Sunday, December 27, 2009

Crystal's Birthday

On Boxing Day, after the internet session we slowly made it back to our hotel. We headed for the beach. Got a little sun, had a little swim, although it's so damn shallow on our beach it feels like we could walk all the way to the next island. We were at least a football field from the shore & the water was only up to our waists. So it is more of a floating area than a swimming area!
After spending a little time on the beach we went to our rooms to change & get ready for the birthday dinner & evening. Crystal showered, and then I did. And while I was in the shower the power flickered, and then it went out. But we are troopers! I just got dressed & didn't worry about my hair or anything, Crystal put on her headlamp & put on her makeup and got ready with that light. It was hilarious to watch, but it worked great! The power was still out at our hotel when we made our way back into town to eat
dinner & shop a little.
We had dinner at an english restaurant. Crystal had her first Branston Pickle sandwich experience, and I had Thai food.
Then we got a slice of cake each from this wonderful little bakery "Nira's Bakery" & went down to the
beach to eat it. We thought, two winter birthday gals -that it would be pretty cool to be eating birthday cake on the beach on Crystal's bday! Then we were wandering back up to the shops & got
distracted at this Irish Pub because there was live music - and I love
live music. So we went inside & had 3 beer & ended up staying there until
the two guys finished up their evening. One was an English bloke from
Manchester & the other a younger guy from Scotland. They have both
been living in Thailand for ages. They invited us to this other bar on
the beach where musicians go & have open mic night & Crystal
was half cut & wanted to chit chat with them more, so we went to the place. Not
a cheap night...lots of food, booze & taxis! But the place, called
The Jam, was pretty great. They busted out the tunes, old rock, newer
stuff, one guy brought out his didgeridoo and it was so awesome. We
were right on the beach, and Crystal was chatting up one of the guys - Scottish one. She learned all about his life here & they talked about her plans etc, she was having fun meeting
Thai girls & dancing around in the sand with them. I was thinking about all of the people that I know who would have loved the place - Gordo - you would have been in musical hippie heaven :)

We were there until 2am & then they closed down & we caught  a
taxi back to our hotel. Went to bed pretty much right away & then
yesterday Crystal was hung over all day. Didn't leave the room until
after 1pm. Then had some food & then she felt sick, but I was on
the beach for 3 hours or so. Met her back in our room, then a nap. And then we went out for
dinner & had a mellow night reading in our room and having rather
large beetles try to move in with us. There was this really cool, really big green beetle that just kept coming back in. I got some photos for Char. It was a really beautiful colour!

Today we came out to the bakery for breakfast & now we're not sure what the plan is. But Crystal is going to organize her week. Figure out about diving & all of that. And we have to find out about getting to Haad Rin for the Full Moon party. :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in a tropical paradise


Merry Christmas everyone!


Here we are on Boxing Day aka Crystal's birthday, and it is hella hot & I can't wait to get to the beach. What a trip! LOL We got so much rain in Kranbi & Ko Samui it's nice to be here in Ko Phangan & be sweatin' again. Beach on boxing day - how wicked is that?! We went to bed late (after 2am) last night because we were watching movies on the TV in our room..trying to get in some Christmas flavour on the 25th of December.


Our time in Ko Samui was spent reading a lot of the time. Sometimes on the beach, sometimes at our room because of the rain. I finished reading 2 books, so I went to the exchange & got Dr.Zhivago...I thought maybe a classic would take me a little more time so that I'm not powering thru a book a day. We went to a shisha place on the 23rd. Had some good eats & then smoked a little Shisha. Had grape with a little mint. It was pretty nice stuff. After the shisha we made a stop in an internet cafe & then we went to grab a couple of beers for the road. We had plans to go to this bar on the beach that we had seen - Swing Bar and we thought we could drink a beer on the walk to the bar. Only we didn't have anything to open them with. So I tried using the keychain on our door key  ripped my knuckles up, so I was bleeding for the rest of our walk. Then we found a guy at a shop doing wood carving stuff who offered to open our beers. So we drank them pretty quick because they were already warming up & warm beer is YUCK. Needless to say we ended up in an area with loads of bars & little market areas, so Swing Bar never happened. We went to this place called Fusion. Pretty sweet nightclub setup, but totally dead. We had a drink each & then we went to McDonalds. Then we went across the road. There were all these little bars...and each little place had a pole or two in them so that the girls could dance to attract customers, or the customers could dance. We went to one & had a drink, Crystal played some Connect 4 with one of the girls, and I had a little dance on the poles with a boy...who I think is going to be a lady boy in a year or two. And then this guy from New York sits beside us & asks to sleep at our place. I told him 'no we have bed bugs & no room". Crystal told him to take a cab back to his place. Eventually he went on his way. We ended up back at McDonald's (yes - we were on fire!) hahaha And then we walked back to our room to call it a night. Mostly it was good.


Slept in pretty good the next day & went for fruit for brekky & then to the beach for a bit. It was Christmas Eve and we ended up going back to this restaurant that we loved called Kokomiko. Cute little place & great food. I got a curry dish that nearly killed me it was so hot. And even though I was sweating so bad I needed a shower & my eyes felt like they were bugging out of my head - I made it through. And it did taste really good! LOL We had some wine with dinner & then went for a walk to the markets to look for Christmas gifts for one another. But had no luck.


Christmas Day we went out to buy one another a little gift, went to the Grand-rocks & found some things. On our way back to the hotel to catch our ride to the ferry we were stopped by two guys on a moped. Aussie's who wanted to invite us to the Christmas BBQ they were organizing on the beach. It was the first time that any travellers have approached us and we were pretty disappointed that we had to say no because we were leaving. But it left some Christmas cheer in our hearts. Then we came over to Ko Phangan. Holed up in our room for a bit, watching Christmas programs & Crystal had a nap. Then we went for dinner, exchanged gifts, wandered the town & grabbed some dessert. Ended up back in our room watching movies & trying to find Christmas shows, while we burned the little Christmas tree candle that Crystal brought with her. (Thanks Jaquie!) Very cute.


Today we slept in & called our families when we made it to a payphone. Both our mom's were a little teary. Both of our brothers were having a bit of a rough time - and everyone was struggling to hear us because the connection is so crappy & there were so many people in the houses we called. But it was nice to talk to everyone. Got to say hi to my grandparents & my sis, and I haven't spoken to them in a long while. Then grabbed some was pretty perfect, fresh squeezed OJ & the eggs were just like how Crystal likes them. So far her bday is turning out pretty good!


So now...the plan is the beach. And other than that?? Crystal is thinking of booking a trip to Ko Tao to go diving. I am thinking, beach, beach, beach... and the 31st is the Full Moon Party, so we're trying to figure out how the hell these two old grannies are going to be able to stay awake until sunrise!!! Yikes! Wish us luck!!


Love you all!

Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ko Samui

Hello Everyone!


Ah Krabi!!! We were not actually in Krabi town & on our quiet little strip we took it pretty easy. But on our last day we decided that we would hire a long tail boat & go to this little pennisula on the island that is supposed to have some pretty ace snorkelling. So that is what we did. Sunshine & loveliness, and then we got out to the beach. Very cool limestone caves & definitely some snorkelling options. We put our stuff down & we headed for the water...and almost immediately a storm kicked up & it downpoured all over everything. So our day packs got soaked, and some of the stuff inside them got a little dampish. We ran out of the water (all I could think was I was NOT baywatch hot to be running along a beach in my swimsuit!!!) and we grabbed our stuff & tried to find shelter under some trees so that we weren't having constant water pouring on our bags. When it let up we went exploring around the caves & waited until it stopped entirely. Met an English guy & his family, he was happy to tell us that he had been born in Canada - but he had an English accent. LOL We  tucked our things into a little cavey area out of the possible rain & did some snorkelling. It was pretty good. Saw lots of cool fish, a couple crabs here & there & lots of living sea plants etc. Everything was really close in the shallow water & I sliced my finger a bit on some of the coral - but that's all cleared up now. We got our stuff together & spent a little time laying on the sand again. Crystal went adventuring & came to get me. Saw some monkeys in action taking fruit from the tourists & then we went to our stuff. We had arranged for a pickup at 5pm. And at 4:45 the skies opened up, yet again. So we ran back to the boats & saw our friend in orange & we headed back to the room. It poured for a bit & we showered & got ready. Then it let up & we walked into town to attend our "dinner & a show" that Crystal had discovered. It was a buffet dinner & a ladyboy cabaret show. It was good fun & went on a lot longer than we expected. We left before it was even over because we had a long walk & we had to get up early. Most of our stuff was still wet & very sandy - so our resolution is NOT to head out to places our stuff will get wet the day before a travel day. Also - we bought dry bags & we're using them as day bags & beach bags because if it does rain, our stuff will be ok, and you can't beat that!!


