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Tag Archives: travel

The Traveling Cat

19 Dec

This cat of mine is a decently well traveled cat. Sure he hasn’t left Canada but most cats stay in one city their whole lives and this little guy keeps going back and forth between BC and Alberta. Not only does he travel he does it in style, and with such attitude!

Our drive to the airport was uneventful, as was the rainy walk from the parking spot to the shuttle that took us to the airport. During check in the person working kept trying to make him meow, she’d lean down to look him in the eyes and meow at him. Striker was having none of that and just stared her down each time. But when I leaned down to check on him he’d give me a little meow, I swear he only did that to annoy the person working lol

The airport was surprisingly quiet so check in was quick, the line up for security screening was short and fast moving, all was going great…until!

See, Striker is what you call a nervous traveler. But it isn’t that he is nervous so much as he will go bat shit crazy and try to run away if he hears a dog bark when he is out of his carrier. For those of you who haven’t traveled with a small pet, when you get to security you take your pet out of their carrier and carry them through the metal detector while their carrier goes through the x-ray machine. I find it highly annoying, as does Striker. There was an incident one year where a bin dropped which caused a dog to bark which caused Striker (who was in my arms) to leap out of my arms and desperately try to run away. Only because he was wearing a harness that was attached to a leash that I was holding on to did he not disappear in to the airport. Since then I tell security he is a nervous traveler and we get a private room for his security check.

Someone holds his carrier while I go through security. Once I am cleared I get Striker back and we go in to a private room so he can be brought out of his carrier. I hold Striker while someone takes the carrier back to x-ray for it to be scanned. Striker and I aren’t left alone, and depending on who is watching us Striker may or may not be patted down. I’m not even kidding about that!

Now that I’ve bored you with that explanation let me get back to the story!

We get to security, I tell the guy I have a nervous cat and we need a private room and he looks at me blankly, so I repeat myself and still nothing. He calls over a supervisor and I make the same request to him. Supervisor doesn’t know what I’m talking about either. Sigh. So I point towards where the room is and I explain, slowly, my cat can’t be taken out of the carrier here, we always go in to that room so he is less stressed while you guys x-ray the carrier.

I don’t know that he believed me but he seemed ok to go along with it. He takes the carrier, I go through security, he calls over a second person and gives her the carrier, we all go to the private room (which is a glorified closet), I take Striker out of the carrier and feel the need to explain that Striker is wearing a scarf because he likes it, not because I’m forcing him…something else I don’t think they believed lol One of the ladies watching over us just kept staring at him, like a cat is an exotic animal or something lol while a different lady swabbed me for contact with drugs then patted down Striker, something he didn’t approve of.

After security Striker and I had a smooth time. We were early enough I had time to get some soup and a drink. I tried to take a picture of Striker in his carrier but each time I tried he turned away from me, he is a master at the silent protest.

Once on the plane a miracle happened, I had an entire row of seats to myself!

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So much room!

It is hard to tell in the picture because it is so dark but that is the empty row beside me. It was lovely. πŸ™‚

There was a classic Vancouver send off…rain…

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My window view…

I got Striker settled under the seat in front of me, by this point he is basically resigned to his fate.

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Striker, ready to go!

A short nap, some boring tv, a snack and a drink later, and boom! We are in Edmonton!

My Edmonton view from the plane…

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Where’s the snow??

It was surprisingly warm when we landed and there was a distinct lack of snow and ice, this can’t possibly be Edmonton in December!

Because I didn’t have to wait for other people in the row to get sorted I was able to grab my backpack from the overhead bin and get Striker out from under the seat in front of me and be all ready to go once the doors opened. So I was one of those people that is standing there awkwardly, waiting for the doors to open, and now forced in to close proximity to other people who are also standing. A lady from a row back noticed Striker and commented she saw him when we came on to the plane but he was so quiet she completely forgot there had been a cat on the plane. Which started a conversation about traveling with pets, specifically with cats, and just talk about cats in general. By the time we were able to move there were about 6 of us, all crammed awkwardly together, chatting away. Travel sure does make for interesting situations lol

All in all, Striker did great, the people on the plane who saw his scarf thought he was adorable, he was quiet and seemingly pretty chill the whole time…I think he keeps himself occupied by imagining all the ways he is going to kill me once we are at our destination. πŸ˜‰

And now he is here, at my parent’s place, stealing chairs and keeping us all entertained just by being his cute self.

