Oh What Fun it is to Ride

Relying on public transportation in London was one of our best decisions. I’m sure there would be advantages of renting a car if we were staying long enough to travel beyond London, but for sightseeing and staying in London proper buying an Oyster card is the way to go. 

Oyster Card

You can buy an Oyster card at the airport, an underground station, or a convenience store (look for the Oyster card logo). The Oyster card is incredibly flexible, and I’d recommend you take a look at the website to navigate what will fit your trip best.

We chose a weekly pass that was £40 each and covered the actual card (£5 which can be refunded), buses, and underground zones 1 and 2. It can also include a boat that travels on the Thames, but it ended up not fitting into our day trips, but here’s their website and a bit more info on how it works with the Oyster card and its routes.

The underground is so convenient and puts public transport in BC to serious shame. It took us everywhere we needed, the station was incredibly close, and we didn’t need to navigate traffic in London, like parking, driving on the other side of the road and in the other side of the car, the actual craziness that is London traffic, as well as the fee that, according to the Canadian Government website, they charge to drive in central London during the week. 

Speaking of which, I would check out the .gov website on travel to wherever you’re going for important little tips.  

The buses are also convenient and pair nicely with the trains. Try to find seats at the very front at the top. Watch the traffic and be thankful you’re not the one driving in it. 

Southern Railway

If you’re flying into London via Gatwick, there’s no public transport from the airport to London proper. So to get to Clapham, the best option we found was via the Southern Railway. Fares were £25 each (including return fair) and the departing and return times are flexible. The station is at the south terminal, but there’s a shuttle from other terminals. You can purchase tickets online in advance and print the tickets at the South Terminal.

EuroStar

Having never been to France, we could not pass up the opportunity for a day trip to Paris. The train ride via EuroStar leaving from St. Pancras was only 2hrs and 20 minutes, and really, how often are you that close to Paris? 

We took the underground to St. Pancras early and arrived in Paris by 10am. We bought the tickets online, allowing for extra planning and budgeting. The prices are not fixed! Meaning if you keep an eye out and buy early, you will get better prices. Treat it like buying airfares.

If you’ve been to Paris and don’t want to revist (unlikely?!), EuroStar offers more destinations. I’d say it’s totally worth it. 

Iceland

Iceland was a completely different scene. We rented a car through Expedia, which included the insurance already. Check with your rental company first to make sure what’s included and what is not.

Driving is relatively similar to here. Some key differences: cars are often manual, though they do have automatics available; most cars run on diesel; lights turn yellow then red then yellow then green. Yellow means get ready, to stop, or to go. Cool, right?  

I think that’s it! Any other questions you may have feel free to comment below. Happy travels!

Location, Location, Location

To start off a few posts on our recent holiday, I will begin with a bit about the technicalities of the trip. For example, where we stayed.

Our main resource for finding a hotel was Expedia. We didn’t look into hostels. We did look into Airbnb’s, but, mostly because of personal preference, it just wasn’t meant to be for this trip.

On Expedia, Vini found Euro Hotel in Clapham (a district of London). The price was right, the location excellent, and it had free cancellation just in case.

A bit about Euro Hotel Clapham

It’s very simple. Don’t expect luxury, king-sized beds, plush towels, a range of channels, or complementary anything. It’s a clean room to sleep in and come back to. It’s a warm shower after a day of walking. Our room was very well-lit, which is different from most dimly lit hotels, and very colorful! 

Recent reviews complain about the size of the rooms or about hearing other guests. It truly is small (the bed filled the room), but it was honestly comfortable enough. It’s true, you can hear others coming in or going out, but not enough to bother. If hearing people going into or out of their rooms bothers you, you didn’t walk/see/do enough that day. Go back out and only come back when you’re wiped!

The staff were accommodating and nice. And of course, the best part gives sense to the title of this post. The hotel is, at most, 5 minutes away from the underground (train/subway/metro/tube?). There are 3 Clapham stations: Clapham North, South, or Common. Get off at Clapham North, and you’re almost at the hotel. It’s also 5 minutes in the same direction away from a Tesco (groceries!).

Right in front of the hotel is a large park–Clapham Common. Go to Tesco the night before for some scones and some strawberry jelly (if you get the store brand, the full jar of strawberry jam is £0.28!). Cross the street the next morning and sit on a bench in front of the pond and have your breakfast. Just beware of the very hungry water fowl. 

Clapham has it’s own little center with shops, restaurants, pubs, etc. just a 10 minute walk away.  It’s a very central location without the cost of staying smack dab in the middle of London proper. 

I definitely recommend it if you’re traveling solo or with a partner and looking for a place to leave your things, shower, and sleep. I don’t know what they offer in terms of larger bedrooms so I wouldn’t recommend it for families. 

A bit about Hótel Vellir

Again through Expedia, Vini found a hotel in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland. It was 15km from the airport and on the way to our day trips outside of Rejkjavik. 

Hotel Vellir was much more spacious than our London Hotel. The room and bathroom were relatively large, wifi, breakfast, and parking were all included. And boy did we get a good sleep. Icelandic beds are crazy comfortable. I still think about that bed sometimes. 

The hotel is also close to a Bónus (groceries!). Bónus stores are discount grocery stores, and you can find your basics there. However, they close crazy early. Never fear, there’s usually a Kronan nearby. It’s Bónus’ fancier cousin and is open ’til 9pm. (But, of course, check times before you go.)

There were two things that were advertised on our flight and we ended up falling prey to once we arrived: Icelandic yogurt: isey, and Egils’ Malt & Appelsín.

