Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Last Post (with no bugle)

Since this blog has been inactive now for quite awhile, I would be surprised if anyone (besides me, reliving all those good times) still visits. But for the odd one I catch, I have a new blog. Just missed it too much I guess. I often come across an article, or a funny link that I would love to share, but that I don't want to annoy people with in their inboxes. So, visit me at my new blog "Sparkles and Spit" at sparklesandspit.blogspot.com
See you there.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Home again Home again, Jiggity Jig.

So for those who don't know, I once again walk among you. I have returned to seek my fortune and organize millions of photos. in that order.
i flew home on Friday, Canada Day, and immediately hopped a train to Kingston for some R and R at the cottage with family before tackling the scattered pieces of my life in Toronto.
We went to see some fireworks and thank god they were loud ones or else i would have been right out. i slept comfortably with the sound of the lake and the leaves rustling outside on the breeze and it was just what the doctor ordered. however, i found out that my dutch cell phone doesn't have to be on for the alarm to work and i was awakened rudely at 8am London time to my stupid "Get out of bed" song. at this point, i was mondo confused, a little panicked as well...but we made it through it. i was up early and was quickly joined by my aunt dee, uncle dan and parents for coffee on the dock. i love the cottage.
then my dad and i went for a really greasy breakfast at the local spoon, but it turned out my appetite hadn't made a complete recovery so i have to say that my performance was shameful. it was still enough fuel to make it through our morning bike ride. My uncle and cousin Garret came with us and we toured around the country side for a bit in the name of fun and fitness. once returned, naturally, we jumped in the lake. then beer of course.
after enough lazing around, it was time for lunch and then water skiing. yee haw! my cousins are outshowing me better and better every year. not that i am a great waterskier, i'm not, but it is always astonishing to me at how much they improve from the last time i was in the boat with them. Eric is even slaloming and he is only 10. i can't slalom...the though terrifies me.
of course, like all good things, it came to an end too fast. our last night we made a big dinner then played Cranium and had a good laugh at the world through the eyes of a 10-year old. there was a mix up between sigmund freud and sigfried and roy. we laughed our asses off and gave him the points anyway.
now i find myself in pickering working on the "recovery of my life" plan. yesterday was a pretty big day...bought myself a new bike, went to the dentist and handed in my course work so that maybe, just maybe, i can graduate. today, i am working on employment and obviously, personal administration so with any luck, i will hopefully have a decent photo update for you in the near future.
so that's that. the adventure ends...for now. already Maastricht seems so far away, but i have a feeling it will be an emotional afternoon as i sort through the photos. i am so glad i did this, and i would recommend it to anyone who asked. i had the time of my life and i wouldn't change a thing!
over and out.