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He keeps stealing my dad’s favourite chair lol

 

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My…I mean Striker’s bed.

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4 Pairs

16 Dec

I seem incapable of travelling and taking any less than four pairs of shoes. Why four? I have no idea!

I am packing for a Christmas trip, and by packing I mean I am sitting here blogging, but ya know, close enough, and trying to figure out how to cull weight from my suitcase. I’d love to say an easy one would be to remove shoes but they all seem so necessary…even though logically I know they aren’t lol

My packing process always starts with a mental list of things I want to take, and that list always starts with shoes. Why pick outfits first and then choose shoes to match when you can pick shoes and then more shoes and then get an overweight bag?

To be fair, not all the weight in my suitcase is due to shoes, I have Christmas presents in there, and 6lbs of coffee…don’t ask, it’s a long story lol

But yeah, I always start with the shoes…

So this year I was determined to not go shoe crazy, after all, I need room to bring home the new pair I will probably buy when there. πŸ˜‰ I managed to get down to three pairs, my workout runners, a pair of grey converse, and a pair of black ankle boots. Theoretically those options should cover all possible scenarios, and thick socks will make up for the fact that none of my shoes are all that warm and definitely not meant for Alberta winter. The boots are the heaviest so I’ll wear those, and if desperate I can easily fit the converse in to my carry on, save a little weight in the suitcase, but hopefully I won’t have to do that.

Hopefully. *crosses fingers*

shoes

Not my shoes, but you get the idea lol

Only three pairs of shoes coming with me, I’m already missing my cozy boots, and my red converse, and my knee high boots, sigh.

 

Washington DC Memorials

21 Oct

Couple weeks ago a friend and I went to Washington DC for a short, fun-filled, trip. I wanted to post about it as soon as I was home but I came home ridiculously sick and just wasn’t up to it. Lucky for you (assuming you like what I write that is) I am now feeling well enough to regale you with stories and pictures from the trip. So grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and be prepared for I’d say 2 to 3 posts in a row about Washington DC! πŸ™‚

My friend was travelling from Alberta, I was leaving from BC, we met in Montreal and then had the same flight to DC. I had an early flight but not disgustingly early, I did however have a lovely nap on the plane, yay for sleeping while someone else transports me somewhere! Sadly, they don’t feed you on flights across the country so all I got on the plane was tea, *big epic sigh* I made sure to take snacks with me though because heaven forbid I not have food at my fingertips! πŸ˜‰ I bought the overpriced fruit salad while in the airport along with a hummus and crackers, both were tasty and I gotta say, I think the fruit was a brilliant idea because it not only filled me up but helped me to stay hydrated, something I always find a challenge when flying.

I got to Montreal first and while walking down this long, practically empty, slightly creepy hallway, on the way to the border guards I came across this piece of art…

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Random moose sculpture…

Once I met up with Nic in Montreal we headed to our next flight which was in a little plane and had not only no food but no entertainment…practically barbaric!

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No tv! No wifi! The horrors!

Lucky for me I always take a book when travelling. πŸ™‚

We didn’t do too much that first night. Grabbed an Uber from the airport to take us to the hotel, settle in, took a walk to a local pub where I ordered this yummy meal…

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Meal Number 1! Chicken burger with fries.

There were no obviously healthy options on the pub menu and nowhere else to go try out so I figured roll with the punches and get something ridiculously tasty lol It is a battered chicken burger with cheese and a sauce I can’t remember the details about and sooooo many fries. It was freakishly good! I cut the burger in half and split the fries in half. I ate half of each and boxed the rest. I had every intention of finding another day to eat the remaining half but every time I thought of it I figured I could find something healthier to get so I never did go back and finish off the burger and fries. I really hope housekeeping cleaned out our room’s fridge…

Our first full day of being in Washington DC was full of all the touristy stuff! πŸ™‚

We had decided to walk to as many places as we could which meant an approx 40 minute walk from our hotel to just about anywhere. This made me super happy as my hope was all the walking would help offset the food I would be eating lol We had time to kill before a walking tour we were taking at 2pm so we wandered with the ultimate goal of going past the White House. Turns out every building in DC is large and old and important looking so we passed quite a few that we tried to figure out what it was and if we should be taking a picture of it or not lol

There were statues everywhere!

