On the road again

Posted: July 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: deardiary, travel | No Comments »

So i promised many, many people that I would blog my trip and here I am 3 weeks in and i haven’t blogged at all. If you’re friends with me on facebook, google+ or twitter or foursquare then you’ll see some updates from me in all those places… but there’s something special about trying to write down your thoughts while travelling that a simple status update doesn’t cover. So here goes.

It may be strange to say, but even though I left Canada on June 21st, and am now into my fourth country (Iceland, UK, Holland, Germany), it doesn’t really feel like I’ve been travelling yet. Iceland was fantastic, but it was more a vacation than backpacking and for all but 2 nights since I’ve been staying with friends who have graciously let me stay with them in both London and Amsterdam.

Now, sitting in the bar under my hostel in Cologne, Germany I’m starting to feel like the trip is beginning for real. I’m nervous, excited, and I miss my partner something fierce… but with skype you’re never really apart from those you love even when you’re doing something silly like backpacking around the world for no apparent reason. 🙂

So. A quick recap to clear the cache and leave me ready for the road ahead.


I’m Canadian, and I come from a country with great wide vistas of unspoiled wilderness and I have been lucky enough to see some truly awe-inspiring landscapes in my own country, but Iceland is a whole different palette of landscapes. The colours, the shapes, the atmosphere is utterly unique and breath-taking. If you love dramatic landscapes you’ll love Iceland. Do yourself a favour and plan a couple guided excursions in the glacier region of the south-east of the island. You may think you can just go there yourself in the cheapest rental car available in the Keflavik airport, but they’re not kidding about needing 4×4 vehicles.

To top is all off, when you’re done with the landscapes and the sheer magnificence of the countryside, Reykjavik is a lovely Nordic city with great nightlife, world-class foodie level restaurants and fantastic shopping.

Oh, just one important note… bring lots of money, it’s expensive.


After a tearful departure from Iceland, with Moira heading back to toronto and me heading off on my own, I made my way to London to stay with Geoff. At this point my travelling starts to feel more like a personal episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, with Geoff bringing me to local haunts in Hackney, taking me to a Brazilian ju-jitsu lesson, a burlesque-comedy-cabaret featuring his fantastically funny girlfriend Lois-of-the-lane, and topping it all off having late night booze fueled deep discussions about political theory, monetary policy and art with our good friend Emily… well, it was a bit of a whirlwind of fantastic times with fantastic people.

After the weekend I made a quick stop over in Cambridge to visit the college of Sir Issac Newton, the father of modern physics and indulge my nerdery by otherwise soaking up the history of science through the several science focused museums in the area.

edit: photo album!

London, Canterbury and Cambridge


I left Cambridge, taking the overnight ferry departing from Harwich to Holland and went to Amsterdam to visit an old friend Chris. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with a bad reputation. The whole red-light district is really just a couple seedy streets, surrounded by a much larger ring of coffee-shops, hostels, and tourist trap stores and restaurants. If you’re going to amsterdam for partying those few streets seem to be the epicentre, but if you’re going to amsterdam for a bit of history and culture the whole area can be safely avoided. If you must see it, just to see, do what I did and go during a weekday afternoon to avoid the crowds of roving drunk men and women. I concentrated my time in Amsterdam on walking around at random looking at the buildings and architecture and visiting museums. In keeping with my science nerd theme I went to NEMO, the science museum in amsterdam (highly recommend, especially if you’re travelling with kids), the Artis zoo which hilariously had raccoons in one of the exhibits, FOAM a museum dedicated to contemporary photography and the amsterdam hermitage.

Aside from Amsterdam I spent lots of quality time hanging out with Chris, his partner Alex, and even Chris’s aunt Deb who was also visiting at the time. They live outside of the city in a small town called Zaandam, which was Holland postcard beautiful with small cobbled streets and old fashioned wind-mills and topped off by a town wide smell of cocoa as there is a processing plant there. We went for what will probably be my flattest bicycle ride of this trip, I watched my first ever F1 race (team Red-bull won), and generally enjoyed the luxury of staying with an old friend in his house.


Well this section is yet to be written. I’m going to work on getting some pictures from the UK and Holland sorted and posted and maybe write something about Germany next week (no promises).

There, my cache is cleared, and I have room in my brain to think about the upcoming parts of my trip.

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