Posts Tagged With: canadian

My Very Own Noah…

When we were disembarking from the free Danube River Cruise, My Aussie Mate remarked on how quickly the water was moving.  Upon checking it out myself, I realized she was right but didn’t clue in on how the speed and extremely high water levels were about to impact my life in the next few days.  Sadly, I just went about my business doing the tourist thing the best I could with my sprain and got ready to be on my own from the moment I jumped on the train to Vienna.  Everything was just business as usual until the day I had to get on that train to Vienna.  What set that day apart from the ones before it was that My Aussie Mate was leaving at the crack of dawn to catch her flight back to Dublin so she could be at work on time. We bid adieu when she left to catch her taxi and I went back to sleep thinking that she was on her way.  What I forgot to calculate into this equation was that she would hop into a cab with a moronic driver who was about to take her out to the middle of nowhere. Without going into all the gory details, her idiot driver had caused her to miss her flight which lead to work screaming at her to get on the next available flight to Dublin – hell or high water! Between the texting, trying to ensure she wasn’t lost in some remote part of Budapest, and looking up flight details in order to help – no sleep was had by yours truly.  By mid-morning, we were reunited once again only to say goodbye as it was my time to leave.

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Photo of a town close to Vienna taken from a news article from June 2013

I left her as she settled down for a quick nap before attempting to fly back to Dublin once again.  As for me, I quickly made my way to the train station and was comfortable seated and contemplating a cat nap as the train was pulling out.  As my eyes were getting heavy with sleep – a man started yelling at us and sadly, the only words in English were GET OUT!  I had no idea what he was saying and nobody was able to translate.  There were only 3 of us that were English speakers and we were baffled as to what was going on as all we knew was the train was nowhere near Vienna.  With no idea what the hell was going on, we followed the crowds off the train and across the tracks until a little tiny hut of a train station was visible.  Upon entering the hut, I realized that it was nothing but a shell of a building that was just being occupied by what look like the train before us.  There were no free walls to lean up again and barely a square inch that I could claim as my own.  Christ on a bike!

Photo borrowed from news articles back in June 2013

Photo of Vienna borrowed from news articles back in June 2013

As I started to wonder what the hell I was going to do, this blonde hurricane of a woman came through screaming that she’d gotten a cab to Vienna and she could take 3 more if we were willing to split the fare with her.  I know I always say never let anyone transport you from location A to B as this is how you wind up in a garbage bag but there was a desperation in the air that made me jump up and tell her that I was in.  Right after that, a handful of Koreans followed suit and we marched ever so quickly around the corner to where the cab was waiting for us.  In my head I was thinking this could be the beginning of a horror movie but proceeded to take a seat and hope for the best.  The blonde lady was in the front seat next to the driver talking a mile a minute as if she already knew him – none of which I could understand a word of so I really couldn’t tell what was going on.  The Koreans were quiet and waiting on her every word for the next set of instructions.  I decided that despite how tired I felt, this was the wrong time to take a nap.  Instead, I hatched up a kamikaze dive and roll strategy encase we pulled off the highway and looked to be going somewhere sinister.  Luckily for me, I never had to put this plan into action as all the road signs were pointing to Vienna and after about an hour, we pulled into the city.

Photo from a town near Vienna taken from a news article

Photo from a town near Vienna taken from a news article back in June 2013

It may have been a little miracle but I had made it to some random street corner in rainy Vienna.  What the blonde lady was able to tell us in the car was that the Danube River was flooding due to the amount of rain and we were lucky ones who got out as she’s spent a few days trapped in that train station in the past.  As we parted ways, I looked for the metro sign so I could make my way to the hostel and get myself a wifi connection to figure out what was actually going on and what my plan of action would have to be going forward.

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Categories: AUSTRIA, austria: vienna | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Sleepless Night To Dubrovnik

The rains, thunder, and lightening got heavier, louder and more frequent as day turned to night in Zadar.  The glimpse of sunshine was amazing but I was thankful that it wasn’t long before I’d be seated on the bus destined for Dubrovnik.  My plan was to curl up on my seat and sleep but as luck would have it; a Canadian Chatty Cathy found me and started gabbing away about her days at Western, her family, and other random jibber jabber as the bus left the terminal.  She was excited about everything (oh to be young and so full of hopes and dreams…) but why she chose me to pour out every thought in her head will forever remain a mystery.

