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Tag Archives: vacation

The May Vacation

5 Jun

A cat in a booster seat.

A playboy bunny image made out of snow.

A lot of Tim Hortons.

A carnival in transport.

A couple stops at Peter’s Drive In.

A best friend’s wedding.

And of course…food. Lots and lots of yummy food.

Those are but a glimpse of what made up my little May vacation.

I drove one province over to attend, and take part in!, my best friend’s wedding. I say “I” but it was really “we” since I go nowhere without the cat. He spent his 13 hours in a booster seat designed for dogs (don’t tell him that!) because there is a serious lack of travel items designed for cats.

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Silent protest – something he is very very good at!

Sidenote: if anybody has start up money and wants to invest, I have some great ideas for a range of products to make travelling with your cat easier, lol.

Back to the trip!

On the way there we saw pieces of a carnival being transported who knows where, a muffin disaster at a Tim Hortons in Golden BC, a Playboy Bunny logo made out of snow on a mountain, oh, and there were a couple escape attempts by the cat when silent protest was deemed too calm of a way to show his displeasure.

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I have been trying oh so hard for six months or so to not screw up so I would be able to fit in my bridesmaids dress and yay me, I fit! I did however get so caught up in the day I forgot to get a full length picture of me in the dress, sigh. So the best you’re gonna get is this selfie…

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Gratuitous selfie.

I’m not going to share pics of the wedding, because well, that would be a lot of people to track down to ask if they are ok with their pics going on this blog and ain’t nobody got time for that! πŸ˜‰ Rest assured, it was beautiful. It was an outdoor ceremony at a mansion, pictures were done on location and also in an area with a great city view as the background. The reception was in a hall that I and others helped decorate the day prior. I gotta say, my friend is quite the savvy shopper. She got the place looking exactly how she wanted without breaking the bank.

Instead of a wedding cake there were doughnuts from some fancy bakery. Brilliant idea if you ask me!

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I didn’t actually get to eat my doughnut, *pout*, as a drunk groomsman took it out of my hand as I was about to take a bite and ate it. Ate my doughnut. The doughnut that belonged to a lady who’d be dieting for 6 months. I’m impressed I didn’t jump him like a crazed animal.

Instead I ate a slice of pizza, that was second dinner, and oh my god was it goooood! Handmade crust by the caterer that was hired, seriously best crust I’ve ever had. I ended up eating a couple bites from three different slices, which makes me sound like a jerk but it is actually that the servers were just too darn efficient.

See, I had a slice, took one bite, someone was all “you’ve got to come dance!”, so I put the pizza down (on a plate I mean), went and danced, and when I came back it was gone. So like any normal person I used this as an opportunity to try a different kind of pizza, grabbed a new slice, took a bite, and basically the same thing happened, except I think it was me that was all “I love this song, I must dance!”, and yeah, when I got back the rest of my slice was gone. Not to be thwarted I grabbed a third slice, ate the crust first (the crust is the best part and I’d not managed to eat any of it yet lol), had a couple bites of the part of the slice that had toppings, and then threw it out so I could go dance.

Have you figured out yet that I like to dance? πŸ˜‰

I decided in total that equals to me eating one full slice, right?

I spent the day after the wedding wanting to die lol Hung over and sun stroked, my poor body was having none of it and I basically slept the day away on my parent’s couch. Aren’t I such a stellar example of being a grown-up! lol

Once I was feeling better things were pretty normal for one of my trips there. Visited with friends. Did some shopping. Chilled with the parents.

Granted, there was the day where a slice of cheesecake was both my breakfast and lunch which was pretty awesome…

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From the Spinelli Italian Centre Shop. Go there. It’s worth it!

But ya know, other than cheesecake overload things were pretty normal.

The return trip was fairly uneventful. The cat and I finished our audio book, he didn’t seem at all surprised by the ending. πŸ˜‰ We got a milkshake at Peter’s Drive In, which if you are ever in the vicinity of Calgary AB you must must must go to Peter’s.

Best. Milkshakes. Ever.

And no, I didn’t get a picture, I was too busy driving and drinking the milkshake to take one. πŸ˜›

We got home super late, I took care of essentials – like putting the milk and wine in the fridge and having a shower, then we crawled in to bed where we both slept the way only travel weary people and cats can. I woke up briefly around 10 am (we went to bed at 4am so no judging!), looked at the time, said “nope”, rolled back over and went back to sleep. The cat didn’t even bother to wake up, he just stayed asleep until I got up at 3pm. Neither of us care for the whole waking up part of our day, we are well matched like that lol πŸ˜›

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We wake up under protest, daily.

There ya have it! Our little road trip sadly is over, but we have memories and pictures, and a little more body fat, to remind us of all the fun we had. We are both back to routine, me with my two jobs and dragon boat practices, he with all his cat chores. The only big thing that is a constant reminder of the trip is the suitcase I still haven’t put away but I’m determined to do that tomorrow!…says the woman who has been putting it off for 6 days…ah well, it’ll get done eventually! πŸ™‚

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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™‚

Vacation Talk!

