Sunday, September 25, 2011

Howdy from Calgary


Bow river in Calgary

Having a great time here visiting with good friends and celebrating an 85th birthday. I flew in on Friday morning. Quite the descent - we must have hit an air pocket as we dropped quite a ways and everyone on the plane either screamed, yelled or yelped (me). That is the worst I've ever experienced after 40 plus years of flying. However I arrived safe and sound and got the bus into Calgary. Too early to check into the hotel so I changed and went to the Buffalo 1886 cafe at Eau Claire market - had a grilled cheese, mushroom, bacon & onion sandwich with little potatoes. Expensive but good. The cafe was an old building made of wood. Off I went on my 11 km walk along the Bow river - it started out cloudy but the sun came out and it was great. The leaves are changing here and it's beautiful. Just trying not to think what comes after fall!!! (boo, hiss!) I had a bit of a distraction once I got to the other side of the river and hit Kensington. I love that area! I had a Mount Everest coffee (coffee, irish cream, whipped cream...yum) and a sit down. Then I went into a Tibetan shop and got myself a little "donut" for my singing bowl I got in Nepal as well as a lovely pair of earrings. I then headed back to the hotel and checked in - wow a one bedroom apartment for $74. Yee haw. I "freshened" up, changed and headed to Mountain Equipment Co-op but could not find anything that fit/I liked except socks! I then headed out to the Himalyan restaurant only to discover it was closed until 5 p.m. and this was 3?45 so I had a greek salad and spinach pie at a restaurant just down the road. Disappointing...did not get my momo's. Oh well I do plan to return as it's just a weekend trip on the hound and will do the other walk on the Elbow River as well - and maybe sneak out to Banff or Canmore. The rest of the weekend was spent with friends and had a lovely time. I started this post in Calgary but could not finish it for various reasons so here I am one week later. It was an emotional weekend - the friends I stayed with had to put their little doggie to sleep and so very sad...she was a sweet little girl. It is very hard to say goodbye to a much loved family member - whether they have two legs or four.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cooling my heels and making plans

Yes I am cooling my heels until my next trip which will be to Calgary in less than three weeks. It will be a weekend of seeing old friends and celebrating an 85th birthday - I am looking forward to it. Using airmiles and actually flying for a change rather than the hound.

I am getting quite restless and it's only been about five or six weeks since my last jaunt. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people that are happy with a holiday once a year but that lasts a few seconds and then I think nah...I like being on the road. Due to work I am pretty well tied to long weekends until my month in Europe at Christmas.

I have been invited to go to Germany for Christmas for years now and kept putting it off but decided I should go for it. My adventurous spirit is kind of having a reprieve and also thought my wallet needed a break so far flung travel is put off until the winter of 2012/13...and just watch me then!!!

I am busy planning that...no airfares booked yet but I know what I am doing - five days in Salzburg where I will see The Sound of Music on stage - I enjoy the stage version too and even if it's in German I will be able to follow it. I will do The Sound of Music tour. Also the birth place of Mozart - my second favourite composer...can't wait to immerse myself in all the touristy Mozart stuff like visiting his birth place, home he lived in later in his childhood and attend a concert. Plus of course the Christmas markets. Perhaps take a day trip into the mountains. I am staying at a guest house on the outskirts of Salzburg that's right on the edge of a mountain apparently - it gets wonderful reviews. Very reasonable too. Then on to Heiligenstadt in northern Bavaria where I will spend about 8 days with my friend Claudia and her mother. Heiligenstadt is a village with lots of great hiking around it and we plan to visit the famous Xmas market in Nuremburg (where Claudia used to live and I have been to many times) as well as others I am sure. I will have a traditional German Christmas meal and might consent to going to church for either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day - not both heaven forbid plus I won't know what the hell they are saying. Claudia's mum is an amazing cook and her cakes are to die for - I will need those hikes trust me. Then I will head to Paris where I will spend New Years - I booked a room through Airbnb.com - my first experience with them so am quite excited. I have to sleep on a futon but for $70 a night in Paris I can handle it. It sounds like the hostess will be away so guess I will be alone in the flat which does not bother me in the slightest although I was looking forward to meeting her and her doggie. Before I leave I will post links on here to all my abodes. I plan to wander around Paris doing a few walks from the Lonely Planet book (from my ereader - should be interesting...) and just enjoying the ambiance. Not planning anything - just get up and go wherever. I will probably spend New Years in Montmartre where it's a quieter New Years celebration. It will be a delicious feeling to wake up New Years morning in Paris. Stopping for a coffee or snack when I feel like it...ah the joys of solo travel! I look forward to bringing food back to the flat and "eating in" for most of the time and having a morning cappucino or cafe au lait and pastry in a coffee shop for "breakfast". Then on the 2nd of January I will take the Eurostar train through the "chunnel" to my beloved London where I will be for nearly two weeks. I plan to see some friends and also walk a good portion of the Thames Path as well as do other walks. I also plan to see a few plays - just found out there will be an alternate version of The Nutcracker at the Sadler Wells theatre so that will be fun. I can't get enough of it....I will be attending one before I leave Regina too. It is at the Royal Opera House as well but I saw it there in 1999...although that is a long time ago....So have to get busy looking on line and my Thames Path book to see how far I can go each day...probably be "Corrie" days or short hiking days when I have performances to attend in the evening. Don't think they'd want me in my hiking boots and water proofs! In theory I'd love to walk from the Thames Barrier to Henley which is almost 80 miles but we shall see. I want to pop in to see things a long the way and of course it gets dark early in January... Not sure I have enough time as I want to do other walks and other things and it's only 12 days...sigh...I will save the more rural part for when I visit England in better weather...

Lots to look forward to!! Now I guess it's back to cleaning the apartment...