Photos to Make Up for My Absence

25 08 2011

My friends,

I am sorry that I am the worst blogger in the world. Currently in Rome and am nauseous with the heat. Or it could be too much pizza and gelato – who knows! I arrived last night after ten hours on the train and headed straight for the Colosseum. It was beautiful at night. Today I’ve seen the Pantheon (beautiful), many churhces (all beautiful) and an art museum full of beautiful marble statues. My faves are obviously the ones of women warriors. Tomorrow I’ll get up super early, put on my most moral clothes and head to the Vatican. I’ll also definately have to make a day trip out to the beach, it is crazy hot here. Anyway, here are some pictures of my last month or so to keep you happy!

Dresden. Beautiful and surprisingly cool once you got away from all the touristy stuff. Lots of hippies with their hippie children and a really cool nightlife. Vegan cafes, etc. This is the opera house.

Bruges' main square. What a cute little town! As beautiful as the movie (In Bruges) made it look. Rained lots, I did lots of wandering.

These are the EU buildings in Brussels. Also rained a lot here. I bought jeans. Which I must get rid of stat here in Rome.

Best hot chocolate ever in Brussels. They give you hot milk and then you add the chocolate yourself which comes in chip form. So good!

Brussels' main square. Beautiful!

Yours truly in.. what is this place called! Where they make the china. Close to the Hague.. A girl from the hostel and I biked here and spent the afternoon. Saw some churches and pretty canals. Please tell me the name since I cannot remember.Delft! It's called Delft!Marlise arrives! And we biked to Wassanaar! She's a really good cyclist. Ahaha.

We had matching back packs, aren't we cute. It was a picturesque ride. Like every Flemish painting you''ve ever seen.

Hello mailbox! You are shorter than I remember!

Hello house, you are smaller than I remember! No one was home, we rang the bell. Too bad.

Hello goats that I can't believe still exist! Did I write that just as we were about to give up looking for them we heard 'baaahhh' and there they were through some vines! So nice to see them!

Them we were in Amsterdam and I did NOT take enough photos. Here is a poor representation of the city. We got lost a lot because Marlise is.. troubled by maps. Lots of fun here though.

Train to Germany! I was having a fit. The start of our adventures!

Cologne has a big church! We climbed all the way up!

Then we had our car! This was the strange modern church in a farmer's field that I talked about.

Yes it looks like I drove into the ditch. No, I didn't.

Trusty driver.

Trsuty navigator (she improved since Amsterdam)!

Our favourite castle!

The castle we skipped by accident. Nice view though!

Aaaahh!!! Es ist ein sehr schoen ausblick!

Munich. In a nutshell.

Sorry Marlise's head. Beer hall food. My favourite part of Munich!

Holocaust victims' memorial, Berlin.

Weirdest place ever, Berlin. No, I didn't try one! Maybe I should have.. ahaha. The German at the top reads 'Canadian baking tradition.'

Where the Berlin Wall used to be.

Super cool art house, studio, squatter place in Berlin!

Currywurst with Marlise and Jacqui in Berlin!

Back in time to the beer hall in Munich. We tested our strength to see if we could be beer ladies. Marlise might have trouble!

They were really heavy!

Surfers in the park, Munich.

Prague, I think, deserves a post of it’s own. So many photos to choose from! One of my favourite places for sure! Hope this makes up for my lack of posts. Love you!

xox,

R.

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Lederhosen Everywhere!

14 08 2011

Hi hi!

Munich.  In Munich, Marlise and I did very German things.  We began our visit with a trip to the Glockenspiel which was a clock tower that played music and had figures that danced for a really long time.  There was a big crowd watching in the pretty little square.  We visited a few churches, the obligatory palace, and when we got hungry we treated ourself to lunch at a beer hall!!  This was one of the best parts!!  It was pretty touristy but still so, so fun and amazing.  I ordered a Bavarian cabbage roll (huge and stuffed full of meat) and Marlise ordered pork and of course we both had huge glasses of beer.  It was so fun!  The locals who frequent the beer hall had their own stein lockers where, as Marlise explained, they lock up their own beer steins at the beer hall!  Cool!  In the afternoon we visited the treasury and saw tonnes of gold and jewels, then we headed to the city park (bigger than Central Park) and watched, probably for an hour, a bunch of locals surfing on a perpetual wave in a canal.  So cool!

