Saturday, May 8, 2010


"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living"

Amsterdam You Stole My Heart
My trip to Amsterdam was so incredible. Sorry it took so long to post this but as you know I am rather slow in this department. I am also really behind with the PostCards but don’t worry, I will be sending them out this week… I promise.

Amsterdam is one of the most unique cities in the world for two reasons : the geography and the culture.
The geography: The city itself is made up of about 90 separate islands connected by over 100 kilometers of canals and more than 1500 bridges. It is often called ”the Venice of the North”. Posted is a bird’s eye view of the city centre.
The culture: Amsterdam has one of the most relaxed and open minded cultures in all of Europe. Here is a city that values eco-friendliness, as one out of every second person chooses to use a bicycle as their main method of transportation. The city is full of literally thousands of bicycles, they line the streets, canals and bridges and they are all old school style, straight out of the 1960’s. Secondly, prostitution and marijuana are legal and regulated by the law. There are only certain places where the solicitation of sex and consumption of marijuana can take place, in the red light district and in cannabis coffee shops respectively.

Rafal and I were in Amsterdam from the 24th of March until the 27th. Our flight was in the evening and so by the time we reached the city centre it was already dark. This was a new experience for me but it was really cool to see the city at night first. We walked for almost 3 quarters of an hour to reach our hotel, but it was cool because the sights were incredible and the city is beautiful at night. All of the canals glow with reflections of the lights in the water. Its amazing. After checking in and dropping off our stuff we were right back out on the town again. We enjoyed a few beverages at a club close to our hotel and also went into a close by coffee shop to check it out. There was reggae music playing and a friendly looking man behind a counter which had 2 menus displayed for customers. The first menu had only non-alcoholic beverages such as juice, energy drinks and coffee. The second menu had different types of pot you could buy with full descriptions and prices. It was craziness.

The next morning we woke up early and went straight for the tourist destinations. First stop was the Van Gough museum. 15 Euro each and 20 minutes later we realized that neither one of us has an appreciation for fine art, nor do we have any expertise in the area. That activity didn’t last long. Next stop the Heineken Experience for an above average tour of the Heineken brewery with many demonstrations, interactive activities and taste testing. It was my favourite brewery experience in Europe so far. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch, it was Italian food which was really nice, then we toured the city a bit more by foot, stopping to check out a couple pubs and coffee shops and some places that were a blend of both. Each pub, restaurant and coffee shop has its own feel, theme and atmosphere. The city is literally full of these types of places and so we decided to stop in as many as we could as each one was so different from the last. It was really cool.
That night we decided to go to the famous red light district to see what it was all about. It was just as you would imagine it, and not at all as you would imagine it. The streets are literally glowing red and so are the canals with the reflections of the red lights. The red lights are not metaphorical. Nearly every building had glass windows with curtains. The windows were full length and narrow and were always lit up with red lights. Behind the windows stood the ladies (98% of them were beautiful). There were also lots of big burley men around to provide security to the women. And of course the area is overloaded with thousands of tourists. The area didn’t seem as rough or as sketchy as I had imagined it would. It was just like any other city center minus the women behind the windows in bikinis. We learned that each and every lady of the night is subjected to regular testing once a month, a regulation set by the government to keep the industry clean.
We had dinner in an Argentina steak house and the food was lovely, then we went back to the part of town where our hotel was, stopped off at the club from the night before for a night cap and then exhausted we went home to sleep.
The next day we got up, went to the square near the hotel where there are loads of restaurants and lots of tables outside and had a nice cup of coffee in the morning. Next we boarded a cruise boat and took a tour of Amsterdam via the canals. It was a whole new perspective from which to see the city. The canals are lined with 100s of house boats that are used as permanent residences to some lucky (or unlucky) residents. I kept seeing people in the window of their house boat and imagined how annoying it would be to have millions of tourists sail past your house and look inside each day. But none the less, it would be cool to live on an Amsterdam canal. On the tour we saw one of the narrowest houses in the whole city. Which was REALLY narrow. Because real estate was expensive in Amsterdam, people only bought narrow plots of land and built the houses a few stories high. It makes for a really cool landscape. However, because of all the water, they were not able to build proper foundation and so many of the houses are leaning now. Also really cool to see. After over an hour trip, we hopped off the boat at Anne Frank Huis, the building where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazi invaders during WWII. It was one of the most moving exhibits I have ever seen. You get to go through all of the levels of the building. The first floor was where the business was running each day, the reason why those in hiding in the annex had to be so quiet during the day. Then when you go up the stairs and into this room they have the actual bookcase there which was used to hide the small entrance into the secret annex. The bookcase is pulled to the side so you can squeeze through the opening. It is not very big and even I had to duck to get in. After a climb up some narrow steep stairs you are in the actual secret annex. It was just so surreal and hard to imagine being locked up in there for over two years. They had recreated it to make it look like it did at the time of hiding. After they were captured everything inside was seized and removed. Auto Frank, Anne’s father was the only survivor and he was a major help in making the building and Anne’s diary accessible to the public. Passages from her diary were displayed on the walls through out the building. My throat tightened and I had misty eyes when I walked out. It was definitely worth seeing and made me feel more connected to history than any other monument or museum has thus far. Plus I read the book when I was young and so it was just amazing to actually go there and see it in real life. After Anne Frank Huis we walked around the city some more and stumbled upon a duo of two young gentle men performing for donations in the famous Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam. When we walked up they were between songs and people were dropping coins in the guitar case. One was singing and one was playing guitar. When they started to play again I nearly lost my breath, they were playing one of my favourite songs of all time ‘need somebody’ by Kings of Leon. Raf video taped it and I swear it is better than the original. Amazing!! Well those are the most notable highlights of the trip, we were up really early the next day to catch our flight home, once back in England it was a nightmare commute from Liverpool to Bowness, I slept most of the way and we made it in one piece.
What an incredible city, experience and trip of a life time. I can’t wait to go back. One thing I would do differently is plan the trip in the mid to late spring when everything is in bloom. Amsterdam is really famous for their tulips and floating flower market, where all of the stalls float on the canals and you walk onto the floating stalls from the street. Really cool but not so good in March.

