Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Time flies, guernsey tales

So I can finally do a quick update. Guernsey was nice. It's one of the Channel Islands just off the coast of France. The weather was really windy the time that i was there so i didn't have a chance to do a lot of things that i was hoping to do. it was so windy that the boats were cancelled and i had to stay over one extra night. but while there i saw the house that Victor hugo stayed in while he was exiled from france. and went for a couple walks on the beach. on one of them, it started to rain so i headed back to the house. luckily the woman from the house drove down the road to pick me up (it was pouring like you wouldn't believe it) cause about a minute later it started to hail in stopped about 2 minutes later but her daughter got 10 inches of hail in her backyard. then a rainbow appeared. so it was really nice. update about biarritz, san sebastian and lyon should be coming sibce i'm leavinbg for torino on thusrday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Getting to Portsmouth

Right now I'm sitting at the first high speed computer I've encountered so far and it's wonderful. You don't realize how dependent you are on high spped until you go back to dial up and it takes forever to read emails and send them.
Anyways, right now I'm in Portsmouth, a town in the South of England. Just this morning, I was in the Lake District which is on the boarder of Scotland and England. $ trains and 8 hours later, here I am. In the Lake District, I visited with a friend, the daughter of the ppl I was staying with in Glasgow. We went for a walk around the lake near Keswick (pronounced Kesik) adn saw even more sheep and even Canada geese (something seems wrong with that picture!) It was really nice weather, cloudy with a lot of sunny breaks which was great cause the day before it was rainning and today also. As long as it rains while I'm travelling, I'm happy. So tomorow it's off to Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. Victor Hugo use to live there. The ferry leaves bright and early at 9 am so I should probably go and have supper now.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Scotland, you really should visit

slightly long update but it covers most of a very very interesting week while leaving some stuff out!
update assez long mais ca couvre les evenements improtants, et les textes sont un peu differents dans les deux langues alors ca vaut la peine de lire les deux!

Ceilidh at the castle

Last Saturday, I headed off by bus to St.Andrews, the town by the sea where Prince William went to university. That wasn't of very much interest, the guy graduated in 2005. What was though was the fact that in the ruins of the St.Andrews castle there would be a ceilidh. Now what is a ceilidh you may ask? I had no idea myself until it all started. It's a dance where you dance Scottish folk dances. If you have no idea how to dance, they explain all the steps and then you have a try at it. It was all great fun! And I even danced with a guy in a kilt! And the setting was beautiful. The ruins are next to the bay of St.Andrews which is just part of the North Sea. So you feel the breeze from the sea and hear the waves crash onto the shore while you are twirling around to Scottish music.

Samedi passe, je suis allee a St.Andrews. C'est une petite ville sur le bord de la mer ou il y a des ruines d'une tres vieille cathedrale et d'un chateau. Dans le chateau, il y a eu un 'ceilidh', une danse ou l'on danse des danses folkloriques ecossaises. Il y a meme eu une danse traditionnelle canadienne! Le chateau est sur le bord de la mer alors la vue etait magnifique! Et j'ai meme danse avec un gars en kilt! En revenant a Glasgow,


After St. Andrews, I hung out in Glasgow a bit more. Then we drove up to Kintyre which is in the West side of Scotland. On the way we drove through the edge of the Highlands. Even though they are just mountains with sheep on them, they are spectacular. And the sheep seem to add something. It's probably b/c in Canada, you don't see many sheep in the fields, there are mostly cows and some random horses, and there certainly aren't any on the side of the road! We stayed for one night and the next day walked up through a sheep pasture. I think I got about 20 photos of the sheep and the lambs. Some day once I figure out how to post photos, the best ones will be up. To get back to Glasgow, we took 2 ferries and drove part way on a one lane road with passing stops. It doesn't sound like much but it involves a lot of stop and go and cars and trucks appearing in front of you all of a sudden!


Edinburgh was the next stop. I arrived on Thursday and wandered a round a bit and saw a museum. A nice thing about Scotland is that a lot of the museums are free! I got a room in a hostel and then phoned up the son of the upstairs neighbours of the ppl I'm staying with in Glasgow. He had said that if I showed up that he would show me the town. So I finally had 2 pints of Tennets beer, a Glaswegian beer, in a Scottish pub in Edinburgh. Since the owners of a cafe that the guy knew were celebrating the 1 yr anniversary of the opening, there were a lot of ppl in the pub, so a lot of ppl to talk to. We eventually headed to another pub a block away and had some chips (aka fries) before going in. Apparently if someone in Edinburgh offers you sauce with your chips, you have to accept! And the sauce is really good! Had there been any cheese curds, it would have been Scottish poutine! The stereotype about Scots drinking a lot was upheld to a certain extent, people much smaller in stature than me drank several pints and were still very coherent! Luckily, the hostel I was at was only a half block from the bar so I didn't have far to go to get a little bit of sleep. The next morning involved visiting the Edinburgh castle (highly recommended) and waiting for the 1 o'clock firing, where a canon is fired to indicate the time. Even if you are expecting it, the sound is very loud and a lot a smoke is created. The Scottish parliament has very interesting architecture. There doesn't seem to be a single straight wall in the building. I wandered a bit more before catching the train back to Glasgow for a good night sleep.