9 Sep

I went on vacation for two weeks and recently got back. I had intended to blog while on vacation but yeah, that soooo didn’t end up happening lol It was a simple trip back to Alberta to visit my family and friends, you know, the ones I left behind when moving to BC. πŸ˜‰

Instead of making multiple posts about the trip I’ll see if I can condense everything in to one post…or maybe two…

The cat came with me so instead of flying we had ourselves a 13 hour road trip through the lovely Canadian mountains then through the lovely Canadian prairies. Striker, the cat, spent the first 45 minutes of the drive loudly expressing his displeasure over his forced confinement in his carrier as well as being manhandled out to the suv. I took a book on cd (from the library) to listen to and he was so loud I had to turn the cd off because I couldn’t hear the narrator! He eventually stopped meowing at me and decided a better use of his time was to pout…for approx 12 hours…

This is what a pouting cat looks like.

This is what a pouting cat looks like.

When he wasn’t sitting on the floor under my legs he was sitting in his carrier with his face squashed against the mesh side ignoring me. Blatantly ignoring me.

I have two nephews and I like to take each one of them to hang out one-on-one.

My first day there I took the older nephew (he’s 14) horseback riding. He agreed to go but he wasn’t really feeling the whole riding horse thing, he’s such a trooper! πŸ™‚

Giddy up!

Giddy up!

After the trail ride we went to a movie (Fantastic 4) and dinner (food court). I tried to get him to go to a real restaurant but there is a pasta place in the mall he loves and I’d rather he eat something he really wanted than drag him somewhere he doesn’t like.

I went to a place called Freshii and had an amazing rice bowl called Pangoa…

Pangoa from Freshii

Pangoa from Freshii

Imagine my surprise and horror when I got home and found the nutritional information online for this dish, it has 900 freakin calories!!! There is brown rice, grilled chicken, beans, various veggies and some bbq sauce but as you can see not a lot of any one ingredient so where all those calories came from I do not know. I do know that I won’t be ordering that ever again, even though it was tasty.

The next day I went for brunch with my mom, we went to Tutti Frutti and I had a lovely vegetarian omelette and one slice of Maple Crisp crunchy french toast. Yes you read that right, crunchy french toast! Mmm!

Crunchy French Toast

Crunchy French Toast

The omelette was a tad odd, IMO, because it was open not folded or rolled but it was tasty and really that is all that matters lol

Veggie omelette with potatoes on the side.

Veggie omelette with potatoes on the side.

My mom got the Casa Blanca which isΒ French toast topped with fresh fruit & coated with delicious English cream only she got the cream on the side so she could decide how much of it she ate. Smart lady! πŸ™‚

French toast with lots of fruit!

French toast with lots of fruit!

Later that day I guest paddled with a dragon boat team called The Raunchy Rodents. They practice on the river and have a freakishly short training season because winter is a long and cold season there, can’t really practice on the river when it is frozen! lol I had a great time, they are a fun bunch! πŸ™‚ They had about half of their team at that practice due to a variety of circumstances which kinda made me feel better about taking a spot on the boat, I would have hated to be an extra body if all their team showed for practice.

The Raunchy Rodents - well, about half of them lol

The Raunchy Rodents – well, about half of them lol

A view from the middle of the river

A view from the middle of the river

Some of us went out after practice for a drink and a nibble, we went to a local pub called Duggan’s Boundary Irish Pub and had a fun time. πŸ™‚ The brunch I had earlier with my mom powered me for the whole day, though I did cave and get some Potato Pancakes cause uh hello, how could I not? lol

Potato Pancakes with sour cream

Potato Pancakes with sour cream

The next day was a big day, I took my younger nephew (he is 7 and will proudly tell anyone who asks! lol) to Drumheller to go to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It is basically the mecca for anyone in to dinosaurs and this little guy is most definitely in his dinosaur phase! It’s a three hour drive there and we spent the entire time talking about dinosaurs and life and music and playing pretend, it was a highly entertaining drive lol

Little hand, big footprint.

Little hand, big footprint.

I was abandoned 20 minutes in to our arriving at the museum so he could participate in a Dino Dig, basically he got to go be a paleontologist for 90 minutes while I wandered around doing nothing of much interest because adults aren’t allowed on the expedition…well, minus the adults running the expedition that is lol He loved it! They went on a 2.5 km hike through the badlands, used real paleontology tools to excavate part of a fossil then learned how to cover it properly and transport it back to the museum. After the day was over he told me everyone should move to Drumheller because why would anyone want to live anywhere else? Oh, and we are all supposed to work at the museum…oh boy…lol

If you were thinking he fell asleep on the way home after a long and busy day you my friend are oh-so-wrong. We played pretend and chatted the entire three hour drive home, although I would have been ok with a bit of quiet time because I was tired lol

Let’s see, the next day I got to spend with my friend Nicole, we had plans but they fell through so I ended up going with her while she bought kitty supplies and then adopted two adorable kittens. Yay for kittens! She was going to get just one but the brother and sister were in a cage together and how can anyone be heartless enough to separate siblings?

Meet Solar and Lou.

Meet Solar and Lou.

