Browsing Category: Travel

I love to Travel, these posts are about trips I have taken.

WordCamp Halifax 2017

WordCamp Halifax 2017

Yesterday was my 8th WordCamp, the first one ever held in Atlantic Canada.

Dalhousie University was a great location, and the buildings are very modern but historic looking at the same time. As for Halifax the city, it was meh. I didn’t spend much time elsewhere as the traffic and confusing signs stressed me out.

I got to see some very interesting presentations my favourites in order were: Shelly Peacock’s The “No Badger” Zone, Sarah Rennick’s You Don’t Have To Sacrifice Your First Born To Make A Child Theme, Laura Hawkins’ Tips For Creating Effective Site And Blog Content, Kathryn Presner’s A CSS Adventure, Jean-Francois Arseneault’s Guardians of the Website, and Chris Van Patten’s It Doesn’t Have To Hurt: Bringing Modern Dev Practices to WordPress.

Planning and Superstition

Planning and Superstition

In August 2015, it was like Christmas! The Summer 2016 flyer came out and I drooled over every page. Vacation planning is not something I do a lot of, it is more of a familiarization of options. As I reviewed my options, let’s face it, maximizing the number of new countries was the main option.

There resulted in one tour that became the only one that worked for dates to take my mother to Europe, and her need to user the Labour Day weekend to make it work, and the need to still hit Oktoberfest with Tony. That tour was the Trail to Rome starting September 9, 2016. It would leave London, then go to in order; Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Ljubljana, Venice, and Rome. This was it or bust!I have always booked these trips through the tour group directly, as it was just easier. Since the past trips, I took some cruises and booked them through a particular travel agent. As a few weeks passed, the trip date after the one I wanted went completely sold out and my trip was limited availability now. So I went online and booked the trip directly with Contiki. Since the rest of the trip dependent on others, I didn’t get the insurance (later in the story this was a very wise decision), or airfare.

Around the end of the year, some things came up and my mother was going to have to cancel. Then the trip sold out and Tony was only going to do the end week. Come April I needed to buy my airfare and the trip was not firmed up but I knew I was going to take book-end weeks before and after the trip so I planned to fly to London (so I could store my big bag and travel light), then after the trip give half a week to plan later and then fly Rome to Munich for Oktoberfest, spend 3 nights there, and fly home from there.

Now I researched my flights and tweeted the flights to perfection and timings to not be too early, too late, or wait times too long or too short. I also planned to try out Lufthansa to come home. Since this was 3 segments and multi-airline, I determined a travel agent would be my best bet, and I needed to get travel insurance still.

Now since I booked my trip my regular agent didn’t seem pleased that I booked the package directly with Contiki. In addition, I am quite superstitious about things and the two cruises I booked through her using different airlines, both had my luggage delayed. I, therefore, decided to use a different location of the same company to book the flights. I showed up with a post-it note that had dates, flight codes, and airport codes that would confuse most people as a pile of gibberish, but to her, it made perfect sense and I had tickets in no time.

I also bought travel cancellation insurance through her. I thought the price was a little high and later found out it was the plus plan, and that was why. By the time I found that out it was too late to do anything about it.

It’s Showtime!

It’s Showtime!

Show Poster

Now to continue the story. The biggest point of fear is the moment before doing something. However, I have at this point completely learned my part and it is showtime for the final full rehearsal and there are a limited number of media and a few other people in the audience. It makes this effectively the first show. I’m standing behind the curtain waiting for my cue, which was in the second part of the first act, and am trembling because although I’m not on stage yet, I have no way to escape out of doing this. After two months of faking it, pretending to be an actor, I step out on stage. I don’t remember much of that show I was in character and pulled it off.

The next day, the first day of paying guests, I trip on my way to work, rip open my knee and elbow, but the most tragic event happened. My coffee cup exploded all over the sidewalk and I lost it. A world without coffee is not a great world. That night I was faking it again and really was focused and didn’t even notice the audience. Each night after the show I got to meet some of the audience. The reason why the story started here was that after the Friday show, I invited my mother to travel with me to see London and Paris on the fateful trip when the story gets interesting.