London Calling

cliche title, so sue me.
So we left Barce and moved onto London...out of the sun and into the fog. consequently, we were both a little glum on the first day. i was a little overwhelmed on top of that as well. i think it hit me that it was all over as soon as i was back in an environment where i understand everything around me. i couldn't stop my eyes from looking at EVERYTHING, and i could understand peoples conversations and felt bad for listening...it was sensory overload. the first thing we did was take one of the double decker tours to see an overview of what we'd be dealing with. it was a cold rainy day, and at one point, we had the whole bus to ourselves. that was pretty damn cool: a private tour of london with our own private guide! we had thoroughly tired ourselves out by the finish of the tour, so we hit the sack at our hotel which i am not sure i would recommend. so that's all i will say about that.
the second day, we did the tourist thing and we saw a lot. first things first, hit the tower of london and i would really recommend it. it was really really cool. they had everything there: even the crown jewels and 400 year old armour and weaponry. it is all the real mccoy and right in front of your face and it was my favourite part for sure. plus, a member of the queen's body guard is your tour guide and they are quite interesting!
we then did a long walk of london stopping for refreshment at the very same establishment that has seen the likes of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wilde and all the gang. It is something like 400 years old and the oldest pub in the world. we had cider. it felt like being on the wrong side of the velvet rope in a museum.
next stop: westminster abbey. how nuts is that place?! it is full of dead people and it is so crazy old. it doesn't look old, but you can definitely feel it. they have a seat for Canada in there which I thought was cool.
that night, i decided it was high time i caught up with Christian who was also in the London area. It turned out he was in town, not too far away watching Stars (Montreal based band...awesome!) perform at The Purple Turtle. Kim and I decided to join him there with Sarah, another former U of T rower. they're everywhere. it was a great show and Christian was doing some much needed unwinding, unfortunately, it didn't last long enough for my taste. i guess that's what you get for showing up 2 hours late. oops.
the next morning, Christian and I met at Millie's cookies for the train to Henley. The Royal Henley that is. What a day! I am so glad I went. Kim opted not to go and it is a good thing she did becuase she would have been bored out of her skull i think.I definitely had a rowing geek day. kim stayed tourist geek and saw some museums and the changing of the guard. I would argue that Henley IS a museum, but just so I could cross "Museum" off my London list, I went to the Rowing Museum on the Thames. sooo cool!! they had Olympic boats there from all generations, and all kinds of interesting artefacts. i was in heaven. then of course there was the rowing itself. we saw some good, some bad...had a nice breakfast too. which we washed down with a gin libation at 11am. yikes! but it was free...If you read Christian's blog, you can get all the info on the rowing that you could ever want. it is linked on the side bar.
the other "thing" about Henley is fashion. it is about seeing and being seen almost more than the rowing! you should have seen the hats!
kim and i successfully rendezvoused after our separate holidays and went to see Stomp to close off the trip. Then packing and bed. Friday was Canada Day and it had extra meaning this year!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

bye bye barca...

what a great time!!
Our third day, we decided to go to Figures and see what kind of odd things Dali put into his tribute to himself. after some trouble with the train...ie the promised train never came so we ended up waiting around an extra hour...we met up with a nice couple american/aussie who ended up spending the day with us. we had a great lunch and chatted about exchanges and australia and did the museum together then got smashed on too much sangria before passing out after a rousing game of dali "memory". If i am ever in California, i am supposed to look her up for lunch. will do!
The last day was the best day yet as far as i am concerned. kim and i split up in the morning and i went shopping with my new friend jeff. he was a great shopping partner. kim went with her new friend James to the Gaudi park which i wasn't into. the four of us took a catamaran tour in the afternoon and guess what!! we saw DOLPHINS! the rest of the afternoon we spent relaxing, swimming, sunning and then eating and getting pretty merry on free sangria as it turned out. we partied on the beach almost until it was time to get up and go to london...
this is the abbreviated version. it was worth way more words, but what can a girl do with only 20 minutes?!
in london now on the last leg and it is definitely a change of scenery. should have done london first...
hoping to find christian eventually, and maybe see some other old friends before heading HOME on friday. there goes my stomach again...flip flop!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Sleep deprived of the world, UNITE

there is someone snoring in my hostel. not even in my room, but in the one next to mine and so sleeping is now out of the question. it is 6:30am and i just cant fight it anymore.
even the reception guy can hear it and he has tried to wake up mr snuffles who was russian and apologetic, but still snoring. in a fit of frustration, i tossed in a note that will make no difference but which temporarily made me feel better.
does anyone have any brainy suggestions?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Another Day in the Life...