If I remember correctly the girl is on the left, she is Solar, the boy is on the right and is named Lou. I don’t have a great picture of the two of them because they are super fast and oddly enough don’t much care for staying still…go figure lol We had so much fun playing games with them we basically spent hours playing games and just watching them be silly lol

Sunday (the day after the Day of Kittens!) there was a family brunch where I ate pretty much everything lol I don’t have any group pictures from that day, I do have a bunch of individual pictures but that’s too many to be putting on here. Later that day I went to hang with a friend, Jasmine, and her family which consists of a husband, three kids and a dog. Her brother came over as did her parents, all of which I have known for a loooong time. Her youngest is my Goddaughter and all three kids think of me as an Aunt. They are great, the whole lot of em. πŸ™‚ That evening involved a decent amount of alcohol, lots of reminiscing and my camera being dropped in to a glass of water by the middle child.

sigh.

Yup, there went my camera. 😦 We fished it out immediately and put it in to a bag of rice to dry it out but the camera didn’t recover fully. It could take a picture but the flash was dead and the picture quality was not good after it went swimming. Sadness.

I spent Monday working in my parent’s basement sorting out all the stuff I have stored there lol My parents got the basement renovated and my mom wanted me to go through all my stuff and sort it in to things I am bringing back with me, things I am keeping stored in my parent’s basement and things I am getting rid of. I got rid of quite a bit, brought back a chunk and left the rest in rubbermaid containers on shelves out of my parents way. Aren’t I such a good daughter? πŸ˜‰

Tuesday was a day of awesome, well, sort of. I went to Calgary to ride the Olympic bobsled track and ride the zip line they have. Calgary hosted the 1988 Olympics and now the Olympic Park is a tourist place as well as where current and future Olympians train, for only $99/month I too could have a gym membership there lol

Decked out and ready to bobsled!

Decked out and ready to bobsled!

Ready to zip lining!

Ready for zip lining!

I have gone zip lining many times but this type of harness was new to me. When I was hooked to the line it is like sitting in the most comfortable hammock ever lol It is supposed to be the fastest/longest zip line in North America (if I remember correctly) and there was a parachute I had to deploy to get me slowed down in time for the stop but it wasn’t so fast or long that it was scary, sigh. I think I am done zip lining since it no longer brings out any nervousness or fear. The bobsledding was interesting, there are 14 turns in that track and it was fun but not “oh my god I’m so scared and nervous and can’t wait for the adrenaline rush” type of fun, which was what I was hoping for, shrug.

On the way home from Calgary I stopped at Peters’ Drive In and ordered heaven, seriously, their food is sooooo good! If I lived in Calgary I’d be a thousand pounds because I would always be at Pete’s lol

The most amazing of all amazing burgers and mouth watering onion rings.

The most amazing of all amazing burgers and mouth watering onion rings.

The thing about Peter’s is that they have the best milkshakes you will ever find! You choose your flavour and can combine up to three flavours to make your own custom milkshake.

All the flavours available.

All the flavours available.

The rest of the trip was filled with dinner with friends, hanging with other friends, hanging with my parents, helping out with stuff around my parent’s place, basically just enjoying being there. Oh, and shopping! There was some super impressive shopping! I got boots, and flats, and a blazer (so grown up of me don’t ya think?), Christmas presents for various people, random things that I wanted to buy there because there is only 5% tax vs the ridiculously high tax where I live, stupid tax *grumble*

I had a great, fun filled, always doing something, type of trip and I’m really glad I went. πŸ™‚

The drive back went much better, the cat decided I wasn’t subjecting him to some random form of torture and he spent most of the drive sitting on various objects so he had a better view out of the window. The only time he got vocal was when I had to swerve to avoid a deer and the cat did not appreciate that, I’m pretty sure he would have hated the experience of hitting the deer more though so I wasn’t too worried about his bruised feelings lol. πŸ˜›

This is what I woke up to my first morning at my parent's place.

This is what I woke up to my first morning at my parent’s place.

That adorable picture is the site I woke up to my first morning of vacation, there was a head board on the bed I slept in and the cat figured out he can watch me from above…scareeeeeeee! lol πŸ˜‰

UK Trip Day 7: July 20/14

21 Sep

Just a quick recap for Day 6 of vacation, after the cliff jumping I got a taxi ride back to the B&B had a quick shower and went to the attached cafe for lunch where I devoured fish n chips, Mmm! πŸ™‚ I didn’t have anything else planned for the rest of that day, I wanted to wait and see how I felt. I was told there was an interesting lighthouse that people liked to go to, you can climb all the way to the top but I just wasn’t feelin it, ya know? Normally I’d have been all over that lighthouse excursion but after lunch I went back to my room and napped lol Yes, that is right, I napped. I was exhausted! I think not just from the cliff jumping but the whole week, I think it caught up to me and knowing that I had my own room (no more hostels, woot!), and knowing that starting the next day I’d be surrounded by family, my body decided forget climbing a hill and then a bunch of steps, it was time for sleeeeeep.

