Barcelona and Invasions.

•April 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Barcelona was nice but nerve-wracking. During the two days I was there two of my travel-mates were pickpocketed on the metro. The first time I was getting on the metro behind Torin when three guys around him started jostling eachother. I thought they were fighting, so I naturally assumed Torin was trying to break up the fight when he had turned around and grabbed one of the guys but then he shouted “which one of you has my wallet?” I was so confused and it happened so fast. I saw his wallet fall to the ground and quickly picked it up. When Torin saw that I had it he let the guy go, but in that split second one of them had already taken the money. I’m just glad Torin had noticed, because he could have lost a great deal more than fourty euros. I wasn’t there for the next incident. Daiki, one of Torin’s flatmates, was getting off the metro when it happend. Even though had his bag infront of him this particular team of pickpockets managed to open the front zipper and grab his passport. He didn’t even notice until he was off the metro. Luckily everything was sorted at the consolate the next day. Things could have been much worse for both of them. I was on high alert my whole time in Barcelona, which was a bit annoying to tell you the truth. Regardless it was still a  beautiful place to see…







The Sagrada Familia was the highlight of my trip. I will not even attempt to tell you about it. When I stepped inside I had to catch my breath. If you go to Barcelona for one reason, it has to be to see this building.







Check it out on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagrada_Fam%C3%ADlia




Edinburgh? I could have ended up anywhere!

Alright… so I suppose you are wondering what I was talking about last entry when I mentioned ‘space invaders’. Well, I was referring to these guys whom I found in Paris and Amsterdam:











So, these are the works of “Invader (born 1969) [who] is a French urban artist who pastes up characters from and inspired by the ‘Space Invaders’ game, made up of small coloured square tiles that form a mosaic. He does this in cities across the world, then documents this as an “Invasion”, with books and maps of where to find each invader” … to quote wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invader_(artist). You should check out the website (http://www.space-invaders.com/). I think this is just about the most awesome thing ever. I was constantly on the look out for them, and they are EVERYWHERE. This was an exciting part of my trip, and was disappointed that there were none in Barcelona; it just didn’t feel right.

That’s the end of my trip! It was a superb two weeks, but I was glad to get back home. I now have my flight booked to come back to Kelowna (May 21st… mark your calendars). It’s strange now that my days here are numbered. I only have four more weeks left and so much more to see. I hope I can fit in one last trip to the north of Scotland (Isle of Skye?). We’ll see how studying and money goes. Anyways, it’s Easter Sunday across the world today. I hope you are all having an excellent weekend. I am thinking of you all back home, and how soon it will be until I see you all again.

Best wishes and an excellent Easter. I’ll catch you up next time!

Cheers.

A Pretty Poorly Paris.

•April 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

People say that you fall in love with Paris. I feel like I missed something, because I did not fall in love with Paris. It was a lovely city, don’t get me wrong, but I was happy to leave when I did. It feels like I didn’t do something right… like I didn’t go about getting to know it properly. I didn’t make the instant connection there that I did in Amsterdam. I did, however, enjoy the vast amount of history in Paris. It is a very big city and there is always something to see.

 

These were teeny traffic lights for bicycles.

 

 

These were the kinds of brooms city workers used to sweep the streets.

 

 

This is a water fountain if you believe me.

 

 

Aright... so when I upload pictures the example to in this caption box is "The Mona Lisa", and I've been waiting all year to do this.... ahem... The Mona Lisa.

 

 

This is on a boat. ON A BOAT.

 

There were souvenire machine in Notre Dame. 😦

 

 

Napoleon's apartments. Nap's the man.

 

Little bed for a little man.

 

 

Versailles!!

 

My last day in Paris I was alone (because I am a NOOB and booked my flight on the wrong day). I learned about maps. And creases in maps. Whoever thought that I could be completely hoodwinked by a piece of paper? Luckily I left an extra hour early and found the aiport in time. I do not like travelling alone. I repeat: I do not like travelling alone. I feel like Paris and I need another go. Next time I will rent a bicycle so I don’t get so many blisters and feed myself more than croissants and apples. Paris is expensive, but there is something to be said for the food there. Coming up next is Barcelona and space invaders. Confused? Good. You will have to check out my next entry then.

Cheers! And HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE.

