I haven’t died… yet.

It has been a while since I posted anything and it is not like nothing has happened.

Eiffel Tower at NightI took another amazing trip to Europe. The goal this time was to see amazing new things that I would not have seen if I actually planned the trip. It may not be a surprise to some of my loyal readers that I have a short attention span and my plan for Paris was simple. Do the Eiffel Tower at night, then on my full dat go to L’Arc de Triumph, go in Notre Dame, and see Rodin’s House. L'arc de TriumphWhat did I end up accomplishing? Just the tower and arc from my list.

As it turns out I was going to walk down the Champs de Elysee to get to see the Charles de Gaulle statue and get on the Metro. As I walked down the street I noticed these mini malls and started to check them out until I found one that near the end had a back entrance to an alley. It was in this ally that I found the most amazing baked thing with raspberries that has ever entered my mouth. I should have taken a photo or wrote down the name of it… but it didn’t last long enough. At this point I realized that I spent way more time than I though I would have so I finished the street and made it to the metro. I never did find that statue but I got this amazing photo.

Champs de Elysee

IMG_0053Then I get to the Metro station and I have to transfer twice to get to the Arts et Metiers station. Though I never made it there. Why not you might ask? It is because I ran into a station that the train stopped at nearby called Bonne Nouvelle. For those readers IMG_0060that know some French will know that the name of the station means Good News! What type of explorer would I be if I missed the opportunity to visit Good News. So I got off and then made it to the street and got my bearings to the general direction I needed to go. Then as a continued to walk I found a little hidden gem not one but two really cool old arches that were even more impressive than the main three of Paris.

IMG_0063Then finally after a 20 minute walk to where I was supposed to get the train to, I finally arrive at the Musée des Arts et Métiers. As i make my way around the building to the entrance to the museum I get the amazing welcome that many poor immigrants to the United States got to experience over a hundred years ago. It was a bronze cast of the plaster model original that was used to size to scale the giant version of La Liberté éclairant le monde (Statue of Liberty) that welcomes people to New York harbour. This museum has the original plaster version inside the converted church that is now basically a church of science and IMG_0947engineering. The name of the museum is a little deceptive because it translates to Arts and Crafts but there are amazing gems in this place including a kilogram, a satellite, every measuring item that you can imagine. Very old adding machines up to the Cray-2 (world’s fastest computer 1985-1990). Very old to almost new but obsolete technology. It is a geek’s nerdvana.

After the Museum it was time for some lunch then grab the train to Notre Dame because I had a plan. As I started walking down the street passing station after station looking for a Baguette sandwich that I was craving I realized that this was probably the only place in town where there was no food cafés or I just stuck at noticing things and missed them. Finally I find one and it was the best ham and cheese sandwich that I ever had (at that time and for about a week until I hit up Rome).

By this point I was at the City Hall and enjoyed the square and was getting tired but I could see the Notre Dame in the distance so why not just walk the rest of the way. As I get there my feet are tired because I had new shoes and my gel insoles were still in my bag at the hotel. I see the big line and figure why not take a few photos in front of the church and the head to the Rodin House.

IMG_0083

IMG_0099I then get in the Metro and make it to the Rodin House but by the time I get there my time is up and I need to walk back to the pick up point. I went back to the hotel to get changed then we headed out for dinner where I really enjoyed some wine and great french food. Seen a cabaret style show. Then tried really hard to debate some very good points, lose a stupid argument, and headed back by taxi to the hotel for some sleep and then a really long shower to relax.

Ninety-Eight Days but I’m Not Counting

It is really cold today. It has been less than a month now since I booked my next trip.

On my last trip my old reliable large suitcase met it’s last days from the cobble-stone sidewalks of Rome. That’s right I have to move on with life and break in a virgin suitcase on this trip.

My new suitcase is slightly larger and a harder case. I bought it at the Zellers liquidation sale. It’s biggest problem is there is only one outside pocket. I’m undecided still on whether or not to by a new dangly thing. My last one was given to me buy my old friend when I had forgotten my previous on prior to my first WordCamp trip.

On an interesting note to me anyways, I was cleaning off my dresser and under the pile of junk was my dangly thing. I tried guessing what was in it as it felt unusually bulky. I thought it might have been the baggage tag for my last Toronto trip. I was wrong. (Even though some people think I would never really say that.)

The tag in my dangly thing was the luggage tag from YSJ to FCO via YUL. (Saint John to Fiumicino (near Rome) via Montreal).

Personally I find Rome to be one of the worlds worst historic cities. From all the thieves to the difficult sidewalks to the crazy drivers to the very long lines almost every city in Europe is better than Rome. Though perhaps my views would be different if I ever found true love in Rome. We will have to see May 6-8th.

A Difficult Goodbye

Describe the last difficult “goodbye” you said.

My last difficult goodbye was in London last fall. It was so difficult when you are in such a close group of people on a bus tour, knowing that you will likely never see any of them again to say goodbye.

This one in particular was hard for the main reason I was extremely tired. That day we started the day with an early departure from Amsterdam to try to catch the 1PM ferry in Calais.

