Monday, June 26, 2006

Torino part 1

so i'm in berling right now for about a day and a half, it's been really great and will try to write about that a little bit later.
so everyone has heard about torino and the winter olympics in 2006. it's a great place to visit cause everything is close to the center and you can walk almost eveywhere and if you get lost, chances are that there is a tourist info booth within sight.
so i go there in the afternoon on june 1st from lyon and was met by morgan, a friend from high school in edmonton, who was there on a CS conference. he had along with him two friends also from edmonton, so the 4 of us hung around that city for the rest of the day.
first stop was the hostel cause my bag is a bit heavy to lug around town. we tried to find lunch cause we were all pretty hungry and instead came across canada house from the olympics. you would think it would be easy to recognize, a log cabin in the middle of an italian town, but since none of the albertans believed me, i asked the parking attendent for the parking lot that is right below the house if it truely was canada house during the olympics. and it was so we got a photo of the canadians in front of canada house.
we found some food and then went looking for the egyptian museum, apparently the largest museum of its type outside of egypt. we got a bit lost, came across lagrange street, of calculus fame (the guy was born in torino), and eventually wandered into a back entrance to what we figured would be the musuem. it turned out to be the museum as there was a large room with a bunch of egyptian statues. the place was huge and even had a copy of the rosetta stone(it allowed ppl to understand the egyptian hieroglyphs, original in london). as we were leaving, we figured out that we had entered to museum through the back door and saw the place for free. the ticket counter was off to the side and we had avoided the beginning of the museum where they did the ticket check.
afterwards we went for gelato, the ice cream in italy is amazing! we walked to the top of a hill and got a great view of torino. the mountains are gorgeous, they totally encircle the place. we then slowly headed to the restaurant where the conference banquet was to be held and i got in for a small fee. italian food is also really good. there were so many courses that i couldn't eat most of the meal. unfortunately, due to the hostel curfew, i skipped dessert and headed back to the hostel for the night.
the next morning, i ended up talking to some girls in the room, one was canadian and had a mountain equipment coop bag, that was how i had recognised that she waas from canada and the other was from germany. since there was no more room in the hostel, the german girl and i move to small hotel in the middle of town. the place was almost empty which was great! in the afternoon we all caught a train to savona, the nearest beach to torino (2 hours away) and had a nice afternoon just lying around. so after swimming in the atlantic, a week later i was in the mediterranean. the water was so clear and a bit cold, but you could just float there! we slowly headed back to the train station and saw that there was a train leaving in 5 minutes so we rushed to the train. it was firday and a holiday in italy so we were the only ones with the brillian idea to go to the beach that day. the train was packed! we sat on the floor b/w the two wagons for half the journey before there were some free seats. once we got back to torino, we went for some food at a local restaurant and again had some great italian food, pasta in the form of chick peas with a shrimp sauce. so more about torino eventually as i spent another 2 days there.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lyon a bit late

i have a dream, the dream is that i might actually be able to write about all the amazing places i have been and not be a month behind. so first off Bonne St-Jean a tout le monde. i celebrated last night by having a pint of czech beer. only 34czech crowns, so 1,70 canadian. prague is great by the way!
now lyon, the time sp ent there was b/w the 29th of may to the 1st of june. lyon was a lot of fun. the first morning there, since we had just come back in the night train, mel and i had a nap while steph and sarah headed to stage.
afterwards we serached for a laundromat that we eventually found and enjoyed the pleasures of having clean clothing again. it took a while thought b/c the clothes took 2 full days to dry. just in time to be packed up for the next town.
highlights of lyon were searching for a nalgene bottle b/c the top of mine had broken in biarritz. we finally found one in the third store we wetn to, they don't have the same appeal in europe as they do in canada!
we ate at a bouchon lyonnais. it's a restaurant where they serve the pig in all the ways possible brain tongue trippes, luckily, they do have more normal cuts of meat such as sausage. it was nice to have a local specialty that you do not hear about in other countries.
mel and i took a guided visit of La Fourviere, the main basilica or maybe it is just a cathedral in lyon. the visit was really interesting, we learned all about the history of the place. from the back it looks like a lego house b/c they did not have enough money to finish carving the sculptures. after the visit we ran into the guide who offered to show us the inside of the cathedral so we had a 2 hour visit of the roof and then a 2 hour visit of the inside of La Fourviere. there also you could see the progression of the construction. in some places the mopaics were finished while in others there was only the pencil outline of where the wall was to be carve out for the stone to be laid.
another great thing about lyon is the baguette and tomato sandwiches you can eat in front of any church, you just need to bring the food along. and of course the crepe and flavoured beer that we all enjoyed again the night before i left for torino!
and if you ever get to lyon, you should look for the fresque,not sur about the name, that are painted on the walls on various buildings in the town. they are life size and some have famous ppl from the city on them such as ampere and st-exupery, of le petit prince fame.
there is a line up to us the free internet at the hostel so i will update more later. but let me advertise for prague, the place is great, you can get so much for so little money and the waether here is awesome. i am heading to berlin for 2 nights tomorow so i should get into the world cup mood again.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


