surprise we're in york

so after much deliberation we've ended up in york. we took a train back to london to catch another train and bus to york. we've found a super cheap transportation company called mega bus. for £5 each we were able to train/bus from london to york. our train ride back to london from king's langley cost us £15.60. bizarro world. york is 3-4 times as far!

we've decided to shell out the big moolah for a b&b. this is the first time we'll be paying for accomodation since our trip began. wicked ;p we've had really good luck finding awesome people to stay with. the couple we stayed with in king's langley has offered to have us back when we come back to the london area. we were able to leave some non-essential things there like extra deodorant & toiletries there while we travel around for the next week. lenka, the girl half of the couple, had a ream of guide books that we pilfered through...absorbing as much as our little brains could handle. i borrowed the england guide and quickly managed to abandon it on the train to catch our bus. (note to em & j.r. - this is the first item that has been lost or forgotten...and it ain't even mine!)

jay is couchsurfing as i type this blog at an internet cafe. i was hoping to post some pictures but the computer doesn't recognize my camera. grrr. our nieces and nephew each drew a flat version of themselves for us to pose in photos from around the globe. flat penners & flat petroffs! we have an awesome one of my nieces, hannah, ellie and sasha, hanging out around jay's beer in the fighting cocks pub...and one of jay's niece and nephew, jane and owen, chillin' in the bromely garden with a gnome. guess you'll have to wait til we figure out how we're going to post them.

york is so gorgeous. i'm so glad we came. its surpassed my expectations. it has quaint cobblestone streets and a gorgeous cathedral that i'm itching to explore tomorrow. i was a bit of grump when it came to planning our excursion here because a) we had to leave early in the morning b) by leaving early we had to disrupt the sleep of our very gracious host, steve c) it was a 6 hour trip and d) we had no place to stay until we decided to make b&b reservations at 10:30 last night. now that i've been here for 1/2 a day i'm happy to say...i'm happy to be here.

well, i guess i'll finish my £5 mojito and join jay in surfing for couches.

p.s. lenka, if you are reading this, we've already secured a new and improved version of lonely planet's england :D


what to do, where to go

our indecisiveness is becoming an issue. maybe? we are staying with couchsurfing hosts in king's langley, northwest of london and we don't want to take advantage of their kindness and flexibility...but...we have no idea where we are going tomorrow. i mean, we have an idea. but we're not sure how we are to get there, how much it will cost or more importantly where we will stay once we get there.

i'm supposed to be doing research into this as jay cooks us all dinner. but, even when you travel your faults follow you. i am a procrastinator. so...the thoughts are that we will go to oxford, cambridge and york and then perhaps up into scotland if we can find a bus or train to take us there. i'd also like to see stonehenge. as of now it seems that ireland is off the itinerary as its too last minute...too expensive to swing it. i suppose at some point one has to say...there's always next time but when you are so nearby its frustrating not to be able to see everything.

...i feel like procrastinating just a bit longer...

london is gorgeous, big and overwhelming. there are way...WAY...more tourists here than in san francisco or nyc. and its expensive. yup, the rumours are true! we ducked out of london quickly as we needed to catch our breath after nyc and catch up on sleep. we managed to squeeze in a bus tour (i know...very touristy but i was tired and didn't want to walk everywhere) and the london tower before we head for the villages. the last couple of days have been very relaxing as we've slowed the pace down perusing england's home counties. yesterday we went to st. albans where we walked through a park that had roman ruins from 200 something AD, a gorgeous cathedral and up a hill to the town market. jay had a beer in the fighting cocks, which is reputably the oldest pub in britain. today we joined our hosts at a small festival near hemel and saw a large assortment of old cars & steam engines.

well, i best get on with the task at hand. (is it me or am i sounding more british everyday ;p)


p.s. photos have been taken and will be shared soon. ooooo i miss my macbook...sob


jet lag's a drag

feeling crappy today. 2nd day in england. i'm sure jay is getting tired of me being tired. this traveling is going to my head. and not in a good way.