The next day we took the train to Dachau concentration camp.  It had a really well done museum and audioguide thingy that explained everything.  Learned lots.  We spent about three hours there and at the end were totally emotionally exhausted.  It was really interesting to see and I’m glad we went but it wasn’t a fun day by any means.

And there really were men wearing lederhosen in Munich!  So cute!

xox

 

R.





The Driving Adventure

12 08 2011

Oh hi, me again!

So, Marlise and I were determined to see the maximum number of castles (Marlise: aka. OH MY GOD SCHLOOOSSes!!!)  in Germany and decided the best way to do this was by car.  We picked it up in Cologne (where everything was closed except the cathedral which was quite beautiful.  We climbed 537  of steps up the tower – nice views!) and headed for Stuttgart, 3ish hours south.  Before we got out of the city, however, we (or I, rather) managed to drive into a pedestrian plaza – really scary! The car was a Seat Leon and I was incapable of getting it into reverse so that was Marlise’s job as well as navigating (very hard job) (Marlise: the driving was also very hard).  Our first destination was a church, not a castle, that Marlie’s parents’ friends recommended we see. It was a cool modern church in the middle of a farmer’s field.  It was basically a concrete tube with hundreds of little holes in the sides.  Unfortunately, like everything in Europe on a Monday it was closed and we couldn’t see the inside.  It was still a good adventure finding it though (lost, lost, lost).

From Marlise: Hello, friends!

From the church we headed for the Rhine river and drove through very beautiful mountains, valleys, forests, and towns.  We, after asking for directions at many gas stations and a fruit stand, ended up in Cochem – a town with a very beautiful castle.  We admired it from above and below but carried on with our drive along the river in search of a different castle.  Only many miles down the road did we realize that Cochem’s castle was the one we wanted.  Oh well! Plenty more!  Lost again!  So we headed straight for Stuttgart in order to get their before dark.  But oh, we were lost!  So we stopped at another gas station to ask for directions.  Alas!  They sprechen nicht Englisch!  So Marlise and I stood forlorn in the parking lot.  Until! This handsome gentleman (Marlise: WHAT A HUNK!!!!) driving a very sleek Mercedes offered to lead us to the autobahn!  He said, “I go slow, but when I get to the autobahn, I go very fast!”  So he led the way to the highway (going 60 in an 80 zone on our behalf) and we were on our way again.  Stuttgart seemed like a cool place but we didn’t see much of it, we really just slept there.  The hostel was huge and cool and perched on the side of a hill overlooking the whole city.

The next day we (unwillingly, on my part) hopped back in the car and headed to Heidelberg to see another castle.  This was a good one, part ruins, part not and it held the biggest wine vat in the world.  Next it was on to Baden Baden for a glimpse of the Black Forest.  We found a vernicular (!) and took it up the mountain.  This was so, so cool and had fantastic views and was totally German looking.  Back in the car we followed some road signs that took us to the best castle ruins!  We climbed and explored for so long!  This was my favourite castle!  The last two we saw were the next day on the way to Munich.  We saw, of course, the very famous Neuschwanstein castle.  When I saw it from the highway I was so, so excited that I screamed and poor Marlise peed her pants.  The view of the castle from a neighbouring mountain was totally amazing.  It didn’t look real.  Beautiful!

Then we were in Munich!  Which was full of old people and beer.  More on that soon.  It was a relief to get rid of that car.  It was fun to ride around the country and listen to German radio, but really, really stressful.  Marlise and I separated in Berlin (what a cool place!) and I’m now in Dresden (very different but very interesting).  More soon plus pics!

xox

 

R.