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Random building I liked the look of.

Some more statues…

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Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building

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Front of the White House

So funny story…Nic and I are walking past this building, see all the fences and guards and people taking pictures, we look at each other and ask “what is this?” Turns out this is the front of the White House! We had only seen the White House via pictures or shots in movies and they always showed what we thought was the front but turns out it is actually the back. So this is the front…kinda boring…the back is way nicer!

There were Secret Service allllll over the place but mostly around the White House – obviously. The guard in the above picture isn’t so hard on the eyes πŸ˜‰ hence my taking a picture at that particular spot lol

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Part of the line up of people waiting to get in to the White House garden tour.

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The view of the White House I am used to seeing…

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So close and yet so far from President Obama!

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It appears to be a golden sword on fire…

The above is the Washington Monument, built to honour George Washington, the US’s first President. It is a 555 foot marble obelisk that you used to be able to go up (there is an elevator and stairs inside) but people aren’t allowed inside anymore. If you look closely you can see where the marble changes colour partway up…they got the monument partially built then had to pause for war an stuff, by the time they got around to finishing it the quarry they originally got the marble from was empty so they had to source marble from somewhere else and the colour is a bit different. Apparently when they started using the new marble they thought the colours matched but as the monument was exposed to the elements it became more apparent they were different.

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There is a whole story behind the KillRoy part of the monument but it is too long to put here so go google it, trust me, it is interesting and worth the search!Β 

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Vietnam Memorial…

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The Three Soldiers Statue at the Vietnam Memorial

Good ol’ honest Abe…do you see how his hands are loosely signing “AL”in American Sign Language?

The Korean War Memorial…once you enter the area there is always a statue that is watching you…instead of writing all the names like in the Vietnam Memorial they put the images of actual people who were involved in the Korean War on the wall. Β Rumour has it Alan Alda’s face is on there somewhere (that’s the actor from the tv show MASH), I didn’t see it but there are so many faces on the wall it’d be super easy to miss if you didn’t know exactly where to look.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial…

So that wraps up Day 1! I have waaaaaay more pictures and stories from this day but this post is already freakishly long and it has taken hours to get the pictures to upload and I wanna go to bed lol

More tomorrow! πŸ™‚

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

4 Jun

A friend from my Dragon Boat Team got a job offer in Switzerland and since she’s no dummy she said yes. This past Sunday there was a going away bbq being held in her honour and lucky for me it started mid afternoon and didn’t end until well after I was done at work so I got to go. Yay!

The invite said everyone was to bring whatever they wanted to grill and drink, a variety of salads would be provided. Well, I didn’t know what to grill, I haven’t ever grilled so while I know I could take some chicken or a burger patty or a hot dog with me to pop over the fire I would have probably made it inedible while trying to cook it. Also, who carries around just one burger patty or one hot dog? That’s just awkward lol

Instead I took a Pineapple Upside Down cake and hoped that would be an awesome enough contribution that I could eat enough salad for it to be a meal. See how my sneakiness works? lol πŸ˜‰

Well, the cake turned out to be a hit! Thank goodness!

I forgot to take a picture of it when at home so the best I have is this one, not great but at least you can see what it looked like…

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The pineapple slices weren’t placed very well, my bad, sigh. And in the above picture the end of the cake closest to the camera looks darker but it wasn’t burned, honest! It just looks like that in the picture, shrug.

People really liked it, or they were lying about liking it lol but I’m gonna lean towards being optimistic and say I think they were being honest and liked it. πŸ™‚

It is a really basic recipe, there are some super complicated, have a billion steps versions online but that’s crazy, who has time for that? *rolls eyes*

So here is what I did…

Make a basic white cake.

Melt 1/4 Cup of butter in the baking pan by putting it in the oven while it is pre-heating to 350F.

Once the butter is melted take the pan out and spread the melted butter around, I used a silicone brush to not only spread the butter around the bottom of the pan but also up the sides.

Spread 1 Cup of brown sugar on the bottom of the pan, the butter will melt the sugar in to a dark gooey yummy mess.

Spread pineapple circles in the bottom of the pan, I bought the smallest can of pineapple circles so I had 8 slices, if you wanted more you could always buy a larger can, cut some of the slices in half and fit in more, up to you!