Up and coming news. Mom gets here soon!! A week from today she will be with me in Bowness but she will be leaving for London on Sunday. After spending three nights in London her and Mary Lou will be heading north to stay with me. They will have a nice room in my hotel and we will do some touristy stuff in Cumbria, then we will go to Edinburgh from the 18-20th. On the 19th we have a coach tour booked from Edinburgh to Loch Ness where we will try to spot Nessie!! Really excited to see her and Mary Lou and to show them around. Then I am going to Majorca in June with some friends from work. Rafal and his brother and my friend Zivile. Going to be amazing. It will be really hot there and so I am looking forward to swimming in the sea and getting a nice tan. We will be staying at a resort on an all inclusive deal and so it will be a well deserved ‘relaxing’ holiday after all of the bustling busy trips I have been taking so far.
Well that is all from me for now. I hope everyone is well at home and I miss you guys. Take care and sending lots of love. Xoxoxo Carlie

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dublin 2010!

Our room!!

The Guinness Brewery Map! Incredible building!

Picture of the crowd heading to the stadium!!

Julie, Jane, Meghan and I at the Game!

Rugby Team boarding the bus outside of our hotel!

Kilmainham Prison.

Greetings Team Canada!!!

I am very disappointed to say that I missed the opening ceremonies last night! It was broadcast live at 2am and I just couldn’t stay awake for it!! Hopefully they will show a rerun later on!! Id just like to say, “Let the Games Begin--- GO CANADA GO!!”

I was recently fortunate enough to take a short holiday to the Emerald Island and visit the magical city of Dublin! It was an amazing trip, and I might even say my favourite place I’ve visited so far!! My friend Meghan from Guelph and her two aunts Julie and Jane were coming to the Dublin as part of their “roses and ruggers tour” and I just had to go and meet up with them! They called their trip the roses and ruggers tour because they were in Europe to see the 6 nations rugby tournament. Their last name being O’Donnell, it is no surprise that they were cheering for Ireland. They spent 4 nights in Dublin, saw Ireland beat Italy and then they headed for a few nights to Galloway , IE and then over to Paris for a week where they would watch the Ireland vs France game. Obviously, I had to leave the tour after Dublin. The roses part of the name comes from the fact that everywhere they went and everything on offer was a special valentines day offer. This is great timing and as you can see, the name practically spoke for itself.
Anyways, here is an overview of my time with them in Dublin.