I did absolutely love the acting and had auditioned again the next year but have never gotten a chance to do it again yet hopefully as I heal, I will get a part in the future. The following April I did perform with my friend Tony in a Shakespeare open mic a bit from Coriolanus. Unfortunately, he messed up his line. (sarcastic supportive emoji ūüôĄ)

It was also at this point that I convinced myself that it was time for Contiki trip number 4. My friend Tony also wanted to join me for the Contiki and to do a post-tour trip to visit Pompeii and Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. (Do I even need to state it is in Germany. Doesn’t everyone know Munich is in Germany?)

Later, my mother sent me a list of things she would find interesting like the Tower of London, the English Moores, Normandy, and where in Paris that Princess Diana was killed. (Moan, not Paris again…)

So the plan is to bring my mother for a few days, send her home. Meet Tony and then go on Contiki, then a post week of exploration.

Let the saga begin…

Let the saga begin…

Over the past few years, I have not posted as much lately here. Let’s face it FaceBook is where it is at these days to share things. But the main reason has been that I had been in a slump where almost nothing felt interesting to me let alone share.

Back in 2009 when I left university for the last time and decided to leave university and start travelling, I was really in a search to try and find meaning. Then in 2010 when I first set foot on British soil and took my first Contiki it was amazing. Then came 2011 and I tried to duplicate the experience and it was more disappointing and less amazing (just a little). Then when my Great Aunt passed away in 2012, I tried again to travel Europe and it just wasn’t quite the same as that first time either. I wasn’t having any luck at finding meaning in anything, or a relationship.

Then in 2014, I took a cruise and it was impressive. So, I did it again in 2015 and it was very much less so than the first time although it was still special like each of the trips before by the people I meet on the journey.

Although this has now changed and I’m not sure where this will end or how long it will take to catch up to no but boy do I have a story to share, and I will start to post it here.

IG: Europe Trip 2016

IG: Europe Trip 2016

Contiki’s Virtual Travel

Contiki’s Virtual Travel

There are somethings in life that VR will just not replace. One such thing is the experience of a Contiki tour. Or can it? I just read an article on Travel Week where with $149 for 3 hours you can experience a 3D VR experience of world wonders like Oktoberfest in Germany.

I’m sorry but there is nothing close to Oktoberfest in Germany then…

Oktoberfest in Munich
Oktoberfest in Munich

Not Even…

Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo
Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo

I have been on 3 and soon to be 4 Contiki Europe trips, and the experiences you get from days with people from all over the globe just cannot be virtually obtained. Especially the smells of cities like London, Paris, Rome, Venice are also part of the experience. Travelling is to me about the experience more so then just seeing the sites.

Check it out here https://www.contiki.com/virtually-unlimited

Note: I wrote this post before visiting the actual Contiki site about this.

IG: Sun Trip 2014/2015

IG: Sun Trip 2014/2015

Voyage to the Caribbean – Part 3 (2 Days, 1.5 Islands, 0 Plans, 0 Disappointments)

Voyage to the Caribbean – Part 3 (2 Days, 1.5 Islands, 0 Plans, 0 Disappointments)

So as we left off last time I had finely made it to the ship with my luggage and we were on our way.

I spent the first night expiring the ship and visiting every nook and cranny that I could. It was a very interesting group of people who I was seated with in the dining room. Then I went to the Ivan Hoe Theatre for the welcome show which was amazing and caught the end of the sail away party on the Lido deck.

On the second day it was a stop in St. Thomas on the US Virgin Islands. Let’s just say that I enjoyed myself greatly the previous night and on my list was to get some Advil as I had not packed any. I started wandering around the cruise terminal area and did not find anything overly interesting so I started to walk further down the street until I seen the sign for a K-Mart. It must have been 20 years since I last seen one of those places.

I proceeded to the K-Mart and it was a 2 story shop and was air-conditioned so I browsed every isle for about a half and hour and bought 1.5L bottle of water and a bottle of Advil. I then decided to walk back to the ship and then do nothing and enjoy the sun as the Advil kicked in.

On the way back to the ship I ran into a man offering a taxi tour of the island. Guaranteeing it was one of the best island tours. He asked where I was from an after telling him I was from Canada he pointed to the other people he had crowded up were also from Canada. After some hesitation I agree to take the tour. We get into the van and start driving around as he points out things of interest along the way. He was very knowledgeable and very funny and kept everyone laughing most of the time.