Put a maraschino cherry inside each pineapple circle as well as between them, try not to nibble too many of them because whoa! so addictive lol.

Pour the white cake batter on top of the whole shebang.

Pop in to the oven for 42-48 minutes.

Once the cake is done immediately run a knife around the edges, you’ll notice the cake comes away from the side super easily.

Place a heatproof serving plate upside down on to the pan and flip the plate and pan over together. Try to center it when you do that because the cake doesn’t like to be moved which is why mine is nowhere near centered on my cake platter, oops!

Leave the pan over the cake for 5 minutes or so, allowing the brown sugar topping to drizzle on to the cake, Mmm!

Remove the pan, scrape any drizzle that didn’t drip on to the cake and put it on the cake, or eat it, whichever you prefer.;)

Quick Tip!

When making the white cake use the pineapple juice from the can, however much liquid your white cake recipe calls for, measure out the pineapple juice first then top it up with water, or milk or oil or whatever your recipe uses. You’ll infuse the cake with pineapple flavour, making the whole thing just that much better.

Baking info:

If you are using a glass pan heat oven to 350F and bake for 42-48 minutes. If you are using a dark or nonstick pan heat oven to 325F and bake for 44-53 minutes.

The cake serves 12, if you cut it to serve 12, I’m certainly not going to judge if you choose to cut it in to larger pieces lol πŸ˜‰

Having said that, if you are following Weight Watchers Points Plus and cut the cake in to 12 pieces each piece will be 11 points. So yeah, not a healthy cake lol but sure is tasty! (fyi, that is the points for my version of the cake, depending on your white cake recipe the points might be different, shrug)

My Christmas Season Jaunt

4 Jan

Every year I go home for Christmas. Depending on which way you lean home is either where the majority of your stuff is or it is where your family is…this means I have two homes. πŸ™‚

It was only a short trip because of not being able to get a lot of time off work, including my travel days I was gone five days, really though, more like 4 and a bit because I flew out after work in the evening and didn’t get to my parents until sometime after 11pm, that doesn’t count as a day, right?

While back home I celebrated my birthday on Dec 23rd, yay for birthdays! I went to the mall (one of my happy places) with my bestie NH. We did some shopping, mostly wandering, I highly enjoyed the teeny tiny 5% tax they have lol Then we got lunch where I decided to eat whatever I want cause it’s my birthday! Calories don’t count on your birthday, it’s practically a law! lol

I had a so-so burger, the fries were freakin delish tho! lol

Mmm fries!

Mmm fries!

I also decided a birthday dessert was in order πŸ˜›

Ecstasy!

Ecstasy!

It was described as a small chocolate cake with ice cream. Imagine my happy surprise when it turned out to be a lava cake! Holy crap was it good, a little bit of food heaven on a plate, Mmm! πŸ˜€

After hanging with NH I went back to my parents where I had some down time, attempted to digest my late lunch in time to make room for dinner, and then happily hung out with the family. Which, fyi, consists of my parents, my brother and sister, my sister’s kids and their dad. It was a loud (cause of the kids) jumbled (cause of the amount of people) evening and I loved it. πŸ™‚

Now, pictures were taken of me blowing out my birthday candles but I don’t have them yet so instead I will show you what the cake looked like the next day when I was having a piece for, hmm, breakfast? Mid morning snack? Lunch? One of those three! lol

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake

I requested a Queen Victoria Sponge cake for my birthday cake. The layers go: sponge cake, jam, whipped cream, sponge cake, and is topped with a sprinkle of icing sugar. It is quite lovely. πŸ™‚ Mine had raspberry jam because that is my favourite type.

After the time out from Christmas stuff to celebrate my birthday we all get back in to Christmas mode. Christmas day was quieter than normal because my sister and nephews and their dad all spent Christmas day with his family. We have been spoiled and get them most years so it’s only fair they spent this one with his side.

With it being just my parents, my brother and I it was quite a different experience lol Everything was so calm and orderly, I kinda liked it, not that I don’t love when all the others are also with us though!

The rest of my time there was spent visiting with a friend and her family and chilling with my parents. πŸ™‚

It’s always sad when it comes time to leave even though I really enjoy where I live. It seems especially hard to say bye when the trip is so short, but is any trip ever long enough?