Wednesday, Feb 3rd:
After work I hopped on a train and headed to Liverpool where my departing flight was scheduled at 6:30 am the next day from John Lennon airport. I booked a nice little bed and breakfast in advance because I knew that sleeping at said airport is virtually impossible. I set my alarm and booked a taxi for 4:45am then went to sleep. I woke up to my phone ringing at 4:40 am, it was the taxi company giving me a 5 minute warning to my pick up time. Thank goodness they make that call. I frantically got my stuff together and ran out the door just in time to catch my taxi. On the way to the airport I checked my mobile to see why my alarm hadn’t gone off and it turns out I set it for Wednesday morning not Thursday morning!! Alls well the ends well though because I made it to the airport on time for my flight. Though my turbulence was not over yet, as I was in line to board the plane, the rep from Ryan air looked at my passport and boarding pass and told me I was supposed to go to the visa check desk to have my “non-European Union” passport verified, a process in which results with a stamp being placed on the boarding pass. Opppps!!! Turns out she was a really nice lady who made a quick phone call, scribbled something on my boarding pass in yellow highlighter and then let me go ahead and board the plane anyway “phew!!”
The flight to Dublin was 40 Minutes!!
When I arrived at the hotel, I was astonished by its sheer beauty and elegance!! Posted is a link to where we stayed which happened to be the same hotel that the Irish rugby team was staying (hence the reason why Julie picked it). The lobby was stunning and to my good luck the room was already waiting and ready for me. I had a few hours to kill before Meghan and crew would arrive so I took the first bubble bath Ive had in 5 months in a beautiful marble tub and then went for a walk, stopped for a lovely traditional Irish breakfast at a small café down a side street and then returned to the hotel for a nap in a beautiful bed of feather duvets and pillows.
When the girls arrived we had celebratory glasses of Champagne and then went out for dinner to a nice little Irish pub. After dinner we went to the temple bar area where there are loads of pubs, restaurants and people (kinda like hess village but IRISH!) We went to a few pubs, had some Bulmers (Irish cider soooo yummy) and watched live traditional Irish musicians and Irish people doing Irish Jigs. It was all so surreal. Later that night the group split up and Megs and I went to a dance club where we had a blast. We ended our night with a stopover in a local Kabob shop where Megs demanded that the Persian girl make her some Poutine. Hahahah it was sooo funny. The poor girl didn’t know what Gravy was!!!

Friday, 5th February:
After breakfast we started our day with a tour of Kilmainham prison. The history of this building is remarkable, and our tour guide was informative and so cute with his little socks and sandals. We really enjoyed the tour and it was really moving at times. A lot of horrible things happened in that Prison especially during times of British rule.
Next we visited the Guinness brewery where through a self guided tour you are shown every step in the Guinness brewing process. The building itself is no longer used for brewing, but it is such a cool place, the entire building is made in the shape of a pint glass. Posted is a picture of the building map. The top floor is called gravity bar (top of the glass) and it is a round room on the 7th floor made completely of windows where you are able to lookout over Dublin while enjoying your complimentary pint of Guinness. We also ate at the restaurant here and it was really good. The next thing on the agenda was the Jameson Distillery. While waiting for a cab to come along, we spotted a horse drawn carriage cab, looked at each other in agreement and hopped inside for a romantic frolic through the city of Dublin. Our drivers name was Gil and our horses name was Dancer. Gil was really funny and told us a lot of historical facts on the way to Jameson. The tour at the distillery was guided and very interesting. Again, it is no longer used to produce Jameson anymore, but it was redone and recreated to give you a visual idea of how the Whiskey is made. Unlike American Whiskey which is distilled once, or scotch which is distilled twice, Jameson Irish whisky is triple distilled in seasoned barrels that previously contained either cherry or port. It’s a really cool process and even though I hate whiskey, I def drank my sample drink at the end!
That night we went to a nice Italian restaurant down the road for a great dinner and then we went to some less touristy pubs that night. At one of the pubs we met two Irish gentlemen named Michael and Joseph, and we ended up hanging out with them for the rest of the night. They gave us all nicknames and told us funny stories and jokes. And it just made me fall in love with Irish people. Our group kept getting bigger and bigger as more and more Irish people came over to talk to us and join the fun. It was definitely a great night.

Saturday, 6th February:
We woke up and hit Grafton street to do a bit of touristy shopping, then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the game. Julie had 4 tickets and to her I am very thankful for the amazing experience she so generously gave me. Posted is a pic of all four of us in our Irish gear. The rugby game was in Croak Park in Dublin. The stadium holds 80,000 people and the announcer said there were over 77,000 people in attendance on the day. It was by far the largest sporting event I have ever taken part in. As we were getting ready to leave the hotel, we came down to the lobby to see a red carpet had been laid out and the teams bus sat waiting outside the front doors. We joined the anticipating crowd. As the players starting coming down the steps in the lobby there was a roar of excitement and cheer and people were gathered outside of the hotel to watch them all board the bus. Megs and I were so close to the players we could have reached out and touched them. Posted is a pic of them getting on their bus. The atmosphere on the streets down by the stadium was amazing. Everyone was really excited and there were people everywhere, all with beer in hand. We joined the parade toward the stadium. Posted is a picture of thousands of people making their way to their seats.
Incredible sight!! Ireland beat Italy 29-11.
That night we ended up eating at Subway because every restaurant in the city was fully booked and we didn’t think of making reservations before hand. Julie and Jane’s friend Mits landed in Dublin that afternoon to join the tour and we took her out to another traditional pub. We ended up having a pretty early night that night as Mits was jetlagged and I had to get up at 5am then next day to catch my flight.