A happy Rachel writes of Amsterdam.

•April 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I am having a moment of perfect euphoria. I am in my clean room (which I love so much), in my flat (which is just delightful because it’s my flat), with very wonderful people  (who are asleep right now but I am so happy I live with them), in a fantastic city (which is actually more than fantastic). I realize just how much I love living on my own. I finally finished my essay (which has been the source of my delay). I have a comfortable amount of time left in Scotland with the most lovely boy who ever lived before I return to a beautiful homeland. Right now couldn’t be more perfect… only Torin is still away until Monday. Right now is just wonderful, so I am going to write you a wonderful entry about my wonderful trip.

This wonderful trip took place between March 26 and April 8; 12 eventful days. I started in Amsterdam and was alone for the first day and a half. I don’t like travelling alone, friends. I really don’t. I was alone in Paris later on and I didn’t like that either. I won’t be doing that again, I promise you. I learned a great deal about loneliness though. It sure reminded me how much joy friends bring to my life. Fortunately Amsterdam was AMAZING. This is the most beautiful city I have been to. I love the bicycles. I love the canals. I love the feel of the city. It was a wonderful place to see. Take a look:

This bird was making a nest out of garbage in the canal!

This is the floating tulip market.

I went to the torture museum. This is called the "flute of shame," which was placed around your neck and used to crush your fingers.

Another display at the torture museum. The picture in the background can give you some idea of how this was used.

And at this point I had already spent a lonely night a hostel and done a fair bit of wandering. I was delighted, however to be joined by Morgan and her friends Myles and Kevin from Cortona. We rented bicycles, which is an excellent idea in Amsterdam.

In some places the canals were really quite dirty. But there wasn't any smell I noticed.

This was a wonderful man who was busking on the canal by playing a fugel horn and a crank-piano. He they proceeded to collect tips from a clog attached to a fishing rod.

A vending maching for fast food? Yes. Yes it is.

Stairs at my hostel that utterly baffled me.

Fact about Amsterdam: everywhere has cats because everywhere has mice.

See this bird knows how to make a proper nest out of sticks.

A very interesting looking goose and young.

I cheated and took a picture in the Van Gogh Museum.

This was placed in the ground anonymously beside a chuch. It was removed, but the people of Amsterdam wanted it to stay there so that's where it stays.

the VoC headquarters.

This was a surprising little neighbourhood in the middle of the city. It is walled off. Very quiet and green.

The smallest house in Amsterdam. Can you see it?

An academy award!! This was in the Ann Frank House.

This was in the floating tulip market. Surprising. I think they got mixed up.

I have no more pictures of Amsterdam. It was a wonderful four days and I will definately be going again. I will continue with Paris later. It’s just too late now guys. I will do it tomorrow after I hand in my essay (WOOOO). Until then, cheers.

Loch Ness, oh yes.

•March 23, 2011 • 3 Comments

The terrible project has been handed in and forgotten. I have cleared my desk of all things academic and look to the itinerary for the next two weeks which is pinned on my lovely cork-board. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, come Saturday Rachel is once again off to the races. This next trip will include Amsterdam, Paris, and Barcelona. I would like to be seeing more, but travelling has revealed itself to be more troublesome than your hopeless romantic here previously thought. Things seem to happen for a reason, but let’s hope they turn out in a hopelessly romantic way.

I have some pictures for you guys. These next two are of a particularly memorable sunset Torin and I caught out of my kitchen window:

These next ones were taken during the day trip to Loch Ness. This is Heather the highland cow (she just had a calf!)….

And then I fell asleep on the bus and woke up here:

These are the Three Sisters. Small mountains compared to what us Canadians are used to (about the size of Mount Boucherie for all you Westbankers), but the Scots are so terribly fond of them. They DID remind me of Canada, and it was the closest I’ve felt to home my whole time here, so I guess I am rather fond of them aswell.

Afterwards we arrived at Lock Ness. No monsters were spotted, but Torin and I didn’t look particularly hard. Plus it was wet and raining (and raining and raining and raining), so we couldn’t see all that much.

These are water gates that lead into the lake. The canal is the center of a very small village, and is lined with cute little pubs and shops for the tourists. Of course these were all closed because it was Sunday.

