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Reading, Rain Showers and Ale

Monday, July 29, 2013 @ 07:51 pm from England England
Day 33

It's been another day of taking it easy. With my ear plugs in and sleep mask on, I didn't wake up until about 9 this morning. I ate breakfast and then set out to buy my train tickets for tomorrow and do a little bit of grocery shopping.

I went down to the New Street train station and bought my train ticket for tomorrow. The train to Bristol was actually cheaper and it gets me there twice as fast as a bus would have. Taking the train was a no brainer. In order to avoid any ticket issues I wanted to have them purchased and ready to go before tomorrow.

After getting my ticket I went back to the Birmingham Cathedral park to read some more. The weather was still pretty nice so I spent about an hour and a half reading in the park. For lunch I went out and got a 99 pence baguette for lunch then read some more until the skies broke and it started pouring down rain.

I was quite a jog from the hostel so I dipped into a pub and had a couple pints while waiting for the rain to subside. When the rain looked like it was taking a break I left and got some soup and bread for tonight's dinner. When I was about 5 minutes away from the hostel it started pouring again. I ducked into a mall and waited a bit for it to let up again and then got back to the hostel.

Since I got back, I've just been reading, working and ate dinner a little bit ago. My train tomorrow doesn't leave until 11:45am so I can take it easy again in the morning. Bristol has a little more sights to see than Birmingham does so I'm sure I'll have some more photos to upload over the next few days.

Walking Around Birmingham

Sunday, July 28, 2013 @ 04:06 pm from England England
Day 32

I didn't even bother setting an alarm this morning. Can't remember the last time I didn't actually set one. Even without setting an alarm I was still up and out of bed by 8:30am. Not being in a hurry to do anything for once, I made my way down to eat breakfast, let my phone charge up for a bit and tried to catch up a bit on news.

By about 10:00 I was finally itching to go get some fresh air so I headed out to walk around the town. Everything opens late or not at all on Sunday so I was strolling through some of the main shopping areas without much action going on.

If shopping is your thing, Birmingham would be a great place to visit. They have some really nice areas outdoor areas and huge malls for shopping, eating and drinking along big pedestrian areas. I went down to the Town Hall and took some photos of some creepy looking statues then went over to the Birmingham Cathedral and read for a bit. The weather looked like it might rain so I walked around some of the indoor malls which were absolutely packed.

I found some nice benches in a relatively quiet area and read for a little longer before grabbing lunch. After lunch I went back to the hostel to shower and work on planning the next few days of my trip.

I don't really feel like messing with the hassle of packing up and dealing with traveling tomorrow so I think I'll stay here another day and then head down to Bristol on Tuesday. There are some nice walking and cycling paths around Bristol and it also gives me easy access to Southern Wales where I'll go after Bristol.

Wasting a Beautiful Day

Saturday, July 27, 2013 @ 06:10 pm from England England
Day 31

My plan yesterday was to stay at the hostel in Llanberis another couple nights so I could do more hiking and exploring in Snowdonia. Unfortunately when I inquired about vacancies at the hostel, they said they were completely booked. They called a few of the other hostels within bus distance and they were also all booked. Bummer.

Anything even remotely close to Snowdonia was completely booked (even the hostel I stayed at in Llandudno). I think everyone was taking advantage of the nice weather and heading to the parks. Lesson learned: If you're going somewhere awesome and it's near a weekend and you have nowhere else to be, book through the weekend!

What I had to do was head to Birmingham, England (the nearest biggest city within a day's travel). Since Llanberis was so remote, getting anywhere else on my prior list of destinations simply wasn't going to happen. I figured stationing myself in a large city will make it easier to plan my next move.

When I left Llanberis today, it was absolutely gorgeous outside! The weather was perfect for hiking, which made leaving even worse. I had to take two buses to get to Porthmadog, Wales and then I jumped on the train to Birmingham.

I bought my train ticket last night but there wasn't a ticket agent or ticket machine at the Porthmadog station, so not knowing what to do I got on the train. The ticket inspector on the train didn't know what to do with my confirmation number so he told me get off at a specific station where I could collect my ticket.

The train was hot and crowded. Eventually after 2 hours we made it to the station where I could get my ticket. I jumped off and got the ticket. When I got back on I actually had a seat I could sit at. Fortunately it was a little cooler where I sat down.

After another two and a half hours I made it to the bustling city of Birmingham. It's always quite the change going from a small rural town to a huge city. All the traffic and people and noise is not something I particularly enjoy.

I passed a huge open air market on my way to the hostel. I planned on getting something fresh there to cook with for dinner. After checking into the hostel, I went back to the market just in time for them to shut everything down. I was able to get some red peppers but that was it.

I just ran into two german guys who I hung out with for a night in Llanberis so we'll meet up for a few beers after we all eat. I think tomorrow I'll just hang out and get some work done. I've been needing to spend a day doing a real work session so this might be the time to do it.
Schobrunn Palace. Its the mini Versailles of Vienna. #vienna #europetrip2013
Fistral Beach #newquay #europetrip2013
Churros y chocolate. #valencia #churros #chocolate #europetrip2013
Enjoying some Italian wine out of a plastic cup on the old city walls in Lucca. #lucca #europetrip2013
Blackberries along the entire 16 mile trail. Unfortunately only a very few are ripe :( #europetrip2013
Quick run through Rome. #rome #europetrip2013
I'll Duomo. Too massive to capture in one shot. #florence #europetrip2013
Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre. #riomaggiore #europetrip2013
So amazing. #europetrip2013
#seville #europetrip2013

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Where I've been:

Good Evening… Planet Earth
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).

What's this about?

Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.

Who am I?

My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.

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