Some might say I wasted that afternoon and evening, but I don’t feel I did. I worried a bit that evening I’d regret not having done something once I no longer had the chance but nope, I still don’t regret it. I made endless cups of tea in my room, took my time packing and getting organized, had that lovely nap, watched some tv, read some of my book, went on facebook cause that was one of the only places in Wales I’d had internet and well, that’s pretty much it, shrug. Heck, I even went to bed early! *gasp*

July 20th aka Day 7

I wasn’t sure how long it would take to drive to Manchester from Holyhead Wales so I decided I should probably leave around 9am. My rental car was due back hmm…noon or 12:30pm, somewhere around there and I was worried what would happen if I was late. I went to the cafe for breakfast and when the lady took my order she commented that she noticed the day prior I hadn’t eaten the bacon or sausage, I apologized and told her I forgot to mention to her I don’t eat pork. She seemed so worried I wouldn’t have enough to eat so with my full Welsh breakfast she didn’t bother with the pork but instead I got an extra egg and some fried mushrooms, yum! I dallied a bit over breakfast, had an extra cup of tea, basically did whatever I could to stay longer. I really didn’t want to leave.

I didn’t want to leave The Beach Hut B&B (seriously, nicest people ever!). I didn’t want to leave Wales (I fell in love with that country). I didn’t want to leave that section of my vacation (I learned I looooove going on vacation alone, who’d of thunk it? lol). I just didn’t want to leave, sigh. But leave I did, and only a tad behind schedule. πŸ™‚

Thanks to the wifi at The Beach Hut I looked up directions to the Manchester airport the night before and wrote down quite possibly the most detailed directions anybody in the history of the world has ever written lol Oh, and Dave being the awesome man that he is, when I was partway down one of the flights of stairs with my stupid heavy suitcase he saw and came rushing up the stairs to take it from me! When I said not to worry he made a comment, I don’t have the exact quote or anything, but it was something like of course he would help and I should have come and got him because of course he’d have brought it down all the stairs and not just the final flight of them. Love that man! πŸ™‚

I said bye, told them I had a great stay and I loved the place, loaded up the car and *sniffle* left Holyhead. 😦

I was so sad to be leaving I took pictures while driving, *rolls eyes at self*

I was so sad to be leaving I took pictures while driving, *rolls eyes at self*

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Driving back towards Manchester I was much more confident on the highways, heck, even on the little roads and within city limits. At the beginning of the trip, when I was leaving Manchester and on my way to Llanberis I wasn’t sure of the speed limits anywhere so I am sure I was going slower than I needed to. On this leg of the drive not only was I more comfy driving on the left side of the road, and more comfy with the style of driving over there, I was also more used to the road sign placement so I actually noticed signs in enough time to read them properly which meant I knew the speed limit, yay! This meant I got to Manchester waaaaaaaay earlier than I predicted lol

Returning the rental car was thankfully a lot easier than the ordeal I went through picking it up – if you don’t know what ordeal I am referring to feel free to clickΒ hereΒ to read all about it. I had to fill out a form when I dropped the car off, there were all these questions asking about how happy I was with the service etc. I chose to fill out the form truthfully, and then when I was giving it back to the lady at the returns section of the lot I mentioned I had a horrible experience at pick up and now that I’ve told the truth on my form I was probably going to get charged for something (damage to the car that I didn’t do etc) because the powers that be within the company would be unhappy with the review I gave. She said no, she was the one who assessed returning vehicles and she promised she wouldn’t charge me for anything just because I wrote the truth on the form. I wasn’t sure if I trusted her, which is horrible to say, but it is true, shrug. I never did get random charges by them on my credit card and I even got an email asking me to fill out a longer online survey because they heard I had an unpleasant experience. I filled out the form and their response was that next time I rent a car from them I can get a discount. I won’t ever be renting a car from them again, but the offer is nice.

All this time I’ve been talking about the car, I don’t think I ever put a picture up of it, here ya go…

The little Kia that got me through Northern Wales

The little Kia that got me through Northern Wales

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It really was a cute little car, great for the tiny roads. It handled well and was comfy, go Kia! πŸ™‚

I had time to kill waiting for family to pick me up, originally it was going to be Sue, who when I was younger I used to call Aunt Sue even though she is my cousin cause she was an adult and I wasn’t and it is polite to have a prefix in front of an older than you family members name but now that I am all grown up I just call her Sue…actually…most of the time I found ways to get around calling her her name cause I felt a little odd calling her Sue but she’s not my Aunt so I can’t call her Aunt Sue anymore and well, it was kinda awkward lol By the end of the trip I got it sorted out though lol So anyways! She was going to pick me up but then I got a phone call from her son Liam saying he was picking me up, along with Samantha (his sister), and Bryan (Sam’s son)…still with me? πŸ˜‰

Liam ended up calling me from the car cause they were lost and needed me to give them directions to where I was waiting (I was at the car rental office) which I thought was hilarious cause I have absolutely nooooo sense of direction, however! I had my freakishly detailed handwritten notes I had made for how to get to the car rental place from Holyhead so I read off to him the section of the notes that were pertinent to him and eventually he found me, well, they found me. πŸ™‚

It was great seeing family, and it seemed almost magical how for a week I’d been travelling on my own and sorting things out by myself and all of a sudden I was in a car with people who had my back, aaaaaand who understood much better than I how everything worked lol Finally! People who could answer all my random questions about all the odd little things I’d been noticing but had nobody to comment to about them lol Oh, and even better, someone to drive who knew (roughly) where they were going. What a relief!