So now we're in Ko Samui. The journey was typical Thai. We took a minibus & went to pick up other passengers. Then we ended up back at our jungle depot in Surat Thani & got our stickers & hopped into another minibus. And then to a big bus, took that to the ferry & walked on. That time it was a ferry that also took vehicles! First one over here. We sat in some comfy seats, and Crystal watched some cheesy Thai soap opera on the TV, while I read. Got in to the port & took a taxi to our hotel. Moved into our bungalow, very cute. But budget. No hot water & no fridge. We miss the fridge the most, can't buy any drinks or fruit without it. We had dinner at the hotel & then went to the market on the strip, and grabbed a couple of Chang beers & went back to our little porch to soak up the evening. I pestered our neighbours a bit & they invited us out for some food with them. Two danish guys named Kim & Tim, one Swiss guy named Fabio, and a Dutch guy named Sam. It was a good night. Had another beer, some eats, ended up swimming in the pool at the hotel & then the ocean a bit. Still ended up back in bed not too late because Crystal had found some grease/tar on the beach somewhere & it was all over her toes & hands. Since then she has found more a couple times on our journey's down the beach. But it was a fun night. Slept in, took a chilled out day because it was crazy storming. The weather has been inconsistent at best since Krabi - but lots of rain & little bit of sunshine. It's always warm, but it's not tanning weather. Also - and this is the fun part. I have some kind of bug living in my bed area. I have gotten so many bites. I think it's bedbugs again. Why the hell am I always the one to chose the bed with them in it?!?! I told the staff, & they said they were going to deal with it today, so we'll see what happens. But I'm hella itchy & feel like I have some skanky disease LOL.


Yesterday we did a tour around the island. Went to a temple, then the Big Buddha, then "the viewpoint", then Grandfather & Grandmother Stone, then a monkey show where we watched monkeys harvest coconuts & ate some coconut, then to another temple where the mummified monk is, then to the national park to check out the waterfall & see a bunch of elephants doing trekking, and then into town for some shopping. It was a fun day & while the morning was dodgy - woke up at 6:30am to an enormous thunderstorm that shook the bungalow - we had nice weather by the end of it!


We here until the 25th & that morning we head to Ko Phangan. So far it's good. It's all good! I'm loving Thailand! I already can't wait until I come back! LOL


Mother - 4 days is nothing!!! Things happen & I don't want to spend all of my money paying to be online! I am OK!!! I love you - and I am ok!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Still hot as Hades!

Ko Phi Phi was good to us. We had some sun issues with the malaria pills. Crystal decided to go off hers until such time as we are in an area we really need to worry about it & I kept taking mine. My sun sensitivity wasn't as bad as hers, but it's still definitely making me more than I usually am! So I'm thinking about quitting them too, for now at least. We aren't in an area we need to worry.

We went down to the beach & then ended up back in our room pouring cold water all over ourselves. We ate lots of fruit & Crystal was mad about spring rolls for a bit. This kooky old lady had a stand & she would yell "10 baht, 10 baht Yoo Hoo Yoo Hoo" at everyone as they walked by. She was great. We got asked by a guy to go for beers, but refused. Went back to our room...still suffering the effects of the sun. We did a day out on a long tail boat. There was a couple from Vancouver Island on the boat with us. We went from our beach, to Shark Point & did some snorkelling - but didn't see any sharks. We went to Monkey Beach & hung out there for half an hour & did see some monkeys. Crystal got some great photos. Then we went to Bamboo Island & had lunch, we also went exploring, really strange rock formations,they kinda looked like lava rock. It was hot, our feet were burning b/c we forgot to take our flip flops on our little trek. Then we went to Maya Beach -the one from the movie The Beach. Hung out there for quite awhile. A stop at Viking Cave & then we sat on the boat & watched the sunset. And then it was quite windy & choppy for our ride back & we got entirely drenched. it was fun, really fun, but I could barely see because huge amounts of water kept smacking me in the face LOL. Crystal was hiding behind her sarong. Man, next trip I take I NEED to have one of those waterproof cameras because that would have been a great photo!!! We arrived back & went to our room,grabbed food along the way & mellowed out. The next morning we did the hike up to the Viewpoint where you can see all of the town that we were staying in. It was a 45min hike, in the heat & humidity & we were both thinking how we are in horrible shape. On the way up there was a bit of a sign to another beach, so we headed back down that way. Rantee Beach. It was quite the trek down the mountain. But the beach was cute, small & quiet, the people working there were really nice. But it was a bit buggy, ended up with some bites. And then when we headed back to our side of the island we were chased by mossies practically the whole trek thru the jungle! We got back, had showers & then went into town & grabbed some food & went to a place where they do "pedicures" with fish. You stick your feet into a big tank & hundreds of little fish nibble your feet, toes & legs & they are supposed to nibble all the dead skin off. LOL It was wild. It didn't work anything like a real pedicure, but was well worth the 150 baht to have the experience!

We have seen a few people who bring their pet monkeys to town with them, as well as the very scary families on mopeds, motorbikes & bicycles that ride along with their babies hanging on for dear life off the back. It seems so scary to us, but no one bats an eye here.

Our final morning was a slow going one, we ate breakfast, played some cards, put our bags in storage & headed out. Spent a bit of time online & then grabbed some food, rented a couple chairs & hung out in the shade for a couple of hours. Crystal slept & I read. Then we went & gathered our things & hopped on the ferry. Nicest one we've been on. Had some trouble out in the ocean, they think we hit a shark, so they stopped & dove under to check?! Crazy. We got here to Ao Nang in Krabi & got settled into our room. There was some confusion & our first night we had A/C instead of a fan room. So posh! Then we went wandering around. It's cute here, quiet on our little strip. Ended up at a restaurant on the beach having Pad Thai & a storm blew in & it was raining buckets & windy like mad. So we waited it out & when it seemed to mellow we headed back to our room. Only to have it come back & start to dump on us so we found some cover & waited until the next slow down & we made it back to our room during that trickle.

Yesterday we got up late & had breakfast & went down to the beach. Only the tide was way out & still receding, so the beach didn't look so tempting. We ended up chilling out on a bench in the shade beside the beach. I read, Crystal took some photos. She ate Pringles & I ate half a pinapple. :) And then we walked the strip. Further than we had the night before & it gets really busy & happening a little further on! We found a Hagaan Daas & had some overpriced ice cream & then stopped at a McDonalds because Crystal had a hankering for Broccoli Pie. I grabbed some Papaya. I was having an off day. The heat & not getting any sleep. So we headed back to our room. We watched Dirty Dancing on the Iphone & then went to bed. Today we spent the morning indoors. Late start, late brunch, then Crystal updated her journal & I read. Finished my book. My first Ann Rice book, courtesy of Miriam, so now I'm seeing ghosts everywhere! :) lol Now we're out & about. Off to see more of town & I'm hoping to call Spyros tonight & have a little chat. Crystal & I worked it out - the calling cards here are nuts - 33 cents a minute!!! What a rip off! So mom & dad & Spyros - forgive me when I don't call so often, but it's a little ridiculous!

One more full day here & then we're off to Ko Samui for a whole week!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Down South

Hello everybody!!


So we are now in Ko Phi-Phi. And what an adventure! We loved Bangkok, made friends with our TukTuk driver Bill. Cool guy. Ate some awesome & cheap food - wandered and wandered and wandered. Saw the festivities for the King's birthday, some fireworks etc. The driving here is crazy, but I feel safer because the roads are wider than in Europe. And everyone is friendly - no road rage.


So we booked our travels south. Pretty much the whole month, up to Jan 4th is now planned out. On the 7th we took a taxi to the train depot & sat there for 2 hours on the floor. Stood up at around 6:45pm when they played the National Anthem. Made pals with this Thai guy named Lo who couldn't speak any English but was determined to have a conversation & to get our phone number. Hilarious. And I helped another girl with her English homework haha. At 7:15 we got on the night train. Sat at our seats & ate our dinner. Then they come around & flip down the upper bunk & turn everything into beds. Crystal & I were in the top bunks. They have these straps so that you can't fall out. And it was pretty good. I woke up a lot because I'm such a light sleeper & everytime a curtain opened I wondered if it were mine or something. We arrived to Surat-Thani early morning, a little later than scheduled & were directed to a bus. That bus took us to this depot in the middle of the jungle. We waited there for 20 min and then a crazy pickup with seats in the box took us into some town & we talked to an Indian guy who charged us an extra 200 baht to take us straight to the hotel. So back onto another bus & got the last seats. Settled in for the next...7 hours!! Yikes. Got to Phuket, switched into a minibus & that took us straight to our hotel. All in all from train to hotel it was about a 19 hour trip. Totally dodgy being thrown from one vehicle into another & having no idea where you are or where you're going LOL. Spyros baby, you would LOVE Thailand!!! And at least you would have a language barrier here, so we would be even!


Phuket was ok, we stayed at Pa Tong beach. It's the ladyboy, prostitute, sex show type of capital here. Which we didn't know. But it was still cool. Spent the first evening wandering around & shopping. Went to a bar & had a couple beer. There were 3 very drunk aussie blokes that came through & took over the stage from the live band & started treating it like a kareoke bar. We laughed it up with them for a bit & took some photos. Then we went to another bar with them that they heard was awesome, but which was dead. Then they started getting pouty because one of them lost his wallet so we headed off. Ended up on the beach with a couple guys from Canada, a bit of a late night swim. And then hopped on the back of an old guy's motorbike taxi back to the hotel.