When I should have been getting some well needed rest after an incredibly active day of walking many kilometres rather that trying to translate Dutch to take the street cars, the worlds most annoying creation decided that it was time for no one to sleep at 3:30am. That annoying creation was a damned rooster. Although I could probably sleep over the sound of a rooster in this instance, it was several dozen of those buggers.

Last Live Performance

What was the last live performance you saw?

London Street
London Streetscape

The last live performance I saw was Legally Blonde: The Musical at the Savoy in London. This was the first time I went to a show in London. I bought my tickets at a little kiosk on Charing Cross Rd.. It was a nice sunny afternoon, I was going to see an afternoon movie but for some reason I decided not to. I think the main reason was I has so much left to see in London and I seen a sign that morning for the Transport for London (TFL) museum and since I love subways I decided that was too important to miss.

I was so thrilled with my purchase and they even gave me a map of where to find the theatre. So after a quick-lunch and email check at the Burger King, I was off to find this museum from memory and some moderately accurate street directions. When I then saw something “shiny” (metaphorically). It was a little stair well to a Ray-Ban designer shop. I when in and tried on every pair. Things appear more magical when travelling.

Then I found the museum and it was 100x better that I imagined the museum to be. It was a second london gem that interested me by surprise like the H.M.S. Belfast that prior to the day before I had not known existed.

Stage setupAfter I when back to the hotel to drop off my new souvenirs and to dress more formal for the theatre. When I got off the tube at Charring Cross I seen the map at the station to get general bar rings as it was about a 5 minute walk. I kept walking and started to question if I had gone too far then I saw the bright pink glow around the bend from the large sign.

I quickly get in created and find my perfect centre seat about 8 rows from the stage about 20 minutes before showtime. After 5 minutes an usher comes and explains that the Ticket seller double sold the same seats and that in typical London hospitality I was given a new seat one row back. Then the show started and was such an amazing musical in such a fashion that held it’s own only differing slightly from the movie storyline and incredibly well acted. It was also really pink.

2011 in 12 Sentences

As the year comes to an end I usually come up with a long post about the year that has been. Plinky suggested only on sentence per month so here goes.

I went to BC. I learned about caregivers. Learned how to program Macros in Microsoft Excel. Lots of sports and trips to Fredericton. I went to Toronto. Started walking a lot more than ever. Went to Montreal and New York City. I got really, really bored and booked a trip. Went on a last-minute camping trip to 10 European Countries. Got better from travel illness. Started taking it easier and planning more. Started doing new things, like translating WordPress to Canadian English and Operation Red Nose.

A Risk Worth Taking, Rafting in the Austrian Tyrol

Rafting in Austria
Rafting in Austria
Rafting in Austria

Last month my trip to Europe was a big spur of the moment trip that had very challenging air travels with all the delayed flights. But when I was in Austria deciding to go rafting was a huge enough risk. As we were being rushed, on the dark and rainy day, to get changed and that I need to lose some more weight and the suit was so tight that it was harder to bend I was not able to zipper up my wet boots, so they were quite loose. Add to that I have not actually swam in about 10 years, and I was not a very string swimmer back then.

About 5 minutes into the rating trip the guide, asked me to jump into the water and then swim back to the boat to practice safety. All that was going through my mind at that moment was how cold the Alpine water would be, and my glasses falling off. Without thinking much further I was underwater. I also had not gotten a good breath of air either. It was slightly difficult and took what seemed like forever to decide what way was up. Fortunately having a life jacket on I determined the direction I was floating was up and it was right.

Then as I reached the surface, I was so relieved that I had air again and that I could actually still swim. Then as a started to swim to the boat, I realized that the boots were too loose to swim. I had gone to the gym mostly cardio so my legs were good to swim, so I had to use only my arms. I finally made it to the boat fairly quickly but as I tried to pull myself into the boat but had no arm power left but the others pulled be in fairly easily.

The rest of the trip was amazing and fun. I definitely do rafting again, this time I would need to get a little fitter on my arms and practice a little swimming first. Also make sure my boots fit properly.

Aussie woman dies on Italy Contiki tour

I just read the following article and am very surprised at this. Over the last 2 years I have been on a Contiki tour at the very same campsite.

Aussie woman dies on Italy Contiki tour | The Australian.

The Seven Hills campsite was one of my favourites, it had the awesome showers in the cabins that had the full body sprays. Although, camping was crazy as the ground was very rocky and hard to put the pegs on.

One difference about this site over others is that you have to use these pre-loaded cards to buy stuff. Now this seems all in well however on the night you leave most of the people I knew would empty the cards at the super-amazing bar, and Rome is one of the heavier drinking spots that I have been to.

Interesting enough the article also goes on to state, “Contiki said the tour group had continued to Venice.” Now although Rome is a heavy drinking spot. The Fusina Bar at Camping Fucina in Venice is more so. They have the Amnesia drinks for about 8 Euro that go down way to easy.

It must be really hard on the Contiki staff to actually lose a camper in this manner. Usually people just get left behind when they partied too hard.