The New Neighbourhood.

Cheltenham was nice but it came time to leave and head up to Birmingham with one of our flat mates to claim our flat. We left Cheltenham on Good Friday which turned out to be an expensive time to catch a train at the last minute. We bused to the train station and caught a train to Birmingham.



The train trip felt pretty short, it was around 45 minutes; it was a good opportunity to listen to some music on the iPod. Since it was holiday weekend the train was quite busy.

We haven't been on a lot of trains so we didn't even know the train basics. Our friend had to show us how to purchase the ticket from the machine, how to find the platform and where to sit on the train.

We bought some tickets and then looked at the board with all the different train times and we were confused at how you know which train stops in University (Birmingham). The board just showed train times with the name of the last stop. Only some of the boards had calling points that showed all the stops. We didn't know which ticket to purchase. There was a choice of standard single, off peak, advanced, anytime. We had no idea what was considered off peak but it was a lot cheaper. We didn't know that the trains are shown by the same time even if it is late; if you're catching the 12:02 and it's late it will still say the 12:02 but it will say expected 12:07 or something.

Then when we were on the train there were reserved signs everywhere and we didn't have a reservation so we didn't know where to sit. Our friend showed us that you can check the reservation to see if the seat is still reserved or reserved after our stop in University (Birmingham). Obviously you can sit in the seat if it doesn't conflict. This is all a no brainer for a lot of people but it was all new to us.




Birmingham University Train Station


Once we got to the train station in Birmingham we called a cab, which took us to our rental flat. Since it was Good Friday the landlord was off for the weekend and had left the keys around back for us to find. We brought in our stuff then headed to the nearest Argos to buy kitchen ware and bedroom sheets, blankets and pillows.

Argos is a store where you look up items in a catalogue and then stand in a line to order and pay for your items; then you stand in another line to pick up the stuff you ordered from a counter. They had a sale on and there were many good deals. It didn't take us long to get our stuff and Argos is a short walk from our flat. It was very convenient. We headed back to the flat to organise the furniture.

The previous tenants had used the two bedrooms and living room as three bedrooms, so we had to move everything around. The bed was too big to move and we needed tools (which we didn’t have) to take it apart. Since it is the long weekend all the shops were closed by this point in the day. Our friend slept in his room and we slept in the living room until we could move the bed to the room we were going to use as our bedroom.

The next morning we headed to the library which is a 15 minute walk, but it was closed. We bought a deck of cards, to keep ourselves entertained. There wasn’t a lot to do. No internet, no TV and no board games make us go crazy.

Easter Sunday, we headed to the oldest building in Smethwick, an old church that was built in 1732. It was very creepy and had a heavy imprint on it. It was surrounded by massive grave stones. Beside the church was the second oldest building “The Old Chapel” which is now a pub.
Church




Lots of grave stones.

Afterwards we walked to the grocery store, ASDA (UK Wal-Mart) in hopes of finding Tofu as we hadn’t found it in the nearby food stores ALDI, or TESCO Express. Alas, ASDA was closed so no Tofu for us that night. Spoiler Alert, we did go back the next day and find Tofu. Pound Tree (Everything for £ shop) was open so we bought some things we needed from there such as laundry soap.


We went back to the flat and did laundry.  Our flat didn't have a dryer which is pretty common in the UK. Most people hang their laundry to dry either inside or outside. Monday we woke up and went for a trip back to the grocery store, which was now open.



Love the cereal boxes.

Yay for Tofu! And we also bought some Linda McCartney frozen food which we were pretty excited about. We had peanut sauce stir-fry for dinner.





After, we finally got tools to take apart the bed and were able to set up our bedroom in our new flat. We organised all the furniture in the flat to make it feel more like home.

Tuesday we went for a walk to the local library. We signed up for a library card and took out some books. We didn`t need to present any sort of ID or anything we just had to fill out our name, address and phone number. We walked around the town, exploring. All in all it was a lovely day. 

FYI, we’ve fallen in love with Linda McCartney’s dinners. Tonight we made red onion and rosemary sausage plaits (Vegan of course) – they were delicious. I hope that we can find them back in Canada.
Thank you for reading. To see what we are up to next couple weeks, find it here: "Two Week Summary."

Comments

  1. Looks like a fun adventure. I have never traveled out of the US but maybe some day I will:).

    ReplyDelete
  2. i love box of frozen.
    that dinner looks so tasty and yummy. the streets are so different than where i live and it's so pretty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The roads are so small here. Nobody can own large vehicles.

      Delete
  3. This is awesome! I would actually love to be able to do something like this. Hmmm maybe a will.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is such an amazing post! So cute and simple :) I like it a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds like you guys had a great time. Although I have to admit I don't like old buildings and gravestones because they look super creepy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds like such an awesome week! I'm glad you got the furniture sorted....now you'll have a cozy place to read your library books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We sure did! We got a lot of reading done without any internet.

      Delete
  7. What a cultural and relaxing travel adventure! I could use a trip like this right now! Thanks for sharing the awesome pics as well!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm glad you guys got settled. Easter weekend must have been an awkward time to move with a lot of shops being closed, but it seems like you managed :) I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Birmingham :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a bad time. It all worked out in the end.

      Delete
  9. This sounds like you had a pretty exciting trip. I have noticed that sometimes it can be hard to find vegetarian let alone vegan options in places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vegan options are becoming more readily available!

      Delete
  10. I have yet to travel outside of the US but I'm working on being able to travel more and far. It's nice hearing and seeing about others that have the opportunity to do so. You give me a chance to see life outside of what's around me just by reading your post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe. I happy to give you another experience. We worked really hard to be where we are.

      Delete
  11. Glad you were able to get all settled in finally - but it sure sounds like the train trip was a learning experience! Glad you had a friend with you to coach you through it - I likely would have ended up accidentally in the wrong place!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, us too! It was difficult with him there!

      Delete
  12. I like your new neighborhood, it looks peaceful. It's good to know that you're settling in quick too. The dinners look lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  13. How great that you have friends to help you out on the train! As a country girl the first time we traveled to DC we were so turned around by the subway! We were so lucky to have locals take the time to help us out or we would of ended up in the middle of nowhere! We were pros by the time we concluded our trip a week later!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, public transport can sometimes we very confusing.

      Delete
  14. Aw I loved reading about your trip to Birmingham. I live about an hour away from there! xxx

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment. If you love this post, please consider sharing it.