26.3.06 15 °C
I have spent the past few days getting over my jet lag. It's surprising how the time difference can really take a toll on you. In between sleeping late (ohh ya be jealous!) and organizing my stuff, Rich has been taking me around Southampton. We've been to town a few times, and although I say "been to town" as if I'm living in a small village, it's really not. It's quite urban in fact, more so then I thought originally. Town is only a 15 minute bus ride away, and yes the buses are all double deckers! The bus and train systems here are really fantastic. We went to downtown southmapton and checked out the mall. It was pretty much the same as home, even went to Aldo and Levi'.
Right outside the West Quay Mall theres an old Bargate from the medieval era. It's currently being restored so we couldn't go through it, but it's cool to see so much history even in a modern areas.
I had my first pub meal on Friday, at a place called Giddy Bridge Pub. I now know why English people are infamous for not tipping. You have to go to the bar and order yourself, get your own condiments and drinks and then the barstaff just come over and plop your food down for you. You even have to pay as you order so there's no waiting around for the bill. It was odd but can see the convenience of it. As well as the food was so cheap and damn good. What I got a laugh over was you can order a burger combo and have a choice of beer or wine as a drink!! Only in England I suppose. Also, you can still smoke in the pubs and most restaurants!! That was a treat, and yes I'm still going to quit I have 5 more packs of my Canadian cigarettes to finish ;-)
Giddy Bridge Pub
The weather has been really warm, as compared to when I left Toronto. It's been around 15 degrees for the most part but of course it's been raining like mad. I expected it but my lord it's a cold rain. I totally understand the dampness everyone talked about as well, my bones have been aching in places I never felt before! I bought an umbrella and the first day I used it, It turned inside out and broke. Damn those £2 umbrellas.
Southampton is the port town that the Titanic sailed from. There are many monuments spread throughout the city honouring the crew, the engineers, the musicians, the postal workers,and of course those who perished in the disaster. It's quite interesting. Theres a walk that takes about 1.5 hours and goes around the diferent monuments. I haven't done it yet, but i did come across the engineer's monument in town the other day.
Today Rich and I and his housemates, Jodie, James and Pete took a drive about 20 minutes out of Southampton to a place called New Forest. The New Forest was created as a royal forest in 1079 by William the Conqueror for the hunting of mainly deer. It covers almost 300 square kilometres. It's a national park where people can hike, camp, picnic and ride horses. There are wild horses and deer that roam freely. There are also people that live in towns within the New Forest area. There are alot of old historic cottages, pubs, shops and beautifully restored old houses.
Although it was raining, we all just bundled up and took a hike on the path through the park. Of course, since I'm sooo not a hiker and outdoorsy person I had to borrow some hiking boots from Jodie! lol. And I havent had a chance to get a proper rain coat, but my Canada hoody kept me warm!
Me enjoying a wonderful english day!
This is an old Thatched Cottage from around the late 1800's
Jodie & James exploring the riverside
Richard on a Bridge
Before we headed out to the park, we stopped in a town called Brockenhurst and had lunch in a real english pub. Since it's Sunday, a popular thing to do is to head to the nearest pub and have a Sunday roast dinner. I'm talking a big fat plate of beef, yorkshire pudding, carrots, roast potatoes and lotsa gravy. It was sooo good. That's definalty a tradition I can keep up and it also made me a little less homesick for my mom's sunday dinners. A little, but not completly!!
Foresters Arms (this is where we had the yummy roast dinner..it's very small but totally quaint)
So that's what I've been up to the past few days. Richard and I plan to head to London early this week for the day and visit Buckingham Palace, The London Tower, Big Ben and the houses of Parliament, the London eye and everything else we can fit in! Tomorrow we're headed to Portsmouth (a town about an hour away from southampton) and visit a shopping centre called Gunwarf Quays. Its basically an outlet park place. I want to find a proper rain coat and Rich hasn't been there yet. Jodie also told us that HMS Victory is there, which was the Admiral Nelson's ship in the Napoleonic wars about 200 years ago. So we're going to do a little sightseeing there as well.
Lots of little day trips around, but I'm loving it. It's definalty a little different here especially the food, and the washing machines,(yes yes laugh!) but I'm getting used to it one day at a time.
Here's a great resource for the history buffs to check out the historic sites within Southampton.