Travel 2012

What a great year of travel it has been!

I started with Paris on New Years and then went to Prague and Budapest, two places I have wanted to see for a long time. They didn’t disappoint and I will be back, I’d like to go in Summer next time and get in some hiking.

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Then I waited too long to book the tour I wanted for Iceland, changing gears I picked the Galapagos. This trip was amazing, I’m still writing about (and will be returning to more Galapagos stories soon). It was everything I expected and more, perhaps the favourite trip that I have ever done but it’s really hard to choose!

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Then to end the year I went on a Hawaiian cruise with my Mom. Seven days and four islands which was wonderful. It was really nice to spend the time with my Mom and soon I will have more stories and pictures from the cruise.

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This next year I am looking forward to more adventures and travel, it’s a very hard habit to stop once you start!

Paris In The Rain

I was going to come home after work and ride my bike. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my new bike? I do and as I left work the sky darkened and as soon as I started my walk home it started to rain. Not hard but more like a heavy drizzle and it reminded me of the rain in Paris.

Ahhh the Eiffel Tower…..

It rained a couple of times when we were in Paris and while walking in the rain looking around I noticed something.

Nobody was running for cover, there were a few umbrella’s but not many. People just kept walking, kept going about their business like nothing was happening. So they were getting a little wet, it didn’t even seem to phase them. Here everybody seems to run for cover, reaches for an umbrella or their rain coat. It’s like over hear we are related to the Wicked Witch and water will kill us. Even in the light shower today people were swearing, hanging out inside, suddenly hailing a cab.

I like the walk in the rain, I did have a raincoat so I was prepared but the rain makes everything smell so much better. I found the drizzle soothing. So I wouldn’t get out on my bike today, that’s okay. I get to walk in the rain instead and the sidewalks were pretty clear so I didn’t have to avoid the slow walking weavers.

By the time I got home I felt great, very refreshed and my head felt clear. Also I know that when the sun comes back out everything will start to look green and the lilacs and apple blossoms will be out soon. That is truly my favourite time of year to walk home. I walk through an older neighborhood to get home and there are so many flowering tree’s. Not only do they look amazing, the smell….. oh the smell is just divine.

Although my plans were changed, as they so often are by weather, I was reminded of Paris, which always makes me smile. Also reminded that Spring is here and soon the blossoms will be out. A time of renewal, a time to put your best foot forward and perhaps blossom as well!

(Also gives me another reason to think about buying a brightly coloured pair of wellies! I think a pair of bright pink wellies would make me happy…… I’m pretty easy to please…..)

Funny Signs In Paris

I love signs and these are some of my favourites from Paris:

To me this always makes me think of Super Heroes, the beginning how they get their powers:

Dogs should not carry their own leashes:

Pickpockets can be identified by being so embarrassed (or evil) they are BRIGHT RED:

Who picked the Pink Bunny to demonstrate this:

Visions Of Shopping On The Way Home

I love all the little shops in Paris. No wonder people eat so well there. Good food is everywhere and from the little shops very reasonable. There are also flowers and it’s easy to imagine walking home picking up food for the evening and maybe breakfast then stopping and getting some flowers.

It’s a vision I really enjoy and although I could do similar at home, it just doesn’t seem the same. In Paris it seems like the thing to do, at home it seems like a special occasion.

This was our hotel, it was lovely (with a GREAT shower, anybody who travels knows how much a GREAT shower is appreciated) also the staff were very helpful, I would definitely stay here again:

Some shops:

How about one of these for breakfast:

They only have “Fine Claire No3” because I’m No1 (I don’t know who No2 is):

Eiffel Tower and Memories

Oddly I thought the Eiffel Tower would be the landmark that would bring back my memories of being in Paris when I was ten. It wasn’t, neither was it the Louvre.

What brought back a rush of memories? Barbapapa

Yep, remember Barbapapa? If not here is an explanation Barbapapa

It was a reminder that Paris to a ten year old was about the cartoon characters, about an arcade that had been down the street from the Arc de Triomphe (but not the Arc de Triomphe itself), onion soup and the candy.

Also a very vivid memory of my Mother not having enough francs to pay for a meal and trying to work out the Canadian exchange rate with the disgruntled waitress. (we had just had an AMAZING chocolate mousse at the little cafe). I thought the circumstances were funny, my Mother did not.

In hindsight I loved having seen the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles  and seeing the Mona Lisa but it actually took years for me to understand what I had seen.

Now I looked upon the Eiffel Tower with a new appreciation. With older eyes it held a lot more meaning than it had to a ten year old. Now it was a symbol and not just a very tall structure that was “cool”.

 Although at night the Eiffel Tower is still very cool:

Return To Paris

One of the new friends I met on New Years sent me the following picture with the note “You have to come back Claire…… Someone is waiting………”:

Just something he found written on a wall, I’m not the Claire it’s meant for but it made my day just the same. I’m also pretty sure that it’s as close to a Valentine as I’ll get this year. (Don’t give me the sad, sorry look. I am single NOT disabled and Valentine’s chocolate will be 50% off tomorrow).

Top of the Eiffel Tower

On New Years Day we headed out to the Eiffel Tower. Having missed it the night before due to having too much fun (and wine). I was looking forward to it, of course we had already seen it from a distance.

This time I was going to the top! Last time I had been in Paris my Mother refused to go to the top and even our trip to the second level was cut short. My Mother does not like heights. Neither does my friend Becca but she was up to the challenge, for me. This is what good friends do and I hope I can repay the favour one day.

It was worth it, the view is amazing but it’s a lot of waiting. I will remember three things about the trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The AMAZING view, how windy it was and waiting in line. Waiting in line to go up to the second level, waiting in line to go to the third level, waiting in line to come back to the second level, waiting in line to come back to the ground. I skipped the line in the souvenir store on the second level.

It’s not all bad waiting in line for the Eiffel Tower the people watching is really good and you can grab a coffee from the cafe.