The next day was supposed to be our first beach day, but Crystal was SUPER hungover & my tummy was a little rough from the booze too. So we mellowed out & chatted & hung in the room until dinner. Went out, had some dinner & Crystal bought new flip flops because the night before she ended up coming home with one of hers & one of someone else's.


This morning we had breakfast, took a minibus to the ferry terminal, a 2 hour ferry ride here, to Ko Phi Phi. Very tropical, very lush. And hella hot. So I wanted to get out an update to everyone before we hit the beach. Ko Phi Phi is the sister island to the one where "The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. So we're gonna do a hike up to The Viewpoint where you can see the other island from!


4 days here, then 4 in Krabi, and then we go to Ko Samui & the Ko Phagn (full moon party!) and that will take us to January. At which time we'll be heading over to Cambodia!


More later, maybe I will have some colour by my next update!!!


Friday, December 4, 2009

In Bangkok!!

Hello curious friends & family!

So far - we're in Bangkok. Last
night we were both pretty tired. Didn't get hardly any sleep on our
flights. The flights were uneventful, and China Air was great. I loved the asian flair the food had. Crystal wasn't as crazy about it as me LOL But we watched a lot of movies & tried to sleep without much success.

Got into Bangkok airport & we got some Baht & headed to Th Khao San in a taxi. We found a guest house with rooms for 290 baht each, which is less than $10. It's a room with a king sized bed, that is clean and has ac & a fan. The toilets are shared, and you can't flush your TP (if you choose to USE TP) but we will survive that, cuz it's cheaper than camping back home! hahaha We checked in, & then wandered a
bit & got some dinner. It's a very festive area right now, and the people are wanting you to ride their tuk tuks, get your fortune read & to come in & buy things. Went to bed early with the intent to figure out a bit of a plan & get up at 10ish to see some celebrations. But I read, Crystal slept & then we both just slept thru the night. Got up at 7ish. Now
it's the Kings Birthday or some kind of King celebration, so we are
going to take a TukTuk around to see a few places. I guess because of
the day admissions are free most places.  I had an "asian breakfast" this morning. pretty good.

have attempted to get my phone unlocked. Some people are saying it's
too new. So I'm going to try a few more places & we will see what
happens. I don't want to buy a new one now that I'm here. I want to be
able to use this one. And if I can get it unlocked here, then I have a
phone to use with other plans back at home too. And it would be very
nice to be able to just shoot off a text & let you all know that I
am safe & ok.

We are planning to leave Bangkok in the next couple of days. Head south
& spend some time beaching it & chilling out until Christmas
& Crystal's bday. And then we will wander over to some other
countries. Hoping to meet some people & discuss where they have
been & where they are going by that time. Last night was pretty
much just sleeping!! LOL

I'll keep you updated on the phone thing. And I will be updating the
blog too.

So far?? It is pretty much what we expected. It was a bit more intense than Crystal was expecting the first night, but she was just a little disoriented because she was so tired. It's hot, but I don't feel like I'm going to die. LOL at least not yet. The people are all very friendly. I feel like I'm being far more cautious than I ever have been in any country. I think it's because it's another language & we're not with a group of people. Oh well, better safe than sorry! Bangkok is cool. I know I could spend plenty of time here just wandering around markets & seeing the city, but I think we both want to get out of the big cities right now. We will let you know how our first Tuk Tuk experience is ---

OH! Had pinapple last night, I loved it. Crystal says it's better than home, but still not for her! :) cream...


Monday, September 7, 2009

Nearly home...

So here I am in Ios, Greece. It's my last couple of nights of my holiday/adventure. And what a time it has been.


My last few days with Mary & Tony were lovely. They are such great people & I really cannot wait to see them again. They did so much for me & treated me like family. And I love their home. When I arrived not too much had changed except that they had the addition of 4 hens. Funny little things too, they followed you around the yard whenever you were outdoors. But it was a short visit because I was in a bit of a rush to get back to Greece, the sun, and a particular man.


In Greece I have spent some time in Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Andros, Tinos & Ios. Every place has been a little different, but each place has had it's own amazing bits. Ios is by far the most touristy & the least Greek-ish. It's almost all Aussie's & English here. Andros was a lot smaller, not touristy, some people didn't even speak English. Which made it that much nicer to be with Spyros & Gerry. Two great Aussie blokes I met on Contiki. They have Greek heritage & speak the language. Gerry is a good pal, Spyros is a man with a big piece of my heart. And I had a beautiful time here in Greece with because of how amazing he is.


And now it's ending. Spyros has already gone home to deal with work things, and saying 'see you later' was a very difficult thing to do. Gerry is still kicking it here with Amanda and I (Amanda is another Contiki pal that met up with us half way thru my stay in Greece), and on the 10th we all part ways.


I need to get to work when I get home, but have loved this trip & everything I have learned & experienced on it. So glad I came. But the travel bug has bitten hard again. ;) So we will see what happens next!


look forward to seeing everyone as I will be back in Canada in just a few days...



Friday, August 14, 2009

The end of Contiki...

So it's over...and it's bloody strange! But here's the last of the trip:

It rained & poured the whole time in Vienna & put it mellowed out for the evening so the tents were pretty dry to pack up in the morning. YAY! Would have been nice to see a little more of Austria & Vienna itself, but after the hot sun & dry days I just wasn't up for making everything I owned wet & stinky.

Wednesday the 5th we were packed up & back on the coach on our way to Prague. We stopped in this little place in Czech called Cesky Krumlov. It was SO ADORABLE! Like a little storybook town. Everyone was friendly & there was a river looping around it that they had built man-made rapids into, so people were canoeing, kayaking & river rafting around the town. It didn't look too exciting, but it did look like a fun way to spend a hot day! ;) Then back on the coach and into Prague.  It was still looking like rain so a bunch of us paid and extra 5 euro a night to stay in cabins. That was a nice change. I really didn't mind tenting at all -but when you are wet, your tent is wet, your clothes & towel are get a little...wet. :) So cabin it was. It was a pretty nice campsite with a beautiful lake & grounds across the road. Spent a lot of time just shooting the sh*t with people outside of the cabins on our 'deck' that night. The next day was PRAGUE! And it was pretty damn nice. It's funny the architecture is so different than Paris/Rome etc. But it's really cool too. We did a boat cruise & the guide was great. Wandered a lot, checked out all the local vendors & wished I had more money because there was some really unique jewellery. We all met up again at around 6pm in Wencles Square & went to a place called the Beer Factory. They have taps on your table & a running scoreboard tally of how much you have had to drink. I had 1 beer - but the guys on the tour of course were in intense competition :) The ride home was an interesting one too. The bus just stopped half way to the campsite with no warning & told us we had to wait for another one. And the whole time we were there the transportation didn't improve much. made it interesting & unforgettable though! The next day was another day in Prague. Took it easy in the morning & sewed some patches onto my bag, then headed in for some lunch & a nap in the was ACE. Loved Prague, can't wait to tell Matthew & his family! That Friday evening we went to this 5 story nightclub that had different music on each level. It was ridiculously hot and ridiculously fun. We got there at about 10:30 & I didn't leave until 4:30am. Can you believe I made it that long?? And I wasn't tired! I just danced my butt off! So we went back to the campsite in a cab, had showers, packed up & got ready. Had brekky when everyone got up..and I didn't sleep until a lot later that next day on the coach.

Saturday the 8th we were back on the road. To Munich - went into town. Had a little wander. Checked out Haufbrauhaus...a famous & old beerhall. Went to the square, got some ice cream & fruit & wandered a bit more. Then met up with everyone for our night out at a Beerhall. It was great. We had pork-knuckle for dinner, a litre of beer, did Prost a million times, there was singing & dancing, we sang & danced. It was a pretty great night. And after that - bed :) hahah

Sunday we were up and on the road again into Switzerland. Stopped in a couple of places. Stopped in Leichtenstein before Switzerland, it was pretty nice. There was a big beach volleyball tourny on in the middle of town that was pretty random. Then we went into Lucerne and spent some time on the famous wooden bridge, went to a Swiss Army knife & Swiss watch place, checked out a cuckoo clock is so gorgeous in Switzerland & SO CLEAN! There is so much pride of place & country it's crazy! Then we went to Jung Frau. Our campsite was beautiful. And the country does definitely remind me of home. More tidy, but mountains, rock face cliffs, waterfalls off the mountains...lovely. And then it POURED. Completely soaked the crap out of us both nights, but our day there was pretty clear at least. I went into town, so quaint. And then we went to this waterfall that was absolutely phenomenal! It was in the mountain & so so cool. Also - bought some chocolate ;) haha Went that evening to the pub at the campsite -it is called The Bombshelter. had another pretty great evening of dancing. Went to bed fairly early though.

The next morning we were up & off again, back into Germany to Heidelburg. Another lovely place. It was a pretty late day, wandered town for a bit & then went back to camp & had an awards night. A silly one, things like 'most annoying drunk', 'most helpful' etc. I went to bed pretty early that night too.