The Netherlands

7 08 2011

Hello best readers!

Sorry for my long absence.  I have been busy, busy having adventures with Marlise who has joined me for a couple weeks of my trip!  Sick as a dog at the moment and deaf in one ear.  Makes it very hard to travel.  So please excuse me if this post is nonsensical – I am quite drugged, will find a lovely German doctor tomorrow.

Anyway, after lovely and ugly Brussels I arrived in the Hague, a city near where we used to live in the Netherlands.  Horrid weather and a bad cold kept me in much of the time but that was ok since I had a whopping five nights there.  Best days included visiting the Mauritshuis museum to see some good old masters and renting a bike with a fellow Canadian and cruising to Delft, a cute little town.  The Hague had good shopping (only made one purchase), cool modern buildings, pretty ancient buildings, etc.  The people were so nice and everyone spoke English.

Marlise arrived and she and I stayed with her parents’ friends who live in the Hague.  They had a very cool, modern house and were super nice to us!!  Marlise and I borrowed their bikes and cycled to Wassenaar to see our old house.  It was so strange to see it!  We rang the bell but no one was home.  We saw the mailbox where Em and I used to mail letters, the alley where I used to play and bike, my old school (much smaller than I remember!), and there were still goats in a yard down the alley!!  We had a nice ride through the country side and up through the dunes to the beach.  So beautiful and such a different landscape!

We left the Hague for Amsterdam and had two wild nights!  One of my favourite parts was visiting the Red Light district at night.  It was so bizzare and totally fascinating.  We rented bikes (fun!) and did a whirlwind tour of the city in a day including a boat tour (total snooze!).

Next stop was Cologne and then our driving adventure and it was a total adventure.  Coming soon!  As well as pics!

 

Can’t believe how fast my trip is going!  See you soonish!

 

xox,

 

R.





Les Photos de Paris

27 07 2011

Not sure why they are so small, sorry!  Click on the first one to make it bigger then you can click through the rest at a visible size.





Belgium: Bruges & Brussels

21 07 2011

It was a sad, sad day to leave Paris. But! I was off to Bruges – which I went to because I’d seen the really good movie In Bruges. Belgium looks and feels totally different than France. It’s all colourful and not at all neat and tidy. Everything is crooked. I had two nights in Bruges which was lots of time to see the city. Got super lost and ended up in the suburbs, I walked so long that I thought I had to be out of the country. I had a very tasty Belgian waffle with nutella on it – highly recommend. Went and saw the new Harry Potter movie with some people from the hostel! It was really fun – the movie was ok. It was in English with French and Flemish subtitles. So now I can say avada kedavra in Flemish. And there was no line for the movie because we went to the cheap old theatre when everyone else goes to the big one that does movies in 3D. Other things: Did a (bad) walking tour but I saw some good things in the city and he pointed out some spots from the movie. Mostly just wandered. Went to a little art museum with some good Flemish art. Then it was off to Brussels.

I’m on day five in Brussels and am running out of things to do! Good thing today in Belgium’s national day. I started by visiting their parliament which they open to the public on Belgium day (or whatever you call it). They had a very thorough English brochure and gave you a quiz to do about their government and history. If you got it all right (almost did) you got a Belgium-themed prize. I got one anyway – a lovely pen. I counted the number of women senators they have (21 out of 70.. very poor indeed). Then I wandered around the park where there were booths, events, food, etc. They had some cows and horses that you could pet. So I did. That was a bit odd. I snagged my spot for the parade and waited a couple hours for it to start. And just as it did it began to pour. Now, I have never been to a Canada day parade, but I was expecting floats and people dressed up. This was not so. What happens at a Canada day parade? Because in Belgium they are all about the military. Which was cool to see.. all the people on the horses and marching and stuff, but it was also very.. militaristic. Haha. Anyway, that was today. Other things I have done: visited many nice churches, lots of walking to see the city, it’s an easy city to see. All the good stuff is all in the middle. Another good art museum (fave: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_of_Marat really beautiful in real life). Flea market (didn’t find anything. Though I would have brought home a large gilded mirror if I could have). Best parts: went to two really cool bars with two American boys. The first was a bar that holds the record for having the most beers available to order (2000!!). We tried Belgium’s famous beer: Geuze, which is sour but not as bad as it sounds. But still gross. Lots of fun here. The other bar was so, so good. It was full of young, cool people dancing.. the lindy hop!! And they were so good and having so much fun! We didn’t join in because you obviously had to know how but we had so much fun just watching. And we all decided to find our own lindy hop clubs when we get home. Because aparently they exist! We talked to this one fantastic dancer who, upon hearing I am from Canada said, “oh there are such good teachers in Canada!!” So who wants to learn the lindy hop with me? I’ll need a partner…

