About Me

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Just a happy 23 year old with Bipolar. Attempting to make a little bit of a difference to enhance this beautiful world. I choose rose-tinted sunglasses. xo

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crippled Travels

So I blew my knee out in Paris on Thursday... Long story short, slow motion running to hug someone is no longer anywhere on my to-do list. But I'll be damned if that stops me from taking advantage of vacation time and travelling.
With Christina's parents still in town for one last weekend it was decided that we rent a car and head to the North of France for the weekend to hopefully see the debarment beaches in Normandy. Also in the game plan for this weekend? Paris and the area getting record amounts of snow (the last time it snowed this much being in the late 70's). Nothing will stop determined Canadians though, so on we trekked to the North in hopes of some history lessons and major war memorials.
We had initially planned on leaving the Paris area mid morning on Saturday, so by noon we hit the road. Aimed with nothing more than a small over night bag, a GPS, and some loose Wikipedia facts we headed North to the city of Rouen. According to my brief Internet knowledge it is in this city where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431 and that was enough for me to want to visit. Although driving in it looked doubtful that this city would offer anything more than industrial campuses and refuge from the snowy, unplowed and unsalted highways, we were pleasantly surprised to find a quaint medieval town with many large churches and cathedrals as well as picturesque crooked buildings. Although there was no monument marking where Joan was burnt, there was a very "fancy" plaque.
We had lunch at a German restaurant which called for sauerkraut and a load of meat. Delicious. And  got to attempt the impossible: a narrow flight of stairs to the bathrooms on crutches. No easy feat, but then again neither was the cobblestone roads for a few hours of walking around.
As in all towns around France, small and large alike, there was a Christmas Market. Although we had eaten enough at lunch to make dinner completely avoidable, we still had to indulge in crepes and chiros. That goes without saying.
After walking past the shopping district and by the rock and roll Santa Clauses we found City Hall where we had parked the car and headed even more North with the single ambition of finding somewhere to spend the night.
Salvation came when we reached the city of Caen, just over an hour North-West of Rouen. Although the first "hotel" claimed it was at capacity for the night we did find somewhere to crash... Quick Palace. And please don't like the word "palace" fool you. This was a 35 euro for the night, dive of a hotel that smelled of piss and vomit when you entered. Any hotel that offers you a room with bunk beds should typically be avoided, but beggars can't be chooser, and after a few bottles of wine a bed is as good as any. And I got a fidelity card, we are only 13 more stays away from a free night. Be excited.
Sleeping in is a thing of the past and waking up at 8am on a Sunday is the new way to go. An early start to another snowy day. Nothing says good morning like McDonalds... and surprisingly their breakfast is quite good... I mean if you are looking for the greasy food you typically get in North America you'll be disappointed, but it was delicious! By McDonalds standards of course.
Instead of hitting the beaches, due to the weather conditions it was deemed unattainable, and even if we did get there we wouldn't see anything, we went to the Caen Memorial for the war. It was excellent! I got to borrow a wheelchair and everything! Thank God we chose something equipped for vets because my knee would want to kill me otherwise.
All in all a lovely weekend spent in the North of France. I just want to show off the Quick germs and it will be perfect.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Couple Pieces of Canada

So Christina's parents got here the other day and so far it has been great having them here. They are staying right outside of the Arc de Triumph area in a little apartment with a great market right outside their front door. Christina and I went to get them at the airport on Saturday morning and after getting them settled we showed them a few places around Paris. That night we had a great dinner of market roasted chicken, baguette, red wine, potatoes and green beans. Excellent. And what a feeling to get a hug from a parent!! We are being spoiled and loving it.

Today we went over to her host parent's house for a traditional dinner of raclette... which is in short AMAZING!! The main concept is having meats, potatoes, pickles and onions covered by a fabulous cheese and drinking a hell of a lot of white wine and champagne. Excellent. Lunch was accompanied by a crazy French lady talking a little bit too much and not listening enough, and of course some baguette and salad to finish off. This is apparently a traditional meal in France and one that I am completely willing to take home and adapt to Canadian life as well.
 After stuffing our faces in the politest way possible I toke Christina's parents back to the metro, but not before stopping to have some coffee and marcarons... Sil and I decided on nougat, salted caramel and hazelnut praline flavoured to share. We are officially converted to loving French food. I will continue endorsing going to a cafe to use the bathroom if it means deliciousness like this each time.
Although having them here makes me miss my family, it is really nice to have familiar faces around and to be able to show off Paris a little. Besides its making the time until my sister arrives fly by and is giving Christina and I a well deserved change of scenery. God I miss good hugs and parental love... even if they aren't officially my parents.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cotes des CaStillon

Two bottles of wine and a half bottle of gin is a bad combination. I am over at Christina's and can barely type. But the important thing is that Christima's paremts arrive tomorrow mornig.  am apinning. The world wont't stay sti;ll/...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pistachio Tiramisu

What a lovely night in the Paris area!
Another semi eventful weekend with an old family au pair visiting, which I was initially a little worried about, but she is great and will come with me to Paris for the free museum day tomorrow. Her name is Karly, and she is also American and the kids are delighted that she is visiting, but are now more than ever, stuck like glue to me.
And then tonight I went with Christina's host mom, Anna, and her eldest son, Sebastian to see a French theater production, La Serva Amorosa. Before the show we grabbed a bite to eat at a pizza place, and I must say there is a significant difference to eating pizza in France than in Canada. First off you order an entire pizza for yourself, which come with some unique toppings (mine for example was with lardon, something like bacon chucks, cheese, an egg and fresh cream... Anna got one with salmon??). Secondly you eat the entire thing with a knife and fork... I look incredibly awkward trying to figure out the best way to do this with a round, crusty pizza. And what pairs better with pizza than Perrier and red wine? Apparently, according to the French, nothing.
The show itself was all in French and I was thankful that it was translated from its original Italian version later, so that it was modern French. It was a comedy from the 17th century, reinforcing the ideals of the century: the rich are often oblivious and selfish, and the servants are always portrayed as kind, smart, and always end up winning in the end. I actually sat through the two hour production understanding everything that was being said, and was even able to laugh at the jokes!
I am looking forward to a nice day tomorrow filled with Paris sites and museums and followed by a lunch/ tea over at Aurore's again. Lovely weekend to all!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Barcelona here we come!

So it has officially been decided that for when my sister visits for Christmas we are going to go to Barcelona! I know that I have already been to Spain... but Barcelona seems to be a city in itself that must be seen. And it looks beautiful! We are going to be flying there with Ryanair again and hopefully renting an appartment for the week because it will be a lot cheaper than staying in hostels... Yeah, please note that any time you plan of traveling for about a week or more it is a really good idea to look into appartment rentals, you will save a ton of money, have a lot more room, and typically have access to a kitchen area so you can cook your own food. I will update when the tickets are bought, but for now this is just really exciting. 23 days until my sister gets here and 26 days until Barcelona with her and Christina! Be excited, be be excited!