Left the next morning for the Netherlands. On the way we stopped in St. Goar & checked out a wicked cool beer stein place & a Birkenstock shop...that I bought some birks in. :) They were cheap! :) Got into Amsterdam, set up camp & headed into the city. First stop, coffee shop aka place you smoke & eat weed & hash. So I shared a joint with a girl on tour. Wasn't like BC bud though. I haven't smoked in 3 years...but it didn't hit me at all. So we all met up, wandered the red light district a bit & went to a live sex show. That was interesting. I had have a brownie there & another half afterwards. And the full body stone is a lot different than just smoking it! But it made me warm & heavy & as soon as we got back to camp I went to bed & slept like a rock. That was pretty excellent. LOL And now I've tried it. The next day was another day in Amsterdam. Went out to Edam and did a bike tour that was so awesome. Had a cheese making demo & clog making demo. And then saw a windmill and their dykes. It was so nice there - then back into Amsterdam. Grabbed lunch, went into a bunch of touristy shops, did the Anne Frank museum, then we all met up to head back to camp. Got changed & ready & back into town for dinner & a night out. It was a pretty great night. There were some tears as a few people left us early. But it was still good times.

And then yesterday - we came from Amsterdam, through Belgium, and back to London. Arrived at around 7:30pm, unpacked, I headed to my hostel. Got organized, headed back into the centre & had a beer with everyone & said goodbyes. It was a lonely night being alone for the first time in a month and a half! LOL It feels more weird than sad. I knew it was coming, and there are going to be people I will see again & keep in touch with...but it's a very strange feeling for sure. 46 days with 45 people 24/7 is a pretty intense thing. Some of them do feel like family.

So today, up, off to meet some family ;) hahaha and now pretty mellow. I can feel my Contiki Cough wanting to come back, so I'm going to take it easy & drink loads of water & get lots of sleep. :) Monday I am off to South Clifton again to meet up with the Lewis's.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Heading westward

So after I left the internet terminal in Tirana I was headed back to meet the coach for our final night in a hotel. And a young kid - about 9 or 10 accosted me and was grabbing at my water & my purse trying to get me to give them to him. I kept walking, but he was blocking my path yelling and grabbing for quite a ways. That was an experience and a half!!! Caught the coach & went back to the hotel. And had dinner, then some pool time. The rooms at the hotel were insanely spacious, but it was definitely an older hotel & a bit rundown. But I slept like a fecking baby!!


The next day we were back on the road  and headed for Croatia!!! So excited about that! We went through Montenagro & stopped at this crazy cheap supermarket. It was pretty excellent to get so much for so little. Montenagro was a beautiful little country, but we just drove thru it, that one place was our onlz stop. And then into Dubrovnik. This campsite was pretty excellent. Spacious, really clean & nice ammenities & free WIFI. Plus a beach not too far away. That first night we got in at 7ish and had some dinner and checked out the area, I spent a little time online using a fellow Contiki member's computer, but had no luck trying to upload photos. GRRR.


Wednesday the 29th we were up early and into Old Town to wander around & see what there was to see. It was hot as hades so I did a few touristy things, checked out the market, got some moolah, and some ice cream. Then there was a cruise - but I didn't go. I went and hung out on the rocks. In Old Town there is a wall surrounding it & loads of big rocks that you can lay on and sun yourself and swim in the gorgeous water. So I did that with a couple of girls from our group for a couple of hours. Then we got some lunch & headed back to camp. It was still hot, so we went ´down to the beach & did some more swimming & sunning there. Once it started getting chilly we packed up & headed back. Helped with dinner prep, took a shower, had some dinner, did a little sewing for a friend. There are a lot of people who cannot sew - I've repaired a few things for friends on this trip. lol


Thursday was another free day...and I spent it on the beach. Up & breakfast & then I did a little laundry & was on the beach by 10:30ish. It was ace. I applied & reapplied sunscreen - but by the time I back off the beach to eat a little something at 4:30 -- I was a little rosy on my back. I had switched up the swimsuit too, so I had a little more exposed skin, so I burnt my bum! yikes!! But it was still a most excellent day! That night after dinner we did a little massage train, but I ended up giving out more since I wasn't able to get one b/c of my burn.


Friday we left Dubrovnik. Back onto the bus. Le Sigh. Went through Bosnia/Herzegovina, another beautiful country! Back into Croatia, had lunch in Split, which was not enough time because it was really cool there. Had kind of a Miami feel too it...then back onto the coach & into Zadar. It was an interesting coach day. Late people & a fair amount of drama. When a person is late there is a punishment. It's called Booth of Truth. The late individual has to go to the front of the coach & get asked whatever 3 questions anyone can think up & they have to answer it. It's funny, but can be really embarrassing & sometimes a bit mean. It's definitely a juvenille thing. But it was a bit of a yuck one that day, so at camp we set up a little girly circle & just hung out until we went to bed pretty early. Oh - also, in town it was really tight & our coach driver scratched up a couple of that took a bit of time off of our Split adventure. It was unfortunate, he's a bloody amazing driver!


Saturday we got up and on the coach and crossed another border into Hungary! Went to Budapest. Got into camp pretty late & after dinner we hung out for a bit chatting, then went to bed around 12ish.


Sunday was a day in Budapest. It was such a nice city. SO HOT! But we wandered around a few shops, got a great lunch with some great service, wandered thru the city-amazing architecture. Went to the House of Terror & got an education...then some ice cream. Out to the water & wandered the Danube down to this Holocaust memorial. It was a spot that the Nazi's dumped Jewish bodies into the water & there is now a line of about 60 pairs of shoes marking the area. Very powerful stuff. Took some photos & took a moment. Then went for a little nap in a park in the shade. After that we met up with the group & went for a river cruise with a buffet dinner. It was a nice way to spend the dinner hours. And after that a bunch of us went out to Margaret Island to a salsa club & partied until 1:30am. It was a pretty excellent day!!!


Yesterday was back on the coach and we crossed over to Austria! After we unpacked our stuff it was really early so I had a cat nap in the tent for a couple of hours. It rained & I was loving the sound. Then we all got ready and headed into a theme/amusement park. I was not looking forward to it - but it was a great nite! Had some amazing schnitzel, danced our butts off like goons to the music coming from the rides - and rode one ride. Oh - ice cream too. LOL But it was just a ton of fun. When we got back to camp it started to pour, so I just went to bed. it rained all night & it's still raining today. Packing up all the went tents is going to be SO ROUGH! LOL But really ´- 30plus days in and this is the first time we have had any significant rain - that's pretty damn good!!!


So I think that about catches everyone up!!!


Next stop: Prague!



Monday, July 27, 2009

So much driving...

So we left Corfu. Lost our people & got new ones. The new ones seem to be pretty cool & are quite comfortable with the rest of us that had already gotten to know one another. As we were leaving Greece we stopped in Thermopoli, saw Mt. Olympus & slept as much as we could on the bus. We drove thru to Kavala, got there pretty late & set up camp. Dinner, a wander, and then I went to bed. There are a few people who are drinking & up late most every night, but I am trying to get rid of this darn cough. The rest of the cold is pretty much gone, but the cough is very persistent! So fairly early to bed & then early to rise.

Packed up camp & hit the road. Headed out to Cannakele. We crossed through the border into Turkey & it was fairly uneventful, but Canadians had to pay the most for our visas, and that sucked. We rode on a Feribot & had some Turkish Tea. Stopped & saw the city of Troy & got photos inside of a wooden horse. Pretty cool, had a great guide for the tour. Then onto Cannakele - and our first hotel during our camping tour. There are a few countries here in eastern europe where camping isn't the best idea, so all in all we get 5 days in hotels. At the hotel we went for a swim in the pool, a walk along the ocean, had dinner & then some conversation until bed in a BED!

The next morning we packed up again & went to Gallipoli. Very cool place that I knew nothing about. But it was a pretty historic place for the Aussies & Kiwis in our group. And a very beautiful place for such horrible fighting to have occured, but the monuments & cemetaries they have are beautiful & definitely do the fallen proud. Then we headed into Istanbul. Beautiful & amazing, I cannot wait to spend more time in that city!!! The first night I did laundry & then we all headed to this little bar type place where we lay in the street on pillows & drank our drinks & smoked Shisha. It was pretty amazing & fun. Didn't help my cough, but I had to do it anyway :) I still called it a pretty early night, bed in the hotel by 12:00ish.

Next morning was a full day in Istanbul. We started with a walking tour, saw the Blue Mosque and hippodrome- pretty cool. The Grand Bazaar - which was  disappointing & insane. Mostly shops, not very market-like. And then we went on a hunt for the turkish bath with the most bang for your buck. We found one, 4 of us girls & 1 guy that tagged along. WOW! This was so amazing! We paid the money & went to a room to get undressed & put on our towel/sheets. Then we were led into the Women's area & told to undress & sit on our towels while soaking ourselves with warm water in a marble sauna environment. So cool. So bizarre. Very relaxing. Very funny for a North American to be lounging around naked with a bunch of women. After about 20min they came to get us & they lay you down on your towel on a marble slab & rinse you, scrub your whole body & then soap you up. They give you a soap massage, flip you over & repeat. You get fully groped by a largish turkish woman in a bathing suit & it's hilarious, strange & so amazing at the same time. Then they sit you up & wash your hair. A final rinsing & back to the sauna area for more relax time. And then the 2nd bit was they dry you off with towels & bring you back out into the main area. And then into a massage room for a full body massage with essential oils. It leaves you feeling slightly violated & very rubbery. It was amazing & I would do it again in a second!!!! After the baths we headed back to the hotel. A bunch of people went out to a dinner thingy & I did not. I went to a place that sold turkish delight & baclava & I bought some from the guy - Mr. Delicious. :) And then another woman from our group & I went out to try & do some late night shopping. It was unsuccessful, but nice to see Istanbul at night. Another fairly early night for me.