Greetings to all who still read my boring -first i woke up, then i did this, then i did this- commentary. i hear that htat is pretty boing from a newbie blogger. zing.
first of all i have to tell you, i have been trying really hard to keep this spelling mistake free, but i am on a spanish keyboard and the letters arent in the same places and i cant find the punctuation i need....so from here on in: y=z and vice versa. i am tired of continuouslz hitting the backspace.
Spanish? zou might ask...zes. Kim and I woke up in Spain this morning. To be specific, Barcelona. i said goodbze to the girls and the bike team folks in maastricht two dazs ok and it was a tough daz . who knows when we will meet again. hopefullz soon, because i am doing a lot of missing latelz. on the bright side, although i left maastricht, i arrived in sunnz sunnz barcelona. i mastered the metro on the first trz and we found the hostel without anz trouble. it is RIGHT on the beach. i thought thez must be tricking me online and in fact this point was rather understated considering the proximitz i think. i eat mz breakfast while watching the surf break. if zou are stazing in barcelona (and i suggest zou do) staz here. great crowd, good service and can zou beat the location? plus it was onlz 20 euro a night. hurraz for cheap spain!
our first daz was mainlz spent on the road, but we did have a nice dinner including sangria of course. then we walked around a bit, i bought a bracelet from a nice man with manz other prettz things, and then we woosed out and decided that 11 was bed time. we arent reallz the partzing tzpe anzwaz.
our first full daz in barcelona we spent mostlz on a bike. it was super! fat tire bike tours if zou are interested. it was the same companz as in Paris so we knew it would be a good daz. we rode all over the citz and learned a lot about the horrible bloodz things that went on here. including slicing the breasts of saint agatha before crucifzing her for her beliefs, and then there was that other girl whose name i wont attempt to spell who was put into a barrel and rolled down a hill. oh zeah, there were shards of glass in said barrel. but she didnt die. so thez stretched her out on the racks, took out her intestines, jabbed her with hot pokers and then finallz after three dazs crucified, she died. but dont worrz, thez named a church after her so its ok. and it is a big church.
then there was the guz who tried to stab the king. he messed it up and onlz got him in the neck. so thez put him in stocks and paraded him around town all the while removing chunks of his flesh and FEEDING it to the citiyens.
we saw the place where christopher columbus shook isabellas and (she was the queen) which was also the same place where she used to sit with her friends for desserts, tea and a square full of burning heretics back in the daz. man, thez knew how to partz. dont worrz, i took a picture!
we also saw lots of gaudi architechture and other interesting buildings. Gaudi was opposed to straight lines so i would describe his piece de resistance as somehing like the towers i used to make at the beach. dont worrz, i took a picture! this piece to resistance is called something familia ( i know the name, just not the spelling) and he died during its construction so thez are acutallz still building it. he gave up everzthing for his masterpiece and lived in its basement. he gave up washing, shaving and changing his clothes so eventuallz he just looked like a hobo. then he was struck bz a streetcar, and he was treated like a hobo. he laz there for awhile, then thez put him in hospital but didnt paz him much attention. finallz, somebodz recogniyed him as the great architecture, but it was too late. so sad!
and the tour goes on...
after the tour, we went to see some ruins under the citz of the roman forum, and then to the picasso museum. Then it was definitelz time for a swim, so we did that. salt water tastes bad and kim is convinced she will be stung bz jellz fish because poor fenna was, so swimming didnt last all that long. then we went to the aquarium before having dinner on la rambla while acrobats stunted for our viewing pleasure. weee!
then it was midnight and we were tired.
todaz, i am not sure what there is in store! the weather is sunnz and hot again, so i am of a mind to just laz on the beach, but kim is still new and in turbo tourist mode, so i might be navigating for her sake todaz. again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

put me in coach!!


check this out if you are curious about rowing, or if you are a rower yourself.
i stole it from christian's blog, which is now listed on the side bar, and i think it is awesome. so thanks!

ah, beau paris!