Sunday, 7th February
Left the hotel in Dublin at 5am, and arrived back to my room in Bowness-on-Winderemere England at 3pm. The flight from Dublin to Liverpool was only 35 minutes but it took me 10 hours to get home because the Sunday rail service in England is worse than Sunday television in Canada. There is absolutely nothing on!!! But I made it home safe and sound and definitely feel like it was worth it!!

I miss you all sooooooooooooooooooo much and hope that all is well at home. I am sorry to say that the post cards I got you from Greece are still sitting in my room. I wrote them all out over 2 months ago but still haven’t posted them yet. I will post the Dublin and Greece ones all at the same time. I apologize for the delay! Ive been really busy and it keeps on slipping my mind. Better late than never I guess!!

Well that is all for now. Keep your sticks on the ice and root for our home and native land!! With endless love from across the old pond,


Horse Drawn Carriage ride!

Jameson Distillery

The Rugby Game!!
With Michael and Joseph!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


"I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” - Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey

Hey Everyone!! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. I can’t believe its been soooo long since I have updated my blog. Its crazy how much I have been working. The Christmas season is massively busy at the hotel, and we are a bit short staffed at reception as one of our colleagues went home for the holidays. Meaning we have all been a bit over worked. Its alright though because it’s a fun time to be working. Everyone is in good spirits.
At the beginning of the month I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Greece! I went with Judith and 4 other girls from the states. 3 from Connecticut and one from Kentucky. We landed in Athens on the afternoon of December 3rd and we stayed for 3 nights. We stayed at a hostel called “Athens Backpackers” and were originally going to have a six bedded dorm room with en-suite bathroom but upon arrival we were upgraded to an apartment suite, complete with a kitchen, living room and two balconies. Our bedroom had six beds (3 bunk beds) and every night it was like we were 12 years old at sleep away camp. Lots of laughs and girl talk time. Our first night in Athens we took er easy, had some authentic Greek food at a near by restaurant (I had chicken souvlaki and it was amazing) and we had an early night. This was followed by an early morning, when Judith, Sabrina and I went on a walking tour organized by the hostel. We saw many things in the city, including, Temple of Zeus, the Parliament buildings, a beautiful park, the market and much more. The guards at parliament do these funny steps every half hour. Posted is a picture of the guards. The pompoms on their feet look cute but they actually used to have small blades in them back in the day for kicking. At Parliament they had people selling seeds so you could feed the pigeons. They practically swarm you. Posted is a picture of this in which I am clearly terrified.
Many of the streets in Greece are lined with these fruit trees. The fruit is safe to eat but it is super sour, tastes like a bitter lemony grapefruit. They are fed by city rain water and dog pee. Thus, we referred to them as pollution fruit. & yes, we did eat some. In Athens they don’t have a dog catcher service or a pound for stray animals. They just have an organization that travels around and vaccinates and neuters the stray animals. So there are lovely dogs all over the city. They are very friendly and would protect any one if the sensed something was wrong. At night a lot of the restaurants put their scraps outside to feed the dogs. The market was really good can we took a good gander there, this is also where we had Gyros and they were like heaven in a pita. After the tour we explored the Acropolis, complete with a mini photo shoot vogue style. Sabrina from Kentucky is into photography, so she has a killer cam and takes amazing photos. Attached are some of my fav’s. Our tour guide suggested we hike up the mountain which you see in the background of the photo of me at the Acropolis. Its was a steep climb, but it was worth it at sun down, the best views of Athens. We enjoyed our €2 bottles of wine and just took in the city. The next day we took a day trip to Delphi, organized by the hostel. It was a little expensive, but totally worth it. The drive into the mountains was 3 hours and the temperature dropped about 7 degrees. (Athens was 20C and sunny for most of our trip). We visited an ancient city where the centre of the universe and the oracle of Delphi were located. Posted is a picture of the centre of the universe. Myth has it that Zeus sent two eagles away in different directions and he claimed that where ever the eagles met up again was the centre of the universe. Yes you guessed it, it happened here, at Delphi on this egg shaped rock. It is believed that if you touch the stone you will have weird dreams. I can’t say that it is untrue… Also posted is a picture of the Temple of Apollo where the famous Oracle of Delphi would sit. Many people would make the massive journey from Athens to Delphi to consult the Oracle. Who was a young girl that was chosen by the Emperor. When she got older she would be replaced by a younger girl who had a similar resemblance. Many famous people consulted the Oracle such as Aristotle and Plato. We then toured a museum with many photographs and artifacts from the excavation of Delphi. On the way back from Delphi we stopped a small picturesque mountain village which is a really popular ski resort town in the winter season. They didn’t have snow when we were there, but our guide said it usually starts snowing around January. The views in this village were incredible. See the photo posted. We then returned to Athens and had some pizza and bevy’s in the bar at our hostel. That night we got all dolled up and the six of us embarked on an adventurous night on the town. The next day we did some last minute sightseeing and we went back to the market to buy some souvenirs. We missed the riots in Athens on December 6 by about two or three hours. Last year on this date the police gunned down a 15 year old boy, and so there were protests in the city and BBC said they got pretty violent. By that time though we were back on board easyjet, heading home to the UK. That night, Judith and I stayed in a hostel in London, which was sketchy at best. But I will leave those stories for later so that I have something to tell you when I come home. Anyways, we got up super early on December 7th because Judith forgot to put her clock back two hours upon arriving in London. So we got up at “8:30” but really it was “6:30”. It was okay though because it gave us more time to sight see in London town. We caught a glimpse of Big Ben, and of course I had the classic photo taken in a red phone box. We then met up with Brynn (my friend from university who is currently living in London) and her boyfriend and we had a full English (breakfast) at Shakespeare’s. Then we headed down to Buckingham Palace and watched the change of the guard. Something I have always wanted to do! We took a nice walk through Hyde park which had a Christmas festival going on, and we stopped to take photos of the peter pan statue. Then it was time to get back on the bus and travel home to North England. The bus was only £22 round trip, but it turned a 5 hour ride into about 7 or 8. Its all good though because I have taught myself how to sleep on public transport.
So that’s the details of my epic Greek adventure. I am planning to go to Ireland at the beginning of February to see my friend Meghan who will be vacationing there. I am really excited to see her and chill in Dublin!
We have had snow here for over a week now. I am still surprised about it. I didn’t think it would last this long. Temperatures are not harsh, never dropping lower than -5 but it is cold enough to keep the snow around. I guess its nice for Christmas but I hope it doesn’t last. My boss Mathew returns from his vacation home in a few days so hopefully our schedules will go back to normal. I am looking forward to New Years because it is my friend Zivile’s birthday so we are going to celebrate in style. First up to the hotel to watch the fireworks and ring in the new year with our friends who will all be working because there is a disco in the restaurant that night, then we will hit the town and do some dancing and such. Anyways, hopefully it is not such a long time before I post on here again. Know that I miss and love all of you and I am thinking about home a lot these days. Wishing you well for an amazing new year and sending lots of English kisses !!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Halloween, Guy Fawkes & York

