Category Archives: England

This Adventure Made Possible By…

Standard

Anna Maria Esposita for finding us on the side of the road in Salerno, putting up with our feeble attempts at Italian, and magically making our luggage appear out of nowhere.  Maya, for introducing us to AirBnB in the first place…our travels will never be the same.  Our barista in Vietri Sul Mare (thank you for the doughnuts, we hope you made it to Australia!), and our wildly flirtatious maitre d’ (that wine was impressively strong!).  Fernando, for the ride to the Tiber (we’re sorry if we gave the impression that we wanted to boat back to Rome).  Pope Francis for instilling humanity into our visit to the Vatican.  University of Manitoba College of Medicine for changing the direction of our lives while sitting in a Roman burlap tent!  Jamie Pierce, for pointing us in the direction of Cinque Terre in the first place.  Kaya and Aeden for being the best roommates we could have asked for, and Sarah, Alicia, and Stacey for getting lost with us in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  And for the calamari cones.  Genius.  The Lemon Man, for delicious homemade wine with a side of really disgusting jokes, and the Pizza Man for abusing/believing in your employees (either way, you made a pizza in record time, well done!).  Pak Kashmir Doner Kebab for starting a 3-month-long love affair with kebab…and for not judging us when we came back twice in one day.  The Sprachcaffe receptionist for helping two confused travelers find a place to sleep in a language school.  Pietro for being a (very charming) walking encyclopedia of Florentine espionage.  All’antico Vinaio for your legendary sandwiches and free wine refills (no, seriously, it’s for real!).  The lovely couple who shared coffee with us on the train to Venice.  Archie & sons…your front hall will forever evoke in us a sense of oriental mystery.  The kiosco girl (and all of Vienna, for that matter) for your patience as we realized we knew literally NO Deutsch (“Card!…48?”).  The Musikverien Usher for engaging us in a Viennese musical intrigue and, therefore, much better seats!  Our Bulgarian/Brazillian (Bulgrillian?) cellist hostel roommate.  We tried to find you on iTunes but alas we were…so far…but…so close.  The Heinrich and Kress families for welcoming us so generously into your homes (and travel snacks that nearly broke the bus tables!).  Artur & Irina, we feel like we have a real home in Germany thanks to you.  Robert, Christian, and Erwin, we hope we can jam and play Dutch Blitz again one day!  Johannes for an unexpected evening of German tango (we’ll bring our dancing shoes next time).  Julia & your roommate for making us feel so at home in Köln.  Viel Glück to both of you in your new jobs!  Oma for always talking about your home country and inspiring us to retrace your Sunday walks down the Rhine.  Maybe one day we can go back with you!  Linda, dankjewel for your bikes, your lovely attic, and taking a chance on us as your first AirBnBers!  Edwin and Farah, for taking the time to hang out with us even with your wedding being a week away.  Once a WOOFer, always a WOOFer (ps come to Manitoba, we’ll take you to the snake pits!)  The stars, for aligning so perfectly as to allow us to have a lovely lunch with Dorien.  The Alma Dixons for getting us to and from Europe in the first place (Mom, your axiom of ‘would you rather have stuff or memories?’ has successfully stuck with me into adulthood) and for showing us all the places you always talk about.  The Farnham Dixons for a lovely afternoon and some authentically British fish’n’chips (sans mushy peas, thank-you!).  Wendy for taking this whole motley crew into your home and showing us around Glastonbury. Elly for introducing us to your family (I cannot imagine a more adorable kid to blow bubbles with than your granddaughter) and an evening of reminiscing about icebergs and penguins.  Pete & Patricia for the most incredible Welsh hospitality, and for driving us all over the country at all hours of the night.  Mark Hanford for keeping us simultaneously amused and not dead as we threw ourselves off cliffs into the sea (still waiting for those carpets!).  The disembodied Welsh couple whose voices helped us find our way out of the mist and back to the path somewhere on Mount Snowdon.  Jack Johnson, for being you, and for entirely coincidentally being in Paris at the same time as us.  Andréanne, for showing us around your beautiful new Swiss home.  Irene and Martin for sharing so many things with us: your inspiring work and outlook on life and faith, the truly breathtaking landscapes, and yes, the little bears :P.  Andreas and Simone, also for sharing so many things with us (like mother like son, eh?): your friends, your family, your food, your car, your bike…. That night with the giant map (and the many road trips that ensued) is still a memory that we talk about regularly!  Aric and Gabriel, for being as excited about the high-ropes garden as we were and never judging us on our (lack of) Swiss German. Joël for sharing your beautiful pays et famille. Yannick for the best duck I’ve ever tasted, and Hélène for showing us the work you’re doing to help new immigrants become self-sufficient in Toulouse.  Ron, Nicole, Aimée, Sean (and yes, Cougar) for making us recognize the name Carcassonne, even if we’ll never pronounce it properly.  Les Cabys des Taillades (et oui, de Paris aussi!) for sharing your passion for history, many hours of games (we now have our own Möllky set!), French puns, and more wine and cheese than any North American could comprehend.  Mami Caby, for a beautiful afternoon in St. Jean du Gard, and the silk scarf that’s currently on display in our living room.  Isaac and Sylvia of JUCUM Barcelona for the generous hospitality, the 2AM tour of your majestic city, and showing us what we truly believe is the best beach in Europe.  Hind, Nour, and Adam for helping us finish off the bag of snails and confirming everything we’d heard about the welcoming nature of Moroccans.  Nour, of Sahara Desert Crew, for an unforgettable few days of sights and culture unlike anything else we’ve ever seen (also, your mad photography skills. ‘Nuff said.).  Cafe Restaurant Nora, for providing a literal oasis in the desert (Nothing tastes as good as Berber pizza and Berber whiskey at +50C!) The Samnoun family for taking us in when our hostel was suddenly infested with bedbugs, and Bousha for introducing us to the madness of the Medina (and many, many friends ;)…)

