T Nation

Ireland & UK

I’m going to Ireland (possibly London or elshwere in UK) end of summer for vacation, and am wondering what some differences are between there and here (Atlantic Canada, or North America in genereal). I’m completely ignorant to the UK, and know nothing much about it.

My main concern, since I will be there for 2.5weeks, and as such will likely want to workout for 1.5 of those weeks, is finding a decent gym that isn’t rediculously expensive. Also really interested in knowing cost of living there, for food for example, and how good the public transportation systems is.

Any tips or suggestions for my trip, as well as info on how the UK differs are welcomed.

I haven’t been there myself but I know someone who is going to be going to school in Dublin this fall, he says that it costs more there to live, for example a bottle of pop that is $2 CAD would be $2 euros over there, so the price tag has a similar number on it a sense but their money is worth about 1.6*CAD so it’s more to live…this is according to him, so I could be way off here…

I was in the UK and Ireland for a few weeks last year, but I am Australian and our dollar has been going strong so the comparisons may not be good.
The UK is very expensive for both food and accomidation, but not much more than other western EU countries. Ireland is only slightly more expensive then AUS (The Irish speak damn fast so be prepared).

I have no idea about gyms. I personally would just live it up for a few weeks and rely on muscle memory to rebuild when I got home. How often do you go to the UK?

If you are looking for somewhere cheap nearby head over to Spain or Portugal. The’re easily the cheapest countries in western Europe and the babes, Oh the BABES!
Hope this helps.

[quote]gotaknife wrote:
How often do you go to the UK?.[/quote]

Never been there before, this will be my first time. Actually never even been outside Canada, so looking forward to it…

Hey ohagajosh, Dublin girl born and bred here!

First up, I don’t know if you said it intentionally, but Ireland and the UK are two TOTALLY different countries. Call and Irish person ‘British’ or part of the United Kingdom and you won’t last too long :wink: Other than that we’re wonderful people!!

London is a huge city, and you could happily spend 2.5 weeks there without seeing everything it has to offer. Dublin is a lot smaller - population of about 1.5 million, but there’s still looooads to see - Trinity College, Phoenix Park, St. James’ Gate (Guinness Brewery), Old Jameson Brewery, lots of National Museums, the nightlife is really good (be prepared to damage your liver for that all-authentic Irish experience!!) and then just outside Dublin city there’s plenty of places to go that are just a hop on a bus away - Powerscourt Gardens, Kildare National Stud, Glendalough. Ireland really is a very ‘green’ country so a lot of the attractions are outdoors and ancient!

There’s lots of walks, castles, monasteries etc. and if you want stunning views or countryside go west for the seascapes of Galway, the Burren (limestone landscape) of Co. Clare and the Cliffs of Moher, south-west to the ring of Kerry and stop in Dingle to see Fungi the Dolphin and eat some of the best seafood in the country and further south again to Cork for incredible drives and amazing scenery.

If you let me know the kind of things you want to do I can give you some ideas.

It’s expensive here, there’s no denying it, and Dublin is by far the worst. A cup of coffee will set you back around E2.50 - E3 ($3-4) and pint is E5-5.50 (around the $7 mark). Elswhere in the country it’s still expensive but not as bad as the cities. We rely heavily on the tourist industry though so you’ll find that many of the popular tourist places will hike up their prices to take advantage of that.

We operate in Euros and in the UK they work on Stirling Pounds - they have to be different from the rest of Europe for some reason :wink:

As for gyms - there’s a serious lack of decent lifting gyms here, but there are a few places that’ll let you do pay-as-you-go. If you know where you’re going to be I can help you out with it.

If there’s any specific Q’s you have just let me know, and if you need a tour guide around Trinity, that’s where I work/ study!!

Don’t know if it has been said, but Ireland is more expenisve than Wales and England.

London is a big place, get yourself one of the “ROUGH GUIDE TO” books

transport around london is generally good with a reasonable Tube system and busses

getting around the UK from london is reasonable on the main trainlines, however you will find it much easier to travel north/south rather than east/west

for example you can get to Edinburgh in 4 hours from London as that route is pretty efficient. Trains are very expensive if you buy the tickets on the same day that you travel

for example Leicester to london which is approx 80 miles will cost ?75 return. if you book 3 weeks in advance you can get it for ?20 return.

internal flights are actually cheaper than the train,

expect to pay approx double what you pay in the US for drinks and food. and portions will be a lot smaller.

pm me if you need any more help

Hey, Lived in Canada for 3 years, now I live in London.

