Edinburgh, Scotland

According to my last post, I wrote something along the lines of I went to Edinburgh for a day. Let’s just say Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen in the UK so far. With all of its old architecture in place it is what makes Edinburgh beautiful.

The train journey from Newcastle to Edinburgh station was quite a nice journey. Having the train travel on the coast line and seeing the sun rise for the first time, it actually woke me up from my nap I was having on the train. It was just one of those rare moments which you had to watch. When I got to Edinburgh train station, I’m not going to lie but I did get lost on how to get out. Also the most tourist thing I did do was go cash machine and get Scottish money out.

The one thing I know from my experiences is that I meet really nice friendly people. And I met some in Edinburgh. They were genuinely lovely people. They were so helpful; they directed me to the right medicine for the cough even though I may not have understood the sales assistant’s accent. I swear Scottish people know when you’re not from Scotland, because I know we have different accents but they can also tell you’re not dressed for the weather. I got recommended to go to New Look since it had a 50% sale on its coats and jackets. The great thing is I didn’t even know they had the sale on till the shop assistant at Boots indicated it.

Once I was finally out of the station and got myself a jacket; let me tell you it is freezing up north. FREEZING! Okay, maybe I am exaggerating but it is colder than what I am used to. Nevertheless, you know when you say Scotland and I think about food the first thing that comes to my mind is the shortbread biscuits. They’re so nice to have with tea. And I was in the perfect place to buy them. The cashier lady was nice, she recommend what places to check out. She said I was lucky on the day I came, because the cannon ball was going to drop from Edinburgh Castle. Guess what. Your response what? Well I heard no cannon ball, I was told no matter where I was I would hear it. Lies I tell you. Lies. Or maybe the crowd was too loud and I didn’t hear it. However, I did visit the castle from the outside as it cost to go inside, and as a student I wasn’t going to pay.

The other place I visited was the museum. The museum was humungous. It was so big. It had so much stuff in it. The museum actually reminded me of the film ‘Night of the Museum.’ The museum is split in two sections. One section had all of Scotland’s history and the other section had skeletons of dinosaurs, life like animals, space and how technology has changed by the decade. I think it has to be my favourite museum of all time. I just really wished I had more time to spend in there.
I also saw Scotland’s parliament. I got to say it’s a pretty cool looking building. Not old as England’s House of Parliament since Scotland’s was recently built. It is just cool. You just have to go inside yourself and see the differences between the parliaments. It is just so more modern and up to date. The weird thing about it was that no one faces each other but all sit facing forward to the high Lord.

A bit of advice, you can’t do everything in one day. It is too much. There were still so many things I wanted to see and explore. I know next time I come to Edinburgh I plan on staying for a week. I want to go to a gig, go out at night and taste the alcohol. The great thing about Scotch whiskey is it’s more pure than 40%. You could get 55% and higher. I know I’ve mentioned alcohol in last few posts, but hey I’m 19, a student I’m exploring the world and I need to know what tastes good. I think if I was to move anywhere else in the UK it would be Edinburgh. It’s just a perfect place for me.

To Do: Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s Parliament, Museum.


Sunderland. Sunderland. I know I have wrote it out twice, because I have only been twice. I’ve always gone to visit one of my best mates there who goes to University of Sunderland. I guess every time I have been to Sunderland, I have never actually explored Sunderland.

The first time I went to Sunderland was only because I was going to Edinburgh. The second time I went was to see a bands play in Newcastle.

Well, what have I done in Sunderland? I have gone on nights out. I have been to Passion and Sumo. They are great alternative rock clubs to go to. In Passion everything is on one floor and they have four bars. The music is great and the club looks good. Sumo is where gigs happen but is also a club. It has one floor and one bar. It is pretty small compared to Passion. The great thing about Sunderland is that alcohol is cheap and tastes purer than any alcohol I have ever tasted in the south.

This is all I can tell you about Sunderland. But I know there is hidden beauty there which I will explore and find.

To Do: Go to Passion.


Yeah, I know when you think of Birmingham it’s the accents. The horrid Birmingham accents. Sorry Birmingham, but you got to admit the accents are horrid. It’s brash, heavy and just plain annoying. But as a city you’re great, it’s just the accents.