To be continued…dun dun dun… πŸ˜‰

UK Trip Day 6: July 19/14

10 Sep

This is the big day! My most exciting day! The day I was most looking forward to! πŸ™‚ I was surprised I slept at all the night before lol I woke up early, made my way down to the cafe that is attached to the B&B. The lady who helped me when checking in was manning the counter, I don’t know how she was so friendly so early in the morning but she was lol

I got my full Welsh breakfast, which by this point, was starting to seem like a normal way to start my day lol Only thing is I forgot to tell her I don’t eat pork so I ended up with a huge thing of bacon and some sausages, ugh, I ate everything but the meat, obviously.

Dave came out and I asked him for directions to where I needed to be, I was hoping it would be close enough I could walk/jog there but when I asked about that he looked at me like I was a tad cuckoo lol which is ok, lots of people look at me that way when I say I want to walk to get where I’m going lol πŸ˜›

Since I couldn’t walk/jog there I asked if they wouldn’t mind calling a cab company for me but Dave said nope, he’d give me a ride there! How awesome is that?! First he carries my super heavy suitcase then he gives me a ride to the outskirts of town, love this guy! πŸ™‚

So where was I going you ask? I was going to the home base of a company called Anglesey Adventures, their website is http://www.angleseyadventures.com I thought I had signed up to go coasteering, which if you are like most people I know, you have no idea what that is, which is ok cause I didn’t know what it was either lol I stumbled across the company and their adventures when I was researching what to do in Northern Wales, this video is what sold me on signing up for fun times with this company…

Now, there was a bit of confusion because when I booked my spot with them I thought I was going to be doing what was in that video but when I got there they had me signed up for cliff jumping only, not coasteering. sigh. Also, only out of the awesomeness of the owner Grant did I still get to go because nobody else had signed up for the same day/time and normally they would have cancelled the outing but since I signed up so far in advance they didn’t want to cancel on me so it was just me and a guide, no group! When Grant first told me this I was a tad nervous but that is cause I am sometimes shy and I didn’t like the idea of just me and a guide, he (the guide) would see just how much I sucked since there’d be nobody else to look at lol also, I was counting on the peer pressure from the group to help me jump off the cliffs lol In the end though I was really grateful it was just the guide and I because I’m pretty sure I would have died without so much attention being given to me πŸ˜›

The first thing that I noticed when I got to the office site was that there were no women around, I eventually found one lady in the office manning the desk, and there were some twenty-somethings in the same washroom as I but they were from a neighbouring campsite, they weren’t taking part in any of the adventures. When I asked about that I was told that women don’t really sign up for this stuff, most of the groups are guys going on a stag weekend. What’s with that? C’mon ladies, go out there and have some adventures already! lol

I was given a wetsuit and told to put some swim shorts on over top of it, I knew that already so I brought the closest thing I had, which was a swim skort type of thing lol I figured it might look weird, wearing a black skort over top of a wetsuit but whatev, I’m a girl, I can wear a skort if I wanna! πŸ˜› lol The reason for this is because the cliffs are so sharp they tear through the wetsuit material super easy but swimsuit material is tougher and doesn’t get damaged nearly as quickly. Once I heard that I resigned myself to having my skort die at some point but it actually survived without a scratch.

The guide brings along a water proof camera and takes pictures through out the adventure so I have actual proof of what I did! lol He said to remind him to take the pics cause he often forgets, I reminded him at the beginning, and we did get some, they turned out pretty well, I think…

I do this whenever I'm on vacation and there is a beach lol

I do this whenever I’m on vacation and there is a beach lol

Final prep on the beach before heading to the cliffs...I didn't tell him to take this one lol

Final prep on the beach before heading to the cliffs…I didn’t tell him to take this one lol

It looks like a really big jump when looking down!

It looks like a really big jump when looking down!

Big step out so I don't hit any of the cliff on the way down...

Big step out so I don’t hit any of the cliff on the way down…

Happy and safe bobbing about in the ocean

Happy and safe bobbing about in the ocean

Different angle...I was told to keep my knees bent cause that area was a bit shallow and you didn't want to hit the bottom

Different angle…I was told to keep my knees bent cause that area was a bit shallow and you didn’t want to hit the bottom

Tryna act all cool and nonchalant, like this is stuff I get up to all the time lol

Tryna act all cool and nonchalant, like this is stuff I get up to all the time lol

So here’s how it works, you walk out to the beach, put your helmet and pfd on, get given a safety talk and head to the cliffs. They are super slippery and right from the start I thought I was an idiot for doing this, I can be a slow hiker on rocks when they are dry, why didn’t I think about the fact the surface of the cliffs would be slippy? Β The guide said not to worry, everyone starts off slow even though the beginning part is the easiest but before I know it I’ll have sped up and be going much faster on difficult areas, I didn’t really believe him but turns out he was right! πŸ™‚

The first cliff jump is one of the shortest ones, the first four are actually not huge, they gradually get a bit higher with each jump. They start you off there so you can practice your form, and so the guide can see how well you listen to instructions, if you don’t do as you are told, or you suck, then you can’t do the super high jumps cause it’d be too dangerous.

