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Moving to the UK (for a while)!!!
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
Moving to the UK (for a while)!!!  Reply with quote  

After a considerable period of tribulation and doubt, after wading through the specifics of the visa application process, and at one point even having -$80 in the ole checking account, yes, yours truly is packing up his valise and heading to Scotland for nine months! The reason? Keeping the education dream alive and the life on track. All of the essential stuff is taken care of for the most part, and I already have a few friends in Glasgow. I'm super pumped!

So, what did I need to know about Scotland, or the UK in general (aside from obvious and tiresome references to The Highlander and Braveheart)? I know where I fall in the Celtic/Rangers divide, I will not be consuming haggis, and I occasionally enjoy a good pipe band. Given that I'll be in a very large city I don't anticipate issues with vegetarianism. I'm actually looking forward to some quality Indian food. And aside from general things, I am looking for any specific advice on traveling both inside and outside of the UK. I would prefer less well-known places. For instance, should I go to Kirkwall? Is Bruges really as cool as the movie makes it look? What's the 411 on Estonia? And so forth.

Finally, what are my options with Netflix and/or Amazon Prime? I won't have a TV while I'm there, so my laptop will be my sanctuary. I know that Prime doesn't have the "watch instantly" option in the UK, but I've read up on some VPN stuff that seems like a viable solution to get around this. Is this safe/legal though? I don't want to fuck around with anything too questionable. Is there a streaming video service in the UK I don't know of?

Lastly, what's the best route to take with phones? My instinct is that it's best to pay the penalty on my current contract with Sprint and go with prepaid. I have an iPhone, and I've read that it's definitely doable to have that work abroad, but I'm worried about racking up data fees and such. Who has the pro-tips? Words of wisdom? Declarations of tender love and care? GO!!!
Post Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:46 pm
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poopsnack



Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 2840
Location: Mid West
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I spent 10 days in the UK and France last month for the Olympics, and here is what I learned -
Roaming data is SICK expensive. With Verizon it is 20.00 a megabyte. So If I downloaded a song, it would be 80.00 to 100.00 for that track. You can pre-pay for 100 megabytes for 25.00, so I did that. I would sign on data and immediately instagram, tweet, or look up what I had to and then get the fuck off. Worked fine.
Point being - go with a pre-paid. No doubt. Things are just different there.

Ice - I didn't have luck with either hotel having Ice in the room. Kept having to go to the hotel bar and have then fill little cups so I could drink my Jack on ice. Wish someone would have mentioned that before. Sucked.

Stanking ass people. In France, motherfuckers need to wear Deodorant. Mad body odor there. Frustrating and disgusting. I noticed it in London, too. It's not like there aren't stankin ass people in NYC or anything (I'll be there next week) just more pig-pens over there. I literally was dry heaving in the french Metro (their subway) because of the stench. I now realize how brilliant Pepe Le Pew was. Put some vicks vapor rub under your nose if you dip down to France.

You will need converters for power, and get nice converters. They use 220V over there, and we use 110V. I fried a beard trimmer over there by just plugging it into a cheap converter. Another hair trimmer one wouldn't work. My laptop was straight though.
Post Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:03 am
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mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 9263
Location: london
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Data charges are that expensive because you have a foreign sim, it's not like that as standard. If you want to use data register for a uk sim for your iPhone. Most data plans are around 500mb-1gig free a month then they just throttle you a bit.

Tv - we have iPlayer and 4od. IPlayer is all bbc content, no ads, no bullshit. Unofficialyl it's free, but if you buy a television you'll need to buy a tv license, which pays for the bbc. But you can easily cope without.

All the American shows are on cable networks that you'll have to pay for and you'll still get ads, not reaaally worth it. I just bit torrent them

I know nothing about Glasgow but the Scottish countryside is stunning, go there. Also bring layers as it gets bloody cold up north

And yeah, Paris is an overrated, dirty stink hole. Their tube runs on piss fumes


Travel is mental, the train is ludicrously expensive. But being in Europe you can fly to tons of places for cheap - a return to madrid can be cheaper for me than a return train to Manchester
Post Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:20 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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The dude named poopsnack is calling other people smelly.

When I was in Paris I didn't notice any smelly people whatsoever, and I traveled on the subway as well.

