


Most of these pictures were taken from inside the tour bus, hence a bit of reflection in some of the photos!

We had a lovely tour guide… He was actually the younger brother of Holly Johnson from Frankie Goes to Hollywood (as he said, “Liverpool’s second most famous band”)

 
Liverpool Cathedral – John Lennon auditioned to be a choirboy but was rejected! I think the tour guide said that later on, after the Beatles had reached worldwide success, the choirmaster still tried to take credit saying that if he had never rejected John, he never would have achieved his fame!

Row of boarded up houses aka “The Welsh Streets” because the streets all had Welsh names. One of these houses is where Ringo Starr lived. There have been issues as the city wanted to have the houses demolished, but doing so would destroy Ringo’s childhood home. It was eerie driving past a few streets up abandoned, demolished houses!
Pub which was featured on the cover of one of Ringo’s solo albums!
The ever-so-famous Penny Lane! Probably one of the most famous streets in the entire world. Another controversy- there was much debate as to whether the name of the street should be changed, as Penny Lane was actually named after James Penny who was an 18th century slave trader.
The childhood home of George Harrison (the one with the white flowerpot, in the middle.) George (like Ringo) came from very humble beginnings, living in this tiny house. Very cute with all the little buntings hanging from the wires!
Naomi is also a huge fan of the Beatles, and has the word’s from George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun” tattooed on her shoulder. Ironically enough, the weather had been super unpredictable and rainy a few hours before – the sun came out for this photo!
Our tour guide told us that when the Beatles would check into hotels, they never used their real names (to prevent stalkerish fans or paparazzi finding out their hotel location). George used to use the name ‘Arnold Grove’, in reference to the name of the the street he lived on!
Next – off to Strawberry Fields! Often, John used to climb into a tree by Strawberry Fields and watch the girls go past. His aunt told him that if he was caught, he’d get hung. So in the song, John sings “And nothing to get hung about, Strawberry Fields forever”
The gates and plaque themselves are covered in the name of couples.
I look gross because I was feeling sick that day. 🙁 The gates were beautiful!
Drove past the childhood home of John Lennon. He lived in quite a big house compared to George or Ringo’s! The sign reads
“John Lennon
1940-1980
Musician and Songwriter
lived here
1945-1963″
Got off the bus and walked to the next stop, which was the childhood home of Paul McCartney. Got distracted by this pretty kitty in somebody’s garden. I miss my cat 🙁
John and Paul didn’t live too far from each other – only a few streets away!
We also passed by the church where John and Paul met, and the graveyard where Elenor Rigby is apparently buried. Apparently the Beatles claim that the song is not associated with anybody in that graveyard! The locals say that John was a choirboy at the church, and the boys often used to play amongst the gravestones. They say that John often used to hide behind the gravestone of Elenor Rigby! It may or may not be true, but it’s still a nice story!
After the tour, we ran through the sudden crazy downpour to the Cavern Club. The tour came with free entry! The Beatles played over 200 of their shows at this club. It’s underground and was super crowded, with huge walls filled with Beatles memorabilia! We could only stay in long enough to peek around, then we had to run back to the bus back to Leeds.
Really hoping to go back to Liverpool again! 5 hours was not enough to fully explore the city!

Leeds Light Night 2013

Hi lovelies!

On Friday evening, a two friends and I decided to head downtown Leeds and check out Leeds Light Night! It’s basically a night where there are lots of live performances, art exhibits, street food vendors…etc. If you’ve ever been to art/super crawl in Hamilton, or any of the art events in Toronto..it was kind of like that!

I think I prefer going out to artsy events instead of going clubbing… More fun wandering around a lit-up city at night with friends!

 First we headed down to Trinity Square (main downtown shopping district.) Lots of beautiful arcades outdoor/indoor shopping areas. Wish we had more of these in Canada.

 I have spent way too much money in this mall. Damn you shopping addiction! ;_;
 Saw this ad (I think it was for Topshop or River Island or something) and omg laughed forever. Edited in the words haha, made the ad 200% better.
 Right outside of the main Trinity shopping centre, there is a little church. (I think it’s called Holy Trinity?) People were performing there. These two sang beautifully. The church was gorgeous!
 Decided to head over to the main city hall building, where many of the other events were taking place. Light Night had events all across the city.
 Art exhibits being projected onto buildings.
 Radisson was lit up with different coloured lights.
 City Hall had a big clock work image projected onto the front of the building! It was beautiful! At 10PM, different moving images of people dancing and merry-go-round horses popped up!
All of the buildings are so gorgeous! I definitely want to visit this area during the day time!
Also tried out a different way of editing my photos – what do you think? 🙂

Adventure to Kirkstall Abbey

Hello lovelies!

A while ago, a few friends and I decided to walk down to Kirkstall Abbey! “Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in Kirkstall north-west of Leeds city centre in West Yorkshire. It is set in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire.

 
It was quite a spontaneous trip – my friend (and fellow exchangee from Canada) Tabetha brought it up one day, and since we didn’t have plans (class hadn’t started yet), we decided to go on a little day trip! It was fun exploring Leeds, although we did get lost on the way there.


Cooking healthy meals (tacos lol) before leaving. I basically spend all of my time at my friend’s residence because I don’t have any friends at my own flat and it’s just more fun hanging out in other peoples’ kitchens.
 Leeds has some lovely,hilly landscapes! You wouldn’t really get this kind of view where I live, it’s mostly flat in Toronto. 
 CANADIANS OUT ON AN ADVENTURE! All of us (except Tom, the guy in the green shirt) are exchange students from the same university 😀
 Took a wrong turn somewhere and somehow ended up at one of Leed Metropolitan University’s pretty campuses! 
After trekking through forests and random residential streets, we finally reached the Abbey! Although by the time we got there, it was already 4PM and the abbey had closed for the day. :<
Oh well! Group photo anyway! 😀 It was a beautiful day!
The gates were closed, so we couldn’t go inside the actual abbey… We actually ended up returning to the abbey last Saturday because there was a market! The abbey is beautiful inside. 
Sat down and sketched for a while! The abbey had lots of beautiful roses growing in the gardens outside the gift shop area.
(taken when we went back the following weekend) – the inner halls were massive! Eerie to think that it was an actual abbey that people lived in hundreds of years ago.
 
Walking back in the evening – beautiful dusky glow~
 
More adventures to come soon! :]