So another week of random travels passed and some more random adventure. This time a drunken conversation led me to book some last minute flights from Calgary to London and back to Toronto.
A quick overnight flight and straight into things in London, UK.
If you haven’t been to London then you need to get there. It was my home for several years so I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do; Train and eat Vietnamese food.
I was met by a non BJJ friend named Terence. A loud South African who has recently gotten the gym bug. So we immediately hit the weights. Probably a bad idea after a red eye flight from Canada.
We promptly went and had a drink.
Sunday rolled around and I met my brother over at a ridiculously Globetrotter friendly academy. New Wave Academy in Croydon is one of my favourite places to visit on a lazy Sunday. They run an open mat and the guys there are welcoming to all comers. I have personally learned a lot each time I am there and their higher level guys are more than happy to show you what they just used to tie you into a taut line hitch. A few shoutouts have to go to Paul Forrest, Rob Hughes and Danny Anderson. 3 top class blokes!
I met up with some friends who flew in from Dublin to hang out for a few days and we took in some of the sights. There are a million blogs and articles that have all the cool stuff that London offers but if you have to just do a small few things I would recommend you hit up South Bank market for some food. Have a stroll down along the river and get pissed in some fancy pubs. I would recommend The American bar at the Savoy if you want to feel like a rich person (followed by feeling extreme poverty after you pay the bill!) Also, get to Flatiron Steakhouse in Covent Garden. £11 for a steak and salad. Genuinely one of the best steaks in London. .
During the trip I then decided that I cant fly half way across the world to London and not stop off in Ireland. I jumped a quick flight to Dublin, cooked some steak on a bbq for the family and got to visit the home of Conor McGregor (also home of Ireland’s first BJJ black belt, John Kavanagh),Straight Blast Gym on the Naas road the following morning for a quick session with my brother, Ger. Some of you will meet him at the Iceland camp in a few weeks. He is still new to BJJ but, so far, has definitely benefitted more from the art than almost anyone I have ever met. We had some tough rolls and both of us left SBG a sweaty mess.
Have a look at what a Summer BBQ in Ireland entails!
So after a total of 18 hours, an almost lost passport and 2 flights, I made my way back to London to get in a second session with Checkmat Wimbledon and Carl Fisher’s merry bunch of Jiujitsu-ers.
Going back to the Wimbledon club was great. An awesome welcome and a chance to roll with some of the old crew was exactly what my travel weary brain needed. It just takes so little mental effort when you get to a club where you feel at home!
So a 7 day trip to the UK&Ireland was closed out with a LOT of alcohol while meeting up with friends over the weekend. My Girlfriend Sarah made it to London with her family for a couple of days on the Friday and we got to celebrate with some good food and drink. Sarah and I jumped on the plane back to Toronto and I managed to get in a couple more sessions at Checkmat Toronto with coach Chris Greenwood.
I am now back in Calgary and will be moving on from here in around 6 weeks. I look forward to seeing what there is to see in Alberta before hitting British Columbia. We will then be hopping a flight to Australia to continue our adventures. Anybody in AB,BC or AUS please feel free to hit me us as I will be heading your way and visiting as many academies along the way!
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That is all for now. Stay tuned for the upcoming Calgary adventures!