As far as phones, I am not concerned with using any kind of data. Whatever info I need to look up can wait until I'm at home. I don't need to stay that connected, despite the convenience my smart phone has afforded me here in the US.

As far as travel, I've used Ryan Air once to fly from Manchester to Dublin and it was great. That would how I'd do most of my traveling as well, since I will likely only have three days at a time to go anywhere. Two places I haven't been and would really like to visit are Marakesh and Istanbul. Anyone been? I just want to break outside of the European mold for a bit. Also looking into Oslo, Prague, Stockholm, and anywhere in Switzerland. Copenhagen is a possibility

Finally, I'm going to be touring scotch distilleries like whoa, so if anyone wants to join me drop a line.
Post Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:51 am
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ROTTY



Joined: 28 Apr 2005
Posts: 1407
Location: London
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Don't go for any of the tour packages for the distilleries. They are a rip off charging anything upto 300.

This has been on my list of places to go and do and is my no1 preferred whisky of all time. The tour only cost you 2.50.

http://www.glenmorangie.com/experience-perfection/distillery-tour/
Post Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:57 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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What is with the girls wearing jean booty shorts and black stockings here? It's probably the least stylish look I've seen since stonewashed jeans.
Post Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:13 pm
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Plum Puddin'



Joined: 26 May 2008
Posts: 1832
Location: Run Ebola, Run.
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EAT THE FUCKING HAGGIS, BILLY!
Post Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:31 pm
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Specialist



Joined: 18 Mar 2008
Posts: 89
Location: Bristol, England
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Yo! Welcome! I have only been to Scotland once, for the T in the Park festival, but I can help out with general or specific questions about the UK. I live in Bristol (in the south west) but have been to most of the major cities in England at one point or another. I'm also a vegetarian, and no you shouldn't have any problems anywhere finding something good to eat. inexpensive Italian, Chinese, Thai and Indian restaurants are everywhere, or you can go even cheaper and go to a chip shop. If you want to endanger cardiac issues, while in Scotland try a battered Mars bar...

Generally speaking, and slipping into the realms of stereotype, you'll find things in the north of England cheaper than in the south, although this disparity has reduced as supermarkets and major chains have taken over and made every high street in every major city look more or less the same. You'll also probably find people more friendly and approachable in the north than the south, although this is obviously a generalisation.

I'd recommend going to the port cities for the best arts and culture - Liverpool, Bristol and also Brighton, which is smaller, and cooler, but has less of a genuine counter-culture and left-suporting movement than Bristol - which, although I'm biased I'd recommend as the one city you should see and spend time in, in England.

London is a money-hungry beast and it's harder to transport yourself around, eat and drink there on a budget than anywhere else in the country, but it can be done within reason.

In terms of Europe transport is generally better and cheaper there than here, and obviously, the further East and the further away you go from the established fashionable capitals you go, the further your money will stretch. In the right places you can still get a litre of beer for one euro and a meal for five in Eastern Europe and parts of southern Europe are also cheap. Avoid Scandinavia by and large, for the opposite reasons...

Anyway, if there's anything in general as a pretty-well-travelled resident of the UK I can help with, don't hesitate to shout. Hope you enjoy your stay.
Post Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:20 am
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Specialist



Joined: 18 Mar 2008
Posts: 89
Location: Bristol, England
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ROTTY wrote:
Don't go for any of the tour packages for the distilleries. They are a rip off charging anything upto 300.

This has been on my list of places to go and do and is my no1 preferred whisky of all time. The tour only cost you 2.50.

http://www.glenmorangie.com/experience-perfection/distillery-tour/


Prague is a beautiful city and absolutely worth visiting. Over the past decade or so it's become more fashionable with the stag and batchelor party crowd, and subsequently the main tourist areas in the centre of the city are now priced on a par with Western European capitals. However, like most places, walk a little further, speak to the locals, and you'll still find excellent beers and meals inexpensively. If you like the idea of Prague but want to go somewhere cheaper and less crowded with tourists try Poland - Krakow is a lot like a mini Prague or Hungary - Budapest is beautiful.

Regarding Switzerland, I've been to Geneva, and wouldn't especially recommend it. It's largely a business centre, and very expensive - expect to pay up to 10 euros for a beer, or 20 euros for a simple meal. I've heard Bern is cool, though.