Try and get free day trial at:
http://www.reeboksportsclublondon.com/home/index.php
(this place is really nice and VERY expensive. Has everything you will need, but the people that go are the big business fat cats.)


If you are in between 2/3 locations get vouchers for each one.

Also check out Virgin Active gyms for free day passes.

Free days mean you might have to make out you’re are interested in joining, but it makes it easy on the wallet if budget is a problem.

Couple of weeks is easy enough for a stay in London. Any more than that and it becomes a chore. I have had enough myself of the fast pace, and the rude people so I’m going back to Canada.

People really don’t look after themselves here and you will find the pubs full of guys with beer guts. That will work out well for you if you are looking for ladies!!

Overall London is really expensive, but the supermarkets are pretty cheap so if you can, get your food in tesco etc.

Good luck, and just be aware of pick-pockets etc.

[quote]ohagajosh wrote:
gotaknife wrote:
How often do you go to the UK?.

Never been there before, this will be my first time. Actually never even been outside Canada, so looking forward to it…[/quote]

HAHA Sorry mate I meant this as a rhetorical question. Why spend your time in the gym when you have the chance to expore Ireland and the UK? Each to their own i guess.

Good info. G’em I may take you up on your offer on helping me find a decent gym when time comes around. I’ll prob just go 3x when I’m there, so I don’t think it will cut into my touring time too much. Not sure where I’m going specifically right now, as I will be visiting a friend who is moving there when I go.

We’d probably be more interested in seeing castles and that kind of thing, as we’re interested in that sort of thing

[quote]gotaknife wrote:
I was in the UK and Ireland for a few weeks last year, but I am Australian and our dollar has been going strong so the comparisons may not be good.
The UK is very expensive for both food and accomidation, but not much more than other western EU countries. Ireland is only slightly more expensive then AUS (The Irish speak damn fast so be prepared).

I have no idea about gyms. I personally would just live it up for a few weeks and rely on muscle memory to rebuild when I got home. How often do you go to the UK?

If you are looking for somewhere cheap nearby head over to Spain or Portugal. The’re easily the cheapest countries in western Europe and the babes, Oh the BABES!
Hope this helps.[/quote]

I love it how Australians refer to spain and portugal as ‘nearby’
its like
‘While your here why don’t you nip up to the sun, might as well only 8 mins away and they do really cheep hydrogen’
You know what your problem is smiling, your contrys too dam big, what you want is a small contry like us, and whats the point of all that sunshine, you’ll only get cancer.

Get yourselves some rain, and not that propper rain either, i’m talking about shitty drizzle/rain thats falls at about -2C without turning into snow. and whats with this blue sky nonsence, what you want is grey skys, going weeks on end not knowing weather its day or night and supplementing with vit D to ward off ricketts.
Thats what you want and thats why Londons full of Australians

I’ve managed to get from the internet some interesting data. its how an average Australians life breaks down.

3rys sunbathing with that green shit on your face.
4yrs beating the english at our own games (talk about ungreatfull)
5yrs putting more shrimps on the BBQ
6 yrs surfing
7 yrs working out harder than the rest of the world cos your not allowed any supplements
8 yrs tieing your kangaroo down sport
9 yrs travelling by boat
10 yrs travelling by train
15 yrs travelling by plane
20 yrs travelling by car
and on the last day they saw the entire world.

[quote]g’em wrote:
Call and Irish person ‘British’ or part of the United Kingdom and you won’t last too long ;)[/quote]

Just like we call everyone with a Spanish accent a “Mexican”, right?

Also, isn’t the northeast part of Ireland a part of Great Britain? :wink:

its been said already but if you are only in London for a few weeks you should never have to pay for a gym session. just phone a gym and say you’ve just moved to the area and are looking for somewhere to train and would like a free trial, they shouldnt have any problem with giving you a free day pass.

If you tell them you work for a big investment bank or architectural firm or something and are looking at setting up some kind of corporate rate with your employees they’ll fall over themselves to get you through the door.

[quote]Chewie wrote:
g’em wrote:
Call and Irish person ‘British’ or part of the United Kingdom and you won’t last too long :wink:

Also, isn’t the northeast part of Ireland a part of Great Britain? :wink:
[/quote]
lol good call!! I guess that should read “Call an Irish person in the Republic…”. Go up north and it’s a whole other story and I wouldn’t for a second want to speak on their behalf!