falling back 2 hours to vancouver and then ahead 3 hours to nyc and then another 6 hours to london, 2 red eye flights with little to no sleep with in 8 days makes corina a grumpy girl. need to slow down the pace...soon



I'm writing this post with my iPod from Brooklyn in the apartment of a very nice man we 'met' on www.couchsurfing.com. What I mean is we've never physically seen this person but we've seen evidence of his existence. We've moved into his apartment, read his welcome note, we've slept on his inflatable mattress (as advertised on his CS profile), and we've stroked his little bunny (no, that's not euphemism for something else). From this evidence we've deduced he's a pretty cool cat! Hopefully, we'll get a chance to shake his hand and say thanks for his hospitality in person.

So...New York...actually...Vancouver then New York...it's somewhat appropriate that I forgot to mention Vancouver as both Corina & I forgot to do any planning for our visit to Vancouver. We knew that we would stay with Craig & Mathy and meet my new nephew, Yohan but beyond that nothing! That being said, Vancouver is not a city that one should slough off. It has everything under one roof...hiking in the mountains, going to the beach, or shopping in every store you can imagine!

One thing we noticed about Vancouver is that the emphasis is on outdoor activity...everyone seems quite fit & trim. No surprise that they won the bid for the 2010 winter Olympics!

We were looking forward to NYC but were just getting reaquainted with family when we had to leave. Corina fell in love with Yohan (who knew she had a thing for younger men?). We both enjoyed our time with Craig & Mathy and were sorry to have to say goodbye.

We arrived at JFK early Saturday morning with little sleep on the red eye from YVR. We'd prearranged with our CS host to pick up the key as he was at the beach for the day. We dumped our stuff at his place, grabbed a quick nap and we were off to explore midtown Manhatten.

We wandered the streets in typical tourist fashion, with camera in hand, gawking upwards. The highlights of the day were: Times Square (need to go back at night!), Grand Central Stn, the Chrysler Bldg, and touring through MoMA (saw Picasso, Cezanne, Rothko, Newman, Van Gogh, Matisse, Mondrian, de Kooning, Johns, Warhol, etc.).

Today was another day full of walking...map and camera in hand (Corina thinks I'm addicted to the map). We walked over the Brooklyn bridge, saw the Fuller bldg (the Flatiron, as it's more commonly known) & the Guggenheim and walked through Central Park.

We returned home to another note from our host who will be away for another night. I guess we'll have to keep his bunny company one more night. We don't mind though...now that we know his name...Santos.

We've found it difficult to stay on top of posting blogs as we only have this little gadget to write with. We'll make a better effort once we settle into this travel lifestyle, I'm sure.

Salutations from NYC,


interview @ royal lake

our good friends, emily and jason (a.k.a. j.r. as not to confuse the audience with too many jasons), had the idea that it would be good to interview us before we left and when we get home. the thought was quiz us now with our expectations and quiz us later to see if the expectations where realistic, met &/or exceeded. have a look (we apologize for the sound quality...next time we'll have microphones or do a voice over ;p)

for those of you who don't want to sit through 18 minutes of ums and uhs these are some of the highlights:

q: what city/country are you most looking forward to?
c: spain/barcelona because fascination with architect antoni gaudi, i want to experience his spaces...sit on his park benches...that will be way better than looking a photos in my design history text books
j: paris

q: what scares you the most about this trip?
j: nothing specifically...the potential for disaster?!? haha
c: the process of preparing for this trip has been the scariest thing so far. the unknown is scary...unfamiliar countries.

q: as an aside to that what about tsunami season in malaysia at christmas time?
a: jay is not scared of tsunami season and after j.r. posed this question i looked up tsunami on google and apparently there is no specific tsunami season as tsunami's are like earthquakes just under the water...unpredictable. the good thing is that we can change our flights accordingly if necessary.