sorry for not updating much. i'm in vienna right now and will head off to prague tomrow. i have just spent the day trying to organize the next part of the trip and really don't have much time to update the blog. but vienna is nice. it's much quieter than rome but the temperature is the same! so much for trying to find a cooler climate! i went to see the da vinci code yesterday with 4 girls from the states. it was sort of odd seeing a movie in english in vienna about places i've been and will be going! but it was a nice change of pace from the last few weeks where i would just do the touristy stuff. other good point i made my first meal yesterday. just some pasta and tomato sauce and sausage. it's so great to cook after eating out of grocery stores and restaurants for a long time.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


this is not in order, i should be posting about lyon but as the previsou post said, I LOVE ROMA!
this place is amazing, like you have no idea how much. there is so much history here. i got here and at the bus stop to get to the hostel hooked up witha girl from vancouver. so after checking in we headed downtown and on the way met an armenian that lived in georgia! we saw the st. peters basilica. it cannot be described in words and we got there about an hour before it closed and there was no line up. when we arrived, there were beams of light coming in and shinning on the middle of the long main room. magnifique! we found the canadian embassy to the vatican by fluke and took a photo in front of it.we then went for supper and ate pasta and headed back to the hostel.
the next morning, wednesday, the pope was having a public audience, so he pretty much did a short mass in the square. we got there and didn't have tickets to get in ( you can get them for free the day before) so hung around at the back near the fence. then this guy came up behind us adn gave us tickets in so there we were among so many pilgrims that came from as far away as malaysia to hear the pope. it was incredible (anyone have any more adjectives that i can use to describe rome?) after that we headed to the castello san angelo and climbed up and saw the view. yuo could see all the things that you learn about in history class. it was great. so we decided to take the tour bus and as we were getting the tickets recognized some canadians due to their MEC bag. they actually were working in rome at the embassy that will be moving on the weekend. we ran into them later in the day in a completely different end of town! so the bus tour was also great. we saw most everything. from the coliseum to the vatican to the city hall and the river. we decided to go see trevi fountain. and i threw a coin over my shoulder to make sure i come bcak.
time is runnin gout on the internet so i will update soon. go oilers!

Pays Basque Part 2

so i totally forgot to talk about the day in san sebastian. it is in spain and the place was great. the beach was gorgeous and you could just float in the clear water as you watched everyone on the beach. we climbed one of the hills in the town and ate cherries at the top of it before heading to the beach. after we went up the other hill on the fenicular and enjoyed the view from the other side of the bay. we headed back to the hostel and then out for food. we ate tapas most of the night and drank and really enjoyed our time there. they have one platter that is deep fried wild asparagus. those are amazing, like the best food ever in spain, better than the paella we had had for lunch.
by the way i'm in rome right now and I LOVE ROME!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pays Baque

so i'm inLucca right now in the west part of italy. i had written a really long post about the time in pays basque but then the time on the computer cut out. so here goes. i will try and give a brief description of everything but of course a lot will be forgotten.
i got to lyon on the wednesday night(may 24) and was met by stephanie and melanie both from mcgill chem. steph is studying in lyon for the yr. that evening along with sarah, steph's room mate, we went for free crepe night at the university bar. and we had some beer. the french add a syrup to there beer to make it flavoured, so we had strawberry beer, very good but tastes nothing like beer. we then headed to the train where we ran to catch it. we got there just intime and were on the way to biarritz.
we got there the next morning. and headed to the beach. we had a lot of fun just lying there taking in the sun. and there was a small game of frisbee. we headed to our hotel and in the evening had pizza and sangria on the cliff overlooking the ocean.
next morning after a croissant breakfast, we went to find a place for a surfing lesson. we eventually found one that was open and was offering a lesson right then so into wetsuits we got and off to the beach. it was the coolest thing! when you actually catch a wave, even on your stomach it's so much fun. sarah got to her feet but the rest of us didn't. after that, more time onthe beach and ice cream. in the evening we wandered around the town adn saw an open air play near the lighthouse. it was a mock movie set where they acted out the filming of a movie.
on sunday we got the train to toulouse. everything was closed b/c it was sunday so we were really happy to finally find enough food for a baguette and tomato lunch in a park. we saw several churches and tried to see a modern art museum but they didn't have summer hours anymore so we missed out on it. but there were murals outside so we did see some art. we then had pizza in a hole in the wall that was great and then a drink in a nearby bar before heading back to the train station for the night train to Lyon. while we were waiting we played jungle speed. it was fun cause i hadn't played that game in a long time. next update will actually be about Lyon adn maybe where i wil be at the time.