The next morning we packed up & loaded up the bus & then we had a 2 hour delay, so we wandered the Spice Markets. It was very fortuitous because I found a dress & have been feeling sorely lacking in the summery clothes department & was very excited to find a sundress!!! Then back on the road And into Bulgaria. No issues with this border either. It's been excellent! Arrived in Sofia in a gorgeous hotel, had dinner & then some people went out clubbing & some of us just went into the city to see a bit of it & then to bed. Still have a cough. Trying to kick it in the butt before Croatia!!!

Yesterday we were back on the road bright & early. Another driving day! I haven't gotten any flag patches or postcards because we're seeing some of the country, but mostly just there to sleep. That part sucks, but it's very cool to see them! We left Bulgaria & moved into Macedonia. It is SO beautiful in Macedonia. Stopped in Skopje for lunch, and had huge portions & it was a pretty neat city. And then onto Ohrid & our campsite. The campsite was such a sh*t show. That is literally the only way to describe it. So insanely busy & so many people & so little organization, and so dirty. We were very happy it was a one night experience. But Lake Ohrid was pretty cool. This was again a pretty mellow night for me. Dinner & then relaxing with friends. There have been a few people that have gotten a stomache bug on top of the regular cold that has been going around & so I sat with a pukey friend until she felt well enough to head to bed. It's pretty unfortunate, but I think it's good timing during our little hotel stretch for everyone to get it out of their systems. LOL I'm trying to hit the bed early & stay germ free so that I don't get it.

Today we were back on the bus, out of Macedonia & into Albania. It's pretty gorgeous here too! And we are now in Tirana. It's the capital. it's an interesting city as well, very colourful - but again, dirty. And tonight is our last night in hotels.

I thought that I would have so many comments on my last blog.. :( Thank you Brenda for making me feel loved ! hahaha

Hope everyone is well - I am doing great & loving this trip. Though I dont' think I'll be going thru withdrawal like Luke was. ;)


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Contiki 46 Day Camper

Ok!! So I'm in an internet cafe & have few minutes!

We are on about day 20 of our trip & just about to lose 14 of our friends & pick up 14 more. That will be interesting & a little sad, as some of the ones that are leaving are people that I have gotten closest with. But this is the way it goes!!

Been getting up crazy early most days. I like to wake before everyone else to grab a shower & I tend to be such a light sleeper that anything wakes me up. I usually wake up at around 5 am, but usually sleep in until 6 or 6:30. Then get ready, we have brekky, which is usually muesli, coco puffs, corn flakes, fruit & yogurt. :) And then we are either on the road again to the next place or we are heading into town to have free time exploring or to take a tour.

So far:
Paris - spent 3 days. It was so big & so much to see. I definitely want to go back as I did not get to see everything I wanted to see, but only for another few days, maybe a week?? And then I would move onto the South of France because the Parissians are definitely more than a little snotty ;)
Lyon - Beautiful beautiful. We were only here for one night, but I would love to see more of this area
Barcelona - spent a couple days. I loved the feeling, but it was pretty dirty. I would love to spend more time in Spain & see more places. Especially if I knew a little Spanish!!! lol getting around France was a lot easier for me!

On our way to Nice we stopped in a little town for lunch & got to watch the Tour de France go through!!! It was very exciting!

Nice - I loved Nice!! It was gorgeous, the beach was phenomenal! Actually, it was our first pebble beach & it got quite windy. We saw a man got dragged out of the ocean & dealt with by the lifeguards & ambulance drivers. All I can say is - DO NOT DROWN IN NICE! Beautiful place, crappy life saving techniques!
Monaco - Went to Monte Carlo, some people gambled, I wandered around & had gelato. Very posh place! There were fireworks too.
Verona - mmm...spent an hour or two here. Saw Juliet's balcony & felt the romance. Half of the town has it's streets done in marble! INSANE!
Venice - LOVED Venice! And the canals were NOT as dirty as I had been led to believe. It was so much fun to spend a day wandering thru the tiny streets & canals. Our gondola ride was a bit disapointing. I was alone at the front of it & our guy was on his mobile the whole time. No singing! But it may be because it was a Contiki special & I'm finding some of those are just cheap deals & not the best experiences you can get ;)
Pisa - the tower seemed smaller! But it was pretty cool & we all took some cheesy photos!
Florence - Really loved Florence too.  In general I just really loved Italy! The pizza was phenomenal, although I only really enjoyed my pasta once. I kept ordering seafood pastas & the seafood was always overcooked. :(
Rome - So much to see. Need to go back just to see all the touristy things. It was also VERY hot! But very cool. Lots of amazing buildings
Vatican City - smallest country in the world! Saw the Sistine Chapel & St. Peters Bascillica. Incredible stuff.
Capri - Such a beautiful island. We went out to the Blue Grotto, which is a very cool natural light phenom. And then had lunch in the shade
Sorrento - Such a lovely and romantic seaside city in Italy!!! Had a pretty great evening there!
Pompeii - we were rushing thru our tour, but it was still awesome to be there!
Corfu - just finished our 3 days in Corfu, one of many Greek islands. It is beautiful & the people are lovely. Spent quite a bit of time in the water & have been trying to work on my tan.

Everyone on the tour has a cold right now. I think it's late nights, early mornings, too much drinking for some, AC on the coach all day & new water & germs everyday! :) But I'm starting to get over mine now so we're golden ;) We are at an internet cafe on a routine stop on our way to Athens. Looking forward to Athens! So much history there! Greece is amazing, I knew I would love it here!

There are lots of great people on the trip. Definitely people that I will be keeping in touch with, to call on when I visit their countries & vice versa. Loads & loads of Kiwis & Aussies on this trip. Only a few Canadians & Americans. And one South African, and one lady from India.

It is going well. People are going to add me to FB so that they can tag photos.

Love you all!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Okay. So Contiki is an insane pace. Which I did already expect from Lukes experience ' but seriously ' there is no time for this!!!




I have been to Paris, and had a pretty good time, but not enough time. Lyon - and it was beautiful. Then to Barcelona and then the French Riviera, there we hit up Nice and Monaco.


Everything is gorgeous and I have seen so many amazing things!!


The people are interesting and mostly very cool. Altho . again as warned, there are people i cannot stand!




I am currently in Venice and we are only on day 9. SOOOO much more to see,. I do plan to take more time for a comprehensive description.


For now . I am having fun. Meeting people. and it is good!


I have to run!



Friday, June 26, 2009


Hello friends!!