An example of the instructions I got for one of the jumps went like this:

Take a big step out because the lower part of the cliff comes out farther then the top part we are on so you need to make sure you clear the rocks, also, don’t go to the left because there are rocks under the water in that area that you can’t see from here but trust me, they are there, also, don’t go too far to the right because there is a patch of seaweed and you don’t want to get tangled in it…oh, and if you jump too far out there are more rocks…

Sooooo, basically, you are told which small area to aim for when jumping, and you better get it right! lol

After each jump you swim over to the next section of cliff that you will be climbing and up ya go! There was one part where the guide climbed up first, braced himself and sent a knotted rope down that I could use to help me climb up, that particular area was extremely slippery and he said the rope would make it easier…it did and it didn’t lol I was part way up and my foot slipped, I swung out a bit then slammed in to the cliff side with most of the hit landing on my right knee, oh man did that hurt! I kinda hung on to the rope for a second trying not to make any noises of pain then realized the poor guy was still holding the rope and a wet person is not a light person so I basically mentally shook it off and kept climbing lol There was one other section, near a top of a cliff where he cautioned me to be extra careful because a person the previous weekend had slipped there, landed face first and chipped a tooth, ack! It took him saying that for me to realize I could actually get hurt in more ways than just some bruises.

All in all, I would say if you want adventure, want to test your limits, want to see how brave you are, go to Anglesey Adventures! They are really nice, the excursion, though not what I was expecting, was still ridiculously exciting, it really gets your adrenaline pumping! Definitely worth the money! πŸ™‚

UK Trip Day 5: July 18/14 Part 2

8 Sep

After the mining expedition ended I followed the nice people who were headed in the same direction as I and managed to get to Holyhead. I warned them I drive slow on the narrow, windy roads and they assured me they did also. Lemme tell ya, their idea of slow and my idea of slow, totally different! lol

My final stop in Wales was Holyhead which is on the island of Anglesey. It’s a cute, tiny town that unfortunately is struggling a bit, at least that is how it seemed in the areas I saw. There were a lot of closed pubs and shops which is too bad cause it was a pleasant place and I swear I met the nicest people in the world there. Or at least the nicest people in Wales lol

I realized once I got in to town I had an address for the B&B I was booked in at but had no idea how to find that address, oops! Oh and yes, you read that right, a B&B, no more hostels for moi! Not that the hostels weren’t awesome but I was oh so ready to have a room to my own and not need to share a washroom lol πŸ˜›

Turns out I didn’t need to worry about finding the place, I drove in to town on the main road and was following it through town when I came upon the B&B, it was just there, like it was meant to be!

The B&B is called The Beach Hut and if you ever want to find it the address is 4 Hibernia Terrace, their website is http://www.thebeachhut.me.uk They have completely reasonable prices, a view of the ocean (admittedly the view is slightly marred by traffic going on and off of the ferries but really, how often do you stare out the window while on vacation?), breakfast is included in the price (a full Welsh of course! lol), people who go above and beyond to make you feel welcome and to help you out and while the room I was in was small, it was beautifully decorated, had everything I needed and more and the bed was super comfy! πŸ˜€

If it seems I am going on and on about this place, well, I am, but it is worth all the praise I can heap on it lol

The B&B rooms are over top of a cafe that is part of the B&B, I climbed 2 or 3 long flights of stairs to get to my room and Dave, the owner was sooooo nice, he carried my suitcase the whole way up! I am incapable of packing light, that poor man having to carry that bag, I felt bad for him. He and his wife (least, I think it’s his wife) made sure I was settled in, gave me directions to the nearest pub so I could grab dinner, answered my questions about directions for where I needed to be in the morning and then left me be.

My evening wasn’t all that exciting, but I was ok with that. I had a shower, reveled in not having to rush cause it was myyyyy bathroom lol found the pub, had an ok dinner, was a little sad the pub wasn’t like the pubs you see in movies depicting pubs in the UK, this one was quiet, pretty low key, shrug. When I got back to the room I repacked the suitcase, got everything I would need for the morning ready and had an early night. It was so glorious to be able to stretch out in a full sized bed, to enjoy a pile of pillows, cuddle under a duvet.

I had to be up early to be at my next days adventure so I watched a bit of tv, finally was able to go online cause I was somewhere that had wifi aaaaaand passed out lol

Best B&B Ever!

Best B&B Ever!

My view

My view

Remember in my last post I said I learned a lot during the mining expedition and would share some of that next post? Well here ya go! lol

– the mining town was created by the mining company, the houses were rented to the miners and a freakishly large amount of people lived in each small house

– the miners were paid in a combo of cash and credits, the credits could be used at the mining company store only

– miners were responsible for buying their own mining equipment, which they could buy from the mining company, putting themselves in debt to the mining company…seeing a trend here?