Loch Ness behind me here. I wasn’t too impressed with this lake, to be completely honest. It was just really windy and cold. You could barely keep your eyes open long enough to take it in.

Sorry to keep this so short but that’s all I’m going to say for now. Look out for me in a couple of weeks, I will have lots to show you of The Netherlands, France, and Spain!! Wish me luck and all the best to you all. Happy Spring-time.

Cheers!!

A short message.

•March 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Perhaps a few of you can relate to my present predicament. It’s 1AM, I now have 2 days to complete a major assignment which, due to its unfathomable lameness, is forging new territory in the realm of procrastination. I hope you will forgive me as I take longer to fill you in with my latest news. I promise that once this has all blown over I will show you what has been going down in this land I have called home for the past seven months. This adventure is starting to wind down– a sad truth. Do not despair! My thoughts are with you all but these are troubled times indeed. I hope all is well with each and every one of you. My love, and my love again,

cheers,

Rachel

London and Ireland, finally coming to you

•March 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ll be honest. I’ve been putting this off (for waaaaaaaaay too long now). It’s just that there’s SO MUCH to write it will take a very long time to put down. But it seems I’ve finally gotten around to doing it. So here goes.

So, I’ve been to London. Denny, Kate, Charlie, and I went down for an extended weekend. It was so lovely. Dennis, enthusiastally made timetables for all of us and acted as a tour-guide. I figure I’ll just show you a bunch of pictures, because heaven knows I’m not going to be able to explain it all….

The largest teapot I have ever seen, you see?

These are bicycles that you can rent and ride around upon.

At the science museum. There were games for children.

Something I found out about London: people really really really really hate pigeons. They call them dirty and whatnot. I was not allowed to feed them, under any circumstances.

Made of LEGO!!!!

Dragging luggage through the calvary's parade grounds

I’m sorry that I had to make that so short. But that’s the gist of it. But here I have more! And this time it’s IRELAND!!!

(but bad new first: I locked my camera in a flatmate’s room so I didn’t actually have MY camera for the trip– this is all Torin’s little bad boy)

Okay, so I expect you all to be familiar with the classic film "Princess Bride." Well, it so happens that those cliffs behind me are the Cliffs of Moher.... other wise known as the CLIFFS OF INSANITY!!!!!

.... and my god was it windy.

If you believe me, that's the head of a saint! St. Oliver Plunkett http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Plunkett

One of the largest free-standing celtic crosses that remains where it was erected! .... or something like that.

One of the many walls erected to seperate protestants and catholics in Belfast. We wrote messages on them with markers.

Torin seems to think this picture is funny....

This is where the Titanic was bulit.

An old fisherman's bridge.

Also windy.

This is me on the Giant's Causeway.

I’m sorry I couldn’t go into more depth about the trips. There’s just too much and I can’t keep putting this off; you will all forget about me.

My favourite part of the London trip was visiting the galleries and my favourite part of Ireland was the coast. Probably the Giant’s Causeway. Was reeeeeeeeeeally considering a career in sheep farming by the end of it. But alas I am back at uni and rugby has been keeping my rather busy. Next Sunday I will be going on a day-trip to Lochness so I’ll be sure to REMEMBER my camera for that and catch you all up. Till then my most sincere apologies for taking eons to do this and a most hearty CHEERS!!

Swans and Flatmates

•February 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Another early morning took me wandering the hills by my flat. I found some amazing sights hidden from the road.

St. Anthony's Chapel, dating from the 14th century.

Below the chapel is a pond...

The birds were so tame. They would let you come right up to them as they fed on the grass. Occasionally a dog would come running through the flock and the swans would awkwardly take to the air.

I have been very enthusiastic about hair colours as of late. I used blue hairspray the night I ordered my pink dye. I just couldn’t contain my excitement.

Excuse the double chin.

A few days later the pink came in!! 

Fringe = bangs                                                                                                         

The baby pink in the middle didn't really come out. But the "rich wine" is awesome!

Adventures in baking/cooking:

I decided to make massive burger buns when I was making oatmeal honey loaf. Accordingly I made massive burgers for the massive burger buns. And I made Torin eat one with me.

You have to understand that this bread was incredibly dense.

I really only mentioned the burgers because I love this picture so much.