I'd recommend Germany very highly. It's a great country, the transport is excellent and it has some awesome cities - Bavaria - in the south - is absolutely beautiful, and Munich is a great to visit. I've never been anywhere in the north, but I'm told Hamburg and Berlin are both fantastic places to visit, with thriving music and arts scenes.

I've travelled in Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic to some extent, so if I can help with any advice about any of those places, just shout.
Post Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:24 am
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Plum Puddin'



Joined: 26 May 2008
Posts: 1832
Location: Run Ebola, Run.
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When I was in Prague this guy wanted to know if I wanted him to take me to see a monkey fuck a midget.

I said no thanks.
Post Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:18 am
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mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 9263
Location: london
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Captiv8 wrote:
What is with the girls wearing jean booty shorts and black stockings here? It's probably the least stylish look I've seen since stonewashed jeans.


you're too far north mate, wait till winter, you'll see girls in boob tubes and mini skirts walking around in the snow. The people are harder up there, like in game of thrones, i'm just a midget with no whores
Post Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm
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mzehe916



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 4544
Location: Switzerland
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Mancabbage is on point about the flight options. Usually much cheaper to fly. Hamburg and Berlin can be done in an extended weekend (4 days or so), if you need to squeeze it in. If you really have the time, then I would do four days in Berlin alone. I love Hamburg and have spent a fair amount of time there, but as a tourist I don't know if you really need more than 2 days. Again, depends on what you want to experience. I highly recommend the harbor tours.

In fact, I used to bag on the canal and river tours of cities, but now I'm a big fan. You get a new perspective and with the on-off when you want kind of tours you can often kill two or three birds with one stone. Meaning you just hop off where you want and check out whatever you need to check out in that area.

Copenhagen is amazing in the Winter. I'm finding Zurich to be a rather amazing town. Some Swiss consider it to be in the lowlands, but the Alps are only an hour away. Granted, it is a bit more expensive, but if you are smart you can find the places to eat and drink without breaking the bank. 12 chf can feed you. And 5 chf for a beer. I don't know where the 10euro beers are, but I imagine it is not my kind of place.

In the Spring time the south of France can't be beat. Great wines, markets and people. Paris isn't so bad. You just have to avoid the snobs and old ladies with small dogs. A lot worth checking out. I'm interested in checking out the catacombs. On the other hand, I did pay about 90 euro a night for a closet sized hotel room.

The Netherlands used to be a common spot for me to visit. Amsterdam is a must, at least once. After that Rotterdam is nice and so are the small beach towns like Zandvoort.

My main philosophy on traveling in Europe is: Go where you want to go and see what you want to see. Don't rely on other peoples opinions to dissuade you. And I offer this out to all forum members, if you are ever in my area then let me know and I'll let you buy me a beer.

p.s. A group of Manchester girls on a Friday or Saturday night can be more entertaining than a car full of clowns. With equal amounts of make-up, as well.
Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:07 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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I won't do any extensive traveling for a little while longer, but I like these suggestions. Bristol, you say? Maybe. I suppose it wouldn't hurt just to swing through and check things out. I've been to Hamburg, Paris, and Amsterdam before, so I'm going to save them all for a different time. I'm super intrigued at the thought of Copenhagen in the winter. Does it get snowy? I need snowy. Apparently it typically doesn't snow in Glasgow, and when it does it either doesn't stick or it does and it's like Armageddon. I might still go to Oslo, but I'm not 100% sure yet.

The most difficult part for me so far has been getting screwed on the conversion rate (though I've discovered it's far cheaper to withdraw money from an ATM and pay my bank's fee than exchange money at a shop) and finding a decent place to stay. I've got something in the works but it's taking a while. Thank God for friends, eh?
Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:41 am
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Hinhale



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 28
Location: Sthlm
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Oslo? Copenhagen? Fuck that. Go to Stockholm. It's the self-proclaimed Capital of Scandinavia!! Seriously, you need to go. But save it for summertime. Winter is really gorgeous if it's snowy. For about a day. Then it gets all dirty.

OK. Copenhagen is great too, but skip Oslo. If you want to see the best Norway has to offer you need to go north. Fjords and midnight sun is a pretty awesome combination.
Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:52 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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Duly noted. Stockholm is on the short list too. I would prefer to be there in the fall or spring. I'll be back home in the States for most of December, so I'll get my winter fix of snow then.
Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:51 pm
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