Jeudi, je suis allee faire un tour a Edinburgh. En sortant du train, pres d'un parc, il y avait un gars qui jouait de la cornemuse. Il portait un kilt et un peu plus tard un autre gars en kilt est venu le remplacer. La musique etait tres bonne. J'ai visite un musee avec beaucoup de toiles et quelques sculptures. Apres avoir trouver un lit dans une auberge, j'ai appelle le fils des voisins d'en haut de la famille avec qui je reste a Glasgow. On est alle a un pub pour celebrer le premier anniversaire de l'ouverture d'un cafe dont le gars connait les proprietaires. J'ai finallement bu deux pintes de biere, une biere fabrique a Glasgow, dans un pub ecossais a Edinburgh! La soiree etait le fun, on est alle a un autre bar plus tard dans la soiree. Chauqe bar etait a un demi block de l'auberge alors j'ai pas eu tres loin a aller pour dormir quelques heures. Le lendemain, j'ai visite le chateau de Edinburgh, tres interessant. L'apres-midi j'ai fait un tour au parlement d'Ecosse. C'etait tres interessant car l'architecture est tres tres moderne, aucun mur exterieur n'est droit!

So the time spent in Scotland has been really interesting and fun. I think I've done most of the things one would expect to on a visit to Europe and Scotland. Castles and their ruins, cathedrals and their ruins, museums with art from the middle ages all the way up to modern art, more scientific ones, roman artefacts, a night on the town, drinking at a Scottish pub and eating chips, seeing the highlands and the sheep, going to a fresh water loch, having problems understanding ppl's accents and them not understanding you (good thing it goes both ways!) and a ceiligh . And the transportation has been incredibly varied: plane, train, car, bus, double decked bus (both the tourist type and the ones use for real transportation), ferry, foot, subway and bike (yesterday we biked up to Loch Lomond and took the train back, all of 26 miles on the bike and the guy I was with is 62, and much faster than I was!). Next stop is Whitehaven and then it's a day's worth of train and a day's worth of ferry to get to Guernsey where I hope to update again.

Alors je quitte l'Ecosse demain pour le nord de l'Angleterre avant une journee en train et un autre en bateau pour me rendre a Guernsey. Le temps que j'ai passe ici a vraiment ete rempli. Les choses que j'ai vues et faites inclus tout ce qu'on peut faire quand on visite l'Europe. Et les moyens de transport etaient extrement varies: air, terre et mer, et sousterrain incluant un tour de velo de 26 milles. Ca fini par faire mal au derriere! Alors je vais refaire mes bagages ce soir et c'est un autre depart demain.

Friday, May 05, 2006


So before even leaving Canada, I went to a place that I had never been before :Halifax. On the way to London there was a short stop in Halifax. The airport is quite lovely and the woods around it are nice. There wasn't anything else to see though cause we weren't allowed out of the plane. And sunsets over Newfoundland and sunrises over England are very beautiful.
Next stop was the London Gatwick airport for a 6 hour layover. Everything was really efficient. There is even a train b/w the north and south terminal that takes all of 2 minutes. And when the sun is rising, it's very pretty. Luckily in the airport, there are lounge chairs that you can sort of fall asleep on if your body refuses to stay awake any longer.
So after a few days in Glasgow, I think that I'm over the jetlag. The people I'm stying with live next to the University of Glasgow so I visited the campus a few times. There are a couple of museums and galleries there. There was an exhibit about Lord Kelvin (of the temperature scale fame) and one about Lister, the guy who came up with the antiseptic idea. You would think that going across the Atlantic, I would get away from chemistry and McGill, but no, at least not in Glasgow. On the tourist bus (a bus that goes around town and you hope on and off as much as you like for 2 days) they announced that we were driving up the street that James McGill was born on, the very one that founded the University.
Other interesting sites in Glasgow that I've seen are the subway and the Necropolis. The subway is a tiny orange thing that goes around the track in a circle. It has very comfortable seats and the conductors stick there head out the window to make sure everyone is on, so no bags or coats get stuck b/w the doors. THe Necropolis is the local cemetary. It's up on a hill so you get a very nice view of Glasgow. And it's right next to the St-Mungo museum of religious studies. I'm being called for tea (which I think is really supper!). And I've had more tea in the past few days that in a month at tea club! Next update sometime in the future, probably after the weekend at St-Andrews.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Départure: frenglish sign at Dorval airport, pancarte franglaise à l'aéroport de Dorval

Je pars dans qq heures pour l'aéroport et c'est tellement énervant et excitant en même temps. Ça fait tellement longtemps que j'organise le voyage que j'ai peine èa croire que c'est bientôt que ça commence! Merci à tous ceux et celles qui m'ont aidé et qui m'ont souhaité bon voyage! C'est très apprécié!

So, a few more hours and it's off to the airport! This crazy trip of mine is finally starting. It's weird how it always seemed to be so far away and now, in less than 24h, I'll be on another continent. Thank you to everyone who helped out, from info about places, guide books, clothes pins and general tricks about travelling. It was all really appreciated. I'm not sure when the next post will be, probably when I can get near a computer with the internet. So keep reading!