Birmingham is one of your prime locations to visit like London and Manchester. Birmingham is known for its humungous shopping centre called The Bullring. Yes I have got lost. And it is really hard to find the toilets. Well from Leicester it takes 40 minutes to travel by train and 1 hour by car. Is it worth the travel to Birmingham? Yes it actually is, if you’re a shopping fanatic. They have shops like Selfridges, New Look, HMV, Blue Banana; just your usual high street stores that you can get anywhere, but also shops that you would only find available in big cities like London, Manchester and Newcastle. Then outside of the shopping centre, there are more retail shops! For shopping fanatic this is a dream. Near all the shops there is the iconic Bull. And this is where Bullring has probably got its name from I think.

I remember from my long weekend in Birmingham, I had stayed in Travelodge which was located in China Town. I had Bullring up the street and the O2 Academy was a five minute walk. First of all China Town is amazing. I was just so amused by this one shop called Mr. Egg. Mr.Egg’s logo was an egg with arms and legs attached to it; I don’t even think it sold Chinese. I think it sold kebabs, pizza and chips. In China Town they do have the best Chinese I have ever tasted, I know should have expected as it was in China Town. It was cheap, customer service was nice, it was delicious and worth every penny. I forgot what it is called, but soon as I find out I shall let you know.

For a night out, if you’re into your mainstream music go to Broad Street. Broad Street is where the bars and clubs are. If you are worried about safety, I shall tell you a secret I was once told by a security guard. The secret was in each club on Broad Street there are at least five undercover police officers, as well as bouncers outside and police keeping the streets safe. However, I’d still say try and be safe if you are on Broad Street. If you’re into you rock music, ‘The Asylum’ is the one and the only club to go to. The club is in an abandoned warehouse and the bar staff are dressed up as nurses and doctors. There are two rooms; one room is a small bar area with retro gaming and the second room is the dance floor with a main bar and shot bar. On Saturdays they have special DJ sets which are one of the busiest days. If you’re thinking to go on a Friday, then don’t even bother. With only about thirty people it’s just useless for a night out, but at least there is no queue at the bar.
I travel because I want to see the world. One of my passions is going to gigs and
seeing bands perform. I have always attended the O2 Academy for gigs in Birmingham. I’ve been to Kerrang! Tour 2010, Kerrang! Tour 2011 and been to see All Time Low and The Maine. It’s a great place to go for gigs, but not going for an alcoholic drink. The O2 Academy will rob you of your money.

I like Birmingham, because it’s a main city for where gigs happen, but since I’m from Leicester I can’t even stay till the end of a gig because I have a train to catch. So if you’re going to attend a gig, stay overnight. I’ve always hated going halfway through the headlining act, because I mainly went for the headliner. However, I do love Krispe Kreme Doughnuts. They are magical and Birmingham does them. Apart from that, I hate shopping with a passion so for me Birmingham is only good in its gig department.

To Do: Bullring. For a night out Broad Street or The Asylum.

Surrey, Vancouver, British Columbia

Okay, so I have travelled to quite a few places. One of the places I truly want to talk about right now is Vancouver, Canada. I went to Vancouver in summer 2011. I didn’t go because I didn’t have anything to do; I went because it was my Cousin Pam’s wedding and I missed my cousins. I have always told Pam, I’m only going to come to Vancouver if you’re getting married. And she did last year. The wedding went well, if you were wondering. She looked stunning on her wedding day; it had been over five years since I saw all my cousins. So yeah it had been a long time.

The flight took me eight hours and the worst thing is I had drunk alcohol a day before. I tried new drinks that I never had before, like Tequila and Long Island. Very much to my taste spuds didn’t like them. I wanted to throw up but couldn’t. And I had an upset stomach all the way till I got to my uncle’s house in Surrey. And I slept soon as I got there because I wasn’t feeling well and when I woke up, I threw up. I guess the moral of that was don’t drink two days before you are going on an eight hour flight and a four hour drive. Or just stick to your usual drinks. Yes, I have learnt my lesson.

I remember coming out of the airport in Vancouver and across the airport there were trees. Big trees like they had been there over hundreds of years. Yes I am a nature lover. If I could hug the tree I would have. I guess that’s one of the aspects I liked Canada, it’s just so green and beautiful. So I have stated I was in Vancouver, but specifically I was staying in Surrey, British Columbia(B.C).

