A Travellerspoint blog

Photo Week

Day 10~14

From Monday to Friday, I worked the lunch hours and when it wasn't raining, went out to take some pictures of the island. Thursday I was supposed to go to another island because I had the day off, but it ended up raining. Here are some of the pictures from this week.

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Posted by Traveling Tiff 16:19 Comments (0)

A Birthday and a Beerfest

Day 6~9

On Thursday it happened to be my host's birthday, so after the day was done we had a barbecue and celebrated with some champagne and birthday cake. It was a quiet celebration and we went to bed at a very reasonable hour.

The cake Tash's mom made for her.

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The next day I spent on the beach and then headed back to the cafe. It was my first experience working the bistro, which is the dinner reservation night. It was busy, but not too busy. I helped prep food, serve and bus tables.

Saturday was our big night out. We had some pasties, basically meat pies, while we waited for Tash's brother to finish dinner. He has a small boat and agreed to take us to Tresco for the beerfest that night. We hurried down to the quay when we heard his quad start up and met him there. It was a chilly ride, with the wind at our faces, but it was gorgeous watching the sunset across the water.

This was a church on the way to the pub.

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The "beerfest" was the quietest one I've ever been to. Basically, all it meant was that they had more beer on tap than they usually do. There was also a band playing. We had a few drinks, but closing time was 11 o'clock. Coming from Korea, where the bars never close, and Canada where the closing time is 2 o'clock, I was kind of shocked to find out how early pubs close. I guess they are just being responsible? Once we got everyone together, we walked back to the boat using Julian's extremely bright flashlight app, which lived up to its name. On the boat ride back, I got to see marine phosphorescence for the first time! It was a really neat experience. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures, although I don't think they would have turned out a the speed we were going anyways.

Sunday was a lazy day. I had caught a cold and didn't feel up to much, so I just read in bed and did some laundry and cleaning for the day.

Posted by Traveling Tiff 11:42 Comments (1)

Island Exploring

Day 5

The next day I woke up a little later than expected, but I was still adjusting to the jet-lag. I had the afternoon off and got to go to the beach for a bit in the day. The beautiful white sand beach was almost uninhabited, making for a very relaxing afternoon reading and basking in the sun. I also wandered to the other side of the beach stretch and climbed a hill to take a few pictures. After my lazy afternoon I went back to the café to help work the bistro. I helped to prepare food and observed how things are done, so that I could take over for Julian on Friday. It was very busy, but not too difficult and I even got to keep some tips when the night was through. Once the last customers were gone, we cleaned up a bit and went to bed not too long after.
Here are some pictures from the day:

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Posted by Traveling Tiff 07:24 Tagged scilly Comments (0)

Arrival to The Isles of Scilly

Day 3/4

The bus ride itself was fine; we left at 5:30 and arrived around 1:30 a.m. I couldn’t sleep, of course, so I was pretty tired when I arrived. Myself and two other passengers got off at Penzance, the very last stop, and they hurried on their way, clearly knowing where they were going. I was at the bus station.. which was more of a stop than a station, and on my own in a ghost town. It was freezing out and there was nowhere indoors to go nearby, so I thought I should start walking toward the ferry station. I followed the signs, and they led to nowhere, because there was also no ferry station, just the dock. Luckily I saw a sign that was for a 24 hour taxi service, which I called to help me find a place. About 20 minutes later, the rain had just started when my taxi pulled up. I had called the YMCA and had no luck, so she suggested a hotel down the road. I was cold, wet, and exhausted at this point so I didn’t really care how much I paid. Luckily, it was half the price she had assumed but still more than I would have normally wanted to pay for less than 5 hour sleep. I got there, unpacked and slept for a few hours. Even those few hours really helped.

Day 4

I got on the Scillonian ferry bright and early to St. Mary’s and then onto another ferry to St. Martin’s, the island where I’ll be staying with my host for two weeks.

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This time, I am staying with a host through the helpx.net website. This site gives unique travel experiences where you can go and help people in return for free accommodation and usually food. Some places are organic farms, some are hostels and bed and breakfasts, and in this case I am helping at the café of an eco cabin vacation rental. The eco cabin’s power is supplied by a wind turbine and solar power and also hosts a wormery to recycle waste.

Natasha is my host, and her café and food are wonderful. I am doing some basic help serving and in the kitchen at the café a couple hours a day and get to stay on this amazing island for free. The cabin I am set up in is fully equipped with a shower, bathroom, small oven, fridge and microwave. Natasha has lived here most of her life, apart from attending University, and runs the café next to her parents’ rental establishment. Her parents keep busy running the farm, a shoemaker’s shop and other businesses, even though they are “retired”. They have a wonderful way of living here and it is a very peaceful getaway and a close-knit community. The whole island only takes about 4 hours to walk around, so it is quite small, and there are boats to the other islands each day.

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Scilly is one of the largest island archipelagos in the world with five bigger islands and many small islands and rocks surrounding them. The main islands are St. Mary’s, St. Martin’s, Tresco, Bryher and St. Agnes. Each has white sand beaches and unique wildlife to offer including puffins, seals and dolphins. The biggest island, St. Mary’s, hosts between 1800-2200 residents and is the starting off point if you want to visit the other “off islands” like the one I am staying on, St. Martin’s. Tresco is another island that is a little more sophisticated than the others, with expensive and luxurious accommodation and a running pub. Bryher and St. Agnes are smaller than the others but both have beautiful landscapes and their own unique charms.

