Flight Diary Stats

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14 July 2016

I’m so bored! There is nothing to plan!

I’ve said before that a big part of the fun of vacations is the pre-planning and plotting. But since my upcoming visits to London and Paris are practically planning-free there isn’t much for me dig into!

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It will be the 5th time I visit each city so I’ve got it down by now. I know how to get into town from the airport, I know how to get to all the attractions, I know what’s worth seeing and what’s not… it’s routine! (God I sound like a snob!)

So why revisit a 5th time? Well these cities, along with Rome, can be visited a hundred times and you’ll never run out of things to see and do. The cities themselves are major attractions and not only the churches and museums and sights within them.  Plus, these next visits will be extra different by default because I am not travelling with my husband this time.

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One of my friends and I went to Switzerland together in 2001 before I met my husband; it wasn’t a great trip. OK, she said she liked it and had a good time…. and I suppose we did,  but when I compare that trip to subsequent ones I’ve taken and that were so much more “WOW” I think about how much better that trip with my friend could have been and I now think she missed out. We didn’t have much money, we were working retail at the time, and so we essentially couch surfed at my relative’s.  Nice time, but just not the same as if we had been completely independent… and a little richer!

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We’ve been wanted a do-over for ages! (15 years now) and circumstances made it possible to do it this year… so off we go!  We picked London because (how do I say this nicely in case she’s reading this) she’s more easy going than I am.  I am always on the GO GO GO GO GO GO GO, while for her vacations are for relaxing.  London I think was a good destination to pick because I’ve seen it all many times before, so I won’t feel like I am missing out on anything in case the pace of our days is a little “slower than my usual”.

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I’ve put her in charge of the things to see. I told her: “tell me what’s on your list, and I’ll make it happen!” So, now I am on stand by while she works but one thing I didn’t give her a choice about was visiting Buckingham Palace. Every time my husband and I have been to London it’s been in the spring and so the Palace is closed - this time it will be open and I already bought the tickets.  I have NO CLUE what she’s into when it comes to The Royals. I’m a Royalphile as you know, but I am not sure she is as up on Royal Family History… will I be wasting her time if I bring her to Hampton Court Palace or Windsor Castle or the Tower of London?? Or will she just enjoy it because it’s all lumped into the fun of “being on vacation in London”? I think so, but really I don’t know! We’ll have to wait and see.

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Paris planning on the other hand is a little more interesting!

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Next spring my mother has a big birthday coming up, and I thought it would be really fun for her to celebrate that milestone in Paris. She’s never been and I know she would completely lose her mind and fall in love with the place…. but really, who wouldn’t?  My husband suggested we go this fall instead of next spring since the prices would be better, good idea! plus I was saying the weather would probably be a little nicer then instead of around the time of her birthday…. So off we go!

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My mother is SO EXCITED you have no idea!!! I’ll be able to coast on this good-daughter-deed for years! I am off sooooo many hooks! Such a devilishly brilliant plan!  She wants to see and do EVERYTHING and is full of questions, she’s also an energizer bunny like I am and she’ll be able to keep the GO GO GO GO GO GO pace without a problem (where do you think I got it from!) I appreciate her enthusiasm; it’s infectious!

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I gave her the same mandate I gave my friend: “tell me what’s on your list, and I’ll make it happen!” She just replied “everything”…. The list is MILES LONG! I told her to put “everything” into some sort of hierarchical order from “musts” to “would be nice” to “if we have time”.  She did, and made a colour coded map with lettered pins and corresponding legend. She is PSYCHED! I told my friend that she is being left in the dust by the level of my mother’s planning, she agreed she’s been outdone.

 

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Since my mom was nose-deep in Paris planning, I told her to see if buying a museum pass would be worthwhile. Look at your musts, add up the costs (by going to their individual websites in case the Paris Museum Pass site gives you the most expensive quotes to make their product look even cheaper) and compare the total to the cost of a pass.

 

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Except… she had something like 20 musts!  I sincerely appreciate her enthusiasm and willingness to see as much as possible, but I don’t want to spend all day every day inside museums; we needed to pair this down even further.  She agreed. (Although at this point, I think she is willing to agree to anything!!!!)

There are A LOT of places covered by that pass! I took her list and picked 6 things that I felt were a good mix of Museums, Monuments and Activities and if those 6 things totalled more than a 6-day pass, it would be a no brainer.  This way we’ll have one thing planned per day and we can play the rest of the day by ear depending on our moods, the weather, the line-ups etc .

Turns out with the 6 things we picked we’ll save 5 Euros by buying the pass, but in reality I’m sure we’ll save a lot more than that because some of the things I picked are outdoorsy or only take an hour or so to do, in which case we’ll undoubtedly do 7th or 8th or 9th or even a 10th thing over the 6 days.

So, in the end, I was able to indulge in a little pre-vacation planning after all! 

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6 July 2016

Switching Gears

Now that I have FINALY finished updating my over-due blog posts from our vacation in BC, it’s time to start looking ahead!

Here are a few teasers!

First London…..

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2013 and 2016 look like the same place, but they aren’t….  pretty darn close though!!

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And then Paris….

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26 June 2016

British Columbia Field Report 16 – Meal Quest

Usually departure day doesn’t merit a post, there is rarely more to the day than: Wake up, Shower, Finish packing, Check out, Go to the airport, Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait, Fly home.