Brussels has been good, but ugly. It’s got really nice old buildings but is kind of run down for some reason. Really cool art nouveau buildings too. And then some hideous contemporary ones. And 6 days is plennttyyy. Off to The Hague tomorrow. I plan on renting a bike everyday and visiting the old house, school, etc! Looking forward to it!

xox,

R.





Oh, Paris

21 07 2011

Bonjour mes amis!

First, one more thing about lovely Guernica: I woke up with one eye swollen shut and spent the entire day looking like a ghoul.  Paris, however, was wonderful.  I wish I’d had more time there.  Though my wallet was being seriously drained by admission fees and food.  My days were filled with French architecture, chocolate croissants, sandwiches, art, walking down beautiful boulevards, and admiring beautiful views and Parisien women’s style (big sigh).  Favourite things:

  • Spending SEVEN hours in the Louvre.  People went absolutely mad for the Mona Lisa.  I got pushed out of the way so people could have their picture taken with her.  I made sure to pay lots of attention to the other paintings that were in the same room as her as I’m sure they were very neglected and jealous of her.  Saw soo many good ones I can’t name them all.  A fave: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Raft_of_the_Medusa
  • A super nice Australian girl and I did a free walking tour.  The guide was hilarious and really good and I learned a lot about Napoleon and his rediculous ego.
  • Following, with the Australian, two impeccably dressed women down the Champs Elysees.  They were beautiful and obviously rediculously rich.  They were forced to walk through a little patch of dirt and when they made it to the other side their shoes were dusty.  So one of them knelt down, with a wet wipe and wiped off the other’s shoes.  We followed them as far as the Louis Vuitton store – where they went in for a major shopping spree, undoubtedly.
  • A little old French lady asking us if we were lost when she saw us studying the map.  She was so nice!  French people are all very nice.
  • A pic nic at the Eiffel tower (did you know it’s privately owned?!) with some hostel friends.  Bread, cheese, wine.  And then we checked out the Moulin Rouge  – just the outside, which is much better looking by night.
  • Visiting Sacre Coeur (nice church) in the evening light.  Really good views of the city.  And there was a guy singing who attracted a huge crowd and everyone was singing along.
  • Visiting everyone’s favourite feminist Simone de Beauvoir’s grave.  It was covered in lipstick kisses and flowers.  Very cool to see. I could have stayed there for a long time.
  • Going up the towers of Notre Dame in the pouring, thundering rain.  Quite appropriate weather, I thought.  So old and such cool gargoyles.
  • Seeing the impressionists at Musee d’Orsay.  Fave.  Can’t see the exact one that it is.  Naked women, probably.
  • A day trip to Versailles.  Totally and completely beautiful and excessive.
  • Lunch of crepes.  Camembert melted on top with lettuce, tomatoes, some sauce.  And then a dessert crepe: heaps of super chocolatey chocolate sauce poured on a crepe.  Amazing

Paris was wonderrrrfullll and I miss it.  Belgium has been totally different and nice also.  Pics soon when I can get a computer that will let me.  On to The Hague tomorrow to see the old homeland!

 

Miss you!

xox,

 

R.