And of course, contributions from VIEWERS LIKE YOU!

Advertisements

News from away! (with the Batmanns and their iPad)

Standard

We received our iPad just before going to Argentina, and it has been our faithful travel companion ever since. It was on this little screen that we saw our niece for the first time (after hiking six hours down a mountain to find wifi on a semi-weekly basis… Two weeks overdue, seriously, kiddo?!);
Cedar

that Josh applied for Education from an Argentine campground (and was accepted!);
Edu

that a Mennonite frantically tried to learn Cree as his train chugged towards the Northern school at which he was expected to teach it;
Cree

and of course, it was on this little screen that this very blog was born.
Backpack

Now, halfway across the world in a different direction, our little iPad has remained faithful in keeping us connected with our lives back home and in being the bearer of some very exciting news. In May, in a campground outside of Rome, it was on this iPad that I opened the email that would change the direction of my life yet again:
Med
Med!

Going into Medicine has been a dream of mine for many years. I am beyond thrilled to not only have the chance to study Medicine, but also to study it in the Bilingual Stream, which will allow me to continue pursuing my passion for the French language and the French community that has become an incredible part of my life!

I received the email around midnight, so all the buses going into town had stopped running. Therefore, we celebrated my future career in Medicine by running across the highway and going to McDonald’s for celebratory McNuggets. I figured I didn’t need to worry about being a good role model for healthy eating practices until I was actually IN med school 😉
Mcd2

After receiving my acceptance in May, I had a few blissful weeks free of any obligations. Finally, however, the magnitude of paperwork caught up to me. In early July, I spent an entire day in my cousin’s office in a tiny hamlet of Switzerland downloading, printing, filling out, scanning, and finally coaxing an ancient fax machine to send all the forms required for my admission. I am frankly astounded that the forms actually sent properly… I don’t know if the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Manitoba have ever received an enrollment package from Ober-Says, Switzerland!
Says

Faxing

During this trip, Josh’s path has also meandered along some new adventures! In May, Mr. B officially graduated with his B.Ed. Although we were in Köln, Germany at the time of his convocation, his wonderful Ed friends made sure to include him in their celebrations:
Ed

Grad

In June, we were living in a London flat with Josh’s family during their annual trek to England. One Sunday evening, Josh received an email describing a possible job opportunity for the fall. He excitedly emailed back, but the next day, we went to Glastonbury for the night, so we were without Internet for one day. ONE DAY… which was apparently enough time for the principal of the school to request an interview with Josh! Arriving home that night to a pile of emails, we panicked that he had missed his chance. However, thanks to a convenient time difference and some speedy Skype-calls, Josh got ahold of the school, who reassured him that it wasn’t too late, his interview could be moved to the next day.