q: what do you hope to gain? 
a: (lots of pauses here)
c: less stress, perspective on the world, expanded experiences
j: we are generally insulated in north america so this is a chance to broaden our way of thinking 

q: who will forget/leave their bag behind first?
c: usually we would say jay...but on our recent travel experience to san francisco i lost my bus pass the first hour i had it.
j: i think corina lost 2 or 3 things and she said 'is this what its like for you all the time?' and i responded 'welcome to my world'!
c: jay's absentmindedness may be wearing off on me. oh no!

q: who will stop shaving first?
c: jay
j: corina (repeatedly pointing at corina)

q: what is the dollar amount you have spent on your trip so far?
c: $12,000 - plane tix $5000 each plus gear, shots, clothes, travel insurance...
j: $13,000

q: how much will the trip cost?
c: we hope to keep it in at $35,000 including what we've already spent

-after looking at our bank account and our daily budget it may be closer to $42,000. eek.

q: what electronics are you bringing with you?
c: there is some indecision about if we should bring a laptop or an iPod touch or both. we have 2 cameras a digital SLR and a point and shoot.
j: i think we should get an iPod touch regardless.

q: are you bringing a hair dryer or straightener corina?
c: nope. i'll be going natural for a year. 

q: what comforts from home are you bringing with you?
c: hair conditioner!
j: underwear (smirk)
c: and a mini photo album of friends, family and our cats

q: who will be the first to check the prices for flights home?
c: neither - we'll hang out in california 'til the money runs out!

the end. stay tuned next year for 5 individual questions from each of us...filmed without the other one hearing the questions or answers...


2 more sleeps

its 2 in the morning as i write this...jay softly snoring in the single bed pushed next to mine, midge curled up in her tent (she loves it under the blankets when i put my knees up to create a tent), and jake snuggled up as close to my head as i will allow. 2 more sleeps. 



Border Crossings

Border Crossings is a visual arts periodical, it's cool, check it out but be warned it has nothing to do with this post.

On June 30th we decided to go down to the states to look for/pick up some essential items suspiciously missing from our packing list. Passports in hand we drive down to Grand Forks with no problems in spite of the fact we are unemployed and were asked what we did for a living..."Just doing some shopping for a year long trip we are going on". No problem, granted access to the land of the free and the home of the brave. After limited success in Grand Forks we set forth to Fargo (No, Joel and Ethan Cohen did not make this place up it really does exist). More stuff purchased and after 24 hours we are headed back to Canada, on Canada day. 

Assumption is a dangerous thing...#1 we are allowed to bring back $200 worth of goods FALSE: After only 24 hours there is a $50 limit. #2 We are allowed duty free alcohol. FALSE: After only 24 hours no duty free is allowed. (FYI, currently you need to stay a minimum of 48 hours and then our assumptions would have been correct*) #3 If a Canadian border guard lets you back in to the US to return your bottles you are O.K. to do so FALSE: You are not really supposed to be in the US he just did you a little favour so you could get your money back. #4 When the dude at the duty free tells you it O.K. to walk back 2 miles to get the actual refund (apparently he can only issue a credit) that it is really O.K. to do so. FALSE: Apparently you have just entered the US illegally even tho' you did not know this, and you get picked up the by US border patrol.

Thinking about it for more than a moment of course I entered the US without going through customs (D'oh!). After explaining myself to the Border guards and maybe a half hour wait the very understanding North Dakotans let me off with a warning (However, I did feel monumentally stupid). Lessons learned: the whole ASS out of U and ME thing that's true...Also don't criss cross willy nilly international borders...not a good idea...ever. 

*please do not take my word for this and always check what you are and are not allowed to bring back...


Posts are a-comin'

Hey, cats and kittens, don't you worry none, we haven't fallen of the face of the earth we just took a short sabbatical to commune with nature...Adventures have happened...Stories will be told I promise. We will give the people what they want. More us! Stay tuned, we're about to drop it like it's hot. (yah, I know lame.)