The biggest irony I found in Surrey was White Rock. White Rock is a beach, which has a White Rock on its shores. From what I have been told, when travellers of the sea came, they had bought a White Rock. Let’s say the ‘council’ did leave the actual White Rock, but of course people wanted to take it home, so they’d chip some off. The reason I say irony, because now the replacement is a massive rock that is painted white. People write on it, but all the ‘council’ will do is paint over it. They did have pier which was nice to walk on to the end and then see people jump off and then swim back on. I remember during my stay in Surrey, that oil was spilt accidently and it was contaminated. I remember seeing the disgusting water and how oil was washing upon the shores. I felt sorry for the creature of the ocean that felt their home being invaded by the substance. Also at White Rock there are railway tracks which I think was cool.

Then there is Grouse Mountain. You could both walk up the mountain and have the chance to see bears or get the skyride to the top. I took the skyride which you do have to pay for, but the stunning sights you see while going up is just breath-taking beautiful. I remember going through the clouds and being so high up, it didn’t scare you but seeing a stunning view made you forget about it. There is a lot to do on Grouse Mountain; you could zip line, watch a bird show, see the bears, watch the Lumberjack Show, paraglide, take a helicopter ride and just walk around. You could see a whole city from the top and the giant white clouds.

I did also visit downtown. It is for those who love to shop, you have big brands, small brands and Starbucks on every street. I would say I went to downtown for the Olympic Torch for when the Olympics happened in Vancouver. And I also saw the building for the Olympics. Torch is impressive architecture let’s see if London can beat it.

The one thing I really disliked about Vancouver was I couldn’t walk to the shops; you’d have to get a form of transport. Since I was in Surrey for three weeks, I didn’t want to get lost because I know I would. Apart from that I fell in love with Vancouver. Just being able to watch the sunset from the beach while having delicious ice-cream from the ice-cream parlour was nice. I tried root beer, it’s a no go. Their McDonalds is definitely different to ours. They have McChicken Sandwich Mayo in a sauce packet. You could get twice the size Big Mac that we get here; it was a heart attack in a bun. However, best of all refillable drinks which they should bring out here in the UK.

I guess if I had the chance to live in Vancouver I would, but remember the whole swallows like to fly back home. I think I could do it for a year. I love my cousins and I know I’d have a blast if I actually lived there. With Seattle just across the border to visit in the States, it would be amazing. It’s just so nature friendly, it did feel like home. I do miss it. I really can’t wait to go back. Touch wood, I’ll be spending summer 2012 there again.

To Do: White Rock beach, Grouse Mountain, Malls, Olympic torch. If you have a chance go to Seattle its only across the border.


Okay, so right now I’m at university. I go to University of Lincoln. Yes, I know what you’re going to say; it was on The InBetweeners movie. The university is a decent university. It has been moving up in the university league table in the past two years and is current No.67. So really it’s doing well.

When I first came to Lincoln, it was in 2010 I think and it was for an open day. I remember coming with one of my best friends who now attends this university as well. By the way warning for people that plan on catching a train from Leicester to Lincoln, it will kill you. It takes nearly two hours and nearly stops at every stop. There are no plug sockets to charge your electricals and no food services. Anyways, stepping off the platform and walking to the town centre I notice the rail track goes through the city. Don’t worry they have barriers for when the train is about to go past. So, it is a smaller city compared to Leicester. However, the one thing I felt, which I didn’t feel in Leicester was it felt safe. It felt homely.

Lincoln’s not a big city, but it isn’t small either. You have the Greggs, the Primark, the WH SMITH, Waterstones, Tescos so really Lincoln does have the basics covered. The only thing Lincoln doesn’t have is a H&M. That is the only thing I am deprived of, but touch wood; rumour has it Lincoln maybe opening one soon. For the fashion fanatics; Lincoln does have Top Shop, River Island and House of Fraser. I guess if you really want to go shopping, you’d have to visit the boutiques. If you walk up further on the High Street, you have the pubs, streets leading to the clubs and the little boutique shops. They are small shops, but they have really nice stuff that you know you won’t get in the High Street shops. My favourite shop in Lincoln has to be Goodies. Goodies is your good old fashioned sweet shop, it has little gift packages with sweets ranging from 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. The place has sweet jars all around with different sweets in and candy canes hanging off the ceiling. But my favourite part is when I pay every time, I love the vintage till. And the owner is so friendly to talk to as well, so really Lincoln does have friendly people.