BUY THE YOGURT! Buy the apple one. Yes. Apple. I don’t want to overhype it, but I must say it blew.my.mind. We had it every day, and I am incredibly sad we don’t have it here. The Malt & Appelsín is a drink: malt and orange soda. I don’t know. It just really works. 

For those of you heading out to Iceland or London in the near future, I hope this helps some! Any more details/help I can offer, let me know!

More on transportation next time. Thanks for reading along and for the questions! It really helps me know what to write next. Keep them coming!

#thegirltravels – Chicago

Portugues.
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Many months ago when we first bought our plane tickets to Brazil after two years sans far away travel, we were stoked to book a ticket that gave us a day in Chicago on the way back.

“Oh! What a great chance to leave the airport and roam around Chicago!”

But after over a month away from home, miles and miles of road trips, a 10-hour flight behind us, and a 5-hour flight ahead, ten hours in Chicago didn’t sound as appealing anymore. To top it off, I was finally succumbing to the cold that had been following me around. Time to get sick and be over with it.

But there weren’t any earlier flights to Vancouver from Chicago. So we checked our bags, compressed our carry-ons, I swallowed some cold medicine, and we took the train from O’Hare to downtown.

That day ended up being a complete Continue reading

Vegan Vanilla Pancakes – Panquecas Americanas Veganas

A long time ago I pinned this amazing, easy recipe for fluffy, quick, and vegan pancakes. I am so glad that I saved it on an index card in my recipe box, because I looked for it again online, and it has

vanished! The pin linked to a website called “mylittlecelebration“, which apparently doesn’t exist anymore. 

I am going to share the recipe here below. It is not mine, but I do enjoy it immensely! It’s my go-to recipe for fluffy deliciousness for brunch (or dinner sometimes…shh). You need a trusty pancake recipe in your culinary repertoire. So here we go…

Ingredients 

1 cup flour*

1 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp baking powder
Continue reading

A Bit of Real Life

Português
Today I’m going to share a little bit about real life. Are you ready?

I had been wanting to remove the carpet in our apartment ever since before we moved in. It wasn’t terrible, but the idea of living on carpet that had been here for who knows how long, plus you can’t really truly clean carpet, didn’t 100% appeal to me.

Last month my wish finally came true. We chose a beautiful replacement and after a week of mess, our floors were installed and everything back into order. We loved how easy they were to clean, the way they looked and felt. Nice.

Thirteen days later I was doing laundry when the washing machine simply decided to continue filling and filling and flooded. By the time we saw it had already affected a large area of the living room and the back closet that shares a wall with the laundry closet. We spent that evening using up every dry towel and cloth to clean up as fast as possible. We put fans and heaters on…

When I told my grandpa about our little misfortune, he replied with “In all things God be praised”.

We contacted the floor guy that had been hired by the flooring company to install our floors. We had become friends and found out we are almost neighbours. He came to take a look and found the early signs of mold underneath the boards, despite our best efforts.

We had two options. Take care of it ourselves or involve our insurance company (pay a deductible and have a claim on our record, which would disqualify us from future insurance discounts).

Robert, the floor guy, offered to do the repairs for less than our insurance deductible, meaning we didn’t have to file the claim.

The flooring company had overestimated the amount of material that would be needed and had to readjust our quote. The amount they returned ended up being $7 short of how much the repairs will cost. In other words, the repairs will not really go outside of our original flooring budget.

Yes, grandpa. God be praised in all things. Even in our messes.

Shared on my InstaStories:

Português
Hoje vou compartilhar um pouco da vida real com vocês. Preparados?

Desde antes que nos mudamos para este apartamento, eu queria tirar o carpete. O carpete nao era horrivel, mas a idéia de morar com um carpete que estava aqui por muitos anos, além do fato que não da pra realmente limpar carpete, não me agradava muito.

No mês passado meu desejo finalmente se tornou realidade. Escolhemos um lindo piso novo e depois de uma semana de bagunça, nosso chão novo foi instalado e tudo voltou a ordem. Nós amamos.

Treze dias depois eu estava lavando a roupa quando a máquina de lavar roupa simplesmente decidiu continuar enchendo e enchendo e inundou. Quando fomos ver, já havia afetado uma grande área da sala e o closet que fica de tras com o closet da lavanderia. Nós passamos a noite toda usando uma toalha seca e um pano para limpar o mais rápido possível. Colocamos ventiladores e aquecedores …

Quando eu contei pro meu avô sobre nossa pequena desastre, ele respondeu “Por tudo Deus seja louvado”.

Mandamos uma mensagem para o homem que havia sido contratado pela empresa de pisos para fazer a instalação na primeira vez. Tinhamos nos tornados amigos e descobrimos que somos quase vizinhos. Ele veio para dar uma olhada e encontrou os primeiros sinais de mofo debaixo das tábuas, apesar dos nossos melhores esforços.

Tinhamos duas opções. Nos virar pessoalmente ou involver a companhia de seguros (teriamos que pagar uma franquia e nos desqualificaria para futuros desconto).

Robert, o homem do piso, se ofereceu para fazer os reparos por menos da franquia que teriamos que pagar pro seguro, o que significa que não vamos precisar acionar o seguro.

A empresa de pisos tinha superestimado a quantidade de material que seria necessário par acompletar o trabalho. Quando devolvemos o material, eles reajustaram nossa conta. O valor que eles retornaram acabou sendo $7 menos do que os reparos vão custar. Ou seja, os reparos não vão sair do nosso orçamento original.

Sim, vovô. Deus seja louvado em todas as coisas. Mesmo em nossas bagunças.