Me and Constantine
The Cathedral in York

Inside The Roman Castle Tower

Guy Fawkes Parents' house

My Halloween Costume!

“Remember, Remember the 5th of November”

Hello Friends and Loved Ones!!
Ohhhh how I miss you!! I’ve been having a great time here as usual.
Halloween passed a few weeks back and we had a big do to celebrate. I dressed up as a bee, which most of you know, is an insect that I am completely terrified of. I got my costume from the internet. Posted is a picture of it.
I was the only one of my group of friends to dress up that night, but once we got to the club there were loads of people dressed up and I think my friends were probably the only ones there without costumes. Most of them didn’t dress up because they are eastern European and dressing up is such a foreign idea for them. They just don’t do it back home and I think they would feel a bit strange to do it here. My other friends just couldn’t be bothered. But it was a great time and I really enjoyed that night.
Next was Guy Fawkes day, which regrettably I didn’t participate in, but heard and read a lot about it. Guy Fawkes was this guy who was involved in a plot (known as the gunpowder plot) to blow up the house of parliament and subsequently murder King Edward I and all of the Protestant and Catholic aristocracy. It was meant to go down on November 5th 1605 but the plan was foiled and Fawkes was sentenced to death. Now in Britain November 5th is known as Guy Fawkes day (also known as bon fire day)and an effigy of Fawkes is traditionally burnt in a large bonfire and people gather together and watch fireworks. It’s all very interesting. I didn’t go out or do anything that day because I worked late but I did see a beautiful display of fireworks from my window that were set off on the dock and exploded over the lake. It was amazing. The quote at the top is a verse from a famous poem about Guy Fawkes and the significance of Guy Fawkes day.
I also took a nice day trip to York with Judith on Monday. York is a lovely city in England full of history and culture. I think “New York” was named after it. Hahahaha. Guy Fawkes’s parents lived there and he was baptized in that city as well. Posted is a picture. We visited the ruins of an old Roman castle and we went to Viking museum because there was a period when York was inhabited by Viking settlers. The museum was pretty cool. You get to go on this ride, its like the ride “small world” at Disney land but on a smaller scale and you go through this recreation of what the Viking town looked like. It was really cool. It even had authentic Viking smells. It feels like you are there. It was worth checking out for sure. Posted is a picture of us dressed up in Viking armour.
I am getting really excited for my upcoming trip to Greece! I am going with Judith and 3 other girls! We fly into Athens on the 3rd of December and fly back on the 6th. If all goes as planned Judith and I are gonna stick around the London area on the 6th when we return and day trip it to Stonehenge. I hope the logistics work out, I have to work at 7am on the 8th, but we will try to make it happen.
Well since you all seem to get such a kick out of my British word lists, here is edition 3!