Now the thing Lincoln is known for Steep Hill or as I like to think ‘Survival of the Unfittest.’ And why would you trouble yourself of going up there, well the beautiful Lincoln Cathedral. It’s a majestic cathedral. Breath-taking. Beautiful. Architecture has not at all been changed. There is a bus that takes you there, but everyone has to experience Steep Hill. You need to visit the boutiques, tea rooms, pubs all on the way up. Don’t worry when you do get up Steep Hill, there is more than the cathedral, there you have more shops and the information centre for tourists. I think it’s a bit idiotic for where the information centre is; I think they need a new location.

So I say visit Lincoln, you could probably visit it all in one day. There are things I dislike, but if I think about it I don’t hate this city. I feel comfortable staying here. It’s a beautiful city. Best of all I can walk everywhere since everything is in walking distance. This city makes me happy and for now I am happy to call it my home. It’s my temporary home, but it’s mine. That’s what you need when you’re away from your city you have originally come from.

To do: Visit Steep Hill, go to Goodies. Recommended night club is Home.


I love visiting new cities and just meeting new people. Isn’t that what life is truly about? Seeing new cities and meeting new people. I’m currently 19 and I have my whole life ahead of me. And I’ve just started university.

I’m from Leicester originally. Where is Leicester? Between Nottingham and Birmingham, in the middle of the two. I always have hated this city. Why? I guess I hate it when things are too familiar. I always need a break from it. Something new. Something fresh. The only thing I couldn’t get from Leicester was that adrenaline of seeing something new, that fear of being lost and never being found. It isn’t a bad city, it’s decent. We have a shopping mall. We have food chain outlets like McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Nandos and the list goes on. I think we only have one Burger King but hey who eats Burger King, it cost an arm or a leg nowadays.

You say Leicester, I say home. It’s where I was where I was bred and born. Now I’m not saying I won’t return to it. I will of course, I’m like a bird. And swallows always return home. I’m not saying I’m a swallow. I just love birds in general. They can fly anywhere they want to. They just have complete freedom. And I guess I etch for that.

Anyways back to Leicester. We have Guildhall. It’s been on “Most Haunted.” There is a belief that there is ghosts, a black cat on the stairs, a monk in one of the room and I think that’s it. This is all from my knowledge or of what I can remember. It was used as a jury room. I have to say the glass stained windows are really beautiful and the architectural aspects of the building are still the same since being built.

I guess the bustle and hustle of the city I do like, but I don’t. There is large TV screen in the middle of the town centre. Well the reason the council says it up is purely to update people on news and show what Leicester is doing. I remember from the world cup, it was Spain vs. Switzerland; you’d have people sit on the floor watching the match. Of course I did that, one of my best friends is a Spain supporter. Even when England played, people gathered in front of that screen, it just bought the community together. Even though people were fenced in, it bought them together, and nothing beats feeling like a caged chicken.

Let’s not forget Leicester’s parks. The ones I like are Abby Park and Bradgate Park. My favourite park is of course is Bradgate Park. You have the wildlife, the small waterfalls and it’s just pretty. If you want to go for nice walk, Bradgate Park is the one. You see deers and peacocks. The one thing I really want to do; is go to the highest hill where Lady Jane Grey’s castle use to be and sit there at night, watch the stars, see the sun rise and sun set. Bradgate Park is one of the parks which is still naturally preserved.

I say I hate Leicester, but I haven’t given a real reason. It’s not because of the people, even though we are known to be the most multicultural city in the UK. It’s not because there isn't anything to do. Leicester has history and it is fascinating, but Leicester isn't my city. It may be home for now, but it’s not mine. It’s not lack of shops. I guess it’s a personal thing. Leicester is beautiful, it is big, but it doesn’t feel like home. Yes I know I’m saying it is home but it doesn't feel like home. It doesn’t have the home vibe. Its not mine.

To do: Shopping in city centre, see Guildhall, go Bradgate Park. Nightlife is best on Fridays and Saturdays.