– boys as young as ten were working in the mines, they were used for a variety of jobs, they were trained so young because the average miner died by his mid 30’s leaving his sons behind to support the family…basically the entire family was like indentured servants to the mining company

– to save money the miners would use shorter than recommended fuses for the bombs, the kids were the ones who would light the short fuses then run for cover, they were faster than adults so had a better chance of not getting blown up

– the miners spent all day in the mine, didn’t even go outside for lunch, usually there was a small canteen type shop in the mine, run by one of the miners wives or daughters where they could buy a hot drink and simple meal, they ate by candlelight but the caverns are so large and candles so precious they were in mostly dark even when eating

– there is an underground lake in the mine that is freakishly deep and drowning was a legit concern

– approx 95% of the slate hauled out of that mine was thrown away once it saw the light of day, the slate had to be perfect and once it was in daylight and smaller flaws could been seen it would be deemed unusable, it was tossed on to the side of the mountain so now when you climb that mountain you see these strange formations that are nature growing over the piles of slate

– slate used to be used for only one or two things, not like today where it can be used for all sorts of stuff but a historical association deemed the slate on the outside of the mountain historically relevant so it can’t be taken and put to good use, it has to stay there

– when the mine was abandoned it was too hard to remove some of the larger pieces of equipment from the mine so it got left behind, when you go through there you walk along train tracks, come across equipment I don’t have names for lol there is even an old miners shoe in there, and when I say old I mean like 100 years old!

– oh! miners used to put nails in their shoes to make them last longer

As you may recall from last post I have no pictures of the inside of the mine because my camera battery died after I took two pictures at the beginning of the adventure sooooo I stole the following pics from the internet, I can promise you they are all images from the same expedition I did, they just aren’t pics taken by me nor do any of the pics have me in them, sigh. But at least you can see some of the stuff I did!

Ziplining

Ziplining

2

Abseiling

Abseiling

Crossing the underground lake

Crossing the underground lake

5

Climbing the waterfall - there was more water when I did it...

Climbing the waterfall – there was more water when I did it…

The Land Rovers they use

The Land Rovers they use

Abandoned equipment I can't remember the name of

Abandoned equipment I can’t remember the name of

Vertical air shaft you climb to get out

Vertical air shaft you climb to get out

Climbing - who'd have imagined such steep climbs inside a mine?

Climbing – who’d have imagined such steep climbs inside a mine?

comin doooown!

comin doooown!

UK Trip Day 5: July 18/14

3 Sep

Alrighty so technically I am starting this post with the tail end of Day 4 of my trip but I just couldn’t bring myself to write a post titled UK Trip Day 4: July 17/14 Part 4…4 parts seemed excessive lol πŸ˜›

After I was done eating dinner and that oh so lovely dessert (don’t know what I’m talking about? go read the previous post! lol) I called the hostel I was going to be staying at that night to see if my luggage had made it. I had requested the delivery company send it ahead to that hostel because the delivery timeline they gave me showed that is where I would be on that day, well, that night. The lady at the hostel said the best words to me I had heard all vacation “we have your luggage”. Oh my freakin gawd, my luggage! No longer lost! No longer who knows where being subjected to who knows what! My luggage just a short drive away! Happiness, oh overwhelming happiness. πŸ˜€

I quite happily got in to the rental car and started on my way to Betws-y-coed which is pronounced betta-sea-co-ed.

When I got to the town I (of course!) couldn’t find the hostel lol In my defence this particular hostel is attached to a hotel, which I didn’t know, and the signage for it isn’t all that clear. However, it is a small town, a super small town, so I pulled over near a shop with a name in the window I could see and called the hostel for directions. Got there less than five minutes later lol.

I didn’t take a picture of the outside of the hostel so I nabbed this one from the hostel’s website…Β http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/betws-y-coed

Betws-y-coed hostel

Betws-y-coed hostel

The long part you see is the hostel, farther to the right (not shown in the picture) is the hotel which is taller, more obvious, and has a large sign – maybe now you see why I overlooked it? The only picture I took of the outside of the hostel was this…

Came over to say hi!

Came over to say hi!

After I got my suitcase I immediately took it to the car and plopped it in to the trunk, I was then sorting stuff, seeing if everything was still in the bag etc when this little guy came over to welcome me to the neighbourhood. I don’t have much experience with birds like this so I was a tad worried it was going to try to peck me to death or steal my food or something but all it did was hang out for a bit before leaving me for more interesting sights…which fyi was a cute guy over at his car lol

It felt so amazing to have my own things again, *happy sigh*. I was able to take a shower using my own items, blow dry my hair for the first time on this trip, basically look normal for the first time on this trip lol I was tired after a long day in the sun and not really looking for any company so only chatted with one of the girls in my room. It was a four person room with two bunk beds, I was the last one there so I got stuck with a top bunk. I showered, got organized, crawled in to my bunk and basically passed out lol I woke during the night not feeling well, too much sun, which gave me a bit of a worry cause I didn’t want to be heat stroked the next day but I fell back asleep and by the time morning came I was doing ok. Not great but ok. I had a lovely sunburn and was cursing myself for not being smarter the day before lol

This was the first day I didn’t have a full Welsh breakfast, my tummy just wasn’t up for it, instead I had the “healthy breakfast option” from the menu. This hostel was the same as the other in that you could pay for breakfast in advance, which I did, it was served in a dining room that looked like it did double duty as a pub.

My healthy breakfast.

My healthy breakfast.