I thought about giving her a line that I didn’t speak English but I’m pretty sure my Canadian Passport was going to expose my lie.  So in true Canadian fashion, I sucked it up and humoured her while dropping heavy hints that I was tired, required sleep, and maybe she should move to the empty seats across from us.  I hinted and she ignored and we continued this dance until a Croatian man sitting nearby had enough and decided to move seats in a huff while muttering something about loud girls under his breath.  Shortly after this, her battery finally ran out of juice and it was as though she had fallen asleep mid sentence.  This moment couldn’t have come soon enough and finally I was going to get the rest that I was so desperately looking for.  As the bus winded around the coastal towns of Croatia in the dark, the heavy rains changed to a light mist which filled my heart with sunshine hope.  I drifted in and out of sleep but was struggling to get decent shuteye as I was roasting.  For the world of me, I couldn’t figure out why the hell I was so hot.  I had already stripped off all my additional layers and was sitting in my lulus and a tank top while sweating up a storm.  Was I getting sick?  Was I suffering from a fever?  Was Chatty Cathy a human furnace?  Was Chatty Cathy even human?

I looked around and realized that the German boys (befriended thanks to Chatty Cathy) also looked to be boiling.  Just like me, they had stripped down as much as humanly possible and were anxiously waiting to leave this hot box of a bus.  I remember thinking that there were worse things than a hot bus as I reached into my purse.  It was at this moment that I remembered the 2 Butler’s chocolate bars from my leaving prezzies that I had stashed there encase of a hunger emergency.  Thanks to the heat on the bus, these bars weren’t going to help fight hunger as they had turned into liquid form and coded everything inside my bag, including edges of my passport.  I vowed to fully clean my bag when I got to the hostel but did a rough cleaning as best I could.  By the time I was done, the sun was up and the bus was pulling into the Dubrovnik bus terminal.  This couldn’t have come soon enough as I rushed off the bus into the cool morning air while trying to lick off as much of the remainder of the chocolate on my hands.  Before long, I bid adieu to my single serving friend and was off on my Dubrovnik adventure.

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

Construction Of My Irish Urban Family: Phase 1

I was sitting there midday Friday when my interviewer suddenly changed the course of our conversation and asked what my plans were for the weekend.  Not sure if this was a trick question to suss out if I’m a boy crazy booze hag or an honest interest in how I like to spend my free time.  I would like to think it was the latter and before my thoughts came spilling out of me like diarrhea, I very ineloquently launched into a speel about a little bit of this and a little bit of that but mostly with tourists as I don’t know a lot of locals yet.

And there it was, my biggest fear shining in broad daylight for everyone (well the two of us in the room anyway) to see.  I’m still swimming around in a sea of starter friends not knowing who’s real, who’ll fade away, and who’ll be the unfortunately few forming my urban family in this country.  I know that I’m constantly ridiculed for my fear as I meet a lot of people everywhere I go but for me it’s that struggle between acquaintances and friends.  I’m someone who has acquaintances swarming around me like bees but it’s those few that know the little details of my life that I hide from the rest of the world that I truly consider a friend.  There are times when it can be a fine line between the two but I always find that some event will eventually be the telltale sign.  I know that this is the 4th city that I’ve lived in and I’ve managed to get it together for the other 3 but at this stage, I can’t help but think that without real friends, living here will seem overwhelming lonely at the best of times…thank god for cheap flights and friends in England!

So truth be told, how I should have answered the interviewer’s question was that this weekend, I’ll be starting construction on my new Irish urban family.  I’ll be searching high and low through locals and people working abroad alike and going anywhere from pubs to parties to see if I can find like-minded souls who love to eat, can boogie with the best of them, and know how to laugh so this city can start to feel a little bit more like home.  If I only had a time machine, I could go back and save her from my random mumbling and the need to suggest that maybe I should try taking a tour of the city to get a feel for what’s out there.

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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