Posts Tagged With: Canada

Buns Of Steel – City Break Edition

Before arriving in Dubrovnik, I was aware that the Old Town was going to be full of stairs.  Despite this, I had chosen to stay there in order to avoid taking a bus to everything I wanted to see.   Okay, truth be told, the only thing that I had to see was the city walls and everything after that was just going to be icing on the cake.  Regardless, I knew that stairs were involved in the one attraction that was on my must do list.  What I hadn’t factored in was the amount of climbing up and down stairs to my hostel, to allergy approved meals (damn you seafood!), and to avoid sleazy restaurant owners amongst a whole lot of other things.

Spotted on my self guided walking tour - man with the white hat not included.

Spotted on my self guided walking tour – man with the white hat not included.

The view while walking the city walls

The view while walking the city walls

Showing off the heights of my climb

Showing off the heights of my climb

To add further insult to injury, I also hadn’t factored in my talent of getting lost – in Dubrovnik this meant that I was going to have to repeatedly climb the same staircase many times in hopes of a different result.  From the moment that I woke up to the moment I went to bed, it was just up and down all day long.  My quads, hammies, and gluts were screaming out in pain for me to stop while my eyes wanted to feast on more of the fantastic views provided by the city.  Unfortunately, my legs lost the battle and I continued to push on to see as much as I could in the few days that I had.  I climbed up and around the city walls.  I did all of the self-walking tours of the city and then some considering I went off the beaten path each and every time I started following the marked paths.  Personally, I blame ADD and the need to follow stray cats more than my sense of direction for this one!  But where my sense of direction is to blame is the extra stairs I did to make it to the cable car to get a view of the city.  I may have walked up, down, and all around the damn thing before finding the entrance but hey, sometimes you have to go that extra mile.  Once I had gotten to the top, I was glad I had put in the extra effort as the view from the top was well worth it.

City Walls once again

City Walls once again

The pretty section of the stairs I climbed daily

The pretty section of the stairs I climbed daily


View from the cable car

View from the cable car

All in all, Dubrovnik gave me cool but sun-filled days that made all that unexpected exercise easy to handle.  At the end of every day, I may have been worn out but extremely glad that I had a few jam-packed days of exploring the city.

Categories: CROATIA, croatia: dubrovnik | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaping Into The Unknown…

Someone once told me that I’m extremely self-aware and have a never-ending quest to do what makes me happy.   The someone who was giving me this “talking to” thought he was pointing out my tendencies of being a self-destructive fool so I could change my ways.  Despite that super awkward conversation four years ago, I’m glad to report that if anything has changed, it’s that I’m more of those things that were pointed out as negative aspects to my personality.  The reason I felt the need to share this is because at the end of May, I said farewell to life on the Emerald Isle for just those reasons.  To those who knew me, the news of my departure came as no surprise since Ireland and I could be best compared to a square peg and a round hole.    Over the last few months, I’ve been heavily questioned about what I didn’t like about Ireland but my leaving has very little to do with my fondness or lack there of for the country.  Despite appearances and the randomness I vomited from time to time, I don’t dislike Ireland at all.  I think Ireland is a fun little country worth visiting but what I’ve learned in the past year is visiting and living are two very different things.

Despite my struggles with living in Ireland, I have no regrets about making the move that I did.  Without it, I wouldn’t be leaving with the experiences and friendships that I consider priceless.  Once people accepted the fact that I was leaving, the next question was where to next on my trip around the world.  The honest answer, after I recovered from the assumption that I’m doing a trip around the world, is that I don’t know.  What I do know is that I would like the next city that I live in to be one I settle in.  Maybe it’s just old age rearing its ugly head but I think it would be nice to be less nomadic without losing any of my travel perks.  I know that will be a tough point to negotiate but I’m a firm believer that you don’t get things you don’t ask for.

At present time, there are multiple factors in play that will eventually determine where I’ll go but for the time being, I’ve fallen in love with being a  jobless layabout gallivanting around Europe.  If this is going to be the last hurrah then I’m going to have to make it count, right?  Anyway, as far as my summer travel plans go, I have a concept of where I’m going and what friends are meeting me along the way and the rest will sort itself out.  Fingers crossed anyway.

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gut – Don’t Fail Me Now!

I’m the girl who made the brilliant decision to move to a country in recession in hopes of securing a career related position that would allow me to keep gallivanting around the world.  “Why Ireland?”, is still ringing in my ears but I ignored all the warning about what a colossal mistake I was about to make and how there’s no jobs so to quit a job to go be jobless in my local of choice was absolute insanity.  What people seem to forget about me is that I tend to leap blindly and fearlessly into things that tickle my fancy.  I have a stead-fast believe that things will always work out and in part that might prevent me from stressing and over analyzing my gut decision the way normal people do.

That said, I’m not an idiot that was expecting rainbows and unicorns the moment I landed in Dublin.  I’m fully aware that I have an impressive CV but I was still anticipating a struggle to secure work that didn’t make me want to blow my brains out in boredom.  Getting a job would be easy but getting the job I wanted…not so much but that’s the holy grail I was after.  What I wasn’t expecting was to be interviewing like a woman on crack (sometimes as many as 3 a day) during the slowest time of the year in a recession and have several offers on the table that would make the average backpacker piss their pants.  What I’ll wholeheartedly admit is that I’m not your average backpacker as I’m older with massive amounts of work experience and skills that are in short supply (worldwide – not just Ireland).  I feel the need to mention this as the average person coming to Ireland to live and work still struggles but this isn’t what my first world problems are all about.