Of course, with me, you know there is food involved somewhere in that plan!

Driving ourselves to the airport was fairly straight forward – it’s a straight shot north… except we missed the exit and had to keep going for a while further before we could turn back.

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Knowing we’d have a layover of a few hours in Vancouver, my idea was to have loungy lunch there and so I didn’t want a big breakfast. We went to Spinnakers on the Fly for a small bite.

It was the HUGEST “small bite” I ever had!!! And I even asked them to hold all the sides. I should have put something in the picture to help get an idea of the scale. I had trouble wrapping my hands around it if it helps…

Airport Breakfast in Victoria 

Building my appetite up again for a loungy lunch was going to be a challenge!… so, I walked circles in the terminal for about an hour.  Just back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.

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The flight from Victoria to Vancouver is 15 minutes of flying time – shortest flight of my life!

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Interestingly, according to Google, you can’t even fly! But you can drive on the water to get there in less than 30 minutes! WOW! Had I know water-driving was an option I would have liked to have tried it!

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We arrived at the Vancouver airport a little too early to eat, it wasn’t even 11AM, but that’s not too early to explore the terminal’s eateries and see what venue looked the loungiest for lunch.

Our Gate was # 29, and we discovered they had a Vino Volo nearby. There is one at our home airport in Montreal too, but we haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.

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11AM came and went, and the place never opened -  Why the delay? My wine & cheese were trapped behind the gates!!!! We said we’d give it until 11:30 and if not we’d go somewhere else.

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11:30 came and went so we went to the other end of the terminal to Palomino Bar @ YVR

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It was total crap! Crap on crap, served with crap on the side with a sprinkling of crap.

Looks pretty… but it wasn’t good.

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So much for a good food day! Ah well, you can’t win ‘em all.

After this, we were officially on our way home.

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Great vacation!

25 June 2016

British Columbia Field Report 15 – Day 10

Walked 13.79 km / 20 868 steps

Our last day started with a visit to Goldstream Provincial Park. My guidebook sold us on the plan when we read things like “Majestic Trees” and “Old Growth Forests”.

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As soon as we parked the car and set out, we were excited! It was amazing!

Here was our attempt at showing how big some of the trees were  (little blurry)

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We were in our element, we love nature-walks like this. We walked the Visitor Center and Lower Goldstream Trails

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Then we somehow missed the Bridge Trail and finally decided on the Prospector’s Trail.

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I wanted to at least get to the lookout point on the map, but we didn’t make it that far. It was a great trail, but we were dressed and equipped for a nature walk, not a hike. Had we been better dressed: exercise clothes that we could sweat in and not try to keep clean, and in my case specifically rugged shoes… and not carrying a purse!! we would have continued.

Still, I loved the part we did do but I’m disappointed we don’t have better pictures. I kept stopping to take some with my IPhone and to soak up the amazing surroundings, but my husband who had the camera didn’t care about taking pictures because he was sweaty therefore grumpy…  I’m still annoyed at him! LOL.

Here are some shots of the walky parts – I didn’t get any of the hikey parts:

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All in all we spent about 2 hours there.

Next on the agenda was to explore Mount Douglas, and we just experienced the down side of having a car instead!

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We got there roughly around 11:30, and before noon the main road (Churchill Drive) is closed so people can walk up to the summit with kids and strollers or bike up etc. instead of hiking up the trails. Great idea. Normally we’d love the walk up but there was nowhere to park! The parking area was packed and even the streets around were full of parked cars.

We decided to go have lunch, and come back after to see what the situation would be, maybe all the cars belong to people enjoying the walk and they’ll be gone when the main road opens up?

Ah the politics of where to eat on vacation!! Because I dragged a tired reluctant husband back to Bard & Banker for a nightcap the night before, I felt I owed him all he decision power food stops today in exchange for his sacrifice. He LOVED the pizza at Famoso's so we went back there breaking the "no repeats" rule. 

I have to admit that it really is EXCELLENT pizza; very high on the best ever list so I really didn’t mind it that we broke the rule again. (And here’s a repeat picture since I ordered the same thing both times)

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So now, back to Mount Douglas!

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And the parking was just as packed as before, but the main road was open now so we drove up instead… lost of parking at the summit!!  We would have enjoyed walking, but those are the breaks.

Great views from up there so it was still a fun activity overall (but to this day I wish we could have hiked it)

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That’s downtown Victoria in the distance…

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After this (around 3PM) I was fed up with the car. That was enough sitting for me, it was putting me to sleep! I wanted to park it away for the rest of the day and go back to exploring Victoria on foot.

We had neglected the Parliament Building “The Leg” over the last few days, so we set off to explore it and the area around. (I don’t remember anymore why the flags were at half mast)

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After this, it was cocktail hour!

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This place was nice because they had a nice open terrace and I was able to gaze out over the marina to the Empress… even it was under construction, it’s the way I saw it and the way I’ll remember it!

Drinks at Steamship Grill & Bar 4

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For supper, we went to The Irish Times Pub – same owners as Bard & Banker

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Dinner at Irish Times 3

Delicious nachos!

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That was it, our final vacation meal -  I didn’t want it to end!!! I didn’t want to let go of that vacationny feel!

I didn’t suggest a night cap because I knew that wouldn’t fly, my poor husband was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, but he did agree to a SHORT walk around Chinatown since it was so close to the hotel!

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After this, it was back to hotel to start packing Sad smile