Easter weekend Jeff and I visited the island for a half family, half chill-out weekend. On the Sunday we checked into an amazing little carriage house I found through airbnb (have I mentioned how much I love that site?).
This place was perfect. It was just behind the parliament buildings and only about a 10 minute walk from downtown. We ended up spending more time in our little mini-house than I expected. It was so cozy and cute with it’s own little kitchen, and a mini staircase up to our loft bedroom with queen sized bed. It even had a little gas fireplace on the main floor.
When we did manage to tear ourselves from our hide-away, we pretty much just meandered around town. Day one we had a late lunch/early dinner at Cafe Mexico. I loved the atmosphere here, the food was decent, service was friendly – although a little forgetful. Maybe our server was new. It didn’t really matter after our double margaritas.
Day two it was a little overcast and we decided to check out Miniature World. A full on tacky tourist choice. We were entertained. I think the admission is a bit steep, but it didn’t seem to keep people away. I have a vague memory of a miniature world I visited with my family when we were in either Holland or Germany. That one was definitely more impressive than this one – more of a fully conceptualized outdoor setup. This one had different displays, put together by various individuals at different times, and with different models. Best part of this miniature world, in my opinion, was the train from Vancouver to Toronto that faded to ‘nighttime’ for 30 seconds at a time.
For lunch on Day 2, the sun had started to come out, so we chose to eat on the heated patio of 10 Acres. A downtown restaurant that sources mostly from their local farm. I felt like we were in a Portlandia episode.
Night two we visited a good friend, ordered in pizza and hung out. We left the next morning, late, and took our time to get to the 1pm ferry. The sun came out for us and we were able to enjoy an hour on the waterfront in Sydney.
All in all it wasn’t the most adventurous of weekends, but it was exactly how we wanted to spend our time. Chill and easy.
I’ve been under the weather for too long, and hence, have not done much or gone anywhere. Sitting in bed has, however, allowed me to plan out our short summer vacation (Luckily we have a Toronto wedding as an excuse to travel!! Thanks cousin!!) and lust over listing after listing on Air B&B.
In June, Jeff and I will be staying (hopefully) 2 nights in East Harlem, 2 nights in Williamsburg (confirmed), 4 nights right downtown Toronto, and the remainder of our Toronto time most likely in Roncesvalles with a best friend.
I can’t wait. I love city neighborhoods. I love cities. And Air B&B feels like the best invention since ride-sharing. I just hope that it’s not somehow outlawed one day due to pressure from big hotels.
One of two day-trips I had time for during my Basel Tattoo experience, was a day trip to the lovely Luzerne, Switzerland and surroundings. The entire dance team and entourage took a very early bus from Basel and returned a few hours before our evening performance. Needless to say, I was completely wiped out the following day – but managed to pull it together for the show.
Normally I’m not a fan of bus-tours, or any kind of group tour or group travel for that matter, but with team-spirit in mind, I quite enjoyed our excursion, and even happened upon a friendship with one of the other dancers that was, until that day, just an aquaintance. Lucky me! Two of the best things to have when traveling is 1. A friendship, and 2. A flirtation. Since I am happily in a relationship, the friendship will prevail, and prerequisite for a flirtation has to be “harmless”.
Our first stop was a lovely, family run cheese making business up high among the rolling
hills. We were greeted by the owner who told us a little of their history, and let us sample their delicious cheese. One of the things they prided themselves on was that each of their dairy cows had names!
Next stop was lunch at a nearby hotel – very important – with the most spectacular view I have seen. I wished we had a week to hang around and hike and lay on checkered picnic blankets and eat cheese.
After lunch we headed to Luzerne via train then boat (all spectacular and gorgeous). We stayed in town for a couple of hours, where my new friend and I ate ice cream, sat by the water, and then walked around the town until we had to hop back on the bus.