After we left town we went to the first stop where we would get out to take pictures. There was a man with an ass named Monica Lewinsky at this stop. Now I knew about thinks like this from the gladiators in Roma where they convince you to have a picture taken for money and for US$2 I get my picture taken with the ass. Then the tour guide offers to take group pictures for everyone, and then we move on.

The next stop was just up the hill a little further. It was the lookout at Drake’s Seat. Once again there was a guy with another ass named Lady Gaga. One ass pic was enough. The view of Mohones Bay was amazing from there. The next stop was at Coki Beach which was some of the clearest water I have ever seen. Then the to our ended and I went back to the ship.

I went to have some lunch and then played some trivia before moving on and exploring more of the ship, and trying out the pools. It was about departure time that we heard the alarm and they announced staff to staging areas and the doors to my hallway were closed. There turned out being a fire on the port side of the aft section on Deck 8 (or Verandah deck). That was when the rumors started. Everyone had their own story of what they heard happened. It was not until I was waiting in line for dinner from people who were in the next room over from the fire the I got the real story.

It turned out that there was an electrical fault with the lamp in the room. At dinner I met most of my dinner group that I would be dining with for the rest of the trip. It was a very big group everyone was a solo traveler just like I was. This is probably one of my best tips of advice for somebody traveling solo is to take the assigned dining option and not a flex dining option. This way you have somebody to talk to about your day and somebody to listen to about their day.

Next day was very interesting. It was our only day at sea on this voyage. I went to art shows and seminars and trivia sessions but then just spent a chunk of the day relaxing on the Lido deck. It was shortly after lunch when we had learned that there was a medical emergency onboard. The captain said that she would have to divert to Martinique. He assured us that we would still get to Barbados on time the next day.

It was very fortunate that we detoured as¬†we were sailing away there was the most amazing rainbow I have ever seen. Then there was a meet the captain and crew formal event as this was our first formal night on the ship. I got interviewed on the ships TV station by the assistant cruise director and after that all the old women on the ship were saying “Were you the guy on the TV?”

Voyage to the Caribbean Part 2 (Fatty should lose some weight)

Voyage to the Caribbean Part 2 (Fatty should lose some weight)

While we left off on the last post I had arrived to San Juan but had no luggage as at this point it was still in Toronto. I got up later about 8am showered and went to the free continental breakfast buffet at the San Juan Airport Hotel. It was not the greatest of breakfasts but it was typical of other hotels I have previously stayed at. Before leaving the hotel I made a call to American Airlines to see if my bag was on its way on the flight I was explained last night. I was assured it was scanned and was in the air on its way to Miami. Since the bag was going to be delivered to the ship there was no point in waiting around the airport on a beautiful sunny winter’s day.

I decided to go catch the bus but when I got to the bus stop I seen some people walking so I decided to as well. I was not sure which way I was headed from the airport as many of the signs were in a language I would later learn was Spanish. I had a map on a brochure that had only 7 roads and 2 dots to go off of but I know if I could find the coast that I could follow it to the cruise port. Since the sun was behind me I knew that had to be east and since tall hotels are usually built along a coastline I figured the tall buildings on the other side of the airport had to be north. With that in mind I followed the side-walk around the airport until it ended then to the dirt trail along the fence until that ended too. I ran across the exit ramp and under the over pass then I ran out of places to walk. In hindsight that could have been the reason all the cabs had honked and gesture if I needed a cab. From there I climbed a grassy knoll and jumped a concrete barrier and ran across a busy off-ramp.

As I emerged beyond the highway to Pueblo Supermarket in the very Spanish town of Carolina neighbouring San Juan. I decided to go to the supermarket because I decided that I needed water in the heat. While walking across the parking lot some random guy started to yell at me in Spanish. I said that I did not understand Spanish and only spoke English. Then he said “I’m sorry. I said that Fatty should lose some weight.” That caught me first by surprise that someone would say that and secondly, what neighbour hood did I get myself into? I then sold him about my recent weight loss, and he gave me some more tips before we pith went on our way. When I entered the grocery store I was grateful for the air conditioning and then picket up a fresh local tangerine then noticed how processed and fake most of the other food actually was compared to what I am used to then I also picked up a litre bottle of water and proceeded to walk along the was westward bound to the cruise terminal.