Fantastic… Except that the next day, we had tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at London’s West End. So, we brought the iPad and during the show, Josh snuck out of the theatre and ended up doing his interview in the theatre bar over Skype. Only at one point did his potential employer ask Josh if there was a marching band in the background. Unconventional, perhaps – but, that very evening, there was a job offer in his inbox, so unconventional seemed to have worked!!
Josh Skype

A huge thank-you to Laura for faithfully checking our mail back at home, M.O.M. for being willing to sign and drop off all Sara’s crazy forms, Andreas and Simone for letting Sara commandeer their office all day and then (trying to) explain to their workplace why two Canadians had to use the fax machine for an hour, Gwen and Leanne U. for being the most persistent emailers, the Dixons for the 3G, the bartender at Royal Drury Lane Theatre for not batting an eyelash during Josh’s interview, Margaret Park School for being so flexible (note from Josh: I’m so excited to join you this fall!)… And to all of our amazing friends and family, back in Winnipeg or here in Europe, who cheer us on in our crazy, unconventional, ridiculous adventures. We love you guys and love sharing our life with you!

Js Glastonbury

Are there any good views in London?

Standard

Sometimes you overhear other travelers ask really dumb questions, and they rapidly becoming running jokes. Our time in and around London consisted of plenty of beautiful views, and a wonderful week and a half spent with my family, some of whom I’d not seen since I was fourteen (thankfully they still recognized me, despite the beard.)

The Houses of Parliament from atop the London Eye.
image

4 Eye

Eye

It’s hard to argue when Mom and Sara combine their boundless enthusiasm together for a common purpose…in this case, taking a ridiculous family picture on the Prime Meridian. Thankfully there were no jazz hands 😛
image

Our nightly (and afternoon… and early evening…) tradition: when you’re in England with a Brit during the World Cup, you don’t consider any alternatives! (Although the mood in England palpably darkened as the tournament progressed…)
Tv

Nick sheep

*Editor’s note: Leaving England for Germany before the final was a good choice… 😛

The quintessential London theatrical experience: Shakespeare’s Globe. The small, wooden, outdoor venue seems to beg the audience to shout and jeer like the unwashed masses of Shakespeare’s time. For £5 each we were able to stand with our elbows on the stage as Achilles’ sweat literally splashed down on us…it was awesome! (Note: this was not our only London theatre experience, but the other will be saved for another post.)
image
image

Midway through the week, we packed up the whole gang for an overnight trip to visit Wendy, a family friend in Glastonbury. We appreciated Wendy’s hospitality and the authentically Glastonbury experience to which we were privileged. Most famous for its epic music festival that gave birth to the likes of Lollapalooza, we saw it as the El Bolson of England, complete with men dressed as monks, women dressed as druids, and markets selling everything from homemade wool saris to A Modern Guide to Dousing. We climbed the Tor, the towering hill that watches over the town and provides space for sheep and solstice celebrations alike, and visited the Abbey which, even after weeks of ancient Roman ruins, did not fail to inspire the imagination.

J Sheryle Tor

Some of the Tor’s more colourful visitors, complete with robes, drums, and lutes.
image

Glastonbury’s magical roots go deep: here lay King Arthur & Guinevere.
image

Us and our sibs (well, some of them, at least) watching the almost-solstice sunset.
image

Finally, we bid adieu to the Dixons and set out towards the tiny town of Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. Our invitation here was thanks to our friend Elly, whom we had met in Antarctica, which is the kind of invitation you really can’t pass up. We arrived by taxi (after every train in western England inexplicably stopped running and Elly somehow knew which station to contact to ensure that we were put into the appropriate cab, paid for by the train company. We felt very taken care of, to say the least!) and enjoyed a lovely day meeting her family, drinking tea, and reminiscing about penguins and icebergs. There’s a very small selection of people on earth with which we can do that, and we hope to do it again some time!

Elly’s place in Nailsworth: a dramatic change of pace from chaotic London!
image

Elly house

A huge thank-you to Elly, Wendy, and the Farnham Dixons for their hospitality; and to the Alma Dixons for bringing us along on their Tour de England!

Congratulations victors!

Standard

Competition was fierce for the saratreetravels 50th post sweepstakes, but good things come in threes, and so do our winners (er, and the contestants, actually, but we digress).

For being the first to respond, and for her exemplary use of the Hispanic ‘¡’, this one goes out to Gwendolyn Smid:

To Mary, we will certainly ‘let’ you say that, especially since you did so in such a concise 50 characters (not including spaces, which is perfectly acceptable 🙂 ). We’ll even arrange a royal cameo in your honour:

And last but not least, for being the most blatantly flattering and dead sexy himself, a video tribute to T-Rav:

Thank you to all our contestants, and all our loyal readership. We love you guys!