Poorly- Ill, not feeling well, bad health
Gob- mouth
Bloke- a man
Can’t be bothered, can’t be assed – not worth my time, don’t have patience for that
Leathered- drunk
Off your trolley- crazy, out of your mind
Ring – to call someone on the phone
Hash- refers to this symbol # which we know as the number sign and commonly as the pound symbol. They can’t call it that for obvious reasons, it would get confused with the symbol for their currency.
Prank- a missed call that is planned on purpose. Used when you don’t want to waste minutes on your cell phone. Example “just prank me when you are outside and I’ll come down and meet you”.
Nick- to steal
Kicking off- causing trouble, being a pain
Went pear shaped- things went wrong
Cocked up- messed up

I Miss you all and hope that everything is well at home. Love you sooo much!


Ps. Cheers !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

England in Autumn

Sun Set View From My Bedroom Window :)

“I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul. I let the music take me where my heart wants to go. I guess where I’ll end up, only god really knows”
-Cat Stevens, The Wind

Hey Ladies and Gents
Cheers from across the old pond! Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I haven’t been up to anything too exciting, but I’ve been enjoying myself none-the-less.
On Thanksgiving Monday, the other Canadian girl (Jennifer from Nova Scotia), Mara and Rachel and I went out for a proper thanksgiving turkey dinner at this restaurant nearby called the lake view. They offer a traditional cavery meal. This is a common thing here in England. Carvery is like a buffet style dinner where the chefs carve your piece of meat off of the roast in front of you. You usually get to choose between turkey, beef or gammon. Of course we had the turkey. It comes with a side of stuffing and Yorkshire pudding, potatoes and veg. (If you don’t know what Yorkshire pudding is I feel sorry for you, but basically it is a bread bowl thingy that is filled with gravy. YUM!). It was a good time, I was happy to celebrate in our own little way. Rachel and I ended up going out and dancing until 2am. Typical thanksgiving tradition for me.
When Salva and I were coming home from Paris we met a girl named Judith from Missouri. She was on the same flight as us and she took the same bus home as us. We talked a lot about our travels and purposes for being in England. She is studying here for four months before heading to Africa for four months and then China for a year. She is taking a program similar to the one I took at Wilfrid Laurier, she studies cultures and specifically race relations. We had a lot in common and her university is only an hour train ride from where I live in England. We kept in touch and last week she came to the lake district to visit me and take a look around. She stayed in my old room that I had when I lived in the hotel. We went out on Thursday night with some of my friends from work, and she requested American Woman at the dance club, and when they played it we were the only two people on the dance floor!! Good times. The next day we went to the Beatrix Potter museum, which was really cute and we took the boat down Lake Windermere to Ambleside. It was a nice visit, and it was my first time showing someone around Bowness, I think she really liked it here.
I am planning to go to Greece with Judith and some of her friends December 3-6th. In fact I think I might buy my tickets tonight. Its only 80 pounds for the flight round trip and we will be staying in a hostel so the travel expenses can remain low. Im really looking forward to that. In addition I also have 4.5 more days of holidays which I have to take before the end of Dec or else I lose them so I am trying to coordinate with Brynn in order to make the trip down to London to see her and meet Tato. (Brynn is my friend from University who now lives in London with her dad and her Spanish boyfriend).
Right now I am enjoying my last cup of Tim Hortons coffee!! The tin that Rachel brought me back from her trip to BC went really fast. Please send more!!!!!
I have today and tomorrow off, and although it is cloudy here today I think I will venture out to take a long nature walk on one of the foot paths along the lake. Then tonight Rachel and I are going to go out for a few pints and enjoy the dwindling night life here in Bowness at the beginning of the off season. (this town is pumping in the summer but things slow down over the fall and winter) Tomorrow Rachel is off as well and so we are planning to go to Kendal (the nearest town that’s bigger which has shopping centers and stuff) she has a car and has invited me to come along.
More people are leaving and new people keep showing up. My friend Jorge is heading back to Spain in 9 days, he is the second last one of the Spanish mafia, leaving poor Armondo here on his own (although a new girl Eva has arrived in housekeeping and she is also Spanish, she lives below me and she is really nice) Still, when I arrived, the Spanish mafia had 6 or 7 people, now there are only 2 :( Also, my friend Peter will be heading home to Slovakia at the end of November and the Canadian girl, Jennifer, will also be heading back to our mother land in November. Its sad to see people go, everyone says that you get used to it after a while, but I don’t think I will. Its just not me. Anyways with every new departure there is a new arrival so things are always changing around here.
That’s all the news I have for you at the moment. As always the offer to visit me still stands. You will get a room for 20 pounds a night in my hotel and will receive a 50% discount on all food and bev from the hotel bar and restaurant. Common people you know you wannna!!!!!
I miss you all from the bottom of my heart!
Keep keepin it real my puck slappin syrup suckers!!!!
With much love,
Ps. Here is an addition to my list of English words:

Fit Bird – hot girl
Cheeky Bugger – a guy who is always really sarcastic, a bit of a trouble maker, makes fun a lot, speaks inappropriately
Boot- the trunk of a car
Take the piss out- if you take the piss out of someone it means you are making fun of them
Getting on with someone- if you get on with someone it means that you get along with them well.
Getting on about something- if you get on about something it means that you are engaged with a topic that you are determined to discuss
Come round- come on over
Stop for tea- stay for dinner
Fancy dress- dressing up in costumes (not just for Halloween, its common all the time)
Hen night- bachelorette party
Proper- they say this about everything, “I went for a proper run today”, “That was a proper dinner”, “She drives a proper car”. Im not really sure what it means, what is an improper run?
Cheers- very very common way of saying thank you. Not only used in slang, also in business and even really posh people say it at the hotel
Posh- classy, rich, proper English people, kinda snooty.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Viva La Paris!!

Bonjour Mes Amies! Viva la Paris!!!
I have just returned from a quick getaway in Paris over this past weekend. It was amazing!!The weather was incredible, sunny and high to mid-twenties all weekend. The trip was short but sweet. This is a little bit how it went.
Salvador and I both worked on Friday until 3pm then we took the train to John Lennon Airport in Liverpool, where we slept on the bench at Burger King from midnight until 4 am. Our flight left at 6 am Saturday, getting us to Paris around 6:30am Paris time (1 hour ahead of the UK). After customs and airport security, we took a train to Gare Du Nord, where our hotel was situated about a 5 minute walk from the station. We got kinda lost looking for our hotel, and after asking for directions a few times and getting only French responses, we finally stopped at a hotel and picked up a map. Great plan!
We checked into our hotel and went out for petite dejourner, which in Paris is 6 Euros for a small coffee and a croissant!! I can’t believe the price of Coffee in Paris. Its more expensive than beer, I am not even kidding. Anyways, our first stop was the Eiffel tower because that’s what I wanted to see the most. The line for the stairs was shorter and also cheaper than the lift so we decided to climb up. 3000 steps later we found ourselves on the second landing. The view was unbelievable!! We then waited 45 minutes in line to take the lift to the very top (no stairs exist for that). It was well worth it! Everything is white from the top and you can see the entire city. I was so happy that we went up.
The rest of the day we spend walking around and checking out monuments. I loved the sacre coeure (sacred heart church) & we saw were Napoleon was buried. We ate dinner at Quick, a MacDonalds like restaurant, and then we went back to the hotel to die of exhaustion.
The next day we slept in by mistake because we were so tired from the day before and the lack of sleep in the airport. But we got up around 10 and headed out again. We walked along Trocadero, where we saw the most beautiful gardens, fountains and monuments.
We also stopped at the Arc de Triomphe Etoile which was a beautiful monument dedicated to all of the soldiers who have fought in wars for France.
Later on we stumbled upon a lovely market, where we bought fresh croissants and fruit and other goodies and we had a picnic lunch on the island right outside of Notre Dame. Unfortunately were 15 minutes late getting to the Musee du Louvre, where Mona Lisa and the Venus De Milo are, so we weren’t able to visit. But it was okay, we just continued to walk around and take everything in. I loved the park where all the painters were painting and selling their work! How typical of Paris. It was lovely.
Paris has 40 subway lines, and we made use of a lot of them. At first we weren’t sure what was going on, as it is really confusing, but it didn’t take us long to catch on, and it felt like we spend a third of our trip in the underground. There was ALWAYS someone singing or playing an instrument either on the train or in the stations, and asking for money. At one of the bigger stations there was practically a symphony orchestra set up. It was surreal and very beautiful. We stopped to enjoy it.
Sunday night we ate dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant on Avenues Des Champs, where we sat at a terrace table and just watched the loads of people pass. Then later we went back to the Eiffel tower to see it light up at 10 O’clock. It is absolutely beautiful, kinda like a Christmas tree the way it sparkles. I loved it.
Monday morning we left at 6:30 am for the train to the airport and we arrived back in Bowness around 5pm (UK time). It was a long day of Travelling, but when we arrived in Liverpool we decided to see a bit of the city centre before coming back to Bowness. Liverpool is a cool place and received the European Cultural Capital award for this past year. The people there are interesting. I liked it, but its kinda strange.
Paris was really beautiful and I am so glad I had the chance to visit it. I took Salva to MacDonalds for breakfast and it was his first time ever having an Egg McMuffin. Can you believe that? Also in Paris the McDonalds had a little section inside it called “McCafe” where you could buy specialty coffees and little colourful sweets shaped like hamburgers, they also had doughnut and croissants. It was weird.
Last night was Salvadors leaving party and this morning he left for Liverpool airport (again!) at 9:30am. It was sad to see him go, he has been my best friend here and was a really important person for me at the hotel. I guess I am learning a lot about life in the sense that people will come and people will go.
I miss home a bit and I think about you guys all the time. Rachel brought me back a tin of Tim Hortons coffee from her trip to BC but I haven’t had a chance to buy a coffee maker. I did however move into my new room in the Terrace. It is freshly painted and looking very nice. However I moved in the day before Paris so I still haven’t unpacked and it looks like a bomb went off in here! I have internet now though so I am very thankful for that. I will be getting my self set up with a skype account soon, so expect some phone calls!!
Thursday night is the “block party” in Bowness. I am not really sure what that entails but Rachel said “ohh its and experience luv!” So I’m excited to check that out.
I also took a boat cruise to Ambleside with Salva last Sunday. It was such a beautiful day to be out on the lake, and later in Ambleside we visited the most massive garden center I have ever seen. Poor guy, I dragged him around in there for over an hour probably. It was a really lovely day.
Anyways, those of you who are still reading at the very bottom of this massive chapter book of a post, that’s real dedication! I will leave you now as I have wasted enough of both of our time.
Miss and love you more than words can say. Enjoy the pics that are posted. More to come on FB.
Love you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Manchester & Beautiful Weather in Bowness!