So I got to Ireland on Friday evening. Got to my hostel & was with a group of 9 American lacrosse students over here for schooling. Yikes! They were party party party, but they were actually pretty nice girls & invited me out to O'Shea's where we watched a live band, had a pint of Guiness & some pretty good conversation. At around 2 am a couple of them came back to the room HAMMERED & giggly tho. Oh the hostel fun. ;)
Keith was due to get in early Saturday morning. That did not happen, he wasn't able to make his flight & so didn't get in until Sunday morning. So Saturday - Michelle wandered around Dublin on her own AGAIN! I am getting a little tired of wandering around cities alone! :) But it was fine, uneventful. I went back to my room, took some goofy pics, read a little, wrote in my journal, and then went out again. When I came back around 6:30 - I met some more Americans ( I had moved rooms b/c I had only planned to be there for the one night), so these nice Americans - who had just spent some time in Greece!, invited me out to go on a hunt for the pub in PS I Love You. Naturally - people & a movie that I loved, I was in! So we went for a walk. Found the pub, but it was blasting out hard rock, not nice Irish folk music. So we went elsewhere for dinner. And then ended up back at O'Shea's. The same band was there & the Irish folk songs were a'blarin! :)
Early Sunday Keith showed up. We hit the road right away! Belfast, we went thru it. Stopped at The Crown Saloon for lunch. Survived all the bombs at The Europa (most bombed hotel in Ireland), just across the street, and The Crown was very ornate!! Took some pics. Then we went thru the Hill of Tara - a pagan burial site that was pretty neat. And then Carrickfergus. It is pretty much the beginning of the  Causeway Coast route, saw the castle from the outside & did a walk along the pier. Then we went on to Larne. Stayed in a B&B called Inverbann. It was nice, had an Irish brekky in the morning.
Monday we did the Causeway Coast drive. We started in Carrick-a-rede, a suspension bridge between the big island & a little tiny one. It was a short bridge compared to Capilano, but the scenery was excellent! After that we stopped at the side of the road to take pics of a sandy beach, and then moved on to Bushmills. To the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery - the oldest whiskey distillery still in operation in..Europe!? Definitley Ireland! Did the tour, took some pics & drank some whiskey :) After that tour we headed to the Giants Causeway. Several natural geological formations on the coast of Northern Ireland. BEAUTIFUL! Definitely one of the most beautiful things we saw...then a short trip to Dunseverick Castle ( one wall in ruin-a waste of time) and then Dunluce - a pretty cool seaside castle ruin. Lots of it still remains. Lastly we went to Limavady. Got a little turned around & lost track of time so no FOOD was open. We stopped in at a Tesco's & had a sandwich. And then met an amazing woman who drove us from place to place until we found an open B&B! Amazing. The B&B was Foyle View - pretty nice place.
Tuesday - We went to Enniskillen (last stop in Northern Ireland) and we went to the Marble Arch Caves b/c I had been told that the caving in Ireland in pretty awesome. It was my first caving experience & I did enjoy it!! :) After that we went thru Tuam & then on the way to the Cliffs of Moher we stopped outside of Burren at the Poulnabrone Dolmen Portal Tomb, a tomb from the Stone or Bronze Age. VERY OLD! VERY COOL! Pics will be posted eventually !! After that we headed for the Cliffs of Moher. Did the cliffs at sunset, wandered into the ' do not go here' area, got some great pics. Had fun! Then stopped at the Moher View B&B. :)
Wednesday - Thru Limerick, checked out the King John castle from the outside & then  a tourist info place. Off to Lough Gur - the biggest stone circle in Ireland. It was INCREDIBLE! I could have spent all day there just breathing. Lots of cool pics, there was an altar where people put money & jewel things. Very moving for me. I loved it. After that we had lunch in Killarny at a pub. Then did the drive around the Ring of Kerry. I think I would miss that. Some coastal views are great, but mostly you're just driving & a fair amount of the scenery is very BC. So meh. We both wouldn't do it again. Then we went out to Blarney. Checked out the town, got a B&B, Tourist Joy, GREAT, and then back into town for a pint or two in the pub.
Thursday(yesterday) morning - went to Blarney Castle, checked it all out, kissed the stone, now I'm so chatty ;) hahahaha Then we went to the Blarney Woolen Mills where I was disapointed with the woollen options & PRICES! Next stop Waterford, home of the Waterford Crystal. We saw the home of - but they stopped manufacturing in January, so no tour. Then we went out Kells, a couple of monastic site from way back 
Kell's Priory, Kilree Tower. Very cool, we could wander them at will. Then to Wicklow. beautiful mountains, tons of coniferous trees - definitely felt like BC - saw a bunch of old religious buildings. St. Kevin's Church, Tower of Glendalough, etc etc. It was really cool. Then off to find a B&B, Silver Sands in Wicklow. It was great.
Today we came into Dublin. We wandered around Trinity College, had an excellent tour guide & saw the Book of Kells & companions, very amazing. The Long Room tour thru their library...OMIGOD. I just wanted to grab one of these 1,000 year old books & lie on the floor smelling it's pages. I learned a lot & was wowed by the beauty & quantity of books in that library. *le sigh* After that we headed to the Guiness Brewery. For a totally different experience!! Very modern, lots of technologically advanced stuff thru the tour, very cool, had quite a bit of Guiness. 3.5 pints. mmm. Loving it! It was great! Now I stopped in here to say hello, before we head off to another pub, and tomorrow I'm back in London for a couple days!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Well here we go!!!


I'm heading out this evening on a Ryan Air flight to Dublin. I'm bussing it to my hostel & meeting Keith in the morning when he gets off his plane in Dublin. Im very excited to be seeing another country & to be able to tour around with a friend who is seeing it all for the first time too!


I booked my Contiki Tour today! So on June 30th I leave from London on a 46 day camping tour of Europe. We will see parts of: France, Spain, Monaco, Italy, the Vatican City, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenagro, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerlan, Netherlands & Belgium. **whew** and I'll be with a tour group of people & will have lots of people to talk to & take pics with ;) So I will be safe. My credit card feels a little warm now tho ;) hahaha


So today I'm cleaning up my room here at the Lewis's. Saying my goodbye's - altho I will be back after the Contiki Tour. I am weighing my bag again to check & make sure that I am within the requirements :) And then I'm off. So my internet usage will not be quite so prolific - but I will still try to get on once a week or so to update everyone on where I have been & what I have seen.  It will be strange, I've gotten quite used to the little routine we have going here :) Mary & Tony feel like family! I just keep adopting people wherever I go LOL


Bye for now!


Love Shelle

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An English summer...


Still in England. Still having a good time. Lovely hosts...amazing people.


Been a slow week touristy-wise. But lots of visitors, people over for dinner, learning about England & everywhere else anyone has been to. I've met lots of people that have travelled around quite a bit & had many a conversation about places to go & it certainly fuels my gusto for wanting to get out & about. Altho some of these people went travelling 15-20 years ago!! Back when they were able to just hitch hike & meet random people without so much worry about the crazies ;)


It was an  up & down week weather-wise. Sunny mornings, torrential downpours in the afternoon, flooding in some towns, and then nice days later. Not super hot - but alright. It was supposed to be a rainy yuck weekend - but today was lovely! The weather guys here NEVER get it right - they make our weather people look like genius's!


Today I went out for a ride for the first time since my fall. It was good. I fell off of Grace about 3 weeks ago now? Yowza! The weekend after I fell, Tony fell off of Spitfire, but he was fine. We all joked that they are keeping a tally inside their stables of how many people they have eached knocked off - since a week or two before I came to England a friend of Mary's had fallen off of Grace (only in that instance Grace was just standing there & the friend lost her stirrup & balance). Today - I was ok! :) It was fairly seamless for me except that Grace is a piggy & can't help but try to eat EVERYTHING she walks by - worse than  Finn! But Mary fell off Spitfire today because he nearly stepped on a rabbit & when it ran it spooked him. She's OK too, apparently I'm the only one not smart enough to tuck & roll ;) So now they are even in dumps - maybe it will be smooth sailing from here on out! hahaha


I'm heading to Ireland on Friday! Exciting!! Can't wait to meet up with Keith & head out to see what there is to see on the island! It will be so awesome to tour around with another tourist :) After that??? To London for a few days & then we will see. Nothing booked yet! But will keep you updated!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My life this past week or so...

What has been going on lately??


An old friend of mine, Luke was in Europe for the last 40 days or so. He was on a Contiki tour & ended up in London. We got in touch, but weren't able to meet up.  That was a little disapointing, would have been cool to do some sightseeing in London with a friend - especially one who is pretty knowledgable in politics & history! He's home now - so I guess we will catch up when I get home.


I booked my Ireland tickets! I head over to Dublin Friday June 19th & come back to England on the 27th. Keith is meeting me there on the 20th, I'm excited to be able to tour around Ireland with a friend!!!


I'm planning to do a Contiki June 30th - but haven't booked it just yet. Will keep you all updated!!


I started working on my knitting a bit. Trying to do socks on a set of 4 needles. Very fine yarn, but I think the needles are too long! LOL It is definitely a bit complicated to work with 4 needles, especially with it's all flimsy! Oh well - I will keep at it & one day I will be able to do it blindfolded


My mom, & my dad have both had birthdays & celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary in the last couple weeks! What a busy month I missed out on - bad daughter!!! I'll make it up to them when I get home - promise!


On Saturday I spent the day wandering around Nottingham. That's right - Robin Hood, Maid Marian, all of that stuff! It's alive & real there! I went to the castle, lots of plaques & info about things to do with Robin Hood etc. There were dancers too. The castle wasn't too big - but the grounds were GORGEOUS! And within the castle it was a museum! Art, textiles, the history of Nottingham, everytime I turned a corner there was more to look at it was crazy!!! And it was a gorgeous day too. Spent lots of time just soaking up the sun & enjoying the vitamin D!!!  I still have to check out Sherwood forest, as the two aren't really withing walking distance .


Went to a BBQ on Sunday. A friend of Tony's & Martyn's. Great place, great food, lovely people. 4 big newfoundlander doggies that were great! And a giant land tortoise names Tiger. Ace!!!! Got pretty sunburned that day though. Yikes! I didn't think I would need sunscreen in England!! I did get some now! And some aloe. So I'm taking care! I wasn't WANTING to get sunburned. But I'm still happy for all of the sun. It was 4 days straight - but now it's getting a bit less summerlike. But It was phenomenal while it lasted. The green looked even more green in the sunlight!


Monday night a friend of Tony's came over after work. Had a BBQ, some wine & listened to some AC/DC in the setting sun. It was a pretty super night too!!


I think that pretty much updates anyone who cares on what has been going on!


Love you all!!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Saturday was a GLORIOUS day! All sunshine & warmth. Hardly any breeze at all. I headed out to one of the fields after breakfast & wrote in my journal. Then I read some of it & by the time I came back to the house it was nearly 3pm! Crazy! And...wait for it...I GOT A SUNBURN! On my forarms & my shins! Can you believe it?! I got sunburnt in England! That's ACE! Then we had lunch & hummed & hawed about going riding or walking. We eventually decided on a ride. So Mary & I saddled up the horses & headed out. Gracie was plodding along as usual, falling behind & I would prod her on. We got just over 1/3 of the way & started to trot. Then they started to canter, but my footing wasn't feeling right so I pulled back on the reins. But Gracie was in a mood. She didn't listen, she sped up to pass Spitfire, which was so strange!! She always stays behind him & I usually have to encourage her to go faster. I was still pulling on the reins, but neglected to yell 'woah'.  Spitfire spooked as Grace came up alongside & then Grace spooked bigtime & leaped to the right. I bailed to the left. Landed on the small of my back & slid about a foot.