My problems all began when the offers started rolling in fast and furiously and it wasn’t about which offer to take as much as dealing with the companies that couldn’t handle the fact that I didn’t pick them.  Trying to explain to them that the offer I picked was based on a gut decision failed tremendously as they challenged me every step of the way.  Is it appropriate to use its me not you in this situation?  There was a blatant disregard to the fact that I was in London and technically on holidays as my mobile was ringing off the hook.  I quickly learned that ignoring it meant that the calls wouldn’t stop and so I gave in and booked call times that wouldn’t change my mind but would incur heaps (yes, my kiwi throwback!) of roaming charges.

At the end of the day, these other companies didn’t get what they wanted from me and thus, there is no doubt in my mind that those bridges are burnt.  I remained professional under all circumstances and explained my reasoning to the best of my ability but how is approaching me with, “Do you not know who we are!?!”, an acceptable rationalization?  I will be the first to say that I hate bullies, power struggles, and the need to play office politics – especially when getting hit with this triple threat even before the job starts!  If that’s not a warning sign than I really don’t know what is.  After 3 days of all of this, I have never been more certain that I made the right choice.  Fingers crossed that going with the smallest company of the bunch with no international offices won’t be my first blind leap of faith that I come to regret.

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beyond These Prison Walls

Not only was yesterday the 1st Wednesday of the month but according to OPW it was also a freebie day.  Yes, FREE!  So the only thing a girl new to the world of being frugal could do is gather a posse of Canadian and Aussie misfits in order to make our way to Kilmainham Gaol.  Why Kilmainham Gaol as our heritage site of choice?  Well rumour has it that its suppose to be the like the Alcatraz of Ireland and really, who wouldn’t jump at a chance to spend an afternoon roaming around an abandoned prison.

Right off the bat, mistake #1 was made when we gave in and let the boys figure out how the hell we were going to get to the heritage site.  Haphazardly, the 5 of us navigated Dublin streets as we found our way to the Luas and then walked what felt like another mile before we finally rounded the corner to spot the attraction at hand.  In my humble opinion, it probably would have taken us the same amount of time to walk the entire way but who’s bitching right?  Note to self:  never let boys take charge of directions..EVER AGAIN!

As for Kilmainham Gaol itself, I wish I could tell you more about the tour and the stories that were shared but honestly, I was misbehaving like a school girl with a brand new camera so the finer details were all but lost on me.  What I can say, however, is that on a rare sunny day in Dublin, the manner in which the light floods in gives this place a spectacular yet eery beauty that sends chills down your spine.  This in itself is well worth the admission price but it there is so much more than just that.  I don’t know if it was The Last Words or if it had something to do with the historical importance of it all but I couldn’t shake the feeling of how haunting it was.

What I will say is that while visiting Dublin, this is a must-do but not sure if I would have enjoyed its somber tone as much if it were cramped in somewhere between Dublin Castle and the Guinness Factory.  History fan or not, this is not something that can be described as fun but does take the cake when it comes to fascinating.  As for me and my merry bunch of misfits who ranged from the misbehaving school girl to the nerd waiting to ace the quiz at the end, we all took something different from the experience but were all in agreement that it was well worth it…free admission or not.



Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Same T-Shirt…Same Day…Different Country!

It’s amazing what a difference a year can make.  Last year, I was running around Auckland with my Canadian partner in crime as we ensured that Kiwis and Canadians alike celebrated Canada’s birthday with all the gusto it deserved.  I won’t confirm or deny the rumours that there may have been an accidental motor-boating of a New Zealand celebrity whose name escapes me now or kissing of babies and eventual poking of eyes of big ass bouncers with the tip of a flag that led to the confiscation of said flag.  What I will say is the celebration of Canada Day in the winter was an absolute riot and a good time was had by all.

Fast forward my life a year and here I am on the same day wearing the same t-shirt in a country on the other side of the world.  Rumour has it that this is summer but the climate is reminiscent of last year’s winter celebration of Canada Day.  I have come to terms with the fact that cottage country weather doesn’t exist where I am but nevertheless, the fact that I’m freezing my tits off makes me less inclined to leave my flat.  Regardless, it’s Canada Day so I shake off the desire to call in a duvet day and send a quick message to my Canadian partner in crime from New Zealand before heading off to meet up with my Aussie mate to see what festivities await our future.  This year there was a gathering of Canadians at a “Commonwealth” pub which seemed to heavily feature the All Blacks everywhere I looked.  A sign of my past and future merging into one or just a sign of where I belong – not sure anymore?

What I am sure of is this year’s celebration was tame in comparison but there was the added bonus of being blessed with things such as Moosehead, Molson, Poutine, and a little Shania Twain blaring on the speakers.  I stood there amongst all that is “Canadian” and made polite chit-chat with strangers about the frustrations of being a new arrival in Dublin and was reassured that it doesn’t get better and I’ll just learn to curb my expectations.  GREAT…5 years in this country and that’s the best advice you’ve got!  Despite the disappointing feedback that I received about Ireland, the number of people who turned up, sang at the top of their lungs, and dressed the part was simply amazing.  What I can say about both experiences is that on a day that has all the ingredients to make you start feeling a little homesick, it’s always nice to know that no matter where in the world you are, there’s always going to be a little expat community ready to take you in as one of their own.  And to all of you celebrating from all parts of the world –   Happy Canada Day!

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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