We got in on the train late last night from our first trip of Kim's stay (one down, two to go!) . We spent a lovely weekend in the city of lights and all had a good time! our first night was a little rocky, as there were too many voices in the supper debate so after a long walk, the six of us (me, Kim, Cam, Cam's sister Jill, Cam's friend Emily, and Jill's friend Maggie) ended up at a horrible place which served horrible food and 8 euro bottles of water. oh la la. Anyway, after that mistep, we grabbed the metro and went down to the eiffel tower to see it in all its luminous glory. that's when the full effects of the horrible dinner caught up with me, the group seperated while i searched for somewhere to "sit" and that was the last we saw of Cam and the girls until the next day. The weather was sweltering, even at midnight. It was a hot weekend in Paris, that's for sure. This was actually Kim and mine's second visit to the tower that day as our hostel was located not far from it. The first time, we were stopped by a couple parisian hooligans who wanted to know if they could kiss us in and catch it on film. Apparently, one of the young men was getting married, and so it was bachelors out for some fun i guess. i take it as a feather in our cap. we must have looked damn cute. they said that if he didn't find someone to kiss, they were going to throw him in the fountains. i said i'd rather see that....but nonetheless, kim braved her cheek for the photographic evidence collection. then we joined the rest of the tourists at the top of the steps to take pictures of the famous tour. le tour, not to be confused with la tour, which is something else entirely.
so back at the eiffel tower, we were haflway to home, so we hoofed it back to the Three Ducks hostel and snuck into bed. Two other hostelers were already in our room, sleeping in their clothes including their shoes! they must have thought we were some sort of super theives or soemthing. they were american on some tour or other we found out in the morning. by then i hated them because they had snored all night long and no amount of obnoxious behaviour on my part could rouse them long enough for me to sneak back to sleep before the buzzsaws started up again. i stomped around, i kicked their bed....it was useless. so i read my book from 6am until 8am. good book by the way: Tom Robins's "Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates" courtesy of Erin, by personal librarian.
Day two we understandably started in a bit of a drowsy state, but somewhere along the way we had heard about Mike's Fat Tire bike tours or something along those lines and it struck a chord, so we decided to go and see if we could get on one. luck was with us and we ended up biking our little asses all over the grounds of the Palace of Versailles! Louis XIV is one of my favourite history lessons and so i was so stoked to be having a picnic right where he did! the first thing we did on the tour after arriving in the town of Versailles was go to the market to collect materials for said picnic. that was a challenge...somehow, although i am confident in my french, and i was very clear about what i wanted, i ended up with a kilo of beans and a kilo of peas when i really only wanted a handful of each. i admit i didn't handle the situation very well...i let the man walk all over me and he probably had a good laugh at the dumb tourist. but i cursed him good, so the last laugh is with me. jerk. i made a donation of most of the produce as there was no way i was going to hang 2 kilos of produce off my handle bars. by the way, we were riding california cruisers. sooo cool. the rest of the stuff kim and i got was all what we wanted and delicious. the tour stopped at the hamlet of marie antoinette, and the smaller palaces of the Versailles grounds and also of course went through the gardens and stuff. sunday is fountain day apparently and they were all on. it was lovely. we toured the chateau as well, and my sister bargained for a flying bird toy that my dad is apparently amused with. happy father's day! which reminds me, i owe him a phone call. it was too short on sunday as i was unable to figure out the phone card i bought. another wasted 7 euro. ugh.
After the bike tour, we went on a bike tour. the same company leads a ride through paris at night including an hour long boat cruise with free wine. right on. the girls met up with us for that, so kim and i and all the california girls rode our california cruisers all through the city just as the sun was going down. in paris you need someone to kiss. it was a very romantic setting. we passed by almost all of the major monuments and got the story on each and then got pretty merry on the boat....we were all going to go out to the canadian bar, Moose, but kim and i had curfew, not to mention a glaring energy deficit, and so we just handed in our bikes and went home to bed. luckily, our roommates for the second night were very quiet both asleep and awake. i slept good.
our last day was louvre day. we walked the champs elysees to get our tickets from fnac, i impressed myself with my french at the ticket office, and then we walked through the tuillerie gardens stopping for a crepe on the way. the louvre was hot and crowded, although we didn't have to wait in line or antyhing. neither of us are art lovers, except for a couple of paintings, so we made fairly quick work of hte louvre. we saw all that you are supposed to see, but i forgot to look up my favourite painting "the bolt" by can't remember who. that is a hot painting. see if you can google it. i should have got one in the museum shop. dammit, i always leave something to come back for in Paris. Last time i was there i was upset i didn't get the chance to see inside notre dame. we remedied that yesterday as well as stopping at the conciergie at kim's request to see where they kept prisoners destined for the guillotine during the french revolution, including marie antoinette. i saw marie antoinette's napkin. also the blade that cut off her head. it was grim, but kim liked it. we made a stop uptown for a little souvenir, and i saw a lambourghini, so you know that put me in a good mood. i of course took picutres. it was in my favourite colour ("melon") and jerome, i forgot to mention, it was black stealth rims. it was a hot car. i am pretty sure it was a guillardo but i am not positive. i didn't think they put guillardos in the melon paint job.
anyway, time to catch the train. we met the ladies at the train station and settled in for the long ride home. this morning: irish breakfast and goodbye to cammy. things get sadder here by the day as more and more of my friends leave. The guesthouse is a ghost town and now even our little group of four is beginning to disband. *sniff* when will we meet again??