As I proceeded along Avenida¬†Isla Verde and found impressive the resorts and hotels on one side and the bars and restaurants on the other side. When I got to the end of this street I came across a stretch of ¬†gated neighbourhoods keeping me from the coast until I came across Barbosa Park that was the 1st time I got to see Caribbean waters even though it was technically still the Atlantic Ocean. It was here that I received the first automated call from American Airlines that my suitcase had made it to Miami. I then proceeded to walk further until after drinking the entire litre of water I needed to find a toilet. I then came across a restaurant but it looked busy so I kept walking then on McLeary I found the Yogen Fr√ľz. I decided to stop there and get a frozen yogurt and then hit the toilet. I stayed there enjoying the frozen yogurt and air conditioning. I got some Wi-Fi access here and decided to load a map to determine if I was actually going the right way.

When I left here I shortly ended up in another hotel district. I was walking past a large group of people loading into a van to head to the cruise terminal and I could tell by the tags that they were going to the same ship as me. I got a little nervous as I knew I had another hours walk at least to get to San Juan. I eventually made it across the bridge to San Juan and then decided to walk to the coast again to check out the fort that ended up being gated off. At this point my feet were very sore since my walking sneakers were in my suitcase that was just departing Miami. I then by this point was getting tired and dehydrated. I walked down¬†Ave Juan Ponce De Le√≥n and came to enjoy the shaded benches along Parque Luis Mu√Īoz Rivera. I found a store but it was locked and the guy inside did not open up so I kept walking. I eventually got to the cruise port and then found the CVS where I got water, juice, and Aloe Vera Aftersun. As I was waiting in line I started to feel like I was going to pass out. I left the store just in time to find a bench with some shade and drink all the juice and water before I passed not in the sun.

While on the bench I called American Airlines the final time to see if my luggage was scanned on the flight to San Juan and it was so I decided to go board the ship, the Carnival Valor. The first thing I did when I got on the ship was found my room and it was bigger than I expected for an inside cabin. I then decided that I needed lunch considering I had a late dinner reservation and I found the Burrito Bar, and it was amazing. I then explored the ship and received the call the my suitcase was in San Juan and would be delivered to the ship at 6pm. I then went to the welcome event at the Ivan Hoe theatre and then to dinner where I met a diverse group of people. I then had a few drinks and went to bed.

Voyage to the Caribbean (Getting to San Juan)

Voyage to the Caribbean (Getting to San Juan)

I decided fairly last-minute to try out taking a cruise. So I booked the Carnival Valor to add five new countries to my list. I went into the trip with very few expectations as the trip was strictly to add countries to my list.

I booked the trip with a travel agent for a change as I was finding it difficult to find a flight to San Juan, and I wanted to get insurance since the weather van be uncertain this time of year. I booked the trip with Maritime Travel since they seemed decent with their travel show the week before.

I got up early that morning to take an uneventful flight to Toronto and then experience the pain it was to go through pre-clearance to enter the USA. The flight with American Airlines was a different experience I had a good view of the wings and the screw heads all had cracked paint on them and it freaked me out. I had to transfer flights in Miami so I checked out the airport. I had dinner at the Clover Irish Pub and watched some Olympic coverage. I had the Sheppard Pie and it was to die for.

In one of the shops the souvenirs had “Key West Mile 0”. I asked one of the clerks what was special about mile 0 and she did not know as she was new to the area. The other guy said it was the Key West was as far south as you could drive and that it was an amazing place to travel to. The other clerk asked where I was going to I told here San Juan and she said “High Five Puerto Rico!” She then explained how that was where she was from.

I found the boarding process to be unusual as no one wanted to see any ID or passport to board the plane a boarding pass was all they wanted to see. Therefore in theory you could just switch boarding passes with anyone and get on any plane and they would have no idea who was on the actual plane. I think the Canadian system is much safer. Then I got to San Juan and was exhausted for the long day of travelling.

I waited to get bag and then it was not there American decided to leave it in Toronto. I was really nervous since I was on the cruise the next day. The baggage rep was very helpful and explained the process and how my bag was going to get to San Juan the next day. When it arrived they would send it to the ship directly. I then left the airport to find the San Juan Airport Hotel where I was going to spend the night. It was not the easiest to find and I asked an airport worker for directions and all he said was “about 10 minutes.” I think that there is a possibility that he did not speak English that I learned the next day was common for Puerto Rico.