I'm fine. I just feel about 100 years old. LOL Last night I was a bit swollen, but today that seems to be gone. Just feel like old bones, bending & leaning & sitting is rough. haha So there's another experience - I hope never to repeat!!! So that ended our lovely day, we didn't end up going for a walk after that. I did ride back though. Thought it would be quicker than leading her back. And now Mary is calling Grace 'Dangermouse'.


Today we went out to the Lancaster Air Museum. Saw a Lancaster called 'Just Jane' fired up & taxi down the runway, saw a Spitfire on the ground & flying about. Also a Dakota on the ground. Wandered through some of the buildings & saw lots of info about the different planes & pieces of the planes. There was a swing dance demonstration. The weather was definitely not as nice today, but it was a very informative day! They even had a raffle to let people ride in the Lancaster for the taxi.


And that was the rest of my weekend!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ah me....

What an incredible weeked - and it's only Saturday!


Last night Tony & I headed out to Warwick, to visit some friends. We went out for dinner at an Indian restaurant & had some great food & very wonderful company. A lot of laughs were had.


And today...Tony went out to do his thing with friend, Andy. And I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon. That's right, William Shakespeare's birthplace & where he spent most of his days. Had breakfast at a little cafe. And then I went into a few tourist shops & then caught a bus tour. It was a double decker, open top bus. Went to 3 Shakespeare houses. There are 5 in total, but I was worried about time. So I went to Ann Hathaway's Cottage (William's wife), and it was a lovely thatched roof cottage. Beautiful gardens, I wasn't able to take pictures inside, but learned a lot! I saw everything there was to see there. Then hopped onto the bus & went to Mary Arden's House & Countryside Museum (William's mother's family home). This was quite the thing. It is a functioning Tudor farm! So everyone there was in old style dress. There were farm animals, cooking over open fire hearths, etc etc. So cool. And there were falconry displays, archery displays, maypole dancing. A lot to take in! The third place was Shakepeare's Birthplace & the home he spent his early years in. I learned so much about his life & his family. I wasn't able to take pictures inside of this one either. But learned that his father was a glove maker & saw the shop. Saw all of the things donated in his memory from other famous individuals. As well as signatures & remembrances written by some of those same people. The room he was born in... I did miss out on the house he finished life in, as well as his burial plot etc. But maybe I will get back there. The town was great & the day was sunny & warm. I was definitely feeling the romance of the place.


I hopped a bus back to Warwick & then after taking a look downtown - and finding a quite nice woolshop!!! I went to Warwick Castle. HOLY MOLY! It was really big, a lot bigger than Lincoln. And now that the season has started it has A LOT going on!! I got to check out the gaol, there was a walk through the castle called the Kingmaker - which is basically all the steps involved in getting ready for battle. Pretty incredible set up they have. I only had 2 hours at the castle so I didn' get to see everything. But there used to be a moat. There is a water mill generating power. There was a wall walk that was way more intense than Lincoln - 533 steps up to the top. WHEW! There were archers, sword play, jousting, a trebuchet that they shot a fire ball across the yard with!!! There was a guy on stilts, a Ballista to check out, a rose garden, a play area for children, a Peacock garden - SO MANY THINGS! And I did not get to see them all, but it was awesome!! I LOVE castles


AND --- it was SO warm I was wishing I was wearing shorts!! Isn't that a CRAZY thing! LOL


So, beauty, romance, adventure, history, sunshine - the only thing that made it a little bittersweet, I had no one to share it with. I love Him, but it's just not the same, you know


It's only Saturday evening & there is still Sunday & Monday because it's another Bank Holiday weekend! What more could there be!!!???

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Out & About

Today was a bizarro day weatherwise. It couldn't decide between being sunny & gorgeous or rainy & cold! I was dropped off in Chesterfield & spent the day wandering around the Market & all the shops. Checking out the Crooked Spire Church that they are famous for. It was built in the late 13 Century and finished around 1360. It is the largest church in Derbyshire. The Spire was 'twisted' when unseasoned wood was used during its construction. Then 32 tons of lead tiles were placed on top and as the timber dried out the weight of the lead twisted the spire. I found a place that did a Chai Latte. I guess in the last few years lattes & mochas have become popular here, but funky teas have still not caught on. I am ashamed to say that I am missing Starbucks & Starbucks inspired fun & funky tea options!!


I also finally found a shop that had a bit of wool in it. So I found needles that I will be able to start my project with! I still need to find a better wool shop that has more options! :) But I can get started now LOL


Tonight we watched Eurovision 2009! It's like European Idol. Quite the thing, so much going on! And Norway won, they were the ones I like the best! "I'm in love with a Fairytale.."


More to come...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another weekend in the country

So it's been awhile because it's been pretty quiet - a lot of horse stuff. Helping out with the horse chores & Mary & I went riding Saturday, Sunday & Monday. Each ride about 2 hours. Also on Sunday we went to a horse show & then to the Newark County Fair, where there was horse jumping, side saddle events, a western event, jousting, etc etc. It was all fun, didn't do too much else. On Monday we went to Gainsborough. Mary had her hair done & I wandered about. Looking for English looking items for gifts, neat architecture & WOOL! And could I find a yarn shop?!?! NO!! I'm in bloody freezing wet England & haven't been able to find a wool shop to get some yarn for a new project. Yowza! So that is at the top of my list for the next time I'm in Lincoln or any other large centre!


I am thisclose to getting wheels. I have a car I can drive, I'm just trying to get the insurance figured out for it. So cross your fingers, as having wheels will let me see so much more of the countryside on my own without having to ask favours of my hosts!


Plans are underway with Keith to travel to Ireland, all that is left is to make the exact date plans. So once that is figured I will pass on that info. Very excited for Ireland!


So - much horse time. My bum was sore on Sunday - but by Monday I was OK. Guess Erik is right, you just get used to it. But very excited to get home & ride his horses & see how that feels in comparison! I got to canter for the first time. That was scary & exciting, and once I got the saddle on straight it was pretty exhilarating! Man, horses are powerful creatures.


I got fudge at the fair. Yes, the new chocolate that I have been finding here is a bit of a downfall of mine. However, no - I am not 300 lbs & am not planning on becoming any such thing. I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon. (I pray! or the willpower will have to kick in!)


My big plans:

-get car insured & start driving!

-get yarn & needles so that I can start a new project. Maybe socks! yikes!


-more postcards to more people ;)


So stay tuned. Sorry if I don't write often enough, or enough info for 'some' people (ehem, mother. Jenny.) But sometimes I feel like not a whole ton goes on in a week & I don't want to bore everyone with my thoughts & ideas instead of cold hard factiods! :)




Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Bank Holiday Weekend

Hiya!! Jenny - simmer, it's only May 4th!

So this last week I ate Haggis - and liked it! Had a chat with my ma on the phone. Got my mobile sorted, I now have a number & am able to send & receive international texts - thanks to Alisha for that bit of expertise!!! The week went well, there were a mixture of days, some sunny, some rainy. But it does always seem to be pretty breezy in this Lincolnshire area. I haven't done anymore driving as yet. But have been to the surrounding villages for food runs with Mary. Saxilby & Gainsborough...

This weekend was a long weekend. A Bank Holiday weekend. Friday we went to a Farm Auction in Market Rasen - lots of old stuff. Lots of rusty stuff :) Pretty neat, I know my dad would have gone home with loads of stuff haha After that I went for a walk with Benji while Mary rode Grace alongside me.

Saturday I got up & helped Mary a bit by cleaning up the horse poop from the fields, and then we picked Ragwort from the fields so that the horses don't get sick. After that we all went to a Game/Country Fair in Market Rasen (happenin' place!). It was fun! Lots of stalls selling all manner of things. Food, candy, military/hunting stuff, toys, ferrets, dog stuff, etc etc. There were helcopter rides & in the middle of the area there were falconry shows & a jousting tourney. All for fun & entertainment of course, but it was fun. Too bad it was a cold & overcast day haha, but I'm learning to expect it! Definitely MUST spend some time in Greece, Spain, Croatia!!! To get some sun before I head home :D

Sunday - Did some washing, hung it on the line - then a bird pooped on it!! hahaha FUN Tonight we saw a deer in the field behind the house. Which is the first time in the year that they have been here. Went out for a ride today on Grace, while Mary walked alongside. Which made for a very slow lazy horse. But the English saddle wasn't as weird as I thought it would be! It was odd to wear a helmet! Felt like I was riding a bike or something! hahaha

Still haven't found time to get Tony to show me how to ride a bike - but hopefully soon :) Wishing desperately that I had a bike licence & could rip around the countryside on a motorbike!!!