[quote]legend wrote:
London is a big place, get yourself one of the “ROUGH GUIDE TO” books

transport around london is generally good with a reasonable Tube system and busses

getting around the UK from london is reasonable on the main trainlines, however you will find it much easier to travel north/south rather than east/west

for example you can get to Edinburgh in 4 hours from London as that route is pretty efficient. Trains are very expensive if you buy the tickets on the same day that you travel

for example Leicester to london which is approx 80 miles will cost ?75 return. if you book 3 weeks in advance you can get it for ?20 return.

internal flights are actually cheaper than the train,

expect to pay approx double what you pay in the US for drinks and food. and portions will be a lot smaller.

pm me if you need any more help[/quote]

That is pretty much spot on right there ^

Just some advice - get a map, look in the internet and find places that interest you. plan ahead to avoid spending too much.

I’m American and have lived in England for about nine years now.

Some of the main points:

When you pay for something at the ‘till’ the price that is marked on the item is the price you pay. Tax is already figured in.

Trains and Underground stations are very easy, but might be intimidating to someone there for the first time. You can pick up an all day travel card that will permit you to ride the trains, the Underground, and the buses for the entire day. Pick up a tube map. They’re free.

The different lines are indicated on the map with different colours. There is almost always a gate person to open gates for people with suitcases, and they always know the routes. If in doubt, look helpless and ask one of them. They’re used to it and are usually always nice.

Dress in layers. It goes from one temperature extreme to another. Dress for rain unless you’re 100% sure it won’t rain, then still carry an umbrella. Wear the most comfortable shoes you own. If you’re not used to walking, you’ll feel the strain.

There is a Fitness First Gym at London Liverpool Street Station. It opens at 6 am. They’re all over London, but it’s handy to have somewhere you can go and then travel out of to get on with your day. I’m not sure what packages they offer, but you can get on the net and find out. Or as someone else suggested, lie.

I think they do give a week free trial. They’re linked to a network of Fitness First gyms all over London. They have good facilities and even a sauna.

Everything is expensive in London. Just get used to gasping at prices. The main fast food places in England are Burger King, MacDonalds, Pizza Hut, and KFC. There are really no others unless you want to include Wimpy’s. There is every food known to man in London.

Most pubs serve a good, cheap meal so you can relax, have a pint, and get a meal at almost any pub. If you need a bathroom ask for the loo or the water closet. It’s the words they use. Most of the wait staff here don’t work for tips, but being American, I can’t get out of that habit, so I tip.

Taxis. Expensive, but really cool. A small family could live in one. You might want to take one for the experience, but use the Underground (Tube) for economy. Stations are EVERYWHERE. Get a London Guide to find out which station spits you out where.

Queue - Just get in line and get used to it. No one really talks in lines in London, but if you ask questions, most Brits will be happy to help. They love Americans. They’ll tell you all about their trip to Disney. :wink:

Fags - July 1 is the great smoke out in England. No public smoking of any kind. Until then, don’t freak out if you see everyone smoking joints. They’re not joints. Many Brits roll their own. Girls walk arm in arm here too, so don’t think the lesbians have taken over. Enjoy the show. London is a colourful place full of every diversity of style you can imagine. The warmer the weather, the more naked the girls.

The sidewalk is called the pavement, and you’re best to stay on it and follow the traffic signals when you walk, or they’ll run you down.

A liquor store is called an off- license, and a convenience store is called a news agent. You can get all your toiletries or medical needs at Boots - they’re Britain’s largest pharmacy chain and have everything you need.

WH Smith is the biggest book store, and like Boots, are all over. You can get good magazines from all over the world there. The airports and the train stations have all the above mentioned chain stores.

I’ve been all over London a zillion times. It’s fun and hectic and there’s a zillion tourists there. Just put on your back pack and blend. Be aware if you ask for directions that they may not speak English, or may be a tourist themselves. Sometimes it’s best to ask the guy who sells newspapers at the station. He usually knows everything in the vicinity.

Toilets work by gravity, so you usually have to pull a chain. Pull it several times if at first you don’t succeed. Hotels have the regular plumbing, but some pubs and restaurants have really old fashioned loos, and interior doorways that are a bit low.

Sainsbury’s is one of the biggest food chains here, and you’ll find them everywhere. You can pick up some food for your day to store in your backpack. There are plenty of fresh produce agents around, and London Liverpool Street Station has a great fruit stand so if you go to the gym there, you can stock up.

There are NO trash cans at train stations (from the old IRA bomb days) Just get used to carrying your trash until you can find a ‘rubbish bin’.

It’s safe to eat beef here now, even on the bone. It’s been my experience that you can’t find a decent steak easily. Try a ‘Sunday’ style roast dinner - it’s standard, especially in pubs. Yorkshire puddings aren’t pudding at all, but these big airy puffy rolls that you pour gravy in… they come with a traditional roast.