When I checked into the airport there was a lady who missed her flight and didn’t think it was fair to have to pay a whole night where her flight was very early in the morning. Another guy said that “spending a night at this hotel is a sign something has not gone right.” After the long day of travel I went to bed. The hotel was not the greatest but it was not terrible either.

I’ll post more later about my trip.

My Thoughts on Reviews

My Thoughts on Reviews

I love writing and submitting views and reviews on a lot of things. With that I feel that some people over favourly review things. For me a 5 star is in my opinion the best of the best where the service was above and beyond, or for movies that I loved it so much I would buy the DVD and watch it a couple times a year.

I see a 3 or 4 star review as a favourable review still. When it comes to traveling places I always ignore the 5s anyways and look to the reasoning why people did not like it. Quite often people will have just been too picky.

Right now I am getting close to 50 reviews on Trip Advisor check them out and let me know what you think. Am I being too hard?

The most miserable place on Earth! Rome.

The most miserable place on Earth! Rome.

The Face of Truth
Fountain Replica of The Face of Truth

There is not a more fitting way to start this post than with the Face of Truth. The truth about Rome is that it is the most miserable place on Earth.

This was my 3rd visit to Rome and it seems to never get better. Rome has a very limited  Metro system so getting around is not the easiest although unlike many other cities Rome is very consolidated into 2-hour walk to anything. The charm about Rome is its history as the centre of an ancient empire. Though when you get to see the real Rome most of the ancient ruins beside the Coliseum, a field where Circus Maximus was and the Pantheon there is really not much left to see of that empire. The only real remaining Empire left to see is that of Christianity and Catholicism.

When it comes to food, Rome is very lacking in its own identity. It adopts styles from other Italian regions and International¬†Inspiration. On my first night in Rome, I went to a place called Piazza Navona which was loaded full of people eating at all the restaurants that circled the Piazza. I went through a couple of allies and found¬†Ristorante Ottavio. I was small, quaint and “Roman”. In typical fashion, while travelling I ask the server what is really good to try. The gentleman says that the lobster is very “fresh and wonderful”.

I then ask him how fresh it is. He quickly leaves and brings back this poor almost dead looking lobster that to most who have never seen a real fresh live lobster before would be very thrilled.

So instead I ordered a pasta dish that was much more amazing than the plate that that poor unfortunate lobster would eventually have ended up as. While in the Piazza I saw a Seagull catch a Pigeon in mid-air and fly off with it in its beak. This had me thinking that given the number of pigeons and seagulls that we have in Saint John that this is just further proof of the miserableness of Rome.

Rainy Day at the Pantheon
Rainy Day at the Pantheon

Though Rome does have many sides and moments of wonder. Earlier that day I was on a walking tour of the area and as I approached the Pantheon the skies just opened up and dumped as much water as it possibly could on the crowds of tourists and street people who with amazing speed switched from selling collectibles to selling ponchos and umbrellas.

That being said it did not rain for very long just long enough to get completely wet and leave enough water to make it more humid as being evaporated by bright sunshine that rapidly came out.

The Trevi Fountain was amazing as usual and like Pigeons in King’s Square or like any other old thing in Europe was over packed with crowds of people.

And the Coliseum and Roman Forums have not changed a bit since the last time I have seen them in 2011.

I haven’t died… yet.

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 Mus√©e des Arts et M√©tiers. 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 Libert√© √©clairant 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.

IG: Europe Trip 2011/2013

IG: Europe Trip 2011/2013

Ninety-Eight Days but I’m Not Counting

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.

Last Live Performance

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

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

A Risk Worth Taking, Rafting in the Austrian Tyrol

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 swum in about 10 years, and I was not a very strong 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 me 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

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.

Is the Reversing Falls/Rapids a Tourist Trap?

Is the Reversing Falls/Rapids a Tourist Trap?

This week not only once but¬†twice I found myself on foot crossing the Reversing Falls Bridge. (Well only one of the two times was my first.) i have always considered the “falls” to be something to get the tourists to see.

I have seen the rapids from Fallsview Park many times but as you stand there on the middle of the bridge looking down the first thing that came to my mind was, “Crap that’s a long way down”. The second thought was this rail is shaking too much. Then I went to the east side of the bridge and went under it. Now that the signs of fear were gone. I really admired the natural beauty of the Falls and can understand why people come and look at the very unusual rock formations.

The most amazing thing though was the sun set over the hills. It is a shame that not enough people get to see calmness of the sunset.