While I was there I ate horribly! I ate larger portions than normal, and wasn’t as picky about what foods I ate (proven by those food pics I posted lol) πŸ˜› I opted to not feel bad about my eating habits while there because most of what I was eating were foods that I wouldn’t have access to once back home. My mom made oatmeal squares which are by far one of my fave foods, and oh man did I eat a lot of those! lol I also ate all that food on my birthday, then Christmas day was another foodie day, plus the next day when I had prime rib and all sorts of side dishes at my friends place, plus wine, a very yummy wine that I hope to find here…basically it was 4 and a bit days of food lol

When I got home I immediately went back to my normal eating habits and actually had a couple days where I felt super full and gross and bloated, I think I was still digesting all the food from when I was away, or at least that is what it felt like, ugh. It was so unpleasant. I was really upset because I figured I’d put on a lot of weight and felt so heavy and was really mad at myself but after a couple days of eating light and exercising I woke up and felt fine. No more feeling fat (well, fatter than I normally feel lol), no more feeling bloated or gross or anything…I was so relieved!

To make things even better today was my weigh-in day and not only had I not gone up, I went down! Not by a lot, only 0.4 lbs, so barely anything at all, but I don’t care lol Over my birthday and Christmas and New Years, plus a friend’s get together that I went to last night I was certain I’d gone up so learning today that I hadn’t made this girl a happy camper! πŸ™‚

Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

19 Aug

Alrighty, so two things…

(1) Sorry for the inconsistency of my posts, I have been having internet difficulties and have been going for days with NO internet! None! It is quite annoying, sigh. Β Shaw has replaced the modem so theoretically I should have internet access again without disruptions…we shall see *glances with suspicion towards Shaw*

(2) This post is not going to be about my vacation (no, I’m not done with those posts), I just want to let you know what happened this past weekend, then I’ll get back to my vacation posts – hopefully with a bit more speed than I was posting them before because of ya know, actually having internet access again lol.

On to the fun part! This past weekend I was in Victoria BC dragon boat racing, it is a two day festival, August 16th-17th. I didn’t go with my team (The Twisted Hips), instead I went as a filler for a team called Dragon Hearts Attack. They were short some paddlers and my coach works with that team so she asked if I was interested in racing with them. I had already booked the time off work assuming I would be racing that weekend and since I didn’t have another team I was racing with I said yes. I love the festivals, the competition, the fun of it all and I was bummed that I didn’t have a team to go with so I was really glad this worked out. πŸ™‚

Three of my Twisted Hips teammates were also going to be competing at that festival but for one of the sister teams of the team I was on, they were with Dragon Hearts Burn. Three of us went over on the ferry together Friday night and spent almost all of the weekend together. πŸ™‚

This picture was in the bathroom at the ferry terminal, because apparently people need to be told to not stand on the seats *rolls eyes*

Seriously?

Seriously?

There are two races per team a day at this festival and once you are done your second race on the Saturday you are basically free to do whatever you want…within reason! lol You still have to be able to paddle the next day! πŸ˜›

It was our coaches birthday on the Sunday so we all went out for dinner on the Saturday to a Greek restaurant, it was yummy, nothing amazing but not horrible either. Ray got this appetizer that they light on fire, it is cheese, he ordered it because it gets lit on fire which I think is a perfectly valid reason lol

That's the waiter, not my teammate lol

That’s the waiter, not my teammate lol

Here’s what it looks like when it isn’t on fire…

Cheeeeeeese!

Cheeeeeeese!

The restaurant had a belly dancer…

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Who then came over and tried to teach some of our guys how to belly dance…not gonna lie, they weren’t very good lol

It was a funny lesson!

It was a funny lesson!

They then had a dance off which I was too busy laughing through to take pics of, there is a video but I can’t figure out how to get it off facebook and on here so you’ll have to take my word for it that it was freakin hilarious!

Coach got a birthday dessert of baklava, hey c’mon, it’s a Greek restaurant, what did you expect?

A candle in a piece of baklava, classic? ;)

A candle in a piece of baklava, classic? πŸ˜‰

After the dinner some of the team spent the rest of the night partying and having fun, nothing too wild since we had to be up and in the lobby by 6:30am the next day, ugh.

Races went exceptionally well on the Sunday for my team and we ended winning gold in our division, yay!

