THE Reggie's MEGAN STAFFORD continues her global adventures.
I'm in London about to fly to Canada at midday. It is sad to say goodbye to the UK - it has been my favourite and I definitely have to come back to see more. But onwards I travel to North America to enjoy some quality time with the younger sister before coming home.
The six day Paddywagon Tour is something I would recommend anyone of any age who wants a taste of Ireland.
We started in Northern Ireland and visited Belfast. There is this black taxi company that takes you to both diehard Protestant and diehard Catholic areas. There are murals on all the buildings on the Catholic side while the Protestant side is a sea of Union Jack paraphernalia.
We also went to the wall that divides the two religious sanctions and while we were there a bottle was thrown over the wall. There's still a lot of unrest. We didn't stay the night there but rather in Derry, which was probably a good thing as we heard two cars got shot at in Belfast that night.
The next day we travelled around seeing some beautiful scenery before returning for a walking tour of the walled city with the most passionate guide I've ever met. It was incredible hearing about the history behind this battle between Irish natives and the English-Irish who were "planted" in the nation to help the monarchy maintain control there. The group was taken to the place where Bloody Sunday occurred. So much tragedy but so much hope! Out your guide has a 17 year old son and it was only 13 years ago that there was a security point 250m from their house with a full military presence!
The rest of the trip was spent in Southern Ireland seeing the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle (I didn't get to kiss the wall for eloquence unfortunately because we only stopped briefly and the line was too long), Giant's Causeway and the beautiful scenery of the Dingle Peninsula.
My favourite night was the final night - karaoke. I don't mean to brag but I was crowned Karaoke Queen with my rendition of Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart.
When we arrived back in Dublin, it was off to the airport for me to fly to Edinburgh. I had a day there walking the Royal Mile, getting a dodgy caricature of myself and watching a free comedy show as their Fringe Festival was on.
I started another tour the following day - this time it was a five day Highland Fling with Haggis Adventures. There were so many tales - all of massacres, gore and tragedy - and lots of great scenery. The Highlands were incredible! I learnt that you take your weatherproof jacket with you no matter how short a stop or how sunny it is outside. Within 15 minutes you may have horizontal rain blowing your way! It was crazy!!
We went to a ceilidh (ka-lee) the first night in Oban. From our hostel, we were escorted by a bagpiping male in full attire including kilt. It was a fun night of music and dancing although the dances were more American than Scottish. I think we were too uncoordinated for the proper Scottish moves. Well not me of course but the group in general.
The highlight was probably Loch Ness although there weren't any Nessie sightings. The loch is 38km long and 260m deep. All the water in England and Wales wouldn't fill it and the worlds population could fit 10 times over in the loch. No wonders there is so much mystery surrounding the loch. We were shown sonar images of massive living creatures and you really wonder what is down there!
We trekked a far chunk of Scotland in the five days before we arrived back in Edinburgh. I caught the train to Glasgow and spent the following day walking around the city and listening to the world championship bagpiping competition from a safe distance.
I began a two day epic car journey on the 20th. I drove a total of 1424km in the two days stopping at various places including Hadrians Wall (as per your recommendation Jim), Britain's highest pub Tan Hill Inn, the house where Beatrix Potter wrote Peter Rabbit, the Lake District, Snowdonia National Park, Stonehenge and finally Ascot.
The Lake District was amazing although when I was driving there I was trying to get to a town called Hawkshead. Rather than pay a ridiculous amount for a Navman, I had screenshots of Google Maps. My screenshots indicated I should go straight at a roundabout but a sign on the road said Hawkshead was a lot closer if you just went via Ferry. Being capitalised I figured ferry was another town. Umm nope. It was an actual ferry. No matter - it wasn't too expensive to load the car on for a short 10 minute ferry ride across Lake Windermere.
Back near London, I spent a day relaxing before spending yesterday with my school friend Nicky squirrel hunting in Hyde Park, watching a movie in Leicester Square (where boy band One Direction had the world premiere of their movie the night before) and visiting M&M world. Luckily we had eaten a huge meal prior because some serious damage could have been done there!
Now I'm heading to Canada! I cannot wait to see my sister and my adopted sisters Jordy and Paige. I'm sure you will learn more about them in the next update.