One more day of weekend! And so far it's a pretty cold, dreary, rainy one. But I think that's about all I've been up to this week -

Oh - Ben & Jerry's Phish Food - if you can find it - EAT IT! Yum!!!!!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Day in Lincoln

So yesterday I spent the day in Lincoln, by myself! Tony & Mary dropped me off & I wandered along the waterfront. This lower area is all a University type of area, very nice, very busy on a Saturday! Ther was a street that was all shops & was packed with people. I wandered into a department store type of place & found some slippers! YAY! Then I checked out some mobile shops & went into a pharmacy because my allergies are acting up a bit. Wandered into the shops that looked interesting & slowly made my way further up the hill to the Lincoln Cathedrael. I zig zagged my way across town wandering down any street that looked interesting or any shops that looked interesting. I wasn't taking any pictures, felt strange being alone & taking pictures of every building that I thought looked neat. Especially since I think nearly every building is amazing!!!

So I ended up on this hilll, the street is called Steep Hill because it's a very steep street!! Lots of cool shops, this was a pretty usy area of town too. I followed it up & then saw a Castle. So I went over there & wandered around Lincoln Castle, William the Conqueror had it built in 1068!!! As castle life died down it was used as a court & prison for the last 900 years. I was able to go into the prison building & see the cells & they had projectors that showed scenes & told stories of what happened where. And I was able to see the prison chapel. There was a bath house, the Crown Court which is still active, a tower which was a last defence within the castle & where prisoners were buried - the gravestones are still there.  I was able to walk along the wall surrounding the castle & see all of Lincoln & the Cathedrael, which is just across the street. I spent over an hour wandering around & taking pictures.

When I left I was headed to the Cathedrael & got sidetracked by a post office. I sent off a postcard to mom & dad & to Crystal. I had to call Tony from a payphone to get their address, and I found many more shops along that street. I was due to meet Tony at 4 where he had dropped me off, so my stop at the Cathedrael was pretty short & I did not wander thru the whole place. Just peeked inside & then went on my way. Headed back to the shopping area & got a SIM for my mobile , but I am having a hard time sending international texts, so I have to find out if there is something that needs doing for that to be enabled.  I got a Ben & Jerry's ice cream cone for my walk back & thought longingly of Marble Slab. Apparently I am addicted!

It was a great day. Felt thoroughly like a tourist, although it is a more lonely venture on your own. Taking pictures & not being in any, not having anyone to discuss the things you see. It's a different thing that is for sure! But I got some great pictures!!

Hopefully I will have the mobile issue sorted out soon. When we got back from Lincoln we started tidying. They only moved here less than a year ago, so there are still things in boxes & piles without a home. And since it's summer now Tony wants to use their pool. So we emptied the things out of the pool room & moved a bunch of boxes & things up into the attic. Made a bit more of a mess, as sorting through things always seems to do! But it was a good effort nonetheless!

Today is another lovely day. A bit breezy, but all sunshine & green. It still hasn't rained since I got here! I imagine that it will soon, everyone says this is not normal weather, but it's been nice for my first week in the country!

Still much to see & plan, but at least I have some more pictures for you to check out!!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Hello All!


So today I drove in England for the first time!!! Tony had to drop off a vehicle somewhere so I drove behind him in the van. It took me awhile to get the silly thing in reverse because it is a 6 speed. I thought I needed to push it down to get it into Reverse, but it was as easy as a little slidey bit. :) And then the drive. It's Miles per hour here, so everything is a little faster. Kinda like driving in the US. But on top of that the first part of my journey was a little rough, getting used to a new shift pattern & shifting with my wrong hand!!! But I got that down after a few tries! Good thing that the first road I was on wasn't a really busy road. LOL Once I had the shifting down, it was just like I was 16. The far side of my vehicle was so foreign to me, and it was hard for me to realize where it was, and judge distance. I spent A LOT of time checking my mirrors making sure I was in the middle of the lines, or, since half of England is skinny bloody goat trails, making sure I wasn't on the grass verge! (shoulder). When a car would be coming my direction I was a bit nervous...but it was about a 25min drive & everyone survived. No dings or scratches, no mishaps, and now I'm not as nervous. Of course I would be more comfortable driving a smaller vehicle on these itty bitty roads! But I did it! I'm pretty stoked about that, seems silly to people who have driven all over. But the driving on the other side of the road thing, that wasn't hard at all - that part didn't worry me & I had no problem remembering which side to be on!


Tonight we had Chinese take-out. And tomorrow I am headed to Lincoln for some lovely pictures & sightseeing. I also hope to get my mobile up & working. Will keep you updated!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LaZy DaYz

Ah mom, you're so funny, I don't really DO enough to validate a day by day blog! And when I am that busy I likely won't have time! LOL


So it's been sunny..since I got here! Which is great! There is so much wildlife out here at Tony & Mary's! Rabbits running wild, wood pigeons (which are apparently good eating!) pheasants (gorgeous colours!), TONS & TONS of song birds, which wake me up around 5am every day. I wonder if I would ever get used to them??? The two horses - Grace & Spitfire. Benji the cute yorkie. Squirrels, bugs :) The rest are fairly usual.


I have had fish & chips, yorkshire pudding, a meat pie (which was tuna because Mary is a veg - she only eats fish), a scotch egg ( a boiled egg, wrapped in sausage *& breaded), and I think that's about it for typical English cusine so far!


So the incident with the fence was Tony's friend (who rides bikes all the time) went to drive his bike (motorcycle) which has a sidecar - while Tony was in the sidecar - and it pulled sideways because of the sidecar & went through the fence. Apparently she was ok. But the fence was a mess. I was inside so I didn't see it happen.


I met a friend of Tony's & he was asking me what I want to see & do. Was telling me about sites in London & I mentioned The Globe (Shakespeare's theatre) and he called up his pal who runs it, and I'm to call him when I get into London & get a behind the scenes tour!! So exciting!! People are GREAT!


Right now getting me a cell phone - or Mobile - and looking into wheels are the things on the To Do list. And getting a fleecy & slippers!


Hope this satisfies my parents! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The first weekend

Howdy !


I say that quite a lot, and I'm trying to change that. While I'm here, when I say things like that everyone thinks I am American! LOL So I'm trying to sound more Canadian. I actually met a man that said to me, " I find it strange that you speak with an American accent" So I told him, well that's because I don't, and I assure you, if I was standing beside an American you would be able to hear the difference! So funny though. But I understand how it bothered Australians when we thought they sounded like Kiwi's! It doesn't upset me, I just think it's funny because I think, for the most part, our accents are quite different.


So yesterday I slept in a bit. And then I was up for porridge & tea. After that I got dressed & ready & I did some dishes & checked email & read for a bit while Tony was entertaining guests & Mary was sleeping. (She worked night shift). Then after the guests had gone Tony & I went out and put up a fence. It was a really easy one! Electric, so it was plastic posts  a rope with wire through it. And after that we fixed up a peice of the wooden fence where he & his guests had a little mishap on the motor bike earlier :) Then we had a cup of tea, visited the neighbours a bit, then we all went into town for some things for the horses. Then I watched some TV while cars were being washed & we had dinner! Or Tea as it's called here.


This morning I woke up early & one of the guys I met the other day, one of Tony's friends, had invited me to a 'Car boot sale' Kind of like a giant PNE/Garage sale type of thing. Everything you can imagine, old, new, used, antique, garbage lol. It was fun. Cold this morning, but the sun came out. I didn't get anything, but had I not been overseas there were things I would have bought! There were many items that made me think of specific people! After that we drove out to Lincoln & drove around the town so that I could see the cathedrael & I enjoy the buildings as well. The red brick & the victorian. Gorgeous! Especially on a sunny day! hahaha


I'm pretty cold if I'm just sitting around in the mornings or evenings, when the sun is not out it's awfully chilly. But once it's out I'm good to go! I think my crappy circulation is most unsuitable for this weather! LOL


Okay. I think that's about all I've been up to for the last couple of days!! Everyone keeps filling me with tea! And while I enjoy tea, my drink of choice is generally H2O :) So today I loaded up my water bottle & took that with me :)


Off for a walk with Mary & Benji (he's their cute little Yorkie)


Miss you all!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I have arrived, and just barely!

Oh what a day. this point it's days really. I woke up at 2:40am on the 15th. I got ready & packed up & headed to the airport. I went to Salt Lake and got on another plane to Atlanta. I waited there for 4 hours, and since the flight was overbooked I made it by the skin of my teeth onto the plane!! I was sending up prayers of thanks thinking "it's meant to be!" And then I got to Manchester. I didn't really sleep on that flight. My seat mates made that nearly impossible. And then customs/immigration!! I always thought it was the worst in the US, but apparently Canadian women travelling alone with no particular plan are a major threat. They figured that I was going to be trying to stay here forever. So after having every bag searched & my planner & journal read...and have a few discussions about why I would come without a very specific plan, flying by the seat of my pants "at my age".  I was allowed into the country. I explained that if I run out of money earlier than my ticket is up then I am able to change the date & come back at that time. But none of it seemed to satisfy. I was feeling very stupid. Like I should have had more of a plan, since apparently going wherever you crave is not good enough. I'm expecting to hear a few "I told you so"'s.


Then I was picked up by my very gracious host & came through from Manchester to Lincoln. It's rainy...but it's beautiful rolling fields of green. And all the brick buildings & dry brick walls. I am tired , but looking forward to tomorrow. And whenever the next sunny day will be! For now, I'm happy to be here. Thankful to be with such generous people. And ready to start planning, as apparently that is an order!


I am safe. I am warm. And I'm already learning things about the English I did not know before!!


Talk to you soon!