Alright! It’s about time you all get to know my lovely ladies a bit better. It’s been a challenge, but I’ve photographed them all to their satisfaction. Here’s the crew:

Starting off in 9/9 we have:

Miss Charlotte Jones

aka Charlie or Chaz or Chazza or Chazzinator etc

Charlie is in first year medicine. She makes immaculate cupcakes but will steal your dresses. She is great fun on a night out and will come back the next morning not remembering how she injured her wrist. If you need to go to A&E (hospital) she’s  your gal and has taken almost everyone in the flat when the need arose. But above all else Charlie is a most excellent friend and has been a major support in my home away from home.

Miss Fanny Viozeux

Fanny is in her third year of archeology. Also an exchange student, Fanny comes from Dijon, France. Often she has her best friend Emily over and they can be heard chatting in French as they cook french stuff. Fanny is one of the friendliest people I’ve met here, and will always lend you spices. I can usually hear her laughing with Emily as they watch a movie in her room. She has great taste in films.

Miss Rachael Docherty

Aka Doc

Rachael is in first year physical education. Rachael likes to party and is never here for the weekends as she goes back home to Glasgow after class on Fridays. I have a hard time understanding her sometimes because she talks like a Glaswegan (very fast and very Scottish). She doesn’t really cook but has made some valiant efforts this year and has pretty much mastered her chicken soup. I take pride in this. Rachael is one of the best storytellers I’ve met so far and does a hilarious impression of her parents.

Miss Chenyi Lui

Aka E

E is in her first year of engineering. She’s on exchange from China… I think it’s China… we don’t see much of her. She’s seems extremely nice and polite, but she’s keeps very much to herself. She even has  rice cooker in her room so she doesn’t need to come into the kitchen. She seems very devoted to her studies and her friends. I know she went on a tour of Europe over Christmas break with some of her buddies. We may have been in Berlin at the same time!

Across the hall in 9/10 we have:

Maria Ali

Maria also in her first year of medicine. Being from Glasgow, I have a hard time understanding her sometimes. She gets very excited about things and seems to have an infinite supply of energy. She has a passion for Nandos, which is a restaurant/company that has a peri peri sauce she is absolutely NUTS about. She is also the first Muslim I’ve really met, and I’ve come to truly admire the devotion she has to her faith. She’s fun to have around the flat and I enjoy seeing what she has for dinner, as weird as that sounds.

Lizbeth Mills

Aka Liz

Liz is in her first year of classics. She hails from Aberdeen, Scotland. She’s a pretty quiet girl but comes out when we are all visiting in the kitchen. I’ve noticed that she, like me, loves toast.

Dennis Picheta

Aka Denny or Den-dog or denny-d etc

Dennis is in her first year of a course that combines psychology, philosophy and linguistics. She tells me that it all works somehow. She is wonderfully gay and I’m so glad she’s my flatmate. Being friends with Dennis is highly educational. She is well versed in the world of liquor and makes a mean margarita. It’s hard to explain Dennis. Let’s just say that whatever you are picking teams for, you want Dennis on your side.

Corrie John

  Corrie is in her first year of English literature. She is the sweetest, most delicate person you can imagine. It’s like she stepped out of a novel. She’s a ballet dancer, she loves pink, everything in her room is floral pattern (no joke, ever her tissue paper has flowers on it), she is deathly afraid of almost everything and is terribly squeamish. But she also is the most caring person you could meet. She has such heightened feelings that it seems she is sharing your every emotion. Corrie is such a peach. You can’t help but love her.

Kate Stevenson

Kate is in her first year of chemistry. She is very proud of her hometown Manchester, and is always battling with her Londoning nemesis, Dennis.  She is highly fashionable and follows more television programs than you can shake a stick at. Even when she’s having an off day Kate is lovely to have around. If you want a snuggle and a movie you go to Kate’s room. She’s also the one to go to if you want to borrow any clothes, but chances are they will already be in Charlie’s closet.

That’s a short introduction to everyone. I hope against hope that you all can meet them someday. They have been my family here. Since I started this post I have been to London with Dennis, Charlie, and Kate. So I have about 200 pictures to show you. Also I have a game in Glasgow tomorrow. So wish me luck and hang on till next time!!

 

Lots of  love from Scotland!!

Rachel