Saturday, June 20, 2009


I'm in Strasbourg for a couple of days - my original itinerary called for a quick trip to London, and I realized when I sat down to make final arrangements that a trip over the channel would either see me spend way too much time on a train, or be very expensive. The alternative was a stop in the charming city of Strasbourg, which is about half way between Paris and Zurich.

My university offered an exchange year here, which I didn't use or apply for, and this trip is a nice chance to see what life would have been like if I'd gone away for the year. Strasbourg is charming and lovely - everything you'd expect from a small European town. It's also much different than Paris - less English is spoken or available, still touristy, but in a more French/German way.

I'm off to Switzerland tomorrow to catch up with some friends for a few days. They've promised to show me the "real" Switzerland, and if their past tour guide skills are any indication, I'm in for quite a treat.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The beauty.....

I travelled up to Giverny yesterday to see Monet's house, garden and studio. The museum in Giverny was also hosting an exhibition of his work, so I got to see examples of all the paintings they were referring to. Friends had recomended Giverny - they'd really liked it, and now I can see why - it was a beautiful place, and so peaceful.

I will definitley be posting pictures when I get back - at the moment I don't have a way of transferring pictures from my camera to the computer, but I will post lots when I return.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On the road

After navigating several airports, a few train stations and several other modes of transport, I've finally arrived! I learned to navigate the french keyboard system while in Morocco, and it's proven to be a challenge yet again as I learn to type over again. I discovered a charming bakery near the hotel that makes gourmet macaroons, and have devoured far too many of the sweets. So far my favourite is proving to be the salted caramel, but the pistachio is also fantastic.

I managed to navigate the french train system to get to Vimy Ridge yesterday. Vimy is the site of one of the largest Canadian First World War monuments. The farmland that surrounds the monument is so lush and green that it was hard to imagine the fighting that occurred almost a hundred years ago. Surrounding the monument were the soldiers cemetaries - not only for Canadian troups, but also for British and Japonese soldiers.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I forget what it's like to get ready to go away on vacation - I spent a good portion of last year travelling for work, but it was always just a couple of days here, and a few other days there. This trip is bigger - connections between cities, hotels in different places, all of those good things. Of course, with the economy not doing well, it's nice to be able to book most things last minute and still be able to get good prices and good availability.

On the other hand, it will be nice to have a week or so to decompress - my last holiday was a year ago, and even then, it was only 4 days. I'm really looking forward to the two weeks, even if it will be slightly mad.....

Monday, June 08, 2009


I was looking through my blog yesterday to try and find something I knew I'd written, and in searching through all of the posts, it occured to me that somewhere along the way, I'd stopped writing. I used to actually write about "stuff" in my life, the social things, special people, trips, things that were everything and nothing at the same time. I'm not sure where, or how it stopped, but it did, and I'm hoping to bring it back a little at a time.

I'm feeling guilty today, as it looks like I won't be able to meet up with some friends in London later in the month. I hate making plans and then having to back out of them later, but it just doesn't look like the logistics on this one are going to work.

I'm travelling to Paris as part of a trip to attend a family wedding. I'm also scheduled to meet up with some good friends in Zurich, and then head on to southern Germany for the wedding, before flying out of Frankfurt. The whole thing is only scheduled to last two weeks, but I thought I might be able to spend a couple of days over in London as well. Of course, I planned this whole thing in my head, without ever consulting a map or a train schedule. I could go to London, but it would mean spending 11 hours on trains to get there and then travel on to Zurich. It would also mean spending a small fortune on train tickets, in addition to hotels and whatever other transport costs I'd have to pay. I'm now seriously considering spending the two days in either Strasbourg, Basel or Dijon, all of which are considerably closer on the route between Paris and Zurich.