Fish and chips are good and you’ll find them everywhere. They use vinegar instead of ketchup on the ‘chips’. Potato chips are called ‘crisps’ here, and french fries are called ‘chips’.

If you get pizza, ask for them to cut it up. I swear, Brits will cut up an entire pizza with their knife and fork. Pizza Express is the best pizza around… chains everywhere in London. Oh, and they call crackers ‘biscuits’ so if you want a biscuit, best to ask for a scone, but it’s really a breakfast or a coffee snack item. There are Starbucks, Costa and Pret Mangers all over town if you like the coffee bar type places.

OK… think I’ve covered most of the major bases. Study the tube map and the London guide before you come over so you will be somewhat prepared. You can take the Gatwick or the Heathrow express from the airports straight into London. Easy as pie.

Find out what tube station your hotel is near and head that way. There’s little to no ice here, so don’t expect that. They also don’t have washcloths, even in the most posh hotels. They’re simply not used in Europe. Bring your own if you’re partial to using a wash cloth. Store a few in zip lock bags.

Have fun!!! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Sorry this is so long, but there’s so much to know!!!

Micki

Oh, to address castles, the Tower of London is one of the best and it’s right inside London. The two castles I liked best outside of London are Arundel and Warwick. There are castles all over, but they’re the ones I liked the best, and in the eyes of the average American, would be the most ‘castle-like’.

Look them up on the Internet and decide what you think. You can take the official tour in any of these, but you can also just wander around on your own.

Micki

Oh yeah, Cell phones are called Mobiles over here. You can pick up a rental at the airport, or if you plan to take an international one over, you can charge them at the hotel. There are places springing up all over where you can charge your phone. The current is different here (240), but the phones are the same the world over. When I’m in America, I just charge my Nokia on my niece’s charger.

Most hotels have blow driers built in.

I’m not sure if you’ll be taking an MP3 player, but you should be able to charge that at the hotel too.

Escalators: If you’re going to ride one standing still, stay on the right. The left side is the fast lane, and you’ll find people running up or down trying to catch tubes or trains. Move fast or just stay out of the way over on the right side. Most people here walk the way they drive, so you may find yourself walking against the tide if you walk on the right.

There’s a definite rush hour in the morning and the afternoon. You’ll feel like a sardine on the Tube during those times of day, but it’s still the best way to get around London.

Cheers!
Micki

Cool posts, Silkspice!

A few more tips for London on a budget:

Museums: If you’re skint, and still want to enjoy come amazing sights, check out London’s museums. Their normal exhibitions are free and some many of them are amazing. My favourite is the British Museum. It contains in essence all the artefacts of cultural value that were ‘acquired’ during British colonial times, including the Rosetta Stone:

Also cool, although pretty depressing is the Imperial War Museum:

Or for modern art, check out Tate Modern (which is also close to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is a great place to have a great view of the city).

http://www.stpauls.co.uk/page.aspx?theLang=001lngdef&pointerid=169345dwprEOVViTRLd8xXbHBDHGbzge

If you stay in London for about a week, it may make sense to get an Oyster card. It costs 3 quid (pounds), and you can top it up with cash at machines or counters. It’s cool, because if you travel around, it will record your journey and stop charging you when you reach the price for the next cheapest day ticket, and it’s just so easy to use.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/oysteronline/2732.aspx

If you want to travel cheaply, and still see some stuff, go by bus. A great route is the 88, as it crosses Oxford Street (central shopping mile and traffic mayhem), down Regent’s street (posh shopping mile and traffic mayhem), through Whitehall (Houses of Parliament, Big Ben) and via Vauxhaul Bridge (if you cross it southbound, there is the MI6 building just at your left hand side). Get off at Vauxhall, and just go back.

Regarding cabs: Stick to ‘black cabs’ or licenced minicabs (those are only allowed to pick up passengers at their station, not on the street). STAY AWAY from guys offering you taxi services on the street. In the evening they’ll be around clubs and pubs, and you just don’t know what they have in their boot…

Britain has a binge drinking culture, so between Thursday and Saturday evening, you will see hordes of drunk teenagers (as silkspice said, the warmer it gets, the less the girls wear) getting pissed (drunk) on Cider and Lager. It gets worse the closer it gets to closing time (traditionally 23.00, but in some places later). Night clubs are expensive.

What’s cool about London, it’s incredibly culturally diverse, and always worth a visit.

Makkun