A Sunday Afternoon in the ByWard Market (Ottawa)

A Sunday Afternoon in the ByWard Market (Ottawa)

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After 17 days in rainy season Japan, here we are in an Asian resort with sun and sand at our feet; not to mention actual beds!! But, as always, after a couple of days, once we have sampled all the activities and gone to the pool a few times, we get bored. I am an avid reader so one would think I would love to sit on the beach or by the pool to read, but here are the problems with doing this: 1) need to find a shady spot, 2) even in shady spot, I burn, 3) need to find lots of potable water (coconut is great, but can be pricey and really, there just isn’t space for this large fruit on my small lounge chair), 4) need to find close toilet (and this is a whole other problem when one has a fitted one-piece suit, especially one that tucks in certain less aesthetic body parts), and not to forget, 5) sand everywhere!!!

So, you can imagine that after a couple of days, I’m ready to move on. This time, I tried to stretch my activities on the resort by having a lengthy body massage (in a proper spa room) the first day, meeting some employees of Justin’s on the second day (in a mall where we also went early to see a movie!), going to the gym with my son the third day and fifth day, taking two-hours dinners in a different restaurant every night and also taking long detours wherever we need to go. And, even though I am working for a few hours every day as well as reading books, I have never seen so many cooking episodes on TLC. I can truly say that I am fully ready to go home, red skin and all.

But don’t get me wrong, the resort is quite nice and they do offer many activities, I am just not one to go snorkeling, boating or fishing. And leaving the resort can be a bit scary. It did remind us of certain parts of India and our 14 km taxi ride took over an over in overcrowded, unkept roads. I probably would not come back here unless I was traveling to a destination in close proximity to Cebu, but if I were to come back, this resort is the perfect getaway… for a few days. And I must say that Filipinos are very charming and welcoming; this, I will actually miss!

So much to see, so much to do in London, but also in the beautiful surrounding countryside. Before I speak about the last few days in London, I have to write briefly about our amazing journey to Bath.

Early this morning we made our way to Paddington station and embarked on a train stopping at Bath Spa (what was known in Roman times as Aquae Sulis).


Bath falls – supposedly where the scene from Les Misérables (2012) of Javert jumping to his death in the rivert was shot!!


Upon arriving, we were instantly struck by its medieval Georgian beauty and amazed at the vastness of the city. We are told 80,000 people live in and around Bath even if the core itself is a heritage site, and therefore mostly deserted in the evenings.

We opted for the free two-hour walking tour of the city hosted by the Mayor’s Corps of Honorary Guides; volunteers who share their love and knowledge of Bath. Our guide Jack Smith, a true storyteller, kept us going with fascinating facts and stories about the city. It was our most entertaining bit (apart from the Globe, of course) in England thus far. The stories told of the high aristocrats sojourning in Bath during the winter months were most amusing all the while learning about the town’s architecture and medieval lore.

After the tour, we went to visit the Roman baths. This sight was a bit disappointing and at an especially high entrance fee. Of course, I’m saying this after having visited Rome, soaking in Budapest thermal baths and gone under Istanbul city for a view of the Basilica Cistern…


Roman Bath level

Coming back to the last few days in London, we walked endlessly around the city, visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, toured the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery (which was a first for both Justin and I).

With no specific entrance fee for museums, we are free to roam around for as little or as long as we want, leave and come back to view our favourite spots at another time when we are just walking about. We always leave a few pounds to support these wonderful institutions though and I must once again encourage everyone else to also do so.

Now, another one of our most thrilling outing last week was our attendance to The Taming of the Shrew at the Globe Theatre. From the musician-entertainers to the acting, from the venue to the energy of the crowds and the atmosphere all around, it was one of the best performances I attended (and I attended quite a few!). We were so enthralled by it all that we booked another play at the end of the week… A Midsummer Night’s Dreams.


A pre-show shot of the crowds and theatre as pics are not permitted during the play

And as an ending note, the British seem to be news people always reading posts, articles and local news channels on their phones and iPads while waiting for the bus or the tube. I have rarely seen people (even young adults) texting or playing games…. A most wonderful feature in my opinion.

Cheerio for now!