I of course had tea and juice with the breakfast, and actually, before I got served this I had a small bowl of cereal. I was really worried I wouldn’t have enough energy to get through the day but this turned out to be a nice size. πŸ™‚

After breakfast I walked across the street to Swallow Falls, its this little park area you have to pay a pound, maybe a pound and twenty five pence I can’t quite recall, to get in to and then you have some little walkways you can follow to get a beautiful view of the waterfall. There were steps going down, then up (obviously) as well as some benches set up so you could just sit and enjoy. It was amazingly beautiful. πŸ™‚ I went on a whim and am so glad I did. After I wandered all the paths and saw all the various views of the waterfall I sat on one of the benches and just…sat. It was such a peaceful area and I was so calm within myself.

I don’t know how to describe what I felt at that moment except complete and utter peace. I was calm, the area was calm, the sounds of the water was soothing, I didn’t have to be anywhere, I was disconnected from the world (literally since I had no data plan and hadn’t brought my phone with me on the short walk), it was as if I had found some inner quiet, become one with myself, it is the most centered I have ever felt in my life.

I ended up sitting there for at least a half an hour. I didn’t want to leave but I was worried I’d be late for my next adventure so off I went. I wish I could go back, sigh.

The sign for Shannon Falls

The sign for Swallow Falls

2014-07-18 10.08.55

2014-07-18 10.09.05

 

 

2014-07-18 10.13.27

I thought this couple was cute so I took a pic of them on the down low lol

I thought this couple was cute so I took a pic of them on the down low lol

The view from the bench, I could have sat there for hours.

My view from the bench, I could have sat there for hours.

Aaaaand as I was inserting these pics I noticed I did take a pic of the hotel/hostel, yay me! I took it when I was leaving the waterfall area and was across the street…

This part is technically the hotel, not the hostel.

This part is technically the hotel, not the hostel.

After my time at the waterfall I headed off to my next adventure, which really was my first big adventure since I didn’t get to climb Mt Snowdon…not that I’m still bitter about that or anything… πŸ˜‰

I went to the meeting spot for a caving expedition I signed up for. The company I went with is called Go Below Underground Adventures, their website is www.go-below.co.uk and if you are ever in a position to go on an adventure with this company all I can say is go! Go! Goooooo!

You meet up beside Conwy Falls Cafe which is 2 miles south of Betws-y-coed. For the caving expedition they recommend bringing a packed lunch and the cafe provides them if you want to get one from there. Since I had nowhere else to get one from I bought mine there and it was totally worth it. There was a delish sandwich that was huge, chips, water and cake, Mmm!

Go Below provides you with rubber boots (or wellies as they call them), helmet and harness gear. You are responsible for bringing a small backpack to hold your food and water, a waterproof jacket and clothes easy to move in that won’t get heavy when they get wet.

After they go through a safety presentation and show you how to clip on and off the safety ropes with your harness you head off in a Land Rover to the base of the mountain.

Sidestory! When I was in the cafe I asked for directions to Holyhead since that would be my next destination and I was worried the cafe would be closed when we got back and I wouldn’t be able to ask. A group of three people overheard me and they also were doing the Go Below adventure, we started chatting and they said after the caving expedition if I wanted to I could follow them because while they weren’t going all the way to Holyhead they were going really close and they’d make sure I took the proper route. How awesome is that?!?!

Back to the adventure! lol

You get out of the Land Rover and have a hike up the mountain to the entrance of the mine. It was incredible, it looks so different from the hiking environment I am used to lol I kept wanting to stop to look more closely at things but there wasn’t time. The guide was really nice, talked a lot about the area, explaining the history of the place. Also, fyi, there are these things that look like four leaf clovers that only grow in the forest, if you eat them they taste like licorice!

The forest

The forest – some of the trees were completely covered with moss.

After about a half hour hike, mostly going up, you get to the mine entrance. From the inside looking out it looks like…

The little part at the bottom, with the smaller bars, that opens and you crawl through.

The little part at the bottom, with the smaller bars, that opens and you crawl through.

Sadly, that is the last of my pictures from this adventure, sigh. My camera battery died. 😦 There was a couple in the group from Scotland that took my picture at the end and said they’d email me pics but they haven’t. I was holding out hope for a while, but now it’s pretty much gone, sadness.

When you are in the mine you walk, climb, crawl, cross a zipline and traverses, climb rock faces, boat across a lake, abseil off ledges, climb a waterfall and to get out you climb a vertical air shaft where you then pop out of the side of the mountain and blink like a mole seeing sunlight for the first time ever cause you’ve been in a mine for about 5 hours lol. Oh, and then you have to climb down the mountain lol πŸ˜›

It was amazing! So much fun! Challenging in parts but what is an adventure without some challenges? There was one part where I thought I was an idiot for signing up for this, that would be when I was climbing along the side of the rock face using such small rock ledges to step on that only my toes fit and I could hardly see them in the dim lighting, oh and the finger holds were so small and hard to see that I was certain I was going to fall off in to a pit. I mean yeah, I had safety gear on and was attached to a line but that doesn’t matter in the moment ya know? But! I didn’t fall, I conquered! wOOt! πŸ˜€

You stop in about the middle to eat your packed lunch, everyone turns off their helmet lights and you eat by candlelight to see what it would have been like for the miners – those miners, wow, I don’t know how they did it!

I learned all kinds of interesting things from the guide but this post is already ridiculously long, a trend I am noticing with my holiday posts lol so I’ll tell you all that random stuff in the next post. πŸ™‚

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