Sunday, June 19, 2005

When in Rome!

Day 3: thinking back now, what did we do? our plan was to go to the Coloseum, but since we still hadn't been to the Vatican, and we woke up to a thunderstorm thus inspiring long pants, we decided to hike across Rome to the Vatican for round two. If you recall, the fashion police stopped us the day before. We were dressed Vatican proof for sure and got in no problem. It wasn't the experience I had expected. In fact, I was downright depressed. It is supposed to be this really sacred place where God is supposedly apparent and thriving, but to be honest, I don't feel that god lives there. It is too crowded with snapshot happy tourists, catholic pomp as a show for said tourists, and bad manners, to be frank. It is grand, I'll give it that. and some of the artwork is indeed beautiful, but what that has to do with religion, i am not sure. i don't think god cares about how much gilted ceiling some lowly humans can cram into a vaulted space. whatever. I was bummed. It wasn't enlightening or inspiring. but i do like the funny costumes of the swiss guard...
After that, we walked back into our neck of the woods and ran into fofo from the guesthouse!! how random is that?! as if i would run into someone i know in Rome. small world.
Day three was also our first encounter with the best ice cream in Rome. We visited the Trevi Fountain in the morning before the Vatican let-down and just behind it is the Gelateria San Crispino. wow. I had honey, melon, lemon, orange, and hazelnut and meringue before the end of our trip. we went twice...
We kept dinner more low-key that night, stopping at a fresh fruit stand to snack and then we went off in search of pizza forno ligna. "woodfired". the place was in the piazza navona again and it was sooo good. we stopped in some shops, including a really cute toy store. you can still buy those tin wind-up toys that i think are so cute. but i didn't partake. that night, after dinner, we went to the Spanish Steps to hang out with all the kids drinking there. It was so nice. People were jamming with guitars and singing and drinking wine straight from the bottle. every once in a while a young man or woman would seperate from the crowd and sit alone on the steps just gazing. I am assuming this is the act of "finding oneself".
i was so ready for bed. we walked home, slowly, because my feet had almost no flex left.
ugh. sleep!!!
Day 4: COLLOSEUM! so awesome. we took the tour and learned a lot. Before we could meet up with them though, we walked around the capitaline hill. the weather was absolutely beautiful (note that i said that) and we were hot hot hot. The air was pregnant with the humidity and heat. we looked at some old buildings and made up some stories to go with what we were looking at. We both have a new love of Nero. that kooky fella. haha. so misunderstood!
The colloseum was even hotter, but the tour was really informative. it dispelled all the myths presented in "Gladiator". Gladiators are apparently not slaves sentenced to death. who knew?
After that rigourous morning/afternoon, it was clearly time for more ice cream, so we went back to the trevi fountain and San Crispino.
About this time, Mother Nature's water broke. The weather switched so fast there was nothing anyone could do. It poured. we were almost literally washed out of Rome. By the time we got back to the bag deposit at the train station, we were as wet as if we had fallen in the Trevi fountain. We laughed mostly as it was a pretty funny thing really. no sense getting upset. the rivers flowed through Rome though. let me tell ya.
Then it was time to catch the aiport bus back to Ciampino. easier said than done. They only sent one coach for 150 passengers for flights all leaving within an hour of each other. duh. anyway, it was chaos. there were women throwing punches and swearing and the driver was almost completely overwhelmed. We stayed out of the way, and our patience was rewarded as they did send a second bus which we did muscle our way on. there was still a whole bus load of people left on the curb though wondering if they'd make it home that night.
we did. Duck and all, all the way from Brussels to Maastricht and in bed by 1:00. Big day Friday! my sister arrived!! more on that later...
for now, greetings from Paris! I am writing to you from the bike tour office where we are just getting ready to tour to Versailles! Time to visit the Sun King. A bientot!