Hey Guys!!

We have been having the most incredible weather here, its unbelieveable. It hasnt rained for one full week!!!! Its been sunny and low to mid 20's. Couldnt be nicer!! On my day off last week Salvi and I went for a walk around lake Windermere on this awsome little foot path. I was taken aback by the utter beauty of this area on a sunny day. Posted are a few pictures since it was so beautiful that day!

Yesterday I had the day off and I spent it shopping in Manchester with Sally and Mara. Sally is a manager in the restaurant and Mara works with me in reception. We had a killer time, and literally shopped til we dropped. I got a new coat, boots, sweater and a pair of skinny jeans. Luckily, Azstra, a girl from housekeeping, is a seamstress and she is going to hem my jeans for me (great connection, I know!!!). The train was 21 pounds nd took just over an hour and a half. We visited lots of shops, had lunch in the food court ( I had subway and it took my heart back home) and then we did some wandering around and I rode on the giant wheel!! Posted is a picture of the three of us in the city square, a view from the wheel, and a picture of the wheel from the pub that we stopped at to rest and enjoy a pint. It was a fantastic day, and I was so tired I slept like a baby last night.

I got to take a look at my new room the other day, though I havent been able to move in yet. They are preparing to paint it and install some curtains. But it is nice, more spacious than I thought it would be with a nice size bed and room for a sofa! I will get one from the hotel that has been put in storage. Pretty exciting stuff!

I wasnt feeling well last week, but Im starting to feel better now. I think the lack of vegtables in our staff dinners is the reason my immune system is weak. Ive been making a point to eat more fruit and get more sleep.

The TV in the hotel is very limited and usally full of "rubbish" like Ricky Lake reruns and other junk. But I bought an SNL box set with the best of Will Ferrell, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler for 8 pounds!! Pretty amazing deal so Ive been enjoying that.

We took Andres to the airport on Sunday. It was sad to see him go, but i will see him again when I visit Spain in January. I think I will go to Barcelona and get Anne and Salvi to meet up with us there. I can't wait to go. Salvi is here for another week and a half before his contract ends on September 25th. I have that weekend off so we are thinking maybe we will plan to travel somewhere cool before he departs. Its up in the air right now, but it would be really cool to have a quick get-a-away.

My friend Rachel, the head of housekeeping, is currently in Whistler on holidays with her boyfriend. I gave her 5 dollars Canadian and asked her to bring back some Tim Hortons coffee. I also gave her Obies number and he told me that they met up and hung out! Im so jealous that they got to see my Obie San! I hope they are enjoying Canada, and can't wait to hear of their stories!

Well that is all for now. I am constantly buying post cards and asking for addresses, so if you would like one, leave your addy in a comment or email it to me at

I miss you all soooo much!!

Endless love,


P.s. I forgot to mention my favourite English word in my previous list, instead of saying vaccume, the say "hoover". and instead of saying that they vaccummed something, they say they hoovered it. Its just toooo funny, I can't get over it.
Plus, dinner is called tea. I used to think tea was an afternoon event with crumpets and proper ladies wearing white gloves, but no, it just means dinner. And we call ours "staff tea". Its sometimes okay, sometimes not. What can ye do. I can atleast say that I will have had my share of fish and chips this year!