Gold! Gold! Gold!

Gold! Gold! Gold!

One of the main sponsors for the festival was Denny’s, hence the name Denny’s on the one side of the medal, I feel I should now get free pancakes for life from them as a congrats lol πŸ˜›

The three of us that came over on the ferry together spent the next chunk of time wandering around a small piece of Victoria. We couldn’t go far cause one of us, Kathryn, rolled her ankle coming down The Chief prior to the festival so she was gimped. She was thankfully off the crutches but still limping quite a lot and she had to sit often to rest it. Sucky. She was supposed to race that weekend but wasn’t able to cause of the ankle. 😦

Some of the sights we saw included…

A whale made out of a bush.

A whale made out of a bush.

A fancy hotel covered in ivy.

A fancy hotel covered in ivy.

A woman being a statue, I'm surprised she didn't melt.

A woman being a statue, I’m surprised she didn’t melt.

A statue of Emily Carr that makes her look like an unattractive man...that is a monkey on her shoulder.

A statue of Emily Carr that makes her look like an unattractive man…that is a monkey on her shoulder.

The Netherlands Carillon

The Netherlands Carillon

The Netherlands Carillon was a gift from BC’s Dutch community to honour Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967. Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands unveiled the cornerstone of the tower on May 23, 1967. A carillon is a musical instrument with a set of 23 or more bronze bells. This carillon, the largest in Canada, has 62 bells. It is housed at the top of this tower, which stands 27 meters (89 feet) tall. The largest bell in this carillon weighs 1500 kgs. To play the Netherlands Carillon, a musician climbs the 75 steps of the spiral staircase and then a 10-step ladder. There, the carillonneur depresses the keys and pedals of a clavier to play a song on the bells. Carillon bells do not swing like church bells; they ring when struck by clappers connected with wires to the clavier.

We happened to be there when the carillonneur was up there playing, at first it sounded like a song, then it sounded like a child hitting bells at random, then it sounded a bit like a song again lol it is an interesting sound.

Memorial to our courageous dead.

Memorial to our courageous dead.

Parliament building and a pretty fountain.

Parliament building and a pretty fountain.

The harbour - those tent tops and the crowds of people are the dragon boat festival.

The harbour – those tent tops and the crowds of people are the dragon boat festival.

hitchBOT!

hitchBOT!

We came across hitchBOT lounging on the sidewalk! When I first heard about his journey across Canada I so badly wanted to come across him and yay! I actually did! He managed to hitchhike from Halifax to Victoria in three weeks. πŸ™‚ People had written happy messages on him and attached cute little magnets to his chest, magnets of Canadian flags etc, to show where he had been. I’m so glad he made it lol I was kinda worried for him. Here is his website link if you are interested in learning more about him http://www.hitchbot.me

This statue is called The Homecoming and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy

This statue is called The Homecoming and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy

This random building that  I like the look of lol

This random building that I like the look of lol

So there we go, that is my weekend in a nutshell. πŸ™‚ I would like to go back for 2-3 days as a mini vacation and actually have lots of time to wander and do things. It’s great travelling places when racing but you don’t have a lot of time to play tourist ya know? So I’m thinking maybe next summer going over on my days off and seeing what I can see as well as go off and have some adventures.

Had an awesome time, lots of fun memories and I am so glad I was able to go. πŸ˜€

UK Trip Day 2: July 15/14

8 Aug

So there I was, in Manchester, ready to get this vacation going, aaaaaand then the sucky part of my trip started, sigh.

I went to collect my suitcase at Manchester Airport and discovered they had lost it. British Airways lost my luggage. Idiots. sigh.

I had to wait in a line to fill out some paperwork, they had lost a lot of people’s luggage *rolls eyes* and was told they’d do their best to have it to me by tomorrow so I gave them the address of the hostel I was staying at in Northern Wales and left. I was told I could buy stuff to replace what was in my bag “within reason” and they would reimburse me for it but like I knew where to go shopping?