During my stay in Basel, Switzerland, The Rhine was one of my favorite places to go. Actually, it was my favorite place to go – even over the Cast Bar (Which was pretty darn fun – live music, cheap drinks, and open til 6am!). Lucky for me, our team was staying less than a 5 minute walking distance from the river (Our performance venue and cast bar were right next to it). This was necessary, as we did not have air conditioning, and the average temperature was 33 degrees celcius! (To clarify, for those who have not read previous posts – I was in Switzerland for the Basel Tattoo as part of the International Highland Dancers). I haven’t done much traveling in Europe – and I know many European cities along rivers have a similar quality – but to me it was something unique, and I could have hung around the water for hours if we’d had more time in our schedules.
[Above: The cast of the Basel Tatoo floating down the Rine at 11am on Friday Morning. I’m in there somewhere!]
The ‘Rine river culture’ for lack of a better title – is something I will miss. On hot summer days, people gather along the banks (mostly brick walkways and steps leading to the water) with their mini picnics, drinks and even tiny disposable BBQ’s for grilling their Bratwurst. If you aren’t into just sitting around, you can also walk or run to the German border – just for kicks. It’s about 4km each way. However, the absolute best thing, in my opinion, was these waterproof bags that everyone seems to have. They are shaped like a cartoon fish, and you can put all your things inside, fold it over the ‘tail’ 7 times, close it with the attached buckle, and float down the river (the bag is also a floatation device!) for as long as you want. When you get out, all your stuff is as dry as it was when you put it in. Whoever invented these bags must be making a fortune. If I lived in Basel – I may just float to work in the morning. Or on the way home, depending on the direction 🙂 Who needs a car when you can float on your hand bag to work?
The Brooklyn Bridge. Here it is in 2010 when I visited NYC for the second time. I was with my cousin/ soulmate (in the blue coat) on a theatre festival adventure. This was my first time across the famous bridge, and it was everything I’d hoped for and more. Something about these epic man-made structures that just gets to me. I grew up in a small city in British Columbia – so although I am impressed and in-love with natural phenomenons such as mountains, nothing has a fairy-tale quality quite like those famous big-city sights.
One of the great things about this bridge, aside from the double stone arches, is the fact that you can walk or cycle above the traffic on the separate pedestrian walk way – safe from car traffic (Although I have encountered mach-speed cyclists. Stay in the pedestrian lane!!)
On my next visit to NYC, which took place just this past April, I experienced the return walk at night. The lights of Manhattan calling me and my best friend as we skipped, sang and laughed with pure joy back to the island of possibilities. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I wasn’t going to blog about this until I was about to embark – but I can’t wait! This image popped up on my Facebook feed today and got me all excited. See those little people standing in formation? In July I’m going to be one of those little people!! Except I’ll be dancing in formation… I’m not sure what those little guys are doing.
Let me explain: I’m going to Basel Switzerland as part of the International Highland Dance team performing at the Basel Tattoo this summer. Super excited! I’ve never been to Switzerland, and I haven’t been to Europe since 2006 when I was lucky enough to go to Paris and Monaco as one of four Highland Dancers to perform with the York Regional Police Pipe Band. Talk about a dream. Travel with a purpose beyond simply vacationing has got to be one of my favorite things in the whole world. Ie: travel and dance, travel and theatre, travel and volunteer, travel and take a workshop, etc. etc.
I’ve been training to get into shape, as I’m not as young as I was the last time I did something like this, and I hope to God I don’t break myself. Although, if I do, it may just be worth it. Ever since I saw the Edinburgh Tattoo when I was 10 years old, I thought it would be so incredible to be one of the dancers in the show. ‘How the heck did you get to be one of the dancers in the show?’ I always thought – and never believed I would have a chance at it. Now, past the age of 30, I’ve been given the opportunity. Who would’ve thought? I guess a couple decades wasn’t too long of a waiting period. At this rate of achieving fantasy goals I’ll get a great role in a big movie by the time I’m about 42….
I’ll be sure to keep you all updated with how it goes. Taking off in about a month and a half!