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When I arrived on St. Martin’s, Julian, the other helper from Germany, picked me up on a quad and brought me across the island to the Little Arthur cafe. I met Natasha, had some lunch and went to take a nap since I was still quite tired from traveling. I slept and woke up to get some fish and chips at Natasha’s brother’s restaurant, just down the hill. The food was delicious and we stayed around to chitchat for a while over wine with her family. I couldn’t chime in too much, but I was happy to sit quietly and enjoy their company. I was also happy when it was time to leave because it was getting hard to keep my eyes open.

Posted by Traveling Tiff 07:03 Tagged ferry little penzance arthur scillonian scilly st.martin's Comments (0)

Surfing London

Day 2/3

After months of planning, I finally arrived in London! Well, the Heathrow airport at least. I got into the airport and got my SIM card right away. That was extremely easy, and then I headed to catch the tube. I got my Oyster card and topped it up, only to somehow lose it and or have it stolen later that day. Oh well, you win some you lose some, or ...you get some stolen. I got on the subway and followed my couch surfing host’s instructions and found the McDonald’s we were going to meet at. I was quite early so I sent him a message to let him know. I was happy when he came early to pick me up because I was exhausted and also surrounded by some strange customers. We walked a short distance to his flat, which was on a street lined with charming split level apartments. I took a nap from then until about 3 p.m., which I desperately needed and wasn’t too happy to be woken up from. I was glad he woke me up in the end because we got to cover a lot of ground that day. My host, Tanveer, was a really nice guy, originally from Bangladesh. He has been in London for a long time, previously attending Oxford University and now is working as a Pharmaceutical consultant. He travels a lot for work so he isn’t in his apartment very often, but when he is around he enjoys hosting travellers.

After I woke up and got ready, we headed out on the tube to get some late lunch at Nando’s, a chain that specializes in chicken dishes. He was kind to treat me to dinner and act as tour guide as we walked around the town starting at Oxford Circus, a big shopping district and crossing the pedestrian bridge over the Thames, seeing the Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar square along the way.

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Later on, we met some other couch surfers to see the open-air concert in the square. The London Symphony Orchestra played to a huge audience. At one point, they even had the crowd join in with their keys. It was getting chilly, so we decided to head out. We were going to walk to a different area, but ended up going to a Korean restaurant for dinner all together. The other couch surfers were Korean and Slovakian. It was a nice night and the people were fun to spend time with. Once we were finished dinner, Tan and I were exhausted and wanted to head home, so we separated and went on our way. Tan had a last minute business trip for Paris in the morning, so I packed up my bag and went to sleep.

Day 3

I did not sleep very well at all and would have loved to stay in bed all day. Unfortunately, that was not an option. Up and off we went to catch the tube together, and we separated at King’s cross, where Tan left to get his train to Paris and I continued on to Victoria station where I stored my big bag for 10 pounds for the day. From there I walked to Buckingham Palace, through Hyde Park and down to Oxford circus to get coffee and sit for a while to rest my foot which has been in pain for the last two days. I think it has something to do with the 10K race, hopefully it will go away soon and I don’t have to worry about it for the whole trip. It could be very unfortunate if it persists to be painful for the remainder of the trip.

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After sitting in the café for a while I realized exactly how tired I was and decided to look up hotels with day-use rates. This is coming more and more common these days in big cities that have business people traveling in and out. I looked a bit on my phone and found a Holiday Inn nearby and decided to check it out. I walked there, slowly with my feet, especially one foot, lugging through the mud of sleep deprivation. I arrived to ask about the day use rates, which they do have, but the whole hotel had been booked! The receptionist suggested I walk up the street a bit further to another hotel. I figured I would give it a shot and headed out. There, I was greeted by a massive lounge filled with chandeliers and very nicely dressed people. Sticking out like a sore thumb with my backpack and disheveled appearance, I proceeded to ask for what I wanted. I’m not sure if the staff there is just kind, or they saw how worn out I was and took pity on me, but they were very helpful. The hotel was obviously way out of my price range and they gave me advice to go to another area near the train station I had stored my bag at.

I didn’t have much of a choice at this point and I knew I had no energy to salvage the day and find a tourist attraction to go to. I walked back the way I had come from that morning and saw a lot of people laying in the grass at Hyde Park. I thought this could be a good solution to my problem and decided to join the crowd. I didn’t actually fall asleep, since it was a bit chilly in the wind, but it was nice just to lie down and rest for a while. I remembered that I needed to print out my ferry ticket, annoying but had to be done, so I thought I would go back to the train station and see if there was somewhere to access a computer and printer. The handy-dandy information booth man led me to an internet café and I was in and out in a few minutes. I grabbed some McDonald’s because I hadn’t eaten for a while and sat down to check emails. I then thought about the station I was in and realized that I had only seen trains, not any buses… hmm.. is there another area I needed to go to? I better ask because if so, I needed to hustle. I was right; I wasn’t in the right station. I quickly headed to the luggage hold to grab my big pack and head on my way. The directions I was given seemed pretty easy and I followed the signs, only to be sitting in the parking lot of the buses. I asked a driver, who didn’t tell me where to go but that it wasn’t here. Great, so I followed the bus I knew I needed to get on and found myself up the street another block and in a completely different building. Thanks information man! Luckily, I was there early and didn’t have to stress about getting on the bus at all. I chose the megabus to get to Penzance because it was the much cheaper option than the train. Next time, I will definitely take the train! Next post, I’ll tell you what happened.

Posted by Traveling Tiff 06:49 Comments (0)

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