I then went to the car rental place where I had prepaid for a car and learned they didn’t have my car, nice huh? Exactly what is the point of prepaying for a rental car if the company isn’t going to have the car ready for you?? I rented through a company called Alamo and will never use them again. 😦 Β I waited at the desk for almost an hour just to be told they couldn’t find me a car so go sit in the waiting area and they’ll be with me when they are ready. The waiting area is a bunch of uncomfie seats and non-working vending machines so not the most pleasant of places. Once they finally had a car for me I asked about my gps system, I was told when I booked the car I couldn’t reserve that in advance but that they would have plenty at the office and I could rent one on the day. The guy informed me they had run out so no gps for me. I asked if the car had built in gps, he said no but I could upgrade to a car that did have that, I would have had to upgrade to a Mercedes! Like I could afford that, pfft! I then asked for a map and he laughed at me, actually laughed, in my face! He informed me “nobody uses maps anymore”, well, gee, I know that but if you are out of gps systems what the hell am I supposed to use?? He said to go to Hertz (they were next door) and see if they could help me out with a map. I went to Hertz, explained what happened, they said they didn’t have maps but they google mapped for me a route to where I needed to get to and printed it out.

Just to clarify, the company I spent no money with, Hertz, printed me out directions to help me and were very nice. The company I spent a good chunk of money with, Alamo, didn’t have my car, didn’t have a gps system, didn’t have a map and didn’t help me figure out how to get to my hostel. Oh, and they were rude. Nice huh?

Unfortunately, the google directions started with “Turn left on to unnamed road”, brilliant huh? lol I turned left then promptly ended up in a construction zone where traffic was being re-routed and boom! Lost! That quickly, practically a record for me lol I stopped at a shop to ask for directions and the girls there didn’t know how to get to the motorway I needed so I drove a bit more, asked some random people, they gave me confusing to follow directions but in the end they made sense so yay! I found the motorway and was finally on my way to Wales! πŸ™‚

I had called the hostel I was staying Β at to ask if shops would still be open around the time I got in to town and they said no, the guy suggested I get off the motorway at Bangor and shop at the 24hr Tesco, think of it like a Superstore, they have everything. Food, clothes, electronics, books, toiletries…literally everything I needed to get through the next couple of days without my luggage. I got a little lost getting back on the motorway but eventually found it.

The border between England and Wales is, well, not there…it’s not like here when you want to go in to the States you have to go through border control, there is is just a little sign saying you’ve entered Wales, no border control, no security, nuthin. It struck me as a little odd but different countries different ways right?

No border patrol, just a welcome sign.

No border patrol, just a welcome sign.

A little quirk of Wales that I soon discovered was the real lack of signage for where you are. I drove through multiple little towns that had no sign saying the name of the town so I had no idea where I was. It left me feeling kinda freaked out and worried that I had driven through the town I was aiming for and didn’t even realize it. Also, once off the motorway the roads are narrow and windy and scary, and I drive through the mountains in Canada during winter! I know scary driving but this, this is totally different! Every time it was a tight squeeze my entire body would shrink in, like that would somehow help me to not hit another car or hit the fences/rock walls/bushes on my left side lol I’m sure other drivers thought I was nuts lol πŸ˜›

The town I was staying at was Llanberis (pronounced Clan-bear-is) and I did eventually find it.

Love this town!

Love this town!

I had great directions for once I was in the town for how to find the hostel but the signs within the towns of Wales are no better than the signs for marking the towns of Wales. I had to turn left on a specific road and did I find that road? Nope. Drove the entire way through the town without seeing a sign for it. By this time it was late, around 10pm, I was exhausted, cranky and all I could think was I am so close to my bed for the night and I can’t find a stupid road. When I turned around and went back in to the town from the opposite direction I saw why I didn’t see the road sign I needed, it was tiny, low to the ground, and only facing one direction. One direction! Which means I could only see it Β coming from one direction, not the other. Who does that?!?!

Once I turned on that road the street got even tinier, which I didn’t think was possible lol I followed windy roads up and up and up and eventually found the hostel, yay!

My first hostel of the trip

My first hostel of the trip

When I walked in the lady at the desk, she was soooo nice, she said “you must be Heather! I’m so glad you made it before 10:30p!”, that is when the hostel closed and I would have been stuck outside which would’ve been lame so I was also very glad I found them before 10:30p lol. She got me checked in, got me a towel since I forgot to buy one, told me where everything was and disappeared for the night…disappeared to her home I mean, not like, vanished in to thin air, though, how cool would that have been? lol

I showered, lamented a bit over my lack of a hair dryer and passed out.

And that my friends is how my vacation started. πŸ™‚

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